Several years ago when I started adding crimp covers to my beaded bracelets and necklaces, I thought I would never get the hang of producing consistent results. I was convinced that the crimp covers would allow my designs to grow to the next level of finished, professional looking pieces...but the initial frustration almost started to outweigh the benefits.
Darn, those little crimp covers were small! And how were you supposed to make them look like a small bead vs. a glob of smashed sterling silver? Have you ever tried cutting off a smashed crimp bead without ruining the crimp and the jewelry wire? Ask me how I know that this is nearly impossible...ask me how I loathe starting over!
But being the persistant gal that I am, I didn't give up easily. I found a way that works for me, and that is what I am about to show you. To practice this little tutorial, you will need:
1. a finished, beaded bracelet on jewelry wire that has been crimped to the clasp
2. a crimp bead that "fits" the size of crimp you used (I use 2 x 2 mm sterling silver crimps and 3.2 mm sterling silver crimp covers from Aunties Beads.)
3. a pair of crimping pliers
First, place the crimp cover behind the crimp and hold in place with your non-dominant hand. Use your other hand to grasp the crimp bead with your pliers. I am right-handed, but this should work just as easily for lefties.
Second, use the first notch of the crimping pliers to squeeze the crimp bead *mostly* closed. Don't over-squeeze, this only takes a tiny bit of pressure with your pliers! You will still see a slight slit in the crimp bead, but it should be almost closed when you finish this step.
Finally, grasp the crimp bead in the opposite direction with the first groove of the crimping pliers. It will seem like this is going to ruin the crimp bead, but you need just a *tiny bit* of downward pressure to close up the slight slit.
Lastly, repeat the second step if the crimp bead still needs a little more closure. It is O.K. to go back and forth between the last two steps until you are happy...just don't over-squeeze!
And with a little practice, you should have perfect crimp beads time after time! Please let me know if you found this tutorial helpful...and how did your crimp beads turn out?
My Jasmine Tea Soap has been one of my bestsellers lately. I had been wanting to make a tea soap for quite awhile and a few months back created this soap recipe trying to also capture the scent of the spring-blooming jasmine vine in my own yard. In my mind, this soap needed to be an uplifting but not over-powering floral, with a soothing texture...just like a warm cup of sugared, jasmine tea!
I was extremely pleased with how the very first batch turned out! And it seems others are more and more pleased with the soap as well. Karen, one of my treasured soap buyers from Etsy, featured it on her handmade inspired website, Straight Talk on Natural Living.
She has written numerous reviews on various handmade soaps, focusing on their characteristics as shampoo bars. And even though my Jasmine Tea Soap was not originally intended for the scalp and hair, it has found a niche for those needing a soap with hair conditioning qualities, "especially in the dry winter months, it is perfect!"
Happy bubbles and conditioning for all those handmade soap addicts out there!
Simple elegance with meaningful designs...that is the way I would describe my next EtsyBead Team shop feature, The Taffy Box. Owner and designer, Koryn, creates beaded jewelry as well as hand stamped, uplifting designs. Here is her interview:
Q1: Where do you get your inspiration?
A1: Gosh! Where do I start? - nature, children, inspiring words, birds, dogs, trees, clouds, simplicity.
Q2: Is Etsy your full-time job? What other things do you enjoy?
A1: Up until last spring I taught preschool part time. Now I work full time at home on my Etsy businesses as well as fighting breast cancer, which is a job in and of itself! Lots of doctor visits and treatments, PLUS I am a mom to two high schoolers so I play the role of taxi-mom too.
Q3: What is your favorite jewelry piece from your Etsy shop and why?
A3: Right now I would have to say it is my "Blessed" heart copper necklace. I do feel incredibly blessed to be alive and to have had my cancer caught early at stage 2. I also love many of the hand stamped jewelry items I have made in the past which are on hold right now. I plan to be back in custom orders in the new year.
