Archive for March, 2008

What’s an “E Bead?”

Larger seed beads, such as 6/os and 5/os are often referred to as “E” Beads. An E Bead is approximately 4mm in size.

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March 31, 2008 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

Bread Dough Clay – Beads for Kids!

This is a safe, non-toxic way to provide clay for your children to make their own beads. Remember when your children have finished forming the beads: ALL BEADS ARE BEAUTIFUL.

You will need:

1 slice white bread
1 tsp white glue
1 tbsp water
food coloring
clear glaze or nail polish

How to make the clay:
Cut or tear crusts from bread. Discard crusts. Pour glue, then water, onto the center of the slice of bread. Knead until dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. Divide dough into several parts and add a few drops of food coloring to each. Knead until color is well blended. Place each color in a separate plastic bag. Makes enough clay for several small objects and many beads!

Making the Beads:
Work with only a small portion of clay at a time. Shape beads, pierce with a bamboo skewer and allow them to dry overnight. When dry, spray with clear glaze or paint with clear nail polish. Bread dough clay can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

March 27, 2008 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

Tool Time: Drill Bit Sizes

I often need to use a micro drill bit set like the one shown below. The main thing I use it for is to open the holes in pearls a little bit. Pearls have such tiny holes, and sometimes even a 24 gauge headpin will not go through. By starting with the smallest bit in a micro drill bit set, I can gradually work my way up to a larger size bit and enlarge the hole very easily.

The drill bit sets such as this and the 20 piece replacement set have confusing numbers – the 12 drill bits in the set are sizes “52 – 74”. Some sets say, “.0635 – 0225.”   But what does that mean to you?

There is a very handy website at http://bobmay.astronomy.net/misc/drillchart.htm

This is a drill bit size chart – and it will tell you in millimeters, inches, and the number designation, as well as a few suggestions as to how to use different drill bit sizes. I have found this extremely useful!

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March 14, 2008 at 3:32 pm 2 comments

WHY KNOT???

One thing you might like to know about me and my beading habits is that knotting is my specialty.  I learned to bead from Henrietta Verchick, author of Pearl and Beadstringing with Henrietta, so the first technique I ever learned was knotting between the beads.  I still teach knotting lessons using Henrietta’s techniques, and one of the questions I am asked most often in these classes is, how do you know when to knot, and why do you knot?

The only real hard and fast rule is that you ALWAYS knot good pearls.  The reason is two-fold:  The first is, if the strand breaks, you won’t lose your pearls.  Secondly, the substance that makes pearls so beautiful is the nacre, the beautiful coating on the pearls.  If your pearls rub together (or against another bead,) the nacre will wear off and your pearls will lose their value and their luster.  The organic nature of pearls is also why we use silk to knot pearls – you want the natural pearl against the natural silk, not a synthetic.   That being said, I don’t always knot the more inexpensive freshwater pearls.

Another reason to knot is that knotting gives a soft, drapey look to your necklace that you will not get with straight stringing.

I also like to knot because silk comes in an amazing array of colors that can enhance the look of your necklace.   Because the knots show, you have the opportunity to use the beautiful colors of the silk thread to add to your design.  For instance, you can use a soft green with Fancy Jasper, and it will just fade into the background, which is fine.  But if you choose a lilac or tanzanite-colored silk you will see the lovely lavender colors of the stone “pop.”  You can even use two colors of silk for extra zing – I once used an olive-green thread and a peach thread when I was knotting Unakite beads.  Fantastic!

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March 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment


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