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Posts Tagged ‘leilani cleveland’

Bringing The Beads Back to The Bench…

I haven’t done any beadwork in quite awhile since I have been teaching myself some metal techniques. Today I brought the beads out again in order to work on my Artbeads Blogging for Beaders Project for Summer.

I doubt I will finish both pieces today…actually I know I won’t, esp. since this beautiful weather is calling me outdoors!

I have to admit something: I have WAY too many supplies. I am serious!! Not exactly a bad thing – but over the past two and a half years, I seem to have had more time to BUY beading supplies than MAKE jewelry! Plus I scope out suppliers, buy wholesale and volume discounts and close outs – well, you get the picture. When I sat down to look at colour options for these two necklaces, I had too. many. choices.!!ย  In a way it was overwhelming – too many possibilities! I spent a half an hour this morning just looking & considering colour schemes!! I came to the conclusion for example, I have way too many gemstone beads in the hue of ORANGE!! I went to get large guage headpins and paused to consider dozens and dozens of different metal components. And I am organized – believe you me – it’s just too many choices staring at me. At this point, I think I could open a small store…if I had the time! HA!

Anyway, I mean that somewhat in jest of course – but still…anyone else feel the same way – even some days?? The possibilities are endless when it comes to beads…I thought I was limiting myself by not buying glass anymore but nope… ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Creating! I should be posting this project within a couple of days…

Cool Tools: What I Got for My Birthday…

I am incredibly lucky to have an extremely supportive spouse. Perhaps maybe too much so: he loves cool tools as much as I do so he rarely tells me “no” if I want something tool related. Thankfully, I have some restraint…. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are a few items I received for my birthday on April 22 – Earth Day! Forget flowers & chocolate: get me some tools!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

New metal shears! I have a large pair of shears but I wanted a smaller pair. The ones on the right cut on a curve. Neat-o!

Metal hole punches. I have a screw-style metal punch, but I wanted to try this type as well. I will do a comparison review in an upcoming blog post.

This is the item I wanted the most: a dapping block and punch set! I can’t wait to get my hammer on these! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is a really neat tool and a total splurge. It’s a necklace mandrel: so you can form a necklace by lightly hammering so that it lays properly across the neck. Very cool…!

This was real nifty as well…what a great way to organize all the little burs and tools. I really like that I can hang my pliers on the back as well. You don’t know how much running around I do for these items! Now, all in one place. Ahhhhh…. ๐Ÿ™‚

I also got muslin buffs for my polishing lathe and metal files but that’s BOR-ING compare to these. Now if I can get caught up housework, I can go play. ๐Ÿ™‚

Creativity Inspired ~ Cool Tool: Microwave Flower Press

Earlier this year I obtained this neat little contraption called a Microwave Flower Press. They are available at many garden supply stores. I wondered if they really would dry flowers in minutes and still retain the same delicate quality of a flower traditionally pressed in heavy books.

The press is comprised of two terracotta slabs, wool pads and broad cloth. It boasts the ability to dry press flowers in as little as three minutes, and that it will retain the colour of the flower better than the slow-drying method.

After laying the wool pads and cloth onto the terracotta, take the flower(s) you want to dry and arrange them on the broadcloth. It was the middle of winter when I tried this experiment, so I obtained some plants with small flowers from the home improvement store.

After you have the flowers placed as you like, carefully place the other broadcloth, the other wool pad and then the other terracotta slab on top – sandwiching the flowers in between.

Into the microwave we go. It’s recommended that you microwave in 30 second intervals so not to over dry the flowers. Since these were small flowers, I complied with the suggestion. It took about 2 minutes to do most of these little flowers.

I did this experiment twice – and these are the successful flowers. One variety would not dry properly at all – either they were over done & flaky – therefore stuck to the broadcloth, or still retained moisture and stuck to the broadcloth – so just as unusable, either way.

These are the variety of flowers that did not work in the microwave press; I pressed them the traditional way – in heavy books – for 3 weeks. I agree with the claim that the colour is retained in the microwave press. The flowers I traditionally pressed did fade somewhat.

