Tag Archives: seed beads

Jewellery Maker Bundle – Jan Dwyer

I have been a little disheartened lately, I randomly buy items from JM, I do try to restrict myself depending on what expenditure I have that month so in reality some months I purchase nothing others maybe one or two bundles.

I enter competition after competition, the latest one being the Alison Tarry Cat for Halloween, which I didn’t win obviously, but this week I fancied a new challenge.

My dilemma came from really wanting to do the Prong setting workshop with Alison, I could sit and study youtube, or buy a dvd but I find I learn better in the classroom environment, where there is a focus on learning, and less normal day to day stuff to distract me. However there is a big BUT ….

I find the courses at JM expensive, ok they probably aren’t in reality if you think you get a kit, you get fed, you get drinks, you don’t get a qualified trained tutor but you do get one of the designers they employ so qualified by skill I guess but as the silver clay course which I would love to do is £149, the prong setting £89 they are in my opinion a considered purchase. Currently, I work full time, I am a fully qualified accountant, I have two children, I own a house and an old car all of these things come before me, and mean that having a spare £90 + petrol money + hotel accommodation means these classes are in reality out of my budget for the time being.

So, I decided to teach myself wire work, and set myself a challenge, can I achieve all the jewellery created if I use the kit which inspired the designers?

I picked Jan’s wirework on with square wire as it felt a little different to the usual round wire.

The kit contains:

10cts Pyrite Plain Rounds Approx 2mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 0.50mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 0.80mm
3m Silver Plated Copper Square Wire Approx 1.00mm
47cts Silver Colour Coated Pyrite Graduated Plain Rounds Approx From 3 to 4mm, 30cm Strand.
50cts Black Agate With Quartz Pear Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
50cts Black Stripe Agate Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
50cts Blue Stripe Agate Faceted Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm
5cts Clear Quartz Plain Rounds Approx 2mm
60cts Black Agate With Quartz Oval Cabochon Approx 40x30mm

Watch this space to see how I get on!

JM Kit
JM Kit

National Beading Week – Jean Power Secret Beadlong




People Chain x 12




A secret beadalong I hear you ask, what on earth is that ?

The super awesome amazing Jean Power in her capacity as a #NBW ambassador created the most amazing secret beading project, which over 4000 beaders worldwide are taking part in, for FREE!

The aim is to spread the love of beading, the instructions were clear, do some preliminary beading (if you want to) and then each day during National Beading Week the next step of instructions is emailed out.

So, am running a little behind but will still get them done this weekend (I hope) the fun of course is seeing what we are making.

In the beginning it could of been a ring, a bracelet, brooch, necklace it was a complete surprise.  I also discovered that its quite tricky to select colour schemes for a project when you have no visual idea of the end piece so its been a bit a revelation in my creative mind. Afterall its tricky to pick colours at the best of time which I imagine is why kits are so hugely popular in the beading world, I tend to stick to a purple themed colour palette, so I was fairly confident that my colours regardless of the project would blend beautifully, I did however use real miniature cultured pearls in the first piece – since I discovered Jewellery Maker I avoid all fake & glass beads where possible, obviously I need to caveat that as delicas, seed beads are all glass beads and not gemstones but sadly its virtually impossible to create some of the intricate beaded designs with gemstones as they simply can’t be faceted, or made uniform enough to be used in intricate bead woven designs such as this bracelet I created

#nationalbeadweek bracelet
#nationalbeadweek bracelet using delicas 

Now the piece is coming together, and I have seen (and printed out) the instructions for days 5 & 6 I realise that it will be a pendant, and I am guessing that we just thread the pendants on the beaded chain to complete the piece (unless there is a twist!) but regardless I am happy with the Greens, Gold and Purples I used.

Preliminary Beading for Jean Powers secret beadalong challenge.
Preliminary Beading for Jean Powers secret beadalong challenge, So using 5 Rivoli’s, size 15 seed beads and some size 11 delicious here are my starting pieces. 










A beaded flower - day 3 challenge piece
A beaded flower – day 3 challenge piece using Superduo beads , size 11 seed beads 








#NBW day 1, pearls!
#NBW day 1, pearls!







