Archive for November, 2011

Jewelry Design

Jewelry design is an enormously broad term. In the modern age, most anything you can wear can be deemed jewelry. When you are just starting out, just sitting down for the first time seriously thinking about making your own jewelry you should take a good look around.

Look around at what is already out there. What style things you do you like, and not like? What sort of materials do you find yourself drawn too? What sort of budget do you have to work in, and how much time to devote to this new endeavor? Just the few things I have listed here don’t narrow the field down much. Millions of ideas can still be created even when you answer the above questions.

If this is your first time considering a hobby or career in jewelry design, then you may be feeling overwhelmed by the endless possibilities. I would recommend learning from others. Go online and find some beginners patterns. Get yourself comfortable with some of the different mediums out there and the tools you will be using. Even if using a pattern, you can chose different color and sizes of beads you make the piece your own.

Once you are comfortable with some of the different techniques out there and are ready to strike out with a jewelry design of your own you may not know where to start. I suggest in your closet.

Chose one of your favorite outfits. Of course color is going to jump out at you first. Make note of not just the most prominent color, but the softer, less used colors as well. Often highlighting those less used colors can make all the difference. What kind of outfit is it? Sassy and playful, regal and dignified, calm and casual? The materials you use can accent that aspect of the outfit as well. Make note of the neck line. Is it high, maybe needing a very long necklace to be accented by long dangling earrings? Maybe it has a plunging neckline that beckons for a necklace with a centerpiece to hang down in the V. Or just a casual rounded neck, calling for a shorter style necklace. Just one outfit can speak volumes to you.

Later, as you master yet more skills of jewelry design, you may start to notice you gravitate too many of the same things. Be that materials or colors. There is nothing wrong with that. Most of the great artists out there have a style. You can look at their jewelry or paintings and know that they did them before you see the name. It becomes your signature of sorts.

Maybe you live at the beach, like me, and you have the biggest market of shells you could ever want. Not only do you get free materials, but now you have a hook for your pieces. “Local artist making jewelry from local items. A true piece of the beach to take home with you.”

And don’t forget I mentioned colors too. The colors of the beach tend to be in pastels, reflecting the colors of the shells themselves. Blues and greens playing prominently in almost every aspect. And, being on the east coast myself, you can’t forget the stunning sunrises over the ocean; all those rich pinks and purples with a fiery orange.

So when you sit down and think jewelry design, don’t think you have to look far. Stick with what you know. There are endless possibilities all around you. From the places you go, to the people you meet, to the flowers in your garden. If you have kids, get them involved. Children see the world in a completely unique way, one we have forgotten as adults. They can open your eyes to things you had never considered before. They love color, so let them look through your stuff, arrange some things, and build off their ideas. Now, not only have you “gone to work” but you have spent quality time with your kids as well.

There is nothing in the realm of jewelry design you cannot do. So jump in and get started. There are no mistakes, for you learn something from everything you do. How many other fields can say as much?

Free Beading Patterns

Free beading patterns abound on the World Wide Web. Just type in that phrase and you can find a ton of patterns. And I am not just talking jewelry either. There are a whole host of items out there that can be made or embellished with beads!

I would guess that most of us on line, searching for free beading patterns are searching for something jewelry related. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. Jewelry in and of itself is a huge category from which to work from. There are free beading patterns for necklaces, earrings, and even rings for your fingers can be made from beads.

Don’t think, since you may be new at this, that a pattern is going to be over your head. Tons of the patterns out there are to teach and learn from. And in using your own beads, of various sizes and colors, you can work from a pattern and still create something that is unique even on your first try. That said, do not think that because you may have been doing this for years, that patterns have nothing left to offer you. Granted, you may have to look harder and longer, but people love to share what they have learned, and you may be surprised to find a new knot technique or bead combination that you simply hadn’t seen or thought of on your own.

Beads can be seen all throughout history decorating every sort of item. Don’t limit yourself just to thinking of traditional jewelry. Free beading patterns are out there for creating a simple bookmark, to making a complete handbag. You need to keep in mind your skill level, time available, and budget. Yes, you may find free beading patterns but that doesn’t mean you will find a bunch of free materials. Chances are you won’t; though with some digging you can find some good deals. And if tackling something large, like a hand bag, most places discount for buying things in bulk. That said, if you are sticking to something simple, like a chain for reading glasses, you may want to make several in an attempt to sell them or for long Christmas list. So buying in bulk may work even for more simple pieces.

