Monday, July 6, 2015

Tropical Bracelet Redo

I hopped a cruise ship to Bermuda yesterday.  Before I left I wanted to make a few extra pieces of jewelry to bring with me.  

I had made this bracelet earlier in the year to wear on the bead cruise but found that I had selected some beads that made it too heavy and the waxed linen began to stretch.  
Original bracelet
While it's a really cute bracelet, I couldn't have it expanding in size on me so I took it apart.  It turns out that it also contained some beads that went really well with a dress I purchased for my Bermuda cruise.
Dress Fabric
There were so many wonderful colors in this print to work with; aqua, cobalt, yellow, pink... I began pulling out lots of wood, lucite, shell and art beads to play with!
Messy Desk
Then I remembered I had some memory wire and thought it would be fun (and easy) to work with that.  After lots of pulling out beads, putting back beads, pulling out more beads, I had a finished bracelet!
Finished bracelet
I used art beads (bronze, ceramic & polymer), wood, brass, czech glass and shells.
Art beads
I'm really happy with the finished piece.  Although I do miss the original bracelet, this works so well with my sundress!  

Art Beads
Polymer: Humblebeads
Bronze: THEA Elements 

The next time a piece of jewelry doesn't quite work out the way you hoped, take it apart!  You'll find inspiration elsewhere...maybe even in a sundress!

Happy Beading!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bead Room or Bedroom? I'll Have the First, Please!

I was so sad I couldn't participate in the our workspace challenge recently...for some reason I just couldn't get it to mesh with the whole packing-to-move situation.  So, today, I'm showing my work-in-progress!

Here you can see my lovely bead chaise, next to the window for as much natural light as I can get!  I love this chair so much.  It's the perfect scale for me, and wide enough that the cat can sit next to me if she feels like it.  Sometimes I work on a lap tray with legs and sometimes I pull a small folding table up over my legs if I have a several projects going on at the same time.  
Underneath the window I have a couple of shelves that I've filled with all of my bead/sewing/craft books, and other frequently used items.  Currently the biggest thing that is in limbo is shelving for the beads.  Obviously, towers of stacked boxes is not ideal for creativity.  I think I'm leaning towards a heavy duty commercial shelf because all those boxes of glass and stones get HEAVY...I've already destroyed a couple of different household shelves.  The trick is to find something kind of long and low.  I have a tendency to sit on the floor in front of the shelf to pull out boxes and find pieces for a project...that just doesn't work if I have to keep standing to reach things off higher shelves!
Wrapping around the rest of the wall that the chaise is against, I have a rack where I keep wires, cords, and other supplies, next to my doll cupboard/creativity altar.  Above the chaise on hooks, I keep my handcut leather cords and sari silk ribbons (and usually a few other things) within easy reach.  Next to the chaise on a skinny wire rack is my ott-lite, toolboxes and coloring utensils.  The two open bins are for sorting project leftovers into - so I don't have to drag out all the boxes to put things away after every single project.  

I worked so hard to get this room set up to show you all...that I haven't even pulled out a beading project yet!  We zipped over to Knoxville for the holiday weekend, to be with our adopted TN family, and bring back a new (to us) washer and dryer.  Hopefully next week I'll be able to bead some...or maybe get my Etsy shop reopened!  

I hope you all had a happy and safe 4th of July!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Reposting an Old Favorite… Star Burst Earrings How-To

Hey everyone! Happy Independence Day to all of our USA readers and a happy Saturday to everyone else! It's a crazy busy weekend for me… haha! more so because of bead making than anything else (Are you surprised?!), but I'm happy for any excuse to spend more time with family so I'm planning on enjoying it with them too.

For today's post I'm reposting an old favorite from July last year with an added little treat of red, white and blue goodies at the end… I hope you'll enjoy this re-run of my Independence Day inspired earrings tutorial!

July 5, 2014… I've had a very busy week at work—both my "real job" and my studio job have seemed endless! And so waking up Thursday morning suddenly realizing it was my turn to post on AJE this weekend and feeling my brain start spinning as I realized I didn't have a post idea, was an unsettling way to start the day to say the least! My first thought was to show you my new beads… but wait those new beads aren't finished! My second idea was a tutorial—but of what?! I started making a mental list of all the cool beads in my studio and possible ideas. And then I thought of stars and fireworks—could I make jewelry inspired by the Independence Day celebration? I don't mean red, white, and blue. That's nice and all, but not my thing—in my mind those colors are for the flag and not wearing—that's me though and I never dress for any holiday. I wanted something that could be worn any day, no matter the occasion… My mind wandered onto some tiny howlite stars… hmm… olive-golden beaded beads from awesome AJE team member, Kristen Stevens… purple peacock faceted beads maybe?… Sounds interesting, right?

