Friday, January 31, 2014

Bracelet of the Day: Another Nouveau SuperDuo Chain

Nouveau SuperDuo Chain Bracelet
  • 15/0 seed beads - Miyuki “Olivine” (15-458)
  • 11/0 seed beads - Miyuki “Olivine” (11-458)
  • 8/0 seed beads - Miyuki “Olivine” (8-458)(2)
  • 11/0 seed beads - Toho “Hybrid Light Beige Picasso” (11-Y306)
  • SuperDuo beads “Chalk White Copper Picasso” (65435)
  • 3mm druks “Jet Copper Picasso” (CZRD3-CT2398) *
  • 2 4mm bronze jump rings
  • Bronze magnet clasp
* I got these from Red Panda and I've never seen them anywhere else locally or online. It's one of my favorite colors in druks. They go with a lot of my beads and I love the "grungy" look of them.

You can buy this bracelet pattern HERE on Etsy.

I'm wearing another Nouveau SuperDuo Chain Bracelet today but this one looks completely different than the one I wore yesterday. This illustrates how using different kinds and colors of beads can create a totally different look. I just made this one last week and it's one of my new favorites. 

Because the druks, I did need to add the extra beads to the motifs again like on yesterday's bracelet. I also embellished the motifs this time by putting an 11/0 "Light Beige Picasso" seed bead in between the SuperDuo "V's". Just like on yesterday's bracelet, I added 8/0 seed beads on the ends for attaching the jump rings and clasp. 

The "Chalk White Copper Picasso" SuperDuo beads are another hard to find color. The only current source that I know of is this Etsy shop: WANDERING STAR BEADS. They're similar to "Chalk Lazure Blue" but darker and less blue. The color is also a bit more neutral than "Chalk Lazure Blue" but that color would work just as well with the colors I used in today's bracelet. I actually debated between them. 

To go with today's bracelet, I'm wearing some earrings that I made using Vintaj charms that I got for around $3.00 from Beadaholique and put them on some earring wires.

I'm going to post a Paint Shop Pro tutorial as soon as I choose which one to post. After all, this blog isn't just about beading.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bracelet of the Day: Nouveau SuperDuo Chain

Nouveau SuperDuo Chain Bracelet
  • 15/0 seed beads - Miyuki "Antique Silver Nickel" (15-464A)
  • 11/0 seed beads - Miyuki "Antique Silver Nickel" (11-464A)
  • 8/0 seed beads - Miyuki "Antique Silver Nickel" (8-464A) (2)
  • SuperDuo beads - "Matte Amethyst"
  • 3mm round dyed jasper beads - "Amethyst" (Beads One)
  • 2 4mm silver jump rings
  • Silver lobster claw clasp 
I thought I'd start a new feature on this blog where I will post about the beaded bracelets I wear each day. I do actually wear one every single day and have done so ever since I got started beading back in the fall of 2012. I might also post my "Earrings of the Day" if I happen to wear some handmade earrings. Today I'm wearing $2.00 earrings from Walmart that go very well with this bracelet. They're also a sort of Nouveau style. 

I made this bracelet by adapting a necklace pattern by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel at Jewelry Tales on Etsy HERE. I simply omitted the connectors between the motifs and added some loops on the ends for my clasp. I added an 8/0 seed bead on each end for attaching the jump rings. The pattern calls for 11/0 seed beads between the motifs but I've found that 3mm druks or pearls also work quite well. They do change the scale and shape of the bracelet a bit though. Because of that, I had to add an extra 15/0 seed bead to both of the inside "lines" of each motif. The motifs have a slightly different look this way but I think this gives them even more of a "Nouveau" look. 

One thing that I learned, by making this pattern a few times, is that seed beads of the motifs come out looking a lot smoother if you weave back around the outside strands at least once more at the end. You can also do this as each motif is created. Just create a motif and weave back around the outside of it once or twice until the edges smooth out. Don't use a tight tension though or you might cause them to pucker. Using FireLine also helps to keep them smooth looking but Nymo "B" thread works nearly as well. You do need to use fine thread for this pattern because you will go through some of the tiny 15/0 seed beads several times. 

