Archive for February, 2009

Swarovski Crystal Birthstone Equivalent Chart

Let’s face it – you can’t ALWAYS use diamonds in your work, but you want to do something with a birthstone theme. Here is a chart of Austrian crystal equivalents to use in place of real gemstones.

January – Garnet

February – Amethyst

March – Aqua

April – Clear Crystal

May – Emerald

June – Light Amethyst

July – Ruby

August – Peridot

September – Sapphire

October – Rose

November – Topaz

December – Blue Zircon or Light Sapphire or Montana

Swarovski Crystals


February 10, 2009 at 1:19 am Leave a comment

A Quick and Easy Gift: Wine Glass Charms

I know these hit their peak a while ago, but they are still a fun gift and very easy and inexpensive to make. Also known as wine glass identifiers, they go around the stem of the glass and make every glass unique so that each of your guests knows which glass is his or hers.

Basically, you need hoop-style earring findings (the type you can slide beads on and then turn the end up to close) or ring-size memory wire, some beads, and a charm for each identifier. How plain or fancy is up to you – you can use good crystals and spacers and create your own charms with larger beads on headpins, or use base metal charms and a variety of glass beads.

I recently made a set of these for friends. I decided on a beach theme and used six different beach/sea charms and Czech crystals in blues and greens. Charms can be purchased in all kind of theme groups to make your identifiers personal: sports, holidays, animals, beach and the always popular wine-themed charms.

One really el cheapo idea for the charms is to pick up mis-matched dangle earrings at yard sales and thrift stores. One of my customers says, “the uglier the earring, the easier it is to remember your charm!”

If you are using the ready made earring hoops, you can slide on a few beads, then the charm, then a few more beads, then gently turn up the end that is flattened and has a hole in it. That keeps the beads from falling off and allows the identifier to be opened and closed.

If you are using ring-sized memory wire, cut into loops, then use a lighter to heat the end of the wire (be sure to protect your hands by holding the wire with pliers) and while the wire is hot, bend the last ½” of the wire into a loop with your round-nosed pliers. After it cools, hread on your beads and charm, and then heat and turn the other end of the wire.

To add a little panache to your gift, use a larger hoop for storage of the rings. It can be decorated as well, and it can hang on the wine bottle when the identifiers are in use. Package the group in a nice little silk or brocade pouch and you have a lovely hostess gift.

Below is a picture of martini charms I made for my sister.


February 10, 2009 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

Patti Whiteley – Friend and Fellow Beader

On Saturday, January 31st, the bead community lost an active and creative community member in Patti Whiteley. Patti was a long-time member of the Bead Society of New Jersey, a member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers and other bead and glass beadmaking groups.

Patti was a designer and fused-glass beadmaker. Her work was featured in the book “1000 Glass Beads.” She often attended Bead & Button, taking classes and enjoying the shopping and schmoozing. She was very active in many online bead communities as well.

Beyond all that, Patti was my dear friend.  We often lunched together (Thai being our favorite – Patti was so fond of the mango mousse she would get a plate of that first before getting her entree!  We always laughed about it.)  We gave each other advice and counsel, and commiserated.   I will forever miss her friendship.  I can hear the sound of her voice in my ears even now.

Patti’s work can be seen at


Patti's Fused Glass Pendant

Patti's Fused Glass Pendant

1000 Glass Beads

1000 Glass Beads

February 3, 2009 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment


February 2009
« Jan   Mar »

Posts by Month

Posts by Category