Day 2 #NBW Delicas and Crystals (Bicones)
Day 2 #NBW Delicas and Crystals (Bicones)

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

Weddings in the Air

Wedding Tiara
Wedding Tiara

What is a wedding without a Hen Party?

Well, the Great British Sewing Bee is back on the TV, Celebrity Great British Baker too, why not combine the two and book a Crafternoon Hen Party at one of several beautiful venues? You can learn to sew, make a tiara, make jewellery using precious gemstones or pearls, combined with afternoon tea, and then add on a spa trip, or overnight stay to make your weekend complete.

Do contact Michelle @ CraftyBetty for more information including how to book.

Crafty Betty
Crafty Betty

Craft Fairs

I have visited lots of craft fairs, I find them full of inspiration, and buzzing with creativity, I tend to associate them with tea and cake, being a summer time affair generally, but obviously there are the Christmas versions (still with tea and cake), the Easter ones (tea and chocolate cake) but I do find them frustratingly difficult to sell at.

So, the basics of a craft fair are that the seller is registered with HMRC, if not then there could be undeclared income issues to deal with, and trust me its really worth registering as Self Employed if you are looking to make money because the fines simply weigh the meagre amount of tax you would be paying ten, twenty fold.

You need Insurance, public liability, you don’t want anyone to trip up and fall on your table leg, break a finger nail & then put in a claim against you.

Contents / Stock insurance, sadly there are people in the world not as honest as others, not to mention should the heavens open and it rains on your parade, or the Earth develops a huge fault and your table vanishes in a crater before your very eyes!

Table layout needs to be eye-catching, multi layered and not cluttered. Pricing should be clear, as should a little information about the items you are selling, its pointless selling Genuine gemstones if the potential customers don’t know they are genuine, they could just think they are overpriced plastic or glass beads.  Or perhaps its a hand crafted lampwork bead design, exquisite and totally unique.

Packaging should be simple, elegant or beautiful also, especially if the items are to be gifts, but not excessive – there is also the small chance you could charge for gift wrapping or you could throw that in as a deal clincher!

I am a huge advocate of the personal approach, smile, greet people, engage in banter and chit-chat, stand at the front of your stall proudly displaying your wares, have a story to tell about them so that a passing potential customer can form an association with the item to the point that they simply must buy it – whether it be the stone of their birth month, or that it matches the colours of their jacket. The story can include a tale of how the feature gem is only mined 2 months of the year, in freezing conditions where the miners struggle to mine enough stone to make them enough money to survive the sub-zero temperatures for the remainder of the year. How the stone is only mined from one mine in the entire world and that its drying up, or the story could be something as simple as how the design was featured in Tatler, or Tiffany’s blue book or its inspired by the necklace worn by the Mona Lisa – the physical item is only half the story in clinching the sale the balance is about the memories you can create around the piece. I can waffle forever if I need to, its easy because I am passionate about the Gems I own & collect, and the pieces I am inspired to make whether they be out of gemstones or seed beads.

I also find that a stallholder can have a huge amount of interaction with potential customers by demonstrating at their stall, but also by allowing the customer to have a go themselves, or request a custom piece. It’s truly satisfying to teach someone a new skill, I love demonstrating techniques, and discovering new techniques, stitches what works and what doesn’t with different types of beads and stringing material.

I found last year that loom band craze lent itself really well to this, and at spare table a couple of children soon had a crowd around them ooo’ing and aaaah’ing at their looming skills!

But now we come of to my big big huge massive bug bare, the big issue I have with craft fairs is that people love to look, touch, hold, gossip, but rarely part with any money.

Lets face it, the real draw of doing a fair is to make some money, now whether that be to reinvest in stock or treats for yourself at the fair or the sole source of your income without money is there any real point to exhibiting at a craft fair ?

I get constantly frustrated with guest designers on JM and the presenters when I hear the constant oooh ahhhh ooooh at the fantastic designs demonstrated on the inspiration (and the other shows) there is absolutely no doubt they are amazing, beautiful pieces of jewellery, but oooh that necklace could be sold for at least (with real emphasis on the “at least” part of that sentence) £50 what a bargain, or the banter where each piece of agate on a strand could be sold for at least £20 each making a profit of £160 come on buy them, why wouldn’t you its ridiculous not to purchase them …but seriously would you, go a craft fair and buy a necklace or any piece of jewellery from a stall holder for that kind of money?? I wouldn’t and I can see the value in the gemstones and the time taken to create the piece.

