Sunday, March 01, 2015

New Tordu Linen Bracelet Kits

We've added two new colors to our super-popular Tordu Linen Bracelet kits. These are fun to wear and make...

And if you want to design your own, check out our #20 ball chain, now on sale for our lowest price. This large scale chain is just the thing to add drama to your designs!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ice and snow.

For the second time in two weeks we've been closed for winter weather. A scant four inches of snow paralyzes our town and sends us all to hide in our homes. Today, many are without power and this wet, sticking snow is not good for sledding.

Luckily, it will be gone by the weekend. North Carolina is beautiful that way.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy Tuesday-

For the second week I am writing you late. I overslept today, and then finally woke to snow. Just like in the olden days, before we all had weather computers in the palms of our hands, I was surprised. The wonder of snow-SNOW-unexpectedly falling from the sky and whitening my gardens was an actual wonder.

It made me think about surprise and wonder. Some times, I think we don't have enough of that anymore. We know, to the minute sometimes, when the rain will start. We hear, well in advance of the airing, about the outcome of a movie or television show. Babies are known and named months before their birthday, and restaurant menus give us excruciating detail about every calorie we may be about to consume. Today's snow was a rarity...

Our store will still be open for a while today, even with the surprise snow. We'll have a wonderful Try It Tuesday for you, plus we have a nice group of Make-N-Takes (with a coupon below!) that you can enjoy. See the Try It Tuesday project here. We will be closing early (probably around 5) so do call before you come out. If you miss today's Try It, we'll offer it throughout the week.


Don't miss the Maker's Flea Market

Are you looking for a weird button? A big stack of burlap sacks? Some new, to you, display items for your spring shows? Join some of our favorite crafters for the ultimate Maker's Flea Market -right here in our parking lot!
Inside, we'll have April Schlanger with wine and treats, and LOADS of good deals...outside you can check out the studio props, barn wood, vintage knobs, ribbon and trim, lace, glass, art supplies and more...
Shop early, these items are one of a kind! 

Depending on the snow today (and it's still coming down!) we'll probably be here until 5 pm at the latest. Enjoy your snow day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Day Crafting

We are closed at the shop today. Our entire town is blanketed in at least one inch of snow/ice. For us, here in NC, this means that we are frozen, literally. We'll thaw out later this week, but for today at least we are all staying home to do whatever we love to do on snowy days. 

For my family, that meant getting up super early to go outside and watch our dogs skitter along the surface of the icy back yard. Children who need dragged out of bed on a 'regular' morning are happy to pop up, breakfasted and dressed and ready to go outside on a snow day. Now we are back in, warming up and moving on to crafts and games and books. Maybe a bit more of the first. 

Below I've got three great projects you can probably make with beads and materials you have at home...

my three favorite projects to make on a snowed-in day-

Slide Knot Bracelet
You can make this! Use some of your favorite beads and (if you have it) waxed linen. No linen? Try leather cording, Conso thread or even rayon gimp. This project is from one of my favorite designers, Erin Siegel, click here to see the instructions and more ideas from Erin

Dangly Earrings
These use jump rings and left-long head pins. You have those parts...mix it up with seed beads and some of your favorite larger beads. Watch a how-to video here. 

Wire Wrapped Bangle
This just requires beads and wire. 20 gauge, 18 gauge, whatever you have. Full instructions can be downloaded right here, and this looks best with a mix of beads.

Monday, February 09, 2015

From The Repair Desk - Rewiring A Beaded Collar

We are starting a new feature here on the blog, From The Repair Desk. While we often have the opportunity to do repairs on amazing costume jewelry here at our store in Raleigh, we rarely get to show off the fabulous pieces we repair. We decided you needed to see what we were seeing, and maybe our write-ups about the repairs will help you in your own costume jewelry repair. 

This project came to us from a Raleigh native who admits she LOVES this piece. This dramatic beaded collar is made of several layers of Czech glass tubes and seed beads, with freshwater pearls mixed in. The entire piece was woven out of very thin-gauge wire (we estimate it at a 30 gauge!) so it is very flexible. If you've ever used very fine wire, you do know that flexible can also equal fragile. This lovely piece lost the central pearl as you can see in the top picture. We were able to re-attach the pearl using a bit of 28 gauge wire, laced through and knotted onto the other wires.

This is a contemporary necklace, but the design reminds me of several pieces from Mid-Century designers such as Miriam Haskell. A simple technique, used with elaborate layering. 

This is the back of the necklace. You can see the basic pattern of the beading here. It is my opinion that this design was built up from the back, starting with this layer and then adding the smaller beads on the second layer.

These two shots show the spot where the pearl was missing. The crystal beads were wrapped around the pearl using wire, and then there was a wire threaded through the large pearls to attach them to the base collar.

While doing this repair we also looked carefully at the other bead joints for damage or wear. Working with thin wire can be dicey...too many twists and it breaks, quickly. While we didn't find any other joints that were compromised, we can't guarantee that one won't break in the future. I'll instruct the wearer to be cautious about wearing this piece of costume jewelry on her next mountain climbing outing.

This piece illustrates a principle of elaborate costume jewelry that is often forgotten by contemporary makers. The construction method on this is really fairly simple - just wire woven back and forth through groupings of beads. There is not a base or structure underlying the beading, the beading IS the structure. This kind of work requires a trained artisan working under the supervision of a designer. It's not really big factory work because the beads and pearls don't fit together exactly each time. As a whole, it looks amazing, and it is amazing. Often, our contemporary costume pieces, mass-produced in factories in 10 color ways, are constructed over specially manufactured findings. This means that YOU couldn't make one yourself. With the construction in this piece, just wire and beads, it can easily be reproduced by anyone with enough beads and enough YOU!

This necklace was a joy to repair. Once it was finished I imagined it gracing the neck of our customer at her next gala...