Tuesday

The Plaid Barn Review


I was super excited to finally receive my package from The Plaid Barn! 


http://www.theplaidbarn.com/deals/tiny-chrysanthemum-cabochons-80-off/

When I saw this pop up in my email, I knew I had to pick it up. If you read my blog, you know I love stud earrings, especially using flower cabs. I had never bought chrysanthemums in the past, so I was  super excited. Especially for approx. 40 pieces for $1.47? Amazing.

I ended up buying 15 sets so my total with shipping was $25 flat. It took a little over a month from order-arrival.







FIRST GLANCE:

What I first noticed was how translucent most of the cabs were.

I was really surprised. I thought they were all going to be opaque. (In the sample photographs all of the cabs were opaque.) Then I reread the fine print and it said out of 22 assorted colors; which covered the more translucent cabs.

It really is just personal preference, and I just so happen to like the more opaque colors.





Unluckily for me though, the majority of the cabs I received were more translucent.




I got about 148 opaque cabs, which would total about 4/15 sets. The remaining 11 sets were translucent  colors.





Again, there was nothing physically wrong with the more translucent cabs, I just wasn't expecting them.

This color is gorgeous-- but I did get a disproportionate amount of honestly quite dull colors. I was a bit disappointed, but I guess I just drew an unlucky bag.

Also, since I ordered 15 sets of approx. 40 pcs, so approx. 600 in all, give or take... 20? I received 557 in all.




These four colors are my favorite!

I ended  up doing the usual, bobby pins and stud earrings.





Overall, the Plaid Barn is a new company trying to smooth out its kinks. I respect that they answer customer's emails promptly. I also respect that they apologized and refunded shipping costs when they thought shipping was taking too long.

And in the end, they did deliver based on their description:



Did anyone else order the cabs, and what colors did everyone get?

- A


Friday

EARRING TUTORIAL: KITES

I like making shapes out of seed beads. Usually they are tiny triangles or circles, little playful accents.

I was experimenting with making the shapes 10x bigger and seeing if I could do anything with them. I came up with a playful 'kite' shaped earring, which is easily customizable.


You will also need pliers + wire cutters, as usual.




First you're going to have to snip a length of wire big enough to hold all your seed beads. I would say to be safe, a foot is more than plenty.





Start adding your seed beads. There are 'two' sides to the kite. First, you will add ONE side, I put 21 beads for each side, so for now, I'm putting on 21 beads.


Set it aside.




I'm using six metal beads. Slip them unto your headpins and make your usual loops. Close three of the six.





On your wire, add two of the metal beads, your length of chain, and then another metal bead.






Then add your remaining 21 seed beads to finish the other side.






Pull your two sides up to meet each other. Twist the two ends together.






You can squish the sides a little to start making your 'kite' shape.



Make your wired loop.





Slip on your stud then close the loop.






Squeeze the sides and create your sharp corners. I made my top end shorter than the bottom.





Add your remaining metal beads to your chain, making your tail (: I put mine in a cascading pattern near the base.


I also made a pair using lace instead of the metal beads.




You can add whatever you want to the tail, which I think is the genius part!






Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this playful tutorial.

- A

Monday

A couple work in progresses

So usually anytime I go somewhere different/travel, I like to hit up two places: bead stores and thrift stores. 

While I was in Rochester, I did both (:

I went to Bead Breakout and bought a couple things that totalled to about seven dollars. If you're in that area, I would recommend the shop. Tons of different items, decent pricing, great customer service.

I bought these 'evil eye' pearl beads. They're drilled through. I bought six, but one of them broke when I shut the door on the bag :( So I'm out one pair, I'm going to have an odd man out that I might have to make into a cuff?







A little freaky right? Oddly hard to look away though...



Studs are ridiculously easy to make. As long as you have the needles, you can glue on anything you want... charms, buttons, ribbons, beads, clay, anything.





I also bought a strand of pearl drops--they're shown below. Bead Breakout had a trunk show with tons of strands for cheap.





When I make earrings, I usually try to put together all the smaller components first. For this pair, that meant putting all the beads on headpins.






After I'm done with that, I lay everything out.





Almost done!







The final beads I bought at the store were these bright flat blue leaf beads.






Sometimes before I do anything, I lay down beads to try and figure out designs.

Designing is the hardest part.



I decided the best way to do this was with wire.

PROS: Looks most like my design.
CONS; Not 'flowy'-- it doesn't really dangle.

Maybe I will make it just with headpins and see how it compares.




I ended up not liking how the middle part looked where the chain was attached so I added a metal bead to mask it.




Thanks for reading!

Saturday

JEWELRY BASICS




This is a long overdue post.

I'm not a jewelry expert. My older sister taught me the basics when I was in middle school. Eight or so years later, and I haven't really strayed far from what she taught me. It's those techniques I use to create all my earrings/creations, so they have worked well for me and hopefully will work well for you (:

Also, I apologize beforehand about some of the explanations, I don't know exact technique names haha.





1. HOW TO OPEN AND CLOSE CHAINS

So you can either take wire cutters and snip your chain, or you can open a single chain link. To open the link, find the 'crease'.



Then take your pliers and press down on the crease.


This way, you can still use the links instead of snipping them (;

To close:




Take your pliers and press the link closed.















2. HOW TO MAKE A LOOP



Slide your bead onto your headpin. Bend the pin close to the bead 90 degrees.






Then use your wire cutters to snip the headpin. I think I left about half an inch? I pretty much eyeball it, and its better for the stem to be too long than too short. I usually save the remainder stem for later use.



Grip the pin at the end then curl your grip into a loop shape.











3. HOW TO MAKE A WIRE-WRAPPED LOOP


This will be using wire. First, slide your bead on a length of wire.




Then take one side and wrap it around the bead to meet the other side. Curl it around the stem still sticking out.






Wrap it around how ever many times you wish to. They look like bunny ears (; Then, you will snip that 'ear'.




Using the same technique shown in #2, take the stem and bend it 90 degrees then make your loop. Wrap it around the base.











#4. HOW TO OPEN AND CLOSE A JUMP RING




Don't open the ring like you would the chain link. But still look for the crease.





Using the flat sides of your pliers, grip one side of your jump ring. With your other hand, grip the other side. Twist.


Now to close:







Using the flat side of your pliers again, grip one side of the jump ring. Using your other hand, twist the two sides together again.















And those are your basics (; If you have any other questions, feel free to comment or email me at ask8645@gmail.com


Since I used such huge beads for this post, I had no idea what to do with them. I ordered these beads when I didn't really know about different sizes... I was shocked getting 26mm beads in the mail. Humongous. I had no idea what I was doing.


I ended up making a bracelet. Check out all the basics being used (:




Thanks and happy crafting!

- A

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