My point is not to be negative at all, it’s just that I have visited as buyer, and as a seller a variety of craft stalls, I have made many friends whilst at these fairs but each time I have done them I have barely covered my costs, certainly not if you factor in my time or effort involved in setting up, paying for the stall, paying the insurance, petrol, food / drink at the fair and asking around most sellers I have met do it for the social side, and rarely make money. I am sure they all have really good days, but in truth I think anyone who believes you can make a good consistent reliable living selling at craft fairs must be living in a cardboard box or on fantasy island, however if you do manage it please do share your selling secrets and best stall locations!

Beadweaving – Relic Pendant

So I have drifted back to Beadweaving, I always do as I find stringing beads or gemstones on a piece of wire or beading thread fairly mundane and basic, but sometimes you need basic mind numbing threading (stringing) and other times you need an intricate skilful challenge.

So I decided to pick up a kit (given to my for my birthday from my mummy), and using a few stud beads (York Beads NY) delicious delicas and tiny size 15 seed beads I re-acquainted myself with Albion Stitch (Heather Kingsley-Heath) and whipped up a case for each, I have to say Albion Stitch is an easy stitch to get your head around, once I have completed the pendant I am going to use to bead around some Cabs I purchased from Jewellery Maker. I was pleased that it only took Saturday evening, and Sunday Evening to produce 6 beaded stud beads.

I find bead weaving so relaxing, but bizarrely the seed beads are as expensive if not more expensive than genuine gemstones! The beauty of working with them, isn’t in the value for me, its detail, you can spend hours working on a piece and it will be tiny.

Heather Kingsley-Heath Relic Pendant
Heather Kingsley-Heath Relic Pendant









To put this some perspective, I spent an entire day at a bead weaving class in London last March and created a couple of the beaded 14mm’s with the dagger beads attached, the bracelet took 8 pieces to create using size 15 charlottes (tinier than size 15 seed beads) and some size 15 seed beads so I spent an entire day completing just a couple of these, I then spent hours in the evenings following the class to complete the bracelet. In this same time I could of created an entire suite of beaded necklaces, bracelets, earrings,tiaras and wire wrapped hair pieces the simple fact is that the smaller the beads, the more intricate the work involved, and the more time required to make a piece of jewellery.

This sadly is most probably the reason you won’t see this art demonstrated on Jewellery Maker, they simply don’t have the time to demo it, but also the tiny beads would I imagine be so intricate to cut, as many of the beads I believe are cut by hand in India it simply wouldn’t be feasible or economical to produce them.

Beadworkers guild workshop
Beadworkers guild workshop

Introduction to Jewellery Making

In conjunction with Crafty Betty I am hosting a 3 hour workshop in Newark, in 2 weeks time, on the 15th November.

The idea is a simple introduction to jewellery making, we will be learning a beaded daisy chain, stringing glass beads to make a couple of bracelets, a nice pearl weaving technique, a woven christmas tree decoration that can be adapted to be a pair of earrings or pendant and a pearl illusion necklace, this means you will get to make, learn and then take home approx 5 items of jewellery, but most importantly you will take home the skills to make more!

More pictures to follow, but here is the same basic daisy chain pattern but with the insertion of a bugle beads in between sets of 3 flowers …. am going to test it out with some 2mm gems shortly too, that I have in Amethyst, from JM only 10CTs worth, but they are pretty – check out the code for when they are back in stock   GDGP30

I absolutely love the tiny 2mm 3mm and 4mm rounds that JM produce, as I can reproduce some of my bead weaving techniques in genuine gemstones instead of glass japanese seed beads, and given that I tend to only buy Miyuki or Toho precision cut beads not the cheaper chinese, or czech versions widely available but it does mean they are more expensive for a pot than a strand of 2mm Amethysts from JM! how unbelievable is that ??


anyway, if you fancy joining me do contact Michelle @ CraftyBetty in Newark  it will be fun!  and if you have any technique  requests I am more than happy to help you out

Slightly Different Daisy Chain
Slightly Different Daisy Chain
Daisy Chain Bracelet
Daisy Chain Bracelet

Spiders Spiders everywhere!

