Clasp Wars: The Box Clasp

Hey, everybody! So, a few weeks ago I debuted my first post in a new series on my blog where I talk about different clasps and really get into what I do and don’t like about them. We talked about lobster claws in that first post and the number one most requested clasp to discuss next was something a bit more decorative.

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The Box Clasp

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Box clasps have two distinct sides. On one side is a decorative box (usually rectangular, but they come in lots of styles and shapes) and the other side is a small, angular tab that slots into the box. You can sometimes find them listed as Push ‘n Pull clasps or Tab Insert Clasps.

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Pro’s

First off, box clasps are fairly easy to fasten one-handed. Unlike the lobster claws, the tabs just have to be pushed into the box component, so there’s no fishing around with a hook clutched precariously between your fingernails. They’re even easier to take off, since all you have to do is depress the tab with a fingernail and it’ll spring apart on its own.

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Secondly, box clasps are highly decorative, also unlike the oh-so-functional lobster claw. Box clasps don’t look like hardware and they come in many different styles and shapes. You can find sparkly or antiqued, square or round, filigree and even floral. Lots of the ones I like best come with inlaid crystals, but there are also tons in matte and antiqued finishes to match less fancy shmancy pieces.

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I also find the size of most box clasps to be very useful. With a wide cuff or bracelet that doesn’t come down to a point, wider clasps don’t break up the overall silhouette. When you have a wide bracelet, it can be difficult to find a clasp option with the right proportions. A tiny one-strand clasp can look kinda clumsy on a big bracelet.

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I also love that box clasps come with multiple loops. I usually end up preferring the two- or three-loop options, just because they stabilize a wide bracelet connection. They do make single-strand box clasps (you can find these on a lot of vintage jewelry) and I think they look super classy, even though I don’t use them as often.

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Cons

The biggest con with box clasps is that some of them are more secure than others. I have bought some in the past where the tab has been bent at too tight of an angle and the tension isn’t enough to keep the box secure. When you close a box clasp, you wanna feel a secure and noticeable “click” into place. If the clasp feels mushy or doesn’t “click”, I wouldn’t trust it. Because of this, I prefer to buy my box clasps in person (either at my local bead shop or at a bead show) so that I can open and close them before purchase to make sure they’re secure. This means that buying them online is a gamble.

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Another con with box clasps is that they are decorative.

“Hold up!” you may say. “You listed this as a pro! You are full of contradictions, you clown. How could you betray me with this horrific discrepancy???”

And you’re not wrong. Box clasps being so decorative is definitely part of their appeal, BUT it does mean that you need to take aesthetics into account when choosing a box clasp for your bracelet. Not only does it need to be the right metal and the right size, but the style needs to match the style of your beading. It can really add to your piece, but you need to make sure it doesn’t clash or overwhelm your beading.

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Another quick note is that box clasps usually have a bit more surface area touching the skin, so if you or your clients struggle with metal allergies or turning metals, more of the clasp will be rubbing up against their wrist than with a lobster claw or toggle.

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Another con is that box clasps can be expensive. You get what you pay for and in general, I’m happy to spend a bit more for a bit of sparkle that I trust is secure, but it can cause a twinge in your heart to spend $10 on one clasp, when the same amount could buy you about 20 lobster claws. Especially if you sell your jewelry and that added cost means you’ll need to increase your prices.

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When Do I Use Them?

My favorite use of box clasps is one wider bracelets that can stand a little pop of style without disrupting the aesthetics of the over all piece. I especially love lightweight filigree options with two or three holes.

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Generally, I do not use box clasps on necklaces. Traditionally, single strand box clasps are used on knotted pearl necklaces, but personally, I find it a bit wasteful to use such a detailed clasp when it’ll be hidden under your hair. I’m also not sure I trust box clasps with the weight of multi-strand necklaces.

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Now, I don’t usually make brand-specific recommendations on this blog (unless I’m extolling the virtues of Miyuki seed beads, like I did here), but as I mentioned – box clasps can be hit or miss. So, let me tell you now that I LOVE Elegant Elements brand box clasps. They come with crystals or without and I have never had an issue with them closing properly. They can be a bit heavy, but I find them extremely reliable and high-quality. They’re priced accordingly, but I have found them to be worth every penny. They’re made in Germany and are either 23k gold-plated or rhodium and the crystals and pearls they use are Swarovski.

