It’s WEDDING Time!!

How exciting! Everybody’s busy and focused on THE wedding. Emotions run high. You learn all over again how wonderful your friends are.

People are watching their spending closely. It’s no different for artisan jewellery being worn by this year’s brides. Try DIY ~Do It Yourself~ kits.  You’ll learn a new technique that may send you down a path you thought you’d never follow. A new hobby is in the offing, perhaps. The DIY kits I write give you the instruction cards and some inexpensive beads to make the kit. If you already have the beads you want to use and really need only the instructions, the price would be less: it makes sense. It is hoped that the experience for the beader will be good enough that she will carry on with her own variations on the technique.

If you are like me, you work well under pressure and everything needs doing NOW.

Well!  I’ve been commissioned to work on the jewellery of 2 weddings. And for the person who wants to do it herself, I am working on a tutorial for an illusion-floating necklace. But I don’t have the exact illusion necklace made in 3D; just some rough sketches. However, as I write the tutorial I’ll be doing the steps myself to ensure nothing important is left out. When the tutorial is finished, so will be my illusion necklace.

Okay, Beth, get yourself to London and find the beads you want. Here’s a list of the bead shops in the London area I found. I don’t know London but I’m sure you do so you can map out your day.
Businesses Serving London ON

Beads & Plenty More519-472-3237  

317 Adelaide Street South , London , ON N5Z3L3
London’s Original Bead Shop(Over 20 Years)
Classes (Individual Glass Fusing) • Costume Designed Jewellery for all…
Category : Beads, Arts & Crafts-Retail
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Edwards Glass Co Ltd519-649-7225  

471 Newbold Street , London , ON N6E1K4
Category : Beads
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London Beadery519-652-2235  

3392 Wonderland Road South , London , ON N6L1A8
SW Ont’s Largest Retail/Whol Classes & Parties
Category : Beads
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The Beading Bug519-633-2345

368 Talbot Street , St Thomas , ON N5P1B6
Category : Beads
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If you are like me, you will stand amazed at all the pretty stuff. Take your shopping list and, for this trip at least, stick to it. If you decide you want to do more beading after the immediate jewellery emergency, then go back to the shops you liked best and stock up.
You will need a filament that is clear and skinny and strong. Hit the local Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire: find the fishing gear and get the smallest and least expensive reel of Monofilament Fishing Line. It’s a plastic line ~ I have 15lb test/tension but 6 or 8lb is just as good. Run out a small section of the line and knot it: does it hold the knot or does it begin to un-knot itself? You want to be able to knot it. Remember, you must go cheap or live with all kinds of the stuff left over.
You will need a string of pearls and another of crystals. How many will depend on  how close together you want the pearls to be spaced. Don’t forget that if you do the bracelets you have the same consideration of how much is needed.
Bracelet length:
8 inches ~ 20 cm     This measurement  includes the clasp
Necklace Lengths:
Choker = 16 inches ~ 41 cm
Princess = 18 inches ~ 46cm
Matinee = 24 inches~  61cm
Opera 32 inches ~ 81 cm
Rope 48 inches ~ 122 cm

