Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210I haven’t mastered wire work, but I do love the new trend of adjustable bangles! These bracelets are perfect for those of us who don’t have standard size wrists. With the new 3D Bracelet Jig and today’s tip you’ll have a new stack of arm candy in no time!

For me, trying out a new tool means making mistakes. My first attempt at an adjustable bangle didn’t go smoothly and I had quite a few bumps and wiggles in my wire. I keep a pair of regular Nylon Jaw Pliers handy to fix my wire mistakes, but in this case the Nylon Jaw Bracelet Bending Pliers were the perfect tool for the job – just look at that difference!

Use the Nylon Jaw Bracelet Bending Pliers to Fix Your BangleTo shape your adjustable bangle, gently fit the curve of your wire into the curve of the pliers and apply even pressure with the jaws while drawing them around the bracelet. Release the wire to navigate around the adjustable loops and run every part of the bracelet 2-3 times through the jaws. By drawing the wire through the curved jaws you’ll smooth out bends and kinks without losing the curve of the bangle.

Check out our full technique and Beauty Blossom Bracelet to get started making your own adjustable bangles!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

 

 

 

Inspired by Nature

I love this time of year and all of the incredible inspiration you can find right outside your front door! The spring flowers are starting to bloom, the birds are singing their little hearts out, and there’s brilliant bursts of color everywhere you look! So with nature’s beauty in mind, I gathered a few of our amazing beads and charms that fit into that theme:

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1. Lampwork Glass Flowers by Susan Sheehan

2. Busy Bee Charm and Dragonfly Charm by Vintaj

3. Small Enameled Flowers by C-Koop

4. Ceramic Charm by Golem Design Studio

5. Pastel Flower Czech Glass Beads

6. Baby Squirrel Bead and Woodland Rabbit Component by Green Girl Studios

7. Medium Enameled Flowers by C-Koop

8. Hummingbird Bead by Tierracast®

9. Sterling Hedgehog Charm

10. Sterling Beehive Charm

Our Inspiration Gallery has a fabulous selection of nature inspired necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and more! Check out a few of my favorite designs below and how we incorporated natural materials and motifs into them:

GA3595

 Flower Drop Necklace

GA2560

Bohemian Butterfly Bracelet

GA2997

Petal Power Earrings

GA5005

Jump into Spring Bracelet

GA3909

Lovely Lilac Earrings

GA2780-DZ

Flower Market Necklace

GA3235

Tulip Field Earrings

How do you incorporate nature into your designs?

Happy Beading! – Cody

Cody

Find Beading Inspiration With Cross Stitch Patterns!

What’s your go-to source for new bead weaving patterns?

Chances are, if you’re like me, you probably said “books, magazines, and beading websites”. Recently, though, I came to a huge revelation while looking for Eastern European folk costumes online: cross stitch patterns are perfectly suited for square stitch and loom designs! I’m sure I’m not the first person to figure that out, but it completely blew my mind when it clicked!

I set out to search for Eastern European cross stitch patterns and found Semne Cusute (“Signs Sewn”), a Romanian blog that contains an absolute treasure trove of beautiful stitched motifs from many ethnographic regions in and around Romania. I spent hours poring through every single post and looking up the different regions, getting both design inspiration and learning new facts about my paternal family’s homeland. Finally, I picked a pattern at random to test out on Beader’s Canvas.

I chose a pattern featuring flowers stitched in the colors of the Romanian tri-color flag and decided to try plotting a flower out in square stitch to see what it looked like.

Romanian cross stitch pattern

Pattern courtesy of http://semne-cusute.blogspot.com/

Square stitch pattern

The graph was a little thinner than the cross stitch pattern, due to the dimensions of Delica seed beads not resulting in a perfect square, but I was still thrilled! I went searching for a larger pattern to convert next into a loom pattern.

Romanian cross stitch patterns

Pattern courtesy of http://semne-cusute.blogspot.com/

Loomed cross stitch pattern

I chose to keep the colors similar to the original pattern, but with Beader’s Canvas, you can peruse the color palette and change any hue to one of your choosing!

I also found a great source of inspiration via HaftiX, a Polish website featuring hundreds of great cross stitch patterns in a wide array of motifs!

Have you tried using cross stitch patterns or another craft source to create beadwoven designs?

Happy beading!

Gabby

Gabby

Celebrate 120 Years Of Swarovski With The Edelweiss Pendant!

Pre-Season_FW_2016_17.inddLike his father before him, Daniel Swarovski learned the trade of crystal cutting as a young man, and after discovering how to cut a crystal to sparkle like a gem, he setup a company in a small town in the Austrian mountains. Under the sign of the Edelweiss, he started producing what would become the most famous crystal in the world.