Anyhoo… all this going through my brain before coffee was a bit of a mess so I put the idea out of my mind and got on with normal stuff. Hot horses wanted their food and fly spray (right now!) and I needed to say "hi" to kitty before he thought I had forgotten all about him, and oh yeah, drink coffee… and then check emails.

All that out of the way, a second cup of coffee in hand—and star earrings here I come!

And a tutorial for you! Take a look…

Supplies you'll need:
- 22 gauge bronze wire
- 2 10mm faceted czech glass beads
- 8 4mm howlite stars
- earwires (again, I left this very minor detail out of my photo!)

Tools you'll need:
- tape measure
- wire cutters
- round-nose pliers
- flat-nose pliers
- bent-nose pliers
- permanent marker
- 800 grit sandpaper

1. Cut 2 lengths of wire each 3 inches long and 2 lengths of wire each 2 1/2 inches long. Smooth the ends with sandpaper—or if you happen to have one of those fancy schmancy tools actually made for removing burrs, by all means use it and make it easier on yourself—I had only sandpaper on hand and it works great in a pinch!

2. Use round-nose pliers to form a tiny coil at the end of one wire, put two stars on the wire, and form a second coil. Repeat with the 3 remaining wires. I like to work both earrings simultaneously to keep them the same.

3. Next mark each wire slightly off center with a permanent marker—make sure both long wires and both short wires are marked so when bent they will be the same length.  Grasp the marked point with the round-nose pliers…

4. …and bend the wire around, crossing the ends over…

5. …remove the pliers from the loop, grasp just below the loop and gently bend the stars down…

6. … so they look like this. Repeat with each wire to make your star charms.

7. Cut a 7 inch length of wire and take one of the longer star drops and one of the shorter ones and wrap tightly together. Repeat with the remaining star charms. Time to put the earrings together!

8. Cut an 8 inch length of wire and start to form a wrapped loop—don't wrap or trim yet!—slip a star charm onto the loop. Then add one of the beaded beads and glass bead.

9. Form a wrapped loop at the top of the glass bead… and finally wrap the loop at the base of the beaded bead. I did it this way because I didn't want a whole jumble of wire at the base—by having the wire already pulled tight after forming the wrapped loop at the top first, it was much easier to keep the wrap at the base flat and neat. Repeat for second earring and add your earwires… and go enjoy your new earrings!

And now some lovelies from the AJE team inspired by red, white and blue!

Bright and cheery ladybug earrings by Linda Landig

Sweet little red flower headpins by SueBeads… they look a bit like fireworks, don' t you think?

Gorgeous soaring bird beads…

…and drifting feather beads by blueberribeads

A radiant silver and chalcedony heart pendant by Bits By Niky

Stunning autumn red bracelet focal by THEA Elements

A little leaping lunar hare in silvery gossamer white by yours truly, Tree Wings Studio.

Athena's Owl pendant by jdaviesreazor

The most adorable little red, white and blue sail boat you ever saw! Also by Lesley Watt of THEAElements

And last, but certainly not least—a beautifully rustic Aqua Spiral Fossil connector by Starry Road

I hope you enjoyed my re-run post for today!
Wishing you all a most wonderful weekend… holiday or not… I hope it's fabulous in every way possible!

Rebekah Payne
Tree Wings Studio

Friday, July 3, 2015

July COM Winners!

A massive thank you to everyone who entered July's COM and the winners are....

July's COM Coin Clasps and Coin Beads
  • Rebecca Anderson
  • Nan Smith
  • Jess Green
Congratulations ladies, I shall be emailing you to get your addresses shortly, and I can't wait to see what you create!

Freeform Friday: A Room of One's Own...

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Virginia Woolf  

“Women need a space to be creative -- creativity thrives in solitude.” SARK

I can't imagine a more inviting scene: calm dog, sunlight streaming in... (all the clutter is out of this view. )

 Virginia Woolf penned that famous line 86 years ago. And while the status of women's culture is much improved in regards to education, voting... the quote still resonates with me. I have a room, where I can create in solitude, and abandon. I can make a mess and not clean it. I can leave work strewn about until the Muse returns to guide my hands. My studio is more than a room though. Its a sanctuary, a safe haven, a hide out. Its a treasure trove of gems and art supplies to rival a dragon's hoard. Its filled with memories and potential, and its 100% me.

