Friday, November 30, 2012

November Component of the Month - Designs Reveal

Available at
Yes the time has finally find out what my AJE team mates, giveaway winners and hop participants have done with the bronze snowflakes I sent them. I've heard whispers that these were quite challenging to work with...or was that just me talking to myself? Anyway, I'm sure wonderful things have been done nonetheless so without further ado lets get started and please joint me by hopping through the links below.

Have Fun!

Lesley - The Gossiping Goddess 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Creating your own "mini" business cards - tutorial

I love Moo's minicards, especially for using as tags on jewellery boxes and bags. I love the fact that you can have as many different photos as you have cards without any extra cost, and I love the quality of them. However, I do not love the price, and, especially nowadays, I cannot afford to buy them in the quantity I need them! So, when I had a voucher recently to get some Vistaprint business cards at a cheaper price I thought I'd have a go at creating my own mini business cards. I expect that this is far from the first tutorial that has been written on how to do this, but this is how I did it!

First of all, these are the first set of cards that I ordered. I need three slightly different designs - one for my shop with the name "Daisychain Designs" (I didn't want to use Daisychain Jewellery there as I didn't want the word jewellery on the postage labels), one for my Daisychain Jewellery website and etsy shop, and one for my Daisychain Extra components shop. I just ordered one lot first to try it out! This design is blank on the reverse as I use them as gift tags.

And this is how I made the image for my Daisychain Extra cards!

Note: I use to edit my photos. It may not always look as pretty as Photoshop etc, but it does everything I need it to do, there's great online help for it  - and it's free to download!

1. Open up Vistaprint and navigate to where you can upload your own image for the premium business cards (I'm assuming here that the US version of the site looks much the same as the UK version!)

 2. Click on the "download a template" link to get up the window shown below so that you can see the pixel sizes you need. It's the document trim ones that are important.

 3. Open up and click to get a new document. Change the pixel width to 1028 and the height to 579 (the document trim sizes). Vistaprint recommend that the resolution be set to 300 pixels/inch

4. Repeat step 3 to open a second document, this time at half the height (but the same width) as the first. You will be able to toggle between the two documents when you need to by clicking on the thumbnails in the top right of the screen.

5. Copy and paste onto the shorter blank document the images you want to use on your mini business card, resizing them to fit as necessary. Then click on the "rectangle select" button on the left and drag the cursor across your image to select it. Copy the image.

6. Paste the mini-business card image onto the larger blank document that you created in step 3, and paste it again so that you've got one image above the other. Save your hard work!

 7.Go back to the Vistaprint site and press the button to browse for and upload your image.

8. If, after you've uploaded it, important bits of information (such as your business name!) are partly outside of the dotted line, go back a couple of steps in and resize the images you have used. I had to decrease the size of my logo slightly the first time I did this.

9. If you want text on the back, prepare a second image using the same pixel sizes as you did for the front of the card. Add text on by clicking on the "T". You can change the font style and size in the same way as you would in any Microsoft office document.

10. And this is my reverse image uploaded!

If you have managed to stay with me throughout all those images, congratulations! I hope that you find this useful. You can use this method to create your own templates for most of the Vistaprint products. You can also, if you wish, create a template with two different images, one on each half, rather than using the same images for both halves as I did on my templates.

Jo Tinley
Daisychain Designs 

P.S. You also had a sneak preview of my new logos on this tutorial - I was hoping to have uploaded them onto my blog, etsy shops etc before I wrote this blog, but, well, it the Component of the Month reveal tomorrow, and playing with beads and wire is always a higher priority than website work - I'll do it next week!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Designing Beads and Jewelry for Men

When it comes to jewelry, if it isn't a wedding ring or a watch, the men in my family don't wear it. My teenage son won't wear jewelry even though I see other teenage boys wearing it all the time. This means my designing for men "muscle" is pretty weak. However, I have been trying to create some jewelry designs geared specifically towards men using leather and heavy chainmaille etc.

I have not been making beads specifically for men because I tend to make what I like, which involves lots of pink, purple, and blue like these (also, the men in my household have told me beads aren't for men and I guess I believed them....big mistake!):

However, I have a male customer who loves the Nightmare Insomnia series, thinks it's very masculine, and has requested I try to make them specifically with men in mind. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to not pick up some of the "girlie" colors? Well...for me it's very difficult.

Before I even started my first torch session, I had a plan so I didn't grab for the pink or purple. This is what I came up with during my first try:

These use a black base wrapped in fine silver foil, ivory colored stringer designs (glass rod that has been pulled to the same diameter as a string). Then encased in clear to magnify the effect of the silver droplets and the organic reactions look of the stringer.

I have lots of color combos that I dreamed up and still need to try.

Do you design jewelry or components for men? What kind of tips do you have?

Have a great week!

