Beau Dangles

Handcrafted Jewelry — Designed to be Different


Create 5 Art Challenge — Day 5

Friend and jewelry maker Aims Abson also joined this Art Challenge. This is her first piece, featuring her colourful polymer beads, including the pendant. You can see more of her work here.

Aims Abson

Here is my final piece in the Challenge. It took me longer than I anticipated — 7 days instead of 5 — but I’m pleased with the results.

Golden Girl is an old-meets-new necklace — combining repurposed parts from other pieces with new cord, gold beads, and my hand-forged jump rings and clasp.

The pendant came from an earring. Although it looks heavy, looks are deceiving — it’s made mostly of paper. An intriguing composition.

Golden Girl closeup



New Earring Designs

Earrings are a nice quick alternative to spending hours on a necklace. They usually work up fairly quickly — in the process I sometimes discover a design or a technique I can work into a necklace or bracelet. That’s always a plus.

Besides, earrings are just fun to make. You can  play with neat shapes and colours and if the world isn’t going according to your plan, you can pound the heck out of some copper wire. 😉

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Bead Drops

Simple says it all with this necklace and earring set. The figaro chain and brightly coloured beads make a pleasing combination that could go casual or dressy.

The glass beads are hung on silver-plated chain and ear wires. The necklace is adjustable with a handmade S-clasp.

The colors make me think of sunshine and berries with a hint of creme de menthe thrown in for good measure. 😉


Beads Rock

A few years ago I beaded a rock. Hadn’t done that before and it turned out not bad for a first try. Basically I treated the rock like a cabochon.

I chose a bead mix of blues hoping to create a look somewhat like water flowing over a stone.

Although a few people asked about buying the piece I didn’t sell it. Instead it came to reside on a shelf where I’d periodically pick it up, run my fingers over it and put it back. I liked it because it was different. It was also a reminder to look beyond the same old same old when it came to my work.

A week or so ago I walked over to a neighbour’s. A load of river rock had been dumped to stabilize a Texas gate. Within a few minutes I’d found a couple of flat stones to take home. I set them on my work bench and pulled out some small beaded samples from previous projects.

The first piece I picked up was a beaded bead in bright pink. I made it a couple of years ago on a whim. Can’t even remember what I had planned to do with it but now, well, it seems like it was waiting just for this.

The second piece was a sample of St. Petersburg stitch — that design eventually became a necklace. I toyed with the idea of adding a few more beads to make a circle but I like the asymmetrical look better.

Once I settled on the rock and the beads the necklaces soon came together.

First I glued a bail to each rock using my old friend, 527. Once that set up I glued the beads to the front.

Then I laced a double strand of cotton cord through each bail and wire wrapped the ends. I finished the pieces with handmade S-clasps of permanently coloured black wire.

Luv it when a plan comes together. 😉

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How To: Simple Elegant Earrings

Only have 10 or 15 minutes to be creative? Try these simple but elegant earrings.

They work up quickly and can be made to go with any outfit from casual to classic.

silver wire (sterling or plated), 20 or 22 ga
4 pearls, 6 mm
2 post-&-ball earring findings

wire cutters
round-nosed pliers


1. Cut 2 pieces of wire, each 2 inches (5 cm) long.

2. Make a loop on the end of one piece of wire.

3. Slide a pearl onto the wire.

4. Using your pliers, make a gentle rounded curve about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the looped end of the wire. (The gentle curve allows the earring to sway; too tight and the earring dangle remains rigid.)

5. Slide on the earring finding and another pearl.

6. Make a loop on the end of the wire and you’re done!

7. Make the second earring.

Voila! You’re ready to go.

You can design any number of variations. Coloured wire? Crystals? Faceted beads? Different sizes? Hang smaller pearls off the wired loops?

Go wild. Then send me some pics — I’d love to post your designs. 🙂

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Beading Class

The beading class at the library was a lot of fun. And of course the Swarovksi pearls and crystals were a real hit.

I made up 14 kits many of them with bright colours assuming they’d be the most popular. Nope. Softer colours were usually the first choice.

The bracelets were made using 2-needle right angle weave. That stitch can pose problems for some but this group caught on right away.

I took a few pics as people were starting their bracelets. Later I got so caught up admiring the finished pieces I forgot to photograph them. They were gorgeous.

To see other classes I offer, click here.

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Second Time Around

Sometimes I lurk in thrift stores. On occasion I haunt yard sales and flea markets. My objective? I’m looking for rejects, for the jewelry that people are done with. The broken, tarnished, scratched, odd bits that no one wants anymore. 

Last weekend I paid $4 for several small plastic bags of jewelry donated to the local Church sale. When I got home and began untangling the jumble I discovered a sterling silver bracelet and a pair of sterling silver hoop earrings (stamped “Mexico” inside).  

The bags also held several gold chains of varying shapes and sizes along with a number of beads and like-new clasps. Another surprise: a bolo tie with a “slider” that will make a beautiful cabochon. Oftentimes these forgotten “treasures”  aren’t much to look at but cleaned up they take on a renewed sparkle.

Then there was a delicate rose brooch in a little blue box. I took a closer look at the lettering on the box yesterday: Fenton China – English Bone China.  On a whim I googled Fenton China and found that I’d bought myself a “collectible” for the grand price of 25 cents.

Secondhand Treasures

Secondhand Treasures


The bags do contain some things that aren’t usable, but that’s part of the fun. And being a packrat I will probably keep even these bits, at least for now, until I’m sure I can’t use them. 

I love new beads and findings but there’s something about the old pieces that draws me to them. They have their own stories to tell — and some of them are worth sharing again.