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December 07, 2016

Leather and Crystal Loom Bead Bracelet

Still playing with making Chan Luu style leather bracelets with my new Mirrix Loom.

I emailed Mirrix after my first batch of bracelets to ask how other people made this style of bracelet with their loom.  They were quick to respond with some different options of how to set up the loom.  I'll be taking a look at that over the weekend to see if there is anything that works better.

Until then, I decided to play with my new crystal beads (and new buttons) from the gem show last weekend and make this crystal bead leather bracelet.

leather and crystal woven bracelet

December 05, 2016

Leather Bead Bracelets on a Loom

I'm late to the party on this one.  The leather bead bracelets I'm making right now are Chan Luu style leather wrap bead bracelets, With only a single wrap for now.  But I say I'm late because they've only been popular for what - five years?

chan luu style beaded bracelet

I've actually made one or two of these before, but I've never really loved the commonly accepted methods of making leather bead wrap bracelets using a clipboard or the plastic loom, so I've never pursued it more.  It works, it just takes longer.

But now I have a loom.  A REAL loom.  A mirrix loom, which I dare say, is the crème de la crème of looms.  

November 18, 2016

Making Beaded Rope Cuff Bracelets

I recently updated a tutorial for odd count tubular peyote stitch. I love the ease that the stitch makes spirals - and it looks great as a bracelet, but I'm getting weary of rope bracelets.

Honestly, it's the clasp.

No matter how many times I've done it, I'm always a little worried that they are vulnerable to breaking where the clasp connects.  I reinforce them, I knot them multiple times, but after so many years of wire work, they still seem like they are hanging on by a thread (yup - they are...)

I've been toying with the idea of making beaded rope cuff bracelets for a while and finally got my first ones finished.

October 29, 2016

Which Way Should the Loops Face in Wire Wrapped Bead Chain?

Wire wrapped loops - they are quite simply one of my favorite things to make.

I'm sure there are people who make wire wrapped bead chain without any concern for the direction of the loops.  I know I've tried, but I just can't believe that there isn't a right way to do it. (Isn't there always a right way to do things? - No, there really isn't, but I digress...)

In any event, I have honestly spent years experimenting with the different ways to make chain trying to decide when I make a link - should the loops face the same way and line up with each other, should they face the opposite way from each other (I guess that would be perpendicular for the geometry buffs amongst us), or would anyone even notice, so who cares?  My conclusion is that they should face the same way.

September 09, 2016

Tubular Herringbone Bracelets with Bead Loop Closures

I have about a bazillion projects going on at once right now, but that's no excuse for not writing about them - is it?  I'll start with the last couple of weeks and try to catch up to date over the weekend.

First, I got slightly hooked on tubular herringbone stitch for a little bit.  I've always loved the look of the stitch, but honestly had never tried it.  I don't know why, but I thought tubular herringbone would be difficult - but it isn't... at all.

August 19, 2016

Making a Native American Style Fetish Necklace with Squaw Wrap Closure

I love Native American style carved animal fetish necklaces.  I bought mine over 20 years ago on a trip through the South West.  I'm pretty sure I bought it in New Mexico, possibly Arizona.

Native American Fetish Necklace

I was inspired to try and make my own when I recently bought some carved butterflies from Fire Mountain Gems (FMG).  As you may know if you follow this blog, I don't do a lot of stringing projects.  I don't think I'm particularly good at it, but like anything, I know that if I practiced more I would improve.

So, here's my practice.

August 04, 2016

Making a Beading Mat (Beading Tray)

If you've been following my blog for any time, you probably know that I like to take my beading and jewelry making to go.  Mostly, that means to my kids baseball and softball games - but it also means to various parts of my house.  

I'm always trying different ways to take my beading with me - from how I store my beads to the dishes I put them in when beading to the work surface.

This post is about my portable work surface, or beading tray.  One that I made myself, of course.

July 22, 2016

Bead Storage Containers and Caddy

Welcome to my endless search for new containers to store beads.

Primarily seed beads this time, but I think these new containers are good for most small beady things including findings.

I tend to keep my delica beads in their original tubes, unless something goes wrong with the cap and they keep spilling out.  They are organized loosely by color family. (although what color family this picture is of - I can't imagine!)

July 17, 2016

Cleaning Up (Beads), Organizing (Beads), New (Bead) Projects

It would feel like I've had a break if it hasn't been for the fact that I haven't.

Let me catch you up to date!  There's been work, stuff with the kids...  And now to the beadwork and jewelry making part.

As you may (or may not) know, I've been writing for the beadwork site at  There have been a lot of changes since I joined in January 2015 with many more to come.  All of it is good, since the site really needed some re-work and it is always expected after a company is acquired.

One of the biggest changes for me personally, was being asked to shift my focus from writing new

May 07, 2016

Quick DIY: Wire Wrap Mothers Birthstone Pendant

Mother's Day is tomorrow!  Yay, a day off!

