Saturday Finds: Starburst Pendant

This week I turned this necklace…

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Into this fun and easy starburst pendant!

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Now I just need to get a hold of a good cord to hang it on!

Saturday Finds: What was a Watch is now a Pendant

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A few weeks ago at the flea market I found this old watch backing, with some pretty engraving, for a few cents. I thought it’d make a nice pendant, with a little bezel setting.

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front

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back

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and close up view.

June Revamp: A Third Beaded Bead Tutorial

This re-vamp is from the first beaded bead tutorial I ever did, which sadly lacked quality photos, so I’m taking the opportunity to go back through and fix it. You can find the original project photos from this post here, as well as more projects using this technique here.

In general, I’m not a huge fan of most of the fads which have hit the beading world in the last four years. I love mixed media work in theory, but in practice it often comes off feeling cheap and craft-sy, where I prefer jewelry that feels sleek and professional. There was a big wave of picture frame jewelry that came through, introducing many of us to various resins. I had the same problem with many of the results of this fad as well. In general, fads tend to feel cheap and homemade to me, while older techniques from metal work, linking, and stitching almost always feel like real, lasting jewelry. One fad that I can definitely get behind, which is quickly becoming one of the longer-lasting techniques any seed-beader should have in their bag of tricks, is the beaded bead.

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Today, I am finishing the group of three tutorials from this month and creating the tutorial for the smallest beaded bead in that stack. I think I created this pattern myself, but if this is a pattern you’ve encountered somewhere else, I apologize. I guess great minds think alike? Anyway, be nice, and don’t use this tutorial to teach or re-post without crediting please. The creative arts are tricky, I know, but this is one I’d actually like to hang on to. This is probably a project for someone who has some experience with a needle and thread already. If you’re an absolute beginner, I suggest trying a peyote stitch project first, many examples of which you can find by perusing my blog.

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In my beaded beads, I used a size 15/0 purple seed beads (you can use both Czech and Japanese, although I’ve found that the rounder Czech beads tend to work better for this project) and 4 size 8/0 seed beads, as well as a few Delicas (slighly on the small end) Japanese seed beads. You could definitely do this project using 4mm spacer beads and just 11/0 beads, which would result in a larger sized beaded bead. You could replace the spacer beads with anything else that is a 4mm size, or if you want to make them bigger you can just up the sizes, keeping the ratio steady. They’re not intended to be super big beads, but if you’re looking for a way to showcase some really cool stones, this could make a cool focal bead.

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1) Start by stringing four of your seed beads. Loop through them to create a circle, tie off, and continue. You’ll end up going through them a few times to secure the rest of the bead, so don’t worry too much about tension or security right now, just make sure that knot is tight!

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2) String a spacer onto your string and pass your needle back through the bead you just came through, so you create a loop above your bead with the spacer on it. Pull tight.

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4) Repeat with the other three beads in your loop, so your piece looks a bit like a cross. End with your thread coming out of one of your spacer beads.

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5) Pass your needle through all four beads, creating a circle.

6) Pull tight. The beads should cinch up, and look like this from the top…

and this from the side. You can see your previous loop of seed beads there, securely fastened to your new circle of spacers.

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7) Repeat steps 3-6 with four new Delicas.

After step seven, your beaded bead will look like this. End with your thread coming out of one of your seed beads. Doesn’t matter which one.

And from the side.

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8) String four seed beads, and pass your needle through the seed bead from your first loop which corresponds to the seed bead your thread ended up coming out of in step 7, in the opposite direction from the way you threaded it originally, so that you bridge the gap between your spacer beads with the four seed beads.

9) Repeat this process by adding four more seed beads to your thread, and passing back through your point of origin in step 8. After this step the goal is to cover all four gaps between spacer beads with seed beads. You’re halfway done. Pass through the first four you threaded in step 8, and instead of going through the same seed bead to anchor it, head the other direction, through the other seed bead on this side.

10) Add four more seed beads, and continue this pattern until you’ve got a fully anchored beaded bead, with all four gaps between spacer beads covered.

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11) Tie off your thread to itself. Pass through all four spacer beads in a circle. Tie it again. Pass through whichever of the seed beads is nearest, tie it off one more time, and cut your thread.

Congrats! You have a beaded bead. I know it got kinda picture-less at the end. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write a comment!

Saturday Finds: Dangling, Jingling, Brass Earrings

This week I’m sharing a quick photo! Remember this bracelet from the first Saturday Finds?

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I finally got around to using the rest of it!

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Fun, no? I really like them, but of course I do. I love dangly earrings.

Smocked Pouch Tutorial

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I’ve been looking at smocking tutorials for a while and when I saw this pin (in Russian, of course, and without a source, naturally) and felt the need to recreate it with this lovely fabric.

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I am going to put words to images so that you can see how exactly I created this lovely stitched pattern, creating flowers out of the dots, since the original tutorial was missing that.

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You want to pick a dot and anchor your thread just next to it, at about 1 o’ clock (if the dot were a clock). Make sure that the dot is on the far left of a group of four; you’ll be engaging all four of the dots in order to make your flower.

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Then, working clockwise, enter the cloth just adjacent to the next dot at about 7 o’ clock, exiting on the other side of the dot at about 5 0′ clock.