For a 6-inch bracelet, I needed to make 12 motifs so that I ended up with the motifs on the ends going in the right (opposite) direction. I thought it would look odd if they both faced the same way. The length of the clasp loops and the clasp can be changed if you need to make the bracelet a little longer or shorter. You could also insert more jump rings to adjust the length. 

I've made this bracelet in several different color combinations which you will see in upcoming "Bracelet of the Day" posts when I wear them. 

Here's another view of the bracelet:

Update: Here is a photo of the earrings that I'm wearing today with this bracelet:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beading on a budget

When you're beading on a budget, like I am, you find as many ways as you can to get the beads you want/need at the lowest possible prices. That means watching for local bead shop sales and also for sales at online bead shops. A good way to stay informed of online sales is to sign up for the shop's email notifications. Some shops even offer special deals to those who are on their mailing list. It can get to be a bit like getting spam but most of it is good spam, if you know what I mean. Local shops often have an email list as well so ask about that.


It's also useful to know which shops and sites have the best prices on the various beads and findings that you use. I've found that some of the more expensive sites often have certain products that they sell cheaper than anywhere else, especially when they're having a sale on everything on the site. So, take some time to explore a lot of different sites and become familiar with what they offer. Take note of their shipping costs as well. Many offer free shipping if you spend more than a certain amount there. Here are some examples of what I mean: 
Beadaholique (online shop - note the "a" after "Bead"): If you browse through their clasps, there are quite a few nice, cheap ones that I actually like better than the fancy ones. Since the projects that I make tend to be more rustic, casual or even "grungy" in style, these inexpensive clasps suit me just fine. They are made of base metals and usually have a kind of vintage look to them that I particularly like.
Charlene's Beads: Charlene has the absolute cheapest prices on basic metallic seed beads. I buy nearly all of my bronze, copper and silver colored beads from her site. For example, a 28 gram tube of Miyuki 11/0 Dark Bronze (11-457D) seed beads would cost me around $15.00 at the local shop. I get them from Charlene for only $5.00 per 28 grams. Charlene doesn't usually offer free shipping so I wait until I need to buy a lot of beads so that the small shipping charge is spread around.
Aura Crystals on eBay: This is a "buy it now" eBay store. They sell Czech and Japanese beads for about half the price of most other sites and shops. For example, you get a hundred 3mm or 4mm fire polished beads for the price you would pay for only 50 most other places. They have very fast, free shipping on orders over $25. The drawback is that you don't know what products they will have in stock at any given time. They also have good prices on SuperDuos, druks and Tila beads. I haven't seen 50 yard spools of 6lb FireLine anywhere cheaper than Aura either.

Aria Design Studio on Etsy: She's got the largest selection of SuperDuo beads anywhere and her prices are competitive. She has a flat $3.50 shipping charge so I wait until there are several items that I want or when my friend will split an order with me.

Red Panda: Betsy has a nice selection of 3mm druks, which can be very hard to find in that size. They've also got a good selection of 3mm druks. They have good prices on 120 and 100 packs of 3mm and 4mm fire polish beads but their color selection is limited.
Check online or in your local phone book to see where there are bead shops in your area. When I first started beading, I was very happy to discover that there are four really great bead shops in my area: Beadoholique, Beads One, Spring Beads and 1960 Beads. The nice thing is that each one has a different assortment of products and price ranges. 

Beadoholique (local shop - note the "o" after "Bead"): has a huge variety of pretty much everything you could want or need for beading and they have good weekly sales. You can get inexpensive Chinese crystals there or splurge on Swarovski crystals. On my budget, I stick with the Chinavoski crystals and they work perfectly for me. Besides the crystals (bicones and rondelles), they also have a good every day price on SuperDuo beads. Ten gram bags are around $3.00 or less. The color selection is kind of limited but they also have some of the SuperDuos with the smooth, flat tops.

Beads One: They have good everyday prices on everything because they mostly sell beads from China. They have a frequent shopper card and I'm at the level where I always get 20% off my purchase of any regular price merchandise. It gets even better when they have a sale. Several times a year, they have buy one strand/get one strand free and occasionally they'll have 50% off everything. Most of their glass beads are already cheap at $1.00-$3.00 per strand so 50% off is a deal not to be missed. I get most of my bicones, rondelles and pearls from Beads One. They also have great prices on base metal findings.

