Tag Archives: Bracelet

Bracelet inspiration – memory wire with leather tassels


One of my favourite on-line beading stores/websites is Ornamenta, in Raleigh, NC. The cost of shipping from the US to Canada means I’ve never bought actually anything from them, but the selection is both eclectic and comprehensive. Plus, the owner sends out regular newsletters that include both ideas and tutorials. Recently, I saw a tutorial for a funky memory wire bracelet with tassels, the Guitar and Bass Bangle, designed by Erin Siegel.


I love this bracelet, but I was looking to make a birthday gift for my niece and black and gold aren’t her colours. A quick visit to my local bead store (LBS) for purple and turquoise seed beads, 1.5 mm leather cording in contrasting colours and I was in business.


I (mostly) followed the directions for Erin’s version. I used 8mm seed beads rather than charlotte beads. Had I read the directions properly before I went to my LBS, I probably would have bought suede cord. But the leader cord worked fine. Rather than cutting it into individual strips and then tying it together (missed that step in the directions too), I folded a metre-long length of leather into approximately 2 inch sections until the tassel would fit tightly into the bead cap. Tip: I tied each tassel with matching waxed linen cord from my stash and used a wooden skewer to poke the cord under the bead cap as I was glueing it (the skewer is handy for removing excess glue too). I cut the tassels to the desired length as I was finishing the bracelet (a sharp pair of scissors will help cut the leather evenly).


Note: pictures were taken at night, so colour is a bit off, especially on the purple tassel

The rest of the bracelet came together quickly. When working with memory wire, it’s important to keep the coils in order, rather than letting them get tangled up in each other. I used about 4 coils for the bracelet and eye-balled the half-way point to add the second colour.

While the original bracelet is really striking, I think my version is fun and bright – a perfect summer bracelet. Thanks to the Birthday Girl for being such a great (and patient) hand model.





Mad about Monet – April Art Bead Scene challenge


For as long as I can remember, Claude Monet has been my favourite painter. The first time I went to France, I made it a point to see as many of his paintings as possible. I was transfixed by his Nympheas series in  the Musee de L’Orangerie – I saw them again a number of years later and they were as stunning as I remembered.  I trekked across Paris to visit the Musee de Marmottan Monet, a traditional Parisian “hotel” (mansion) with an impressive collection of Monet’s work. One afternoon, I took the train out to Vernon to visit Giverny, Monet’s home that is surrounded by the most amazing garden that was the inspiration for many of his paintings. It was late June and the garden was in full bloom – I spent a glorious few hours wandering around admiring the profusion of flowers. A number of years later, my husband took me to Montreal for my birthday to see an exhibition of photographs taken at Giverny at various seasons during the year.  As far as I’, concerned, there’s no such thing as too much Monet.

So when I saw that Art Bead Scene had selected Monet’s Walk in the Meadows at Argenteuil” as the challenge for April, my imagination kicked into high gear. The colours are luminous and the pastoral scene conveys the essence of a sunny summer day in rural France.

By happy coincidence, I had an unfinished multi-strand bracelet in greens and blues. Using my favourite technique, I wrapped wire and seed beads around a piece of subtly dyed JodyPoesy ribbon. I had fashioned a clasp using a hand-made lampwork bead my mother brought me back from Australia as a button and made a loop at the other end with the ribbon. I left the ribbon ends loose and added beads on the end to make dangles – a ceramic bead from my hoard of Gaea beads, a glass bead I made myself in a bead-making class, a brass “coin” and some tiny grey beads from FusionBeads.

April 17, 2013 015

April 17, 2013 016

That’s as far as I got – the bracelet was on top of my bead box, unfinished, for months. But when I saw the Monet painting, I immediately thought of the bracelet and decided to finish it.

At my favourite local bead store, I found some 5mm preciosa bicones in emerald-green. I made a “chain” with wire-wrapped loops and wired it to the ribbon strand.

April 28, 2013 002-001

April 28, 2013 003-001

I wanted to add a third strand (3 is my favourite number), but I wasn’t sure what to use. I experimented with several different colours and widths of chain, but nothing seemed to work. I found a small piece of simple brass chain in my supply box, but it was too short. I experimented with adding a double strand of seed beads in a complementary colour to the chain, but after scattering the beads all over the floor for the third time, I abandoned that idea.

