New Year’s Resolution: Get Your Craft On!

The hectic holiday season is over, things in the shop are a little less crazy, and we finally have time to sit down and make some jewelry! We have many goals for 2015, including exploring more jewelry-making topics and mastering more jewelry-making techniques, but we definitely wanted to start the year off right by jumping right in and getting our craft on!

We found many, MANY lovely and inspiring photos of pieces we wanted to make on Pinterest, and we got busy putting our own spin on the unique — yet easy-to-do –designs. Below are just a few of our recent creations, and we hope they inspire you to be ambitious and get YOUR craft on in 2015!

Earring design  and photo courtesyt of Judie Mountain.

Earring design and photo courtesyt of Judie Mountain.

Earrings created by Lydia Chapman. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Earrings created by Lydia Chapman. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Quartz & brass necklace designed by MoonshineDivineCo on Etsy.

Quartz & brass necklace designed by MoonshineDivineCo on Etsy.

Necklace created by Lydia Chapman. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Necklace created by Lydia Chapman. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Hammered copper disc earrings design by AllowingArtDesigns on Etsy.

Hammered copper disc earrings design by AllowingArtDesigns on Etsy.

Earrings created by Lydia Chapman. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Earrings created by Lydia Chapman. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Earrings created by Lydia Chapman. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Earrings created by Lydia Chapman. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Hammered copper earrings by JudysDesigns on Etsy.

Hammered copper earrings by JudysDesigns on Etsy.

Copper earrings created by Briana Oliver. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

Copper earrings created by Briana Oliver. Photo courtesy of rerephoto.com.

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Learning To Speak The Language – Part 1: Getting Familiar with Findings

Every industry has specific lingo that the pros use to talk about different tools, supplies, and whatnot, and the beading industry is no different. Although we wouldn’t be able to explain the difference between eSATA and USB 3.0 (that’s computer-speak) or the difference between “bloom strength” and “fat bloom” (those are candy-making terms!), we CAN help you wrap your head around all of the terminology within the world of beading. Here is your first lesson in Beading Lingo 101:

Finding
Findings are basically anything within your piece of jewelry that aren’t beads or pendants. Findings are the pieces of (usually) metal that connect everything together. They include clasps, ear wires, jump rings, etc.
(See below for more on these terms.) These pieces are also commonly called “thing-a-ma-jigs” and “whoosie-whatsits,” although these are not considered to be technical terms. 😉

Clasps 
Commonly called “closures,” these come in a wide range of sizes, styles, and materials. The most common types of clasps are lobster claws, spring rings, toggles, box clasps, or magnetic clasps. These are the most frequently requested types of clasps by our customers
.

A popular clasp style is the lobster claw.

A popular clasp style is the lobster claw.

A classic clasp: the box clasp.

A classic clasp: the box clasp.

A handy clasp style: magnetic!

A handy clasp style: magnetic!

Sterling silver ear wires.

Sterling silver ear wires.


Ear Wires
Also known as “ear hooks,” these are the pieces that actually fit into the hole in your ear lobe. Ear wires come in a variety of metals and styles, and can actually be created by hand fairly easily. An earring is not technically an earring until you have added an ear wire to it
, or an earring post/clip-on component. Without a way to suspend your beaded dangle from your ear, you won’t be able to wear it!

Chain maille earrings by WovenArtJewellry on Etsy.

Chain maille earrings by WovenArtJewellry on Etsy.

 

Jump Rings 
Commonly called “O-rings”, these small metal circles are often the crucial connecting components (say THAT three times fast!) in many jewelry projects. Jump rings come in a variety of diameters and gauges, and come in either open or closed (soldered). Open j
ump rings can also be used just on their own to create elaborate designs. This technique is called chain maille and the intricate design possibilities are endless!

Crimp Beads
These tiny, tubular beads are different from other beads in that their primary purpose in life is to be squished! Crimp beads can be used as spacers in your jewelry designs if you wish, but they are usually used to attach cord to a clasp or chain. They come in different sizes to accommodate cords of different thicknesses, and they come in a wide range of metals.

Sterling silver crimp tubes.

Sterling silver crimp tubes.

A crimped crimp tube, anchoring the clasp to the loop of beading cord.

A crimped crimp tube, anchoring the clasp to the loop of beading cord.

 

 

A crimp bead covered with a crimp cover.

A crimp bead covered with a crimp cover.

Crimp Covers
Crimp covers do exactly what you would think: they cover up crimp beads! The C-shaped pieces fit around a squished crimp bead, and then you gently close the “C” with crimping pliers to form what looks like a 3mm or 4mm bead. Crimp covers give a polished look to necklaces and bracelets, and they also prevent any small pieces of cord ends from scratching the wearer.