A4: I love the movie "Shawshank Redemption" because it triumphs justice when all odds are stacked against the wrongfully accused! My favorite animal is my puppy, Colby, a one year Golden Retriever, and favorite drink is coffee and cappucinnos! I think of coffee the minute my feet hit the floor every morning and I make my own cappuccinnos every afternoon...better than Starbucks if you ask me!
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Koryn, and took a moment to visit her shop. Leave us a comment!
This is the first in a series of features on fellow EtsyBead Team members.
It is sometimes easy to diminish the "art factor" when it comes to designing beaded jewelry...but after you read and see the lovely creations by Kelly of Beadliotheque, I'm sure you will agree there is much art involved here! I asked Kelly to answer a few questions about her work and her life:
Q1: You have a unique style to your jewelry. Where do you get your inspiration?
A1: My inspiration comes from the materials I typically gravitate to. It might be an extraordinary piece of lampwork, a fancy gemstone, an unusuaI ceramic button, a carved bone bead, etc. But there is always something unique about one element in each piece that I do that started the "creative juices" flowing. I work very diligently to challenge myself to put "unlikely to get along" materials in a complimentary situation. That means that I have to look at the materials and find common ground among them.
Typically for me it's color, that's the starting place where I am most comfortable and confident and it's where I have the most fun! Next is the choice of shape of the components. I tend to create mostly bracelets at the moment because it is more difficult to find "great combinations" of elements in a shorter piece. Working out the mechanics of the closure is also challenging but very satisfying when I have a finished product. Last is the overall pattern. I ask myself a lot of questions. Does the bracelet, necklace, or brooch have enough interest from the beginning to the end of the piece? Have I created the very strongest and boldest relationships among the various components? Would I take great pride in owning this particular piece of jewelry? If I answer "no" to any of these questions it's back to the drawing board.
It takes a lot of trial and effort until it comes together and you have that "magical moment" when you feel that all the elements have come together and you have created a harmonized, unique piece that someone else will also find beautiful!
Q2: Is Etsy your full-time job? What other things do you enjoy?
A2: My etsy shops are my full time work. I also have a destash shop, Beadlstyx, which is full of left over beads that I tend to accumulate in no time at all! This shop directly supports Beadliotheque in purchasing new supplies and keeping the bead cycle alive and well.
I have a big case of Etsyitis. I love my etsy friends and the warmth of the artistic community. It's a virtual village of constant inspiration and unique commerce like no where else! I shop, research, convo, laugh, cry and when I'm lucky enough I'm sometimes able to have show and tell with my extended family and friends. I send them emails when I'm picked for a treasury or win a contest! It's such a positive environment that it becomes addictive in the best way!
I am also a "swim Mom" and anyone that has a year round swimmer in their family knows how much time and effort is involved in pool side support.
Q3: What is your favorite jewelry piece from your Etsy shop and why?
A3: Currently in my shop I have two favorite pieces one is "Sunshine and Cupcakes". I absolutely love the lampwork by CharlestonBeadworks and "Twylight" with the most precious button toggle by Moonsie. Each of these bracelets have such a "child like" exploration of color and materials. They were both so much fun to make and l love the way they both turned out from beginning to end. Each of the artists whose work I used are lovely Etsy friends and I love being able to use and promote products made by other Etsy artists.
Tribal Rainbow is my "prodigy piece" because it made the FRONT PAGE of Etsy! One of the biggest highlights of my Etsy career!
A4: If I have to choose ONE favorite color it would have to be RED and all of its cousins, especially purple and orange.
My favorite food is DEEP DISH PIZZA!
Our family goes on an annual beach trip to Holden Beach, NC every year! We book the same house because the rear of the house faces the marsh and the intercoastal waterway to the ocean and from the front of the house it's just a short walk to the beach. It is located at the end of the island on a culdesac street so it's very quiet and peaceful.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Kelly. Please take a moment to leave a comment here and visit her shop!
For the next two weeks be sure to search Etsy for "EBTW" and "Holiday Sparkle" to find Etsy Bead Team sale items! I'm sure this theme is going to inspire some lovely items from our members. It is the perfect time to shop for yourself...I'm thinking "New Year's Eve" jewelry...or, as a gift for someone special!
