Helical Key Fob

This month’s Art Elements challenge has the theme of Seed Pods, and is hosted by Jen Cameron. When I signed up for the challenge, I didn’t really have any idea of what I would make, but soon after, I was reminded of seed pods from my school days. On our way to school and back, we would come across these helical seed pods strewn all around. I don’t see them anywhere these days, and I still don’t know what kind of trees they were from. I thought it would be awesome if I could represent them.

Research using the vague terms I could think of didn’t turn up anything useful, and anyway, I don’t think I even remember those seed pods that well, so I eventually ditched the research and focused on the artistic. That’s when the Cellini Spiral sprung to mind. I’ve admired the effortless gorgeousness of this stitch but had never worked on it myself. After trying and discarding a few color combinations, I ended up with a viable one – I just love these colors!

Helical Key Fob

The Cellini Spiral stitch itself is easy to learn because it’s essentially a tubular peyote stitch, but the constant color change requires some attention, so it’s probably not TV stitching. 🙂 Mistakes are really easy to undo, though.

Since none of my bead caps seemed to really suit this piece, I ended up using a 16-gauge wire for the finishing. I strung the wire through the length of the helix tube and formed the ends. (This wire was so hard to work with!) I also made a jump ring for some extra swing. Now that’s a key fob I totally adore!

So it looks like this project wasn’t about technique-oriented challenges for me, but it makes up for that with the happiness it brought. Thank you, Jen, for the chance to channel a tiny piece of the past into the present. 🙂


This is a blog hop, so please check out the insanely creative ideas from the other guests and the AE team!

Guests: Tammy Raven Alysen Anita (You are here) Cat Kimberly Rozantia Sarajo Divya Caroline Catherine Kathy Jill Norma
AE Team: Claire Caroline Lesley Niky Laney Susan Marsha Jenny Cathy Jen

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Inspired by Iced Tea | We’re All Ears Challenge

The folks at Earrings Everyday host a themed monthly challenge – We’re All Ears – with a reveal and blog hop on the third Friday of the month. For July, we get to be inspired by our favorite summer drink! Doesn’t that sound like fun! 🙂

It’s pretty difficult to think of a summer drink when it’s rainy and chilly here in Bangalore 😉 but while I sipped hot tea one cold afternoon, its sister, the iced tea, came to mind. What’s not to like about a refreshing drink that readily accepts different flavors being blended in, and still maintains its inherent ‘tea-ness’ underneath!

I thought I could use the dregs from my tea for a pair of paper-based earrings… (Let the creativity flow!) And this was the result –

Iced Tea Paper Earrings | Anita

The pattern

I spread the dregs on a piece of paper, then quickly removed them. I then reduced the amount of dregs, then re-spread them again on the paper for a longer while, and removed them again. I repeated the reduce + re-spread + remove process a couple more times to get a pattern of smaller, darker brown specks over larger, lighter brown ones.

The beads

I cut out long right angled triangle paper strips, and made conical paper beads by rolling the strips around a thin piece of wire, using glue on the paper during the rolling to ensure the beads don’t unravel. These form the bead bases.

I then cut a couple of squarish shapes from the tea-patterned paper, ensuring that they are slightly larger than the length of the paper beads. I draped each square over a paper bead, retaining the same conical shape – but looser, like a slightly oversized dress – and made them stay put that way using glue.

I used a couple of layers of Mod Podge for some gloss, which I then reduced by lightly rubbing the beads with some fine sandpaper. Then I squished the base of these tea-patterned cones a bit, and twisted them. Ah now that’s a look I like!

The assembly

For each earring, I strung a dark brown bead through a long gold-colored head pin, then added the paper bead, and made an eye hole at the top, to which I attached an earring finding. For more interest, I added tiny pre-wired black loreal seed beads to a jump ring and attached it to the earring finding.

Yeah! I totally love this earring pair – simple, light and pretty. 🙂


This is a blog hop, so please check out what the other participants have made by heading over to the reveal at Earrings Everyday.

Tassels, Tassels, Tassels

Beadwork magazine had an article a while ago about submissions for Fast and Fabulous projects with tassels. Reading that made me realize that I’ve not really made much tassel jewelry. I do like tassels, so I wonder why I haven’t… Anyway, now that I had an opportunity and some inspiration, why not?

