Interview with a Spiritual Influence

Meet Meagan, a person I met on SwapSity.  Meagan knows how to say just enough and leaves you wanting more. Without giving anything away I can tell you I benefited when Meagan recently reduced her glass beads  ‘stash’. As soon as I can I’ll be making some glass bead artisan jewellery.

H: Who are you in your ‘real’ life?

M: Good question! My real life is a work in progress. All I can say is that I am interested in tons of different things.

H: What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it? Do you still have it?

M: I remember making cloud nametag pins with my mom when I was a kid. She’s a big crafter of all sorts of things. I think she still has the pins in her house womewhere.

H: Describe your work area: what is the best thing and the worst thing about your space?

M: I work at my desk. I like to be able to look at my computer because  I’m still learning some of the finer aspects of making prayer beads and I use lots of tutorials and pictures for inspiration. I have one of those slide out keyboard trays and my bead cloth is on that. It’s a good use of the space, although I wish the lighting were a little better.

H: What is your medium of choice?

M: I’m a beader. I used to make fashion jewellery and I’m starting to make prayer beads now.

H: What are your favourite materials?

M: I love natural materials. I’ve always been drawn to simple, functional things that are close to nature. The less polished the better! It is my dream to learn to whittle my own wooden beads.

H: What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from? Do your other interests play a part in your designs?

M: I often get ideas just from seeing interesting shapes and colours in my daily travels. I am a very spiritual person.

H:  For whom do you do your designs?

M: I think I mostly design for myself.  I give a lot of my work away as gifts.

There you go! Didn’t I say she is interesting! Meagan and I ‘swapped’ her beads for my money. I’d be lying to say these beads are nice: they’re great! 

Thanks, Meagan, for this interview. While your answers got me to a-thinking so I hope you found yourself happily reminiscing.


I am so happy that Meagan sent her answer to a follow up question I had.

H: What influenced your change of focus?

M: I guess I decided to start with prayer beads because spirituality is becoming more and more important to me. To be honest I liked making jewellery but not so much wearing it, so this is something I can also use myself.

Good or bad, Life is Growth. When we stop growing is the day we die. Some change is easy but it is the hard to accept change that builds our character.


Great News – eSMArties

There’s a new shop in town: the Etsy eSMArts boutique of hand crafted items.

Memory wire embellished with hearts, glass beads, and coiled wire beads: this is my first offering in a new shop at the eSMArts Boutique.

At the Etsy gallery, where everything is handcrafted, a new boutique can be found. It is offered to the shopping public as a place where you can find quality items made by hand. It does not offer home made: items of artistic, handcrafted artisan work are for sale.  Think of it as a Gallery Boutique. It is worth a visit: the products in this store vary widely.

Pictured above is a unique bracelet whose design rose from a fight with memory wire.  I finally conceded that a cuff bracelet would have to be made with something other than memory wire. I threw my cuff bracelet failure onto my work bench and a couple of days later picked it up again.

It had become a cuff bracelet with a difference. The manner in which the memory wire end curl around each other makes this piece of artisan jewellery a one of a kind cuff bracelet.

And it’s official: this is my version of a cuff bracelet. It’s all mine. It is unique to me. The failure has been elevated from a despised failure to a place of honour:

About Town – Handmade Jewellery

Look everybody and see what I’ve found!


Vanessa Glavac is a young entrepreneur who found a niche market; producing videos of basic techniques in beading. She breaks down each technique into easy to follow steps and, before you know it, you are creating your own artisan jewellery. Once you have these basic techniques you can do anything beaded your imagination can think of.


Vanessa has graciously given me permission to reprint her article: Handmade Jewellery – The Perfect Gift.                             ……..Helene




Handmade Jewellery – The Perfect Gift


If you’re looking for the perfect gift, you might not find it — so why not make it yourself? Handmade beaded jewellery is an easy and inexpensive gift — and fun for givers and receivers.


Jewellery That Matches Everything…Even Your Wallet

Glass beads come in a wide range of prices, so you’re sure to find something that works for your budget. You can also find beautiful but inexpensive acrylic beads. Or if you want to spend more, you can go with semi-precious stones or crystals. Since you’re making it yourself, it is easy to keep things inexpensive and spend just as much as you want to.


Make it Anytime

Making it yourself means you can make it at the time that works best for you. This is especially helpful when it’s 11:00 at night and you realize that you need a gift — for the next day! It’s easy to pull out some beads and make something special, even when all the stores have been closed for hours.