Both are earring designs that incorporate faceted and ultra-sparkly rock quartz crystals. The first pair is suspended from ornate, sterling silver posts. The second pair swing from my own hand formed sterling silver earwires. Get 10% off either pair by putting "EBTW" in the notes to seller at checkout, and wait for a revised PayPal invoice.
I have two featured crafters from Etsy to share with you today. They have unique, and very different items from each other in their respective shops. But one thing they have in common are items that make me smile! And it doesn't hurt to have a little extra of that these days.
The first shop owner is Agnes of figurka design. Whimsical, bright, and colorful describe her elfin dolls and purses.
I especially love this little lime green guy with turquoise trim, and the bold but tiny purse that is perfect for an assortment of cosmetics or coins. Either will make you or a gift recipent this holiday season smile!
Be sure to check out her shop soon. Mention my shop name, DLPom, in the notes to seller at checkout, and figurka design will give 15% off your purchase through the end of November, 2008. Now that is a great deal!
The second shop, RobotLuv, belongs to Carrie. She focuses on robot patches, totes, and clothing...but the item that just makes me grin from ear to ear are her doggie sweaters. Or should I say the doggies who model her sweaters! Ellie and Cosmo sure are stylin'. Wouldn't one of these sweaters make a great gift for your canine friend this holiday?
Carrie will be launching a new website in the next few days...so be sure to check out her merchandise there as well:robotluv.com
I hope you enjoyed reading about these two Etsy crafters who make me (and others) smile!
This happens to me all the time! I'll be making my tags for a new item on Etsy and I'll think "blue." But it isn't exactly a perfect blue, maybe it is more cornflower, or royal, or azure, or denim, or cobalt? It can be so confusing that I wish I had one of those mega boxes of Crayola Crayons to help me figure it all out!
And color tags are critical to Etsy treasuries and front page features. Have you noticed the "oh so perfect" shades of biscuit, periwinkle grey, cocoa bean, and apple green?
Since it seems I always have a tag or two leftover with not a thought in my head for what to put there, I'm going to start filling those in with color names...something a little more exotic than "blue," but not as far-out as "Ship Cove." (Yes, there really is a color named "Ship Cove," but I'd bet a dime no one has ever really searched for that color on Etsy!)
So we'll see how it goes. If you want to follow along with me and play with color names for your items, here are a few helpful links:
Get ready to shop on Monday, 11/24 for my MONDAY MADNESS SALE! Please wait for a revised PayPal invoice and you will receive 10% off your total purchase, plus FREE SHIPPING! Heart today, shop tomorrow!
This sale applies to both of my DLPom LLC shops. Handcrafted Expressions is artisan jewelry at its finest with gemstones, lampwork, vintage beads, & Swarovski crystals in sterling silver and other mixed metals. Soap Sense is the best in cold processed soaps...plus other coordinating bath and beauty items:
No, it's not the rotten egg smell from a Halloween prank! This is a good smell - a clean, green, and fresh smell. And it is my new batch of Vetiver Gardener's Soap with Fuller's Earth for a mild, get-your-hands-clean wash up after potting plants or working in the yard.
Watch for the individual bars as well as a cute little gift set in my Etsy shop, Soap Sense...coming soon!
This soap also makes a great guy's gift, even if your guy is a mechanic or handyman instead of a gardener!
...for the next giveaway on October 26th featured from Handmade Showcase Giveaways! For my blog readers, I'll give you a little hint: 1) they are dangly, 2) a lovely jewel-toned color for fall, and 3) handcrafted with superb attention to detail!
In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful fall weather!
...a new soap series - Texas Herb Garden! So many wonderful herbs grow in south Texas, and since I love my own herb garden and could incorporate some of the ingredients...why not make a soap series to go along with it?
My first soap creation was Lemon Balm - a wonderful herbal lemon scent with dried lemon balm from my garden and Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) essential oil to enhance the natural scent of the lemon balm.
