Not all resources are created equally

The internet is a wonderful thing! It allows us to access information that in the past would have been near impossible for one to find without serious digging. This is an excellent thing for crafters because it allows us to learn new things without having to pay the hefty class costs. However, I want you to keep in mind a few things before you use internet-based resources.

1.) Be sure the resource you are obtaining new skills from doesn’t mind that you are replicating the item if you plan to sell it. (It is actually best if you put your own twist on it to make it more unique to you, anyhow).

2.) Have extra supplies. I have found that at times, the youtube videos don’t always tell you how many beads you need, how much beading wire/thread, etc. I have found myself unable to finish projects due to this. Or I have created something using the last of one type of bead and not been totally satisfied with the item and debated taking it apart completely just to use the beads for something else.

3.) If it is a two+ part video… BEWARE! I find that they often aren’t cohesive. The instructor forgets to mention pertinent info in the first video. Always watch ALL parts PRIOR to even beginning the project. I learned to make a Shambala bracelet recently and I must say… EPIC FAIL. I used a youtube video that came in parts. At the end I didn’t have enough string to tie it off appropriately since the video NEVER (not in any of the parts even) stated to leave several inches of a tail in the beginning for the tie off in the end.

4.) Just because you liked one youtube instructor for one project doesn’t mean you will like all their tutorial videos. There are several reasons for this. #1 Sometimes they are so excited to learn something new, they teach you the technique prematurely. It is still too new for them to be teaching it but they are excited! Don’t we all feel like shouting the new great things we learn from the mountain-tops? Of course! #2 They are human and have good days and bad days #3 They assume you’ve seen many of their videos and the things they say often they assume you already know (i.e. how to do a half-hitch knot, tie off, add new thread, etc) #4 They don’t realize that their viewers have different skill levels and often don’t state if it’s a beginner vs. intermediate vs. advanced level project.

5.) Just because something looks or sounds easy, doesn’t mean it actually is. I had this problem with a recent Beadwork mag project. Yes, yes, the article stated it was a level 3 project but hey, I read the instructions and thought: Piece of cake! Big fat negative!!! I spent an hour just TRYING to make a row of beads and failed! So, if you are given an idea as to the difficulty level of the project, believe them. Try simpler but similar projects and build up to your “Grand Finale”.

I am considering doing some youtube videos myself. I am going to start with the basics. Tools, bead sizes, wires, threads, etc. Start with simple things like making earrings, etc. I just find that as a student I often wonder: “well how much thread do I need”, “How many beads do I need for this project?”, “How do I do that knot?”, etc. It gets frustrating and I have kind of strayed from using youtube videos myself because I don’t like this feeling. It just stinks cause I am a visual learner and like them better than the written instructions. Let me know what you think! I know there are some great youtube instructors out there with a great following of fans/students. I would hate to spend the time doing it if no one watched 😦

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Handmade Jewelry from TheSilverFindings on Etsy

Handmade Jewelry from TheSilverFindings on Etsy.

Bead Stitched/Weaved Bracelets

Bead Stitching/bead weaving is one of my FAVORITE things to do as far as jewelry crafting goes. They turn out so beautifully it is hard not to fall in love with the results. This being said, beware of the stitches you choose to begin with (more about this later).

As I am sure many people know, bead stitching/weaving is a very old method used to make jewelry. Often times, the projects can be very inexpensive (depending on the beads you chose to use). However, they are often very time-consuming. If you make jewelry to sell as I do, please do not forget to account for the time spent on making the item. I see people charge little for items because they used mainly seed beads to create the project but the stitch and item itself is very intricate and could have taken many hours or even days to complete.

Now to the good stuff. I began bead weaving back when I was very new to the craft with a project such as this:

This is a very basic Right Angle Weave (RAW) bracelet. This particular bracelet uses Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver so it was not cheap to make in the least bit. However, it was quick and simple to make. Also, this stitch it very easy to use. In this particular bracelet I used a 49 strand flexible beading wire so the bracelet maintained some stiffness while still being very flexible. As you can see, there are many possible color combinations here. I am sure you can use other beads but I am addicted to Swarovski crystals so here ya have it. I learned this particular stitch at Bead and Wire in Seekonk. www.beadandwire.com

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Next I learned the flat spiral stitch. What a fun and beautiful stitch this is! It takes longer (but it’s not too bad) to work up than the previous bracelet but the results are gorgeous. This is when I first learned that size matters. The size of the bead you go with is very important. You must adhere to this unless otherwise stated when learning a new pattern. The Flat spiral stitch requires 6mm  beads, 4mm beads and seed beads in size 11/0. You can use rounds, bicones, ovals… what ever your heart desires! This stitch also made me realize the versatility of firepolish beads and how much I adore using them in my work. Here was my first flat spiral stitch bracelet:

