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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Florida Keepsake Necklace

Of all the souvenirs I receive and pick up in Florida, I think by far my favorite are the little jars of sand and shells.  Why do I like them?  They have so much project potential.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a cute, Swarovski crusted, keepsake necklace like the one below. You can customize the project to use any color you choose.  I chose a seaglass theme.

Supplies I Used:
One "Florida" mini-bottle sand and shell keychain souvenir with keychain removed
One 21x10.5 mm Swarovski crystal pendant (6010) in Golden Shadow (SC5152)
Two 7.2mm Swarovski crystal non-hotfix flatbacks (2028) in Mint Alabasater (hard to find)
One 7.2 mm Swarovski crystal non-hotfix flatbacks (2028) in Sand Opal
Four 6mm Swarovski crystal bicones in Sea Glass (47501514)
Four 4mm Swarovski crystal bicones in Sea Glass (47500514)
Two 6mm  heavy gauge jump ring
One 4mm heavy gauge jump ring
Three regular jump rings
Eight silver plated headpins
Swarovski crystal non-hotfix flatback mix in Turquoise and Brown combo (47509569)
Swarovski crystal non-hotfix flatback mix in Crystal (47509526)
Swarovski crystal 4.7mm 2088 Xilion Rose flatbacks in Light Colorado Topaz
36" beige organza ribbon (63800353)
36" large link silver plated copper chain (AJM-ZG-003-00031 available from Walmart)
12" 18 gauge silver plated copper wire
 E-6000 Glue
Singer brand Sew-No-More (available from Walmart)
Singer brand Fray-No-More (available from Walmart)

Tools Used:
Large Bail Making Pliers
Flush Cutters
Chain Nose Pliers (2 pair)
Round Nose Pliers
Large Yarn Needle

Techniques Required:
Wire Wrapping
Form a Loop
Jump Rings 
Cutting Chain

Skill Level: Intermediate

Craft Time:  About an hour

Put a heavy gauge jump ring through the hole of the Swarovski pendant. Connect the 4mm heavy gauge jump ring to the first jump ring and set aside.  Create 8 Swarovski crystal bicone dangles using headpins and form a loop. Set aside.

Cut 36 inches of large link chain and set aside. Cut 36 inches of organza ribbon and set aside.

Remove cork from mini-bottle. Using a toothpick smear E-6000 to the inside of the keepsake bottle necklace and replace cork.

Form a Loop at the end of the wire. Press the wire against the neck of the bottle and wrap around the neck about three times.

Take the tail of the wire just past the loop and curl backward and thread the tail back through the loop.

Create a spiral with your fingers. Adjust the wraps with round nose pliers to make sure the spiral is smooth

Wrap around the top of the cork two times and pull around and across the top of the cork.  Using the largest barrel of bail making pliers form a triple wrap and trim the wire flush against the cork.

Using a tooth pick, smear glue into the opening in the wraps of wire at the top of the bottle to secure the wire and allow to dry.

Using a toothpick, smear E-6000 onto the bottom of the bottle and one side of the bottle and begin placing on the flatbacks varying the sizes and colors.

Pick a pattern that is pleasing to you and have fun! Allow to dry.

Open the link of the chain as you would a jump ring - from side to side.

Hook it to the bail of the bottle, and slide into the last link of the other end of the chain.  Close the link.

Open a 6mm jump ring and slide on a 6mm, 4mm bicone, and close the ring. Open another jump ring, thread through the first jump ring and slide one a 6mm and a 4mm bicone.  Repeat until you get to the last jump ring. 

Use a heavy gauge jump ring and thread through the last regular jump ring and slide on the last 6mm bicone dangle, 4mm bicone dangle and the 4mm jump ring of the Swarovski pendant. Attach to the bail of the bottle.

Thread the ribbon onto the large yarn needle. Beginning at the back of the chain, skip the center link and thread through the next skipping every other link.  Make sure to leave a eight inch tail of ribbon.

Do not pull tight or the ribbon could snag on the lengths of the chain.  Pass the needle in the opposite direction of the the tail of the ribbon. 

