All posts by oscarcassie

82cts of Gemstone in a Bracelet

So on Saturday I received a message, could I make 10 bracelets, to be sold in aid of a cancer charity. Well of course I could, instead of glass beads, or plastic I decided to give the charity a sporting chance I elected to use Gemstones.

Its hard, incredibly hard to be given a palette of colours to work towards & interrupt a logo into real beads. The issue encountered is that tablet, tv, computer screens all distort colour slightly, couple that with the camera, whether that be a phone or uber high tech digital or SLR camera used to photograph the beads for sale, not to mention the lighting conditions used to view & originally photograph under and you can start to see why selecting beads remotely is difficult.

Its also worth remembering that on the colour spectrum there are also variations of a colour, a purple shade has an entire spectrum of colour from a pale lavender through to almost black purple so even one strand of beads dyed purple, may not be exactly the same shade as the next strand of purple beads dyed purple. To illustrate this point, compare the 2 photos below, of the same beads but under 2 different lighting conditions, they give off different hues.


Obviously the Gemstones are all unique, but a lapidarist has made them in to 8mm rounds (not perfect but then they are gemstones not factory mass produced glass from moulds or plastic)

I set to the JM website, and selected a few strands:

Fushsia Quartz, Purple Dyed Quartz, Lavender Shaded Quartz and a strand of Purple Magnesite.

Each strand was roughly 160cts, 35cm in length, and contained approx. 49 beads – this is useful to know, because it enables you to calculate exactly how many strands are required to make a set number of bracelets, at a predetermined length.

10 Gemstone Bracelets, Fushsia, Purple & Lavender colours
10 Gemstone Bracelets, Fushsia, Purple & Lavender colours

Here’s the maths bit! Each bracelet contains 23 beads, I had 5 strands of beads, in 4 colours. 23 is an odd number, so obviously symmetry wasn’t going to be easy to establish, but I did decide to try and make them colour graduated, from light to dark, or dark to light depending in which way you wear the bracelet.

The great thing about gemstone bracelets is the weight, and cool sensation of the cold stone as it touches your wrist. They don’t feel or look flimsy, they have a lovely clink about them!

Crafty Betty also wanted a tag, or charm with the name on, attaching to the bracelets. Well on Sunday morning, Debbie Kershaw, stamping guest designer was on, so I did, I confess treat myself to a new set of stamping letters (lower and upper case), and a kit. Crashing Waves, check back another day to see what I actually create with it, but that was my birthday treat to me.

With CharmsNow the number of letters in the name “crafty betty” is significant, as it really doesn’t make stamping easy! I did order some large tags from JM, flower shaped but these just look ridiculously large against the 8mm gemstone bracelets, so I used some older (not silver plated) tags I already owned. These do look, “handmade”, and I think have a certain charm about them, however for my own personal taste they are too cluttered, too many letters on a small tag.


Use an ultra fine black permanent marker to mark the centre & edges of where you want the letters to be stamped.

Then use the ultra fine permanent marker to colour in the letters, this means you don’t need to worry about patinas etc.

This is the clever bit ….. Your stamp probably looks a mess after being coloured in and doodled on, but a simple wipe over with nail varnish remover on cotton wool (wearing gloves if you have gel nails like me) will remove the surface pen marks with ease. Do leave the pen to dry for a short period of time before wiping off, otherwise the pen marks in the letters may lift out too.

Adult Colouring ?

Well I was in W H Smiths this morning grabbing my mums paper (the Daily Mail) simply because they are giving away a lego kit every day this week. This involves me purchasing 2 papers, so that my nephew and son both get lego 🙂

But whilst I was also grabbing a permanent, fine tipped black marker for my metal stamping i spotted this display. A display of colouring books for adults! I so want to buy them all !

colouring for adults

Lets Hubble

Hubble I hear you say, what on earth is that?

Well, the fabulous Melanie de Miguel has launched her first book, Let’s Hubble, £24.99 from Amazon or Melanie herself @ the BeadSchool

I have met, and been taught by Melanie several times, and not only is she a fabulously creative person, she is truly an inspirational teacher.

I first learnt hubble stitch (without realising it) when I took a Beadworkers Guild class several years ago to formulate 3D cross, it was my first adventure in beading three dimensionally.

