Thursday, 25 June 2015

Load shedding postponement.

So, after having to postpone class due to ‘load shedding’, a fairly common occurrence in most of the world except South Africa, (where the government/ electricity supplier turns off the city's electricity to increase their capacity as they have run out and want to collect ours!) class resumed and we fixed the watch that was giving so much trouble. Mission accomplished.
The watch fits, the battery is in and the time has come for the next project.

We made two pairs of simple earrings, one pair to match the watch and one pair to match a pearl bracelet from the first lesson.
For this project you will need:
2 earring hooks (we used French hooks)

2 flat head pins
Beads of your choice, at least 3 for each earring (not more than 5)

First step is to put your beads onto your pin in the order you want them. 
Now using a flat nose or chain nose pliers place the point just above the beads and bend the pin to 90 degrees. Do this with both earrings.

Measure off 1cm (1/2 inch) and cut the excess. Use either your beading board or a tape measure.

Using your needle nose pliers, create a loop.  Hold your pliers with the cut end of the pin near the middle without anything sticking out.

You should now have loops on the top. 
Taking your earring hook, open the loop by turning it open slightly.  Do not pull the loop open as you will not be able to make it into a neat loop again.  Slip the loop into the earring loop and twist the loop closed again. I found the picture below better than any photo I could take and it shows you the right way to open and close the loop.

Your earring is now complete.

Enjoy wearing it!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Pearls for all time

This is a quick blog on how I designed and made my new favourite shop item.
A few years back I was able to buy the most unique watch faces from a specialist shop called JC’s until  they stopped bringing them into South Africa.  The other two other shops where I buy my watch faces do not carry unique items  so I buy watch faces from them in bulk. The owner of JC’s  remembered me and informed me that they will be importing unique watch faces  again. YAY!

A few years ago I made two watches with large sun faces - the one sold immediately and the other one has been sitting on my shelf for the past 3 years.
This is the photograph of the one that sold!

I recently decided to move to more up- market beads, so I pulled apart the old watch to redesign it.  I knew I wanted something classy and made with fresh water pearls.  I toyed with the idea of pearls and crystals, but they didn’t look right.  They were good but not great.  Then I took my pearls and watch and strung the pearls and I attached a pretty old fashioned clasp. It still didn’t look right. The band looked too small and  the pearls didn’t display nicely.
I pulled the watch apart again and decided to go back to a style I know works and the watch looks perfect!    A lesson here to try, try and try again until you get it right!
It is on strong elastic (tried and tested)! With a diamante spacer to finish it off nicely. 3 beautiful strands of  creamy white fresh water pearls.  I love it. It is available on Etsy or Facebook (adiesdesigns)

Thursday, 11 June 2015

It's time for patience

For our lesson this week, we decided to make a watch.

For this project, you will need:- beading elastic, a watch face and of course beads.

To measure how much elastic you need, measure your wrist and then multiply by 3. If 

you are making an adult watch, take 17cm and multiply by 3. In my previous blog 

“string a long with me” I discussed the average sizes of people’s wrists. 

Choosing your watch face is not always as easy as it seems. First, do you want silver 

tone or bronze tone? Second, do you want a big face, small face or round face? 

Remember to choose a watch face that suits you, your beads and your design.

Next, your beads.  To choose beads you need to have in mind for what, and when, you 

will be wearing this watch.  Is it formal, everyday or office wear? Do you want the 

watch to be an attention grabber or an accompaniment to your clothes? What size 

beads do you want, small or large, depending on the watch face and your wrist?  A 

small wrist doesn’t usually wear large and chunky all that well and small beads on a 

large wrist tend to disappear.

Once you have chosen your beads, map out your pattern on your bead board. Measure 

your wrist size onto the board and then lay down your watch face and line up your 

pattern to the corresponding length.

Thread your elastic through one side of the watch and match the two ends. Make a 

note of where halfway should be i.e. if your wrist is 17cm, then starting at one end of 

the watch measure 9cm. This should be the middle. Remember we want extra length 

as the beads will take up space. 

Thread your beads in their pattern on to each end of the elastic. Once you reach half 

way, thread one side of the elastic through the opposite side of the watch. Clamp the 

other end of the elastic, (if you don’t do this, this is where the patience part comes in) 

YOU WILL DROP YOUR BEADS!!!!! Now thread the rest of your pattern onto the 

elastic until your pattern is complete.