April 28, 2013 005-001

I spent the afternoon in my garden (much smaller than Giverny and without the huge pond). When I came back to the bracelet, I picked up some of the waxed linen thread that I recently received from Rebecca Anderson. I “discovered” waxed linen last week when I was working on my Bead Soup creations and I’m hooked. It’s a bit tricky to unknot, so careful planning has its rewards. I played around with the thread and knotted on a couple of faceted czech glass beads that also came from Rebecca. I swapped out the little grey beads that I’d originally tied onto one of the ends for an orange enamel bead from Gardanne Beads and tied a couple of other small beads onto the waxed linen thread.

April 28, 2013 015-002

Voila! my homage de Monet.

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I probably would have finished the bracelet at some point, but Monet’s painting did inspire me to try new colour combinations and experiment with textures in a new way.


Wire and ribbon bangle bracelet


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Several months ago, I bought a set of bangle bracelets on sale at my local department store. The cost was $10 for 7 bracelets and I was particularly keen on several embossed antique gold metallic bracelets in varying width. The set also included an unfinished wooden bangle, about 1/2 wide. It was not particularly attractive, so I set it aside and proceeded to wear the metallic bangles.

However, I recently came across the bangle and decided to see how I could transform it into a fun bracelet.I wanted to cover it, but decided against painting it – instead, I wrapped the bracelet in some purple silk sari ribbon from my stash (I bought mine from Mudhound Studio on Etsy).

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Jan 2013 258

Since the ribbon was fairly sheer, I overlapped it so the unfinished  wood wasn’t visible underneath. I made sure I left a piece about  3-4 inches long, so I could make a knot at the end (you could easily hot glue the ends of the ribbon to the bracelet, but I opted for wrapping and knotting). 

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Once I had wrapped the bracelet in the sari silk, I decided to overwrap it with some thin purple wire I also had on hand. The wire helped keep the ribbon in place and added a bit of texture. I pulled the wire fairly tightly so it wouldn’t rub against my wrist on the inside. Since this was an experiment, I had no idea how much wire I would need and ended up using 4-5 pieces of about 8-12 inched long – about 36 to 48 inched long). Although I had to hide the various ends, wrapping the bracelet with shorter pieces was easier to manage than using one long piece of wire. Whenever I added a new piece of wire, I started wrapping it on the outside of the bracelet, so I didn’t have any rough edges on the  inside.

While I liked how the wire looked against the sari ribbon, I thought it still needed a little more oomph. So I wrapped some small pieces of hand-dyed ribbon from JodyPosey, over the sari silk in a couple of places and then continued wrapped the wire around the entire bracelet.

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To finish off the bracelet, I knotted the ribbon and the sari silk and added a bead or a spacer to the ends – I also finished one ribbon end by wrapping it in the purple wire.

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Since the ribbon and sari silk were both thin, I ended up wrapping a short piece of the wire around the knot against the bracelet – it helped the ribbon ends hang together from the bracelet.

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My new hand model, showing off my latest bracelet

My new hand model, showing off my latest bracelet

I made my bracelet in stages but total production time (as opposed to thinking/planning time) was less than an hour. Having figured out how to do it, the next one would take less than half that amount of time – 20 minutes or so. Even though I used materials I had in my stash, the total cost was well under $5, including the bracelet. Easy, cheap and one-of-a-kind – my favourite kind of project.

I have linked up to the following: Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes ; Monday Link Party at Craft-O-Maniac; Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple; Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. ; Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou ; Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog; Take-a-Look Tuesdays at Sugar Bee Crafts; Wednesday Wowzers at oopsy daisy; Flaunt It Fridays at Dotted Line Crafts; The Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My FaceSix Sisters Stuff – Strut Your Stuff Saturday

Random acts of craftiness – man’s bracelet


Every time I make a gift for someone, my husband says to me, “gee, it sure would be nice to have something made by you.” While I usually give him the evil eye, he does have a point. Over the years, I’ve made sweaters for every member of my family (including M), as well as numerous pieces of jewelry for almost everyone I know. Except for a really ugly hat, my husband doesn’t have a single thing made by me.

In my own defense, I have started a number of projects that were intended as gifts for him. There was a lovely sweater that came in a kit with hand-spun wool. Except there was a problem with the pattern and I could never figure out how to correct it. It’s still in a box somewhere.

Then there was the Norwegian wool sweater that I started for myself and then decided it wasn’t the right colour for me. It was a beautiful light grey, with a brown and dark grey patterned yoke. But it had been sitting in a bag for a couple of years and I couldn’t seem to get tension in the new section to match the original stitches. I’m not even sure where it is now.

