Thursday, 28 February 2013

Jewellery making kit - a product review

Along with the ear wires in my previous post The Bead shop in Manchester also sent me a jewellery making kit to try out too.
The kit is the one I showed you on the introduction post about the Bead Shop.

Jewellery Making Starter Kit - Silver Plated

The last time I had a jewellery making kit was 19 years ago when I first started making jewellery and that was a kit to make 6 pairs of earrings it had no tools and just a small piece of paper with a step by step hand written and drawn guide to making earrings with just enough beads and findings to make the earrings, so I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this one which had a great deal more beads and findings than my original kit, and also came with tools and a bead mat.
Below are the contents of the kit

So what can you make with all of this?
 - just let your imagination run riot, if your designs don't work out there is plenty of wire, cord or elastic to have another go!
These are the items I have made over the last week, in my spare time, I have had a go with every different type of finding provided and using all three threading materials as well as both the head pins and eye pins.

beads on elastic

beads on cord thread - necklace

bead on cord thread
necklace earring set
necklace earring set
necklace earring set


beads on cord thread - bracelet

I haven't managed to use everything in the kit yet so I still have these left to play with.

How did I rate the kit?
The instruction book is very useful, showing you not only how to make simple jewellery but also how to go on to create other items once you have mastered the basics. The findings and tools in this kit are adequate and will give you plenty of opportunity to master the basics.  There is a large selection of beads both glass and semi-precious, you will find that not all the beads will thread onto the cord or elastic as their holes aren't large enough but there are still sufficient for you to make necklaces and or bracelets on both of these two materials  I also found it useful to sort out all the beads that matched as these would be needed to make earrings and necklaces for those requiring a symmetrical design. As you can see I managed to make a good selection of jewellery with these beads.
The tools provided are fairly basic but that is all you need when starting off - I started my jewellery making with a pair of tweezers and some of my husbands wire cutters so this is definitely an improvement on that,  I was determined to use just the tools provided in the kit, but I did need to use  a pair of scissors and also I did on occasions use a second pair of pliers to assist with the closing of some of the jump rings as these could prove quite hard to close.

Kits are a great way to introducing beginners to jewellery making and hopefully encourage you to select more beads and findings to develop your own jewellery making style, designs and techniques.

Please also remember that as readers of this post you are entitled to a 10% discount on an order from the Bead Shop just quote TBS012 ordering

handmade jewellery designs by Angela Smith jewellery

Thursday, 21 February 2013

'Beadalon' ear wires - a product review

After my New Venture post last week, The Bead Shop, Manchester has now sent me samples of a couple of the the items I shared with you - so I can try them out and write a review.

I am still in the process of making up some jewellery but the light is not great today and I want to do the products justice.

I have, however made some earrings using these 'beadalon' bail ear wires

Beadalon  Small Pinch Bail Earwires - Silver Plated

As I mentioned in my previous post I have never seen or used these wires before so I was intrigued to see how they worked in reality. These ear wires come in two sizes small and large and I was sent a couple of pairs of each.
As I also mentioned in my previous post, normally I would attach a bail to the bead and then hang onto an ear hook - so my earring would look like this -

These 'Beadalon' pinch bail ear wires removes the need to attach a bail as it is already on the hook, so the same bead hanging from one of these bail ear wires now looks like this -

These Swarovski crystal hearts are on small pinch bail ear wires as is this pair of clear glass drops-


I then tried the large pinch bail ear wires and attached these black glass shaped bead.

I then asked the question does the bead have to be a drop? How about just using a round glass pearl instead.

I think this makes a really elegant earring and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

There are limitations with these ear wires. You have to consider the size of the bead it cant be too wide - you can open out the bail carefully - I found that the large bails opened easier than the small, but I was concerned that I might just open it a bit too far and snap off one of the wires, thankfully that didn't happen.
These earrings will only work for beads that have the hole running from front to back, if you attach it to a bead where the hole is near the top of the bead but running from side to side you will have the bead facing sideways.
You also need to be aware that the wires obscures a fairly large part of the bead, so this also might be a problem for some designs. I was concerned that it would take away the movement of the bead too, I like to see beads swinging from ear hooks and obviously these make the bead a lot more static but saying that, all but the glass pearl pair do still have some movement in them as the bail doesn't prevent side swing
Would I be happy to use these ear wires in future with my jewellery designs? yes I would, I believe these provide another design feature to earrings that was previously missing in my range and I look forward to including a selection of earrings on these ear wires in the future.