I am in love with this stitch. This was my first bracelet that made me say “I made this” with a sense of pride haha. And… firepolish is gorgeous. I am sold! The possibilities for this bracelet are endless. Once you learn the logistics of the stitch you can combine all kinds of colors and/or different shapes of beads. Work up a few rows to see if you like it. If not, take it apart and try something else. I started using fireline with this project which I love. It is much softer than the wire and this bracelet is flaccid (but not flimsy). Fireline is a strong material and will not break easily. Also, fireline is thin thread so you can make multiple passes through the beads if you are more comfortable with that and that in turn will stiffen it a bit if that’s what you prefer.

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Then I learned RAW using seed beads crossed over the top of it. I love the results of this bracelet and its even easier/quicker than the previous stitch. Again, many options here. You can use different size beads if you’d like. I did. I just played around with the amount of seed beads to cross over the top to make the bracelet look more finished.  I think I learned this one in a beading mag. Once you start learning some stitches, you learn how to switch it up/make it more original to your own aesthetic. The nice part of using fireline or a beading thread is that when you have completed your bracelet, you can either attach a toggle as I have done, or weave your own. Also, you can use many different styles of toggles as well. So here is my RAW bracelet with the seed beads crossing over:

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I really wanted to make a beaded bangle so I learned to make a brick stitch bangle. Not expensive to make if you use seed beads as I did and it only requires like 10 inches of craft wire to keep the shape of the bracelet. This stitch was easy once you had a few rows stitched up. The first couple of rows were tough and I had to keep taking it apart because I was making mistakes left and right. It is hard-working with a few little seed beads while trying to conceptualize the pattern and keep things where they belong. Well I loved the results. This bangle is a great addition to your other bracelets. It is an awesome accent piece and its super light so it can easily be worn with other pieces. However, I have to say, when I saw this pattern my first thought was “piece of cake”. I was excited too because of the project being relatively inexpensive. However, I don’t realize that it would be as tough to start the work as it was. I also didn’t realize how LONG it would take to work it up to completion! Sheesh! I must say though, once the groundwork was laid, the brick stitch was repetitive and simple but time-consuming!!!! Either way, I would still love to make more of these:

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Now, I am working on an African Helix Stitch bracelet. I am utterly in love with it! At the time I have no pictures of my work but I’ve inserted a photo of an example just for visualization purposes. This stitch was also tough to start. Once I got a hang of it though, it’s been smooth sailing. I’ve been working on this bracelet for days already. I haven’t even counted the hours spent. I have found that this bracelet, more so any of the previous ones, looks much better with several passes of the thread through the beads. The beads tend to place better if you pass back through the accent beads after you’ve stitched a few inches. Here is the example of the African Helix Stitch:

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As time goes on, I am sure I will learn may more stitches to add into my work. In fact, I know a few others but I used them in earrings and/or rings so I won’t include them in this post as this post focuses on bracelets. You can check out my shop to see some of my other stitched items in my earrings and rings sections at www.etsy.com/shop/TheSilverFindings

I hope you enjoyed reading my post and any feedback you have would be welcome and greatly appreciated! 🙂

-L

Updating!

I’ve been told many times that I make beautiful jewelry. However, I use my cell phone to take pictures of it, don’t have photography space, etc. so the beauty of it is not captured in pictures.

I was given advice by other Etsy shop owners to build a light box. I did and it was cheap. I am now using the SAME camera, using the Same factory photo editing software, taking pictures in the Same place except putting them in a lightbox and the results are astonishing.

The results are so amazing that I am going to revamp my whole shop (time-consuming I know). Actually, I’ve already begun. New banner, new logo, editing some item photos, adding new items to my shop with the better pictures, etc!!! Work, work, work but hopefully I get some results! 🙂

Here are a few Examples of the lightbox results:

Crazy, right? You can do it too! Watch the youtube lightbox tutorial. It is cheap and easy! Can’t wait to change everything!

-L

Aside

I got this cool thing from one of my local bead stores. It’s called Crystal Clay. It’s a 2 part epoxy clay that hardens without heat in 12-24 hours. You can stich chatons on it to bedazzle your jewelry, etc. It wasn’t that cheap so I only got one color (white). It was harder to do than I had expected. The chatons got caught to the beeswax covered toothpick, The clay got stuck to the toothpick and the white color came off onto the gems, and the gems caused the clay to get a bumpy look. It is obviously something you need to practice. Here are a few of my first attempts.

