Beau Dangles

Handcrafted Jewelry — Designed to be Different


Create 5 Art Challenge — Day 4

My next entry in Art Challenge.

This bracelet is done in triangle stitch with Swarovski crystal pearls and facetted beads from the Czech Republic. Finished with an easy-on, easy-off snap clasp.


Taking Time Out

I met a wonderful group of women earlier this week when they showed up to take my Crystal Bracelet beading class, part of the fall events offered by the Springbank Ladies Time Out.

Each of the seven women chose a different colour from the kits I’d prepared, so every bracelet was unique. Although several had done some beading before two of them had never dipped their toes into the beading pool.

It was fun watching the bracelets come together. The women all knew each other so there was lively conversation as they worked on their projects.

The best part? Everyone finished their bracelets and left wearing beautiful handmade creations.

If you’d like to know more about other classes offered by Springbank LTO, check out their calendar.

Made of Swarovski crystals and Japanese seed beads


Silent Auction at the Empty Bowls Arts Festival

This Saturday I’ll be at the Arts Festival in Airdrie, AB from 11 to 5 pm. This annual event is a fundraiser for the Airdrie Food Bank, and a good cause in support of ending hunger.

Each artist appearing in the show has donated a piece of work for the silent auction. This is the necklace I’ve submitted.

Made of Swarovski crystals and Japanese seed beads

This three dimensional piece features blue zircon Swarovski crystals and Japanese seed beads, and closes with a vintage button clasp.

You’ll find more about the Arts festival here.


Bead a Crystal Bracelet

Crystal Blue Delight Beading is a lot of fun — and even more so when I can share it with others.

I’m offering one of my most popular classes again on September 11th at the Sundre Public Library. (See my class titled “Crystal Wrap” for details.)

This right angle weave design combines those ever-so-blingy Swarovski crystals with silky smooth Swarovski crystal pearls. The bracelet is finished with an easy-on, easy-off snap clasp — no more fumbling with catches.

You can choose from a wide range of colours so that your bracelet will be uniquely your own. (I’ll also have extra kits available for purchase if you want to make more. But be warned: beading is addictive! 😉 )

The class is limited to 8 students. Please register with the Sundre Public Library (403-638-4000).


The Red Queen

I remember reading a quote somewhere about beading — when you think you’re done, so something more. Then do something more again. And again.

The gist of the message? Don’t be satisfied with your first effort, it’s seldom your best.

I made a necklace in diamond stitch using Swarovski crystals. It looked fine but it wasn’t anything special. After a few days I decided to push the design further.

The piece went through several incarnations. I documented each stage with a photo which was helpful. It let me compare versions and finally choose the one I liked best.

The original “ends” of the necklace became the front, where I added the focal concept. The original middle of the necklace was now at the back of the neck — which meant taking it apart so I could insert the clasp.

Fiddly work but I like the final result much better than my first attempt.

The Red Queen

Pushing the creative process does have a downside. I knew an artist once who continually reworked his paintings, never quite capturing what he was looking for. He sold very few pieces and was often frustrated.

The trick is knowing when to stop. I found a design that pleased me. Was it the best I could do? For now, yes. So I stopped. There’s always another design waiting to be discovered. 😉

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Diamond Fire

There is something so rich-looking about fire opal Swarovskis — which is probably why I use them in several of my pieces.

This bracelet is done in diamond stitch. I’ve seen the design using faceted glass beads but none with bicones — of the two I prefer the bicone style.

Diamond Fire

I also used my favourite magnetic clasp. Sad story about these. I went back to my supplier and they no longer carry them. If you know where I could source more, I’d be grateful. 🙂

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Magnetic Attraction

Love this colour! And with Swarovski crystals, well, what can I say. They’re gorgeous.

I seldom use magnetic clasps on my work because my experience with them hasn’t been good. They catch on shopping carts, door handles and cutlery. Before you know it, your bracelet is gone. I’ve used keeper chains but that’s only a partial solution.

Last winter I discovered magnetic clasps that work well. Unlike most such clasps where the two halves simply slide past each other, this one is constructed differently. The magnet is actually inside the clasp.

In the photo below, the magnet is the small “bump” on the righthand half. It fits snugly into the hollow on the lefthand portion. Screw the two halves together and you’ll notice hardly any magnetic attraction.