A couple of years ago, I decided to make my husband a bracelet. I spent a fair amount of time looking for the perfect focal piece and finally selected a pewter ceramic link from FusionBeads.

As usual, I had more things to do than time, so I wrapped up the link with a length of black rubber tubing and put it in his stocking. Over the course of the next year, I’d find it in my beading supplies and think, “I must do something with this.” Periodically, over the next year, I would pull it out with the intention of finishing it. But somehow, I never seemed to get it quite done.

Last year, I bought him a bracelet with a hand-cast pewter barrel-shaped bead and a button on waxed linen cord. I thought it was a good replacement for the bracelet I’d never finished for him. But while he liked it, he said he preferred the other one, even though it was still unfinished.

While we were on our holidays, I pulled the bracelet out of my beading bag where it had been lurking for several months and sat down to finish it. Originally, I had planned to attach the rubber tubing to each end of the connector and then add a clasp. But the tubing didn’t lie flat and I didn’t like how it looked. I tried some other options – cotton cord, waxed linen, but nothing really clicked. Finally, I went back to the rubber tubing, but added a couple of largish seed beads to keep the tubing from twisting.

Once I had the design figured out, it only took a few minutes to add the clasp and finish the bracelet. Finally, it was done. Hopefully, my husband thinks it was worth the wait.

I have linked up to the following: Craft Envy – Saturday Spotlight; Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes ; Monday Link Party at Craft-O-Maniac; Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple; Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. ; Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou ; Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog; Take-a-Look Tuesdays at Sugar Bee Crafts; Wednesday Wowzers at oopsy daisy; Flaunt It Fridays at Dotted Line Crafts; The Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My FaceSix Sisters Stuff – Strut Your Stuff Saturday

Picasso and a good cause – an inspiring bead challenge


ABS July Challenge – final bracelet

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my intent to submit a project to Art Beads Scene’s July Bead Challenge and donate it to 7000 Bracelets for Hope. I had ordered a number of art beads just for this project and I was crossing my fingers that they would arrive in time.

Well, a package of beads arrived in the mail almost every day last week. It was like Christmas!. The beads looked even better than in the photos on Etsy.

I had a design in mind, inspired by Picasso’s Two Harlequins and a Dog. I wanted to use colour and texture to invoke the painting, which has a lot of complexity.

I started by making a wire-wrapped fabric link, embellished with shiny blue seed beads, using a piece of variegated blue ribbon from  – JodyPoesy.

Wire-wrapped ribbon decorated with seed beads

In my original design, the fabric/ribbon section would attach directly to a beaded section, anchored by 6 wonderful blue matte ceramic beads from NKPBeads. But when I started stringing the beads, I realized that even combined with the fabric link, the bracelet would barely go around my wrist, which is quite small. Plus, there was the issue what to for a clasp and the fact that the beaded section would be much heavier than the fabric link.

So I added a small piece of copper chain to the bracelet. I solved the problem of a closure by wiring a lobster clasp on one end of the beaded fabric section and hooking it to the chain.

I spent a fair amount of time playing with arrangements of beads for the beaded section. I finally settled on 4 of the blue ceramic rounds – not only do they have a cool texture but the colour is mottled, making them even more interesting. I added an orange and a light blue enamel round from Gardanne Beads and a sandy beige ceramic bead from Gaea. The Gaea  bead isn’t uniformly round and like the blue matte beads, it also has a mottled look. To finish it off, I added the little round pewter face charm made by Green Girl Studios (via the Bead Lady).

Close-up of bead section of bracelet

The end product is very different from the idea I started out with. But I am happy with the end result. It was an interesting process – I just kept experimenting with beads and components until I had design that worked. It is a little big for my wrist, but I did try it on and it seems very wearable.

Wearing the bracelet – photographed by M

Having met the deadline for the July Art Bead challenge, I will now wrap it up and send it off to 7000 Bracelets for Hope.

