Pictorial: Layered Chain Necklace in less than 10 steps

I recently created a chain style necklace that I found to be pretty popular.  A major component that I used to make this was beaded-chain, or quick links as some people call it.  I finished it up with some cone findings to give it a polished look.  The wonderful part about this necklace is that you can make it in any size you want, and mix this up with any beaded-chain that you want.

This is a great project for a beginner who is looking to bump up to intermediate.  It will take you about an hour or so, only because I took out the guess work.  Let’s get started.

You will need the following materials to complete this project:

Beaded Chain – any color, any length.  As you can see, I folded mine into quarters.  You can do thirds, halves…anything depending on the size of your necklace.

Primary Chain – Whatever layers you want to add on, make sure you have enough length for it.  Make sure length matches beaded chain folds.

Secondary Chain – You can use the same as your primary chain, but I would recommend one single strand that I very sturdy.

Two cone findings
One Alligator Clasp
Three smaller jump rings
One larger jump ring (not shown)
Two oval jump rings
2 pieces of wire (20 gauge-ish), with a loop wrapped around it.  Looping and wrapping this before getting started will save you troubles.
Basic wire working tools – pliers, needle nose, etc.

STEP ONE: Cut beaded chain and primary chain to match the same length.  Take the time to be picky about this.

STEP TWO: Open an oval jump ring and string through one side of the necklace.  This will include all strands to complete one end of your necklace, and one of the wire loops that you created:

STEP THREE:  Crush the oval jump ring with pliers to make it a little more thin so the cone finding can cover it.

STEP FOUR: Slide cone finding over wire and cover the oval jump ring:

STEP FIVE: Time to fire the bullet: wrap the wire out of the end of the cone to start to make a loop:

STEP SIX: Finalize your loop – don’t worry about sloppiness.  That’s part of the charm:

STEP SEVEN: Cut your secondary chain as long as you would like the focal part of your necklace to hang.  I would recommend no longer the just the collar bone.  Swing it around the back of your neck and look at a mirror.  Decide where you want the multi-chain necklace to begin.

STEP EIGHT: Attach your secondary chain using two of the smaller jump rings to the main portion of your necklace:

STEP NINE: Cut the secondary chain in the back.  Attach a lobster claw using your last smaller jump ring.  Add a larger, solid jump ring on the other side to complete the clasp set.

DONE!  This piece can be as versatile as you like.  Do you have ideas for variations?  Let me know.  Open her up, and be as creative with it as you can get.  I dare you ❤

Happy Thanksgiving!  ::C

Post and Run: New Vendor

Happy Turkey Times Everyone!

The Buffalo area in New York got bombed recently with snow.  Funny…did you see my preparation post about a month ago???

We are supposed to be getting some heavy snow, so everything is in place.  I have enough food and turkey fixings (except my fresh herbs!) for Thursday.  I can forage plenty for the next month.  So I’m not worried.  The only thing I am worried about is driving in that horrid weather.

Anyways, a snow bound time makes for good bead smithing and jewelry works.  So I intend to use that time to do just that.  Let me tell you about a new online vendor that I have fallen in love with:

Gifts of Joyhttp://www.giftsjoy.com

Goodness.  This place not only has a wonderful selection, offers great discounts and fabulous prices…but I am completely how quickly they ship your order.  I have been partial to Mountain Fire Gems, but Gifts of Joy is really giving MFG a run for their money.  If you are a jewelry maker and you don’t know about these people – you need to check them out.

Here are some items that I have recently listed on ETSY.

Memory wire with quality glass beads

Stretch beaded bracelets – in Amethyst and Blue Sponge Quartz

Aqua beaded and wired Statement Necklace

Aqua Shell Necklace/Bracelet/Earrings Set – This also comes in ORANGE and PURPLE.  See my site for more:

Lapis Lazuli with bronze Rondelle spacers.  Something I made for a friend.  Now it’s on my regular line:

Christmas is coming people.  So here are some kickbacks:

Be safe during this Turkey Time!  ::C

Beads on the Rise: Hiring Help

I'm always working hard

Things have been looking really good these days for my small and blossoming business.  Sales have been doing fairly well, especially with the holidays coming up.  There are so many opportunities to market and sell my beads, and of course I would love to do them all.

I’m even hosting a trunk party at my house.  I’m partnering up with a friend of a friend who is a Monet (formerly Maddison) bag dealer.  Together we will sell bags and jewelry at my house while hosting a party that is about women, fashion, fun and local artists.  I’m very, very excited about this.