Secondly, a soap I've made before, but now it has a home! Rosemary Mint - the perfect blend of sweet peppermint and herbal rosemary. This one has french green clay to give it a matching, light green color...and for shaving, it is perfect!
...of my blog! So while I'm flitting around doing other things, I thought I would at least leave a pretty picture of my Rockstar Earrings, just listed on Etsy. If you love turquoise and sterling silver, these might be for you!
Remember those iolite earrings I described for Katie, Blog Contest #3 winner? Well, here they are...lucky 7, ink-blue iolite stones on each leverback earring, clustered on a linear chain. Stunning! I hope Katie likes them...
Stay tuned for the next Blog Contest, coming soon.
The random number generator chose lucky 13 as the winner for blog contest #4! It just so happens that Vanessa left comment #13 on the blog contest post, so she wins! Vanessa will get her choice of 2 soap bars, and a surprise soap dish. Congratulations, Vanessa! I'll be contacting you shortly to see what kind of soap you want.
Power came on late Saturday. Thankfully so, because the hurricane breeze was completely gone and a humid, stagnant air was settling over the neighborhood. Only those in the Gulf Coast states know what true humidity is, and it is nearly impossible to sleep without A/C. You pretty much just lay there all night and sweat.
There were some problems in the city getting FEMA supplies to the PODs (Points of Distribution). Our own governor, Rick Perry, said something like he hoped Texas would be treated as well by FEMA as those who were in the aftermath of Katrina (paraphrasing). What?!? You must be joking. There was significant political BS going on as FEMA pointed fingers at the state and local officials pointed fingers at both for the failures. In the meantime, miles and miles of cars were queueing up at the PODs and gas stations. Houston's mayor, Bill White, was quite peeved when assistance started off on the wrong foot. Local officials had to go sort out the FEMA logistics for delivering water, ice, and food so things could run smoothly. Apparently, they did not have a federal person who could handle it. Pitiful. Later, we learned that the first day of ice wasn't even provided by FEMA, but rather as a donation by the local HEB grocery store! Needless to say, there are many governmental handoffs, responsibilities, and issues that still need resolution BEFORE the next hurricane strikes.
I think this is where I'll end my Hurricane Ike journal. School has been out for a week due to power outages that are still quite noticeable. I have tons of sympathy for those who have been without power at their homes for 7 days now. But grocery stores and service stations are now opening up again. Galveston and other coastal areas can be rebuilt. The loss of life was not nearly as bad as it could have been. We will survive.
It was about noon before the rain and wind settled down enough so we could get outside. We took a few boards off the house to let some light in, and removed enough items from the garage so we could get to the generator. The power had been out for about 15 hrs., and I wanted to save my refrigerator and freezer contents from spoiling.
We inspected our house more closely, and thankfully, no damage except a leaning section of fence, and a few strange objects that had landed on our roof. Leaves and branches were just everywhere…they were piled six inches deep up against the curb, and scattered throughout the yard. With so many leaves on the ground, it was amazing that the trees still had leaves on them!
Some of our neighbors were not so lucky. Trees had fallen on houses doing roof and window damage. The oak and maple trees faired the best during the storm. The elms, pecans, and other varieties had more damage. Gutters were dangling and street lights were broken. The only sounds in the neighborhood were chain saws, generators, and sirens.
It is difficult to clean things up in rainy, wet conditions…even though the entire neighborhood was anxious to get going; it was going to take days, maybe weeks, to clean-up what happened overnight.