Ever since it was first established in 1895, tradition, purity and character have been deeply rooted in the DNA of Swarovski. The Edelweiss is the best-known flower of the Alps and has shared these great qualities; which is why the Alpine Edelweiss was Swarovski’s first corporate logo for almost a century. With Swarovski celebrating its 120th anniversary, what better way for them to pay tribute to the company’s rich cultural heritage than by presenting the beautiful, innovative new Swarovski Crystal Edelweiss cut? It symbolizes the importance of origin in an increasingly globalized world, as well as the beauty at the top of the highest mountains. The cut and sparkle from the new Swarovski Crystal Edelweiss is absolutely breathtaking.

GA5110-SZWe wanted to pay tribute to this amazing milestone as well by creating our own necklace design featuring the Crystal Golden Shadow Swarovski Crystal Edelweiss Pendant in 14mm and 18mm. We love how classic and effortless our Golden Edelweiss Necklace turned out.

What would you create with this exciting new Edelweiss pendant by Swarovski? You can share with us in the comments below.

Happy 120th anniversary Swarovski!

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

I’m always excited to find new ways to use Crystal Clay and this week I decided to create a marbled effect by mixing two colors together!

Supplies for Marbling Crystal ClayPart of the fun of this trick is not knowing what your finished piece will look like. The colors and patterns in the marbling wind up being very organic. I chose the Gold and Copper Crystal Clay for my project, but you can do this with any two colors!

Start out by mixing each color of clay separately, making sure to combine equal amounts of Part A and B so the clay cures properly. Don’t be tempted to just mix the two Part A colors together to create the marbling or your clay won’t harden. Change your gloves between colors if you notice the clay is sticking. You don’t want to mix your colors too soon!

Mix Your Colors SeparatelyOnce your two colors are completely mixed, start rolling them into snakes. It’s a great time to get in touch with your inner preschooler!

Roll Your Clay Into SnakesTwist your two snakes together to start the marbling effect. Twisting combines the two colors while still keeping them distinct. Overworking the clay will create a uniform color instead of marbling.

Twist Your Colors TogetherFold and twist the clay 2 or 3 times, then roll it into a smooth shape. I’m filling three bezels, so I rolled my marbled clay into a short tube to make it easier to cut.

Marbled ClayAt this point the color sections of your marbling may look larger than you want. That’s ok – the best marbling is on the inside of your clay! I cut my clay with a piece of beading thread, wrapping it around my index fingers like dental floss. Beading thread makes a clean cut in your clay and you can dispose of it instead of trying to get sticky Crystal Clay off of a knife or other tool.

Fill Your BezelsRoll each section of clay into roughly the shape of your bezels and finish the project just like your other Crystal Clay pieces. I added one little sparkle to each of my bezels, but marbled swirls can be interesting enough on their own!

Finished Marbled Crystal ClayIf you’re not familiar with Crystal Clay yet, check out our step-by-step technique to learn the basics and past blog posts for even more tips and tricks!

Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen

 

 

 

Tuesday Tips and Tricks!

tuesdaytipsandtricks-520x210Today’s tips will show you how to get the best results when adding a bar pin to a fabric-backed cabochon or component. My amazing co-worker Rebecca recently gifted me with a bead bezeled cabochon that I can’t wait to wear, so let’s get started!

Use a bar pin to make a broochChoose where to stitch the bar pin to your project. I placed my pin high and centered so that the brooch will hang straight down when I wear it. Draw the outline of the pin on your backing for a quick way to check the positioning as you sew. Make sure your bar pin is facing the right way before you start stitching, with the opening of the clasp facing down towards the bottom of your piece. Open the pin and leave it open as you work so you have easier access to the holes in the bar. Just be careful not to poke yourself!

Place your pin on the backingYou can use either sewing or beading thread to attach your bar pin. I used One-G beading thread for this project. Thread your needle, knot one end of the thread, and anchor it underneath the bar pin to hide the knot. Take your needle through the first hole in the bar pin and into the backing shallowly so you don’t scrape your cabochon, wrapping the thread around the outer edge of the hole with each stitch.

Make shallow stitchesI like to make 3-4 stitches around each hole in the bar, working my way clockwise around the bar pin. Move to the next hole by taking one stitch under the backing. Moving to the next hole on top of the backing creates easily snagged loops of thread. There are a lot of moving pieces on a bar pin, so be careful not to get tangled as you work!

Use three to four stitches per holeWhen you’ve stitched around each hole of the bar pin, tie off your thread and make one last stitch to hide the tail before trimming the thread. Keeping your stitches the same size and placed closely together at each hole makes your finished piece as nice on the back as it is on the front!

Detail of stitched bar pinAnd you’ll have a ready-to-wear brooch before you know it!

Cabochon brooch
Happy Tuesday! – Gretchen
Gretchen