I look forward to trying out larger flowers this summer in the press. I’d also like to incorporate this into jewelry making somehow: maybe set the dried flowers in resin? Oh the ideas… ๐Ÿ™‚

Jewelry Inspired: Funky Copper Disc Choker

I added a little somethin’-somethin’ to my Artfire Studio today. This copper choker has been sitting on the bench for some time begging to be finished. I bought these copper discs – no word of a lie – 10 years ago. I used to buy a fair bit of Estate sell-offs back when ebay wasn’t so saturated. I admit at the time, being new to the jewelry making game, I wasn’t aware of the size when I bought them. 15mm just didn’t compute in my brain as being on the large side. So when the lot arrived – almost 100 – I had no idea what to do with them. They seemed so big and flying saucer like…

So they sat in the supply pile for well, a decade. Then this summer I decided to pick up some copper headpins, and see if I could make one of my signature funky chunky bracelets.

(Oh and I decided to pair up the discs with a 3.3mm bicone copper bead to add some dimension…)

I wanted the piece to be really solid so I started putting the discs really close together on the links of dash dot sterling silver chain (I love this chain by the way – although it is expensive it is really heavy duty, perfect for projects like this). It definitely was solid…however by doing this it did not have much bend…kind of hard to make into a bracelet. Since I already started it, I didn’t want to dismantle and start again, and I knew I had a fair bit of beads, so I decided to turn it into a choker.

So I got the beads put on and then, there it sat for a very long time. About three months! I just couldn’t decide how to finish it. Although I had assembled the discs on a heavy gauge sterling silver chain, I did not like the way the sterling stood out against the copper for the extender chain portion of the necklace. I probably could have oxidized the chain, but I was lazy. Instead I found some really heavy duty vintage copper chain to finish off the piece.

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I put a fairly long extender chain on it so that it can be adjusted to wear in a variety of ways. I also like the dramatic effect it has: the large beads at the front, and the slender sleekness of the chain trailing down in the back…I really love how it feels like a puzzle in your hands.

This is a piece for someone who wants to make a bold statement, and own a truly one-of-a-kind. I know I could never get these beads again. They are assumed “vintage” although I cannot confirm this…

Announcing: The Official WINNERS of the Great Jewelry Giveaway Contest!

I have been prepping the emails, the blog post, the newsletter…and fretting excitedly awaiting the 11th hour…so that I could draw the winners of the Great Jewelry Giveaway Contest! Three prizes: $100, $50 & $25 in chosen jewelry from my Etsy & Artfire Shops was up for grabs!! Here’s the original post:

https://creativityinspired.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/the-great-jewelry-giveaway-contest/

So I waited…tick tock, tick tock…and even as the time drew near, the entries still came in…I am absolutely over the moon at the response. It makes me so happy to see so many people support & appreciate my creativity…remember this creative outlet saved MY LIFE…does that sound dramatic? Well, it’s true. Out of the depths of depression 11 years ago, I found a way to create & express & share…

Anyway, enough chit chat. Who won, right? We didn’t get 1000 entries, but it was so close! Probably in another couple of days we could have gotten there…but the anticipation was killing me too so…the winners, chosen at random (thanks to random.org)….

CONGRATULATIONS

Linda Kish of Winchester, CA~ Our Third Place Winner

Kim Powell of Sharon, PA ~ Our Second Place Winner

…and…drum roll please…

Kathy van Herk of British Columbia, Canada!!!!

OUR GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF A $100 SHOPPING SPREE OF HEAVENLY FLOWER JEWELRY!!!!

I am so excited for the winners, I am shaking while I type this…hopefully there won’t be too many typos… ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and although we didn’t make our 1000 entry goal, I am feeling festive. Therefore, I randomly drew 5 more names. These lucky winners will get a $10 Gift Certificate to spend in my Etsy & Artfire Shops:

Tia Barton of Derry, NH

Rachel Abugov of Montreal, Qc

Alicia Chandler of Norman, OK

Sarah Reed of Green Bay, WI

Linda Chen of Australian Capital Territory, Australia

I will be in touch shortly as to how to redeem your prizes. Congratulations all, thanks to all who entered, and stay tuned for future giveaways!!

Creativity Requested: Adventures in Komboloi

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I had a request for a komboloi (worry beads). I have never made worry beads before, so I jumped at the challenge. After getting a few details, I started searching through my supplies to see what I have that would be suitable. Luckily I have a pretty decent stash of supplies now. I buy wholesale, so unless I need to order a few hundred dollars in supplies, I don’t take custom requests unless I have the beads on hand. With the exception of, the chance I may be attending a gem show or personally visiting a supplier where I can pick up a few things at wholesale price. In this instance, I was putting in an order for chain anyway so I added a couple of strands of carved bone beads for accents.