Elegant Elements is a great brand for box clasps and I 100% recommend them. I am not being paid or sponsored for this opinion, and I use them on my own jewelry all the time.

(Elegant Elements, I love you and if you wanna sponsor me, hit me up!)

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So! Those are my thoughts about Box Clasps! Do you guys have anything to add or any ideas on what clasp I should do next? Let me know in the comments. ❤

 

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Clasp Wars: The Lobster Claw

I wanna start a new series on this blog where I compare different types of clasps and talk a bit about what I’ve learned over the years in terms of what they are and aren’t good for. I’m calling it the Clasp Wars and today we’re gonna start with one of the most basic clasp types of the all.

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The Lobster Claw.

So, you’ve definitely seen this buddy before. It’s a standard clasp that comes on a lot of jewelry, both manufactured and hand-made. You pull the little lever with a finger nail and the claw opens up and allows the clasp to be hooked onto a single ring or a chain. Let’s talk about the Pro’s and Cons of these little guys.

Pro’s

First off, lobster claw clasps are one of the most secure clasp options you can choose. They don’t rely on tension to stay closed, but have an actual locking lever mechanism. They can’t slide off and can usually withstand a pretty fearsome tug. Different lobster claws will have different levels of strength depending on what metal they’re made out of, but in general I consider them to be top tier in terms of security.

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Secondly, using a lobster claw clasp is a really easy way to make your jewelry adjustable. This is really useful in a couple different situations. For example, if you sell your jewelry (like I do), making a bracelet adjustable means that you have a wider pool of customers it will fit. It also makes necklace lengths adjustable, which is great when you’re trying to make your necklace sit just right against the neckline of your top or dress.

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Plus, I love making adjustable clasps on bracelets and then putting a coordinating bead on the last loop of the chain.

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Thirdly, lobster claw clasps are one of the most basic types of clasps, so they are very easy to find. They aren’t some sort of niche finding that you can only find in one or two specialty shops. The ubiquitous nature of lobster claws also means that customers pretty much always know how they work and don’t struggle to figure out how to work the clasp on the pretty bracelet they just bought.

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Fourthly, related to them being easy to find, lobster claw clasps come in a variety of styles. You can find them in drastically different sizes, all sorts of finishes and colors, and sometimes with more decorative elements on them. I generally stock up on the simple ones, but lots of more elaborate styles exist. And because there are so many material and color options out there, finding a lobster claw that coordinates with your other findings is usually fairly painless.

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Fifthly, I find that the simplicity of lobster claw clasps keeps them from distracting from the rest of your design. Sometimes a big statement clasp is a must and positively makes a piece, but sometimes you wanna add other elements to a project and the simplicity of a lobster claw gives you room to include more details elsewhere. In these custom Ravenclaw themed bracelets, the simple a secure lobster claw was an ideal place to attach these bonus Harry Potter charms.

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Cons

The first and biggest problem with lobster claw clasps is that some of them can be hard to use. A low-quality lobster claw might be stiff or have a broken internal spring that keeps the lever from working properly. Even when you have a high quality lobster claw that works smoothly and closes completely, some people struggle to manipulate the little lever. Folks with arthritic hands or people with limited fine motor control can really struggle with that tiny little tab.

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Even if the tab isn’t the problem, sometimes you find yourself chasing the rings with the lobster claw around and around your wrist, trying to fasten it without help. For me, I drape the bracelet over my wrist, so that the chain is dangling down and the claw is reaching up to snag it. Then, I press my wrist up against the underside of a table or cabinet, pinning the chain down, and reach up with the clasp to fasten it. If that doesn’t work for you, you might wanna try the paperclip trick!

When Do I Use Them?

For me, lobster claw clasps are a great basic clasp option. Because they are secure, I like to use them for bracelets, especially when I want to add a few rings and a cute dangle to make my piece adjustable.

I really like to use them on slim bracelets in more casual styles because lobster claws come in lots of small sizes that don’t distract from the bracelet or add too much bulk.

They are also great on necklace chains with pendants because making the necklace length adjustable makes it easier to style with different tops and necklines.

The only major downside is that some customers find them difficult to use. You can mitigate this a bit by seeking out smooth, high-quality clasps or using larger sizes, but in the end, some people just avoid lobster claw clasps across the board and you might get a request to change out the clasp.