We have emerged from the other side of Hurricane Ike in Sugar Land, Texas. As I begin to write this on Sunday morning, I am a bit sleepless and somewhat emotionally and physically tired. The force and destructive capability of Mother Nature is tremendous, and should make any individual human being feel very small. Yet the human spirit has endurance, and an ongoing ability to look on the bright side. Despite the preparation, prolonged storm experience, and aftermath…we look immediately around us now and say, “It could have been worse,” and “thank goodness no one was hurt.” However, we now know that the same is not true for Galveston and other southeastern coastal areas. Day by day, it went something like this…
Those of us in southeast Texas didn’t have our minds on the infamous 9/11. We were checking hurricane supplies, buying last minute groceries, and topping off our gas tanks. Grocery stores were an absolute zoo with “mile long” checkout lines, and gas stations were backed up 5-6 cars deep at every pump. There was a general frenzy developing, as the storm had taken a more northern track than originally anticipated.
School was still in session so I made my way to my classroom, but my husband stayed home from work to start boarding up the windows. We have 20 windows, but it doesn’t seem like that many until you move and carry 20 heavy boards around the house, climb the ladder for many of them, and screw in 60 screws or more.
We worked until dark, finishing as much boarding up as possible, and bringing in lawn furniture, potted plants, bird feeders, and other miscellaneous yard items so they would not later turn in to flying missiles.
Friday, 9/12 & Saturday, 9/13
The alarm went off as usual around 5:00 A.M. We knew there was work to finish outside, so we were thankful to find that the winds and rain had not yet started. A quick check with the local television station confirmed we were still directly in the path of Hurricane Ike. It was still only a category 2 storm, but the winds had increased to 110 mph, and it was so broad that it filled the Gulf of Mexico in size. Some who are uninformed about hurricanes wanted to minimize its intensity. But by comparison, would you ride on the roof of a car going 110 mph? I don’t think so!
Around 6:30 P.M., the wind started to get a bit gusty, and we decided to bring our outside cat into her “apartment” for the night. She was very well behaved, and only let out a mournful meow every once in awhile. It also occurred to me that I might want photos of all my household possessions...just in case. So I went around and snapped some hurried photos of various rooms.
We lost electrical power at 9:00 P.M., and decided to try and get some rest for a few hours, anticipating that the night might be a little long and sleepless. Around 10:00 P.M. the wind was roaring so loudly that it was impossible to sleep. Within a few hours, the roaring wind was joined by loud thrashing sounds up against the house (later, we discovered it was probably fence boards that had turned into projectiles), and cracks, moans, and thuds (which were probably the trees twisting in half and falling on rooftops). We had setup camp in the closet and spent about 3 hrs. in there, in the pitch dark, just hoping we weren’t going to do a Dorothy and Oz kind of adventure.
The eye of Ike had crossed Galveston Island around 2:00 A.M. We were on the “clean” side of the storm which means we did not have the worst wind and rain that this storm had to offer, and we did not have a storm surge since we are about 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. It was still bad enough for me.
Around 6:00 A.M., the whole thing began to let up a bit, and we called parents to let them know we were still alive – fortunately, cell phones worked! Eight hours is a long time to sit through all that, especially at night, when all you have is a flashlight and transistor radio.
At first light around 7:00 A.M. the view outdoors was amazing. The back door, which was the only glass not boarded up, had about 500 maple leaves stuck to it like plaster. The patio was covered with shredded, green leaves. My manicured flowerbed was mangled. I looked up at the roof…the shingles were still there…my neighbor’s house was still there, and our focus shifted to the anticipation of the clean-up.
Saturday afternoon and the days to come in my next post…
This time it is all about the soap! Leave a comment (up to 1 comment per day) on this blog post...be sure to tell me something interesting for the day -- an observation, musing, or current event comment will do nicely. Comments with no words will be deleted!
Contest ends September 20, 2008...and on September 21, I will use this Random Number Generator to pick the winner. If your comment number matches the first number from the Random Number Generator, YOU WIN! Retail value approximately $25!
...hmmm, so what do you win? Well, remember I said it's all about the soap? You will win any two bars of soap (you pick) currently listed in my Etsy shop, Soap Sense. You will also win one of my large, upcycled soap dishes (I pick)!
One small catch...you must leave a way for me to contact you via your comment... through your blog or Etsy shop is fine, as long as I can find you!
I think that covers it. Start the comment commotion!