Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: Unexpected Findings, Fifty plus clever jewelry designs featuring everyday components by Michelle Mach

Unexpected Findings
featuring everyday components
by Michelle Mach
There is a lot of fun and inspiration to be had when you open and learn from Unexpected Findings by Michelle Mach.

Ms. Mach creates great projects which include super pretty and inventive findings,  intriguing "stars of the show", which are great fun to try out.
Additionally. the author has chosen great contributors to pack some added punch to Unexpected Findings. These contributors are designers Lorelei Eurto, Erin Siegal, Jamie Hogsett, Denise Yesbak Moore, Erin Praiz-Hintz, Andrew Thornton, Molly Shaller, Erin Strother, Barb Switzer, and Cindy Wimmer.

Along with the author, these are some of the most beloved designers working in the jewelry field today. It is a treat to have them all together with Ms. Mach.

The focus is truly original. The reader is presented with a terrific way to learn a new jewelry style. The author shares her knowledge concerning how to make all sorts of jewelry components from the findings you might have in your jewelry collection. There are fifty projects to linger over and enjoy as you learn. You not only get earrings to try, you get necklaces and bracelets as well, all showcasing findings in a most delightful way.Unexpected Findings is a wonderful book filled with great jewelry designs!

The beginning of the book introduces the reader to the many kinds of findings which will be used. After that is a look at how to jazz up those findings. This section really gets right to the point, including adding patina, hole punching, painting and more. It is a great introduction to the direction that Unexpected Findings will be heading.
There is a very complete list of other findings and tools before the projects begin.
The idea of using findings as a way of making jewelry is a lot of fun.
The projects are very pretty and quite fascinating. Michelle Mach has done a fine job designing using findings.
There are many styles of jewelry presented, all of which are lovely.
"Tuesday Night Book Club" by Michelle herself, is a wonderful and charming  leather cord and pendant necklace. Once the reader sees how it is made and understands the techniques used, it is a very fun and easy project, and one you will want to make.
"Vertebrand" is a great bracelet by Barb Switzer.
If you love Swarovki Elements crystals, check this one out. The findings used are spacer bars which, along with the crystals, have a lot of impact.
Dalle de Verre, by once again by Ms. Mach, is a really gorgeous seed bead and ball chain connector necklace anyone would want to make. Give it a try! It has variation suggestions also, which many of the projects offer.
Another good thing about Unexpected Findings is that the cost of the materials does not seem to be prohibitive. I, and I am sure many other designers, appreciate that!

To sum up, Unexpected Findings is a new way of  looking at jewelry design, one which is very welcome and cool.
I think that many of the projects are perfectly beautiful, such as Molly Shaller's Tidal Treasures, a delicate aquatic necklace which uses a toggle clasp as a connector.
Michelle Mach's bracelet called Gypsy Girl, which cleverly uses snap clasps, is a total thrill. It has pretty colors of teals and magenta, and lots of jangle.

It is hard to know where to stop when admiring this excellent book, Unexpected Findings,
It is such a original concept, which is presented so well.
I totally recommend Unexpected Findings. It is a very appealing, fun, and clever book!

Unexpected Findings
By Michelle Mach
Interweave/F+W; $22.99

Saturday, September 13, 2014


The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew does a recap of his recent trip out to Philadelphia for BeadFest.
Did someone say Sparkle? Lisa's come up with a new mantra: sparkle, sparkle, sparkle! Join her as she obsesses over shamballa beads.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bead Play with Fringe, Techniques, design and projects, by Jamie Cloud Eakin, reviewed by jean baldridge yates

front, above,
back, below
Bead Play with Fringe, 
Techniques, design and projects, 
by Jamie Cloud Eakin

Bead Play with Fringe by the wonderful teacher and beadworker, Jamie Cloud Eakin, shows you right off the bat that there is plenty of new fun to be had if you are ready to focus your attention on working (and playing!) with fringe when you bead.
The author focuses specifically on fun with fringe in this, her brand new book. It is a very appealing way of looking at beading. She leaves no fringe technique behind as she elegantly and eloquently expresses what can be done with the many styles of fringe.
Jamie Cloud Eakin begins with a supply chapter, which is followed by "Fringe Basics". This chapter is very helpful as it not only discusses construction of the fringe (with great photos), it discusses how to attach it to the beadwork. It helps the reader see how simple the technique can be, and at the same time it is clear how essential this advance knowledge is.

Once the reader has finished reading these two initial chapters, he or she is ready to jump right in to Jamie Cloud Eakin's world of fun with fringe. Every chapter is simply presented, yet completely lovely and beautiful. Jamie Cloud Eakin is a beloved superstar in the beading world, and with good reason. She is one of the great experts in beadwork.
The concept of teaching how to work with fringe is very original and definitely tons of fun. Why shouldn't beadwork be fun? As well, the projects included truly amp up the enjoyment. They are flat out gorgeous.