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Continue this pattern, entering the next dot in your square at about 11 0′ clock and exiting at about 7 0′ clock.

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Do the same for the last dot in your square, entering at 1 o’ clock and exiting at 11 o’ clock.

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Finally, you want to end up exiting your thread in the first dot, which you anchored your thread to, at (you guessed it) about 6 o’ clock.

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Pull your thread tight and tie it off. Move to the next set of four in your row.

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Work across the fabric until you have filled the space you intended to smock! You can use your fingers or a pencil to straighten out the folds between flowers once you’ve finished them. I chose to keep my stitches linked together, and lined my pouch in order to protect them, but it’s totally your call whether you do that or not.

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As you can see above, the fabric “expands” below the smocking, which basically acts the same way that pleats do to gather and pooch fabric so keep that in mind when creating something functional using this technique.

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I’m pretty happy with this pouch, though I’m not really sure what I’ll use it for yet I know it’ll come in handy!

Saturday Finds: Bezeled Porcelain Chips

This week I came back from the flea market with this bracelet

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and these chips of a porcelain plate which someone had broken. Free stuff= score!

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Using the chain link pieces from the bracelet, and some seed beads for the bezels, I created this set with a pendant and a bracelet.

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The dual centered bezel was especially tricksy, since I built the smaller bezel off of the larger one, instead of sticking two full bezels together.

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Circular Peyote Beaded Beads

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Recognize this photo? I re-vamped an old beaded bead tutorial for the middle bead in the “stack”. Today, I’m going to share a totally original tutorial for the bead in the bottom of the “stack”, the largest one.

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This tutorial uses four different sizes of beads and what is basically a circular peyote stitch (or a netted stitch, if you prefer).  A quick run down of your supplies in relation to a 4mm round as the largest in the bead: 4 4mm round spacer beads, 8 3mm spacer beads (in this a size 8/0 seed bead), 4 size 10/0 or 11/0 seed beads, and some size 11/0 seed beads all in complementary colors (plus the requisite needle, thread, and beeswax).

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We start with alternating four of your 3mm beads with four of your smallest 11/0 beads. [Sidenote: I refer to small and large 11/0 beads in this tutorial mostly because I used both Japanese Delicas and Czech seed beads for this project, and the Japanese were smaller than the Czech beads. You do want two sizes for this project, and just because they’re both classified as 11/0 doesn’t mean they’re the same exact size. I’ve written more extensively about bead sizes, if you’re interested in a long winded explanation.]

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Tie these eight beads in a circle. Knots are fine here, they’ll soon hide themselves.

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Make sure your thread is exiting through one of the 11/0’s and thread 5 more 11/0’s onto your needle. Then, pick up the next 11/0 in your circle, skipping the 8/0 bead.

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Continue this pattern all the way around your circle. Each time you exit an 11/0 bead from your circle, add five more, and go to the next 11/0.

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When you finish your circle, thread your needle through your first loop of 11/0’s, as if you were going to continue your pattern. Exit through the third 11/0, or the one at the middle of your loop.

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At this point you’ve got a florette looking thing going on, with the thread exiting out of the top of the piece.

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String one of your 4mm spacers and then pick up the next “point” bead in the circle. This is the 3rd bead in the loop of 11/0’s.

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Continue this all the way around the circle- you’ll now have used up your 4 4mm spacers. Do you see a pattern? It’s the same pick-up-a-bead, skip-a-bead pattern of the circular peyote stitch, or a netted stitch, just using different sizes of bead in order to create a nice concise round bead.

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When you pull the bead taut, you’ll get this sort of effect. You could easily stop here and use it as a bead cap.

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Looking at it from the top you’ll see that there are some rather large gaps between the 4mm spacers.

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With your thread exiting a spacer bead, add one of your 4 larger seed beads and go through the next spacer bead in the circle. Continue this pattern all the way around.

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Do the same exact thing with 4 more of your smaller 11/0’s to create a base for the finishing loops.

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At this point you’re repeating the same steps as you did before, going through an 11/0 from your circle, adding 5 11/0 seed beads, and going through the next 11/0 in the circle to create loops.

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Again, you need to finish with your thread coming out of the peak bead of one of your loops. Basically, we’re creating the first half of the bead backwards in order to close it off.

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In order to finally close the bead, pick up one of your 3mm beads (or 8/0 beads) and then go through the next “peak” bead.

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Repeat to finish your circle.

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Tie off your thread however you prefer.

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Sometimes this leaves a rather cylindrical final product. If you’re looking for a rounder effect, you can stitch back and forth through the bead connecting the 3mm beads (or 8/0 beads).

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With a little bit of tension in your stitches, a rounder final product is totally feasible.

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You can also work this technique around a cord or a larger wire. Usually I recommend not trying to force a cord through the bead in order to save the cord the added stress. Working around the cord from the beginning is a good way to save the stress.

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You can also alter the technique by adding more “sections” to your circle to create a differently shaped bead, in this case a saucer shaped bead. These make great pendants, hoop earrings, whatever you can think of!

As you can probably tell beaded beads are some of my favorites. I love these especially well and would love to see what you make with them!