Chain of Jewels

We love all kinds of chain, from the plain and simple to the ultra-elaborate. We decided to play around with two of our favorite types of chain: rhinestone chain, which we just started carrying at Blue Door Beads (so sparkly!!!) and ball chain, like the kind used for military dog tags, but in elegant finishes like matte gold, antique silver, and brushed copper.  We mixed the two styles of chain with different materials, such as leather, linen, wire, and other chain styles. We created a few fun pieces using various sources for inspiration, and here’s what we came up with. Enjoy!IMG_2198rhinestone_chain_wrap

Click on this photo to see the Vintaj project idea that inspired us!

Click on this photo to see the Vintaj project idea that inspired us!

This photo from honestlywtf.com shows how you can mix and match your bracelets. Très chic!

This photo from honestlywtf.com shows how you can mix and match your bracelets. Très chic!

Earring design inspired by Kolby Fehlberg-Burns.

Earring design inspired by Kolby Fehlberg-Burns.

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A Cone-incopia of Possibilities

We had a customer come in the other day who was very distraught about her current jewelry project. She had created a stunning necklace using multiple strands of seed beads, and she knew how to finish the necklace using crimp beads, but was upset that the end result was less than pleasing to the eye. We asked her if she had ever finished multi-strand pieces before, and she confessed that she had, but they had never turned out quite right. After sharing some tips & tricks with her, and having her leave with a smile on her face and a skip in her step, we decided it was the perfect opportunity for us to sing the praises of one of our favorite findings: the cone.

When it comes to finishing off a multi-strand necklace or bracelet, one of the trickiest elements of the project is making sure all of the strands are not only secure, but look nice as well. One way to achieve this is to use cones or large-hole beads to cover your finished ends of cord. Simple Crafter has a clear and concise tutorial explaining how to do this, and for those of you who know how to crimp and how to complete a wire wrap, Beading Daily has this straight-to-the-point illustration (see below):

cones_beadingdaily

We wanted to show you a few of our favorite examples of how you can use cones in your next jewelry project. Cones make great additions to earrings, too.

We also included some funny photos of other types of cones. Enjoy!

Photo of wire work bracelet courtesy of hippkittybeads. (http://www.etsy.com/shop/hippkittybeads)

Photo of wire work bracelet courtesy of hippkittybeads.

Photo of kumihimo bracelet with cones courtesy of Mrs. Beadsley's Workshop (http://mrsbeadsley.blogspot.com/2010/04/finishing-kumihimo.html)

Photo of kumihimo bracelet with cones courtesy of Mrs. Beadsley’s Workshop.

Photo of multi-strand necklace courtesy of www.beadbabe.com

Photo of multi-strand necklace courtesy of http://www.beadbabe.com

Photo of cone angel earrings courtesy of Tierra Cast.

Photo of cone angel earrings courtesy of Tierra Cast.

Leather tassel earrings by Blue Door Beads.

Leather tassel earrings by Blue Door Beads.

Leather tassel earrings by Blue Door Beads.

Leather tassel earrings by Blue Door Beads.

Chain tassel earrings by Blue Door Beads.

Chain tassel earrings by Blue Door Beads.

Traffic cone urchin sculpture

Traffic cone urchin sculpture

Traffic cone gator

Traffic cone gator

"Cone of Shame" revenge!

“Cone of Shame” revenge!

Oy to the World!

It’s December, and if this year is anything like last, that means it’s the holiday season! For many people this means decking their halls in green and red, decorating trees, and listening to Christmas carols. What you may not realize is that this year the beginning of Hanukkah falls on December 8th, so lots of people are currently decorating their homes and planning their gifts for this joyous Jewish holiday!

If you need some ideas for creating decorations for your home, a host/hostess gift, or just a little something for yourself to celebrate the Festival of Light, here are some adorable (and easy!) projects you can complete before this weekend. Have yourself a nosh (why not whip up a batch of latkes?), put on some fun Hanukkah music by Meshugga Beach Party, and get crafty!

Wax catcher from Better Homes & Gardens (bhg.com)

Wax catcher from Better Homes & Gardens (bhg.com)

Wax catcher for a candlestick

Ingredients: cardboard, scissors, decorative paper, glitter, glue, round nose pliers, wire cutters, jump rings, wire, and beads.

Cut a star shape out of the cardboard, then trim your decorative paper in a similar shape, but a tiny bit smaller. Affix paper with glue, and allow to dry. Next, apply a sheer layer of glue on top of the paper. Sprinkle with glitter, and allow glitter to dry. Once completely dry, poke small holes near the edges of your cardboard star with a needle, safety pin, or another small, sharp implement. Loop open jump rings through the holes to attach your dangles, or loop the wire of your dangles directly through the holes, and your done! For a short tutorial on how to create simple loops for your beaded dangles, click here.

Napkin rings

Napkin rings from Better Homes & Gardens (bhg.com)

Napkin rings from Better Homes & Gardens (bhg.com)

Ingredients: Memory Wire, round nose pliers, Memory Wire cutters (or other heavy-duty wire cutters), charms, and beads.

Cut a two- or three-loop piece of Memory Wire. Curl one end of the wire using your round nose pliers. Slide beads and charms on in your desired patten. When you have about 1/2 inch of wire remaining, curl the other end with your round nose pliers. Voilà! Make napkin rings in different styles for variety, or create a matching set. Either way, these make terrific host/hostess gifts!

Star of David earrings from Tierra Cast.

Star of David earrings from Tierra Cast.

Star of David earrings

Ingredients: For a full list of specific ingredients, click here. You will also need round nose pliers, chain nose or flat nose pliers for opening the jump rings, and wire cutters.

For a short tutorial on how to create simple loops for your beaded dangles, click here.

Once you’ve made your simple loops, all you need to do is use jump rings to connect your loops to the other components as shown. Make a pair for yourself and a pair for your bubbe. She deserves it!

The following projects probably aren’t ones you can complete in just a few days, but we think they’re awesome, so we’re including them anyway. 🙂 From all of us here at Blue Door Beads, Chanuka Sameach! (Happy Hanukkah!)

Beaded menorah from avivjudaica.com

Beaded menorah from avivjudaica.com

Crocodile menorah from fairtradejudaica.org

Beaded crocodile menorah from fairtradejudaica.org

Beaded menorah ornament from www.sova-enterprises.com

Beaded menorah ornament from http://www.sova-enterprises.com

Menorah earrings by http://www.etsy.com/shop/fantasybeader

Menorah earrings from fantasybeader through http://www.etsy.com

Non-denominational holiday ornaments from familyholiday.net

Non-denominational holiday ornaments from familyholiday.net