Friday, 5 February 2010

Sydney trip

Hi folks!
We've just been up to Sydney and bought 300 dollars worth of beads from I Love You Beads in Leichardt. It was fantastic value too and the chinese crystals are such good qaulity i can hardly tell them apart from swarovskis!
We bought some fun little fimo pendants which i can't wait to see someone use.
We also went to Reverse Garbage in Marrickville - its an industrial recycle depo that collects useful equipment and materials for local artists. We bought a giant roll of paper, a thick cardboard tube to make bracelet blanks, about twenty tiny perfume bottles to wirewrap,, some acrylic and plexiglass to make pendants - which we'll make a tutorial for later.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Hope Beads Project

The hope beads project is a community service project run by myself and my daughter - who also write this blog.
We've been running it for 2 years now, 3 in May.
Essentially, its a beading class that's run not for profit. We go into Calvary Hospital's Hyson Green Ward- once a week to teach.

Our students have pretty much free reign. They can choose any project and any beads, but we try and encourage creativity. We also take care to use quality materials for them - Czech glass crystals and lampwork beads being some of the more popular.
Unfortunately we do have to charge for the class - $8 a head. That buys our clients a necklace or a bracelet and two sets of earrings or four sets of earrings. We also do mobile phone and bag charms and bookmarks.

Most of our students are suffering from a mental illness, so identities and locations are confidential. But please do not stereotype or judge them. They are fantastic people who have hit a low point in their lives and have courageously sort help.

We hope we are part of that help.
We provide a distraction, a way of "keeping in the moment" - of practicing mindfulness
We provide a challenge, an opening to a new hobby, the chance to socialize and do something proactive for themselves. to inspire and delight.

That is what the hope beads project does.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Upcoming tutorials!

I have 3 tutorials that i hope will be up in the next week! two are floral bracelets and one is a nice modern piece. both are more advanced than just stringing but i hope they'll give you ideas. Also, a photo of the steam punk bracelet from the tutorial.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Steampunk Bangle from an Egg Ring

This is a little Tutorial that's been hanging around my desktop for a while. hope its popular. feel free to re post, just mention me as the original source.
You Will Need;
  • a steel/ aluminium egg ring
  • 2 flat topped screws
  • 4 washers that fit said screws
  • 2 dome nuts that fit said screws
  • a piece of flat chain, watchband or leather buckle
  • wire
  • superglue/epoxy
  • heavy duty wire cutters or bolt cutters
  • a drill
  • a vice
  • heavy duty chain nosed pliers
  • a small metal file
  • sharpie or permanent marker

1. Using the wire cutters or bolt cutters, cut open the egg ring. be careful as it will spring apart quite forcefully

2. file away the edges so the egg ring is smooth

3. secure the egg ring bangle in the vice. using chain nose pliers, bend the ends around into a spiral

4. again in the vice, mark out and drill 4 holes in the egg ring - approximately evenly spaced. have these holes match the diameter of your screws.

5. thread 2 washers on a screw then thread through one of the holes nearest to the opening of the egg ring screw on the dome nut. repeat on opposite side.

6. secure on your watchband with wire by threading it through the two remaining holes and wiring it on. glue with superglue or epoxy and remove the wire once the glue is dry.

Here is the finished result;

sorry its a cruddy picture.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Finding beading sites

I'm always looking for something new - a new way of wire wrapping, a new stitch, a new use for toggle clasps, a different type of chainmaille or a new technique in polymer clay.
The problem is all the blogs that are dedicated to this sort of thing interconnect an share posts, so i end up looking at the same thing again and again. you've really got to look hard for something new.
so here are some of the things i do to find new techniques;
  • go to deviant art - artisan crafts - jewelry. I like looking at the different ways people use beads as art.
  • go to Xmarks - a web favourites/bookmarks organiser, and search bead blogs.
  • go to the guilds and specific forums; wire artists guild, polymer clay artists guild, ganoskin blog,
  • use stumble upon an select the channel; hobbies- crafts from the stumbleupon toolbar. try and adapt techniques you see to beading and jewelry making.

Doing these things youll soon find overlooked techniques and tips that you can cannabalise and put into your own jewelry, making your work unique.

I do not mean copying an original piece that someone else has creative ownership of, but rather noting what you do and don't like, what you do and don't know how to do, and what you think you could use.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Organising your stuff.

The amount of stuff beading, bead making and jewelry making accumulates to is ridiculous.

I have a rule that i can't bead until every bead is organised. Its stupid, but its the only way i can keep them tidy. It also takes up a lot of time (11 hours to reorganise them into drawers at the last count) and gives me RSI.
But I've come up a few ideas that i hope will help out before someone else ruins their back.

First off - shop around and spend the money.
OK, that nice set of plastic drawers might fit half of them in, but what about the other half? and can it take the weight of the glass beads? does it have sturdy wheels? will it fit your tools in it?
Sure, Bunnings has those cheap little tool suitcases with the removable compartments, but turn them sideways and your in hell.
Get yourself a sturdy option that can be added to.
  • Stackable drawers are a lifesaver. Get ones with good quality wheels and rails. ours cost us 120 bucks from K-mart(in the scrap booking stuff) for 12 drawers that can be stacked,moved around and have trays on top that can be used as work spaces. 120 is about half of what we spent on numerous sets of drawers that broke or were too small.
  • stacking pots are good for seed beads if you get good ones and don't overfill them.
  • Curtain rods for threading spools of tigertail are great.
  • Cardboard tubes and a thumb tack keep ribbon tidy.
  • For heavier tools such as vices, doming blocks etc. use a sturdy wooden shelf or store them in a box at your feet
  • Bead mats are fantastic for preventing spilling and only cost about 3 bucks, great if you teach.
  • Always fix your craft wire onto the spool, using either an indent in the spool or electrical tape.
  • If you keep your beads in packets, buy a cheap pegless clothesline from a camping store and just hang it above your workspace with the beads attached.
  • pliers can be secured to a rail in easy reach with rubber bands; just make a loop around the rail and tie in a knot. the remaining loop goes over the end of you pliers.

  • For storing the actual beads use compartmented containers - do not use double sided containers! -try and get ones with 2 clasps on the front rather than just a lip that clicks into place.
  • finally, try and get a work surface that can be used for anything. I use an old granite chopping board. You can often get them at garbage tips because they blunt knives. I can use mine for hammering on, soldering on, polymer clay and as a raised surface to do beading on when I forget my glasses.
I hopes these tips help.


Ok. this is my first post, so I'll dive right in; Welcome.
I've got some fantastic ideas to share with you on jewelry making, so stay tuned. I've also got some good ideas for finding good sites on jewelry making. Also book reviews, projects, hints and tips and the odd spot of inspiration.
I know i get bored reading a lot of blogs, so enough with the small talk. This is this weeks contents;

Organising your beads; quick tips
Tutorial; Recycled Steampunk bracelet
Book Review; Origami Jewelry by Ayako Brodek
Hope Beads Project news blurb