It is easy to love this original and totally fun book! Look at "Ribbon Spiral Fringe", as an example of heady and charming bead play. It is irresistible and beautifully designed, as are all of the projects.

As the reader peruses Bead Play with Fringe, it becomes more and more evident that play and learning are perfect partners. As the introduction says, "Beads... beads... Beads ...! Often the best case is the more the merrier and there is nothing like adding beaded fringe to create the maximum "WOW" effect".

It is easy to agree with that quote after taking a look at Bead Play with Fringe. You will fall in love with the method of teaching and the fun you will get to enjoy while learning from this expertly presented and beautifully written and designed book. The photos and tech drawings are wonderful as well.

Chapters 3 through 7 are all about different types of fringe. These include Standard, Loop, Kinky, Branch, as well as Twisted and Spiral Fringes.
Then there is a chapter on Basic Procedures. There is a gallery to delight, as well as an index and a section about the author. Bead Play with Fringe finishes with acknowledgements.

Bead Play with Fringe, Techniques, design and projects, by Jamie Cloud Eakin is definitely a one of a kind book. It will delight the reader with a new way of learning,
Jamie Cloud Eakin is a wonderful artist and teacher. This, her new book, will add learning, fun, and complete enjoyment to any beader's library! It is definitely a permanent treasure for your collection of beading books.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

review by Jean Baldridge Yates of The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making, 2nd Edition, by Tammy Powley

Review by Jean Baldridge Yates of

The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making,
2nd Edition,

by Tammy Powley

It is not surprising that this fun and well put together book has been issued in a second edition. The author of The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making, 2nd Edition is one of the most well known American teachers of jewelry making. Tammy Powley has offered the reader a fine collection of all kinds of jewelry to make. The line up is suitable for new designers as well as experts. The book is heavy and packed with great projects (45 of them). Many are new for this edition. The resin category has been updated as has the polymer clay section, for example.
It is great to see a new twist on many, many designs. Update to the second edition--it's great!

The most amazing thing is the wonderful combination of beautiful photos and nice clear instructions. Whether the reader is soldering, knotting pearls, wire wrapping or trying mixed media for the first time, this is the go to book to own and use as a very thorough reference guide.

This big beautiful book has over seven hundred photos, as it says on the cover. It truly is a labor of love by Ms. Powley. More that that, however, it is a totally wonderful offering for anyone who wants an excellent overview of all kinds of methods of jewelry making.
The forty five projects are really great. The techniques taught will take you on a journey which offers endless possibilities. It is a very satisfying adventure to read and use The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making,2nd Edition. There is so much to learn. It is taught simply yet with tons of engaging energy by Tammy Powley.

The format of the book goes as follows. After an introduction by Ms. Powley, there is a section on Basics, and one on General Jewelry-Making Tools. These are followed by another overview, this one concerning Jewelry Findings. The photos really make these sections outstanding and the thoroughness gets the reader ready for the body of the book.
Each section which follows has its own tools and supplies list as well as specific techniques.
Then come the projects. There are ten of these sections, all nicely complete and clear. They range from Bead Stringing, to Metal Clay, to Resin, and more. There are four to five projects, all very pretty and appealing, to try in each section.
For example, if you decide you want to try polymer clay, you will be reading the basics and techniques. These are excellent for assisting anyone, newcomer or person familiar with polymer clay.
Up next come the projects. I liked the "Lava Lamp Pendant" which has a retro appeal yet is hip enough for everyone to enjoy. It uses the following polymer clay techniques: Conditioning, Rolling an Even Log, Rolling a Slab, and Finishing. The colors are Turquoise, Brilliant Azul, and Translucent. It makes a bright yet soft comment when set, as it is, wired with a Swarovski Elements cube in aurora borealis, attached to a silver chain.
The blues are swirled together and the project is suitable for a beginner. I think it is very charming and very unique.
It is typical of what you will find in  The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making, 2nd Edition.
Tammy Powley has produced what should become yet another leader in jewelry technique making reference guides.
This book has it all, and more!
There is a new gallery to inspire the reader, as well.

The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making, 2nd edition  is a super book for anyone who needs a reference book (it has everything all in one place!), or for a new jewelry maker who wants to get to know her way around all kinds of jewelry as she gradually studies the ins and outs of the techniques of each type of jewelry design.
This book is a real inspiration for any reader.
With beautiful designs backed up by a solid teaching background, Tammy Powley has hit another home run with this excellent teaching and design book. You can't go wrong if you purchase this great book for yourself or for a gift!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Having Fun Making Art with Chameleon Art Supplies

I recently gave myself an entertaining challenge, thanks to Chameleon Art Supplies.
I had received an artist's paint palette and a Number 12 brush. Both are lovely, well made items which suit me to a T!

