October 5, 2013

Making a Bead Cap Into a Bead Cone

No matter how many beads, finding, supplies and tools I have, I never seem to have the right size, right color, right shape, and so on.  Does this sound familiar?

There are two obvious solutions - buy more or make do with what you have - not necessarily in that order.  But are those really the only two solutions?

Sometimes, there is a third solution - change what you have to make it work.  Obviously, this won't work with everything, but sometimes you can make alterations.  

Case in point are these silver bead caps.  I bought the ones in the front many, many years ago and have never really used them.  They are very shallow and end up looking like a hat on any bead that I use them on. They are sterling silver from Bali - purchased when silver was about 35 cents per gram.  (If you are curious, the current rate for Balinese silver beads is about $1.32 per gram and up)

Lately, I have been wanting to make beaded tassels - but they look best in a deeper cap, or even a cone.  Rather than buy something new, I decided to try and alter the caps that I don't use by using my doming block from Harbor Freight to change the shape.

The original caps are very shallow.

After using the doming punch and gradually moving to smaller dies and hemispheres (the domes), I ended up with more rustic, but deeper cones.

I know the new caps aren't as finely detailed as the originals, but they have a rustic appeal.  And most important, they didn't cost me anything but time!

October 4, 2013

Adjustable Wrap Rings with Diamond Gemstones

This week, I was inspired by some rings I saw at a local shop, Kingfisher Road.  They have an amazing assortment of jewelry, along with clothing and accessories.  It is a great place to buy gifts.  In any event, the rings were manufactured - not hand crafted, but I liked that the rings were adjustable and used gemstones.  This was the perfect opportunity for me to use some of the gemstone beads I bought from Fire Mountain Gems.

I made several rings, but these are the ones that turned out best.  This picture is before I applied patina.

Even though I love bright copper, I rarely leave it that way.  It doesn't stay bright and shiny anyway, so you