Size 8,15 and charlottes with some Rivoli’s

The pieces are all assembled separately, then pulled together at the end. One major benefit is that if one piece comes undone the rest of the structure will remain solid. I stitched this using fireline.

Beaded Cross
The final piece

So the fireline was tricky to use, normally I am a nymo girl, but the fireline being fishing wire is stronger, and with some sharp edges  & many passes through the beads I didn’t want to risk the needle piercing the nymo or it coming unthreaded.



Hubble Stitch Bracelet
This bracelet is amazing to wear, so sensual as the dagger spike beads catch your wrist, the sparkle is amazing.


This was different class, around a year later again using charlottes (japanese size 18 seeds or the equivalent of) I simply love this bracelet. It took a couple of hours initially to bead one unit, I think there are 7 units and a sliding clasp to make up the complete bracelet. Again constructed in fireline for added strength it has stood the test of time!



So, unwitttingly I can hubble, I just didn’t know it. The basis of hubble is to make those pesky picot’s perky instead of them slipping back in to the general design of the beadwork.

The book I confess I have only flicked through, but on first impressions I love it!

To start with it feels tactile, a  soft outer skin neatly disguises the spiral spine. The colours are pastel in tone, hues of green, lilacs, blues with crisp clear photography and clear instructional diagrams.

A spiral spine  in case you haven’t heard me rave about one IMG_5454previously (Kate McKinnon Geometric Beadwork Vol 1 & 2) is an absolute must for any kind of beadwork work book. If its not a spiral spine then to use the book as intended (as a pattern / stitch guide initially then as an inspirational guide for your own designs) you need to be able to lay it flat in front or at the side of your work, the last thing you need is to be fighting with a book which constantly closes shut whilst balancing a lot of beads on a beadmat!

So, instead of me continuing to ramble on, the book contains 12 twelve projects, including several twists on the basic hubble, loads of inspiration and plenty of excuses to go buy beads (lots of beads) but  I don’t want to give the game away anymore of the projects inside so if I have teased you enough to go buy a copy I can guarantee its money well spent.

Happy Beading!


JM Sunday Experience 19th April 2015

This was my second Sunday Experience at Jewellery Maker, and it was just as fun as the first time, click above and whizz to the end, you can see me on TV!

I wandered in to the workshop room blurry eyed, clutching a paper cup of McDonalds tea to see what delights Sheila Davies had managed to grab for us. (Sheila I have met many times, she is so lovely if you do ever  get the chance to go on a workshop with her, do it!)

Also on the experience was a lovely lady called Scarlett, (she had hair to match her name, lush flowing locks of scarlett wavy hair), I sat next to her. Opposite us, a mum & daughter team who had literally spent the past week at the studios, they had taken a few workshops and driven over from Hull on a mini break (now thats my kind of mini break if only I had the time (and the money)!)

Sheila, looking lovely as always gave us a selection of beady treats to chose from, I ended up with a lovely variety of shell pearls. Now I have to confess shell pearls don’t grab my imagination normally so I guess thats why the Sunday experience is such fun, the challenge is to create something in the 4 hours, with just the items provided, and these probably won’t be to your taste. The best part is, its free!

Shell Pearl Necklace
Shell Pearl Necklace

For some reason I suffered from a creative blank, my brain just didn’t want to function that morning, normally I am simply buzzing with inspiration, too many ideas that I never really know where to start! Sadly because of my creative block I wasn’t too impressed with the items I made, this necklace I do love though. It was designed with my mum in mind, she struggles to fasten necklaces up so this slips over her head with ease.

Its simple, elegant and took hardly any time at all to whip up! The sections of 3 pearls are faceted shell pearls, the singles are more a mulberry colour but with a smooth finish. The chain is silver plated, and the pearls are attached via headpins with the end snipped off & a simple loop in its place.