I selected 11/0 seed beads in three related colors for a pair of tasseled earrings.

Beaded Tasseled Earrings

The tassels

I made each tassel have five equal-sized strands. For each of these strands, I used 40 beads, with same colored seed beads for 3/4th of its length. For interest, the last 1/4th of each strand is made of a random assortment of the 11/0 beads in the above colors and another darker color, and a white 8/0 bead. I attached the top of the strands to a small jump ring that fits inside an end cap. To fix the jump ring in place within the end cap, I used a wire length with an eye loop through the jump ring. I brought the other end of the wire out through the top of the end cap, and made an eye loop on the outside as well.

The assembly

I attached the tassels to a large bead cap using small lengths of chains. I added some interest by varying the lengths of the chains, so the tassels are at different heights.

These earrings had to go through a few design changes for the assembly, and they turned out to be quite long, longer than I’d intended. That’s a blessing in disguise, though, because they look like just the pair to wear on a dazzling evening!

Kumihimo’s Back!

I haven’t had an opportunity to test my buffing wheel further, but I did get some time to work on Kumihimo. I haven’t tried Kumihimo ever since I bought uniform Preciosa beads, so it was exciting to work on. And do uniform beads in bead-work make all the difference, or what! (Just look at my previous Kumihimo projects with non-uniform beads…)

I haven’t played with Kumihimo much to understand it and design my own patterns. And that’s something that I’m looking forward to doing, now that I have uniform beads in my stash! (I’m more a fan of Kumihimo beading than Kumihimo braids, but I was inspired by the patterns in Deidhre’s braids when I came across her blog.) So well, since I haven’t figured out Kumihimo yet, I made a bracelet based on the Elegant beaded kumihimo bracelet by Christina of CSLdesigns — she makes awesome pieces and teaches so well!

Kumihimo Bracelet

Kumihimo Bracelet

To fit the size of the larger beads I have, I used a smaller number of seed beads than Christina did. (I used a red-brown combination, not a single color.) I also went about it the way I do — top-right to bottom right, bottom-left to top-left, one quarter turn anticlockwise. And of course, I made the bead-stringing modifications that her video suggested for my Kumihimo method. Hmm, however, the bracelet doesn’t look anything like hers. And as usual, I like it regardless! 😉

In keeping with my recent focus on finishing my clay pieces well, I put in more effort than usual into finishing this bracelet too. When I finished the weaving, I burned the nylon cords together over a flame to seal the end. (It turned out neater than I expected, yay!) To cover the ends, I used our latest purchase of narrower bead caps since they suited the bracelet better. I also made tinier double eye loops instead of larger single ones, and connected them with a small, thick jump ring. It took a while to make the double loops, but it was worth it — I love the finishing.

I’ll look for (or make) a nice little charm to attach to the jump ring, but the bracelet works for me even otherwise. It slides on and off without having to undo or reattach anything, so that’s a huge plus when I’m in a hurry! 🙂

Twisted Herringbone Bud Bracelet

I came across this herringbone bracelet video by Jennifer Biedermann recently, and since I wanted to try out Herringbone stitch anyway, I just *had* to make this!

Twisted Herringbone Bud Bracelet

Twisted Herringbone Bud Bracelet

I don’t have 15/0 beads that would match any of the 11/0 beads that I thought were suitable for this project, so I scrapped the 15/0’s. Also, I decided to make the buds a bit organic, using the local ‘non-uniform’ beads available where I live. For the main body, I used Preciosa 11/0 metallic green beads. It says green on the label but they’re multi-hued, as the picture shows.

The flower buds in mine don’t line up, and I think that contributes to the organic nature of the buds. My only gripe here is that the twisty nature of the rounds obscures the ‘herringbone’ness of the stitch. 🙂 It’s a tiny little minor gripe, though, because I’m pretty happy with this project.

