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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Swirly flowers on rocks

No, that’s not some kind of drink, it’s what I call these dangle earrings that I made.

Swirly flowers on rocks

Swirly flowers on rocks

I used 22-gauge dead soft wire for these earrings, and faceted black-gray granite beads. This how-to has been late in the making so I don’t really remember how long I cut the wire 😦 but I think some details are better than none at all, so here goes…

I ensured that for the ‘stalk’ of the flower, I also left enough wire free to go through the bead and to then make an eye loop. I then set up my wire jig to help create the ‘leaves’ of the flower, and started shaping them:

Wire jig instructionsI ended the shaping with a spiral that is the flower, which I used my round-nose pliers to make.

Then I strung the bottom of the bead into the stalk of the flower, pressing the flower against the bead with the right amount of stalk showing. I made an eye loop at the top, and snipped off the extra. I then added an earring finding to it.

For the other earring of the pair, I rotated the jig instructions to mirror the one shown in the picture, and made the flower spiral in the reverse direction too.

That’s it! How do you like these?

Crazy wire-caged pendant

I have stashes of strong, thin, flexible, colored wire that nevertheless does not hold its shape very well. I used to make bracelets with this wire, but it’s been a while since I used any of it. This time, I decided to use it for a different purpose — to make a pendant.

Because the wire does not hold its shape, there was no use trying wire-wrapping techniques with it. Instead, I thought I’d loosely wrap the wire around the bead, something like a loose cage. A couple of chunky beads I tried this with didn’t yield great results, though. Then some beads with a spiral design on them caught my eye. They weren’t really that chunky, so I tried joining two of them with a spacer bead in between so that the result appears bigger. The wire melded well with the spirals on the beads… Great! I could use these components.

Crazy wire-caged pendant

Crazy wire-caged pendant

I cut around 10″ (25cm) of copper-colored wire for this, and bent the wire in half. I strung the free ends together through a crimp bead, then one spiral bead, a spacer bead and lastly, another spiral bead. I stuck a thick wire through the ‘loop’ at the top so it does not slip inside the beads. I tied a knot at the bottom with the wires, tightening the whole structure. Then I just twisted the wires around the joined beads in a haphazard manner. When I almost reached the end of the wires, I pushed them back into the crimp bead from the bottom of the bead. I then squeezed the crimp bead shut, and snipped off the ends of the loopy wire where they (barely) emerged at the top of the crimp bead. Finally, I added a small jump ring to the top loop.

Don’t you think the haphazardness (or loopy-ness, if you will 😉 ) of the wire caging gives a crazy look to the pendant? 🙂

Chunky newspaper bead earrings and pendant

The wire jig has finally been conquered! Okay, maybe ‘conquered’ is a strong word. What I can say for sure, though, is that the shapes I make using my wire jig resemble one another much, much more than they did earlier. More importantly, they resemble the shape that I want them to be. I’m pretty pleased with the earrings and pendant that I created using my wire jig and some chunky newspaper beads that I made earlier.

The earrings

Chunky paper bead earrings

Chunky paper bead earrings

I started the earrings by first making the bottom spiral using my round nose pliers. I used the spiral as the initial anchor to hold the wire while I wound it around pegs on the wire jig. After making the S-shape, I used my chain nose pliers to remove the curves at the point where the S-shape ended. I then threaded the paper bead onto the wire, and made an eye loop at the top.

I took care to duplicate each step for both earrings before moving to the next step; that way, I could make sure that both shapes resembled each other better.

As the last step, I attached the eye loop to an earring finding.

The pendant

I wanted the pendant to be a bit unique. I thought it would be nice if the pendant could be attached to its chain either vertically or horizontally. Of course, I wanted the S-shape in the earrings to be present in the pendant too. So well, this time, instead of a spiral, I made an eye loop and used it as the initial anchor to bend the wire in the S-shape. I strung the super-chunky bead on the wire, and made another S-shape. It was a bit difficult to wind wire on the jig with a chunky bead trailing behind, but I managed it. Another eye loop came last. I made sure the shapes at both ends were roughly of the same size.

Here’s the pendant attached vertically —

Chunky paper bead pendant

Chunky paper bead pendant

And here it is attached horizontally —

Chunky paper bead pendant

Chunky paper bead pendant

Not too bad. What do you think?

Beaded earrings with spiral decorative wire danglings

Beaded earrings with spiral wire

Beaded earrings with spiral wire

I’d had this idea brewing in my head about huge pearl-bead earrings with seed-bead encased wire attached above and below the pearl beads. I first used two beaded wires for each earring, but the effect wasn’t really that great. I then ditched one of the beaded wires. Now, the earring looked a bit weird. I tried hammering the wire so it can be used by itself, without seed beads on it. Nope, didn’t like that either. Finally, I decided to just make a rough spiral from a flimsy, flat wire.

Beaded earrings with spiral wireI love the result. The seed-beaded wire is firmly attached to the earring, but the spiraled wire dangles freely, giving the earring an added effect when the spiral moves and turns about.