Monthly Archives: October 2008

Beaded Jewelry: Something Old, Something New

One thing about beaded jewelry fascinates me, and that is what's new is also what's old.  I guess it's the same for fashion in general, but beaded work certainly.

I've mentioned that I've been haunting the vintage costume jewelry auctions on ebay, looking for both vintage jewelry and for inspiration.  I'm amazed at home some seed bead jewelry from the 40's and 50's looks like some of the lovely work I see today.

Seed bead jewelry often gets a bad rap; somehow it's seen as inferior.  Maybe because the beads are so tiny? Let me tell you, it certainly hasn't been that way in the past!  I've seen loads of gorgeous vintage jewelry that have seed beads are a good portion of their make up.

I also have gotten a chuckle out of larger beads in general.  There are oceans of pretty beaded "strung" jewelry from the 50s, 60s and 70s.  Nothing fancy, just pretty beads, albeit usually in double or triple strand necklaces.

And I somehow got the impression that memory wire bracelets were a recent invention.  Nope, I've seen flocks of wrap bracelets go by in the auctions.  Not to mention some of the costume jewelry books.

Beaded Necklace With Pendant (Un-named as yet)

Beaded Necklace With Pendant (Click to Enlarge)

Yep, what goes around, comes around.  Any way you look at it, beaded jewelry in one form or another is here to stay!

Something New, Inspired By Something Old

I finally finished the pendant/necklace that I started during the previous post.  The project took on a life of its own, and grew from a pin to a pendant to a full triple-strand necklace with pendant.  It was at one point (if you can believe it) even more elaborate, but then I decided to back off on some of the extras.

I'm wearing it now, to check the comfort level, which I find useful before trying to make other similar projects.

Because it's a test piece, I didn't go all out with supplies.  While the turquoise and Swarovski are real, a lot of the rest are "fakes".  I do have some sterling silver beads in this piece, but some of the silver is suspect (might be sterling or it might not -- hadn't labeled them well enough).

But I did find this project to be fun.  I find that I enjoy a more vintage look, and it's fun to try and re-create it using beads.

Speaking of beads, here are some lampwork offerings now showing on ebay (no, none are mine...these are just pretties).  (You can also see a [nmslink:lampwork beads sra blue,more complete listing here].

Raku Lentils Handmade Glass Lampwork Coin Beads elasia SRA MTO
Raku Lentils Handmade Glass Lampwork Coin Beads elasia SRA MTO
Time Remaining: 9d 15h 28m
Buy It Now for only: $16.00
Art Insomnia FOCAL SET 7 Handmade Lampwork Beads SRA
Art Insomnia FOCAL SET 7 Handmade Lampwork Beads SRA
Time Remaining: 22d 7h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $29.99
Bastets Beads Purple Party Lentil Trio Set Handmade Lampwork SRA
Bastets Beads Purple Party Lentil Trio Set Handmade Lampwork SRA
Time Remaining: 26d 22h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $19.00
Raku Lentils Handmade Glass Lampwork Coin Beads elasia SRA MTO
Raku Lentils Handmade Glass Lampwork Coin Beads elasia SRA MTO
Time Remaining: 9d 15h 28m
Buy It Now for only: $16.00
Clay Raku Lentils Handmade Glass Lampwork Coin Beads elasia SRA MTO
Clay Raku Lentils Handmade Glass Lampwork Coin Beads elasia SRA MTO
Time Remaining: 9d 15h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $16.00

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It’s a Bad Glue Day

In my previous post I mentioned that I was working on a new project which involves working with a cabachon on a Stiff Stuff background.  And I also mentioned that the cab had been glued to the Stiff Stuff for a few years (ahem!).

Well, I'm ready to put the final microfiber backing on the cab.  I have it all ready and waiting.  So, I get out my E6000 glue and squeeze.

Hmm, nothing coming out.  So I grab another tube.  It's hardened too.  Drat!

So knowing that I've seen E6000 at the local grocery store, I went there to get some.  Hmm, they don't carry it anymore.  But wait!  There's a hardware store right around the corner, surely they have it.  Nope, they had never even heard of it.

OK, off to Michael's.  Hated to go there on a Sunday afternoon, 'cause I knew the lines would be long, but when ya gotta bead...ya gotta bead.  Good grief, where did they move the glue aisle to?  Ahh, found it.

The first tube I grabbed felt kinda funny.  I took off the cap to check if the top was still intact and it was.  Just ready to walk away, I noticed there was a puncture in the tube, which had hardened.  Well, there's another tube, and it feels squishy, so I'll grab that one.

It wasn't until I got home that I thought to check if the top had been pierced -- naturally, it already had.  But fortunately probably not for long since it was still gluey.  So I was able to put the backing on my one piece (which is turning out nice so far) and then glue three more cabs to the Stiff Stuff.  Success!

Well, that's my sticky situation for the day (groan).  So I'll impatiently check my cabs to see how far along they are, and leave you with some more pretty beady [nmslink:lampwork bead focal,ebay bead auctions].  See ya later!

[nms:lampwork bead focal,6,1,10]

Freeform Peyote Bracelet, Day 2

This freeform peyote bracelet took me longer than I expected, because I couldn't decide how I wanted it to end up! Between deciding colors, design and a clasp, I was running out of ideas.

Nevertheless, I did finish it. For additional embelishments I used size 11 silvered clear seed beads, in a random pattern around the bracelet. No particular design or idea, just where I though it might look interesting.

Freeform Peyote Bracelet, Completed

Freeform Peyote Bracelet, Completed


For the clasp, that was tough. I had originally thought button and loop; I did the loop then realized that I had no button!  Well, I had some in gold-tone that were perfect, but the gold didn't quite go with the rest of the bracelet.

