Monday, October 27, 2014

Portable Bead Storage


I occasionally have to travel to other cities leaving my studio and beadwork behind. I can be away for extended periods. Not wanting to leave my beadwork behind I found a system to organize my beads and allow me to take them with me where ever I go.

I use the plastic boxes by IRIS. They are 4 X 6 boxes designed to hold photographs but work well for storing beads and other beading paraphernalia. They are readily available. In addition, 16 of the boxes will fit nicely in to a 15 X 12 X 5 plastic suitcase style box that is sold along with the boxes. The plastic suitcase locks shut and has a sturdy carrying handle. The entire assembly is available from LTD Commodities for about $20.00. There are many other sources.

I have two such suitcase assemblies and they fit nicely into an old canvas bag designed to hold Plano fishing tackle boxes. The canvas bag has pockets on either side where I can put slightly larger plastic boxes that hold tools or larger items. The bag zips up and has a carrying handle and a shoulder strap. I have used this system for a couple of years and it works well for me. Feel free to visit Sirocco’s Trading Post to see my beadwork.










Thursday, October 23, 2014

Make a Bracelet Using Cube Beads


It seems I have accumulated quite a large selection of 4 mm cube beads. They are also called dice beads. Most of my inventory consists of Japanese Miyuki glass beads in a variety of colors. But I also have a selection of gemstone and shell dice beads such as turquoise, agate, tiger’s eye, mother of pearl, etc.

I decided it would be interesting to create a bracelet using various cube beads. The cube beads are a bit large and a bracelet canvas is somewhat small so the design had to be simple. I decided to make the design a simple series of square panels of one stone separated by a different colored stone. I made two such bracelets. In one case I used square panels of turquoise separated by mother of pearl and in the other the turquoise is separated by a terracotta glass bead.

The beads are woven together with Fire Line using the off loom square stitch method. I had to use a loose weave in order to get the needle through the tiny holes between the rather large beads. Then I ran the thread back through all the beads to tighten up the assembly. Finally I sewed the assembly on to a soft leather strap with snaps for closure.

The results are shown in the picture above. I usually make adornments with a more Native American flair but these men’s bracelets are of a more contemporary design. Earlier, I made some bracelets using the peyote stitch with its zig-zag pattern. You can see examples in my earlier blog post. Click here.

All of my bracelets are for sale in my trading post stores. You can find some here at Sirocco’s Trading Post (etsy) and Sirocco’s Trading Post (ArtFire).


Monday, October 13, 2014

It’s all about Ear Cuffs


Ear cuffs were popular in ancient times but in modern times they cycle through periods of popularity and they are currently retuning to popularity.

An ear cuff is an ear adornment that fits onto the upper portion of the ear. There are two main varieties of cuffs. One kind is held in place by the ear cartilage and can be as simple as a small circular clip or one that covers the whole of the ear. The second one is a formed stiff wire that fits over the ear and hangs down behind the ear. Both kinds are embellished with precious metals or gemstones.

An advantage of an ear cuff is no piercing is required and you do not have a weight tugging on your ear lobe. You only wear one ear cuff. It is not like they are earrings.

You can find a nice selection of feather adorned ear cuffs at the Modtoast store. Check them out. Click on ear cuff to find the cuffs or click on Modtoast to enter the front door of the store where you will find a whole variety of unique fashions.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hand Cut Turquoise Necklace



My latest creation is this turquoise necklace. I salvaged the turquoise from an old vintage necklace that was broken and had missing parts. The turquoise disks are a fine medium blue with a strong black matrix. I don’t know the source of the turquoise.

The original necklace had a somewhat tribal appearance. The turquoise heishi disks were hand cut and a bit rough. Some disks are thick while others are thin. There isn’t the sheen that one usually sees on modern stabilized turquoise. In other words, I believe this turquoise to be quite old. There were some handmade sterling beads in the original but they were too badly crushed to be reused. The original was strung on short pieces waxed cord that were tied together to make a longer cord. Interesting!

The front of the necklace has 10 mm disks while the sides have 6 mm disks. I have added some graduated polished black onyx and silver roundels to give the necklace some sparkle and some contrast. It also creates the appearance of a graduated necklace. This new necklace is 22 inches long and has a lobster claw clasp.

The necklace is for sale in my etsy shop, Sirocco’s Trading Post. I hope you will stop by and take a look at all the items listed in the shop.


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Beaded Feather Earrings


This morning I was delighted to find my beaded feather earrings featured in a treasury on etsy. The treasury is titled Birds of a Feather and was created by Paula Turnbull. There is fine creative work in this treasury. You will find Jill Clair’s wonderful abstract horse paintings while Bob Holt has an interesting steampunk wall art. Steve and Barbara of Black Hawk Creations have an extraordinary copper feather necklace. Click here to visit the treasury or click on Sirocco’s Trading Post to visit my store.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Collecting Cigarette Lighters


Cigarette lighters continue to be a sought after collectible. According to Kovel’s, cigarette lighters continue to be  among the top 20 searches on their website. Cigarettes became popular in the late 1800s and along with them came matches and then lighters. The most common lighters made today are of the disposable kind. But even those in various odd shapes are collectible. In addition to the lighter shown here, I have a number of novelty lighters in my ecrater store that might fit your collectible needs. I invite you to take a look. I will be adding more lighters in the coming weeks so be sure to stop back.