Smooth out the chain to make sure it isn't bunched up and the ribbon isn't pulled too tight.

Tie a loose overhand knot and then a bow.  Trim the ribbon ends. Treat ends with Fray-No-More and apply a dab of Sew-No-More to the center of the bow.

If you find the "Florida" fading or chipping off, repair with a Sharpie and seal with clear fingernail polish.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What Inspires You?

I was recently asked what inspires me.  It took me a bit to pinpoint the exact thing that has truly inspired me the most.  I create jewelry, but what inspires me to create it? Who or what gives me the idea that I can do this thing that I love so much to do?  Is it nature, literature, colors, other designers, architecture?

As I thought on this for a bit, I kept drawing a blank.  I thought about the styles of jewelry I make and where does that influence come from.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  I sat down the other day to work on a new creation and then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  My inspiration comes from my dad!

Why my dad?  My dad, a Vietnam vet and cancer survivor with only an eighth grade education and Dyslexia, never knew what the word "can't" means.  He taught himself German when everyone said it would be impossible and that he wasn't smart enough to do it. He has a natural mechanical and engineering bend. He was able to study drafting and worked at Boeing in Seattle during the late 60s as a draftsman.  Can you imagine a person with only an eighth grade education doing that?!

My daddy.
He has always encouraged me to do whatever I put my mind to.  He has always told me, "If you can dream it, then you can do it".  He has always pushed me to do better, to be more creative, to think outside the box, to always try again if something didn't work the first time.  My creative passion comes from his gentle reminder that no matter what, he would always have my back.

His love and encouragement comes from a place deep rooted inside of him from our Heavenly Father.  His love for God has been in inspiration to me as well.  He has quiet in his passion for God, but you can tell my dad puts Him first in all he attempts to do.  Back in his Navy days, he was one of the few guys who would stay on the ship and read his Bible instead of partying with the rest of the crew.  After meeting up with one of his old shipmates, his fellow sailor told him that there was someone that had been wanting to find and talk to my dad. His friend placed a call.  That call was to my dad's former captain from the U.S.S. Whetstone. His former captain revealed to my dad he had became a Christian because of my dad's actions and living witness to Christ while aboard the ship. There are other shipmates that have confessed the same thing.  The life my dad lived in front of others left a mark on his captain and shipmates.

My dad knows how to live out of the Gospel of Christ.  He once told me that he had tried his best to model his life around the Beatitudes.  I can say honestly that his life truly reflects those words.  He is one of the most humble men I know and honest to a fault.  His life is an inspiration to me.  Can you guess that I'm a "daddy's girl"?  Yeah, I'm kinda partial to him.

I watch him with my boys and see how he teaches them and shows them things.  He is instilling in them that same passion for learning and figuring things out that he instilled into me and my brother. He has a passion for learning and history that most people stand in awe of.

When I look at my dad, I see a man who never stopped when people told him he wasn't smart enough or good enough.  He proved them all wrong with his "can do" attitude and pioneer spirit. He has endured so much hardship in his life, but has overcome it all.  He fought on when others would have given up.  He stood by my mom through her mental illness when most men would have walked out.  I believe it was his trust in God, prayers, and devotion to my mom that saw her through the worst time in her life.  He became a rock to her when she needed him most.

I know that I am able to push through creative blockages because I hear his voice in my ears encouraging me.  If I need someone to talk to, I call my dad.  If I am in need of a creative push, I talk to my dad.  I show him what I am working on, and he can usual work out how to make the design work when I can't see the forest for the trees.

His faith in me has carried me through some rough seas in life.  He always told me not to let any one tell me I couldn't do something because I was a girl. He taught me to do my best and to prove to myself that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".  My dad told me that I didn't have to prove to anyone else that I could do things s long as I could prove it to myself.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Little Piece of My Heart - Create Your Style with Swarovski

Cousin Corporation of America (CCA) sent me a lovely box full of Swarovski crystals from their new Create Your Style with Swarovski™ line due to hit A.C. Moore Crafts this month.

These pieces are so versatile you can mix them with so many different things. I love all things Swarovski.  :)  I'm partial I guess.