And I absolutely detest them, I apologise to any spider lovers out there, but seriously some of those monsters are just ugly and HUGE, I swear they get bigger every year but still I have my trusty Henry to hand, always plugged in and ready for action – of course I leave the hose pointed upwards at all times:)  (sometimes I have been know to cling film the end too just incase the huge ones climb out ……I am just terrified of the eight legged hairy freaks

Spider Themed Hair Fascinator
Spider Themed Hair Fascinator

My friend has been invited to a Gothic themed halloween style wedding reception, its not really her thing..so I have created her a spider infused hair piece, which she can flatten the  wire woven the web over her hair if she wishes, or leave it up ……Just hope she likes it she is more at home in a pair of lycra running shorts and tee shirts than a little black dress!!

To create the comb, I took a pile of assorted wire, Silver in 1.00mm, 0.40mm and Blue coated 0.25mm, a comb, and a couple of bags of JM bead scoops, some bugle beads and a few seed beads. All of these products came from JM, with the exception of the bugle & seed beads, but are of course available in many other outlets. If you only wanted to get equipment from JM, the gemstone strands mostly have bugle beads separating the gems so you can utilise those and they sell the most wonderful 2mm gems strands which will work well too as legs.

I will say, the  JM bead scoops are simply one of my most favourite things, I own a few, and usually can’t resist when I spot them on TV. They consist of  a small bag of assorted gemstones in a colour theme, I used a purple pinks selection, and a black white selection to create the spiders. I picked out some larger shapes for the body of the arachnid and smaller ones for the heads.

Bead Scoop - Pinks & Purples
Bead Scoop – Pinks & Purples

To create a spider, I simply took a head pin, dropped on a large “body”  gemstone, a small “head” gemstone and made a loop to secure, then I took 4 strands of wire whether it be the twisted wire, or the 0.25mm blue coloured wire and wrapped each strand in the centre of the beads to create the legs. I left some spiders with just wire legs, and added loops for the feet (do spiders have feet??) I was going for the daddy long legs version of the creepy crawlies. The couple created with hearts as the body I added bugle beads and seed beads to add some chunky funky legs to resemble those freaky small fat spiders you see climbing up the walls of your living room.

Each spider was attached to the web, which was just wire wrapped 1.00mm & 0.40mm wires, then attached to the comb. I couldn’t not add a few pearls, after all its for a wedding reception, but to blend the pearls I also added some black agate rounds, some smoky quartz ovals, and several other darker beads for that halloween twist.


I quite like the effect, when placed in the bubble wrap bag the spiders actually gave my mum a fright because they looked real! So I might make a couple more, but as tiaras this time with more a wedding theme, its definitely different to the traditional pearl tiara most brides wear.


Twisted Wire Spider, Smoky Quartz Ovals
Twisted Wire Spider, Smoky Quartz Ovals
Gemstone Spiders
Gemstone Spiders

Feathers Explosion!

View Larger Images
Create beautiful jewellery with this amazing feather bundle


I can’t seem to post an image from JM today (well I haven’t ever figured it out actually, but the links work) I have to say that the colours of the feathers they have in stock today are truly amazing, some of them even have itsy bitsy spots on the tips, I can just imagine these on some striking dreamcatchers in some really bright beautiful colours. Do take a look, I guess they won’t be hanging around for long.

So, if you didn’t want to make a full scale dreamcatcher to hang over the bed, by using some small memory wire (ring sized), and smaller / shorter feathers it would be perfectly acceptable to make a pendant, brooch or pair of earrings.  The colours offered in the deals above could add a hint of colour to a little black dress, perfect for the party season which, as summer draws to a close is rapidly approaching.

Of course feathers aren’t just for dreamcatchers, they can be used in a variety of different ways. On example I spotted yesterday whilst surfing the web was Doncaster races. I realised that the feathers look stunning when used in a hair fascinator, or tiara, as they can add that element of softness to the piece, and height which lets face it if you want a statement piece it needs to stand out in the crowd! In fact, a small blue feather in a bridal tiara could also look amazing, especially if coupled with vintage pearls, something old, something borrowed, something blue ….as the saying goes.

