Wednesday, 1 February 2012

What is Valentines Day?

There are several legends as to how Valentines day came about. One legend claim that St Valentine was a Christian whom the Roman Emperor Claudius II ordered to convert to paganism to save his life. Valentine vehemently refused and was executed. Before his execution, he was said to have performed a miracle by healing the daughter of his jailer.

Another legend states that Valentine was a priest who refused to follow a law ordered by the Roman Emperor Claudius II. The law ordered young men to remain single as the Emperor wanted to grow his army. He believed that married men did not make good soldiers. Valentine went against the law and secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. Valentine was eventually thrown in jail once Emperor Claudius got word of his actions. 

A third and more modern twist to the Valentine legend was that Valentine, on the eve of his execution, wrote his first "Valentines" card. He addressed it to a young girl, a friend and also the young daughter of his jailer. The note read "From your valentine."

We will never know what the true story of Valentines Day is. However, it is now a celebrated day of love.
Many treat Valentines like Christmas or birthdays. They shower their loved ones with gifts. The gifts given on this day may vary. The most popular ones are jewelry, flowers and chocolates.

Jewelry makes a great Valentines Day gift as it lasts practically forever. It will not wilt or melt like flowers or chocolates. It can be custom designed in various ways to suit anyone's taste. Many women prefer jewelry as a Valentines gift because of its beauty and value. It can be worn every day for her own enjoyment or passed
down to generations after.

Some may balk at the thought of Valentines Day because it is a holiday which "requires" you to spend time with a boyfriend/girlfriend or wife/husband. However, Valentines Day should not just be about couples. It can be about your friends, family or children. Giving Valentines Day card to friends or children will surely put a smile on their faces.

As Valentines Day approaches, stores start to stock up on Valentines cards and gifts. Many people think Valentines Day or any other holiday are too commercialized as stores are quick to change stock.  Whether you believe in Valentines Day or not, it is a popular holiday that will stay with us forever.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Top 5 Beginner Beaders Questions

1. What do I need buy to make my own handmade jewelry?

If you are doing this as a hobby, many craft stores offer a basic beading kit. You can start out with this and then buy more professional equipment later on.

The kit typically includes beads, pendants, round nose pliers, flat pliers, 1 or 2 packages of wires, clasps, and other findings. You can make about a couple of necklaces, abracelet, and earrings from the kit.

2. What beads should I use?

It all depends on how you want to design your handmade jewelry. Seed beads and light weight beads are best to start with. For beginners, consider making smaller pieces that you will be comfortable wearing yourself. That way if you decide to sell them later on, you can guarantee that your handmade jewelry is functional to the wearer.

3. Where do I get beads?

You can get beads at any store that sells arts and crafts. You can even find some at Wal-mart. However, if you are looking for more variety stick with the craft stores.

4. What wire should I use for my handmade jewelry project?

There are various types of wires. For stringing, you can use a stringing wire such as tiger tail, 49 strand, 7 strand etc. As a beginner, try using tiger tail or 49 strand wires for small bead projects. These wires are flexible and easily manipulated.

As mentioned, a jewelry kit will normally have stringing wire included in it. You can start out with those wires and purchase new ones once you get the hang of it.

5. Which toggle or clasps should I use?

This would depend on your jewelry design. I would suggest to start out with the lobster clasp as it is the most popular clasp for jewelry. You can also start with toggle claps, but I found that it was easier using the lobster clasp when starting out. Either way, both clasps will do well in all your handmade jewelry projects.

Making your own jewelry should be fun. Try not to sweat out the details too much as only practice will perfect your handmade jewelry craft.

Friday, 23 December 2011

How to create balance in your jewelry design

Making your own jewelry from scratch is fun! Allowing yourself to shine through your artwork is just one of things you want to achieve in any jewelry pice you make. Choosing the colour, material and texture are all important in making your own jewelry. However, balancing these materials plays a significant role in the
wearability of your jewelry piece.