Well.....I really fell in love with the Swarovski Heliotrope heart pendant that was in the box.  Each time I looked at it, I really felt drawn to pay homage to the Purple Heart medal.  I did my research and found that the ribbon of the medal is purple with white trim and has gold accents.  So I decided to create a lovely "ribbon" using TOHO seed beads in Heliotrope and Matte Opaque White. I wanted gold somewhere, so I decided on a gold chain necklace.

I found these lovely pavé beads with purple crystals from CCA's Jewelry Basics line. I wanted to incorporate them somehow, but the pavé beads didn't quite make it to the final design.

It was a definitely a learning curve since I had never done a decrease Peyote stitch before....How hard could it be, right?  Apparently harder than it looked.  I think I had to rip it apart about four times before it would come out right.  The beauty of using TOHO beads is the large opening that allows for jump rings to slide in even with a ton of thread already in the bead.

After I got the first part done, I had to make a second flap so it would be able to slide on a chain. I stitched it all up along the sides leaving an opening for a thin chain to slide through.

 I chose a thin 14 kt gold plated copper chain from CCA's Elegance Metal Line.  I also put two of the purple crystals from the pave beads at the back connecting to a 14kt gold plated copper heart toggle also from the Elegance Metal line.

I have to say, I am very pleased with the way it turned out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SPARKLE OVER LOAD with tutorial!

Sparkle overload?  Is there even such a thing?  Sounds made up to me......hehehehehhehe.  If diamonds are a girl's best friend, then Swarovski Crystals would be a diamond's best friend.

I love the fire Swarovski has.  They are well known for their quality and brilliance. 

I love it when I get showered in these amazing crystals and crystal pearls.

I recently received an awesome haul of Swarovski crystals courtesy of Cousin Corporation of America (CCA).  Can I say....LOVE LOVE LOVE!  These fiery babies are part of the new "Create Your Style with Swarovski" line rolling out to A.C. Moore the first week of May by Cousin.  This line will be an addition to the already popular Jewelry Basics line from CCA already available at A.C. Moore.

This is very exciting news for CCA. I have to say that I am so proud of Cousin Corporation of America for being part of the prestigious the "Create Your Style with Swarovski" line.  The unparalleled quality of Swarovski meets the high standard of quality and customer service of Cousin Corporation of America.  It's a win-win combination!

I put together this little tutorial for you to enjoy as you wait for the Create Your Style with Swarovski live to become available at your local A.C. Moore.  This dainty bridal bracelet is both delicate and feminine. You can stack it with other bracelets for a little added bling or alone when you want to be a delicate flower.

Create Your Style with Swarovski Bridal Bracelet  

Skill Level: Beginner

Craft Time: Under an hour

Products Used:
Swarovski Xilion Bicone Pearl Combo in Rosaline (47515518) soon to be available from A.C. Moore
Jewelry Basics 59 pc. Starter Pack in Bright Silver (34719157)
Cord Basics Coated Beading Wire (3202102
Four 4mm Silver Plated Round Beads  (2950243)
Two Crimp Covers
Two Silver Plated Noodle Beads

Tools Used:
Chain Nose
Flush Cutters
Crimp Tool
Tape Measure
Crimp Cover Closing Pliers (Optional)

Skills Needed:

Begin my measuring your wrist for size.  Mine will comfortably fit a 7 inch bracelet, but I wanted a loose fit so a 7.5 or 7.75 inch would be perfect.

Measure and cut about 5 inches more of wire than your bracelet size.

Attach a 4mm jump ring (the smallest one in the pack) to the clasp and set aside.

Layout your design to make sure it will fit within the size parameters. You can also do a test string to make sure your design will fit within the length parameters.

I ended up not using the original noodle beads I chose because they were a bit overpowering for the design.  I wanted the crystals are to be the focal point of the bracelet, not the metal.

Here are the new noodle beads

String a crimp tube and a 6 mm jump ring (largest one in the pack) onto the beading wire and push the wire back through the crimp tube forming a loop.  Push the tube back up close to the jump ring giving yourself some space between the tube and the jump ring.