So for a day at the races hair accessory, especially those you see on the news at Ascot, Newmarket, Doncaster I can’t begin to imagine how much those cost to buy from various department stores, or bespoke fashion houses, its much cheaper to whip one up yourself, (or commission me to do it). For the DIYers out there,  JM have a kit  running today with some lovely gems, hair pieces & tiara bands – around £20, and you would get 5 items at least out of the one kit I would hazard a guess at, so with a little imagination, a little time and some crafty skills you to could have a hair piece for a material cost of under £4!



Myths and Mythology is quite apparent in the world of Gemology, for Centuries people have believed in the power of gemstones, whether its to promote calm and well being in the mind & spirit or to give courage & strength in times of need, the result is to offer a form of reassurance to the recipient.

In this regard Dreamcatchers have a similar history, they originated from the Ojibwe people but by the 1960’s -1970’s they were adopted by the native Americans in a number of different nations.

Storytellers speak of the Spider woman who took care of children and land, as the Ojibwe nation spread it became difficult for her to protect all the children, so mothers would weave magical webs for children which filtered out all the bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our sleepy minds.

These became quite popular again with the Twilight film, obviously not if you are Team Edward, as I can’t imagine the Cullens believing in the Native American mystical decorations, but if you are on Team Jacob, the dreamcatcher can capture your imagination.

The native American style dream catcher is traditionally made from a willow hoop, with a spider web type centre designed to snare your dream, these dream snares are normally decorated with items such as feathers and beads depending on the trial origin.

Beaded Dream Catcher, in shades of Brown
Beaded Dream Catcher, in shades of Brown

Imagine creating a beaded dreamcatcher, and then taking one step further and adding Rose Quartz Gems, or Mystic Quartz Crystal Rounds, to capture the light, to encapsulate that feeling of calm, reassurance, well being wrapped up in the magical web to filter out any bad dreams, wouldn’t that just be a object of beauty, hang it up by a window near your bed and the light it would capture and refract around the room would be spectacular.

In actual fact JM have started selling feathers, they could make the most amazing dreamcatchers on air ….perhaps I could apply to be a guest designer to take these beaded designs to the next level and beyond! Ok so that isn’t likely to happen but just whilst I dream (because actually I really enjoyed going on the Sunday Experience, the being on TV thing didn’t actually bother me, as I thought I might, in actual fact I got a real buzz, and sense of fun whilst in the studio, it was daunting being the first time I had done something of level, but amazing too)  I get genuinely excited when I try out new techniques, in fact I could use imagine using a piece of that incredible Druzy JM  (this is just one example they have some beautiful pieces in peacock colours too) keep teasing me with, wire wrapped, with gems & bugle & seed beads, strung in the spider web formation, with a memory wire or twisted wire frame as a dream catcher …..feathers on the base, maybe using the wire coiling gizmo too …. I can only imagine the dream catching creations I could make if I had the opportunity to pull together a JM Kit, and then create from it!

Anyway back to Earth with a bump, if you do feel you would like to have a go at beaded Dreamcatcher, I have developed a kit, its in several colour ways (pink, brown, blue & red) which I have been busy selling on Etsy, and Ebay.

Beaded DreamCatcher, in Blue tones
Beaded DreamCatcher, in Blue tones


Now sadly this kit doesn’t contain a willow hoop, nor ancient relics but would still look lovely hung in the bedroom above a bed, with its beads, feathers and spider web centre, so if you fancy having a go at one why not try the kit ?

It contains all the seed beads, frame & thread that you need, full instructions are printed, and I have made a few. They take a few hours to assemble, but really aren’t complicated so very suitable for a beginner.

The hoop supplied is approx 100mm in diameter, the finished piece can be as long or short as you need it to be, but mine are 4000mm in length on average but it really depends on how many beads you include in the tail pieces, and the hanger at the top.

I am, as always more than happy to help if you ever got stuck, drop me a line via the site you purchased from, via twitter (@aarticraftsbyfi) via Facebook, or we could if the problem is bad FaceTime, or Skype.