Glass Beads

Bling in the New Year!

Well, it's New Year's Eve day, and the end of 2008.  High time to plan how to bling in the New Year!

As you know, I've been doing some collecting of costume jewelry, as well as doing a redux on pieces.  My latest acquisitions have been some crystal necklaces, probably from the late 60's through the 70's.  Or, they could even be newer, but based on the materials used, I'd say probably late 70's.

I took apart these necklaces for three reasons.  One, they aren't Swarovski -- crystal, yes; Swarovski, no.  But the AB beads sure are pretty!

Second, they weren't strung as well as they could have been; way too tight, so they didn't hang right.

The last reason were the clasps, which were really nice.  The clasps would be lovely in a re-done piece!  All three included chatons, one of them with AB chatons.

So I've got plenty of materials to work with in 2009!  (I won't talk at the moment about all the other bead necklaces I've disassembled lately....)

Finding the Bling

I've been watching the ebay auctions for costume jewelry, as well as haunting some flea markets.  Some days I find all kinds of treasures; some days I am empty-handed.  But I've since gotten over buying just any "bling" -- I wait until something jumps up and screams in my face, "Bring me home!"

Sometimes the pieces just need to be taken apart for a redux, like the crystal necklaces I just disassembled.  Some pieces stay whole, like some brooches I recently bought.

And hey, I found a great way to use my Christmas Tree pins!  OK, I'm a little late this year in telling you, but it's something you can do year-round.

One of my pins is large and heavy, and kept flopping when I wore it.  The pinback itself is vertical, so I had the idea to pin it onto a necklace (in my case, a vintage faux pearl necklace).  The pin hung there wonderfully!  So now I know what to do with the large Christmas Tree pins next year.  And what I can do with large brooches all year long.

Bling in the New Year!

So let's make a deal here; resolve to bring some bling into 2009.  Whether your bling style is modest or in-your-face, there's a place for it in all our lives.  Something sparkly to liven up our dull days, and pretty, to look at when we are stressed.

At any rate, here are some [nmslink:vintage crystal beads, vintage crystal beads] to consider, for starting your own vintage "bling" redux collection (below are just a few examples). 

Oh, and Happy New Year!

[nms:vintage crystal beads,7,0,5]

Beaded Bead Bracelet

I decided to try a beaded bead bracelet, since I found three of my lampwork beads that were hanging out and not doing anything. I immediately saw that they used two of the colors from my coraling bracelet (which I am slowly but surely working on), so I got the idea to make a beaded bead bracelet.

Beading the Beads

I decided on three different types of beaded beads; a small tubular ndebele, a ladder stitch and a fringed donut. 

Beaded Bead and Lampwork Bracelet

Beaded Bead and Lampwork Bracelet

The ladder stitch and tubular ndebele look amazingly alike, but I think the tubular ndebele is stronger.  I probably won't wear this bracelet very often (I just have too many), so I didn't worry about the ladder sticth ones coming apart.

The fringed donut was easy; just a loose circle of six beads, and then I created two finges for each bead.  Keep the original circle on the loose side, since you'll be passing the thread around the beads several times, and it tightens up on its own.  That much I learned from my first one!

I found some turquoise, in two different qualities.  One was a large chip, supposedly from the Sleeping Beauty mine.  The other was matrix turquoise from China.  Both were certainly useful, but naturally the Sleeping Beauty was much nicer.

I located a toggle clasp that I didn't realize I had for the closure, as I am out of the lobster claw, and I don't like using magnetic on my wrist (I get my hands and wrists too close to my laptop's hard drive for my own comfort).

Haven't named this beaded bead bracelet as yet, because I'm not sure what to call it -- nothing is jumping out at me.  Guess I'll have to wear it awhile and see.

Closeup of the Coraling

Closeup of the Coraling

The Coraling Goes On

I'm still working on my coraling bracelet, and it's taking longer than I anticipated.  Probably because I decided to make the bracelet dense with beads.  First, here is a closeup of the coraling; you can't get the effect, but I thought it was a really cool photo.

Now keep in mind that my bracelet is based on a peyote stitch.  Then I am snaking up through and between the various beads with the coraling.

OK, so just what is coraling?  I guess you could call it a kind of kinky fringing.  The difference (in my mind, anyway) is that the coraling creates branches which can contain branches.  Kind of like what coral looks like.

I don't know where the name originated, but after working with it, I think it's apt.  I like it better than kinky fringe, because I think coraling leads to more possibilities.

Coraling Bracelet, One Third Done

Coraling Bracelet, One Third Done

OK, now here's the amount of the bracelet I have done; roughly one third is coraled at this point.

I decided to use three (four, if you cound the accent beads) different colors in this bracelet.  One is an inside color green encased in a light yellow.  Another is a turquoise encased in clear.  The final is a matte jade color.

One note; I used size 8 seed beads for the peyote base, I didn't use the tubulars.  The tubulars I found give a firmer stitch, which is exactly what I didn't want for this bracelet; I wanted it very flexible to start, because I was going to be going back through the size 8's many times, which would stiffen the bracelet some.  The coraling beads are a mix of size 11 seed beads and tubular beads.

That's all for today, as my eyes have gotten tired and my fingers sore from pricking them far too many tmes with the needle while making the tiny beaded beads.  See you later!

Bead Buying and Supply Sources

I don't know about you, but I love virtual on-line bead shopping. And yes, I do very much enjoy going to bead shows and fondling the merchandise, there aren't a whole lot of shows where I live. For that matter, there aren't many bead shops close by, either!

Lampwork and Swarovski

So, the internet, and especially ebay, are my shopping companions. Ebay especially I love for two items: [nmslink:lampwork beads,artisan lampwork beads] and also [nmslink:swarovski beads,Swarovski bead mixes].  Honestly, outside of a bead show, you can't find a better selection of artisan lampwork beads than on ebay.

Sterling Silver

Then there are places like Monsterslayer where I enjoy buying sterling products -- beads, clasps, wire, etc.  Not a high-tech site, for sure, but the prices are great!  (And the more you save the more goodies you can buy, right?)

Gemstone Beads

Buying gemstone beads is a bit tricky.  In the beginning I bought a lot of my gemstone beads at the online stores you see advertised prominently in the beading magazines.  Then I went to some gem and bead shows and saw what I had been missing (in other words - a lot).  So these days, I try to buy hands-on whenever possible. 

I did find one place online I was impressed with, though -- Stones 'N Silver.  I bought a few loose gemstone beads to try them out, and I was pleased enough to go back.  The blue lace agate beads I bought were especially yummy!  Come to think of it, maybe it's time I go back again for more goodies like their beautiful leopardskin jasper.

Miscellaneous Beading Supplies

OK, other supplies.  Yep, now is the time I use those big bead places like Fire Mountain -- stringing supplies, Delica beads, glues, needles and other miscellaneous items.

Lampwork Bead Supplies

And lampwork glass.  I do an awful lot of glass shopping on ebay for glass as well, especially the [nmslink:vetrofond,Vetrofond odd lots].  Then of course I am on several email lists for various small glass suppliers, so when I get word of a sale....  😉

Eye Candy For Today

Right now I'll leave you with some beady eye candy from Sisters Beads on ebay.  I do so enjoy looking at their auctions, and I hope you do, too.

[nms:lampwork beads sisters,7,1,25]