So! Did you guys find that helpful at all? If so, what style clasp would you like me to discuss next? Comment below and help me decide!

 

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New Design – Joystone Bezel (8 Projects in 1 Pattern!)

My friends, hello! You may have noticed that I have been pretty quiet here and on Facebook lately. Part of it is that I am going on my first vacation as an adult here soon (to celebrate my 5 year Anniversary!) and have been stressing and prepping for that.

But also! I have a new pattern that I’ve been working on like a mad-woman, because it has turned out to be my most ambitious project ever – my Joystone Bezel!

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Click the photo for the pattern link!

 

So, this pattern started out way simpler. At first, I just wanted to find a new way of making a bezel for a 14mm Rivoli, because I have a huge stash of them and I hate doing peyote bezels soooooo much. I tried a method using Tila beads as a backing and “prongs” of right angle weave and came up with this ring.

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Pretty cute, right? Black and hematite is a classic combo and I thought it worked up pretty cleanly and neatly, so I decided to go ahead and start a pair of earrings. When I got to the step to add the Fire-Polished crystals, however, I realized that leaving the crystals off showed so much more of the beautiful Rivoli. So, I left off that last embellishment step and made these earrings.

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After that, I decided to try the ring again, but this time without the crystals and I made this ring with the slightly more pared-down bezel style.

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Bezels

And I liked that too! So, now I had a dilemma. Which bezel should I write the pattern for? There’s only one step difference between the two, so it would be silly to make two separate patterns, but I wanted to make both versions available since I liked them both so much… So I decided to make a pattern that included options for both and called them the embellished version and the exposed version.

 

After that, I had the idea that if I turned the components slightly sideways (so that it was diamond-shaped, like the earring, instead of square-shaped, like the rings), I could make a cute little “V” motif that would make an awesome little necklace segment and this piece was born.

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From there, I scheduled a class to teach my new bezel at my local bead shop (the delightful beaders at Beaded Bliss always test my patterns for me before I make them available online) and set to work writing up the pattern. For two different bezels. In three different jewelry pieces. Oy.

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Then… I realized that not including a bracelet was just silly. If you made enough components and attached side-to-side, you could have a full bracelet of shining crystals and I was too tempted not to try it.

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So sparkly.

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So shiny.

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And then I was sunk. I wanted to write a pattern that included two versions of a RAW bezel for Rivoli crystals AND included instructions for a ring, earrings, a necklace segment, AND a full bracelet. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

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I think in total that pattern took me 12-15 hours to write. It’s seven pages and has over 45 painstakingly-drawn digital diagrams and since it includes two bezels and four jewelry pieces, you can get EIGHT different projects from the one pattern. It’s the most ambitious design I have ever taken on and I am so pleased with how it came out and SO relieved that it is finally done.

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What do you guys think? Which of the bezel and project combos do you like best? Do you think the slightly increased price is fair, since it’s an 8-in-1 pattern? I’ve legitimately got some nerves about putting this design out there since I worked so hard on it.

But now, it is finally out there in the world and I couldn’t be more excited to share it. ❤

 

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Sale Time – Spring Break 2018!

Hey, everyone!

Just wanted to pop in and announce that Etsy is having a big Spring Break sale and my little shop is participating!

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You don’t even need a coupon code! Everything in the shop (patterns AND jewelry) is 20% off and the clearance section is a whopping 30% off!

Feel free to scoop any patterns you’ve been eyeballing or grab some quick mother’s day or graduation gifts. Tis the season, haha.

Hope everyone is having a lovely almost-spring! ❤

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Learning Peyote with a Twist (Peytwist)

Hello, everyone!

Guess what? My boss has decided that Beads Direct USA is going to have a YouTube channel! So far, there’s only one video posted, but Liz has lots of big ideas for the future and some of the videos may even feature yours truly at some point? We’ll see. I am terrified at the prospect.

BUT! The first video that Liz posted was this gem about how to read a Peytwist (Peyote with a Twist – not crochet!) pattern – something that I actually didn’t know how to do.

Isn’t it great? It’s Liz’s first video and I am amazed at how clean and professional it looks and sounds. And, it’s really educational. Using it, and having no previous Peytwist experience at all, I was able to make this!

