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Monday, October 29, 2012

News of a Giveaway by TangleBeads

TangleBeads is having a fantastic giveaway of a $90 Gift Certificate for her Etsy Store.  Check it out HERE.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sharyl's Jewelry Bead Packet Challenge #2 Featuring Natalie Pappas

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson is featuring a Bead Packet design challenge today and I am absolutely thrilled to be participating.  She is featuring the handmade beads of Natalie Pappas, a bead artist that has long been one of my favorites. You can go to Sharyl's blog and read more about the challenge at Sharyl's Jewelry.

You can read more about Natalie and her art at Natalie's Blog and see more of her beads in her Etsy Store.

Sharyl and Natalie put together a beautiful selection of handmade and stone beads.  Shary's "Rule" was that you had to use at least one of the art beads, but my personal challenge when I participate in these activities is to use all of the beads, but in any event, as many of them as I can.   I got to work as soon as I received the beads.  This is my necklace.  In this case it was easy to use them all.

 I also used some premium seed beads accented with small faceted pink coral beads in colors that complimented the packet of beads chosen by Sharyl and Natalie.

On the left side you will see a beautiful polymer clay bead by Alison Crenshaw - one of her "Imprint" series.

On the right side you will see a rust bird by Cindy Doleazal.  It is sitting on a lampwork "nest" by Joyce O'Shea.

 I used her focal bead to make a pendant.
 The pine cone dangle is by Trinity Brass.

It is joined by a pine cone bead cap on one of  Natalie's beads.
The section around the back of the neck is tied on waxed linen.

The clasp is the "harvest" moon.

I hope you enjoyed my necklace and please take a moment to browse through the following to see the beautiful designs that the other participants made with Natalie's Beads.

Thank you Sharyl for hosting such a fun challenge and for choosing such beautiful beads and Thank You Natalie for being the talented artist behind the beads which made so many beautiful pieces of jewelry possible.

-1. Kashmira Patel  (Sudafulee... Always in Bloom)

--2. Sonia Smith (posting on Sharyl's blog) Shary's Blog Here

Alicia  (All the Pretty Things) 

--4 Cheri  (Creative Designs by Cheri) 

Alice Craddick  (Alice's Beads and Baubles)

--8. Cilla (Tell Your Girlfriends) 

--9. Whimsical Monkey  (Whimsical Monkey)  

--10. KayzKreationz  (KayzKreationz) 

--11. Jean A. Wells  (Jean A. Wells Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry)

And, news about drawings.  As with many events like this there is a bounty to be won!  In this case, there are 2!  Natalie will be drawing a name from among the designers to win a gift from her store and for the rest of you -- go to Sharyl's blog to read about how to win a chance to win a gift certificate to Sharyl's Jewelry.  Winner will be announced Monday.  

Friday, October 26, 2012


If you haven't checked out the new Artisan Whimsy website, you really owe it to yourself to do so.  It is a "Members Only" site, but its free to join.  There are over 600 members now and it was only launched earlier this month.  It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it just takes a little time to find your way around.  It is an all-inclusive website where each member can have their own page and post blogs, etc.  There is a tutorial section so you can find out how to do just about anything jewelry related.  There is a fantastic gallery of thousands of pictures - anyone can post jewelry pictures.  And, there is always some sort of challenge or give-away going on.

The current one is called the Hooters Owl Challenge.  This is a competition to win a fantastic prize so I need you all to support my entry.  You will need to go Artisan Whimsy and register.  The click on the picture that you see (it is the same as the one above). There are two categories, one for Owl Components and one for Jewelry Designs. 

My entry is a lariat that I made using one of Alison Crenshaw's polymer clay owls, one of her polymer clay eggs, and one of Ingrid Mueller's porcelain "pine cone" beads.  The strand is made with a premium topaz and turquoise seed bead mixture highlighted with tri-cut Czech beads with picasso finish and copper beads. I used some of my ball-end copper twisties at the bottom of the owl.

