January 31, 2014

Little Village Pendant Tutorial - Free Project

This pendant adds an economical and stylish touch with a few links of vintage chain highlighted in the front of the design.  A cluster of beaded jump rings makes a fun transition from the two types of chain and adds a little color. A collection of Czech glass and a tiny pewter bird charm are the perfect addition to this folky house bead. 

House Bead
Pewter Bird Charm
3 Czech glass flowers
6 4mm glass crystals
4" Vintage chain
18" gunmetal cable chain
1 15mm brass jump ring
6 7mm brass jump rings
2 6mm brass jump rings
6 5mm brass jump rings
3 2" brass headpins
6" 22 gauge steel wire

Finished length: 22" 
1. String a glass flower onto a headpin and create a wrapped loop. Keep wrapping the wire to create a messy wrap. 
2. Attach the two 6mm brass jump rings together, add the bird charm to the bottom jump ring.
3. Leaving a 2" tail create a loop at one end of the steel wire.  Open the loop and string on two flowers, the bird and one flower.  Close the jump ring and with the remaining wire, create a wrapped loop and continue wrapping the extra wire to create the messy wrap.
4. String on the house bead and create a wrapped loop, finishing it in the messy wrapped style.
5. Attach the 15mm jump ring to the top of the pendant.
6. Cut two 2" lengths of the vintage chain.  Attach them to the 15mm jump ring with the 5mm brass jump rings.
7. Open a 7mm jump ring, add a crystal, repeat with each jump ring. Close two of the jump rings. Slip one open beaded jump ring through a closed beaded jump ring and close it.  Repeat with a third beaded jump ring, going through the two previous jump rings.  Repeat to create a second cluster of beaded jump rings.
8. With the 5mm jump rings attach the beaded jump ring cluster to the vintage chain and the 18" gunmetal chain. Repeat on the other side.

House: Humblebeads. Bird: Green Girl Studios. Flowers: Dream Girl Beads. Gunmetal chain, jump rings, headpins: Hobby Lobby. Steel wire: Ace Hardware.  Vintage Chain: search Etsy or your local antique shop.

 Inspired by Art

My Folk Art House bead was inspired by this painting of a street in Paris entitled Lapin Agile from french artist Maurice Utrillo. While it looks like a sweet country side painting, it's actually a cabaret in the heart of the artists district made famous by artists like Picasso. Utrillo painted this nightclub in many different seasons, which is slightly tragic since he was an alcoholic for most of his life. C'est la vive! Despite it's reputation and his, he was able to see the good and beauty in this little street corner. And finding the good in things, I'm all about that!

January 30, 2014

30 Words: Hope

Brightly colored petals,
Summer days long past.

The promise of hope;
Nature will bloom again.

A necessity in a world 
Caked in ice and snow.
Don't just survive winter.

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Share your link with Erin at Treasures Found.

January 12, 2014

Orchid Heart Pendant Tutorial & Valentine Sales Ideas

Luscious orchid silk ribbon provides an interesting design and adds lots of texture when creatively knotted.  With Radiant Orchid being Pantone's Color the Year, you'll find this trendy hue popping up every where this year.  This quick and easy project can be whipped up in 15 minutes or less!  Create a few heart themed pieces of jewelry and show them to friends and family for early Valentine Sales - or better yet schedule a Valentine themed trunk show the first week of February. Or go bigger and ask a local boutique to host a Valentine trunk show. 

Heart Pendant (Humblebeads)
2 12mm brass jump rings
5 Czech glass flowers (Dream Girl Beads)
5 1" brass headpins
1 Butterfly button (Natural Touch)
2 30" lengths of sari silk ribbon

Finished length optional - I like 18" or 20" for this design.

1. Attach both jump rings to the pendant.  On a headpin string a flower bead, create a simple loop. Repeat 4 times. String the 5 flower dangles on the top jump ring.

2. Fold the 2 lengths of ribbon in half, thread through the front of the top jump ring, pull the four ends through the loop of the ribbon, pull ribbons tight. 

3. On one side of the ribbon strands, tie 3 knots with the two ribbons. Pull the ribbon to firmly to straighten out the knots.  Leave a 1" gap, then make another knot with the two ribbons.  Tie three knots and repeat the pattern until the desired length.