I shop at Beads One and Beadoholique the most because they're the closest to where I live and they have the best selection, prices and sales. However, I do make the drive to Spring Beads a couple times a year when they have a sale. I often find things there that I haven't seen in any of the other shops or online. I've only lately explored 1960 Beads. It's a tiny shop but there are some treasures there as well. They have the largest selection of SuperDuo beads that I've seen anywhere, maybe even more colors than any online shop. They sell them in large tubes and the prices seemed very good. I seem to recall that most colors were around or under $3.00 per tube.

Be sure to also check your local craft stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michael's. They mostly sell inferior seed beads but might have some good deals on other beading supplies, especially if you've got one of their weekly 40% off coupons.

When I discovered a couple months ago that Beads One was out of my favorite bronze magnet clasps, I had to find an alternative source when they told me that it could be months before they have them back in stock. You see, they order them from China and only get shipments a couple times a year. So, I did some exploring on eBay and found that there are quite a few eBay stores that sell these Chinese clasps at wholesale prices and often offer free shipping from Hong Kong and China.

There are drawbacks with ordering from China though. Mainly that it can take up to a month to receive them but also, if you have a problem with an order, it's not economically convenient to return something if it's not right. I ran into that recently. I ordered some magnet clasps just like the ones I buy at Beads One but they sent me the wrong ones. I like the ones they sent well enough but they're not as nice as the ones I actually ordered. I've got an open case with them to see I can actually get the clasps that I ordered. I don't want a refund or exchange, I just want to know that if I order those clasps again that I'll get the right ones the next time. Also, there's a major Chinese holiday at the moment so the shop is closed until the middle of February. With the same order, I also got some bronze cylinder clasps and those are just what was advertised and they're very nice.

So, if speed and convenience are what you need, shopping eBay might not be the best option for you. If you're not in a hurry, there are some super prices to be had. For example, the clasps that I wanted come in lots of 30 pieces for only $6.99 and shipping is free. That works out to only 23-cents per clasp! I was paying $2.00 per package of two of them at Beads One minus my 20% frequent shopper discount plus sales tax.

I just want to mention that I don't make money from any of those shops that you see listed on the right side of this page (with the exception of the Amazon link to Corel Paint Shop Pro X6). I've posted those links to support the shops and sites that I use the most. I'm hoping to open an Etsy shop soon where I can sell my beadwork and digital graphics in hopes that this will help finance my hobbies.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A new blog for 2014

I've had my In the Kitchen with Linda low carb blog since last June and I've been wanting to start another one where I can post about my various craft and graphics projects. The hardest part is writing the first post but here goes...

My good friend, Teejay, got me interested in beading a little over a year ago and I've been beading up a storm ever since. It's great fun and very relaxing, at least when my thread isn't a tangled mess. Teejay and I met at Michele's Paint Shop Pro Newbie 101 forum where we are both moderators. We both love beading as well as creating digital graphics with Paint Shop Pro.

To get started, I thought I'd post about the beaded earrings that I made yesterday for my Step Mom. Both of the patterns that I used are favorites that I've used many times. The first pair were made using the free Arula Earrings pattern which I found on the Mézesmama gyöngyei blog. I didn't want to make them using Rulla beads so I tweaked the pattern in order to make them with 3mm druks or pearls instead. I've made these earrings in all sorts of different colors and they're very quick and easy to make.

I used 15/0 and 11/0 Miyuki Dark Bronze (457D) seed beads, 3mm pearls from Beads One, which is a local bead shop, and for the drops I used some oval pearls that I found in the dollar bin at Walmart.

The tutorial for the second pair of earrings comes from Nunzia Scalpore's "Easy Earrings" YouTube video. This time I only made the top section of the earrings from the video and added a dangle at the bottom of them.
I used 15/0 Miyuki Dark Bronze (457D) seed beads, 4mm black rondelles from Beads One and 6mm black bicones, also from Beads One.
Here is another favorite pair of earrings that I made from Nunzia's tutorial that have the top and bottom sections:

I'll continue posting about my beadwork and I will also post examples of some of my digital graphics projects as well as tips and tutorials. I use Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8 to create and edit my graphics (such as the background wallpaper of this blog) and Microsoft Publisher 97 to create my greeting cards, calendars and other desktop publishing projects. I do have later versions of both programs but I use those two versions most of the time.