Sunday, September 30, 2007

Where my design ideas come from

Designs come to people in different ways. Some people get an complete design in their head, and then buy the beads. I generally get my designs from the beads themselves. Here's an example of how a necklace design came about.

I was at Shipwreck Beads with a friend of mine, and I saw this bead. It's the exact color of kelp. I had to have it, so I bought a strand and took it home......

A few weeks later, I found the matching leaf. I tried to figure out how to combine them... Thread would be too noticeable, so I decided to wire wrap them together. They looked like this

Definitely on it's way to kelp LOL

Now I had to figure out how to make them sway like kelp.... I decided to hook them onto a dangling piece of chain, so they would move with the wearer. I also decided to finish off the end with some Hill Tribe Silver charms, so the kelp strand would look finished.

I am in the process of making 5 of these strands to hang from a silver chain. I'll post the necklace when it's finished.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Beeswax vs. Thread Heaven

One question I see in the forum a lot is "what is the difference between beeswax and Thread Heaven?" I got the best answer for this in a class with Diane Fitzgerald.

Beeswax is sticky, and is used when you want multiple threads to behave like one. So use it when you are using your thread doubled. It will save you from having to reposition your needle all the time at the end of the threads.

Thread Heaven helps keep your thread from tangling. It puts a static charge on the thread so the thread acts like your hair on a very dry day -- the pieces move away from each other. This keeps the thread from wrapping around itself.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My favorite gemstone supplier

I'm going to share with you my "secret" gemstone seller. Her name is
Szarka, and she sells at her ebay store "turquoise magpie"

Szarka is immensely helpful, has absolutely wonderful prices, and ships quickly. She has the nicest gemstones I've seen. And she tells you what you are buying. She's well versed in the different types of stones, and will check her beads(as in, test them with acid, heat, stress) to make sure that they are what the wholesale vendor claims they were. You can buy from her with complete confidence that you are getting what you are paying for.

If you are looking for gemstones, definitely check out her store!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Don't bother me! I'm reading my bead catalog!

I went to the mailbox today and found my new copy of Fire Mountain Gems' bead catalog!!!! I am always sucked into the pretty pictures and the designs that they have. It gives me a whole new set of inspiration!

Have you ever looked at the artwork in the catalogs? There are many first class jewelry makers and artists whose work is showcased in both the Fire Mountain Gems and the Shipwreck Bead catalogs. If you are looking for good eye-candy or places for new ideas, try these out!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Play with your beads!

The easiest way to get more creative with your beading is to play with your beads. Get them out, touch them, string them, weave them. The really nice thing about beads is they are reusable. Hate what you've come up with? All you've wasted is some thread. You haven't even wasted your time, since you've learned something. Even if what you've learned is what not to do, it is still valuable.

For some reason, I feel like I can play with my beads, but I can't play with my embroidery. I shudder at the thought of changing a stitch, a color, of making a MISTAKE!!! I get paralyzed when I try to think how to change an embroidery pattern. Does this sound familiar? And this is true even after I've become playful with beads. It just doesn't transfer over. So I'll make you a deal.
You agree to play with your beads, and I'll agree to play with my embroidery?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How to change colors in a design.

How often have you looked at a piece of jewelry, and loved it--except for the colors. You know just what you would wear it with, if it came in yellow instead of blue.

Here, I will show you a few designs that are available for free on the web. We will take a look at how the colors are laid out, and figure out how to substitute colors that will match in the same way.

It helps if you have some idea of how to work with a color wheel. Here are two websites for you that will bring you up to speed.

For a basic overview of color theory, go to this website and for a discussion of how these color schemes look, go here Print out at least the first one so you can see what I'm talking about.

The first piece we're going to look at is "Egyptian Sunset Necklace" by Julie Walker. It can be found on Beadwork Magazine's site at This is a free pattern, however you will have to sign up to access the web site. They do have lots of nice free patterns tho. This is what the original necklace looks like

Ok, lets say we really want a moonlight necklace instead of a sunset necklace.... Looking at the, you can see that the beads are amber and topaz colors. This means that this color scheme is monochromatic--all yellow. So to change it to moonlight change that to various shades of blue. Here's a picture of what it would look like. Due to lack of time, I only made the middle of the necklace.

The next one we're going to look at is the "Flamenco Braid Necklace" by Linda Arline Hartung. This is also on Beadwork Magazine's web page. You can download it at

This is a split complementary design, with purple being the key color, and yellow-green and yellow-orange (the light tan color) being the two other colors. So to change the design, pick a different color as your key color, and then find the two complements. Make sure that you are keeping the same intensity of color...the purple and green are fairly dark and the yellow is very light. This keeps the design interesting.

Here's what it would look like with red (really pink) as the key color. Again, due to lack of time, I only pulled the colors together

Another way to change the colors in a design would be to choose the complementary colors of every color in the necklace. Again, make sure the keep the intensity of the colors the same, to keep the design interesting.

Take a look at your favorite pieces of jewelry, and see if you can recognize the color scheme. It will take a little practice, but soon you'll be seeing color palettes everywhere.

For a look at more color palettes from professional graphic designers, go to

Sunday, September 2, 2007

First experiment

I'm working on a piece on how to change the colors of a design to suit your tastes. Please allow me a week to get this up, as I need to do a lot of beading
to show the results.


Let the experiments begin!

Hello there!

I'd like to share my explorations of beading with you. I am working on mastering beadwork, and as a result, I'm doing a lot of experiments with the beads. I'm trying new design techniques, color ideas and various stitches. I'll be posting the results of my experiments, and show how you can try them yourself. Please join me on this adventure!