On air that morning was Carol, she was a fab fun presenter & host, really easy to talk too, on and off air, along with Fleur, the chainmaille expert. Going on air was more relaxed this time around, it wasn’t as scary because I had done it previously, I actually quite enjoyed the experience but just wish my brain had engaged that morning and I could of created something awesome 🙁

Mid Morning I met Rebecca (Beccy) she is truly lovely, unbelievably  was wearing the most fabulous pair of shoes with gems hanging off them! The lovely Laura Binding was waiting in the wings to go on air in the afternoon, for DI show so let the Sunday Experience peeps touch her designs. They were stunning (as always for Laura) I also got the opportunity to show her my piece inspired by her (via photo I didn’t have the piece with me sadly) but still she showed a generous amount of appreciation in support of my amateur efforts 🙂

I am going to make more of an effort to purchase kits, and review them, this Laura Binding Bangle was a kit (I reviewed a couple of months ago) as I am always intrigued how far a kit will go, this kit I ran out of the lower thinner wire gauges (0.25mm & 0.4mm) but had plenty of the 0.8mm left on the reel. I barely touched the pearls, but used half a strand of the pyrites. I find watching, and pausing the videos back on youtube helps significantly too! Am getting an expert at that 🙂 but in the meantime, i am back on the bead weaving with my beloved seed beads …. watch this space its the Beadworkers Guild annual gathering this weekend @ Daventry who knows what I will create!



Quick Tiara – Wall of Fame JM

Woohoo I got on the Wall of Fame (again)  fingers crossed for a win one day …..

With this quick make, inspired by the amazing Gemma Crow (JM Guest Designer) although mine is slightly different, this is the basis of my darling daughters easter bonnet (aka easter princess tiara) for the school competition.

I created it using 2 rose gold hair combs, a rose gold tiara band, copper wire (as it goes really well with the rose gold colour) and some shell pearls, 10mm in size, peach in colour so the entire hair piece is co-ordinated.

It appeared on the JM wall of fame Facebook page on the 23rd March 2015, it made me so smile 🙂

Pearl Tiara
Pearl Tiara


Suffragette Pendant – Auction Fever!

An Edwardian Suffragette pendant brooch recently sold at a local auction house for almost 4 times the estimate, a whooping £1800.

The brooch, whether worn or not, was a symbol of support for the suffrage movement, in a time when Gentlemen who opposed the right of votes of women on the basis amongst others that women were too emotional and therefore not logical in their thinking to hold something as powerful as the vote.

Just imagine how those suffragettes would feel less than 100 years later when we have experienced a Lady Prime Minister, Women in key cabinet posts, many women working who are also married, with children. The world has most definitely moved on, but I think this is stunning piece that carries so much history with it, I can’t imagine why the owner sold it, but the new owner I hope will hold the piece in high regard.

An Edwardian Suffragette pendant brooch, set with diamonds, emeralds and amethysts, of pierced form centred with a bow, the oval set central stone surrounded by small emeralds, above a further bow and a drop stone, with a chain back, white and yellow metal backing, unmarked, 8.5cm high, fitted in C A Barrington case.

I can’t enlarge the image very well without it being distorted, but isn’t this a fascinating piece of history. A Pendant which is also a brooch, sold at a local auction house for a whooping £1850, nearly 4 times the estimate  @ GoldingYoung Auction House in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

The Suffragettes fascinated me, the extraordinary lengths these originally society ladies or ladies of leisure, many of whom were highly educated took on “the establishment” and effectively won was inspirational.

Its almost ludicrous to think how these ladies starved themselves, chained themselves to railings, threw themselves under horse drawn carriages and even died in order to get a vote which sadly these days many people (and not just women) fail use. The extreme lengths they went too, and sheer press coverage they got, given the lack of internet (not even the ZX Spectrum was in existence in those days, and motor car was rare) was admirable.

Emmeline Pankhurst is the name many remember from history, in fact I have been to the cemetery in London where her gravestone stands proud. It was a very calm, quiet, peaceful spot to enjoy a walk from my hotel to the tube, (not the nearest tube I might add) but was an escape for a hour from the hubble and trouble of the big smoke.

The lack of women’s rights is incredible, I was shocked to discover (as one example) that a married woman was the “property” of her husband, thus this gave him the right if he chose to dress her in her Sunday best, tie a rope around her neck and take her to market to sell to the highest bidder should  he feel  he wanted to dispose of her. It’s interesting to note that whilst these markets were technically unlawful, owing to the acceptance that a husband owned a wife very little was done to bring these auctions to a halt.

