Thursday, December 18, 2014

Work in Progress: Intermission

I am very happy to report that all of the beadwork for my secret project is now complete! I feel like I’ve just crossed a finish line - not least because I need a bit of a break. Right now my bead tray is almost completely empty. Apart from the usual apparatus, the only things on it are a cup of freshwater pearls that I forgot to put away the last time I had my pearl bead box out.

I won’t be starting on any fresh new projects for at least a few days, as I’m using my normal beading time to work on this year’s felt Christmas gifts - tiny pillows with Minecraft faces on them. I’m also whipping up a “tacky Christmas sweater” for my son’s school Christmas party. Apparently they are all the rage this year, and everyone is going to be wearing one to show school spirit. We went with some simple felt shapes like ornament globes and a beribboned gift.

Tacky Christmas Sweater in Progress

There has been one new addition to my workspace this week. I was shopping for stocking stuffers and decided to treat myself to a pencil and paperclip caddy. It’s absolutely perfect for storing and organizing excess bead packs while I’m working on a project. It also keeps materials out of my elbow space until I get around to putting them away.

What are you making this week?

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Spotlight: Beautiful Bracelets by Hand

Beautiful Bracelets by Hand, by Jade Gedeon

There’s something truly wonderful about the form of jewelry we call bracelets. As a project, they’re right in the middle of the road – not as instant as earrings, or as lengthy as necklaces. They can be worn with anything but the longest of sleeves, and are comfortable in almost any weather. No piece of jewelry provides quite as much movement, jangle, poise, or punch to an outfit as a gorgeously made bangle or bracelet.

In her new book, Beautiful Bracelets By Hand,the founder of We Dream in Color has created a treasure trove of inspiring designs. Jade Gedeon’s 75 beautiful bracelets will delight beaders and jewelry makers of all skill levels. There are 8 chapters in all, dividing the projects by their essential materials. The Beads chapter features bold focals and understated heishi beads. Bits & Pieces encourages readers to experiment with found objects, buttons, and upcycled jewelry. There are also projects devoted to the beauty of Chain, Fabric & Cord, Leather, Metal, Plastic, and Wood.

Although the materials vary greatly from the first project to the last, the techniques used are both enticing for experienced beaders, and simple enough for the weekend crafter. Beautiful Bracelets by Hand includes instructions for wire wrapping, crimping, resin molding, polymer clay smooshing, simple woodworking, and much more. All of the projects are united by their very trendy looks and flair for decidedly pretty design. This book would make a fabulous addition to any crafter’s library.

Jade Gedeon and Page Street Publishing have generously provided a sample project from the book for Inspirational Beading readers to try. This Lace Cuff bracelet from the Fabric & Cord chapter provides a pretty pattern with instant gratification. Enjoy!

Lace Cuff by Jade Gedeon


New or repurposed, lace of any sort makes a pretty piece. We picked vintage and antique metallic weaves to give this ladylike bracelet a little edge and a good pop of glam.


• Two 7" (17.8 cm) lengths of lace ribbon (we used 2¼" [5.7 cm]-wide ribbon)
• Bias tape
• Four 19x5mm ribbon crimp ends
• Two 4x6mm jump rings, 18 gauge
• Two 10mm jump rings, 18 gauge
• Two 12x6mm lobster clasps

Lace Cuff Project Materials


• Scissors
• Chain-nose pliers
• Flat-nose pliers
• Nylon-jaw pliers
• Hot glue gun

1. Big wrist? Small wrist? Wrap ribbon around your wrist so it is slightly loose. Trim so there is about a ½-inch (1.3 cm) gap between the ends. Cut your bias tape about ½ inch (1.3 cm) longer than your ribbon width.

2. Fold the excess bias tape into itself and crease. Do this on the top and bottom edge.

3. Since you’ll be using HOT glue, take care not to burn yourself. Press any edges down with a piece of card or a spoon rather than your fingers unless you don’t mind a blister or three. Now that we are clear on that, with a few dots of hot glue, stick the top and bottom folds down. Sandwich your ribbon edge in between the folds of the bias tape. Apply a few small dots of glue and fold and press (again with a card or something without nerves) the bias tape over the ribbon.

4. Center the ribbon crimp on the bias tape. With a pair of nylon-jaw pliers, firmly close the crimp onto the ribbon. Attach a 10mm jump ring to one end. Attach the lobster clasp with a 4x6mm jump ring to the opposite end.

5. Make another. That way one wrist won’t be jealous.

I would like to thank Page Street Publishing for giving me the opportunity to preview this gorgeous book, and for sharing the Lace Cuff tutorial. Inspirational Beading has not received compensation for mentioning titles or products in this post; however, actions you take from this page can result in a commission for Inspirational Beading.

Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading
Jade Gedeon and Page Street Publishing Co.
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Fall Jewelry Colors Part Three

Pantone Bright Cobalt by Rebecca Minkoff

Our final trio of Pantone fall colors is a little late, but luckily I saved the best for last. The not-quite fall color from this year’s line-up that I chose for center stage in the third collage was Bright Cobalt. Although I had planned on exploring the possibilities a lot sooner, it does make for an excellent winter color as well. The challenge this time would be to come up with ensembles for both fall and winter, using my remaining colors Cyrpess green and Mauve Mist.

Though the other two colors in the palette both have a muted, dusty quality, I wondered how well the trio would work together in garments. Luckily it was easy to find pieces for all three, and I ended up with some fun outfits. For a casual look I went heavy on mauve and cypress, with hints of cobalt. For formal, cobalt and cypress lead with accents in mauve.

Window Shopping

This time around I included jewelry designs from one of my favorite places – Faire Collection. The new line up of tagua and other natural jewelry is as stunning as ever. This month’s collage include a gorgeous Tagua Gem necklace in blue and green, Moon Sliver tagua earrings, and a two-tone bullhorn bangle in blue and black.

Faire recently added some new artists to their Ecuador team. These talented ladies help to create the gorgeous fair trade jewelry the collection is known for. If you’d like to learn more about the collection and cause, check out Faire founder Amanda Judge’s informative pieces about fair trade with Conscious Magazine.

Faire Collection Artists in Ecuador
Left to Right: Rita, Tamia, Alejandra, Marisol, Sisa and Luzmilla

What are you favorite winter colors for jewelry?

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Pantone and Rebecca Minkoff
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

More Christmas Beading and Jewelry Tutorials

It’s that time of year again when much of our inspiration comes in the form of red and green palettes, frosty and sparkly finishes, and gifts for the jewelry lovers in our lives. This year it was really tough to choose just a handful of holiday beading tutorials – the inspirations are abundant! Here are just a few of my favorite projects.

Sugar Plum Dreams Ornaments by

Give Czech glass O-beads a new twist with these
sparkly Sugar Plum Dreams Ornaments by

SuperDuo Poinsettia Earrings by

Picasso two-hole SuperDuos delight in these Poinsettia Earrings from

Captured Christmas Tree Earrings by Beadaholique

New Swarovski pave rings are the perfect frame for these
Captured Crystal Christmas Tree Earrings by Beadaholiqe.

For the Love of Betsey Necklace by

Inspired by the jewelry designs of Betsey Johnson, this red and white necklace project from Auntie’s Beads
brings to mind ribbon-wrapped peppermints.

Candy Cane Pendant by Modge Podge Rocks

This Candy Cane Pendant tutorial from Modge Podge Rocks
is exactly right for a charming stocking stuffer!

Frayed Ribbon Necklace by Ornamentea

If you love a bold, vintage inspired look,
this Frayed Ribbon Necklace project with ceramic focals by Ornamentea will make you merry.

Wire and Bead Ornaments by Everyday Art

You won’t believe how easy it is to make these stunning,
hollow Wire and Bead Christmas Ornaments by Everyday Art.
It’s a great project for using up leftover beads, too.

Candy Cane Cuff by Beadaholique

The simplicity of this Candy Cane Striped Cuff by Beadaholique really makes statement!

Lights of Christmas Bracelet by

What holiday crafting party would be complete without a lovely crystal Christmas lights project
like this Lights of Christmas Bracelet from

Festival of Lights Earrings by

Another great project from is these lovely Festival of Lights Hanukkah Earrings
featuring Swarovski crystals wrapped with designer jewelry wire.

Deck the Halls Earrings by Beadaholique

Beadaholique does it again with these totally charming,
wire-wrapped Deck the Halls Earrings.

Are you making beaded decorations and handmade gifts this year? What are you favorite materials to use?

Happy holidays and happy beading!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Work in Progress: Plentiful Pearls

I have just a quick snapshot of my workspace this week as I scramble to finish up the last of my top secret projects in time to start on this year’s handmade Christmas presents. Stormy gray weather is not helping with what little photography time I have either. I’m going to remember this the next time I bring up how wonderful winter is!

Pearl Beadwork in Progress

Right now I’m working with a lot of freshwater pearls, including a few new colors that I added to my stash recently. I’m loving the olivine in particular, which goes really well with a lot of different palettes. It took me several attempts to get just the right balance of beads in the piece that I’m working on, and no matter what I added, the colors looked great. I had hoped to go with teal Picasso for the main accent at first, but I’m going with the gray instead. I think it’s going to turn out great when all the stitching is done.

What are you working on this week?

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