Again this product isn’t cheap (the clay isn’t too bad but that chatons are pricey) so I wouldn’t set the clay into a sterling silver setting just in case you are not satisfied with your first results.

This is a glass flower with a hole in the middle. I wire wrapped a ring shape and brought the metal through the middle. When the clay hardened it tightened the support between the wire and the flower.

As you can see the black isn’t too great. It actually looked better without the chatons. There was also a shimmer powder available to make the white less flat. I didn’t purchase the powder but I was I had. It would have been perfect!

All in all, its a great product. It would have come out better if I had had the powder and known that the chatons stick and the clay color can get on the chatons. Next time, I’ll work more carefully and use shimmer.

This product can be used for jewelry. It has the potential to be gorgeous. But I have also seen the black color put on the a stiletto heel and bedazzled with all clear crystals. It was really cute. DIY FTW 🙂

*If you would like to request one of these rings in a color of your preference or your size go to my Etsy page. http://www.etsy.com/shop/thesilver findings and click on the “Request Custom Item” tab on the left hand side. I assure you I am getting better at this!*

*This product can be puchased online at www.beadandwire.com (you have to find the link for classes, crystal clay class, materials*

*YouTube tutorial Crysta lClay. The video that was posted the longest time ago was made by the inventor, Debra, from bead and wire*

-L

Crystal Clay. Interesting stuff!

Wire Wrapping

<=== My very first attempt at wire wrapping. Not too bad. Not perfect but gotta start somewhere. Black Wire Wrapped Ring

<=== This is one of the projects I tried on my second say of wire wrapping. It was actually a lot easier than I expected. I think it came out cute 🙂 Lampwork Spiral Ring

<=== An Aqua Marine Ring I made. It has little spirals on the side. I get  lots of compliments on this one. I have already sold one and have a few potential buyers 🙂   Day #2. Aqua Marine Wire Wrapped Ring

<=== Another spiral design Day #2. spirals

<=== Cherry Quartz wrapped ring. Day #2. Cherry Quartz Ring

<=== Pink Crystal Heart “chaos wrap”. Day #2. Pink Crystal Heart Ring

<=== Brown Stone wire wrapped ring. Day #3. Another one I get tons of compliments on 🙂 http://www.etsy.com/listing/91971107/brown-stone-wire-wrapped-ring-silver

<=== Heart Shape Day #3. http://www.etsy.com/listing/91972480/wire-wrapped-heart-ring-silver-plated?ref=v1_other_1

<=== Double Heart Shape. Day #3. http://www.etsy.com/listing/91971927/wire-wrapped-hearts-ring-silver-plated?ref=v1_other_1

Well, that was my intro to wire wrapping. Each day I tried a few new techniques. I didn’t include every piece I made, just the different styles. Some styles were harder than other. For example, the heart shaped crystal ring was hard because the wire had to be put in from top to bottom and it was terribly difficult trying to keep the crystal from tilting or turning to the side. There has to be a simpler method but I am self-taught as it costs too much money, in my opinion, for a class you can usually figure out the method yourself. The double heart ring was very difficult because I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to wrap two wires together. Again this was a stability/slip factor. I am sure this also has a method to make it easier but…

I wish jewelry classes were cheaper. Brick and mortar jewelry stores are at risk now because everyone has begun shopping online. They need to place more of an emphasis on getting people in the store, i.e., through classes. But they often charge about 30-50 (sometimes more) just for the class, not including the materials which you are often required to buy at the store. With that said, I often do not take classes because I usually don’t have the money to buy extra materials to replicate the project several times in order for the process to stick so I end up with one piece and no clue how to make another one by the time I can buy more stuff. haha!

This is what drove me to the self-taught method. More money for more materials = more practice. It works well for me because I can remember patterns and techniques better! 🙂 This is one example of that. Hope you enjoyed the post!

-L

Hello world!

Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Hello everyone! Welcome to my blog. I am here to take you through my jewelry journey!!

I am relatively new to jewelry making. I started a few years back and stopped doing it because it was so costly. I really missed creating new pieces, so I figured I would try it out again. I’ve been gotten more positive feedback this time than last, mostly due to the abundance of social networking sites available now. I’ve also been inspired to open an Etsy seller account. Let’s see what happens!

I have learned new techniques. Wire wrapping and crystal clay being a few of the newer ones.

This blog is intended to show you the pieces I create, designs I try, designs I come up with, and new techniques I learn.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy my journey 🙂

Check out my shop on etsy!

The Silver Findings on Etsy

Follow me on twitter @SilverFindings

Find and Like me on Facebook: The Silver Findings for updates. =)

-L