Here they are:

They are not sold together.
They are available for purchase on Amazon.
I like both of them a lot.
I like the paint palette because it is made of sturdy plastic. You can really work your colors using it. I love illustrating, and mixing watercolors is super easy with this palette. It has ten circular wells, and a larger eleventh well.  That larger well, in the middle, gives even more flexibility and options. I mix like crazy when I use this awesome paint palette. It is a lot of fun! The size of the artist's palette is around 6 1/2 " . The white colored plastic is a good aid to help you see your colors accurately. They "pop" as you paint. Outstanding!

...I was using green. This is easy to clean--I promise!

On to the Number 12 Brush. It is a beauty! Long handled, well balanced, and top quality. It is made of  baby soft "faux" sable hair bristles.I have never lost a bristle even when painting fast and heavy.
This is not a tiny brush. You can really sweep your colors.
The shaping of the brush is impeccable.

look at those gorgeous bristles! The brush has been rinsed as I was working with pink for a bit.

I prefer faux bristles.
These more than surpass my expectations. I love all of the brushes Chameleon has given me to try! I have reviewed for them on Amazon.

The challenge I decided to give myself was to use these two products and also photograph the painting as I painted it.
The fun part was the fact that I was doing this as the sun was going down!

I wanted to see if I could "flash paint" anything decent with a time constraint like the fading light.

Here is the base of the painting:

that was OK but I knew I wanted pink and LOTS of fun color...

 I was using loads of paint!

I washed the brush throughout the time I was painting to keep the colors unmuddied.

Finally, I was done.

Cleanup time!

What to do with the painting?

I have an inexpensive 5X7" frame which is black.

I decided to add some black to the painting itself, in order to pull it together when I framed it in the black frame.

The sun was gone now.

This took 1 1/2 hours, including drying time. Painting, photography, and framing!

Here is the completed piece...photographed in the dark!  :)

I hope you decide to try Chameleon Art Supplies and give yourself a fun challenge, the way I did!

You don't have to be anything but interested and curious. 

It is worth it--lots of fun!!!  :) 

Thanks, Chameleon Art Supplies !

jean xox

on paint palette:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Beadbloggers and a photo of a Blythe

Above I am showing a necklace I made which is in my own private collection.
I named it "Robert's Parrot".
It has a parrot focal from Artbeads. I made it when I was a design blogger for them.
jean xox

here is Roxy, wearing "Hope and Joy" earrings by me  



Art Bead Scene
Check out Brandi's art bead palette of the month!

A Bead A Day
Are you wearing sparkle today? Would you give up your exercise time to make something sparkly?

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares the Reveal for the latest design challenge, Dark Bloom.

Craft Organizing
Tips for organizing or not organizing depending on how things go!

Resin Crafts Blog
Super easy coasters with resin and glitter!

How to Repair Beaded Fringe
Here's how to DIY bead fringe repair or find a pro. BTW, craft repair is a very nice niche especially as a supplement to selling items you make from scratch.

Beading Arts
Cyndi has a review of Irina Miech's new book, Finding Style. You'll love all t he new components that are available now!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Beadbloggers hot links and a photo of some jewelry taken by jean baldridge yates

available on my Etsy! OOAK VINTAGE!  :) eanbaldridgeyates

Hi! I am delighted to be posting these super links to my dear friends!
Thanks! Jean :)


Crafty Cupcake "Recipe" Calls for Styrofoam and Glue

Not only are they cute, these cupcakes are fun to make. They’re guaranteed to be sugar-free, gluten-free, calorie-free and cute as the dickens.

Back to Amigurumi

Crafty Princess is loving amigurumi again with this new project that was a tad challenging.

Carmi's Art/Life World

It is wonderful to see how a bit of fabric ribbon and a button can be featured into a new beaded cuff.

Resin Crafts Blog

There are inexpensive bamboo tiles that can easily be turned into wearable jewels with some simple resin application techniques.

Beading Arts

With a few funky components and a little bit of wire, you can quickly have a new necklace!

Mixed Media Artist

Cyndi is head-over-heels in love with a new book on reclaiming and upcycling textiles!

as for me, jean:
I am busy restocking my Etsy shop! Finally!
Take a look sometime if you like.
Here is a perfectly beautiful family heirloom which I have treasured for years. 
I estimate to be from the  Victorian Era. I need to find out for real before I list it.
"We ladies"  ;)  in my family prefer the good stuff!
And we take good care of it, because it represents our ancestors, fine people who made us who we are today.
Am I proud of my family?
Of course I am!
Yay for  all awesome old people who are great! Yay for everyone who teaches their children and their childrens' children what is worth learning.
for example: How to see beauty!