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In the video, Liz shows you how to do her snakeskin pattern, but I decided to be a rebel and do her zigzag pattern instead (which is available in the Beading Huddle facebook group for free! Just join the group and check the files). I used Miyuki 8/0’s in Matte Copper (2005) and Duracoat Galvanized Muscat (4206) and Union 8/0’s in Turquoise Capri Gold (8-412-27101).

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Since I was using a different pattern, I wasn’t able to follow the video exactly step-by-step, but I’m already familiar with peyote, so the spot where I really needed the video was the join. It went fairly smoothly and I’m really happy with how the pattern appears.

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The pattern I used was apparently written for 11/0’s, though, so my tube came out kind of… enormous? It was like a chinese finger trap. So huge. So, I decided to only make it a partial tube and to use some stringing to finish off the necklace.

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The actual tube is filled with some brown 6mm glass pearls that I’ve had in my stash forever. The visible pearls, however, are 12mm Swarovski pearls in a deep brown. Then, I used the turquoise and copper seed beads to make little spacers to go between them. Then I attached the copper chain.

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The tube is a little stiff, but the core of beads helps it curve when actually worn. I really, really like how the shape of it came out.

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I’m really excited to mess around with some more Peytwist patterns. The technique is really fun and I’m curious about what other styles and patterns can be adapted to it.

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What do you think? Any interest in learning Peytwist? Any ideas for videos for the new YouTube channel?

 

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Playing with Carrier Beads – Rainbow Ombre Necklace

Hello!

So, we got carrier beads in at work a few months ago and they have been FLYING off the shelves. I quickly grabbed myself a few packs and have been steadily working on designing and stitching up a necklace design. Here it is!

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Are y’all familiar with the mechanics of carrier beads? Basically, they are two-hole beads meant to “carry” strips of peyote. It’s a great way to make really graphic beaded beads. They come in acrylic and glass, but personally I don’t see the point of the glass ones. They’re too pretty to cover up with the peyote and they make necklaces SO heavy.

So, to start, I made 14 strips of peyote that I zipped up into little rings.

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The zig-zag design is one that I came up with off the top of my head, but it’s a very standard design. It’s 6 beads wide and 50 rows long. I used all Miyuki delicas and each strip has Matte Black (310) and Light Bronze (022L).

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Here’s the basic pattern. Yes, it is VERY messy, but I don’t do peyote patterns, so cut me some slack, pretty please.

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You’ll notice that the inner zig-zag part has two colors (blue and turquoise in the graph), but on each of my strips I alternated two colors and traded out one color per strip to get the ombre effect.

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So! They all use the Matte Black (310) and Light Bronze (022L), so here’s the accent color that changes from peyote strip to peyote strip.

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1. Matte Cantaloupe AB (852) and Duracoat Opaque Toast (2110)

2. Duracoat Opaque Toast (2110) and Sparkling Lt Yellow Lined Chartreuse (908)

3. Sparkling Lt Yellow Lined Chartreuse (908) and Opaque Avocado (1135)

4. Opaque Avocado (1135) and Matte Emerald Green AB (859)

5. Matte Emerald Green AB (859) and Opaque Sea Opal (1136)

6. Opaque Sea Opal (1136) and Matte Opaque Turquoise (793)

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7. Matte Opaque Turquoise (793) and Metallic Blue Green / Gold Iris (1052)

8. Metallic Blue Green / Gold Iris (1052) and Duracoat Navy (2143)

9. Duracoat Navy (2143) and Matte Cobalt AB (864)

10. Matte Cobalt AB (864) and Frost Opaque Glazed Grape (2292)

11. Frost Opaque Glazed Grape (2292) and Frost Opaque Glazed Rainbow Dk Red (2308)

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12. Frost Op Glazed Rainbow Dk Red (2308) and Frost Op Glazed Rainbow Cardinal (2306)

13. Frost Op Glazed Rainbow Cardinal (2306) and Opaque Pumpkin (653)

14. Opaque Pumpkin (653) and Matte Cantaloupe AB (852)

Oy! It was a lot to keep track of, but I think staggering the colors really helped the fade.

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Okey-doke. So, once you have your peyote strips, it’s time to grab your carrier beads.