Without sounding too much like begging, I would invite you to go to the website and vote for your favorite in each category.  I would love to have your vote.

We have until October 28 to make our entries and the voting will begin after that.  Be sure to bookmark this page and the Artisan Whimsy site so that you don't forget to enter your vote.

Between midnight October 28 and midnight October 30th you can vote for my necklace HERE

As with most of my jewelry, this piece is for sale and can be purchased in my Etsy Store.

After you vote, come back to this post and leave a comment indicating that you did vote and you will be entered into a drawing that I will have following the Hooters Challenge to win these Pumpkin fall inspired earrings.

Use this as practice for the upcoming Presidential elections to get your voting muscles all warmed up.

This was my second post today, so be sure to read down one post about my new adventure with Kumihimo Braiding and how I have incorporated it into a necklace.

Ancient Kumihimo Weaving

While I have been learning micro-macrame lately, I have also made steps in learning the ancient Japanese weaving technique called Kumihimo.  Kumihimo cord was first created by a form of finger braiding, but later tools were employed to make the braids more complex and in less time.  The most prominent historical use of the cords was by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their armor and their horses' armor. Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on jackets and obijimes which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).

Here are examples of my first cords.

The top purple cord was made with 8 strands of 1.5-2.0mm Chinese Knotting Cord and the cord is about 8mm in diameter.

The second cord was made with 8 strands of .5mm Greek leather and it is about 5-6mm in diameter.

The bottom cord was made with 8 strands of .8mm Chinese Knotting Cord and it is about 4-5mm in diameter.

I made this necklace and incorporated a 5" strand of Greek Leather Kumihimo Cord from which I hung a pendant made from Marti's stoneware crescent, a melon carved white stone, and a Thai Buddhist stone charm that has been framed in brass.

I also incorporated sections of alternating half hitch knots which is a knot I recently learned in my work with micro-macrame.

Those are large aged Czech red glass with picasso beads between the cord sections and African brass globe beads at the top.  I finished it off with a chain that I made from jump rings that I made from copper wire.

I am adding the following in response to Linda's inquiry about the type of ends I use. 

 The above photo shows how I tightly wrapped the end of the braid with 24-26 gauge wire then trimmed the end at about 1/8".  The cap that I used is a base metal with silver coating (but not a good coating like silver plating would be) that has an inside diameter of about 4-6mm.  I have these in all sizes from very very small to 10mm and this one was the one that fit the best over the wire and the braid.

 This picture shows the end of the braid shoved into the end cap. I used 527 glue and believe that the wire wrapping and the texture of the braid will enable a good bond inside the bead cap.  I used a lark's head knot to attach the next section of leather to the loop on the end cap and the red beads had a large enough hole that they covered the cap loop giving me a great transition between the kumihimo braid and the alternating half hitch knot sections.

What I didn't like about this end cap was that I didn't like the silver with the brass and copper and leather of the necklace, so I dipped it into a cap full of Novacan Black Patina until it sort of removed or darkened the silver coating.  Once it was dull, I polished it with a jewelry cloth and it gave me the rustic finish that I wanted for my necklace.  I hope this additional information is helpful.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Micro-Macrame Southwest Choker Style Necklace

I haven't been blogging a lot the last few weeks, mainly because I continue to work on developing the new skill (for me) of micro-macrame.  As I said a few posts back, I have admired the delicate and beautiful work of Sherri Stokey for quite some time and when I acquired one of her bracelets I just knew I had to learn how to do this.  I've done always incorporated simple macrame techniques into my jewelry, having learned the technique when I was a youngster but my projects were limited to plant hangers and hanging tables.  My mother still has a hanging table that I made for her and I plan to take it away from her and hang it on my porch this summer.  Since she has had it under the guest room bed for at least 20 years I don't think she will mind.