Hmmm, rummaging around in my button bag, I found plenty that were too big or too small.  Drat.  Then I came across the dark blue button.  Right size, but a little dark.  Well, let me add some seed beads and try to lighten it up some.

And that actually turned out to be a good idea, because the button fits well against the bracelet; it's not so tall that it hurts when I put my armon the table and type.  Or write.  So it turned out well.

The Next Project - Retro

OK, I decided that I was going to do something that had a retro/vintage look about it, but with a little modern-day flair.  The decision?  A necklace with a large pendant.

I started off pretty well, with a moss jasper cabachon glued onto some Lacy's Stiff Stuff (I think that's what it's called).  OK, I confess; the cab has been glued onto the backing many years?  Several, at any rate.

So, I added a ring around the base of the cab with white 3-cut size 15 seed beads.  Now I remember why I dislike working with size 15; they're so tiny!  But, I finally got them all put on.

Next was a ring of turquoise around the cab.  Kind of rough-looking turquoise, but it had the green-y color that picked up on the colors in the cab.  Done.

Retro Jewelry Necklace, Step 1

Retro Jewelry Necklace, Step 1


But it didn't look right yet.  Ahhh, I found a tube of silver seed beads, around a size 6.  Turquoise and silver go well together, so why not?  So I sewed some of the silver beads around and between the cab and the turquoise.  And that's where I'm at so far, as you can see.

Then I did something really silly, even for me.  Not thinking, I cut away the Stiff Stuff from the back of the cab.  Totally forgetting that I really needed to glue it to some suede before cutting.  Argh.

So now I have to slightly modify my original design before continuing, because I need to get a backing on and hide all the stitches.  But I have some ideas.

I'm off to find the glue, more Stiff Stuff, some suede and some jump rings.  The glue will take a few hours to set, so I'll have to continue tomorrow.

For today, I'll leave you with some lampwork auctions to look at and enjoy.  Have fun!

[nms:lampwork beads sra,6,1,10]

Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial Day One

OK, since you folks have requested it, here's a freeform peyote bracelet tutorial.  This is day one, where we make the basic bracelet.

Before I start, I'm assuming that you know how to do the regular peyote stitch, as it's the basis of this bracelet.  If you don't, check out the basic peyote tutorial video.

One other item of note.  This is more of a structured freeform peyote bracelet.  By that I mean I am not going as freeform as I would normally do (with holes, netting, etc.).  Instead, this is a middle ground between a normal peyote stitch and a full-blown freeform.  In other words, if you've always been a structured person, this will let you let loose a tiny bit. 

Materials Needed

I'm not going to give you exacts, because freeform peyote isn't an exact science.  Instead, gather up the following in whatever amounts are suitable for you:

  • Size 8 seed or tube beads, single color.
  • Size 11 seed or tube beads, two or three colors.
  • Six beads or crystals, from 5mm through 8mm.  Various colors to coordinate with the seed beads.
  • Thread; I used 6-lb Fireline, in the grey color.
  • Needle, size 10 or 12.
  • Clasp of your choice.

Step 1:  The Base Bracelet

Make the base bracelet out of the peyote stitch, using the size 8 seed beads.  I made mine 6 beads wide by about 6.75 inches long.  You can make yours as long as needed, minus the size of your clasp.  Here's the photo of the base bracelet.

Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial, the Base

Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial, the Base (Click to Enlarge)

Note:  Don't worry if your bracelet isn't arrow-straight.  Because this is freeform, it doesn't matter.

Step 2:  Add the Beads or Crystals

Next, I decided where I wanted my crystals.  Since I have been talking about vintage beads, I decided to use three of them in this bracelet.

I placed the beads with the smallest towards the bracelet ends, and the largest in the middle.  I spaced them out so they were more-less even.  Here's how it looks now.

Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial, Step 2

Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial, Step 2 (Click to Enlarge)

Don't worry about thread showing at the ends of the beads; it will end up being hidden in the next set of steps.

I encourage you to not use evenly matched beads/crystals in this step.  If you noticed, I have one large bead, two medium, two slightly smaller mediums and one small cyrstal.  It's part of being freeform!

Step 3:  The Basic Freeform Peyote Stitching

OK, now comes the fun part!  It's kind of hard to explain this part since it's freeform, but here's how I basically did it.  The freeform part was done with the size 11 seed beads.

Come up from a hole next to the crystal and string however many beads needed to just about loop around the crystal; the seed bead loop should lay just slightly to the back of the crystal.  Bring the needle down through the size 8 bead, then back up through the one right next to it.

String on two seed beads, then begin a peyote stitch across the loop, back towards the original direction.  Once you reach the end, bring the needle down through a size 8 bead, then back up through the next.  String 2 seed beads and peyote your way back across again.

Once you've made a peyote ring across the back of the crystal. string maybe 8 or so seed beads and lay it across the base bracelet.  Go down through a size 8, back up through the next one.  Add 2 seed beads and peyote back the way you came.  When you get to the end, turn atound and peyote back down.

Thread your needle through the size 8 beads, until you come up through the bead next to the next crystal and repeat.

It's one of those times that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's what I have up to this point:

Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial, Adding the Freeform

Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial, Adding the Freeform (Click to Enlarge)

As you can see, I've made a loop around the crystals, and down across the base bracelet, which I have then added the peyote stitch.

Well, that's it for today.  I'm going to embellish this bracelet further in the next post.  If you like what you have up to this point, put the clasp on it and call it good!  But if you'd like to go a little further, stop on by for the next set of steps.  I should have them up in a day or so, once I decide how fancy I want to get!  😉

Meanwhile, here are some pretty eye-candy pieces of vintage costume jewelry that you might like looking at.

[nms:eisenberg vintage signed,7,1,10]