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They’ve got two holes and are relatively flat-ish (to show off more the peyote design, I would imagine). The glass ones are much more chubby, but again, I don’t use those. You can buy these acrylic ones here.

 

I put on a very very very thin coat of super glue on the carrier bead before sliding on the peyote strip. I used one single thin swipe of liquid super glue.

 

And then voila! Beaded beads!

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To make the necklace curve, I took my infamous 20lb Fireline and strung 4mm gunmetal fire-polished crystals through the top holes and 6mm round hematite beads through the bottom holes. I also made big loops at the sides because I knew I wanted to add ribbon.

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Sorry for the terrible lighting. The sun had set by this point in the evening.

I grabbed some Sari Silk and used some lark’s head knots to finish off the necklace!

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I am so happy with the final necklace. I think the rainbow fades gently and fairly evenly and I think the ribbon looks organic, but neat.

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I have so many more ideas for the carrier beads and I am super enjoying color fades right now. So what do you guys think? Any interest in carrier beads? I think I’m hooked.

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New Design! – Artful Arcos Bracelet and Earrings

Hello, everyone!

I finally have another new design to share with you. This one uses three-hole Arcos beads and seed beads to make a square-tiled design. What do you think?

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Click through to get the pattern! 

So, I’ve been intrigued by Arcos for awhile now. I like the simplicity of their shape and the third hole seems really useful. I wanted to highlight the soft swoop of the curve on those beads, so I used different colors of seed beads to emphasize the shape.

For that first one, I used spring green 15/0’s, bronze Arcos, and Miyuki 11/0’s in Metallic Chocolate (461) and Salmon Luster (596).

Then, I wanted to try using a rainbow of colors. So, I used Black Arcos, gold 15/0s, and matte black seed beads (401F) for each unit and then different accent 11/0’s in nine different colors (all Miyuki and in order, as follows, 4491, 4474, 4481, 2074, 2075, 4490, 2047, 4470, 4458).

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I am SO happy with the rainbow gradient effect! It’s almost like a subtle pride flag.

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Since I’d only used Miyuki so far, so I also whipped up a pair of earrings using Toho beads. Not only did it work, but it was actually easier to maintain tension, since Toho 11/0’s are slightly chubbier than Miyuki 11/0’s.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have the bead name or numbers for the Toho 11/0’s. But the 15/0’s are matte cream AB Miyuki beads (492fr). I think the earring shape turned out pretty cute, though! There are instructions for both the earrings and the bracelet in the pattern.

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So, what do you think? Are these Arcos beads speaking to you at all? Any crazy rainbow ideas? I really enjoyed using so many bright colors. I might have to break out of my earthtones comfort zone more often!

 

 

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Use Your Stash Challenge – Jan 2018 – Art Elements Blog Hop Reveal

Hello, my dear beady friends! Do I have a delightful pile of jewelry to share with you!

So, Art Elements is hosting another Use Your Stash Challenge to start off the new year. You may remember a similar challenge that I participated in before. The general idea is to take this opportunity to pillage your stash of art beads and actually use them. No waiting for the “perfect” project or feeling like they’re too pretty to use. You bought them to make jewelry, not to collect them!

So, I hauled out my box of handmade beads that I’ve purchased over the years and got busy beading!

 

 

 

The first thing I made was this pair of earrings. The magpie feathers are from Scorched Earth on Etsy (who you will soon find out is a favorite of mine) and the beaded section is a single unit from my Daybreak Bracelet pattern. I didn’t want it to be too stark, so instead of making the beaded section in black and white, I used powdery green, matte silver, and mottled black. I was worried the proportions wouldn’t work out, but I ended up really liking it!

 

 

 

These next earrings feature some gorgeous leaves (also by Scorched Earth) that have this gorgeous blue/green sheen to them. Seriously, photos cannot do the gloss on these things justice. I used my Perky Pips pattern to make flowers for the top. I managed to find the perfect blue color to match the leaves and I think they turned out really special.

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I have a whole bunch of these little drops (again, from Scorched Earth) because Petra keeps making them in gorgeous new colors. Usually, I just pop them on kidney-style earrings and wear them plain, but I wanted to add some beading to these. I used my Diadem Bracelet pattern to make the diamond-shaped unit and really pushed myself on colors. The yellow is certainly out of my comfort zone, but I think it balanced those lovely little butterscotch drops.