Let me share an experience I had several months ago. A lady with a very small frame commissioned a choker necklace. I made the mistake of not measuring her neck ~ not a mistake I want to repeat. I re-did the necklace 3 times because the ‘standard’ choker length of 16 inches was too big. Finally the piece measured 14inches and my client was happy.
So !! Measure twice and string once. Measure it again.
The measurements are for that mythical being, the  ‘Average Woman.’  If the recipient has a big wrist then the 8inches might be too snug. A 16inch choker will be too tight for a large woman and too loose for the woman with a tiny neck.
You can do a multi strand necklace.
Sit down with paper and pencil ~ you can do it in front of the TV!
What have you in mind for the bracelet and necklace?
How few or many stations (pearl component) will you want?
How fancy will each pearl component be?  Multiple pearls with a single crystal? or the other way around? or 1 crystal / 1 pearl  / 1 crystal / 1 pearl spaced out along the line?
Measure 2x and bead once. The more planning you do here, the faster the process will be. Take your time in the planning stage and do it well.
Think of your choice in clasps now, before you buy them, so they look proper in the piece of jewellery ~ neither too big nor too small. It has to look appropriate for its job of supporting the filament/s.
Remember that if you are doing multiples of the same design, such as all the bridesmaids, then you will have to take what you need for 1 bracelet or necklace and multiply it by the number of people receiving this wonderful gift.
One last thing to consider! The size of the beads.
A 7mm bead looks wonderful in a floating or illusion design. A 16mm bead would probably be too big.
You need  a clasp, 2 clamshell beadtips, 2 jumprings or springrings, crystals, pearls, seed beads, clear monofilament fishing line.
You need a measuring stick. A ruler is fine. I use a retractable tape measure. I really don’t know what I would do without my local hardware stores. So much of my equipment and findings, etc. I buy at the hardware.
You need a bead tray or cloth to lay out your beads.
You need a couple of dabs of glue.  And the glue must not damage the monofilament. Read the information and check that it can be used with glass, plastic, metal.
This really isn’t an ad and I haven’t received any money, year’s supply of !
 I use Household GOOP (hardware again) or Beadalon’s Bead Stringing Glue. Check with the bead shop staff to get their opinion on glues.
You need  peace and quiet (maybe with your favourite music playing?).
You need to have your social secretary ~ or child, or husband, or ….,handle all your phone calls.
You need your favourite non-alcoholic beverage.
You need to keep your adorable pets safe from what you are doing. You will be working with small bits and pieces and they can kill your cat/pet. Same goes for wee kidlets.
There you go. You are on the road to beading heaven. It can be a very expensive hobby if you are not careful. If this is your first foray into beading artisan jewellery it’s important not to spend money too freely. Get what you need and leave. You can, and probably will return.
I wish you joy and a new hobby you can enjoy for many years to come. Working with your hands and brain both engaged produces some really marvellous pieces of wearable art.
Will you send me pictures of your finished pieces? I’d like to add them to this blog.
All tied up in beads    …Helen

Notes to Self: Music Hath Power …

I spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening last night. On our Bravo channel was 2 hours of song and dance by the Soweto Gospel Choir. I loved it! The performance celebrated the 10th anniversary of democracy, the downfall of apartheid, in South Africa.

The harmonies and dissonances sound different to our western ears and yet it was not jarring in any way.

The choir’s costumes were as rich in colour and shape and BEADS as the music was. The dancers left me feeling breathless, yet they were able to sing without breathlessness. Now, that’s what I call conditionning. These ladies and gentlemen were physically fit.

The audience, made up of all races, ages and, I assume, of many religions, sitting all together, was appreciative of the performers from South Africa.

At the end of the performance the entire hall rose and sang, hand on heart, the South African national anthem.

‘Music hath power to soothe the savage beast.’  In China, I believe, the word for ‘music’ and ‘friend’  rise from the same root.  In music, it is very hard to stay angry with others.

It’s important for you to know about a charity, Playing for Change, that is building schools in many poor nations to teach children their ABC’s and their Do Re Mi’s. The school is fully equipped with instruments and recording equipment and teachers and enthusiastic students.

As with all charities, it seems never to have enough: not enough labourers to build the schools, not enough teachers, not enough money, not enough of everything to spread the word.

I offer some items of wearable art artisan jewellery for sale; the funds are sent to Playing for Change. And I can lift up my voice ~ not in song, I wouldn’t inflict anybody with my ‘song.’ But in writing posts on my blogs to get the word out is a way to spread the work.

Go to  Support them in any way you can. As you give, so will it be given unto you. There is always somebody worse off.

