Friday, April 18, 2014

Wire-Wrapped Gemstone Pendants

My goodness, what a busy spring this has been.  So busy I have not had time to post in a while.  But I am taking time to share my newest project - wire-wrapped pendants.

Wire-wrapping is a skill I have only recently begun to work on and it is still a work in progress.  But after several attempts, here is my first wire-wrapped design.  It is a Blue Apatite oval gemstone which I wire wrapped with silver wire.

Overall, I am not too displeased with the finished design.  I had one more of these pretty gemstones so I made another to see if I could replicate the design, then added a chain to the second one.  Here is the final design:

Now I will tell you that wire-wrapping takes some practice.  I worked with some very inexpensive wire first for practice before moving on to the silver wire.  Anyway, if you are interested in learning how to wire-wrap there are lots of tutorials across the internet.  One of the best ones I found was a post on Pinterest by

Will be working on more wire-wrapped projects soon.  In the meantime, these pendants can be found in my Etsy shop.

LOL!  Hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Not Your Mother's Eyeglass Keeper

If you have as hard of a time keeping up with your glasses as I do, you might like these pretty designs I recently came up with!

I was trying to come up with something different from the typical boring eyeglass leash that we've all seen or worn.  Well this is something totally different - a brooch eyeglass holder. And they use NEO magnets so there are no holes to poke through your clothing.

I sell these in my second Etsy shop EyeglassChainsEtc.  Here are the first few of my new designs:

Glass Fire Opal Eyeglass Holder

Ruby Red Faceted Glass Brooch Eyeglass Keeper

Czech Glass Button Eyeglass Keeper - Black and Gold

Czech Glass Button Eyeglass Keeper - Black and Silver
 Here are what the back of a couple of these brooches look like - notice the round NEO magnets which I glued to the back of the brooch using super strong e6000 glue.

Included with the brooch is a second NEO magnet which you wear on the inside of your clothing.  You never have to worry about poking pins through your clothing.

I also include a snap on alligator clip with these brooches so they can be used as an ID badge lanyard.  Here is a picture of one of the brooches with the clip:

Alligator clip snaps on and off to use as ID badge holder

I package these beauties in a pretty tin box for storing your brooch along with your extra magnet which conveniently attaches to the tin box for easy access.  See the extra magnet attached to the lid on the box.

You can check out these eyeglass brooches along with my beaded lanyards in my newest Etsy shop:

As always, thanks for visiting!  Comments welcome - I always enjoy reading and responding to them!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Something New From Something Old: A Necklace Re-Designed

As we slowly thaw out from our big snow last week, I have continued to work on some jewelry designs.  I am working on some new ones, but as I looked through some of my older designs, I found some that really needed to be re-designed or re-beaded.

So I set out to to make some new jewelry from old.  Here is one such piece  that I found:

I liked the focal pendant but not the beaded necklace part.  And the more I looked at the pendant, it was pretty but it really needed "something else."  But what?  

So I rummaged through my supplies and found this stamping from - one of my favorite suppliers.  In fact, I used components from Vintage Jewelry Supplies for most of the original design as well.  The pink fire opal, the clear teardrop, bead cap and setting are all from there.

Now for the fun part.  First I disassembled the pendant from the necklace and removed the beaded teardrop dangle leaving just the pendant to work with.  Then I layered the pendant onto the stamping pictured above using E-6000 glue.  E-6000 glue is wonderful - it is absolutely permanent.  I placed the pendant into the dapped center of the stamping, let it sit for 24 hours, holding it place by taping it to my work table - this holds it firmly in place while the glue sets.

The next day I re-beaded the pendant into a necklace.  I liked the teardrop and bead cap, so used it again as a dangle.  You might notice the stamping has a loop at the top - that is where I placed the dangle. So I actually used the "top" of the stamping as the bottom.  

Then I used jump rings to attach some rhinestone settings and chain.  I decided to make a less busy necklace for this pendant than the original design.  Here is what I came up with:

Close-up View of Pendant

That's all for now.  As always, thanks so much for visiting!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow Days

The last two days have been "snow days" here in South Carolina.  It is very unusual that we get as much snow and ice as we have had - probably the worst in 15 or 20 years.  Now I know that you all in the North would laugh at how incapacitated we become with a bit of snow here, but remember it happens so infrequently here that we don't have the resources for clearing the roads, etc.

Of course it's always exciting when it happens, and it is quite beautiful, but all in all, I'm ready for spring!  Still, I thought I would share a bit of what things have been like here.

My house on day 1 of the snow

Day 2 - more snow!

My driveway - you can't really see it because of snow!

The pasture in front of our house

My hubby - he loves snow!

Me bundled up - I'd rather be in the tropics!

"The Girls" - Maggie and Jenny - they're happy as long as they're with us!

Of course, I did get a few things accomplished inside as well - like working on what else - my jewelry.  And I re-photographed some old designs to give them a fresh look in my Etsy shop.  I'm sharing a couple of them below.

I call these earrings All My Heart Earrings.  They feature antique brass filigree hearts and clear pear shaped beads which I wire-wrapped onto the hearts.

