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.