Beads can make up a complete object or just add some flare. Like jewelry adds flare to your outfit, so to can beads add flare to many other things. Such as, you can add beads to the bottom of a lamp shade to add a little sparkle to the room. You can also achieve a little atmosphere by making a beaded votive cover. You can find tons of free beading patterns for making adornments for bottles or wine glasses, so your guests always know which glass is theirs. Get a little spunky and make some beaded fan pulls. A great gift idea and big seller, especially here in the south, cause we do love our ceiling fans! If you are feeling really creative you could even make beaded plant hangers. The list is truly endless. You could get lost for hours, just surfing the net on the simple search phrase ‘free beading patterns’.

You can also be the one offering those free beading patterns to others. You may have been sitting there one day, playing around with a new necklace idea or key fob configuration, and discovered something you thought wonderful and unique. Share it with others. People get so caught up with ‘I made, it. It is mine. I want all the credit’, but as artists we grow most when we share. So post what you learned online, offer it up for free, and see what the people of the world do with it.

Forums are a great online medium for sharing ideas. Look around online and find one that suits you. There are those that cost money to join, but there are free ones too, you just have to take the time to search around. We can learn so much from our peers, there is little else that is better that that as a teaching tool.

So whether you are just starting out, or have been at beading for a while, take a look around on line at all the free beading patterns out there. You are more likely to get overwhelmed with ideas than you are not to find anything that suits you. So jump in. You will be here awhile!

Christmas Craft Ideas For The Whole Family

When it comes to the holiday season lot of people start looking for Christmas craft ideas. There is something about spending time making your own decorations, food or sewing holiday themed napkins that add to the excitement of the whole occasion.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an accomplished seamstress or someone who is new to the whole world of crafts, you can find projects to suit your talents. You may even develop creative talents you never knew you had. The holiday season can become quite stressful with people the world over putting themselves and their families under pressure to be perfect. The house must look fantastic, the presents and food have to be bought in time etc. This can take the enjoyment out of the festive season.

Taking some time out to concentrate on your Christmas crafts can achieve a couple of objectives. If you include your kids, it can force you to spend time with them which is what the holiday season should be about. It will also make you find time to sit down and relax for a while as you figure out what to do next or what stage you were at in a pattern. You may think that all this work is too much on top of everything else you have to do but most people find it therapeutic. It will also give you a real sense of achievement when you wake up on Christmas morning and are able to show off the fruits of your labor to your family and friends.

Finding Christmas crafts for adults

Christmas crafts for adults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you look at old pictures of American Christmases in the 19th century you will see pictures of trees decorated with Robins, cones full of candy, miniature stockings and often miniature furniture and musical instruments. You can find patterns to make all of these decorations if you would like to decorate your tree with an old fashioned theme. If the man of the house is handy at DIY, why not ask him to make some miniature wooden pieces for the tree while you work on ribbons and other decorations. To complete the look, you could even buy fairy lights that look like candles but are a lot safer.

If you like sewing you could make a number of miniatures Christmas stockings and fill them with holiday scented flowers or potpourri. These would make lovely novelty gifts for family and friends. If you are not yet an accomplished sewer but love the idea of making your own Christmas stockings, why not buy one of the many felt stocking kits on sale. The Bucilla Christmas stocking kits are always very popular and something that you and the kids could do together.

Other Christmas craft ideas for kids

There are loads of Christmas craft ideas for kids. If you are stuck for ideas, a trip to your local library would provide you with more information than you would ever need. For example, you could make your own Christmas crackers. All you would need is some colored tissue paper and some silver or gold colored thin ribbon. Kids love to glue things so would have a great time sticking on the paper and motifs. They could choose what small novelty items could go inside the crackers and what colors they should be decorated with. Add in some felt pens and glitter glue and you should be greeted with the sound of silence as they get tucked into their work.

Other Christmas crafts for children include getting them involved with decorating the cake. You can do the main part of the icing and have the younger children add on the extras. For example if you have a Christmas tree on your cake, they could add silver balls as the decoration. If you have a snowman, depending on their age they could draw on his hat, gloves and scarf using different colored icing.

You could make a traditional Christmas wreath together although it is best not to involve very young children. They have a habit of putting things in their mouth and the shiny red holly berries may prove too attractive. You will need to leave making the wreathe until as close to Christmas as you can as otherwise the Holly will die and lose its lush green color.

There are so many Christmas craft ideas, the problem isn’t finding the ones you want to do but finding the time to do them all may be a challenge.