Well, that’s my opinion

Helene, Glass0Beads ~Glass #0 Beads~

Interview Questions

  • Please tell my readers a bit about yourself and where we can find you on the internet.
  • What is your mission statement? What best describes your work?
  • What is your chosen craft and how long have you been working in that media?
  • Why did you choose this over other crafts?
  • What, or who, inspires you the most? In life? In art?
  • What are your favourite design resources?
  • Have you a special mentor? Who do you thank, and blame, for getting you started?
  • What has been the hardest thing for you to do? How did you overcome that hurdle?
  • Do you have a faviourite colour? Shape? Line? How is your work affected by your favourites?
  • Describe your most important work.
  • Have you a favourite quotation? What is it?
  • What words of wisdom could you offer people who are new to your craft?

Answer my interview questions and when your interview is published get a permanent link from this site to yours.

With my thanks  ~~Hélène

Niki.Tasha – Follow Up

Black n Silver Amulet Bag Backside
Black n Silver Amulet Bag Backside

Well. I did promise to add pictures of the finished amulet bags and I have been remiss in not doing so.

I’ve received a slap up the side of m’ head, figuratively speaking, so here they are.

You will note, I hope, that these pictures don’t quite match the graphs offered in Niki Tasha’s Apprenticeship. Read on and you will see why.

(See the wee speckles in the silver section on the left? Some of my silvers look so much alike that it isn’t until you’ve got a bit further that they show themselves. I am of the mind that these speak to the imperfections of Artisan Jewellery that make them truly unique or one of a kind.)


Black n Silver Amulet Bag Frontside

Black n Silver Amulet Bag Frontside

This is one of the patterns for Tubular Even Count Peyote Technique. It does look different from what was graphed: that’s the artistic licence we all have. I copied the graph for the back and the front sides. Once the tube had reached what I considered a  pleasing size (approx 2″ x 2.25″in or 5 x 6cm) I squished it until I hit upon the configuration you can see here. The lesson in this step is to try a pattern different ways: you can be a slave and do the pattern as written, or you can adapt the pattern to your taste. Add a bit of yourself to each pattern or technique and you will have something unique; something that will look different than all the others using this same pattern. I sewed up the bottom side by adding a couple more rows on only 1 side. Then I ran my thread through the ‘teeth’ back and forward and pulled: it’s just like pulling up on a zipper.

Then on to the top or ‘lid’ of the bag. I decided to fiddle with the lengths of the rows and came up with something that looks a bit like a pair of boots.
Then the strap step followed. I began the strap by adding beads to a row several below the lip of the bag. Several rows of that with a pattern I use often, a wee flower in pewter colour glass beads with a silver centre held between an edge row of silver on both sides. I stitched 18 rows which seems a lot until you remember in Peyote each row is only half a step up.  Then I continued on only 6 beads on one side of that back tab and worked back and forth until I had a strap that would slip neatly over my head.  When I reached that length, I connected the 6 bead strap back to the back tab.
Blue n Silver Peyote Amulet Bag Frontside

Blue n Silver Peyote Amulet Bag Frontside

Blue n Silver Amulet Bag

Blue n Silver Amulet Bag

The Blue n Silver Peyote Amulet Bag is from the other graph offered in the Niki Tasha Apprenticeship. It, too, does not quite resemble the graph. Again, I have exercised my artistic licence and ‘smooshed’ the finished tube to find what I liked. In this case I chose not to repeat the pattern on the backside: it cuts down on having to concentrate on the pattern on both sides. I love things asymmetrical so I  chose to have the pattern wrap around one side. A few rows of beads added to only 1 side of the tube and ‘zipping’ up the bottom and there you have it: an amulet bag.

The strap starts at one side by weaving 6 beads to the tube. With those 6 beads I used a Flat Herringbone technique: it’s a technique I love and offers an opportunity to experiment. When I reached the magic ‘slip over the head’ length, I attached it to the other side of the amulet bag by weaving the beads of the strap with the beads on the side of the amulet bag.
When you don’t know what to add when cooking, it needs a ‘soupçon’ of something but you don’t know what you add either some cheese or some sugar. In design work you add a snippet of black. If I had used yet another silver or pewter, the pattern would have a very washed out look.
I have no ‘lid’ for this bag. I couldn’t decide what to do with it, so I left it open to the skies. Maybe some good luck will fall into it.
Blue n Silver Peyote Amulet Bag Side

Blue n Silver Peyote Amulet Bag Side

No you aren’t seeing things: I’ve smooshed the tube to better show that this is really one of the patterns from Niki Tasha’s Apprenticeship.