These next earrings are true Deco Bling!  Beaded with aqua blue and hot pink crystals and antique brass filigree.  The second photo with the vintage woman image is from - I love her images since they fit so well with my vintage style jewelry!

Both of these earrings can be found in my Etsy shop.  

That's all for now ... hope everyone has a Happy Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

More Stick Pins and Hat Pins

Last week I posted a tutorial on making stick pins.  You can view the tutorial here.

This week I have made a few more stickpins to post in my Etsy shop.  And I thought I would share them here. The stick pins pictured at left are a combination of two sets I combined together - my "Victorian Red" and "Vintage Rose" sets.  I beaded these sets to compliment each other in shades of deep red and soft rosy antique pink.

My Victorian Red set pictured below has spectacular deep red and antique rose pink beads which I embellished with antique silver bead caps.  I think the red and pink colors are so pretty together!

Victorian Red Stick Pins

The Vintage Rose pins below are beaded with the same antique rose pink beads as are in the Victorian Red set.

Vintage Rose Stick Pin Set

And I made some more of the heart pins like in my tutorial last week:

Valentine Red Heart Stick Pin

One thing I did differently than in my tutorial last week is I used a heavier 18 gauge wire.  In my tutorial I used 20 gauge but found it did not hold up as well as I liked when actually sticking it through material.  The 18 gauge wire has just enough sturdiness but is not too thick to thread the beads onto.

You can find these stick pins now in my Etsy shop.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How To Make Beaded Stickpins and Hat Pins

While wandering through Pinterest recently, I've noticed a lot of pictures of stickpins and hat pins.  And so I thought I should try to make a few of my own.  They are great to use in crafts such as scrapbooking but can also be used to hold fabric together for a variety of projects such as fabric flowers, etc.  I think I will use mine for props and on jewelry displays.

So after reading a number of other tutorials on the internet, I jumped right in and made some of  my own.  Here is my tutorial on how I did it, but you can use my technique or anyone else's.  Here are a few links to the sites I used information from:

LittleBirdieSecrets - this is a very simple and well presented tutorial using corsage pins.

LollyDollyCrafts  - this tutorial shows you how to incorporate wire-wrapping into your stickpin design and requires you to have some basic skills in wire-wrapping.

Ashmita Roy uses wire to form her own stick pins, then glues the beads onto the wire.

I chose to make my own pins using 20 gauge wire, but you can also use pre-made headpins or corsage pins.

1.  First gather your supplies:
  • 20 gauge wire
  • E6000 glue
  • Wire cutters
  • Flat nose nylon jaw pliers (optional)
  • Beads of your choosing

2.  Cut your wire into whatever length you want - I cut mine into 3 inch lengths.  You might notice the ruler is from Fire Mountain Gems - one of my favorite suppliers for basic beads and supplies.

3.  Straighten your wire as much as possible using your fingers.  

You can also use your flat nose nylon jaw pliers if you have them to further straighten the wire.

Also check out a great tutorial on how to straighten wire and headpins from CraftyLoops.  I found this tutorial after making my stickpins but plan to use this technique in the future - not just for stickpins but all kinds of projects.

4.  Next you want to place some glue on one end of your wire.  This can be done by rolling your wire through a dab of the glue or by using a toothpick.

5.  Finally for the fun part - adding your beads!  Just thread your beads onto the pin making sure you have enough glue at the top of the first bead and the bottom of the last bead to securely hold them on the wire.  Allow 24 hours for the glue to dry.

And voila - you have a nice set of pretty stickpins or hat pins!

Happy beading and thanks for stopping by!  Feel free to leave a comment - I love to read them and I respond to every one of them.

Till next time,
Irene at

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fire Opal Statement Necklace

This week I completed a custom design for a client.  The client is actually one of my co-workers who was looking for a unique bold statement design to give as a birthday gift to her sister.  I showed her some previous designs of mine in which I had used glass fire opals and she felt sure her sister would love these.  She wanted a design that would stand out and make a statement - nothing small and dainty would do.

So I put together this design using a total of five glass opals.  Also called Dragon's Breath, these fire opals are a fiery red with electric flashes of blues within them.  I personally think they are one of the most beautiful man-made stones ever!

I created the unique settings for each stone by layering a combination of antique silver filigree stampings together.  Then I connected them together with a combination of bright silver and antique silver textured jump rings.  The teardrop pendant is actually an antique silver filigree bead cage in which I placed two small Siam red Swarovski crystals that peak through the openings of the filigree - just enough to add a bit of shimmer.

The chain around the back of the neck is a medium weight antique silver curb style chain that has a beautiful sheen and lies flat against the skin.  It is choker length measuring 16 inches plus a 2 1/2 inch extender chain.

The finished design turned out quite nice.  It has both an exotic and vintage look to it and I hope the recipient will be as pleased as I am.

If you would like your own custom jewelry design, contact me and I will work with you to create the perfect piece!

Or if you are interested in making your own design, I purchased these magnificent fire opals as well as most of the metal components from

Thanks so much for stopping by!