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Jewelry for the New Romantic by Nealay Patel has several surprising beautiful designs.  Nealay hit upon the idea of using beading wire as part of her jewelry design.  His creativity led to this book of designs.  Coated beading wire is no longer a means to an end.  It becomes an integral part of the design itself.

First, you see the design on the cover, where gold beading wire forms perfect loops, with gorgeous Pacific Opal bicones that connect 2 loops, forming figure 8s.  But the focal point of this design is what draws the eye. It’s a series of golden wire loops and bead dangles, along with short links of chain.  The beading wire loops look soft, very feminine.  It is just sturdy enough not to fall and droop.  Yet, unlike regular beading wire, these aren’t stiff, won’t bend and become smashed.  I love the delicate look.  I turned to that project first, and was pleased to see that project, and many more, show variations on the theme, and how to use the instructions to make matching earrings, and in this case, a matching bracelet too.  The earrings look positively fun all by themselves.  Loops of that gold beading wire have a few crystals to catch the light, then a single jump ring below contains small chain, bicone links, and small links.  I think these could be made separately and be a great item for shows.

After seeing these, I skimmed through looking at other earrings in the book.  The Golden Knights design also has a great earring design.  Nealay took a brighter golden beading wire this time and made a series of loops around a central crystal bicone.  But these loops all went the same direction.  They reminded me of looking at drawings of moons going around a planet, only in this case, up and down, instead of the around we usually think of.  On these loops were small gold beads and crystals, with tiny crimps holding them up.  There was another small cluster of beads at the very bottom of these loops.

I found 1 other design that was very different.  She created beaded square frames that were open in the middle.  Inside these were various looks of beading wire, all different. And on these small loopes were various beads and crystals, in colors that match the frames.  He had attached these to form large links, but even a single one would make a great pendant.  And, again, he showed smaller ones for earrings.

I love the way Nealay took beading wire beyond its typical “hidden” state and brought it to the forefront.  He has yet another design where loops form dangling drops, so they are interspersed along a necklace, with cluster of 2 or 3 near the end of a lariat design.  Very fetching.  And again, I must say it is the look of the beading wire that seems at once elegant and feminine, yet strong and dramatic.

If you work with small beads, you will love this book.  And if you don’t, you need this book to expand your own creativity in how you can use beading wire as an integral part of your designs.  One large focal pendant, or loops connecting larger lampwork or polymer clay beads would be a beautiful way to step off from Nealay’s designs into your own projects.


Add to Your LibraryWell, here is Beth’s “follow up” to her Seed Bead Stitching book I reviewed previously.  I have to tell you there are no “duds” from Kalmbach when it comes to beading books.

I really like Beth’s very informal writing style; it’s like she’s sitting right here with me talking about beads and designs.  Her personality and sense of humor really come through.  Somehow, it makes the designs and her instructions less intimidating.  Which, for this book, that’s good.
The designs are more difficult, incorporating triangles, several examples of toggles (I definitely have ideas for using these, maybe as a bracelet focal point), medallions with layers of beads, drops and more.  I had another pattern for creating branches and dangles and could never figure it out, but Beth made it sound very simple in this book.

One thing about working with seed bead patterns is the list of exact beads you need to make the item.  Beth commented on a reader wanting to know exact bead names and colors used in the projects.  Beth quickly set that concern to rest, telling us she doesn’t know. “…years ago I transferred most of my beads to those really cute little flip-top containers and did not transfer
any names or numbers.”  She encourages us to simply go thru and pick what we like.  So, if you are an exacting seed beader, and work from precise plans and measurements, you may not appreciate Beth’s approach in this book.  BUT, for me, I’m less intimidated.

The colors and designs range from bead soup projects to optically precise bead combinations.  She has a set of triangles, some closed and some open in the center, that form a toggle bracelet.  There are black and white triangles, separated by red and black, yellow/black and blue/black.  Very
eye-catching, and I loved the contrast of different size and shape of triangles in the design.

I do have to admit that I am not someone who know peyote from herringbone from brick stitch, so I have to really read through a design to understand what it needs.  One thing Beth explains is how to ring 1 bead with a circle of smaller ones and how to do that regardless of the size of the center bead.  Finally, don’t miss page 86, where Beth shows examples of circles formed from coils of beads.  She links a few of these.
With the right colors, these would be dramatic, one of a kind pendants, or even a cool bracelet!  They are on my “to do” list.  If I don’t like them linked, I’ll have plenty of unique toggle clasp rounds for something else.