I’d thought of finishing the project with a button and loop clasp, but had postponed looking for a suitable button. (I think you know where this is going.) Well, I didn’t find any round one that would work. I could finish differently, but I really, really wanted to try out a button and loop one. And I wanted to try it right then. So I picked the best matching bead (though it’s a faceted cylindrical bead) and decided to just go with it. I do like how the finishing turned out, though I can’t help imagining how it’d look with a round bead. I’ll probably make a clay bead the next time I can’t find a matching bead, and toughen up and accept the delay in the creation of the bracelet. 😉

Do you prefer a particular kind of finishing for bracelets? Or does it depend on your project, or maybe your mood? 🙂

Soutache Earrings

A PCA-inspired project that I truly loved researching and working on — Polymer Clay Soutache earrings!

Before I registered for PCA, I had no idea what soutache is. I might actually have pinned soutache jewelry onto my macramé board, for all I know. But after some wandering around the Internet with a purpose, I ended up loving soutache! I think it creates beautiful and elegant pieces. Maybe at some point in my life, I’ll create jewelry using actual soutache. But until then, there’s Jana Murinova’s course on PCA for imitating the technique using polymer clay. 🙂

Imitation Soutache Earrings with Polymer Clay

Imitation Soutache Earrings with Polymer Clay

I chose a color palette that I normally don’t choose, because they were in my old clay stash. I’ve been trying to finish off this stash so I can use more of the new clay that I bought recently. However, the hard-to-condition clay wasn’t really suited for this project — it kept breaking while I worked with it, and I had to attach it again so the breaks aren’t visible, and try to continue where I left off. I did manage to make both earrings resemble each other and look good, but all my eyes can notice are the numerous points where the clay is smooshed due to reattaching. In hindsight, I could’ve just abandoned this after a point, and started with some new clay, but obviously, I didn’t. Anyway, with some good, ‘conditionable’ clay, I’m pretty sure the pieces would end up neater and just gorgeous!

I used faux half pearl beads (those flat-backed, hemispherical ones) as focal pieces and embellishments for my earrings, and would you know, the bubblegum colorway of the clay started to look more elegant! 🙂 Also, the seed beads, I feel, certainly add to the daintiness. When I started the bake, I just never gave a thought to whether the pearl beads might be affected, and surely enough, they were. They’d melted slightly, but more importantly, their sheeny finish was no more — it’s like they’d aged 15 years. I ended up painting these beads with some metallic pearl white acrylic, because they wouldn’t come off the earrings with gentle pries. (So now I know I’m good at setting components in clay. 😛 )  In the future, I really must remember to take them off before baking, and reattach them later with some E6000.

Well, that’s that, and I can’t wait to wear these!

Do you like the look of soutache jewelry? If you’re like me and hadn’t heard of this technique till now, go ahead and look up some pictures — you might end up loving it!

Chenille Bracelet with Beaded Bead

Chenille Bracelet with Beaded Bead

Chenille Bracelet with Beaded Bead

I used tubular Chenille stitch for this bracelet. (Sara Spoltore has a detailed video tutorial for this stitch.) The finished pattern in mine looks different from hers because of the bead types that I used — a small change in size or type makes for quite a change, doesn’t it? 🙂 The beads that I used here are Preciosa 11/0 gold seed beads, and Japanese 11/0 haematite seed beads. (Wish I knew what type of Japanese beads these are — I bought them before I was into beading, and it just says ‘Japanese 11/0’ on the label.)

I’d started this bracelet intending for it to be an open one, though I admit I hadn’t thought of the finishing. Then, I discovered that the rope was turning out stretchy and elastic, and I decided to make the bracelet a closed one. I’d like to think I’ve improved at joining two ends of a rope as seamlessly as I possibly can, and I’m pleased with the join in this project. (I just try to maintain the look of the pattern in the join too, as best as I can.) However, I did end up twisting the rope by 1 stitch while joining, so the pattern lines form not circles but a möebius! No harm done, though. 😉

Also, I now add at least two overhand knots when I weave in tails, so I can sleep peacefully knowing that the piece is secure. 🙂

Because of the design change from open to closed, the bracelet started to look kinda plain, and I thought I’d make a focal beaded bead around it. I’d just finished watching the Interlace Beaded Bead video by Bronzepony Beaded Jewelry, so I used that here, using the same haematite 11/0’s from my bracelet, and some small pearl beads that seemed to fit the pattern. I finished the edges of the bead with the gold 11/0’s.

I love how this bracelet turned out, and I totally love slipping it on and off my wrist! 😀 How about you — do you change your design often after you start working on a project?