Beau Dangles

Handcrafted Jewelry — Designed to be Different


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New Bracelet Class

Here’s my latest offering — a cross-woven design that can be either elegant or happy-go-lucky, depending on your choice of bead colours.

It closes with a snap clasp so it’s easy to put on and take off with one hand.

IMG_1268 - Version 2

I’ll be teaching this class at the Sundre Library on June 22. Check here for more info.

 

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New Earrings

Over the years I’ve seen patterns for long herringbone earrings. They looked pretty in the photos but I didn’t like the finished version.

Recently I took another look at the pattern and wondered what would happen if I modified it and made the earrings shorter.

Cute! 😉


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Earring Class

One of my favourite pairs of earrings — and the ones I get the most compliments on — are called Cherokee Weave. They’re also the first earrings I learned to make.

I’ve lost count of the number of pairs I’ve made over the years. As my beading skills improved I also modified the original design. I’ve done them on large and small hoops, with different coloured beads, and different colours and types of thread. Here’s a pair done in black, with Swarovski crystals and Swarovksi glass pearls. Here’s another variation with multicoloured threads.

So many people have expressed an interest in learning how to make these earrings that I now offer a class to do just that.

I’ll be presenting “Cherokee Weave I” at the Olds Municipal Library on Monday, May 16 from 6 to 9 pm. If you’d like to sign up, please call or drop by the library.

Hope you can join us for an evening of beading fun!


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Gallery Outlet

Looking to find some of my jewelry? Norma Fenton, owner of Forget-Me-Not Flowers & Art Gallery in Sundre, AB, is carrying my work this winter.

This is the first time my work has appeared in a gallery and I’m delighted!

Norma’s gallery is a wonderful addition to the town and surrounding area — it features the work of many local artists and artisans. If you’re looking for special holiday gifts (or just feel like pampering yourself), drop by her shop at #1, 200 Main Ave. West in Sundre (403.638.4554).


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Never Too Young to Bead

Friday & Saturday I took part in the Tall Timber RV Resort Art Sale & Show. Lots of people wandered through during the 2-day event.

Shows like this are also a great time to get caught up on beading projects. I’ve discovered that people are more likely to stop (and buy) when they see me at work. Several of the women also expressed interest in taking some of my beading classes.

To my surprise, two young girls — grade 1 and grade 8 — were also keen to take a class. They looked at some of the bracelet kits I had on display and soon returned, money in hand, to buy one each.

They sat down opposite me and I set them up with beading mats. It was a lot of fun. They caught on quickly and about an hour later they were wearing their new creations.

Saturday morning their young friend, a boy, returned. He’d watched them the whole time they were working the day before. He wasn’t interested in making a bracelet but he did want to make something for his mother.

After some discussion, we settled on an anklet. Once again I was surprised how fast he caught on and how he put his own ideas into the beading. He returned later in the afternoon to make an anklet for his aunt. He did a lovely job on both.


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To Bead or Not to Bead?

Silly question 😉   My answer? Bring on the beads! That said, some days it just ain’t possible. This past week, despite my best intentions, my beading quotient is way down.

A huge storm — wind, thunder & lightning, and brutal hail —  hit our rural community back at the beginning of August. It caused hundreds of thousands of dollars damage to homes (broken windows, disappeared shingles, metal roofs that peeled back like sardine lids and vinyl siding that looked as though a convention of crazed woodpeckers had attacked), vehicles (how about 800+ hail dents in your new pickup), and crops (some just aren’t worth combining).

We got off lucky. No damage. But it got us looking around at our home in the woods. Them’s mighty tall spruce — many within striking distance of the house. Ditto for the garage and the outbuildings. Some years ago the top of a tree blew off and speared the roof of one of our sheds like a lance so it’s only a matter of time.

For the last 10 days or so we’ve been giving these beauties a hair cut, trimming their tops. It’s not our first choice and this will probably shorten their lives. But it’s either that or cut them down. Fortunately there are many younger spruce on their way up.

TT 1A

Topping Trees

While my Good Man is scrambling 60 or 70 feet up the trunks and I’m laying out guy lines and pulleys on the ground, my mind occasionally slips into Bead Mode. Once this job is done and the last of the spruce gum is off my hands and the twigs are out of my hair, I’ll be back into the bead stash!

I'd rather be threading beads than come-alongs & snatch boxes.


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Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Do you have a favourite piece of jewelry? One you made. One you hope goes to someone who will treasure it and care for it. Okay, call me nuts but once in awhile it’s hard to part with a piece. I make jewelry with the intention of selling it but sometimes a particular item will grab hold of me and, well, it’s like parting with one of the family. (No, I’m not on drugs.)

Such is the case with Margarita, the stringing project I wrote about earlier this year (June 2). Soft greens with a few hits of red. I put it in the art show at the recent Carstairs Mountain View Music Festival and just before we began to pack up, it sold.

It was bought by Rusty, a woman whose name echoes her strawberry blonde hair. She and her husband had been by several times during the weekend, each time stopping to look at the necklace. Finally her husband said, “I think you should have that.” And now she does. She was so excited and so am I. All is well with the world.


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My First Beading Book

One often has a fondness for firsts — a kiss, a car, a home. So it is with my first beading book. I found it in a craft store in a small Arizona town.

Titled Beading With Ruby — a beginner’s guide to creating beautiful beaded jewelry by Sandi (Ruby) Fischer — it contains everything the beading newbie needs to get started.

Ruby - cover page

Published in 2002, it’s a simple coil-bound book, 106 pages on standard-sized copy paper, a poor cousin of the high-end, full-colour-on-every-page, glossy beading books that line bookshelves today.

Don’t be fooled. For beginning beaders this book is a gem — no pun intended. Inside you’ll find just about everything you need to know to start beading. All the basic stitches are there, along with projects and tips on choosing needles and thread. Colourful drawings and photos illustrate the steps from start to finish.

Gertrude Stein once quipped, a rose is a rose is a rose. Gertrude Stein, I’m willing to bet, was not a beader.

One of the first and most important lessons I learned from Ruby’s book is that all beads are not created equal. Or to contradict Ms Stein, a size 11 bead is not necessarily a size 11 bead. Which explained why when I mixed Japanese and Czech seed beads the result was less than pleasing. Then toss in size 11 Delicas. Well, the problem just got worse. I’ve since learned how to combine those beads into pleasing combinations, but for a beginner it was frustrating.

The pages in my copy of Ruby’s book mark my first steps as a beader. Corners folded over. Passages lined with hi-liter ink. Handwritten notes draped around the margins.

Ruby - sample page

I’ve since acquired many beading books. (They’re so addictive. Kinda like potato chips for the eye.) They’re shiny-covered and glossy-paged, filled with gorgeous photos and intricate computer-generated patterns. I don’t write in these books. They don’t invite that kind of familiarity. I use Post-It notes instead and in so doing, lose some of the spontaneity I had when reading Ruby’s book.

Although my new books are beautiful enough to grace any coffee table, Ruby’s book is more like the friend who comes by for coffee, comfortable and easy-going and not stuck on style. Glad I found it.