There it is. I have posted my pictures for Niki Tasha’s Apprenticeship.
Has anybody got questions for me? Something I didn’t explain well enough? Comments of all sorts, except the spamming sort, are welcomed; nay, looked for. I can only get better and that happens a whole lot faster when there are other ‘slaps’ (figuratively speaking).


Notes to Self – 9 – In Translation

On another blog, a problem presented itself. A translation from one language to another was wished for. And such a tool exists in Google.

No matter what language you use, written text in one language can be translated into another. And that is a big step to understanding cultures other than our own. And when we understand we can be less fearful. And that makes the peoples of the world draw a wee bit closer to one another.

I think that’s a wonderful thing.   …Helene…

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 14 – Amulet Bag Strap

Hiya, Niki. We’re almost done with the peyote technique.

A decision must be made how you intend to use this small amulet bag. Will you wear it attached to your belt? or around your neck? or as a cell phone strap?

If you choose to wear it around your neck, you must decide how long you want the strap. Will you require a clasp to get it on?

If you choose to make it a part of your cell phone, you need to use wire to make the strap. And the findings will be different, too.

A – Attached to your belt: decide how far down you want the wee bag to hang. Double that measurement and that is how long your need your strap to be.

B – Around your neck: A short necklace requiring a clasp to get around your neck needs different findings than a long necklace that can easily be slipped over your head.

C – A cell phone strap: A loop will be made that fits comfortably over your hand but that is not so big that it slips easily. The idea is to keep the cell phone close but without having to hang on to it. If the strap is too loose, the cell phone will likely land on the pavement more than once.

A – A reasonable width of an Even Count Peyote strap would be 6 glass beads wide. Keep within the colour scheme you chose for the pouch itself. It works quickly back and forth and really can be made any length as long as the glass beads are in supply. Don’t get too carried away, though. The essence of grace is that the person seems unaware of herself while she is interested in you. If you are constantly tugging at your clothes or the belt adornment is being fiddled with, then you lose that grace. A belt ornament of this style really shouldn’t hang lower than your knee. You can draw out the pattern on paper before stitching or randomly pick up each glass bead in any order: this last works because you will be using the same beads that you used in the body of the Tubular Peyote.

B – An Even Count Peyote strap can work as a necklace. You will embed the thread at the side of the tube and come up in the groove between two zipper teeth. The side of the tube was established when you worked on the flap. Start the strap as any other Even Count Peyote, such as the flap and one version of the bottom. Work back and forth until you have reached the desired length. Embed the thread in the other side of the Peyote tube. If you run out of thread before the strap is its decided length, run the needle through several rows of the strap and add a couple of discreet knots along the way. Don’t cut off the tail until you have started the new thread: run the needle and thread as you did to tie off the old thread, ….. only in reverse. After several rows stitched with the new thread, go back and trim the tails left from the tying on and off of threads.

If your strap requires a clasp, decide which one you want. You will also need: jump rings for each strand hole in the clasp, bead tips to tie off the threads and you will need them in quantities to complete the job – both parts of the clasp. Check out the How-To category – so far I have the title but not the substance. It is a WIP (Work In Progress).

If the clasp is for a single strand, life just got easier. You will be working from each side of the Peyote tube towards the middle back of your neck – a little less than half the length each. Make a pyramid at the end of each strap by using only the middle 4 beads and then the middle 2 beads. Get yourself some crimps and some bead tips – I prefer the clamshell bead tip. This site can provide you with what you need:

Run the thread through the bottom hole in the bead tip. Now run the thread through a small bead and make a discreet knot.  Add a small dab of glue. Close the bead tip. Add a jump ring to the bead tip and to the clasp.  Do exactly the same thing on the other half of the necklace.