 I finished this necklace last night.  It is a delicate piece and designed to fit close to the nape of the neck, not to drape across the chest.  The beads are tiny and are strung on beading wire that I have hidden among 10 different cords.  I chose a southwest color palette of coral, turquoise, dark blue, brown, yellow, light blue, etc.  I had to work rather conservatively since I had no idea where I was going when I started with only a vague idea of how loose the knots should be, etc. 

Sherri has been kind enough to suggest that my ends are too chunky for the rest of the piece and that I could knot around the 8mm split ring that I used as ends rather than do the wrapping.  I so appreciate her feedback.  She is the micro-macrame guru and anytime you can get someone of her caliber to even look at your work, let along give comments, it is a gift.  Thank you Sherri.

I used small textured copper beads, lapiz lazuli beads, turquoise beads, and pink coral.  The two larger corals along the top row are apple coral. 

I have been acquiring several colors of the Irish linen made by Crawford Threads Ltd. of Belfast Ireland.  Based on the research that I did before I purchased waxed linen (other than from Hobby Lobby) was that theirs is the best and they are known for making strong and extremely high quality thread.  I have most of the colors now.  The best domestic source I have found to purchase this thread is from  They sell it on 100 yard spools at a price much cheaper than buying it in shorter lengths off etsy.  Contact me if you need more information on it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Julie at Outwest is Having a Giveaway

Julie at Outwest is having a lampwork bead giveaway.  Go to her blog at Outwest and enter for your chance to win.  She does beautiful gorgeous lampwork and I have used her beads often in my designs.

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Mirco-Macrame

I have now made a second bookmark.  It is not nearly as good as the first and I had much more trouble with it.  I think the difference was the size of the cord I used.  On the first one, I used some Chinese Knotting Cord by Beadsmith.  It is .8mm in diameter.

The second bookmark I made the second bookmark with C-Lon or S-Lon (not sure which) nylon cord that is much smaller.  It is much smaller and much harder for me to see.  They were made exactly the same way, but the knotting cord produced a bookmark about twice as large. 

Anyway, I am going to keep trudging on.  I am working on a project now using waxed linen cord.  I think it will be easy to work with but if I make mistakes it is very very hard to take out.  So, I will be working very carefully to try to avoid mistakes.  Yeah, right!

I have also learned how to make a Kumihimo braid using the Chinese Knotting Cord.  It was much easier than I thought and I think the challenge with this technique is learning to control your color pattern.  I only have about half of a 10" length of cord finished, but will post pictures as soon as it is finished.

So, what new skills are you working on?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Technique For Me - Micro-Macrame

I admire micro-macrame - I think it is beautiful and delicate and I've wanted to do it for some time.  A few years ago, I bought a book thinking I could learn from it, but couldn't.  I recently saw a bracelet in Sherri Stokey's etsy shop, KnotJustMacrame, that I just had to have.  She told me of some on-line courses and yesterday I signed up for the beginning one.  The learning project was this bookmark.  I was challenged to find beads that would fit on the Chinese knotting cord that I used because it is just a little bigger than what the pattern called for, but I have trouble seeing and need to learn on something a bit bigger.    Anyway, I am tickled that I finished a micro-macrame project.  Now, I just need to practice, practice, practice.

That is one of the fun things about being a jewelry designer -- there are so many different mediums and techniques to work with.  I am looking forward to adding more micro-macrame to my jewelry designs.

I'm sorry, I meant to put the website where I took the class and it completely slipped my mind.  I took the beginning knot class, I think she calls it "Just Knots" by Joan Babcock.  At $15.00 I sure feel like I got my money's worth. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New Earrings - Horse Totems

For some reason, I haven't made much jewelry the last week, but I have made a couple new pairs of earrings. 

 I asked Marti Conrad some months ago if she could come up with a crescent shape for me to use.  After some discussions, she did and I love them.  

This is my second batch of earrings using them.

The first batch has been in my etsy store for some time and you may recall having seen them.  They are primarily of a yoga theme.  One pair has sold already.

In this pair, I have used her purple crescents with dark green dragon-vein agates and purple furnace glass by Dave Christensen.

