I’ve been fascinated with making beaded trees lately. Unfortunately they take me forever cause I have some tendonitis in my right arm. But here’s one I recently finished 🙂 I’ve also done some basic trees, and a larger sakura tree.
Hi hi Sweet Strangelings!
Recently I’ve been trying to make new jewelry designs that are a bit darker in nature. You see, when I first started making jewelry I was just sort of indiscriminately buying supplies to try different styles and what not (BTW this is a terrible plan – I’m now stuck with a large sum of “cash” tied up in supplies that don’t match my intended brand style). So, what better place to start than skulls! 🙂 Yay!
So I’m a bit picky when it comes to skulls for my jewelry. I don’t like big obnoxious, ugly skulls, and I have an unexplainable aversion to anything Day of the Dead. I think it comes from being born and raised in NM… DOD stuff is just too common place around here.
So, here are some cool Etsy finds for skulls! I hope you’ll enjoy looking 🙂
So there are tons of carved skulls available in the loose bead market. But these are the best looking ones I’ve found. I’m not too keen on the bright bone/howlite/resin ones, which look sorta clumsy to me. But these ones from PrettyRoughDesign are made from buffalo bone, and have cranial cracklature, which is a delightful detail in my opinion. They ship from Indonesia and cost $13.50 ea + sh. So yeah, they are one the more expensive side of the spectrum. Then again, you get to choose the color (the picture shows the range from cream to dark grey).
Next up are these gold colored bird skulls. I love the look of bird skulls, which are more elegant than human ones, but I’m not keen on using real ones. Originally I was out to find natural bone colored ones (made from resin), but these gold ones are charming as well. They are 40mm long, so just a bit under 2 inches. They ship from Chinese seller BeautyYourLife and are made form zinc alloy, supposedly lead and nickle free. I would prefer gold plated brass, but oh well. 50 pieces for $12 + sh, this reflects the fact they are not gold plated.
I found a Korean supplier who has quite a few cute charms available. Among them were two skull
designs that I really liked. Both are actually beads, as opposed to charms. By now you may realize that I currently favor gold colored/plated items. These beads are gold plated, but it doesn’t mention what the base metal is. The price for the gold ones, which have a horizontal hole, is $3.40 for 2 pieces, and the black epoxy ones, which have a wide vertical hole, are $5.00 for 2 pieces. Like I said, this seller also has lots of other cute designs, if skulls aren’t your thing.
Finally, some silver ones! This have cutesy look to them, in my opinion. They seem a bit cartoon-y (deformed), without being too cartoon-y. I tried to find them being offered by a US seller, or Chinese supplier, but no such luck. So, you can find them from UK based seller beadingshaz. They are “silver color” alloy, lead and nickle free. They are fairly small: 13mm in length, which is perfect for earrings or bracelet charms. 10 cost $1.86 USD, but shipping is another $6, making them about $0.80 each (which is why I was hoping to find a Chinese supplier – usually buying it directly from China is much cheaper in regards to shipping).
Lastly, I’d like to feature the Swarovski crystal skulls, which are a relatively new addition to Swarovski’s product line (I think they came out about 1 year ago). You can find these on Etsy, or on a jewelry supply site like FireMountainGems. They are 14mm long, and have a vertical hole up through the skull. Yes, they are sorta borderline “clunky,” but the sparkle helps make up for that. Plus they make me think of Mayan crystal skulls and whatnot! They come in a variety of colors, and are about $5.60 each, depending on where you purchase them.
Okay, that’s it! Obviously there are lots of other skull charms and beads that you can find on Etsy and other sites… Like jewel-incrusted ones, day of the dead ones, kinda tribal looking ones, etc. But I prefer these more elegant ones, and hopefully in the near future I’ll be using them in some jewelry designs!
Until we meet again! 🙂
Hiya! Today I’ve got a quick tutorial for you on making stitch markers! This is great for yourself or as a gift for someone who knits. The stitch markers that we’re going to make are no-snag, so they wont damage the yarn you’re knitting with. They can also easily be made any size. ( These are closed – so they’re the kind of stitch markers you might use when knitting in the round.)
Okay…. let’s goooooo!
First lets gather some supplies:
- Beading wire, such as “Beadalon.” Please get a small diameter with high flexibility. You can get a wider selection online, if your local craft store doesn’t carry much.
