How To: Summer Earrings!

Last week a made a fresh batch of lightweight summer earrings with a great group of teenagers. I chose ornate findings and a simple jump ring assembly.  My hope was that the girls would be successful and enthusiastic about exploring new jewelry techniques. In the past I've had trouble teaching groups how to turn and wrap headpins, I carefully chose this project avoid that problem. Earrings make great inexpensive bead projects for large groups as they use significantly less beads than bracelets and earrings. The girls were thrilled to be working with 'real' materials, and were delighted with their finished pieces. My only regret was that I couldn't scrounge up enough pliers for each girl to have two pairs.

The moms were equally excited about this project and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the earrings ended up in their jewelry boxes. In fact I ran into a librarian already wearing my sample yesterday! Please follow the directions below to whip up a pair to match your summer wardrobe.


Blue Earrings - Laser cut metal earring components with ear wires, Natural Elegance, Blue Moon Beads

Red Earrings - Elongated hoops, Natural Elegance, Blue Moon beads you'll need to purchase the earwires separately and connect them to the hoops.

6mm jump rings

Blue and red seed beads - Global nomad, Blue Moon Beads (these are actually larger than traditional seed beads I think of them as 'e' beads)

2 silver sequins

Optional - Aleene's Metal Jewelry Glue


Chain nose and bent nose pliers

The trick to opening jump rings is to hold a pair of pliers in each hand, then use them to grasp the wire end on either side of the split. Gently open the ring laterally. If you simply spread them apart the ring will loose its shape. Hook the open ring through the finding, then string on an 'e' bead before closing the ring. Use both pliers to click the ring back into place. If the wires don't connect the thin metal finding can slip through the opening. Some of the girls found it helpful to add a drop of Metal Jewelry into the bead and slide the bead over the split. Repeat the process to add a bead ring to each of the openings in the finding. For added shine string a sequin behind the bead on the ring that hangs from the center of the finding.

Repeat the process to create a second earring, slide them on and enjoy!

I'm always grateful to Blue Moon for graciously supplying me with products for my designs, these were left in my stash from working on designs for my book Simply Beaded Bliss. Hopefully these findings or a similar alternate product are still available at your local retailer.

Blooming Bracelet - Free tutorial

I've been intending to make my mum a bracelet since before Christmas. She is the biggest fan of my jewelry creations, and wears my designs more often than I do. I'm always crafting on a deadline for work and seldom get to take time out to make gifts. Work and band commitments took away two of our children for the day leaving us with just a little girl at home. She adores her dad and was thrilled to have him to herself while I focused on bead work.

The plans for this gift started when I potted rooted cuttings from my Cape Angel plant. My favorite houseplant, it blooms sweet purple flowers all year round and despite the shade from our Hemlock woods. The color of the blooms is the same as the polished stone beads, a color that also works well with my mums wardrobe. I poured through the rest of my bead stash this morning to find the leaf, flower, and freshwater pearls to accompany the stones. I used the limited color palette as a device to tie together the different bead styles and shapes. Despite it's intriguing appearance this bracelet uses very simple beginner beading techniques.

I'm grateful for a day of personal crafting: a quiet afternoon of bead stringing for someone very special. Here's hoping this spring offers you moments of solace and creativity.

Finished size: 7'1/2"


9" section of 19 strand .015 copper colored Stringing wire - Beadalon

Antique gold lobster clasp - Blue Moon Beads

5 12mm antique gold jump rings - Blue Moon Beads

2 antique gold crimp beads - Blue Moon Beads

1 antique gold head pin - Blue Moon Beads

18 Semi precious stone beads 'Enchanted Planet' - Blue Moon Beads

12 4mm violet blue freshwater pearls

5 glass flower beads - purple

5 glass leaf beads 'Color Coordinates' - Blue Moon Beads

1 16mm glass flower bead


Round nose pliers

Chain nose pliers

Flush cutters

Clear tape

*please note all supplies were provided by the manufacturers

1. Fold tape over the end of your bead strand and begin stringing the first part of the sequence, three stone beads.

2. String the second part of the sequence: freshwater pearl, leaf bead, freshwater pearl.

3. Use your chain nose pliers to open a jump ring laterally and then slide a glass flower bead onto the ring. Carefully close the ring and string it onto the wire to complete the sequence.

4. Repeat the bead sequence in steps 1-3 four times, ending with three additional stone beads.

5. Check the length around your wrist, if necessary string a fresh water pearl to either end. To make the flower dangle first string the glass flower onto a head pin. Use round nose pliers to shape the end of the pin into a loop, wrap the wire end around the base of the loop and trim away the excess wire.

 6. String the flower dangle onto one end of the bracelet, follow it with a crimp bead and one part of the clasp. String the wire back through the crimp bead and then use chain nose pliers to squeeze the crimp flat, trim the wire end with flush cutters. String the second crimp bead and other part of the clasp onto the other side of the bracelet. String the wire back through the crimp, be sure to remove any slack from the wire before squeezing the crimp flat and trimming the end.