-Jen Cameron


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Use Fine Silver Wire on Glass Beads - Tutorial

There are many ways to add silver to your glass beads!  One way is to add fine silver wire.  I'm not sure why, but you are supposed to use fine silver wire as opposed to the silver jewelry wire you might have on hand.  (I have since learned that it's because fine silver is pure silver, while sterling has copper in it).  I order my fine silver wire from Monsterslayer.  I like them and they always have up-to-date pricing as the silver market is so volatile lately.  I use 30 gauge silver wire, but there are different gauges available.  I like 30 gauge because it's more delicate.  If you want to use higher gauge wire, you can get different effects, like actually placing thought-out dots on your bead!
I cut easily usable lengths of silver wire (about 9 inches or so) and clip the hemos at the measure I want to use.  If I'm applying it to a round bead, I usually clip at about 2-3 inches.  Fine silver wire will disappear in your flame, so make sure you work waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out at the end of the flame.  Barely touch the silver wire to the bead under the flame, move the bead away, and quickly wrap the wire around the bead.  When you've reached the end of your clipped wire, flame cut the silver, and then very delicately melt the silver wire at the end of the flame into the bead.  This is how you get the trailing dots. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

December Component of the month and a giveaway!

You might be reading this with a delicious turkey sandwich made from leftovers (my favorite part) but I hope the holiday found you well. I have many things to be thankful for and one of them is my online community of fellow artists, beaders, and like minded friends.

Without further ado - the December Component of the Month: 

Ceramic labyrinth pendants by Jenny Davies-Reazor
When I decided on this symbol as the piece for December - I was thinking ahead to the reveal date. The end of December - New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

The labyrinth differs from a maze in that a labyrinth has one path in to the center. Mazes are designed to confound with dead ends and the like. Labyrinths are found in many cultures around the world, and in many styles. Found in cathedrals, Medieval labyrinths were seen as a symbolic path to God. They often served as a substitute to a religious pilgrimage. Native American labyrinths can represent a path to an ancestor, in a  search for wisdom, or even the ancestor himself. A famous mythic labyrinth was that on the isle of Crete, where dwelt the Minotaur. Half bull and half man, he was slated by the hero Theseus with the help of Ariadne. 

Counter Clockwise: Chartres Cathedral, Cretan style, turf labyrinth, Tintagel rock carving,  Chartres style. 

In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the labyrinth. Walking a labyrinth can aid in attaining a contemplative state- as the body is occupied the mind can at times find clarity. They are used as a walking meditation and often located at churches and retreat centers. As they are a path to the center, your center, your self...they can provide insight and at times inspiration. With New Year's being a time where we all feel resolved to start fresh- I found this an appropriate symbol for the Component of the Month! 

Where will your path take you in 2013? There may be twists and turns, you may lose sight of the destination at times, but if you have faith and stay on your path, all will be well. 

How this challenge and blog hop will work (please read all the information carefully!)
  • I will give away 1 component to each of 5 winners selected randomly from those who leave comments below this post. The color sent will be a surprise for the winners.
  • Please include your EMAIL address in your comment so that I can contact you ASAP should you win.
  • Please - only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it within the time given.
  • The names of the 5 winners will be announced on November 30th 2012.
  • This giveaway is open to US, Canadian, UK and European countries.
  • The blog reveal will be on December 31, 2012. 

Should you want to participate and your name is not drawn from the proverbial hat - I will be listing more on my Etsy site on Monday November 26th when I return from Thanksgiving!

Thanks for participating, everyone!



Mismatched Monday: Frosty Gears

A week after Hurricane Sandy messed up my home state of NJ we had a snow storm.  My brother didn't get nearly as much snow as I did but he captured some nice photos in his area (Thanks Joey!).  This early snow inspired my latest pair of earrings, "Frosty Gears".
A little Steampunk and a whole lot winter, these icy earrings feature some fabulous art beads!

Enameled gears and lampwork beads: SueBeads
Mini ceramic dot beads: Elaine Ray
Crystals: Fusion Beads
I made the earwires by hand out of 20 gauge sterling silver wire from Monsterslayer.

And don't forget, today is the last day to take advantage of fabulous discounts in the AJE team shops!  Find all the details and coupon codes by clicking here!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Winner of Shimmer Beads

Sorry I'm late, I was in bed with a headache all day yesterday!  The winner of the shimmer beads, as picked by, is Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends!  Yay!  Thanks to everyone who played!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Winter Inspirations

Do you ever find that one day when you sit down in front of your ever-growing stash of beads that your mind draws a total blank? You suddenly feel like maybe you're not as good at making jewelry as you felt you were just other day when you finished that stunning masterpiece that all your friends adored?

What's wrong with you!?

Nothing. Don't worry, it's normal. All of us have those days.

Sometimes you just need to take a break, try a different approach, or learn something totally new. It can only get better, and not just your technique will improve, but also your style. Jewelry making is an ever-evolving thing.

So, for today I'm sharing two color palettes captured in beautiful rural Virgina and have paired them up with some fabulous art beads all handmade by the talented members of AJE. I hope that these will spark your imagination!

Each photo below is linked to Etsy, so if you see something you just have to have (I know you will!), simply click on it and buy. And don't forget to grab our coupon code AJEHOLIDAY for some outstanding savings!