Crimp the tube with your crimping pliers.  (I use crimping pliers for this instead of flat or chain nose because the crimping pliers created a small and stronger crimp.)

Photo from
Slide a crimp cover over the crimped tube and squeeze closed with either crimp cover closing pliers or your chain nose pliers.

Adding the crimp cover gives you a finished, more professional look as well as protecting your crimp.

Thread on your design and double check your length.  Adjust as needed.

If you have trouble getting your beading wire through the noodle bead, make a bend in the wire with your fingers about a half inch from the end of the wire.  This will help the wire not catch on the edge of the noodle bead.

Thread on another crimp tube and pass the wire through the jump ring of the clasp.  Push the wire back through the tube and slide the tube close to the jump ring leaving some room and crimp.  Cover the tube with a crimp cover and close the cover.

Trim off excess wire.

Wear your bracelet in style!

Monday, March 30, 2015

What Would Happen: The Reveal we are FINALLY!  If you recall back in February, fellow ambassador Dawn Doucette issued a design challenge to the rest of us Creative Circle gals.  She selected the same group of beads and findings for each of us to create a few pieces or a lot of pieces depending on what we had time to do.

The lovely haul included gemstone beads, acrylic beads, lamp work glass beads, crystals, chain, and a few pendants/charms.  Gorgeous selection if you ask me.  Dawn did an outstanding job of picking the stash.  In addition to using this stash of goodies, we were to add in our own elements from findings to beads and of course our imaginations.

I have teased you with a few of the things I had been working on over the past few weeks. Here is the reveal of what I made using these beautiful items.

The very first piece was came very quickly as far as ideas go.  The implementation of those ideas was a completely different story.  I spend the majority of the time on this bad boy as well as the majority of my stash.  I would get one idea that would morph into another one. The end result is a lovely Bohemian queen look.  It's definitely a statement piece.

Here is a list of the product numbers I used:

1 pc   34780079 - Natural Braided Jute Cord
1 pc   34718105 - Copper Oval Link Chain
1 pc   34737022 - Natural Color Thin Hemp
2 pkg 34708555 - Metal Drop Charms- Copper
1 pkg 34708550 - Metal Flower Connectors 
1 pkg 34708213 - 45pc 6mm Rondelle Copper
6 pkg 34714101 - 9pc Gemstone Teal Marbled
1 pkg 34708494 - 115 pc Coin Charm Copper
1 pkg AJM65011128 - Peace Sign Pendant 
          (Check your local Walmart)
1 pkg AJM64011010 - Tusk Pendant
          (Check your local Walmart)
Clamp Ends/Ribbon Clamps
Copper Lobster Claw Clasp and Extender Chain 
Copper Bail
Copper Jump Rings

The next piece I created required a bit more skill.  I had somewhat of an idea in my head, but wasn't sure how it would turn out.  I sketched it out and decided to give it a go.  I hand-cut a piece of 26 gauge copper sheet metal, added in some rivets, threaded 18 gauge copper wire through the rivets,  and then added in some of the pretty dark colored gemstones and lovely smoky crystals to the center piece.

Cutting out the center part was a bit tough considering I broke two saw blades on it.  I ended up having to get it started with the saw and finishing it with my sheet metal shears.  The eyelet rivets were easy to set once I punched the holes with my metal punch.  I think this one may be my favorite piece.

Cousin products used:
34714025 - Chocolate Moss Jasper
7728022 - 4mm Crystazzi Satin Button - Light Padparadscha

For my next piece, I wanted to create a simple set.  I wanted something a bit more relaxed and easy going.  I just love these lamp work beads.

Products used:
1 pc   34718105 - Copper Oval Link Chain
1 pkg 3612742  -  Teal Ceramic-Acrylic Mix Strand
Copper findings
5 inches of 20 gauge copper wire

Make sure you check out all the ambassadors' creations by clicking the links below to go to their blogs.

Molly Moore Alexander
Allison Cooling
Lisa Crone
Dawn Doucette
Rachel Goodman Nielsen
Carolina Moore
Rebecca Goodman Utermohlen