4. At the end of the ribbon, tie on the butterfly button with two tight knots. Trim the ribbon.

5. Repeat the pattern on the other side of the necklace.  At the end tie a knot with a gap large enough for the button to slide through.  Trim the ribbon.

Play around with this idea, do a whole necklace of knots or do 5 knots between each open loops.  Try two different colors of ribbon.

Valentine Sale Ideas:
This quick and easy project can be whipped up in 15 minutes or less!  Create a few heart themed pieces of jewelry and show them to friends and family for early Valentine Sales - or better yet schedule a Valentine themed trunk show the first week of February. Or go bigger and ask a local boutique to host a Valentine trunk show. 

One thing I did back when I was young was to get a heart-shaped box of chocolates (eat said chocolate, I don't recommend that now - save them for later or share them with everyone you know!) and add in new papers (find them in the candy/cake decorating aisle at your local craft store) and then put a pair of earrings into each one. I could carry the box around with me to classes or when I went to playdates, church, etc.  Guys would ask me for a candy, I would open the the box and say I don't have candies but I can help you get something sweet for your girl.  Yes, it worked.  Or I would just ask the women I knew if they'd like to see the sweet earrings I made for Valentine's Day.  We'd joke about them being calorie free treats.  I always sold lots of earrings a week or two before big day.   Make sure you carry around earring cards, small organza bags, business cards and your card reader/receipts to finish the sale. I would keep these designs simple and at one sale price to make things easier.

If you'd like to step up your jewelry sales for 2014 why not take this 20 Sales in 20 Days Challenge put together by the Flourish & Thrive Academy.  This was designed for holiday sales before Christmas, but they would work great for Valentine's or Mother's Day too.

And hey, while you are at it - stop on over to the Flourish & Thrive Academy and sign up for their current video series for their next edition of the Laying the Foundation Course.

January 11, 2014

Sample Sale

I am making way for spring designs and new plans for 2014.

I have a collection of amazing artisan jewelry featuring beautiful handmade beads, each with a story to tell.  These designs are timeless but my creative energy is boundless, I need to make space for what lies ahead!

My gift today: 35% off all orders from my Etsy jewelry shop which features my one-of-a-kind designs and some of the most popular pieces from my jewelry line. 

Use discount code WINTER for 35% off your order this weekend.

I've been considering for a while that 4 shops is just too many, so after this sale I will be closing out my Etsy jewelry shop.  You'll still be able to find my jewelry on my website.

January 8, 2014

Two New Projects

Here in Michigan the first color you see in the spring is yellow.  Long before the green takes over the world, it's the yellow flowers that start blooming in the chilly days of March and April that let us know nature is ready to come back to life. That's what I wanted to capture in this jewelry design, just the hint of spring at the end of winter. 

I created two new free projects using some of my new folk inspired beads. You can find the instructions to print out or view online for the bracelet here and the earrings here.

My inspiration for this series of beads was this sweet embroidered textile that I ran across on Pinterest. I have a fun board of Folk Art textiles that have captured my imagination this winter. I need the color!

January 4, 2014

Challenges, Trends and Inspirations

Hello 2014! I'm starting the new year out by running full steam ahead.  I always have so many planned projects that never see the light of day.  That's over, time to create with wild abanonded. This is going to be the year I step it up.  Last year I coasted between crisises and had my creative super powers sapped by some pretty awful things that happened in my life.  Hopefully this year will be filled with energizing and exciting events, because that's what I'm planning!

One of my goals for 2014 is too rock the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenges with new beads each month.  I jumped right on it this week and created these amazing caladium pendants. This month's challenge is a luscious textile design from Louis Mailou Jones, you can read all about the challenge here.  You must enter this month - how could you not be inspired by the color palette!

As you can see, I certainly have been!  I created a few heart designs showing my love for nature.  I think you need to see more of that butterfly...

My second inspiration is Pantone's Color of the Year - Radiant Orchid.  I just jumped right in with creating pendants based on orchid sketches.  Orchid Pendant.

And I created a second pendant with a stem of orchids.  I kept the backgrounds fresh and clean with a white-wash finish - it just said spring to me with hints of dark brown for depth in the color.  And yes, I am counting down the days until Bead Cruise 2014, a week in the tropics can not get here fast enough!

Tomorrow I'll share my second round of bead inspirations for the start of the new year.