Video: Glass Pearls Versus Real Pearls

Blogged under Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Saturday 12 September 2015 at 9:58 am

Some thoughts on why you might want to use glass pearls in your jewelry designs….

Arm Candy - Learn Bead Embroidery

Blogged under Jewelry Designers/Artists, Jewelry Designing, beading by Tammy on Thursday 3 September 2015 at 5:38 am

Bead embroidery is a wonderful way for two forms of crafting to collide - beads and needlework! Cyndi Lavin is one of the pioneers of bead embroidery techniques, and in her collection of well-priced and even free e-books available on her Beading Arts blog, she breaks down the various methods for this art form. In fact, one of her latest books, Arm Candy, takes it a step further and shows how to incorporate old jewelry, often broken pieces no longer wearable, into stunning jewelry designs. I really like this idea of using old jewelry pieces because I know many of us have a few odds and ends like this that may have sentimental value, but we are not really able to enjoy them. So pull out those broken jewelry pieces from the past and reinvent them with help from Cyndi!

10 Finalists Recognized in 10th Annual Halstead Grant Competition

Blogged under Around the Web, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Tuesday 1 September 2015 at 5:20 am

Here’s a press release from Halstead about its grant competition!

PRESCOTT, AZ (August 18, 2015): The 10th annual Halstead Grant recognizes jewelry design excellence and business strategy acumen with a $6000 award in addition to industry recognition for 10 Halstead Grant Finalists. Finalists receive recognition on in addition to feedback from the judging committee to help build their businesses.

Hilary Halstead Scott, President of Halstead and founder of the Halstead Grant says, “After 10 years of judging grant competitions, we can say without a doubt that most of our past finalists have gone on to successful, long-term careers. This year’s applicants are a select group of amazing emerging artists.” Each group is listed in alphabetical order.


Samantha Skelton Jewelry Design based in Fairview, Pennsylvania.

Top 5

Bonde: Jewelry that graces the skin and honors the body

ENJI Jewelry Studio: A public statement on an intimate, ornamental scale

Letters to Sarah Metalsmithing: Adornments that celebrate passion and place

Seth Papac: Jewelry to make you feel gorgeous, confident, special, and FIERCE

Tenzabelle: Magical, hand-crafted amulets that tell your story

Top 10

Alexandra Lozier: Natural elements in dramatic jewelry settings

Lucia Pearl Jewelry: Smart, clean, wearable designs inspired by city life

Nicolette Absil: Delicately illustrated jewelry in enamel and metal

Olivia Shih: Gemstone and metal jewelry inspired by bold, organic elements

VIELA, Ltd: Cast metal jewelry imprinted by the forest and the sea

About the Halstead Grant

The Halstead Grant competition began in 2006 to inspire the pursuit of excellence in design and business practices in the jewelry arts community. Applicants must submit a design portfolio in addition to elements of a successful business plan including marketing strategy, production capacity and financial analysis.

Halstead’s mission is to support jewelry entrepreneurs with quality jewelry supplies and great service. The company was founded 40 years ago and is now managed by the second generation of the Halstead family.

Crystal, Pearls, and Chain Necklace Project

Blogged under Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Monday 31 August 2015 at 11:48 am

The folks at Pandahall sent me a little bag of jewelry supply goodies and asked that I whip up a project or two. I was immediately attracted to the rainbow of crystals in the package, and of course, most of my jewelry making friends know I love pearls, so why not combine them? For a larger look at the finished necklace, just click on the image below.

Here are the supplies I used to construct the necklace above:

Nickel Free Antique Bronze Iron Eyepins, Size: about 5.0cm long

Brass Magnetic Clasp, Nickel Free, Round, Antique Bronze, 19×12mm

Iron Cross Chains, Nickel Free, Oval, Antique Bronze, 4.7×3.3×1mm

Mixed Glass Bicone Beads Strands, Faceted, 6mm

Glass Pearl Beads Strands, Pearlized, Round, White, Size: about 4mm in diameter

The tools used were a pair of chain-nosed pliers, wire cutters, and round-nosed pliers.

1) I began by constructing a chain of alternating pearls and crystals using the eye pins. This included 12 crystal beads and 13 pearl beads.

2) Once I had that part of the necklace assembled, I used wire cutter to cut 83 links of the chain.

3) On one of the ends of the beaded chain section I made, I opened up the loop at the end and slipped on two links from either end of the chain section, thus doubling the chain.

4) Using another eye pin, I slipped a crystal bead onto it and made a loop on the end.