Now, I guess I need to find my really strong magnifying glasses so I can see these tiny buggers!  As I recall my years crocheting, maintaining a steady, consistent tension is not always my strength, so I suspect that will be a struggle with this too.  Don’t miss this book, I like it far more than
her first one and I liked that one too!

Buy NowKalmbach Books produced
this book and I scored a copy to review!  This book includes an
introduction to basic seed bead information and stitches. It begins with a
concise overview of seed beads, as well as needles, thread conditioner, and
terms.  Everyone will appreciate this; if you aren’t sure of the different
sizes and types of beads then it will be useful and informative.  But you
won’t find that half of the book is consumed with descriptions and terminology,
instead of projects! Don’t assume this is a beginner book only!  There are
innovative examples of ways to expand your use of a particular stitch into new creations.

It is almost impossible to count the number of projects in this book.  A new stitch is introduced but then she immediately begins to show you several modifications you can do.  By including so many examples of how to vary a stitch, how different the pattern will be by using different
sizes and styles of beads, this book gives you tons of information.  Many other beading books tend to have a finite list of projects, with very few ways to vary the design.  Not here!  Beth is sharing her love of beads and stitch designs with all of us.  Even if you know some basic stitches, you
will still be inspired with new designs by exploring  all the examples included.  Beth also tells how she managed to turn some “mistakes” into designs.

There were 2 additions I was pleased to find.  First was how Beth included instructions on adding
drops to your designs, with top drilled beads and teardrop shapes.  Second was a section on incorporating your own toggle clasp in your design.  I think this really adds a cohesive finishing touch to a piece, since you aren’t adding an outside component at all.  In fact, in one example, the toggle looks almost like a pendant!  My favorite piece is called the “Nona Collar.”  It has 5 rows of beads in different colors and shapes.  The combinations of just this one pattern are absolutely endless in variations.

Don’t miss this one.

I was delighted at the quality and variety in this book.  It’s slim with slightly under 100 pages
but you will find lots of information and designs packed inside.  She is very free with her expertise and open with how to take any pattern in this book and alter it to fit your needs.  I found her suggestion to work with a new pattern to make earrings a great idea; you can practice a pattern but work on smaller projects.  While her initial stitch instructions begin with basic patterns all the extras included in this book take it far beyond the beginner stage.  Seed Bead Stitching provides something for everyone who does or wants to work with seed bead stitching.

Buy Your Own Copy Now!

Hip Handmade Memory Jewelry is a pulication from Kalmbach Books.

Cathy says the idea for Memory Jewelry came after she attended a
scrapbook event with a friend of hers.  While there, working on a beading
project, she began to realize how these 2 creative endeavors were alike.
The result is over 25 jewelry creations that are inspired by special occasions, divided into 4 categories: milestones, hobbies, vacations and remembrances.  Yes, we all know the endless varieties of charm bracelets and pictures in small frames on pendants and keychains.  But Cathy’s projects go far beyond these common theme designs.

Be sure you check out the
decoupage bracelet; who thought of creating a way to remember wallpaper or paint.  The handmade birthstone jewelry was very personal and I liked these much more than pre-made, pre-formed standard pieces.   Yes, the mini memory book pendant was a bit too trite for me, but other scrapbookers might love the concept.  Creating beads from special paper, such as gift wrap, or napkins from your baby shower was another neat idea others might like, but not exactly my cup of tea.  Cathy describes a reward bracelet—-I liked using this for myself, adding a bead for each POUND lost on my diet, and maybe a slightly larger one for every 5 lbs.

Memory Keepsake

Cathy described a project to commemorate a child’s recital….while that didn’t particularly appeal to me, it did spark my own creativity, as I thought about how I could take a
program and use it to create a memory keepsake.  I also like the pop culture project; I may have to use this to create a design for my best friend, who is dedicated movie buff.  I could use movie posters and create a unique bracelet and earrings, with a slightly large set for a necklace.  I think this could also work for books or album/CD covers. Oh, all of us remember our grade school art work being displayed on the refrigerator door (wonder what they ever did before refrigerators?).  Cathy has a neat plan to co-op those into pendants.