- Wire cutting pliers
- Crimping pliers – or chain nose will work too
- Crimp beads. The picture shows size 0, but I actually recommend size 1. (Your wire should be able to fit through the crimp bead twice.)
- A knitting needle of the max. size you want the markers to fit.
- Main beads (in this case, acrylic stars)
- Seed beads to complement the main beads (in this case pearly white)
*When choosing your beads, please make sure they have a large enough hole to fit two strands of the wire through.*
First you want to cut small sections of wire. The exact length depends on the size stitch marker you want to make, as well as the bead (or beads) you are using. Hold your knitting needle, wrap the wire around it, and cut a section long enough. Give yourself a few centimeters extra length, for workability.
Keep the wire around the knitting needle, hold the two ends of wire together, and put them both through a crimp bead. Push the crimp bead up towards the knitting needle to tighten the loop. Don’t make it too tight though – you want to be able to easily slide the stitch marker along the needle. Crimp the crimp bead with the crimping pliers or with chain nose pliers. If using chain nose pliers, make sure it’s really tight and the crimp bead can’t move.
If you are making a set of markers, you might want to go ahead and get all of the wire sections prepared before moving on to the next step. I think it helps me keep them all a bit more uniform in regards to the tightness of the loop.
Next you’ll add your beads. I put one seed bead, one star bead, and one seed bead. Obviously this is up to you, and time to use your design sense! You can use any kind of bead that’ll fit on your wires!
*Remember that we’re always putting BOTH wire ends through – just think of them as a single strand.*
Next add another crimp bead, and crimp.
Make sure the crimp bead is secure and isn’t moving at all. Then you can trim the wires so that they end just after the crimp bead. If they seem sharp to you, use a file on the ends to round them off.
Viola! Your stitch marker is now complete! Continue on to make a matching set of 5 or 6, or make a bunch of mix-and -match ones! As you can see below, I made a large set of rainbow stars!
Hi there! Well, it’s been a while again… Lately life hasn’t been too much fun. Just a lot of stuff isn’t the way I’d like it to be and I often have trouble imagining that I’ll ever be free to live my own life…. Well, to escape from all that drama, I usually make stuff. Lately I discovered a Chinese book on handbags which all have fairy tale themes. I don’t read Chinese, but I was able to combine the images with my own sewing know-how to make a very cute Alice in Wonderland themed bag. My mom wanted to know how much I’d sell it for, but this first one I’ll probably keep (its not as professionally finished as I’d like it to be). If I do make another to sell, I think it would be in the $50 range. Does that seem too expensive? Keep in mind, all the applique has to be done by hand!
There wasn’t a pattern for the actual bag, so I had to make it up myself, and I’ve never sewn in-the-round like this before. I had to do the bag twice actually, because the first time I somehow messed up my circumference measurements.
The bag is 10.5″ in diameter, made from faux suede with interfacing (to stiffen it) and a cotton lining. The strap is long enough to be worn cross the body (my preferred arrangement), or can be adjusted to be shorter. The applique are done with a lovely 60% wool, 40% rayon felt (a Japanese brand). There’s gold colored beads, key-chain rings, and gold embroidery thread for the charm-bracelet design.
There are a few things I’ll fix for next time. I meant for the tabs which attach the D-rings to the bag to be in the seam, not sewn on the outside of the bag, but I forgot to do it, and then having done the bag twice, I got lazy and just put them on the outside. The strap could stand to be about 3 inches longer, really. And on the applique I think that I’ll do the embroidered chain (on the watch) for the top chain part of the charms bracelet (the little row of beads leading towards the upper corner of the bag).
I wanted to add a fur ball pom pom key-chain (they show it with one in the design book), but I’ve been frustrated by the fact that I can only find real-fur ones, not faux ones. Idk… I’m not strictly against fur, but since I used faux-suede, I think adding a real-fur accessory would be rather odd.
What do you think?
I found a new channel to subscribe to on YouTube. Mark Montano has a slew of cute DIY videos, but my favorite by far is this one on upcycling a vintage chair with homemade galaxy fabric. I wish I had an apartment of my own to do this! (No room here at my parent’s house). The bit about making the fabric would have made a pretty good how-to video on its own!
