Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wanna make a sample??

WOW! Thanks so much for your enthusiastic response to my Vine Ring Kit. I am super excited that so many of you ordered it and can't wait to see how they come out.

I have been busy working on my next kit. It will be available in my Etsy store soon.

It's called "Rustic Shield Pendant". It features a pressed silhouette shape and metal sheet in copper, leather and micro screws. I really love it. Since I am such a busy gal lately I need some sample makers so I have some fantastic examples to show what you can make out of it.

This is where you come in. I need three people willing make samples from the kit.  I'll send you enough supplies, templates and instructions to make two shield charms. One is for you to keep and one is to send back to me. The kit is for the pendant only. How you use it in a finished piece is left to your imagination. 

Think of the kit as a starting point and feel free to put your own design stamp on the piece.  I am going to use the samples that you return to me as examples to show customers what can be done with the kit so they will be pictured online and taken to shows. You can return just the completed charm or make a simple completed piece, either way works for me.

If you're interested leave a message in the comments below. I'll choose three replies and contact you to get your mailing info. The kits will go out next week with the samples back to me two weeks after that. So let's say around December 1.

You'll need the following tools:
Chasing or texture hammer
Bench block
Metal shears
1.5-1.8mm hole punch
Two pair chain nose pliers
Half round metal file
Torch for flame patina
Liver of Sulpur
Fine tip permanent marker
Metal Stamps (optional) or a medium-sized nail or screw

Thanks so much! I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NEW!!! Class in a Kit

Over the years, I have had requests from students for kits from my classes. It's always been on my  to-do list and I am so excited to offer the first one.

 Vine Stack Rings
The kit features beautiful sterling silver wire that I have patterned and annealed. I have included copper practice wire in the kit so you can hone your skills before jumping in to the sterling silver.

You can find them in my Etsy store at this link. Kit includes the wire and detailed step-by-step instructions with photos. You supply the tools. It's perfect for the advanced beginner. New to soldering or want to learn more? Grab my book Simple Soldering, also listed in my shop.

Hope you like it and stay tuned... more kits are coming soon!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Playing With Beads

I love metal. Soldering is my thing. But like many of you I started as a beader. The simple act of putting beads on a string is so relaxing, plus you get the added bonus of a necklace to wear at the end of it all.

I have not made a necklace in a while and inspiration arrived in the form of this wonderful post over at the blog, about their employee beading day. It was a walk down memory lane for me, as this is where I got my start in the bead biz back in 1992. Owner Janice Parsons is one of the most gifted bead artists I know. She started beading many years ago at her mother's antique store. That store evolved into The Bead Shop of Palo Alto, CA and the rest is history. Now the legacy of The Bead Shop lives on online at

Back in the day as an employee of The Bead Shop I lived and breathed beads. Every day there was a new challenge, a new necklace to string or earring to wire wrap. We had such BEAUTIFUL beads. Vintage, semi-precious, tribal, handmade... you name it, we strung it. I learned a lot from Janice, my fellow employees and our wonderful customers. That experience started me on my beaded career path.

So... seeing the great bead combinations that JP and her gang put together on their team beading day made me want to get out the beads and create. And that's just what I did. I took photos along the way to share my process. This is a photo-heavy post. To see the pictures in more detail, click on each to enlarge.

I wanted to create a piece that was reminiscent of my early beading days. The first beads I loved had a tribal/ethnic feel to them. I poked around in my bead stash and put this mix together. I really didn't have a finished design in mind other than I knew I wanted to make a multi-strand piece strung in a random style.

Metal  spacers are a MUST! That strand of copper heishi dates from my early Bead Shop days. I used to put that bead in everything I made.

I added some seed beads to the mix. Tiny beads are a must in a random multi-strand design. These great beads came from Baubles and Beads in Berkeley, CA (another great local-to-me bead store.)

Aren't these AMAZING!!! Czech glass picasso beads, also from Baubles and Beads. I threw those in the mix (even though I wanted to hoard them.)

I got this clasp from Saki Silver at BeadFest this past August. The cones are from Tierra Cast. Cones are perfect for closing multi-strands.

I cut 5 long strands of nylon bead thread and began to string. Random pattern. Stringing each strand a bit before passing over to the next so they grow at an even pace.

Added in a turquoise disc for interest. Divided and passed the threads through the center hole. At this point I felt that I needed an additional strand, so I untied the knot I made at the beginning, added another thread and strung it to this point.

Added beads so they covered the thread over the disc. Knotted everything to hold it together under the disc and kept going.

And going.

And going.

Until I reached the end.

To close, I tied all of the strands together in an overhand knot like the one I made at the beginning. I added a drop of Hypo Cement to each knot and let dry. Then I cut the thread just above the knots.

To attach the cones, I cut a piece of 18-gauge wire and made a loop at the end to capture the strands and wire wrapped the loop closed.

I slid the cone down and wire wrapped the clasp to the end and did the same for the other side.

And that's it! The necklace is ready to wear.

This project is a great way to work with beads in your stash. Thanks for the inspiration, Bead Shop team!