 

 

Headpins
These straight pins are used for creating beaded dangles/earring drops. Simply stack your beads onto a pin, use round nose pliers to create a simple loop or wire wrap at the top, and voila: instant dangle! Head pins usually have a flat bottom that looks like a nail head, but they can also be found with a round ball or decorative element on the end.

Close-up of flat-headed head pins.

Close-up of flat-headed head pins.

Ice Cream Social earrings by Fusion Beads.

Ice Cream Social earrings created by Fusion Beads using headpins.


 

 

 

 

Close-up of eyepins

Close-up of eyepins

Eyepins
Like headpins, eyepins are straight pins that can be used for earrings or charms/drops. What makes eyepins different, however, is the fact that they have loops (or “eyes”) at the bottom; use round nose pliers to create a loop on the other side of your bead(s) and you now have a link that can be used in a wirework necklace or bracelet.

 Stay tuned for Part 2: Bead Styles & Shapes!

First lobster claw photo courtesy of Charm Country on Amazon. All other photos courtesy of fusionbeads.com unless otherwise noted.

So Many Colors, So Little Time!

We were delighted to see so many of our finished jewelry pieces find good homes this holiday season, but after the rush of Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s was over, we realized we were VERY low on necklaces & earrings! We needed to start replenishing our finished jewelry selection ASAP, so we turned to design-seeds.com once again for color palette inspiration, as well as Pinterest for its limitless number of jewelry design ideas. When you put them both together, the possibilities for jewelry creations are endless! The bottom four palettes from design-seeds.com were ones that we thought were not only really pretty, but had clever photos as their inspirations! We didn’t get the chance to make jewelry based on those color selections, but take a look at the fun pieces we DID create:

This sweetly vibrant color palette...

This sweetly vibrant color palette…

...was a great jumping-off point for this necklace, to which we added a punch of lime green and used 2014's "Radiant Orchid" rather than the deeper purple. Photo by Lydia Chapman for Blue Door Beads.

…was a great jumping-off point for this necklace, to which we added a punch of lime green and used 2014’s “Radiant Orchid” rather than the deeper purple. (Photo by BDB)

This glitzy and glamorous photo...

This glitzy and glamorous photo…

...inspired the colors for this earthy, wire-wrapped necklace. Photo by Lydia Chapman for Blue Door Beads.

…inspired the color combination in this earthy, wire-wrapped necklace, with a slight change in the shade of blue. (Photo by BDB)

This beachy color palette...

This oceanic color palette…

...resulted in this funky combination of strung beads and leather wrapped with waxed linen.

…resulted in this funky combination of strung beads and leather wrapped with waxed linen. (Photo by BDB)

This color inspiration....

This color inspiration….

...plus this design from ssdjewelry on Etsy...

…plus this design from ssdjewelry on Etsy…

....resulted in these fun leather & chain earrings!

….resulted in these fun leather & chain earrings! (Photo by BDB)

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Charming Chain Scrap Earrings

Most jewelry-makers have some kind of scrap jar where they keep bits & pieces of wire, oddball beads, and those funny little inch-long pieces of chain that were left over from previous necklace projects. We don’t know about you, but we here at Blue Door Beads hate throwing away anything that could potentially be used to make more fabulous jewelry. We keep our leftover scraps in a drawer rather than a jar, and the other day we decided to scrounge around in it to find our favorite bits of unusual or forgotten chain. We were inspired to make as many pairs of earrings as we could, and we like to think our finished pieces look pretty darn good. Check ’em out!

Mixing and matching chain with leather and other cords adds great texture to earrings.

Mixing and matching chain with leather, suede, or other cords adds great texture to earrings.

This fun "bubble chain" has links whose openings are big enough, you can add charms and dangles with very little effort.

This fun “bubble chain” has links whose openings are big enough to add charms and dangles with very little effort.

When you have chain that is this fun and whimsical, you don't need to add much else to make a fabulous pair of earrings!

When you have chain that is this unusual and whimsical, you don’t need to add much else to make a fabulous pair of earrings!

These two styles of chain are quite different, but since they're both made from nickel-free brass, the compliment each other.

The two styles of chain used in these earrings are quite different, but since they’re both made from nickel-free brass, they compliment each other.

We made a point to make the chain pieces slightly different lengths to add texture.

We made a point to make the chain pieces slightly different lengths to add texture.

Beads appear to "float" on beading chain, thanks to strategically placed crimp beads.

Beads appear to “float” on beading chain, thanks to strategically placed crimp beads.