Monday, April 30, 2012

Take the guessing out of sizing

Last week I showed you a ring that I made by bending and wrapping wire.  Well, here is one of the tools that is used to make that project - the Ring Mandrel.

 It comes in very handy, not only do you use it to make a ring in a particular size but I have also used it to find out sizes of rings.  It's simple, simply slide your ring onto the Mandrel and the dash that it sits on is the size of the ring.  It's great to have a hand crafted ring made for you, you get to choose the perfect size for your finger. And need I say, a handcrafted ring makes an easy, inexpensive gift. And you can personalize them, need a 1/4 size no problem.

I have even had several friends ask to borrow my mandrel so they could figure out what size ring they wore.  It takes the guessing out of sizing, and that makes life easier.

Ring Mandrel

Close up of Ring Mandrel.  This ring is a size 7-1/2"

I got my Mandrel from Beadin' Mon! when I took the class.  But, you don't have to take the class to get the tools.  Stop by and pick up your beads, mandrel and inspiration at our Flint, Mi store called Beadin' Mon!.  Browse our class list and maybe take a peek at our online store at  Hope you try your hand at making rings.  And until next time, Happy Beadin'

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No Superman Here

I like bending metal with my hands. I'm not bending I beams or anything like that (no Superman here), but to make something beautiful from metal and glass makes me feel great.  Each piece of jewelry is a mini work of art...and I get to wear it.

As you know I love to learn new techniques and the best way I have found to try out something is to take a class.  To learn wire wrapping, I started with something that was quick and turned out to be easy.  In fact, you can start with this project too.  I see on the website ( that the class list is up and ready for you to sign up.  

I like this project because I can choose what colors of stones, how many stones and what metal wire I want to use.  Another reason I like this project is I also get to decide what profile I want my ring to have.  I don't like my rings to stand too high on my finger.  The high profiles always get caught on stuff, snagging my favorite sweater, you know that kind of thing and that makes me sad.  

The wire is inexpensive and easy to work with.  The beads you will use, is your choice and you only need a few so they end up being inexpensive also.  And only a few tools are needed to create these little beauties. Once you know the basics, the door is open to your imagination.  And the knowledge you get from taking the class with be well work the cost, which by the way is inexpensive.  And an added bonus is you get to meet new people and spend your time doing something you love (well, I hope you love it). 

Here is my ring that I wear all the time.  I love blue and silver together, plus I wear a lot of blue.  And you can't go wrong with crystal - it goes with everything. :)  

Top View
Profile View
Sign up at the store (Beadin' Mon!) and don't forget to mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 9th at 11am.  I hope you like it as much as I do. As always, feel free to browse our classes and  shop our fairly new online store at  Until next time, Happy Beadin'

Monday, April 23, 2012

What is RAW?

Another stitch that I have used a lot is Right Angle Weave (aka. RAW).  You don't know how long it took me to figure out that when people were saying raw they meant Right Angle Weave.

I didn't realize how much I liked this stitch until I was flipping through my books of patterns/ classes that I have taken.  Wow, I really like this one.  When I signed up for the classes I sometimes didn't know what the stitch was until I got to class.

Okay, so here is what the basic stitch looks like.  

Step 1.  Leave a tail of a good length, this is used to add on one end of your clasp later.
             String on 4 beads.
Step 2.  Now take your needle and go through all four beads that you just put on,
             starting from the first bead on.  You should have a nifty little circle.
Step 3.  Now, to continue to make your project longer, you need to go through the next two beads.
              This brings your thread back up to the starting position to make another circle.
Step 4.  Now, thread on 3 beads (not 4) onto your thread. The fourth bead in the process is going to be
             used from the previous circle you added on (tan #3).
Step 5.  Pass your needle thru the fourth bead.
Step 6.  Now you go thru the next two beads to bring you back to starting position.
              Repeat steps 4-8 until you reach your desired length.

Well, I hope my description didn't confuse you.  Like I have said before, please let me know if I am showing something incorrectly.  I am suppose to be helping you, not confusing you.  :)  Thanks.

