Archive for the ‘Jewelry Design’ Category

Mala Beads for Design and Prayer

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

rudraksha seed and wood mala beadsMalas can have 54 or 27 beads, but they typically have 108 beads and are traditionally used in Buddhism for praying and counting recitations. The mala is comparable to a Catholic rosary, which has 59 beads.

Stacy tells me that Buddhists actually keep track of their recitations throughout their practice, and some malas have counters on them. Your guru may tell you to do a recitation one million times, and the extra 8 beads are for good measure in case you missed a few.

We’ve just added these Rudraksha seed and wood mala beads to Harlequin’s wood bead section. You can also wear mala beads as a necklace, or take apart the strand and combine the beads with other complementary beads in your jewelry designs. The sandalwood varieties even have a wonderful scent.

I love using wood beads in my designs, because they date so far back in history. When I wear earthy wood, seed and stone beads – I feel like I’m following the well-worn paths of ancient footsteps. Beverly shares my appreciation of wood beads and has contributed a couple of wonderful articles to our bead library about the history of wood beads and how to make wood beads yourself.

I associate the intrinsic beauty of natural wood and seed beads with fall. Imagine earthy natural stones combined with wood – especially brown, green and rust colored jasper and agate beads. Wood and stone beads work well with silver, gold, copper, bronze, brass and gunmetal – so you can really achieve a variety of jewelry styles. And all of these organic colors work beautifully with the rich, warm earth tones of your autumn wardrobe.

This summer I made a couple of sweet pieces with dark wood, turquoise and mirage mood beads, antique copper chain and findings. Another of my favorite combinations is almost-black, dark brown wood with sterling silver beads and findings.

I hope you’ll explore some new looks with wood and feel a connection with your earliest ancestors.

by Margit

Muggy Monday

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Completed Misty Monday Kitty seed bead bagThe temperature has dropped, but the humidity is way up. It was like this last night, too. I decided to stay in next to the air conditioner. The heat and humidity just drains all my energy. All I want to do is to sit in the cool and bead.

Wow, the strap is done! When did that happen? Maybe during NCIS? Guess I was on auto-pilot last night and finished the strap while I was watching TV.

Here is Mysti Kitty, done and ready to wear.

by Beverly

(Beverly has been working on this seed bead purse during the occasional misty days of summer.)

The Casino Bag

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Casino Bag Seed BeadworkI love casinos. Well, I love casinos that have buffets. Hmm, almost. I love big fancy buffets in casinos. That’s more like it. It’s the food that gets me into a casino, and the games are a definite second.

My sweetie and I used to take long drives all over Oregon. We would spend hours just watching the scenery go by and finding new restaurants. That was when we found out about casino buffets. They were big, fancy and had really good food – cheap.

John didn’t gamble, but I like penny slots. He would watch me play, shake his head in complete bewilderment and smile. He never did understand that it wasn’t the thought of winning big that made me happy. It was the flashing lights and spinning wheels that I found fascinating.

Well, one time we were at a casino (I think it was Spirit Mountain) and looking forward to an early dinner about four o’clock in the afternoon. I had a new amulet bag that looked just like a slot machine. The pattern came from Suzanne Cooper’s book Dimensions. It was gorgeous, and it felt good just playing with that ample jingly fringe I’d put on it.

There was a couple behind us in line for the buffet, and the lady asked about my bag. Well, if you know me, you know I can’t keep quiet about bead work. We started talking about beads, pouches – all sorts of things – and all the while she was fondling my casino bag as it hung around my neck on its long strap.

John and I went to our table, the couple behind us went to theirs. John and I talked a lot during dinner and it took awhile before we finished. The desserts were super good, and the coffee was very fresh. Well, the couple I had been talking to quickly finished dinner and went back to gaming.

Just as we left the restaurant area, the lady I had been talking to rushed up to me and said, “That bag is so lucky, I have to have it! How much do you want for it?” She was very excited, and I was quite startled and started to back up. She stepped right up again and, before I knew what was happening, she had a hold of the bag. At this point I was more than a little flustered, and if John hadn’t been standing right behind me, I would have bolted for the door. Being the calmer and more sensible one, John held me by the shoulders and whispered in my ear, “If you don’t want to sell it, set a really high price.” While this was happening, the lady was chattering about how much she loved the bag and how perfect it was. It was beautiful and on and on and on.

Okay, I can adjust on the fly. I took a deep breath and said, “I can’t part with it for less than eight hundred dollars.” I really thought she would be sad and go away.

Boy was I surprised when she asked, “Are hundreds okay?” I think I froze. I certainly didn’t know what to say. John came to my rescue again. He whispered, “You know, you can make another one.”

Suddenly, it hit me. Bead money! Yes, I can sell my work – if it means I can buy more beads!