There are even other opportunities that I really want to consider, especially after the holidays have settled down.  For example, I would really love to participate at Craft Shows.  I even found someone that is interested in partnering up with me, so we can share the booth costs, etc.  I have a friend who’s mom owns her own tailoring business that does really well.  He told me that his mother could sell my bracelets at her shop.  I’m even considering joining a co-op of other artist and have a presence in a store which happens to be in one of the most popular malls in the area.  Can you imagine?  My own presence in a boutique!

If you count my jewelry business, I have three jobs.  That’s right – three.  I work full time in government, part time (4 nights and 1 weekend) at my local YMCA and now this.  I have all these great assets – support, creativity, drive and so many jewelry supplies to the point where I am thinking about adding them on to the homeowner’s insurance.

Needless to say, the one asset that I do not have is time.  I really enjoy and finding time for my beads and making jewelry.  Because time is so precious, I find that I get frustrated when a project has failed.  Instead, I should be appreciating the learning experience, but my first impulse is “wow what a waste of time that was”.  That’s bad.

I recently attended a paid Webinar on how to handle your jewelry business during the holidays.  This was especially helpful for people with a strong and established customer base.  Or for folks who’s businesses are blowing up so much that they do it full time.  One of the things that was mentioned during this Webinar is the consideration to hire help.  Wow.  I couldn’t imagine.

I thought about it.  How can someone help me?  Would I even fathom the thought of taking MY hard earned dollars and throwing them at someone else to play with MY beads?

And then I started noticing some other things.  I’m having troubles keep track of my inventory.  I’m spending left and right and I have no idea how much I have invested in this business so far.  Well over four figures probably.  I’m also having problems finding the time to display my jewelry nicely so that it can be photographed.  Then cleaned up in Photoshop.  Then listing these items on my ETSY site.  All that stuff is not hard…it just takes time.  It took me 1.5 hours last night photographing and Photoshop’ing 8 new jewelry pieces.  Some of them not new, I just haven’t gotten around to PG and PS them.  I haven’t even listed all of them on my ETSY site yet.

Another big thing that really bugs me that I’m struggling to keep up with is this social media thing.  I have this WordPress blog that I paid money for a domain name.  I have a nice FB page, a Google+ presence, a Twitter account and something with Instagram.  How often do I post on these?  Hardly once a week.  And it’s a bummer, because these resources could really be strong points in driving my marketing.  It could really totally change the game.  Again – not hard…just very time consuming.  I know I am making a name for myself.  However, it’s slow.  I think if I were on top of the social media more, that progress would be more progressive.

So, I actually reconsidered the thought of hiring people some more.  If I could, I would hire TWO people:

The first person I would absolutely hire is someone to assist me with my social media.  Writing blog entries, posting on all the Social Media platforms, tracking down people to like me, friend me, follow me…anything.  This is someone that can do this at home.  They don’t need to be at my house to do this.  However, I would expect results every day.  I would want to see some kind of activity with the social stuff daily.

The next person that I would hire would be a professional cataloguer.  They would handle my inventory and finished products.  Photograph my inventory and my jewelry.  Digitally organize what I actually have in finished jewelry.  Organize all this stuff in a database somehow.  Post my finished work on ETSY for me.  Handle my online orders and requests.

I wonder how much I would pay someone to do these kinds of tasks.  Well, off to google for that one.  Again, something that I don’t have a lot of time for…research.

Colors for Fall: Orange is the new Black

Funny, I’ve been picking up a bunch of different orange beads over the last couple of weeks.  I don’t know why.  I think one of the reasons why I have been doing this is because I am so drawn to cooler colors (think purple, blue, green).  Orange seemed like a dramatic, yet safe shift for me with my bead smithing.

While I was on my most recent routine run at a local craft shop, I decided to picked up the latest copy of Bead Design Studio magazine.  And there it is, smack right on the cover: “Orange: The color of the season!”  I’m glad to see that I’m not losing my clairvoyant touch.

IMG_20140905_152838_986

While this bums me out just a little, I can understand that such a strong, warm color would be “in” for fall.  Here is the skinny on what colors are in for fall (from Bead Design Studio):

  • Warm Tones: Golden, canary, watermelon, cherry, red-orange, tangerine, crimson, and garnet
  • Cool Tones: Lemon-lime, lime, aqua-fresh, emerald, olive, navy, electric blue, and cerulean (also seen in the font of the cover of BDS)
  • Neutral Tones: Khaki, honey, cocoa, rust, dove gray, gray

Some of these colors sound a foreign to me, so I did some researching online so you can see them for yourselves.  These are some very beautiful colors!