5) On one end of the eye pin, I attached the magnetic clasp (which comes with attached jump rings), and on the other loop of the eye pin, I slipped the center link of the chain section onto it.

6) I repeated steps 2 through 5 to put together the other side of the necklace.

Here are a few tips for success when putting together this necklace:

  • Use the narrower end of the round-nosed pliers to make the loops so that they are about the same size as the loops that are already on the eye pins.
  • After connecting all of the sections, make sure to check all of the connections to make sure they are secure. You may need to use chain-nose pliers here and there to close up loops more securely.
  • Watch out for that magnetic clasp, LOL! It’s great for easily putting the necklace on and off, but while you are working with metal tools and metal findings, you may find them sticking to the clasp.

Book Review: Paper Jewelry

Blogged under Good Books, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Saturday 29 August 2015 at 1:54 pm

Here is my latest video book review for Paper Jewelry: 55 Projects for Reusing Paper.

Video: About Wire for Jewelry Making

Blogged under Crafty Videos, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Wednesday 5 August 2015 at 12:42 pm

In this video, I talk a little about metal wire and how to use it in your jewelry designs.

Video: What Is Beading Wire?

Blogged under Crafty Videos, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Monday 22 June 2015 at 9:45 am

Video: Using a Bead Board for Jewelry Making

Blogged under Crafty Videos, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Saturday 9 May 2015 at 10:44 am

I am heading back to some jewelry making basics, starting with this brief “how-to” video on using a bead board to help you design beaded jewelry.

Starfish, Mermaid, and Fish Beaded Necklace

Blogged under Jewelry Designing, beading by Tammy on Wednesday 29 April 2015 at 10:00 am

If you have caught any of my crafting video podcasts over the past few months, then you already know that I will be taking a cruise this summer with my mother and two sisters. I’m not a big fan of cruises, but we have been trying to have a girls’ trip for awhile, and it was really difficult to find a time and place that worked with everyone. As a way to make this a little more fun than last time, I am totally crafting before and during the trip.

To start the crafting off, I decided we all needed necklaces to commemorate the trip. I’ve made two, and my sister (who is also a crafter) will be making the other two. Pictured is the one I made for myself. The other one I made is very similar, just longer per my sister’s request. After showing this off on Facebook and Instagram, I had a lot of positive response, so here are the supplies and basic “recipe” you need to make one of your own.

I purchased these supplies from

1-20mm Swarovski crystal starfish in luminous green

1 tube of Seabreeze 8/0 Designer Seed Bead Blend

1 loop 19.5×15.5mm, bar 26mm antique pewter twisted design toggle clasp

I purchased these supplies from Dragyn’s Fyre:

1 lead free pewter mermaid bead

1 lead free fish bead

4-5 lead free star spacer beads

I had these supplies already:

2 silver bead tips

20-24 inches of .014 beading wire

20-gauge soft silver-plated wire (used to add a bail to the starfish)

2-6mm turquoise colored Swarovski crystal beads

2 to 5- 4mm and 6mm clear Swarovski crystal beads

You will need the following tools:

round-nose pliers

wire cutters

chain and/or bent-nose pliers

Here is the basic recipe for assembling the necklace:

Use the silver-plated wire to make a bail on the starfish. Add a bead tip to one end of the beading wire before you start stringing. When you are finished stringing all the beads, secure the other end with the other bead tip. Attach the toggle clasp when you are done.

As you can see from the photographs, the beads are not really symmetrical except for the few in the center that anchor the starfish in the center of the necklace. You just string these on however you please. When you start to get the center, you will want to add the mermaid or fish so that one is on either side of the starfish. One item to keep in mind is that if you put the mermaid or fish beads further up the strap of the necklace, you won’t really be able to see them that well. That is why I positioned them in the center.

For detailed instructions on jewelry techniques such as how to attach bead tips, head over to the site I used to write for, Jewelry Making. I have tons of helpful content that is still over there.

Plotting Some Bead Designs for the Cruise

Blogged under Jewelry Designing, beading by Tammy on Friday 17 April 2015 at 8:32 am

If you have caught any recent episodes of my video podcast, Crafty Princess Diaries Podcast, then you know that I will be going on a cruise this summer with my mother and two sisters. I thought it would be fun to make some jewelry pieces of each of us that sort of are similar as far as materials, so I purchased some Swarovski crystal starfish charms and a few tubes of mixed beads from Artbeads. I’m going to ask each of them for some input as to what they want me to make, and (fingers crossed) I will have time to design and create a special piece for each of us before we hit the high seas.

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