When creating your own jewelry, ensure to create balance. Symmetrical, assymetrical, discordant, and radial balance forms are typically used to achieve balance for your jewelry.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Where to buy beads for your hobby

So, you've decided to try something new this year and that is to make your own jewelry. Making jewelry is fairly easy to do. There are various techniques that can be used to make your own jewelry.
Of course, some techniques are more complicated than others. Either way your creations will come out beautiful in the end.

I am always asked by long time jewelry hobbyists and beginners as to where I get my beads. So, I thought I would create a list of places I normally go to for my beads.

1. Dollar Store. The dollar store is one of the best beading stores if you are trying out beading as a hobby. They normally stock packages of assorted beads. They can range from stones, glass, porcelain, wood, and shell. They are inexpensive and great to use as practice beads.
The downside to the dollar store is that the bead style options are limited. Other than that, dollar stores are still an awesome store to visit when you are starting out.

2. Art and Bead Stores.  If you want a bigger selection, art stores like Michael's will have a variety of beads to choose from. The biggest reason why I buy from art stores is that I can touch and feel the merchandise.
However, buying from an art store can get quite expensive. Always set a budget on how much you want to spend before going. Believe me, I have gotten lost with all the pretty, shiny beads in bead stores and always tend to overspend.

My recommendation is to buy a beginner kit first. Jewelry kits will include all a beginner beader needs. Items such as flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, beads, and findings are all included in most kits. You can normally make a few jewelry pieces from the kit itself. There are also jewelry kits with instructions designed to make a specific jewelry item.

3. Online or bulk bead stores: If you decide to take your beading hobby a step further then you can buy your beads in bulk. There are literally hundreds of places that sell in bulk locally or online.
Although most wholesale bead stores require you to have a registered business there are some who cater to hobbyists or small businesses. Many sell their beads and tools at a fraction of the cost when you buy retail.

4. Your old jewelry. Old jewelry can be taken apart and made into new designs. When I first started my jewelry hobby, I simply re-used some of the old jewelry that I have not worn in years. I took them apart and made something new with them. They are actually my favourite pieces.

5. Pebbles and stones. Simple stones and pebbles from riversides or beaches can be turned into jewelry. I normally pick up stones that have an unusual color or shape and make them into wire wrapped pendants. They look amazing once placed on a chain.

Starting a new hobby is fun and exciting. The art of jewelry-making itself has endless possibilities. With an openness to learn new things, you can create beautiful jewelry for yourself or as gifts.
Now you know where you can find beads so you can start enjoying your jewelry hobby or perhaps future business.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Top 10 Online bead stores

Selection of beads can differ in each stores. Most times, I find it easier to shop online rather than going to a store locally. With free shipping offers and return guarantees, it is getting much easier to shop online for beads, findings, and other jewelry tools.

Here's the Top 10 Online bead stores.

1. Firemountain gems
2. Bead FX
3. Brightlings beads
4. Art beads
5. Fusion Beads
6. The Beading Room
7. Crystal Mountain Beads
8. Beadaholique
9. Canbead
10. Titan beads

Feel free to comment if there are other bead store that should be listed.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Wire wrapping pebbles or irregular gemstones

Since I haven't had time to make videos or instructions to wire wrap pebbles or irregular glass/gemstones, I thought I would share this video I found on youtube. The technique is more free form and so it is easy to do and great for beginners.

Things you need for this project:
round craft wire (20 or 22 ga)
flush cutters and a pencil or chain-nose and round-nose pliers

Note: there is no audio associated with the instructions. It is just dead-air, but the video quality is amazing.
Video courtesy of:


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

What do I need to start jewelry-making: getting to know your basic jewelry tools

When deciding to make your own jewelry, there are a few tools necessary to get started. Some of these may sound familiar, but most will be new to you. In some cases the tools being used are ones that can be found around the house. However, the tools mentioned here are versions specifically made for jewelry making.

Beading boards or beading mats: These are helpful items that can help you design and measure any jewelry piece. These can be purchased in jewelry making kits that are available at art stores.