Voila! No dangling teaspoons and no more wandering jewelry. 🙂


The Faerie Queene Goes to Auction

Faerie Queene is one of my favourite pieces.

It’s also the piece I’ve selected to go into the live auction at Splash on September 16.

Faerie Queene is stunningly beautiful.

Delicate richly coloured Japanese seed beads. Sparkling Swarovski crystals. A gold-filled clasp with extender chain. All handwoven into a unique, three-dimensional necklace. It’s truly one-of-a-kind.


Splash tickets are still available if you’d like to attend this evening of the arts. Come join us for fun, entertainment and a chance, if you’re so inclined, to bid on some wonderful pieces of Alberta art. I’ll be part of the art show & sale show Friday night and Saturday. (No charge for the Saturday show.) Please stop by and say hello.

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Caught the earring bug this week. I guess ’cause it’s summer, I’ve got fresh fruit on my mind — I posted the grapes and raspberries earlier this week. Today it’s kiwi, strawberries and blackberries. I really like the auroral borealis effect on the blackberries. Almost good enough to eat … 🙂

I used right angle weave and Fireline. Repeated passes with the thread through the Swarovski crystals ensured good tension and pulled the individual beads together in a snug ball.


New Earrings

New earrings this week — and for some reason they’re all in shades of pink and purple. Not sure why that happened. This first pair, done in 3 mm Swarovski crystals, are tiny and very delicate looking.

This pair, in 4 mm Swarovskis, are larger but still dainty. Both pairs swing float gently beneath the rhodium-plated posts.

The final pair are done in Cherokee weave, one of my most popular designs. The faintly variegated thread pairs nicely with the polymer clay roses.

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Class Act

My favourite thing after beading? Teaching. 🙂 I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others, whether it’s their first venture into the world of beads or they’re already hooked and want to learn more.

The first class this fall included 8 gals and a bunch of beads. By the end of the evening each person was wearing a gorgeous pendant of Swarovksi crystals. Talk about bling! Several other classes followed over the coming weeks featuring bracelets, earrings and more pendants. Great fun.

In addition to public classes I also offer private sessions, both individual and small group. You pick the project and I bring the class to you. The minimum size is 3 people, the maximum is 6 or 8, depending on the project.

I’m working on a number of new classes and once they’re ready I’ll post them here.


Australian Black Jade

Some time ago I bought a string of 10 pieces of carved stone that the vendor called Australian black jade. Shaped somewhat like a calla lily they were smooth and cool to the touch. I loved them at first sight. But what would I do with them?

I wasn’t alone on my foray that winter day — two beadie friends were with me. At the end of our buying spree we poured over our purchases and shared many of our treasures with each other. Five of the black stones went to Lila. She’s an amazing beader and it wasn’t long before she’d worked up her pieces. But mine sat in their original plastic bag. For three years.

A few weeks ago I pulled them out once again (something I do regularly with these beauties) and decided it was time. Make something, I said to myself. Anything. And so I did. Matched with silky white Swarovski pearls the black jade really came into its own.

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Beading Blizzard

This is turning out to be a summer filled with shows.

The Bearberry Barn opened last weekend, ArtWalk starts next Saturday, Bergen Rocks begins July 1 and the Tall Timber Show runs July 2 & 3. Having so many opportunities to showcase my work is wonderful — if I could clone myself it would be even better 😉

I’ve been busy today with earrings. Some have been sitting on my work bench for awhile, in various stages of completion, others were simply waiting for their pictures to be taken.

This has been The Year of No Spring aka The Spring of Unending Rain. Great if you’re growing rice or running a fish farm, not so good for gardening, farming or ranching.

I’m yearning for a change. Perhaps that’s why several pairs have a summery day-at-the-beach feel to them. Part of me is thinking of warmer times and sunnier climes.

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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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Class Kits

The kits are assembled, the tote box is packed and I’m ready to go! I’m teaching a beginners’ beading class at the Sundre Library tonight. We’ll be making bracelets using 2-needle right angle weave.

I had a lot of  fun putting the kits together — they’re so pretty I wanted to bead them up on the spot. I did make up a second batch of one kit so I could wear it to class. It’s gorgeous.

I made 14 kits — each one filled with Swarovksi crystals and Swarovski pearls, and each one different. To round out my own Swarovski stash, I ordered a batch of pearls and crystals from Corbeeta Beads, including some colours I’d never seen before. They turned out to be a lovely blend. Thanks Susan!