More patience testing now as you tie a simple knot to finish off the watch so that you 

can try it on. Once again there is a good chance that you will lose your beads when 

you pull the watch on, if it is too small or, if it is too big, a tight knot will be difficult 

to open so that you can remove a few beads. 

If you got the sizing right, then go ahead and tie a surgeons knot. With the simple 

knot in place make a loop with each end, then pass one end through the centre three 

times and pull tight.  This is a strong knot and will not usually come loose. If it fits the 

pattern you can put a crimp cover over the knot to finish it off, but as the knot is 

underneath and the elastic is clear you don’t need to do this.

We did run into a few difficulties with this and while the watch looks wonderful, the 

two loops that make the watch band are different sizes. 

Patience needed again till next week’s lesson so that we can fix it. Have fun.  I would 

love to see it if you make your own. Please email me a picture and I will put it on my  


Friday, 5 June 2015

String along with me!

Last night I gave my first official jewellery making class. I have included the instructions in this blog so you can make your own.
To set up for your own project, here are a few things to have ready.
1. A basic idea of what you want to make! We made stackable bracelets in glass pearl beads on an elastic. (3 bracelets) 
2. A clean work surface with enough space to spread out a little. The dining room table is always good. 

3. A dustbin for your cut offs 

4.  Your beading tray 

5. Your beads and charms 

6. A tape measure 

7. Your beading elastic 

8.  Thread holder, this can be a spring or even a large paper clip 

9. Crimp bead covers 

10. Scissors 

11.Flat nose pliers 

12. Bead pin (to make sure the holes are open) 

14.Magnifying glass (optional, to find all the beads that drop on the floor!)

Once you know what you want to make, and which colours you want to use,  get your beads ready.  Never  go shopping for beading supplies without an idea of what you want to make, otherwise you land up with beads you may never use! (I have a large collection of those)

Gather all your things together and make yourself comfortable. 
Measure your wrist to get an estimate of how large your bracelet needs to be. The beads on the finished project will measure slightly larger than your wrist because you measure without the beads.  Most women’s wrists measure 17cm (about 6-7 inches), then add 1,5 cm (1/2 inch)to account for the beads. For a young girl the average is 15,5cm (about 5-6 inches) and for a man 20 cm (7-8) inches.

Take your elastic and, using the scissors, cut your elastic to around 8 cm (4 inches) more than you need i.e if you need 18,5cm for your bracelet add another 8 to that (7,5 inches+ 4 inches)). Place your clamp at one end, about 4 cm (1 ½  inches) in (you need the extra length to tie your knots).
Arrange your beads on your bead tray in the pattern that you want. If you are using one colour just lay the beads out.

As we used the glass pearl beads which are inexpensive and perfect for a first project, they don’t always have their holes open and you will need to put the bead pin through them all, otherwise you will struggle when stringing them.

Thread all your beads onto your elastic. You will definitely drop a few onto the floor it is inevitable! Leave another 4 cm (1 ½  inches) at the end.
Before your finish off make sure the bracelet fits you the way you want, by also threading the end into the clamp. Once you are happy with it, tie it off.

Take off the clamp at the other end and you are ready to tie your knot. You need to tie at least three ordinary knots to make it secure. Or a surgeons knot, to do this take the two ends and cross one behind the other to make a circle, bring the front  thread through the back of the circle to the front and then through again. Pull tight. Cut the extra thread off close to the knot and discard the off cuts.

Take a crimp cover and place it over your knot with the open end facing  what will be the inside of your bracelet and using the pliers close the bead.  You may need to align the ends after you have closed the bead to make it lie flush. To do this place the point of the pliers on the side and gently close, the crimp bead should then move into place.

When making the bracelet with the charm in the centre you will loop the elastic through one side and knot and crimp it before you thread your beads. You will not need the clamp as the charm will keep the beads from falling off while you work. When you have enough beads on, loop the elastic through the other end of the charm and tie a knot and cover it with your crimp bead.

Your bracelet is now ready to wear. To make stackable bracelets you would then make as many as you need following the instructions.

Kits will be  available in my shop on Monday 8th and they have enough beads to make 3 bracelets and are available in different colours.