Once you know and understand how a stitch works, you can use it to make any creation you desire, by adding beads, fringe etc.  I am trying to "design" some of my own projects at the moment.  It is harder than you think.  So I would like to say great job to all the teachers at Beadin' Mon! I appreciate all the work you put in to come up with a new design. I think if I had a good chunk of time where I could sit down and play with my beads more, I might be able to come up with something.  So, at the moment, I am doing more stringing than anything.

If you would like to try this technique out (with a small group of people) check out the class for the "Puffy Heart" on May 1st of our classes section of our website,  The teacher will be able to answer all your questions and help you if you get stuck.  Believe me it really helps to have a visual and hands on help.  In fact, that is one of the classes that I took for Right Angle Weave.
Hope you enjoy "RAW" and until next time, Happy Beadin'

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Selecting colors

As I mentioned on Monday, I was trying to organize my beads and supplies -- oh, and my lot of unfinished projects that I found. While I was sorting, I ran across my bag of beads for a bracelet that I am going to make.  Now, I usually like to keep my color palette, simple with only a few colors.  But, as I progress in my jewelry making journey who knows where my color picking will go, I may become more adventurous as time progresses.  

So to start, I got a strand of beads for my birthday from a good friend who moved far, far away.  So I decided to take the strand that she sent me and make a simple turquoise necklace with graduated smoke topaz crystals separating them. Why smoke topaz?  It didn't originally start that way.  For the longest time I have always wanted to make a turquoise necklace with black beads, I thought it would be gorgeous.  Well, with these particular beads, not so much.  I chose Smoke Topaz because it was in the same color family as the vein that was going through the turquoise bead.  It looks so much better -- and I love it.  

This is my finished necklace and earrings.
So that is color choosing tip #1 - Choose colors that are already within the bead you are going to be working with.  

So, from this strand I had 3 beads left over. Next, I decided to make a pair of earrings to match the necklace, using the smoke topaz of course.  Well, that left 1 lonely bead, I so badly wanted to use it, but how?  One day I stopped by Beadin' Mon! and signed up for a class on how to make a wire wrapped bracelet.  I liked the bracelet so much that I decided that I would do something similar with this bead. 

I had already decided to make this project part of the ensemble that I have going, so I am going to continue with the smoke topaz theme.  And then I wanted to enhance the turquoise (since it is only one bead) by adding some more turquoise crystals to the project (these are Indocolite).  And then I added a a lighter shade of topaz (light colorado topaz) and a lighter turquoise (pacific opal).  I loved what the pacific opal brought to my color selection because it is not transparent like the Light Colorado or the Indocolite beads, but opaque, which I think complements the large focal bead nicely. 

Color choosing tip #2 - Don't be afraid to use multiple colors in contrasting shades.

If you feel like you're just not sure and you want a little help, stop by Beadin' Mon! on Miller Rd. and they would be happy to help you with your color selections.  Feel free to browse our class sign up wall,  you may just find inspiration for your next project. Or you can check out our classes by visiting the website at

Hopefully, tax day wasn't too bad and I hope you get lots of money back to spend on our favorite pastime (no not baseball) --- beading!  Although, watching baseball is fun. I hope you have a wonderful day and until next time, Happy Beadin'.

PS. I'll be sure to show you finished project when I get it done.  Remember, I still have Mumbo Jumbo to finish... Whew, I better get busy.  See you soon!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Size that Bead

Have you ever found a baggie of beads (that you didn't label, because I'll know what size these are) and  later didn't know what size they where?  Well, that happened to me this weekend and I have a handy tool that could help you out.

The Bead Ruler.  Mine got a work out this weekend.  I decided to try (again) on organizing all my baggies of beads.  Some of the beads are left overs from earlier projects and I didn't write sizes down. Luckily I had the colors noted. So I worked on sizing my beads, placing my beads in containers and then labeling them for future use.  Turns out I have some favorite colors, Pacific Opal and Smoke Topaz are among my top colors. Now where to use them????