I soon made another casino bag, and it was just as much fun to make as the first one. I’m not so flustered about selling my work now. It’s still a thrill when someone likes my work well enough to pay for it, but I still mostly bead for the love of beading. When I wear my beaded bags and pouches, they still make great conversation pieces. And who doesn’t love a great conversation?

by Beverly

Misty Monday

Monday, July 30th, 2012

misty monday kitty seed bead bagIt is a cool misty morning. As I look out my window I see that the trees in the distance have faded to a light pastel blue-green. The sidewalk is a little damp, and the merest whisper of a mist is falling ever so gently. Maybe I can finish the strap in the next few days and start working on the fringe. Here is what I have done so far.

I love the kitty cat theme for my seed bead work – especially when I’m in a quiet morning beading mood. You can see a couple of other variations on this theme in my Rainy Monday post.

Oop! Here comes the sun, so I’ll pick this up when it’s misty again.

(Photo updated as of August 22)

by Beverly

When to Use Stretch Magic Cord

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Sample bracelets strung with Stretch MagicUse Stretch Magic cord for stringing bracelets and anklets when you want to avoid adding a clasp. You can use it to make rings, too.

This stretchy cord is so simple to use. You don’t need a needle or pliers. You string beads on the cord and finish your jewelry piece by tying a neat and tidy square knot – right over left, and left over right – then dabbing a little glue or clear nail polish to secure the knot. Let the glue/nail polish dry and snip off the extra cord with scissors – the only tool you’ll need besides your own hands.

Your finished piece will slip on and off like a breeze. If and when your stretchy jewelry breaks, you can restring it in minutes – and Stretch Magic is super affordable.

The drying time for the glue/nail polish is the only part that requires time, but the bracelets are otherwise completed in minutes.

I never worked with stretchy cord before, because stretch bracelets weren’t my style. I recently picked up a spool of this stringing material for my mom’s sake. She casually mentioned one day that she couldn’t wear many of her favorite bracelets anymore. She reminded me that she’s now 81 years old with arthritis in her hands, and she simply can’t work those small clasps anymore.

I restrung one bracelet on Stretch Magic cord. As is my habit, I had to restring it a second time with extra spacers, because I miscalculated the length the first time. Argh! I think I shaved a couple minutes off during my second attempt. I immediately felt like a stretchy-bracelet expert.

I’ve strung quite a few stretch bracelets now, including one for myself with double-drilled beads I’d had lying around for a few years. Every time, I’m delighted with the result. I’ll try not to get too dependent on the stretchy stuff.

Stretch Magic Bead & Jewelry Cord is a strong yet light-weight stretchy cord used for making bracelets, anklets and rings – a great choice for easy jewelry and beaded craft projects. This is the preferred stretch cord used by beaders, because it is non-fading, resilient, non-cracking and is available in different thicknesses for small or large beads. Not only is Stretch Magic easy to work and knot, it’s so comfortable to wear.

All of the bracelet kits pictured can be found in Harlequin’s jewelry-design-ideas section, along with illustrations and instructions on how to make each piece.

by Margit

Lady Angela at Oregon Country Fair

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Angela was a Fair goer long before she opened shop there. She especially loves the parades and recalls the enchanting gnome parade she once happened upon with her good buddy, Harlequin Lady Nome. Every year Angela looks forward to munching out at her favorite food booth, the Golden Avatar, where tasty Indian cuisine is served up by the Hari Krishnas. Her most memorable experience was being approached one year by a Psychedelic Flower at sunset, an enlightening encounter and magical conversation that left an indelible impression on her forever. (more…)

A Family Affair at Oregon Country Fair

Monday, June 18th, 2012

For 35 years and counting, Harlequin Lady Michele has been holding court at her Oregon Country Fair booth. At the spunky age of 15, she waltzed into the WOW Hall in Eugene and forked over her forty dollars to register a booth for her mom to showcase her oil paintings. The following year, Michele spread out her jewelry at mom’s table and, at that point, pretty much took over responsibility for their annual booth. Four beautiful bouncing babies, a marital makeover, and many enriching years later, Michele loves hanging out and selling at the Country Fair more than ever. (more…)

The Power of Color

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Knotted string necklaces in three thread and bicone color variationsMy favorite thing to do is experiment with color combinations. I am always amazed at how incredibly different a necklace with the same beads will look on a different color of thread.

These pictures show my latest creations that I have been busy making for my booth at the upcoming Oregon Country Fair. I used the same color mix of freshwater pearls but strung each necklace with a  different color of thread and crystal accents that match the thread. I used golden shadow Swarovski crystal bicones with the beige thread, jet with the black, and crystal copper with the carnelian.

I really enjoy making these necklaces knotted on silk. This technique is fast and easy, uses less beads than traditional stringing, and yields a beautiful necklace with a nice drape. Mona recently recorded a great knotted bead necklace video on this technique based on her beginning knotting class that she has been teaching for years.

Come visit me at my booth #22  at Country Fair to see the other combinations I cooked up!

by Stacy