Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - Links Inspired Bead & Wire Jewelry Creations

In addition to buying Polymer Clay Mixed Media Jewelry: Fresh Techniques, Projects and Inspiration by Shirley Rufener and Bead And Wire Jewelry Exposed: 50 Designer Projects Featuring Beadalon And Swarovski by Katie Hacker, Fernando DaSilva and Margot Potter, I also picked up Links: Inspired Bead and Wire Jewelry Creations by Jean Yates. This book was published in 2007, but the tips, techniques and patterns in it are timeless.

Jean has provided full construction details and materials lists for 38 projects, in this 81/2 x 11", full color illustrated, soft bound, 128 page book. As the title implies the book talks about many kinds and types of links - not just jewelry component links like jump rings or chain, but the kinds of links inspired by connecting ideas, memories, imagery - and how these can be transformed into jewelry that tells a story - much like the stories told with every piece in the book.

I was drawn to the book by the chainmaille link earrings on the cover (and on page 62), but compelled to buy it when I looked inside and saw projects like the Charming Teacup Bracelet (pg 22), Nancy's Dancing Pearls Bracelet (pg 40) and the Edward the Sheep Bracelet that shows how to transform a great enameled button into a keepsake bracelet.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this book for its clear and well illustrated step by step instructions, complete materials lists, extra hints and tips, and inspirational messages from other jewelry designers.

Also, you can visit Jean Yates' blog to see more of her work.

If you think you'd like a copy of this book, you could always click the picture above to buy it from Amazon and a couple pennies would go towards Dawno's bead fund!

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dawno's Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

This is going to be a rather abbreviated Weekly Wandering's post - and a day later than usual because on Sunday I was invited up to Berkeley to have a "beads and books" day with some friends of mine. It was a lovely day with both the weather and the company being fabulous. If you're ever in Berkeley, CA the Baubles and Beads store on Shattuck is worth a visit.

So, on to some of my favorite stops this week in the Beadosphere:
This is my birthday week and my daughter is visiting, so while I try to keep posting every day, it might be a challenge!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - Polymer Clay Mixed Media Jewelry

Today's review is of Polymer Clay Mixed Media Jewelry: Fresh Techniques, Projects and Inspiration by Shirley Rufener.

This book provides a wealth of information about working with Polymer Clay - from tools, to mixing colors (section 1), to 18 step by step projects (section 2), as well as a design gallery featuring beautiful clay designs by various artists (section 3). There are also sections on the use of Liquid Polymer Clay and Metal Clay, as well as how to do basic jewelry assembly, including how to make and use fabricated bails made with metal clay.

What I liked most about this book is the clear descriptions of techniques with illustrations and photographs - even things as simple as how to pierce clay beads to make holes in them and then how to arrange them on a baking rack - no assumptions are made that would cause one to need to look things up in other books or online if one didn't already know even these basics.

As for the mixed media, as promised in the title, she shows how to use chalk-scraping, decoupage and layering images made with a printer and special transfer paper, a faux dichroic glass technique incorporating resin, and using embossing powder. She also describes the final jewelry assembly using a variety of beads, crystals and metals.

I'm very happy to have found this book in my local bookstore - there are answers to a number of questions I had and it will be a great reference book for when I finally start working with polymer clay in earnest. You can click on the Amazon illustrated link above to get your copy and a couple pennies go into my polyclay materials fund.

Tomorrow I'll be doing a Friday Picks post featuring D&I beads!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dawno's Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

Last Sunday my wanderings didn't get posted because of the holiday, but this week there were some great posts around the beadosphere and I'm glad I got a chance to check them out - hope you will too!

Lisa at A Bead A Day featured one of her Rings & Things July goodies - the star connector - and made a two strand stretchy bracelet with new jade stones and light citron bicones. Lovely!

Tish from Just A Tish shows off the beautiful necklace she designed around the Artbead's painted onyx pendant stone of Matisse's Blue Nude. The stones she used - oh my! Lapis, white jade, blackstone - gorgeous complements to the focal piece. Earlier in the week she shared some other lovely new pieces, so if you don't have her blog bookmarked, you should so you won't miss out.

All week at Willow Walker Designs she's been sharing how she organizes her tools and supplies - some really great ideas there. My workroom is a real disaster zone right now and it's starting to seriously impede my productivity and inspiration. Well past time to do a major clean up and I really appreciate any ideas, like the ones Willow Walker shared, that will help me work smarter.

Sara at Soft Flex Girl shares how she glamorized her evening bag with a cool beaded strap. Think of all the different ways you can take a simple smaller bag and make it uniquely yours by adding beads, chain, ribbon, etc., to it - inspirational! Don't miss her three lovely bracelet designs using Soft Flex Trios, either.

Want an insider peek at setting up a display for a crafts show? Jessica at SmuTopia! has a lot of great pictures of hers to share.

Karolyn of The Bead Blog is a very talented artist - she makes the most stunning glass beads. I love these Terra mini-bicones - wouldn't they be great with so many different metals and stones? You can see more of her work at

Cindy Gimbrone talks about working with Bronze Metal Clay - there are a number of posts about her efforts, Wednesday through Friday of last week, so I recommend reading all of them.

Art Bead Scene has a new Monthly Challenge - the Lascaux Cave Paintings. The prizes are great, too. If you love working in earthy tones or doing pieces inspired by nature, this challenge might be right up your alley.

Did you know that Beadalon has a blog? Great source for beading tips and event news.

Margot Potter talks about customer service and how it applies to the crafting/jewelry making biz.

On the Rings & Things blog last week they shared a great video on "metal stitching" - something new to me! Check out the info on August's birthstone: peridot and using brass bezel cups for making resin charms. Don't forget to enter their "review a product" drawing - ends July 31st!

Artbeads Swarovski sale (15% off) ends Tuesday the 14th

Lima Beads has a $500 shopping spree contest going on thru August.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - Bead And Wire Jewelry Exposed

Hi again. Sorry to have been away for a week, between my family's visit and changes at the day job, I've been a bit busy and wasn't able to squeeze in the blogging, but I'm hopeful that I'll be able to find time again now that I've caught up after a few days off.

I bought Bead and Wire Jewelry Exposed by Katie Hacker, Fernando DaSilva and Margot Potter the other day. In it the authors share design ideas which use beading wire and components in a variety of different ways. The book has 7 different design chapters plus sections on exposing your creativity, materials, tools, techniques, resources and an index.

The book takes you through design ideas with colored wire, metallic wire, coiled and shaped wire as well as some bead-weaving techniques. Throughout there are large, full color step by step photographs and detailed instructions. I'd say someone with just a bit of experience would be able to do any of the projects and anyone can learn valuable new techniques for more complex designs.

The book features use of Crystallized Swarovski Elements and Beadalon products in the creations, but one could use their own beads and alternate supplies from their own stash. They also show how to use things like rubber tubing, bead bumpers, clasps and crimps as integral and exposed (thus the title) design components.

For example, one of Fernando DaSilva's designs uses rubber eyeglass holders to form the links between beads wrapped in Colourcraft wire (page 66). Margot Potter uses half circles from bracelet sized memory wire and E-Z Crimps to make a fabulous necklace (page 90). Another DaSilva design puts a slide-bar clasp front and center instead of hidden at the back of the neck (page 84). Katie Hacker's bracelet design on page 60 uses large twisted wire jump rings you make from colored craft wire to beautiful effect.

I've gotten great inspiration from this book and highly recommend it. If you click on the Amazon link above to buy it, a couple pennies go into my beading fund, too.

Hope you'll be back tomorrow for my Friday Picks featuring Rings & Things products.
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