If you would like to have a go at making earrings using these wires don't forget to use the discount code generously offered to my readers from the Bead Shop -
Code:TBS012 this code will entitle you to 10% off and is restricted to 1 per person

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Re - introducing my blog shop

I have decided to re - open my blog shop - currently  I only have this one pair of earrings in it but over the next few weeks I will introduce more items -

Monday, 18 February 2013

earring making workshop

I am pleased to announce that following on from the success of the flaoting necklace workshops at  the Vintage Wardrobe in Gnosall I have now set the date for my second workshop there.
Saturday March 9th from 2pm -4pm .
the cost will remain at £20 per person and this is what you will be making in colours of your choice

I can sit up to 8 people and I need 5 confirmed bookings for the workshop to take place. If I get more than 8 I will try and arrange a couple of hours in the morning too so a second workshop could take place!
If you are interested in attending, please leave a comment on this post or contact me.

Friday, 15 February 2013

knitted obsidian

I thought I would share yet another knitted bracelet this one I have knitted using snowflake obsidian chips and black glass beads threaded onto black enamel coated wire - finished off with a silver plate clasp

bespoke handmade jewellery by Angela Smith

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A new venture

Recently I was approached by The Bead Shop, Manchester, asking if I would be interested in developing a link with their shop on this blog. As this is something totally new to me, it wasn't something I would enter into lightly, so I have since had a good look at their website and at what they are offering and have decided that this will be mutually beneficial to us, as well as you, my readers as I have also been provided with a discount code for you to use.

The Bead Shop is a family run business, located in the Manchester Corn Exchange, established in 1993, which was one year earlier than I started making jewellery. The shop offers a great range of beads and findings to meet a beader's needs and requirements and they are updating their ranges all of the time. I now have somewhere else to visit when I next spend a day in Manchester visiting my daughter!

I thought I would share with you a few items that have already caught my eye.

Kits are a great way to start your jewellery making journey, you have everything you need to make your items including the basic tools, I started with a kit 19 years ago and haven't looked back!
The Bead shop has a good selection of kits this one in particular caught my eye. It has a selection of glass and semi-precious beads and findings, the three most essential pliers for jewellery making and a bead mat along with an instruction book. This would make a great gift, but it is something I would have bought for myself

Jewellery making Starter Kit - Silver Plated

I have never used these ear wires, but what a great idea I have always attached a bail to a hook, but I like the idea of having it all in one like this, I think I will have to give these a go, just pinch your bead directly onto the bail.

Beadalon  Small Pinch Bail Earwires - Silver Plated

and finally - as it is valentines day I will end with a beautiful hand painted glass heart bead
this is just one of seven different glass hearts currently available from the Bead Shop

25mm Hand Painted Glass Heart - Red

If you would like to visit the Bead Shop website and browse through their collections of beads findings etc, I can also provide you with a discount code

Code: TBS012 this code will entitle you to 10% off and is restricted to 1 per person

Friday, 8 February 2013

Dragonflies and bees

Today my mind has been focussing on more new wire and bead card designs and these dragonfly and bee cards are now coming along with me to the craft fair at the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust tomorrow.

original designs by Angela Smith

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

wire and beaded cards

I have spent today making these wire and bead cards - I am really pleased with them. I think they are so different to any other handmade cards out there, and judging by the time it took me to make them I am not entirely surprised. I made some beaded cards in time for last Christmas so most of my cards I already had in stock have a Christmas theme so I needed to add a bit more variety. I have made them to take to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust craft fair this weekend but I am thinking of selling these on my blog, after the fair, if I have any left!

handmade cards by Angela Smith

Monday, 4 February 2013

crocheted cats-eye jewellery

Cats-eye is a form of Chrysoberyl also known as Cymophane and comes in a range of colours including, orange, green and blue. I bought these chips with the idea of making some pretty summer jewellery. Yesterday I chose to crochet some onto wire to make a selection of necklaces and bracelets.


Some of these I will be taking to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust craft fair this coming weekend - 9th 10th February, and I took some of the others over to Studio Crafts in Stafford today along with some more knitted and crocheted jewellery.

handmade bespoke jewellery by Angela Smith

Friday, 1 February 2013

crocheted in blue

I've had my crochet hook out again and so here are three wire and bead crocheted items of jewellery.
These were made yesterday - I used blue wire with turquoise glass beads and pale blue glass pearls.

single strand - no clasp

3 stranded with a silver plate clasp

3 stranded bracelet with a silver plate clasp
I can make these in any length with as many strands as liked and in any colour I also offer the option of a silver or gold plate clasp or a sterling silver clasp - just contact me for details

handmade bespoke jewellery by Angela Smith