In this pair, I have used her wonderful black glaze with "tiger eye" flowing in the crevices.  They also have black melon shaped stone beads and solid copper crosses.

These remind me of a Spanish Mission for some reason.

I just finished these yesterday.  She got to playing around with holes and on a couple pairs she put holes on the long edge of the crescent. 

You know Marti, she told me I didn't have to take them if I didn't want them.  She is silly like that.  Of course, I wanted them.

These crescents also have a great texture and edge.

I used some funky petroglyphic horses, African beads and wood, and Greek leather.  These are now in my etsy store.


I hope you have enjoyed looking.  Just as a review, here are the other Marti Conrad "Crescent" earrings I have listed.

See you can use the crescent up side down, or right side up.

 I believe that she has a few sets of her crescents available now.  I would challenge you other jewelry designers to go to her shop Marti's Shop, buy a pair of them and see what you can make with them.  I would love to see what others can come up with.

Come on, whatcha gonna make?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Introduction Post for Artisan Whimsey

The following is a re-post of my Introduction post on the new jewelry blog site ArtisanWhimsey.  I am a team leader for the Jewelry Designer Blog Team and I posted this today as a way of introduction to the members.  If you want information on the site, just let me know.  I am excited about it and look forward to many more posts.  Some of this will be old hat for some of you, but it might still be of interest.

Welcome everyone to Artisan Whimsey.  My name is Jean A. Wells. I am one of the team leaders of the Jewelry Designer Blog Team so if you have any questions, you can always send me a message.  I'll try to help.  I decided to tell you about myself for my first post.  I have always loved making things.  I have done crochet, my crowning glory being a king size bedspread done in a tight spiral antique pattern in very small ecru thread.  I have done stained glass - but not the small sun catcher things - full windows.  All of the windows in my 1926 Craftsman house are filled.  My husband said one time that he never knew if he was waking up in a church or in his bedroom.  I am a published quilter - having been published in one of Barbara Brackman's books - for those of you that quilt - you will recognize her name.  My "show" quilt is one done in earthy fall colors and is an almost life-sized applique of my Rottweiler dog, Gracie Mae Sugarbaker.  I have also always loved dogs and currently have three Rottweilers.

I became interested in making jewelry in 2008.  My husband and I were taking a road trip and I generally took some quilting hand-work with me to work on in the car.  I don't sit still very well.  For some reason, I was either out of materials that I needed or bored, I don't really remember which, but I purchased a couple of jewelry making magazines during a stop to look at in the car.  Well, I was hooked.  Of course, I had nothing to make jewelry with, no beads, no tools, so I just bought more magazines and looked....and looked.  It took about six months of looking before I chose a design and went about the task of finding and acquiring the materials it called for.  It took me three months to accomplish that.  It was tiresome and I wondered if it was worth it, but I made a piece and I was hooked.  That experience has certainly molded my approach to supplies that I keep on hand - my approach is simple - "if you don't have it, get it!"

I have a broad design style as there are so many techniques to call upon.  It can range from minimalist to tribal to gypsy and definitely a bit bohemian.   I prefer a way of making things with complex construction -- not hard necessary - just complex.  I have always known that I wanted to do more than just string beads on string.  So on to some pictures.  I am basically self taught in that I have learned from books and my fellow designers.  One of my goals is to get out of the house and start taking some classes.
This is one of my first pieces.  I say over and over on my blog that I am not a seed beader, but yes, one of the first things I did was to make a spiral using seed beads and small amethyst beads.  Even my first attempts at making jewelry had complex construction.

Next, I went about the task of learning how to do some basic wire working.  One of my favorite styles of bracelets are the charm bracelets.  I love the noise they make when you go about the process of just wearing them.  I used a book by Sharalyn Miller to learn the techniques used in my Desert Storm bracelet.  

Then I started making my own chains.  This chain comes from Kerry Bogart's book Totally Twisted.
This is my favorite bracelet.  I guess that's why I use it in my store banner and avatar.