Match Maker

Once you have one piece designed, you can easily make a set. And you can make exactly what your friend likes, instead of buying a lot of extra stuff just to get the one thing she’ll wear. 


Personalize It

It can be hard to decide on the right gift when nothing seems quite right. There’s no better way to personalize a gift then by making it yourself. When you design beaded jewellery for your friends, you can design it with their favourite colours, style, and wardrobe in mind. And if you’re giving clothing as a gift, you can make matching jewellery to go with it.


Perfect Fit

Since you’ve made the jewellery yourself, you also have the power to change it. If your friend tries on the piece and finds that it doesn’t quite fit, you can easily adjust it.

I’ve even given my friends unfinished bracelets — after she takes it out of the box, I measure her wrist and finish it for her.


Give Me Something to Talk About

A gift of handmade jewellery makes a great conversation piece, especially at parties. As soon as you say “I made it myself”, people will ask you how you made it, where you got the beads, and how you came up with such great ideas.


It Just Means More:

Perhaps the best reason to make jewellery as a gift is the added meaning attached to it. In this age when everything is pre-packaged and mass manufactured, your friends will appreciate you taking the time to make something by hand, just for them.


About the Author: Vanessa Glavac writes about  making unique artisan jewellery. For information on how to make your own beaded artisan jewellery, visit, where you’ll find Vanessa’s easy-to-understand videos and ideas so that you can quickly and easily design your own gorgeous jewellery.

Spanish Bracelet 1

Cuff Bracelet to Spain
Cuff Bracelet to Spain
Cuff Bracelet Going to Spain
Cuff Bracelet Going to Spain

My sister wants a trip to Spain. She needs to save a whole lot of money to get there. As a reminder, like the string tied onto a finger, she commissioned a piece of artisan jewellery that would act in the same manner as the string.

I’ve had an awful time with the memory wire: it’s very Type A and so am I so it has been truly a battle to see who will win. While all you see right now is a skeleton of the cuff bracelet, the next step is to wire up a few more ‘ribs’ and ‘connective tissue’ that will act as a platform for the rest of the beads.
I thought I would add some copper wire: a stronger colour than gold, copper will look better in bright sunlight. The black beads will help with the stringing.
At least that’s the hope.

Notes to Self # 7- Crimp Beads and Components

Confessions of a Control Freak.

I am excited about this find. Anything I can do without depending on somebody else is good in my books. And, since I like to bead in the evenings when the shops are closed, it’s good to learn how to make as many findings and components as possible.

Well! Here’s a lady who is working with the people of the Krobo district of Ghana, West Africa to make their own beads and findings. The beads made by the Krobo people, Krobo beads, are glass, fired in a wood burning kiln, and strung with metal components that are worth a second and third look. Melody MacDuffee created the Soul of Somanya Project at the request of the people themselves. She teaches the techniques and they put the soul into the beads and components.

All this can be found at,, and in an article in October 2008’s edition of Bead and Button.   You’ll learn how to make your own crimp beads. And you will have an opportunity to donate to this worthy project.

Well, I think it’s a great idea.   …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.

Note to Self 4 – Bead Journal Project

Bead Journal Project 2008Hiya. I am really sorry that I can’t remember the person on whose website I discovered the Bead Journal Project. But, happy I am for having discovered it.

This will be the 2nd year for the Project and the 07-08 participants are just finishing up their works.

And the rest of us who are waiting to start our first experiences with the Bead Journal Project are chomping at the bit, keen to get started.
It is suggested that you have a theme in which to work and this theme is the unifying link through all 12 months.  I didn’t have a theme until I was sitting in the cancer clinic’s waiting room, leafing through some magazines. All of  a sudden I saw all kinds of shapes that would be perfect for glass bead jewellery. Yes, I did. I did make notes and after we got home and before I forgot, I scribbled my notes down.
I have to wait until the beginning of September to get the first challenge. Our kids are not looking forward to the start of school but I am: that’s when I get the first challenge.
A little secret about me: I am great at charging into something but, once my curiosity is sated, I have very poor staying power and I have lots of WIP’s (Work In Progress) to prove it.  It is my hope that making jewellery the theme of this Project I will be able to finish each month’s challenge. I might even end up with a whole line of artisan jewelry based on each month’s challenge.
That’s what I think.  Helene