Okay, so you reached the end of my post (almost) and your not quite ready to make your own jewelry, or maybe you just want that perfect piece of jewelry for your sister, your mom, your best friend… yourself… we have those too! And yes they're on sale. Use code AJEHOLIDAY and click on the photos to shop.

Thanks for stopping by today!

This post is part of the Art Jewelry Elements 2012 Holiday Open House.
Art Jewelry Elements team members are offering special deals in their online shops to AJE readers starting today and going through Cyber Monday (November 26). You can see the complete list of participating members and details about the discounts here.
Please help support the artist community by buying handmade for your gift-giving this year.

Friday, November 23, 2012

And the Bead Soup book goes to....

Sherri Stokey! You are the winner of the Bead Soup Book giveaway. Please email asap at with your snail mail so I can send it tomorrow morning. 


We are having a special sale this weekend for you, our wonderful readers. Find out how you can save money on handmade components and art jewelry by clicking this link. 

-Jen Cameron
Glass Addictions

How to Cook A Turkey

I have a confession. This secret I carry with me is a huge embarrassment to my family. But I am going to share it with you anyway. I hate cooking. Hate. It. With a passion. It's just SO TEDIOUS. So while my AJE teammates are all sharing their delicious recipes, my secret is festering and about to cause me to explode. 

It is with much delight that I share a meme that was going around on facebook a couple days before Thanksgiving, and is totally relevant to Christmas too. It is perhaps the only way I could tolerate hosting a Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner at my house. 

How to Cook A Turkey:
Step 1: Buy a Turkey.
Step 2: Have a glass of wine (perhaps refer back to Francesca's post on inexpensive yummy reds first).
Step 3: Stuff turkey.
Step 4: Have a glass of wine.
Step 5: Put turkey in oven.
Step 6: Relax, and have another few glasses of wine.
Step 7: Turk the bastey.
Step 8: Wine of glass another get.
Step 9: Ponder the meat thermometer
Step 10: Glass yourself another pour of wine.
Step 11: Bake the wine for 4 hours.
Step 12: Take the oven out of the turkey.
Step 13: Floor the turkey up off the pick.
Step 14: Turk the carvey.
Step 15: Get yourself another wottle of bine.
Step 16: Tet the sable, and pour yourself another glass of turkey.
Step 17: Say grace, throw-up, and pass out. 

And with that, we are signing off for the night! Hope you have enjoyed the day with us and if you missed any of the posts, please go back and peruse because some of us actually had really interesting and helpful information to share...unlike this meme and my deep dark secret. 

I will be drawing a winner for the Bead Soup book at about 10:15. So if you haven't entered, get there quick!


This post is part of the Art Jewelry Elements 2012 Holiday Open House.

Art Jewelry Elements team members are offering special deals in their online shops to AJE readers starting today and going through Cyber Monday (November 26). You can see the complete list of participating members and details about the discounts here.

Please help support the artist community by buying handmade for your gift-giving this year.

Memories from Christmas Past

I have been at a "Frosty Friday" art (not!) show today, so I hope you will forgive me for recycling a post from my blog from 2010!

Experiencing the yearly Christmas tree adventure always brings certain memories to mind...for those of you who don' know, I was born and raised in the Deep South...Alabama!  The very first scent of green, citrus-y, woodsy tree smell remind me of going out in the woods with my Daddy, and a few of my siblings, probably in the back of his old black pickup truck to find a suitable tree and possibly some mistletoe to hang.  Daddy and my brother were hunters and usually had the perfect tree already scoped out! It was usually cedar and Daddy would put it in a 5-gallon bucket full of wet sand and it would go in front of the big picture window in the front room of our little house.

We didn't have alot of money, especially for a lot of store-bought Christmas ornaments...there were some gorgeous huge glass balls that I remember hanging on the tree every year but I also vividly remember the hand-made decorations we made every year.  Like the little sweet-gum balls that we spray painted and decorated with glitter.

I also remember cutting a big star out of cardboard, covering it with aluminum foil and then cutting a hole in the middle so that one of the big lights could fit inside it for the top of the tree.

Gosh, I always loved decorating that tree!  After I was older, our handcrafted ornaments became a bit more sophisticated.  My sister Susan and I made a whole bunch of scrap fabric-covered balls decorated with sparkly rick-rack, fake pearls and seed beads with straight pins and glue...When Mama died and we divvied up things I took a few to hang on my tree..I love them, even though they are about to fall apart.  Maybe I will make some new ones!

circa the 70's!
After moving away from my hometown and living on my own, I did some ornament making on my are some little clothespin and paper the one with pasta hair!

One year I got ambitious and tried to duplicate a stuffed angel I saw in a magazine...only I didn't have a sewing machine, so I stitched her and her friends all up by hand.  I gave them as gifts that year.

Poor little thing, her spanish moss hair and potpourri dried flower bouquet have seen better days!

I tried to find a few crocheted angels and ornaments I used to make with tiny cotton thread, but alas they were nowhere to be found.

Good times, good times!  What memories from past Christmases do you have?

Thanks for stopping by our Open House!  Please go and check out the discounts and other fun things that have been posted today.  Here is a link to the original Welcome post!!