Well, not really, but I do look forward to a day to appreciate all that my Mom has done for me. And a reason to slack off and skip the laundry and cooking.

But what I also like is the opportunity to make some pretty gifts for my friends who are such terrific Moms.  And that's what I did most of this week.

This is an example of one of the Mothers pendants I made. They have sections for each of their children's birthstones.  I like to think they are a little more special than the store bought versions.

April 26, 2016

Getting Started with Viking Knit

I've missed working with wire lately.

Beads are fun and colorful, but the sheer volume can be a little overwhelming at times.  So many choices - size, shape, color, finish, etc.

With wire, silver, copper and gold colored are pretty much the decisions I have to make.  And I need to decide the gauge too - but that decision is usually made by the project I decide to make.

And the type of wire is typically decided by what I'm making as well.  Is it something that I've never tried before? Then I use copper or brass because it is inexpensive and I have oodles of it.

Is it something that works better with soft wire? Then copper it is.  That was easy!

This week, I decide to try making Viking knit chain - something I've never tried before. I really haven't done very much wire weaving at all, so this was definitely a little stretch for me.

Is there ever a bad time to learn Viking knit?  I don't think so and I'm sure the Vikings would agree.

April 14, 2016

Holding Tubular Beadwork - Cellini Spiral

I seem to be beading a lot of tubes and spirals lately.  The latest is this Cellini Spiral, which is a nice way to say tubular peyote with graduated sized beads.

It is fabulous though.  A bit of a marvel to look at, and surprising easy to create (the way beadwork should always be, in my opinion!)

It's been challenging trying the various tubular beadwork techniques, but the hardest part for me is maintaining tension and getting the tube started. For the first couple of rounds, it's hard to tell which row is which and the beadwork wants to go in a circle outward instead of a tube upward.  I think I've finally met the challenge and won though.

April 09, 2016

Native American Technique for Daisy Chain Stitch

Ah - this week brings me such a feeling of accomplishment.  I learned how to do something the right way that I had been doing wrong all my life.

I am talking about making beaded daisy chains, so the right and wrong classification is entirely subjective. But, I finally learned how to make the daisy chains using what I believe to be Native American beadwork techniques. And they are soooo much better.

Shall we start with a quiz?  Which two chains are made using the new technique and which are my old way?

April 04, 2016

Making Holes in Coins for Jewelry

Well, I promised myself I would get back to my regular blogging schedule, and here we are again. Yay!


Today, I figured I would write about making holes in metal, like coins or earring findings like these hoops.  It's a super easy thing to do with the right tools - and the right tools are definitely not a drill.  And of course, I'll show you the projects I made with each of these.

March 28, 2016

Bead Patterns, Peyote and Two Drop Peyote Comparison

On an impulse a month or so ago, I bought some beadwork design software - BeadTool if you're interested in looking at it.

Actually, it was more of a necessity than an impulse.  I needed to update some patterns and it seemed like the easiest way to get it done.  Little did I know...

That's when it started... and when I disappeared from my blog.

First, I designed and made this great peyote stitch beaded heart ring tutorial.  And then, these even count peyote spiral tube earrings.

Then, I realized that in order to use the beading software effectively, I had to catalog, label and organize all of my seed beads. Organizing them helps because then I have a palette available of only the colors and types in my collection.

And once I did most of them, I realized the entire collection was ho-hum boring, and I needed to buy many more colors.

About eighty tubes of 11/0 delicas (a small portion of which is pictured above) and sixty hanks of 11/0 Czech beads later, I'm back!

January 28, 2016

DIY Heart and Key Jewelry Designs

Beaded Heart Designs

With Valentine's Day around the corner, I feel like it wouldn't be right if I wasn't making something with a heart theme.

And one thing I've been trying for two years is to make beaded candy hearts...  The ones that have sayings like 'Be Mine'.  The pure sugar, cotton candy color ones.

For whatever reason - it's been in my head... and I still can't get it right. Ugh!  (I'll show you my attempts though.)

I guess that made me try and go the totally other direction from super sweet to more modern romance with this ultra-W I D E peyote stitch ring.

Even though style-wise it is very out of character for me, I really like it. There is a step by step to make the beaded heart ring plus a pattern, but the word chart (if you prefer that) is at the bottom of this post. 

January 03, 2016

Jewelry Making and Beading Lessons Learned 2015

A Beady Year in Review - 2015

While I've had time off my day job the past couple of weeks, I've been making a lot of jewelry (special orders, gifts and project tutorials). But I've also had time to reflect on what I learned jewelry making and beadworking wise in the past year.

And I've still had a bit more time to think about my accomplishments, favorite projects, etc.  I guess you could call this my Lisa Yang's Jewelry Blog, 2015 year in review post. I mean, why not?