 

 

 

I also have a ton of these spikes from Scorched Earth and I also usually wear them plain because the color is so rich and the long shape is super flattering. This time, I used my Dainty Duo Drops pattern to make the top section in matte gray, bright silver, and mottled blue. I think the top-heavy proportions on this one turned out really cool.

 

 

 

So, this pair is probably going to be something I keep instead of something I sell (since I just attached beads with jump rings, it doesn’t feel like I really did anything, haha). But, I combined more Scorched Earth spikes with these stunning mint glass rings from Thornburg Bead Studio.  They’re much lighter weight than they look and I love the combo of the glossy green and mint with the matte silver findings. They’re gonna be a little gift to myself. ❤

 

 

 

I wanted to push myself away from just adding art bead dangles to my usual earrings, so I decided to use some bigger pieces to make pendants. This gorgeous teardrop is a wood pendant with paint splashes in fuchsia, purple, and turquoise that I bought from Summer Wind Art. I used my Cup Blossom design to make a coordinating flower and then made it into a slider to go on some gorgeous sari silk in a purple/pink blend. It’s waaaay brighter than my usual color palette and getting the flower to sit right was tricky, but I think I finally got a handle on it.

 

 

 

After that, I picked up another Summer Wind Art pendant and used my Tetrabella pattern to make a fancy-pants little connector for it. If the last pendant was a color challenge for me, this one was pure indulgence. Matte gold and earthy greens and antiqued bronze? Oh, you are speaking my language. I love how it turned out and I miiiiight need to make a whole bracelet in those colors now. I love them so much.

So, yes, I was a very busy bee! I have tons more art beads in my stash (and I promise, not all of them are from those three shops – that’s just the inspiration I was feeling this month) and I am definitely feeling the inspiration to USE them. How about you? Are you itching to dive into your stash of hoarded beads?

In the meantime, check out everyone else who participated! The Art Elements team is full of crazy talented people, so I can’t wait to see what they made. ❤

Niky Sayers
Lindsay Starr

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2018 New Years Resolutions

Happy New Years, everybody!

So, I LOVE New Years Day. I love fresh starts and making goals and buying calendars and all the fun motivation and emotional cleanliness that wells up in me every time we start a new year. It’s been especially enjoyable ever since I started making public resolutions on this blog. You can read about my 2016 goals here and my 2017 goals here.

Wanna join me in grading myself on my 2017 goals???


1. Read 130 Books and Review them on Goodreads – A+

So, this one I well and truly conquered. You guys may hve noticed that I keep a little Goodreads widget on the side of my blog (look to the right of this post and scroll down) that keeps track of what I’m reading. You can go straight to my personal profile here and become my Goodreads friend! I reviewed every book I read and beat my reading goal by reading 133/130 books.

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This year I did struggle a bit to meet my goal and I think I know why. For one thing, I haven’t read as many comics this year. Comics are very short and are easy ways to boost your book count, so that hurt me. I also started reading longer books (I think I read 3+ books this year over 1,000 words) AND I’ve been listening to loads more podcasts, which definitely cut into my audiobook time.

Click here for a cool infographic Goodreads made about the books I read this year!

2. Blog at Least Twice a Month – A

This one I technically did, as you can see by going back through my blog history. BUT there were a few months where a blog posts were a bit rushed and slipped in on the last day of the month about kinda flimsy topics. I wanna do better next year. Two GOOD blog posts a month that aren’t afterthoughts I tried to shove in at the last minute to meet my self-imposed deadline.

3. Finish that Purse!!! – A+

YOU GUYS I 100% DID THIS ONE. You can read about the whole embarrassing sage here. It took me from Nov 2015 to March 2017 and a failed New Years Resolution, but I finally finished that damn purse.

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4. Try More New Beads – C

I think I need to quit putting this goal on my yearly list of resolutions. My design process is very… serendipitous? I just kinda sit down and start putting stuff together and setting out to make a specific pattern with a specific type of new bead just doesn’t always work for me.

I really like getting patterns out that use new beads. Since I work at an online bead shop, I get to see the new stuff in person and sometimes I feel really inspired to work with them. I like feeling like I’m on the cutting edge and, to be brutally honest, it’s easier to sell patterns when there aren’t many other patterns that use the same bead available. But I think I’m putting too much pressure on my somewhat flighty muse.

