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Posts Tagged ‘montreal canada’

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.!!  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… 🙂

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

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4 Gift Certificates to Give Away Via the Market Mommy Blog Party

I am honoured to once again be participating in the Market Mommy Blog Party. This time around, I am giving away 4 gift certificates: one $30 and three $10 to those who participate. The theme this time is “Etsy Shops” so stop by the blog and check out what other creative & ingenious products other Mom entrepreneurs have to offer by way of Etsy!

Clasp-o-phobia: Getting over my fears ~ a review of Bali Silver Clasps.

For December, Artbeads offered through their Blogging for Beaders program the opportunity for us to try products from their Bali Bead line. Upon reviewing my choices, I decided to try & review the clasps.

You see, I am self-diagnosed with clasp-o-phobia: the fear & doubt of the functionality of most clasps on the market. I have tried different clasps in the past, including barrel clasps, toggle clasps, “S”-clasps, hook & eye clasps, etc…but none really impressed me or gave me a sense of security. I am one who hates the frustration of doing up clasps on bracelets, and also the feeling of a clasp that may become undone during regular use.

So because of this, I have stuck to using two tried and true clasps: the lobster clasp and the magnetic clasp. Although the lobster clasp can be tricky to get latched at times, the security you get from knowing that it is not going to come undone makes it a winner in my books. It’s a clasp we are all familiar with, and can be used in adjustable bracelets and necklaces.

The magnetic clasp is a dream for us who hate to fiddle with clasping bracelets. The worst thing that has happened is it accidentally pinching my skin if it was too close to my wrist when the magnets come together. I also like to include a safety chain with magnetic clasps in case they become attracted to another metal object and possibly come undone.

So when Artbeads offered the opportunity to review items in their Bali line, I thought this was a good chance for me to overcome my clasp-o-phobia. Many of the Bali clasps are very ornate and add beauty to the piece. I also know from past experience with Bali products that they are sturdy & well made.

I asked Artbeads to send me a variety of “S”-clasps, toggle clasps as well as hook & eye clasps for me to try – 7 in total – and they were happy to do so free of charge.

As you can see I am a bit late with December blogging due to the holiday rush, but here are the finished pieces inspired by the Bali clasps…

The first clasps I wanted to try were the toggle clasps. I immediately noticed how ornate & well crafted they were: very sturdy – great for big stones that I love to work with! They also had chain already attached which I appreciated. In the past, the sterling silver toggles I have tried did not contain a chain, and for me to add one was trial and error – sometimes too long, sometimes too short. These totally took the guess work out of it!

Above: toggle clasp with wire loops paired with 16mm faceted quartz & 12mm reconstituted smoky quartz beads.

Above: square beaded toggle clasp paired with large aquamarine nugget beads.

The verdict: I *LOVE* these clasps…who knew the functional part of a bracelet could also be a focal point! Very easy to put on and pair well with large stones. You will probably find when buying a bracelet with a toggle clasp you will appreciate going up a size so to have room to maneuver the bar piece through the clasp. For example I usually make my bracelets 7.5 inches – the common ladies wrist size, but these are approx. 8 inches. I don’t think I could comfortably get them on if I made them the standard 7.5.

Next I tackled designs around the “S”-clasps. At first, I found these clasps very frustrating. Again very sturdily designed, and very beautiful…but since they are made out of such a strong gauge of wire I found them very hard to get clasped & undone. Some slight manipulation with the pliers to loosen the “S”  part slightly, and success! A beautiful clasp that was fairly easy to use. A good shake and it was clear that these were very well designed: I was not worried of it coming undone accidentally.

Above: “S’ Clasp with double wrapped and snaked wire paired with square faceted onyx beads and pewter bead caps.

Above: “S” Hook Clasp with granulation & wire work with faceted onyx coins & pewter bead caps.

Finally, I tried the hook & eye clasps. I want to comment separately on these since all three were so very different.

I was really excited with this Simple Hook & Eye Clasp. This large clasp works perfectly with larger stones, as seen above with 16mm red banded agate beads. Because of the size it is quite simple to use.

The Hook and Eye Clasp Set is the polar opposite of the previous clasp. Very petite and great when you want a clasp that is inconspicuous. It works beautifully with the bracelet above showcasing 6mm South Sea Shell Beads in Sterling Silver. I was happy to find this clasp very easy to use – definitely a good alternative to the lobster clasp and I will be keeping this one in mind for future adjustable pieces as well.