Additionally he has videos on making safety-pin feather designs, an Alice-in-Wonderland-esque chair and dish set, and really cute mini-hat bobby pins. He has a series called “Guy DIY” too, for the fellas out there.
While at Walgreens the other day, I happened to discover that they had some smart phone styluses for sale for $5. I bought a blue one to use with my phone. Its okay on its own, but a little plain.
So I decided to try to beautify it a little bit. All you need to do this is some rhinestones, or rhinestone stickers, and some glue. Also the little “rhinestone picker-uper” is useful if you use small rhinestones.
A few minutes later, and you have a slightly more cute stylus! Yay! If you have some tiny cabochons, you could also use those. I didn’t happen to have any that I felt were tiny enough.
Yep… it doesn’t get much easier than that!
Today I am going to show you why you don’t ever need to buy premade cord necklaces for you pendants! Seriously people, premade ones are a rip off, and if you are selling your item, they cut into your profit margin significantly! Making satin cord necklaces (or cotton cord or leather cord ones, for that matter), is really very easy and only takes a few ingredients!
Before getting into the tutorial, lets talk satin cord for a minute. This is my cord of choice. I typically prefer it over cotton and leather because it is much more flexible and therefore drapes better. Its even better than chain or ball chain in many cases, but of course this depends on the overall look you are going for.
There are two types of satin cord: Rayon and Nylon/Polyester. Rayon is a bit softer and the type that I prefer. You cannot heat seal rayon, because its mostly natural fiber, but you can use clear nail polish on the ends to keep it from fraying (Or glue, or that “no fray” stuff). Nylon/Polyester cord has a slightly stiffer body, can be heat sealed, and is the type you’ll find at Hobby Lobby in the ribbon section. Both Rayon and Nylon/Polyester Satin cord comes in a variety of colors, and in 3 sizes: Bugtail (1-1.4mm, also called “Petite #0”), Mousetail (1.5 -1.9mm, also called “Lightweight #1”), and Rattail (2mm also called “Heavyweight #2).
Check out The Satin Cord Store to buy either rayon or nylon satin cord by the yard, in 10 yard coils, or 70-yard rolls. You can also get it from Firemountain Gems – I believe theirs is nylon – in all three sized & many colors. Hobby Lobby only carries the heavyweight nylon satin cord, but its only $1.99 (or less if you go when its on sale), for 24ft (8 yards), and they have a decent variety of colors.
The rest of the supplies for this tutorial can be bought from your favorite jewelry supply store – In my case, Beadaholique, but Hobby Lobby or Michaels may also have what you need.
Okay… lets gather our materials, to make a satin cord necklace you will need:
- Petite #0 / Bugtail Satin Cord (you can choose any length, of course – 18″ is usually the shortest length for this type of necklace)
- Glue, nail polish or other sealing method
- 2 Coil cord ends to fit cord (for Bugtail, you need 1.5mm)
- 2 jump rings
- 2″ Extender chain
- Lobster clasp
- Chain Nose Pliers
- E6000 or similar permanent glue with some working time (not superglue)
To start, cut the Bugtail cord to the length you desire. Remember 18″ is usually the shortest length for these pendant necklaces. I actually prefer 21″… Obviously you can choose the length you prefer. We will be adding a 2″ extended chain, so remember to add that in when calculating the total possible length of the finished necklace.
Seal the ends of the cord. Use glue or nail polish or “no fray” if you are using Rayon cord. Use a lighter, candle, or heat tool if you are using nylon cord. A light touch is best for this step, especially with the glue or nail polish – too much and it’ll wick into the cord and discolor it.
Apply a small amount of E6000 to one of the ends of the cord. The slip the cord into the coil end. Push it all the way in. Clean up any excess glue on the cord.
Do the same with the other end of the cord. Allow the ends to complete dry… I usually leave them for about an hour or so just for good measure.
Take your pliers and clamp down the end of the coil onto the cord. I try to avoid splitting
the cord, and I try to keep the cord centered in the coil…. but it doesn’t always come out perfectly. Don’t worry too much about that. Its only crazy nit picky people like me who notice!
Put a jump ring on each end. The add a lobster clasp to one end, and the extender chain to the other end.
Voila! You have a nice satin cord necklace for your pendant! Make a whole bunch at one time, in a few colors, so that you have them on hand to add finished pendants to later!