I made 6 new patterns in 2017 and only 3 of them used new beads. In 2018, I think I just wanna make good new patterns, regardless of what beads they use.

5. Get the Business Side of Wescott Jewelry Organized – B

Ok, so this one I did! You guys may remember that I actually closed my Etsy shop for the month of January so I could get all my business ducks in a row. It was mostly a period of getting organized for me (finally figuring out tax stuff and making a bunch of spreadsheet templates throughout the year) and annoying, but easy stuff like registering my business name. It was boring and a bit confusing, but I eventually got it!

I’m giving myself a B because I did make all the spreadsheets and plans and lists, but I wasn’t very good at keeping them updated, so I’m still going to be sorting through a mountain of receipts come tax time. But! I did collect them and keep them sorted, even if I didn’t actually log them yet. So, B for good prep work, if lazy data entry.

6. Experiment More with Macrame and Bead Embroidery – D

Alrighty, this one I did not do. I did not do one single piece of bead embroidery of macrame this year. Not a single stitch or not.

So, why a D instead of an F, you may ask?

Because I did try new things this year, which was the spirit of this resolution. Just last month I learned an entirely new-to-me form of loom-like leather work, which I’ve been having an absolute blast experimenting with. You can read about that here.

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I also spent a lot of time this year learning how to take better care of nails and trying out different types of nail art! I wrote a post about that too and it’s been a really fun way of being creative.

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Are these the things I set out to learn more about? No. But! I did try new things this year and go out on a limb spending time trying techniques that I was initially bad at, which I think was my real goal all along.


I didn’t do too badly this year, all things considered!

I also did some really cool things this year, unrelated to Wescott Jewelry. Using Blue Apron, I learned to cook! I also lost over 50 pounds since May of this year. My husband joined an encouragingly successful band. I joined a book club and made a bunch of new friends after losing some core relationships in 2016.

I’ve become more responsible, learned a lot of self-control, and have finally conquered my fear of setting up appointments over the telephone. I only sometimes panic when driving somewhere unfamiliar and I’m better at driving in the snow.  I did a lot of growing up this year.

Now, if only I could learn to keep a house clean and be better at social events…

Here are my goals for 2018:

  1. Read and Review 125 Books (at least 44,000 pages) on Goodreads

  2. Write 2 Quality Blog Posts Every Month

  3. Learn Two New Crafts or Beading Techniques

  4. Do Business Paperwork Regularly, Instead of Procrastinating

  5. Do an Overhaul of My Beading Room – Declutter and Organize!

  6. Reach My Goal Weight (whatever that ends up being…)

I am ready for the new year and very excited to keep up the good things that started in 2017 and start a whole bunch of new good things. It’s going to be a good year.

Do you guys have any goals or resolutions? Anything you did this year you wanna brag about? Any suggestions of things I should try to do in 2018? Leave me comment and tell me all your 2018 dreams!

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Christmas Ornament Blog Hop – 2017 – Art Elements!

Hello, everybody! Merry Almost-Christmas, if you’re celebrating this year!

So, you may have noticed by now that I really enjoy the Art Elements blog, since I have participated in so many blog hops and challenges that they’ve hosted (1, 2, 3, 4). For this one, they have challenged us to make some handmade Christmas ornaments! You can read the original challenge description here.

So here’s what I made!

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These little stylized Christmas wreaths are made from my Vistella earring pattern, but tweaked a little bit to leave off the AVA beads.

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I did three different Christmassy color combinations and then strung them up on bits of sari silk to hang from the tree.

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Here we’ve got a vintage-looking bright red, dark olive, and antique beige.

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Then a modern twist with teal, snowy white, gold and wine red.

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And your classic holly berry red, soft gold, and warm green palette.

They were really fun to whip up and I had a good time making different versions of the classic Christmas color combo. I tend to get really wrapped up in tweaking the classic green/red/gold/white to get different moods. Remember my big color palette frenzy last year?

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Check out what everybody else made for the handmade ornament challenge this year. There’s lots of amazing stuff. Happy Holidays! See you soon with my New Years Resolutions for 2018!

Guest Designers
Art Elements Team

 

 

 

Posted in Challenges and Blog Hops | Tagged , , , , , , , | 30 Comments