You can make a completely different style of necklace; something other than the peyote technique. I would suggest using stringing wire: it’s strong and flexible. Back to the side of the peyote tube: start the even peyote strap as above. Make it very short and attach it to the edge of the wee amulet bag. This is a casing for the beaded wire to attach to. You will require crimp beads and jump rings and a clasp if the wee pouch is to sit high on the chest. You will require only crimp beads if there is no clasp. Thread the wire through the crimp bead, a bead and a 2nd crimp bead. Add your beads, run them through the casings made earlier and finish by running the wire through the crimp bead, the glass bead, and the 2nd crimp bead. Tighten up the string and use your crimping pliers on the crimp beads. When I say ‘tighten’ I don’t mean strong arm the strand – you want the strand to hang gracefully, not all bunched up on itself.



Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.

Niki.Tasha – Lesson 13 – Flap

Hiya, Niki. This lesson is in Flat Peyote: if you used the simple bottom instructions and didn’t choose the round bottom to close up one end of the tube, then you already know how to do the flat peyote technique.

If you chose the round bottom technique, then good on you. You are learning all kinds of things about the peyote stitch technique.

Now, for the flap, we have 2 choices: a flap with a smooth and straight edge on which to add a fringe, and the uneven edged flap.

FIRST, the even edge:

1. Continue in the tubular manner BUT stop when you are half way around. ensuring you have an even number count.

2. Add a glass bead and turn back, adding a glass bead between each zipper tooth, until you are back to the beginning of the flap.

3. Add a glass bead and turn back. Continue until you have reached a length you like.

DESIGN NOTE: On a piece of paper draw the dimensions of the amulet bag. Draw the bottom edge of the flap. The space measurement between the bottom of the flap and the bottom of the amulet bag is the length of the fringe. If you ignore this measurement, your amulet bag will be out of proportion. And that takes away from the aesthetic balance of your work. Fiddle to your heart’s content with the design of the fringe. Make an inexpensive design board with a remnant of wide wale corduroy and lay out your fringe beads in the wales. Here is your chance to vary the lengths of the strands, the choice of beads, and even a pattern seen in the fringe.

4. From each ‘zipper tooth’ of the flap you will hang a strand of the fringe. Pick up the beads from one string of your corduroy design board. The bottom bead is the turning bead and it is best to be a small bead (but not so small that it slips through the next bead). Then run your needle through the whole string again. 

5. Anchor the thread in the peyote flap and come out at the next zipper tooth. Repeat Step 4 and 5 until all the beads have been added to the fringe. Anchor the thread in the flap and ensure the fringe won’t work its way out. That would really be too bad.

Variation on the Fringe:

a) Each strand of the fringe is double in length. You are going to make many loops instead of single fringe elements. This variation is best when the beads are glass seed beads. Having loops all across the flap makes for a thick fringe, and it will not have the same movement as the single strand variation.

b) A variation of a), string the loop of beads. Before you slip your needle through the beads of the flap, twist and twist and twist and twist and tw… until you have the twisted loop you desire. Once the loop has been twisted, slip the needle and thread through the flap to the next zipper tooth. Repeat until you reach the other side of the flap.

There are other variations and lots of scope for you to experiment.

NEXT, the uneven edged flap:

1. Slip your needle through a zipper tooth and add the number of beads for the longest point of the edge. Make sure it is an even number of beads.

2. Work back to the beginning, at the flap edge.

3. Run another 2 rows of even count peyote. When you get back to the flap edge again, slip your needle through the next zipper tooth.

4. Continue in this manner until your flap is as wide as half way around the tube. Varying the jaggedness of this flap by stopping before you reach the furthest edge: or, by adding beads as you did at the beginning of this flap, gives your flap interest.

Variation: Make several flaps of differing widths that overlap one another. Ensure the total measurement of the flap from side to side is not greater than half the diameter of the tube. Find this spot by flattening the tube sideways (not from end to end).

Now you are ready for the strap of the amulet bag.


Copyright © 2008 Helene Turnbull All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – without written permission of the author.