Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Spiral Earrings Tutorial by Sasha Si

If you do not already own Sasha Si's Spiral Earrings Tutorial, run over to her Etsy shop and buy it now. The basic earring is a quick and easy make, not to mention that it produces a beautiful pair of earrings, but this tutorial lends itself to tons of ways to vary the earrings and put your own spin on them. You don't need any prior beadweaving experience for this tutorial. Sasha explains every step thoroughly. If you can thread a needle, you can make these, yet because of the endless variations, they are great fun for advanced bead lovers as well.

I am having so much fun playing with this tutorial and trying different things! I'm going to show you a few of the variations that I played around with, and I'm sure there are tons more that I haven't tried yet. But I will!

(all bead-weaving in photos is complete, though in some I haven't put the ear wire on the earring yet)

Using different sized beads
Increasing starting bead count
The basic tutorial uses only two sizes of beads, 8's and 11's, (middle earring). I made a larger version using 6's and 8's (right) and a smaller version using 15's and 11's (left). I also made an extra long version of the earring by increasing the bead count at the beginning of the tutorial.

Then I wanted to see what I could do with color. Here is the red, white, and blue striped result of that experiment. I think it looks pretty cool. I'd like to see what else I can do with just color to make them look different.

I've also been substituting other beads for the 8's, and getting great-looking results! Here are the photos, captioned with the type of bead I substituted.
3mm crystals
3mm pearls
Super-Uno Beads

Miyuki Tiny Drop Beads
 I'd love to hear what variations you tried with this tutorial and how they worked out. Now, I think I see some daggers on my shelf that I want to try out with these earrings...


Sunday, January 08, 2017

10 Easy Jewelry Care Tips

After spending some of your hard-earned money on a special piece of handmade jewelry for yourself, don't you want to keep it looking beautiful as long as possible?  It's easy to keep your jewelry looking good for a lifetime if you follow some easy practices when caring for it.

Most of these jewelry care tips, such as removing your jewelry at night or putting jewelry on after applying makeup, will become habit after a while and you will do them without even thinking.

  • Remove jewelry before showering, bathing, or swimming. Any prolonged exposure to water can weaken your jewelry, and swimming also exposes it to chemicals in the water.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your jewelry. All you really need is some warm water and a drop or two of mild dish detergent. Rub gently with your fingers or a soft cloth, pat dry, and lay flat on a towel to dry completely.
  • Use a polishing cloth to shine metal jewelry. A polishing cloth, such as the Sunshine Cloth, is good for shining and removing tarnish from metal jewelry. It does a great job while still being gentle.
  • Store metal jewelry with a tarnish strip. Keep your jewelry from tarnishing in the first place! A tarnish strip absorbs moisture from the air that causes metals to tarnish. Store your jewelry in a small plastic baggie with a tarnish strip. If you are out of tarnish strips, a piece of white chalk will work in a pinch until you get more.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleansers while wearing your jewelry. Remove jewelry before doing household chores.
  • Remove jewelry when doing heavy work. When cleaning the yard, gardening, or even doing some types of crafts, remove your jewelry so that it doesn't get caught on something and break.
  • Don't sleep in your jewelry. I have to admit, this is tempting and I have done it, but then I have the tools here to fix my jewelry when it gets weak and breaks from sleeping with it on. Best to take it off before bed.
  • Apply makeup, perfume, and hair spray before putting on your jewelry. This keeps powders and sprays from coating your jewelry.
  • Inspect your jewelry regularly for breaks or weak spots. If you see a spot that needs attention, ask the maker to repair it before it gets worse. There may be a small charge for this, but that's better than losing a piece of jewelry if it breaks and falls off.
  • Wear your jewelry often! Don't save it for special occasions. Even a pair of earrings will make you feel special every day!

Do you have any favorite jewelry care tips that I haven't mentioned here? Please share them with us in the comments.