Anyway, back to my ruler. Like an ordinary ruler it has inches marked along the bottom and centimeters marked along the top.  (Have to honest here, I don't use the centimeters much.) Down the center of the ruler is the sizes of beads marked in millimeters with dots that match their label (this is the part I use the most).  Also noted underneath each "bead" is the approximate number of beads in an inch.  This is also helpful to help you figure out approximately how many strands of beads, or beads lined up next to each other, you might need for a project you are working on.  And the ruler also has a hole drilled in the one end for an easy storage option of hanging on a cork board, nail or wherever you choose.

To size a bead, you need only to hold the bead above the dot that matches its diameter. Easy!  And now you can organize, or purchase more beads if needed.

Here I have a 4mm bicone crystal.  Sorry about the glare from my flash.

So if you find yourself wondering "what size bead is this?" get yourself a bead ruler.  I love mine and use it often.  Stop by our store  Beadin' Mon! in Flint, Mi for yours today and while your there check out any of our other handy tools you may need. If beads is all you need - then check out our online store at  Until next time, happy beadin'

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Strengthen your Stitching Projects

Hello again, today I thought I share a great little tip for Beading Thread.

In an earlier post I mentioned the thread I use for beading, Fireline, is very tough stuff, BUT when you use crystals in your designs you could have a potential danger.  Crystals have sharp edges on them and could saw through the thread if precautions are not put into place.  I know this from experience, in which I still need to repair my piece. So, now I do this for any bead I use. I feel better just knowing it is protected.  

And that is to wax your thread.  I keep beading wax in my toolbox and use it whenever I do beaded stitching work.  It really does help by providing a protective coating to the thread. 

Its easy to do and only takes a moment.  Just take the length of thread for your project and lay over top of your wax and gently pull the thread through the wax.  And done.  You have just protected and strengthened your thread.

This one simple step could save you heartache, stop by Beadin' Mon! to pick up some for your tool box.  While your there check out the supplies, beads and classes available. You never know what goodies you may find.  We are located on Miller Rd in Flint, Mi or at on the world wide web.

Join me again as we explore the world of beading.  Until we meet again, Happy Beadin'

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mumbo Jumbo Update

I thought I would put a bonus update on the blog today.  So I'll make it super short and sweet.
In an earlier post, I showed you a bracelet that I have been working on.  Mumbo Jumbo.  It's a pretty blue and silver fringe bracelet.  I knew it would take some time, granted I haven't worked on it every day due to life stuff, you know work, housework, family functions etc.  But, I finally completed all my fringe elements and I'm really happy with the way they look.  Here they are waiting to be attached to the bracelet.  And because I always have to be different, (because this was a kit) I added another color to my elements.

When I'm done, I'll show you the finished bracelet.  I can't wait.  Maybe I'll be able to finish it this weekend.  Cross your fingers. :)

Happy Beadin' everyone.

Monday, April 9, 2012

My first Beaded stitching technique

It's been a while since I have done stitching work, so I was looking through my book of patterns from classes that I took (at Beadin' Mon! - of course) and found out which project was my very first piece.  As I was flipping through my book, I discovered I apparently have a favorite stitch.  Funny the things you realize when your not even looking for that info.

My first stitching project was Even Count Peyote.  Now since I haven't done stitching in a little while, I had to refresh my memory.  I always had a hard time knowing what the difference was between even count, odd count and even what single drop and double drop peyote was.  After reviewing my notes and doing some research, I think I have it.  Please feel free to drop my line and let me know if I have it wrong.  :)  You can reach me at

Now onto Even Count Peyote.  What makes it even count is the number of beads you start the strand with, in this case I put 8 beads on (including the stop bead).  My illustration is a single drop, because you add one bead on at a time.  There are instances where you can do up to three drop, such as in my bracelet below (to go around the cubes).  Once you sting on your first beads and start the adding the next bead (dark brown), you have already made two rows. and what is bead 9 is starting the third row.  So beads 1, 3, 5 and 7 are row 1, beads 2, 4, 6 and 8 are row 2.  (I hope that was clear.)
Since I am a visual type person, I thought I might be able to draw you a picture to describe the steps.  I hope I got it right, I kind of confused myself when it came to the turns (adding additional rows).  The part I call the anchor loop is to lock all your beginning beads in place. Then you continue adding beads in your desired pattern until you have completed your project.