Here are some of my recent creations in orange:

IMG_20140904_221808_802

Bottom Left: Orange Crackled Glass with Orange Pearls

Top Left: Fire Orange Agate with Orange Glass

Top Right: Fire Brown Agate with Peach Glass

Bottom Right: Orange Sodalite with Lapis Lazuli (not yet listed)

These are all really great designs and colors.  However, loud and crisp-looking jewelry is like a fresh bottle of nail polish.  It looks absolutely gorgeous in the bottle, but when you go to put it on, it’s a totally different story.  As much as I find all these colors lovely, I don’t think I could pull every single one of them off.  You’ll probably see me mostly in the neutral isle for the most part this fall.

Do you change your fashion colors season by season?  Do you try to follow the latest trends?  Or do you still do your own thing?

Extreme Bead Shopping and Makeovers

Date: 09/01/2014
Time: 09:00 HOURS EST
Location: Dining room and kitchen

Him: “We need to go to the pet store today”
Me: “I know. Do you know where else there is a Pet Smart besides our neighborhood?”
Him: “…where?”
Me: “Crossgates Commons”

A little pause goes by…

Him: “You mean to tell me that you want to go to three different craft shops in three days??”
I just look at him wide eyed and flutter my lashes.
Him: “That’s craziness. You can’t do it – it’s never been done before.”
I’m still looking at him wide eyed.

He walks away mumbling “hooo my gaaad…”

~*~*~*~

Labor day is a pretty sad time of the year for me. It marks the end of my favorite season: summer. No more water parks. No more hanging out at the lake. People’s pools start to close. Amusement parks close down for the season. Ice cream places close down. It’s also a reminder that the season of death is going to be approaching soon. Which means that I will have to drive in crappy weather, shovel and scrape ice off my truck. What a bummer.

However, there is a sunny side to Labor Day weekend: the sales. Everyone and anyone is having a sale of some sort, and the local craft stores are no exception. My extreme beading has taken a very aggressive turn. My shipmment from BRC came in on Friday. We went to Joanne’s on Saturday night (where I saved about half of what I bought). We hit AC Moore on Sunday (again saved half). And today we will just see what Micheal’s has.

From my previous article, you can imagine that I manage to save as much money as I possibly can when I shop local. I even have my boyfriend buy stuff with the “one coupon per customer” promotions. Even with all that, they can be pretty expensive compared to what you can buy online. I currently have two favorite online stores that I will continue to shop at:

BRC Beads
Fire Mountain Gems

BRC beads actually had my shipment to me within a week, and it was free. Very impressive. Fire Mountain Gems will give you more discounts with the more you buy (naturally). However, the search features on this site are incredible and it’s worth the visit.

With all my different shopping, I craft items with beads that I have gotten from multiple sources. The agate from BRC and the glass from Joanne’s, along with those cute little spacers from Amazon. The different turquiose I got from AC Moore with some charms from that shop that I picked up when I was at Cape Cod. It’s makes it interesting, because every piece has it’s own interesting story. My peices are not just “made out for the masses”. They are all made with careful consideration and have a story on where they came from.

We also hit up home depot and bought some shelves to add to my studio. Now it looks really nice and I have lots of space. Nothing like a makeover in your creative area.

My Crafting Studio

Happy Beading! ::C

The Fish

During my beading and jewelry making adventures, I notice certain things.  I notice the colors that people are wearing.  I notice how much accessories could make up ones outfits.  I’m also starting to notice charms and other iconic-type tokens that people are into these days.  One of them being is The Fish.

Now, I love Fish.  These beasts are not only pretty tasty, but they are just cool animals in general.  They get to live in the water, they are social, and they are all different patterns.  Perhaps doing their own fashion Fish thing.  There is another reason why I love Fish: because it’s part of my real name.

So before people give their reasons why they love the whole Fish concept, I have a pretty valid and strong reason.  My sister always had “The Fish hook” when she played basketball…her and her 6’2″ self playing center.  We always had to do everything Fish when it came to the kitchen.  Fish shaped dishes, potholders, anything Fish.

So that’s when I decided to create a “signature” type of bracelet.  Nothing too fancy or off the chain.  Just a few of my pieces has one thing that stands out.  Just a simple silver Fish.  That is my trademark.

Check out how I made The Fish work on some of my pieces:

The Fish on Gray Lavendar
The Fish on some gray-lavender like beads
The Fish on Rustic Gray
The Fish on some rustic gray beads
The Fish on Indigo
The Fish with some indigo sparkly beads

I’m sure there are lots of folks out there who have one icon, one symbol that means a lot to them. Perhaps you have several. You ever wonder why? Does this entity make you happy? Inspired? Feeling safe? That’s pretty much how I feel about The Fish. So stay tuned if you want to see more about this beast in action. Now that he’s on bracelets, The Fish really is in action.