Enough for bracelets.  How about a few necklaces.  I love lariats - they are probably my favorite style of necklace and with a bit of imagination, you can accomplish more than just stringing a long string of beads - although that is certainly a good solution much of the time.
I have used art beads by Nan Emmett and Alison Crenshaw in this one, premium aged Czech seed beads and some jasper.  I am sorry but I can't recall who made the bird.  She used to be on etsy, but is no longer on there.
This one is rather complex, wouldn't you say?  It is the result of a challenge issue to be by Barbara Hanselman who made the fantastic black stoneware pendant.

Barbara also made these cool Easter Island head guys.  These are some of my favorite earrings.

These are another pair of my favorite earrings.  They are built around Pam Cresswell's beads of Indian Creek Studio.  Pam lives just down the road from me close to Indian Creek which is a fantastic place to walk your dogs.
I hope you enjoyed looking at this post.  I enjoyed looking back through some of my early work and seeing how it has developed.  I think we should all take more time to reflect back on our early work.  We sometimes lose track of just how far we've come.  With each piece of jewelry we make, we become more skillful.  There are still quite a few techniques that I plan to explore - enameling and etching being the two things for which I have purchased the supplies.  Now I just need some time to play.

Thank you for reading my post and if you would like to see more of my work, you can see it in my Etsy Store or on my Personal Blog.  I would love reading your comments.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Winner of the Fall Necklace Is.....

Number 5 -- Rosemary.  Rosemary is the owner of Beadstostring on etsy.  I have gotten some gorgeous beads from her in the past.

Contact me with your address (or I could look it up) and I will get it in the mail to you tomorrow.

Congratulations and I hope you love it.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I am offering this nice fall necklace.  It is made primarily of carved acrylic beads which similate carved bone and horn beads but I also included a nice lampwork bead by Deb Houd of Jatterwunky Studio in Overland Park, KS.  It has a lobster clasp closure. 
Leave a comment and get one chance.  Spread the word by blogging on your blog, leave a comment and get another chance. Join my blog and get another chance.  Like my facebook page at Jean A. Wells Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry and get another chance.  You get the idea.

International shipping charges vary soooo much, but I will be happy to open this up to international bloggers and pay the first $2.00 in shipping if you want to pay the balance of the shipping charges through paypal.  Totally up to you.

This is important - please be sure to make sure I know how to get in contact with you if you are the winner. I will announce the winner on Sunday, October 7.

I am such a big Survivor fan!  A new season starts tonight.  I spent yesterday thinking that it was Wednesday and last night at 7:45 remembered that survivor was on  and I was missing it.  I spent the next 15 minutes trying to find it on the TV.  Only when I figured out it was only Tuesday did I sigh a sigh of relief and realize that I'd raised my blood pressure for nothing.  Any other Survivor fans out there?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Arabian Nights, Belly Dancers, and Genie in a Bottle

What do Arabian Nights, Belly Dancers and Genies in a Bottle have in common?  They are all represented by the earrings I made this week.

I now know the pieces that I am sending into Stringing for consideration for their Spring 2013 issue and am finishing up the drafting and editing on the Instructions and Resources that they require to be submitted along with the jewelry.  I wish they required it only on the pieces they accept for publication because a lot of work goes into writing them - but that is the way the cookie crumbles. 

It is very draining to me to make jewelry to be submitted.  I don't know why - I really enjoy doing it, but it makes me tired.  At some point along the way, I need to make things just for fun or just because they need making.  That is how these earrings were born. 

I have been making a lot of gypsy and yoga inspired jewelry lately, along with a lot of tribal things.  To me the styles aren't really all that different.  Anyway, enough talk - more pictures!

 These are 3" long but even at that length, they are not terribly heavy.
These are 2-1/2" long.  Again, not terribly heavy.

I also am thrilled that I had my best month yet on etsy.  It was fabulous!  And, to celebrate, I am going to have a giveaway later in the week.  Haven't decided what yet so check back.