We have been discussing workspaces of late on the blog, cleaning, organizing... and I was sadly missing mine. Before summer I was working in THIS studio a few days a week, alternating with the ceramics studio; achieving a creative balance so to speak. Then an intensive teaching and show schedule, and a bout of sick derailed me. Wednesday and Thursday this week I was back in the studio. Oh how I missed it!
Vignettes and a WIP: Beads by Susan and Karen nestled in a teacup, my abandoned daily art journals, new materials to play with from ICE Resin, a beaded bezel in progress, seals and mermaid treasure waiting their turn. 
I started to panic. WHAT was I going to work on?! WHERE to start? SO MANY things I want to do/try/finish/start/create.... I started with cleaning a little. It was so nice to BE in the studio that I relaxed into the small chores. I am organized, a Virgo trait I embrace, and it makes me feel calm and receptive, ready... when things are put away and I have space to work. Its cathartic. 

Antique watch crystals. Vintage images. Polymer. Stay tuned for BeadFest 2015

This is the place of creative incubation. At first, you may find nothing happens there. But, if you have a sacred place and use it, take advantage of it, something will happen. (Joseph Campbell)

The gorgeous kiln bounty from the wood fire. Shrines awaiting interior elements. 
People who aren't artists seem to not understand exactly what a studio is. It's not a store. It's not a factory. It's not a theme park. It's my personal space and their company is not so invasive. (Eleanor Blair)

Recognize the adorable critters from Rebekah? Mixed media pocket shrines inspired by her beads. 

Room service? Send up a larger room. (Groucho Marx) (See video at end of post)

An artist's studio should be a small space because small rooms discipline the mind and large ones distract it. (Leonardo da Vinci)

I think it wants to be a wall hanging, Lesley. With cobalts and iridescence, and stars and swirls. 
Does it sound silly to say I feel better having spent time with my stuff? Because I do. I did little more than clean and organize on Wednesday; hope to actually work on Thursday. But I had missed my little room so! I still have a million things to do. I still panic when the emails remind me that Bead Fest is 7 WEEKS away!!! But I feel ready to tackle it, a bit more grounded, a bit more in touch with my self, my Muse, and all that...

So tell me -
Do you have a room of your own? A space for creativity? Solo space? Shared space? And how often do you get to go there?!

I leave you with a song by the White Stripes. A tiny little song, but its so true! Give it a listen - Im off to the studio! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Beaded Wire Macrame Toggle Bars Revisited

I have all sort of beads and components in my stash that could be used as clasps if they had a bar to go with then and a while back I adapted the wire macrame techniques I used for these earrings to create some alternatives to the usual plain wire option.

This technique utilises simple macrame knots interspersed with small beads that can be adapted to match the component and give your clasps some individuality.

Here I use a half knot (spiral) with little etched beads to create this bar and added a jump ring to the centre by which it can be attached to a piece of jewellery. 

This works fine but I really wanted to see if I could include the connection loop within the bar itself so this time I formed a loop in the centre of the core wire and instead of knotting from end to end as with the earrings I attached the wire through the loop and knotted from the centre out, wrapping the wire end over each other to finish.

This method takes a little bit longer but does create a slightly cleaner looking bar although personally I'd be happy to use either version.

For this one I used a square macrame knot again but this time gently curved the bar when I finished knotting to add a little something extra... 

I think it makes a lovely focal closure for this beautiful ceramic element from Karen Totten.

For this ceramic link component by Marla James I used a spiral knot and teamed it with some lovely rustic faceted Czech glass beads to create an unusual clasp.


And finally, some simple seed beads add a little interest to a plain sheet bronze clasp - an idea that would translate easily to washers or large jump rings.

So it's really quite easy to add a little extra interest to your jewellery designs with a few beads and a length of wire and if you don't have any suitable components in your stash don't worry - there are plenty out there to suit all tastes.

 Lampwork by Julie Burgard - Outwest Art Glass
Outwest Art Glass
Classic Bead
Tree Wings Studio
Suburban Girl Beads
Mary Harding Jewelry
Starry Road Studio