A traditional komboloi is constructed out of light organic materials such as amber, coral, wood or nut beads, bone, horn…although they can be made out of just about any kind of bead from glass, crystals or gemtones. The key is to have a good feel weight wise but still be light enough to make the pleasant clicking/tapping sound when the beads hit together.

So…since I have never constructed one before, this posed several challenges for me. I had to judge size, weight and length as well as decide which materials I felt would work the best.

In the instance that I get a request for something that I have never encountered before, I will come up with a few variational designs (at least three, usually), show them to the potential client, and have them judge which they like best or tweak a design to their liking (if possible). This way the client can see my creative take on the design. Extra pieces get listed in my online shops.

The design itself looked simple enough, but I ran into a few challenges. Without having the client feel the beads first hand, I wasn’t sure which size would be suitable. So I had to do a lot of digging through my supplies picking a few variable sizes that the client could try to help decide which felt the best to them.

Just when I thought I had the right variations, I ran into a major problem with stringing the beads. I had originally laid out some leather cord & chain – of which none of the beads fit through. Holes on stone beads tend to be on the small size to prevent slippage.

So before throwing in the towel I dug deep into my stringing supplies and also got out a very useful tool: a bead reamer! It’s used to help file & shape out the holes of beads to (hopefully) make the passage wider. I ended up with 4 different designs in the end.

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I decided to construct this horn & bone piece first since they had large holes & slipped easily through the chain. 11mm translucent butterscotch horn beads with 10mm carved bone beads on an antiques silver chain.

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I dug out some waxed linen cord to make this one & was delighted that it easily slipped through the holes but has a durability that is needed for the constant clicking together of the beads. This one is 10mm onyx beads with 10mm carved bone beads. A 25x8mm carved horn bead is accented at the bottom.

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I was really excited to work with these beads as they are very unique. I bought them sometime ago with the intention of making a men’s piece out of them, and never got around to it. It’s 14mm black banded agate that has been treated with an acid to give it this cool denim crackle finish. These are the beads that I had to ream (file) the inside of the hole to get he to fit through the chain. But it worked! Accented with a 25x8mm carved bone bead.

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Finally, I chose these 16 – 18mm jade rectangles to make the final piece. It is constructed with a tough beading wire, and accented with aย  25x8mm carved bone bead.

It was a fun experiment nonetheless. Always good to be pushed outside the box!

Jewelry Inspired: Halloween

Halloween will be upon us very soon so I wanted to try my hand at some pieces inspired by the holiday.ย  The first thing I thought of was All Souls Day: Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos and the artwork/tattoos that are based around this theme. The second thing that came to mind was a goth/vampire feel. So the challenge was to create pieces based on left over materials I had on hand (since my Etsy & Artfire studios are the places where I list jewelry made mostly from leftover materials from past projects).

I bought these pewter skull charms on closeout awhile back, so I knew they would be perfect. Paired with some red flower beads & hematite I created these Day of the Dead inspired earrings:

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The red flower beads reminded me of the red roses I’ve seen in tattoos inspired by El Dia de los Muertos.

After those were constructed, I decided to go into a whole different direction. The words “fallen angel” kept popping in my head, as well as “Angel of Death”. So I worked with this idea, again with the pewter skull pendants, adding pewter wings. I just needed the perfect “body”. So for this time, I decided to wade through my “premium” (read: not leftovers) supplies as the hematite beads I had on hand just weren’t cutting it. Fabulous labradorite faceted rondelles caught my eye quickly. They are a nice ghosty gray tone, plus the metaphysical properties seemed to fit. Here’s what I came up with:

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I used moonstone to create the neck of the “angel”.

This soon had my mind working in the direction of a pendant. I have a few of these black (dyed) quartz faceted teardrops that I knew would be perfect forย  the body. A little wire twisting and voila:

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A 4mm hematite bead makes up the neck, & I used a 22 gauge sterling silver wire. I decided to hang it from a sterling silver chain so not to take away from the focus of the pendant itself.

What I really enjoy when making themed pieces – particularly when it comes to holidays- is to come up with a design that can encompass wear year round & not just for the certain event. I find if you are not careful, jewelry designed around a theme can appear costume-y (which of course is fine if you are designing costume jewelry!). I want to create something that could be enjoyed year round. I think with the right customer, these pieces can be enjoyed over & over again.

And you know what – I really don’t find these pieces morbid. Perhaps because for me death is a transcendence of the soul, where we are reborn…although the body may die and flesh rot away. To me, that is beautiful…