Bizarrely women were not permitted to leave the home unaccompanied unless it was for charitable purposes, and  let’s  not forget that in in the early 1800’s Negro Slaves were also socially acceptable, many of whom were women, this point was used in many flyers & was fundamental in the ladies who  were heavily behind the anti slavary organisation, to the point that campaigns were driven by women, they petitioned parliament to abolish slavery, they lobbied ladies to boycott groceries who sold products from the West Indies (sugar) which enhanced and encouraged slavery.

Just incase you are interested in the Suffrage movement, there is an excellent wiki page on the subject!

In the meantime I am adding this brooch to my items I am inspired by, and will attempt to reproduce (one day!)

Wirework Cuff with Pearls

Wirework Cuff #jewellerymaker kit
Wirework Cuff

This is my finished cuff, inspired by Laura Binding, a JM Guest Designer, and using the kit.

The kit contained Bronze coloured copper wire, bronze coloured Pyrite, larger pink cultured pearls and some seed bead style tiny potato pearls.

10 Pyrites on each strand of wire, so 40 in total for the bangle portion, these are just threaded

I have lots of the kit left, and a strand of pearls that I haven’t  opened, so I may make a ring next, I will say the wire is lovely to work with, and really soft in your fingers, plyable to, but I did find it tricky not to mark it.

Using 0.6mm wire to criss cross wrap the bangle frame to add strength and then enabling the wire excess to form the hook and loop.



Jewellery Party – Happy Birthday

Jewellery Birthday Party
Jewellery Birthday Party

So last weekend we had a birthday party! A jewellery birthday party, 7 girls, all around 12 years old all wanting to make different things.

My basket was raided, absolutely raided, I took seed beads, elastic, silk cords, waxed cords, sari silks, general findings all sorts of jewellery items and the girls had such fun.

The creative juices were flowing, initially we all made a sari silk bracelet with a magnetic clasp, they each chose a silver finding to thread on, and then as the glue dried they moved on to threading seed beads on elastic or wire, they made rings, bracelets, choker necklace, long stringy necklaces, sari silk and seed bead hair grips each taking home several items, in a pretty fabric party bag.

The party was hosted by #craftybetty and some of the stringing materials we used were from #jewellerymaker, the silk was from #yarn-yarn, it was great to see the girls having fun and learning too.

IMG_5244 IMG_5245

Inspired by Laura

1.00 Bronze coloured wire, and 0.25mm wire

So, after re-winding the you-tube designer inspiration show several times I discovered that Laura Binding doesn’t follow a script, or a pattern her creations evolve.

Thus I concluded it was therefore pointless continuing to watch, as my creation no matter how hard I tried would never look like hers, as her demo piece wasn’t going to look the same as her original either!

So, on a positive note it means that what I create can’t be wrong, because I am no longer following a pattern, but am simply inspired by one of Lauras designs.

Once a good weave has been started, it needs to move to the centre of the wires, then its time to add a pearl
Once a good weave has been started, it needs to move to the centre of the wires, then its time to add a pearl

Firstly I cut 4 very long (hand to shoulder) lengths of the 1mm wire, and started to wire wrap them together in a V type weave using the 0.25mm bronze wire from the kit. I did just enough so that as I looped the weave around a pearl it encased it beautifully.




The wirework is now evolving
The wirework is now evolving…….

I then continued to weave, add pearls and bronze coated pyrites ….its not finished yet but it is evolving.

So it still looks a little disjointed, and Laura did say that she only used 10 pyrites on the band, I think I may need a few more than that! I have remembered to keep 4 strands of wire for the sides, so will see how big it finishes up once I have used up what I now call the 4 working wires.

Working Wires getting shorter
Working Wires getting shorter


Kit time! #jewellerymaker


this week I fancied trying a kit, but actually using the kit as suggested by JM, I selected this one, the vintage cuff kit inspired by Laura Binding.

My kit cost £24.95 + p&p

It contained, bronze coloured wire 0.80mm, 0.60mm and 0.25mm

Light Purple cultured poimagetato pearls 8x7mm

Bronze coated Pyrite rounds 6mm 

Lilac freshwater cultured pearl rice bead 7x5mm

Bronze potato pearls 3x2mm

I have never wire wrapped previously, and Laura’s opening lines are this is an advanced piece, oops maybe not a first attempt piece then!

So so I pull out the kit, set you tube up on the TV and off I go