I have linked up to the following: Craft Envy – Saturday Spotlight; Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes ; Monday Link Party at Craft-O-Maniac; Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple; Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. ; Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou ; Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog; Take-a-Look Tuesdays at Sugar Bee Crafts; Wednesday Wowzers at oopsy daisy; Flaunt It Fridays at Dotted Line Crafts; The Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My FaceSix Sisters Stuff – Strut Your Stuff Saturday

Jewelry for a good cause – 7000 Bracelets for Hope

Every month, Art Beads Scene has a monthly jewelry-making challenge. Beaders take their inspiration from the selected painting or photo and use art beads (hand-made beads or components) to make a piece of jewelry.  Most of the pieces chosen for the challenge do strike a creative spark with me, but usually not enough to actually make anything.  Unless I already have beads in the required colour palette, I have to order them.  This isn’t a big deal, but it requires being sufficiently inspired and organized to find and order them early in the month, so I get them before the challenge ends.  The planets don’t align enough for this to happen very often.  The one or two times I have gotten to the point of starting a project (with the necessary beads and findings in my stash), I didn’t get it finished before the deadline – my purple beaded bracelet started off as a project for the Art Beads Scene challenge in April.

But this month, there is an added incentive to finally finish a project.  This month, Art Beads Scene is encouraging readers to make a blue-themed bracelet and contribute it to 7000 Bracelets for Hope, an initiative that raises awareness and support for caregivers of children with rare genetic diseases. Given my current fondness for making bracelets, this seemed like a good project for me.

After studying this month’s painting, Picasso’s Two Acrobats with a Dog I let my fingers do some walking on Etsy and ordered a number of beads.  Plus a couple of pewter charms.  While I have a design in mind, none of the beads have arrived yet.  I am pretty tactile when it comes to making jewelry – I can have an idea in my head, but I need to have the materials in front of me in order to really see how the piece will come together.

Here’s a couple of the beads I ordered…

Vintage blue and orange vintage enameled rounds (Gardanne Beads)

Vintage enameled rounds / Blue and orange enamel 7

Blue Matte Ceramic Beads by NKPbeads on Etsy, $2.30

Blue Matte Ceramic Beads by NKPbeads on Etsy, $2.30

Green Girl Studios Tiny Head Charm
“Tiny Head” charm was created by Green Girl Studios in lead free pewter from Bead Lady

Stay tuned to see the final project later this month. And if the muse strikes you, hop over to Art Beads Scene and see how you can contribute to 7000 Bracelets for Hope.

Beaded ribbon bracelet


Beaded ribbon bracelet

Art Bead Scene, one of my favourite blogs, runs a monthly beading challenge.  The inspiration for the challenge is usually a painting but occasionally they select a sculpture or photograph.  The idea is to create a piece of jewelry that is evocative of the painting, using art beads (hand-made artisan beads).  I have never participated – even if I like the painting, I am rarely organized enough to make something within the allotted timeframe.

I was particularly drawn to this month’s selected work, Boreas, by John William Waterhouse (painted in 1903).   Even better, I had the necessary materials on hand.  The predominant colour is my favourite – purple – with different tones of gray.  The painting has lots of depth and movement, which also spoke to me. 

While I give most of my jewelry away as gifts, I decided to make a bracelet for myself.   Instead of starting from scratch, I re-worked a bracelet I made a couple of years ago.  It featured a stunning polymer clay focal from HumbleBeads and purple patined chain from MissFickleMedia.  I wore it from time to time, but more because of the colour than the design.  It was a bit meh; ok, but nothing special.

Close-up of focal by HumbleBead

In re-working the bracelet, I kept the focal, the toggle clasp and the gun-metal chain.  I replaced the purple chain with hand-dyed ribbon from JodyPosey, wrapped in 28 gauge purple wire and amethyst seed beads (size 10/0) . 

Hand-dyed ribbon

To reflect the painting’s colours and add some additional texture, I made a beaded link chain with some dark gray rounds I found in my bead box. 

Gray bead links

I dressed up the focal by wrapping it with purple wire.  It was a bit of an experiment, but I was pleased with the result.  The wire wrapping made the focal pop.   As a final touch, I made a small dangle with a stone from StoneStudiosToo and fire polish beads for a hint of sparkle.

Wire-wrapped focal - underside

I am really happy with the new bracelet.  It has a lot going on, but the elements balance each other out.  It`s fun enough to wear with jeans, but could easily be worn with a jacket or a dressy sweater for work.  I think it is highly reminiscent of the painting.   Best of all, it’s purple, my favourite colour.

Funky new bracelet!

I have linked up to the following: Think Pink Sundays at Flamingo Toes ; Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. ; Made by You Mondays at Skip to My Lou ; Get Your Craft on Tuesday at Today’s Creative Blog; Take-a-Look Tuesdays at Sugar Bee Crafts; Wednesday Wowzers at oopsy daisy; Flaunt It Fridays at Dotted Line Crafts; The Cure for the Common Monday at Lines Across My Face