Close up of the end.
Notice - my beads are a little crooked in spots, this is because my tension was not the same all the way through the project.  Keeping your tension tight is important.  Remember this was my first attempt, and we have to start somewhere.  I can't tell you if I have improved with this stitch, since I only did it this one time.

First Stitching Project
Well, I hope I didn't confuse you and that this was helpful.  If you would like to see this stitch person or would like some more in depth instruction, stop in to the shop (Beadin' Mon!) and while your there check out all the new classes posted.  You can see the projects on our website too at Hope to see you again on Wednesday, until then Happy Beadin'.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Before the Stitching

Hi again.  I hope this posting finds you well.  I was going to start with a stitch by fear I didn't have a good drawing to show you.  So come back next time to view one of my first stitches.

We have the bead mat, the needles and the fireline (thread). But before we can get started stitching we have to pick up some beads.  For most of my stitching projects I use seed beads or crystals. And since I have already chatted about crystals, seed beads are todays topic.

Seed beads are small beads made from glass and come in many sizes, colors and finishes.  And their are several suppliers of seed beads too.  For the most part, seed beads are pretty uniform but every now and one will come out distorted.  I don't throw them away, I simply set these misfits aside to use for a special project in the future.  I figure why waste them, maybe I could embed them in a resin focal or something.
Sorry, I thought this would show up better than it did.  I hope you can see what I'm talking about.

In the photo above I listed the size bead and the finish if I knew what it was.  As you can see, the bigger the number, the smaller the bead so the 15/0 is the smallest (at least of what I have) and the 6/0 is the largest.  Then there is the finish.  I have matte which is soft and has like a satin finish on it. I also have metallic, silver lined and transparent which are all just what they sound like.  Then the bead companies have also come out with a new shape to stitch with - the cube.  I have only used this one once but if was fun and gave a cool effect to the bracelet.

Here's a bracelet using several different seed beads.
Notice the cubes.
This is called Ortheo, I took it as a class at Beadin' Mon!

And the great thing about most seed beads are they are fairly inexpensive and a tube will last for quite a while. So there is lots of creating to be made.

I got all these fabulous beauties from Beadin' Mon! They carry a variety of colors, sizes and finishes to meet your beading needs.  Stop by the shop in Flint, MI or check out our online store at  And if you're not sure what you need, feel free to ask for help, the Beadin' Mon! staff love to help you create your one of a kinds.  Meet me next time when we start stitching until then Happy Beadin'.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Beading Thread

Welcome Back!  I hope you enjoyed your weekend and had time to create some gorgeous beaded projects.  I continued to work on my "Mumbo Jumbo" bracelet I showed you earlier.  I am happy to say I have all the fringe elements made, I just have to connect them to the bracelet.

Last week I shared some information about Beading Needles.  Today I wanted to share info on its partner the Beading Thread.  I have two different colors in my toolbox; Smoke for my dark colored projects and Crystal for my light colored projects.  

According to my research, Fireline is available in different weights much like wire is available in different gauges.  Each weight  has a different diameter and works well with certain beads.  Beadin' Mon! carries the largest weight available which is the most versatile, the 6lb test.  I have used this weight with crystals, seed beads and small gemstones.  It is very strong stuff and if I remember right, I think one of teachers told me cutting it with your wire cutters will dull them. So I also have in my toolbox, cutters that I use specifically for cutting Fireline.

Never used this product before? That's okay, let one of our teachers show you. Or take one of the many classes like the "Somebunny Loves You" class tomorrow (Tuesday, April 3rd) at 11:00 or 3:00. Or any of the great classes you see on the website.  I particularly like the "Looking Glass" project.  I love the colors and style, reminds me of days gone by - just beautiful.

Sign up for your stitching class today.  And purchase your seed beads, Swarovski crystals, gemstones or a variety of other fun and beautiful beads at Beadin' Mon!  And check back often since new supplies are constantly arriving.  View a small selection of available beads in our new online store at or stop by in person on Miller Rd, Flint