I decided to use the Triangular Hook & Eye Clasp last. I had a hard time deciding what to make with it, considering its design. I found it rather awkward to use. Although it was my favourite clasp esthetically, it was my least favourite in terms of usability. When I finally decided to make a three-strand sterling silver & onyx bracelet with it, I really had to bend the hook part out with my pliers in order to get the clasp undone & easily done up. Because of this I added a safety chain. But to be honest although it takes some practice to learn how to use this clasp, it wasn’t so bad in the end. And it looks fabulous!

These are just some of the clasps available in the Bali Bead Silver line on Artbeads.com. Thanks, Artbeads for allowing me to try out the clasps free of charge & allowing us beady bloggers a chance to independently review your products.

(In case you are wondering, Artbeads does not pay me to do this. They simply provide materials, & then I give my honest opinion. :))

For 2010 – Free Gift With Every Purchase

Due to the success and positive feedback of my “free earrings with every purchase” holiday promo, I have decided to give a free gift with every purchase for 2010. It maybe a pair of earrings, a gift certificate for $5 off your next purchase (or pass it along for a friend to use), a beaded bookmark or hair pin…the fun is that you never know what you are going to get, but because it is from heavenlyflower.com you know that it will be quality!

Happy 2010 everyone…I am embarking on a new journey I am calling my “jewelry sabbatical” ~ new equipment and supplies are on its way and I will be blogging about it so you can take the journey with me. Hopefully we will be inspired together!

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…

Jewelry Inspired: Sparkly Reconstituted Smoky Quartz…

Expanding on yesterday’s post, that lately I have been working with colour themes, I now introduce you to one day’s project: fun with reconstituted smoky quartz. Essentially, these are glass beads that contain particles of smoky quartz. So yes, they are “just” glass but are they ever so pretty! I don’t purchase a lot of glass anymore but when I saw how these faceted beads danced under the lights I had to have them. They are a nice size too – 12mm, so they really make a statement.

Initially, I set out to make one of my signature chunky bracelets. However, as the piece evolved it became clear that it laid better across the neckline than on the wrist. And so, voilà – this piece was born:

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Unfortunately, my photography skills do not do it justice. It looks and feels like a million bucks on. This is probably due to the heavy sterling silver dot dash chain, as well as the 22 gauge sterling silver wire each bead is affixed on the chain with. I also made sure to make it adjustable length wise so that it could be worn in different ways: choker style or longer. I love how it looks and feels on –

I was really, really tempted to keep it for my own personal collection!

If you can imagine, this was a fairly labour intensive project, so I finished up my adventures in sparkly amber coloured bead land with two elegant and tasteful pairs of earrings:

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That was fun! I am really hoping to find time to do more projects like this!

Jewelry Inspired: Aqua Blues…

So the other day I had the opportunity to have an adventure in sea blue – or aqua blue as these particular beads are properly called. I currently have dyed quartz and fiber optic cat’s eye beads in aqua blue. I have beads of all colours of the rainbow in the cabinet…so I love to get requests for specific colours to work with esp. if it is one I have not touched in awhile. I mean really, do I need an excuse to get creative? Twist my rubber arm…

Check out these dyed faceted quartz beads paired with sterling silver hoops. I tell you, the pictures do not do these babies justice: so pretty and sparkly!

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I also have many round 4mm dyed quartz beads. Kind of boring, you know? So I had this idea to wrap them around some memory wire  – the bracelet size – with 24ga sterling silver wire to make a fun & funky hoop earring. I have not worked in memory wire in a long time, & due to the success of this experiment I think I will be doing more projects using memory wire in this way. I can also see making some cool pendants & such as well, not just earrings!

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The hoops face back-to-front when you wear them – just like a normal pair of hoop earrings. I decided to put them on sterling silver French ear hooks (earwires) for comfort.

Finally, I really love the look of this hue of blue with white, so I wanted to make a dangly pair coupled with a freshwater pearl accent…and here you have it: 4mm dyed quartz, fiber optic cat’s eye beads and 5mm frewshwater pearls on sterling silver:

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It was really fun to work with this colour amongst all the Fall colours here in Québec…really makes me long for white sandy beaches and turquoise seas! 🙂