I also enjoyed the photobook/memory book charm or bookmark project; there would be endless variations on just this project alone!  An earlier project showing how to personalize a sports bag or backpack could also be a variation on this theme.  Her map bead project was also very original and could be used in many ways to commemorate a trip.

Cathy has different projects with photos, and a piece of cloth from your baby blanket or christening dress.  But my fav was one that created a keepsake memory box with an autograph, quote or even haiku, if you wish.  And, the baby blanket scrap is just fun and funny.

Well I do hope I didn’t spoil all your fun…..if you like creating personal keepsakes, or are a scrapbooker looking to “branch out” this book may be a great place to start.  I think these projects would be wonderful to create personalized gifts.  College girls, or your younger daughters might enjoy this to create thoughtful gifts that would be cherished but not expensive.

If you have made a piece of jewelry using Hip Handmade Memory Jewelry as your muse, post a comment and share with us!

Kalmbach Books provided the author with a copy of Hip Handmade Memory Jewelry for this review.

Buy Now!

Endless Sparkle, by Aimee Carpenter, is a great resource if you are looking for wonderful ideas on how to add more brilliance to your designs!

Using seed beads and glorious Swarovski bicones, Aimee shows you how to create dazzling Each of the 17 patterns include a pendant, earrings, and ring or bracelet, so you can easily create customized sets in hundreds of colors. The Projects are:  Chain Necklace,
Simply Pearls, Pearl Drop Earrings, Linked Bracelet, Drop Pendant, Two-drop Earrings, Stacked Earrings,
Crystal Link Bracelet, Combination Earrings, Gypsy Earrings, Chandelier Necklace, Stacked Dangles, Sparkling Chandeliers, Shimmering Headband, Peyote Pendant, Elegant Choker, and Centerpiece Ring.
All the stitches are right-angle weave or peyote, so you aren’t spending endless hours learning a new stitch for every design, you are building on your skill and expertise in timeless stitches you can use again and again.
Add this book to your library and stitch away!  If you have created a piece of jewelry from any design pattern in this book, please let us know!  We’d love to see how you interpret Aimee Carpenter’s patterns to create your own original works!
Kalmbach Books provided the author with a copy of Endless Sparkle for this review.   
Stitch Workshop

From Bead & Button magazine

If you are a beader and work with any kind of stitch, add peyote to your skillset with this great book!  It shows you even and odd peyote, circular, tubular and how to make a beaded bezel to frame a cabochon.  I was amazed at the multitude of designs you can accomplish with just this one stitch and it’s easy variations.  Of course, you can design hundreds of types of beaded beads, but you can also create ruffles. Twists and turns and waves make peyote stitch almost endless in its possibilities!

The most creative design shows you how to work peyote around a wavy, “bendy” straw!  How unusual is that!  But the result is simply stunning. Feather weight, with a set of stones forming a dripping pendant, this will take your breath away!  The boldest design is an eye-catching Jewel-Box Bracelet. This creates beaded bezels around glittering Swarovski crystals.  A series of these around your wrist and it will look like a million!  I also loved the designs that show you how to make open beaded rings.  These can be dimensional chain-links, or open texture links in your design!

With the unending colors and finishes of seed beads, the designs in this book could keep you busy for years to come!  If you make any design from one of the projects in this book, leave a comment and let us know! If you have a picture on line, we’d love to see it!  Follow my blog to read about other jewelry project books and jewelry making!

Projects from Bead & Button magazine

If you want the best projects from an entire year of Bead&Button magazines, this is the book to get!  Volume 6 has 77 stunning projects divided into 3 sections: stitching, wirework and miscellaneous.

There is a great steampunk design, with lots of character, by Diane Hyde. I can think of many many ways to personalize it for someone, using the suggestions they give and then adding personal touches.  Instead of just 1 pendant on a chain, they added in bits and pieces as links, giving it individuality and lots of character and texture.  The bicycle chain bracelet by Luan Carnevale is another favorite. It uses chain links and round glass donuts of approximately the same size to create a 3 layer bracelet.  By alternating colors of the round donuts, you can mix and match to every possible outfit and occasion. Other great chain link designs follow that one, one by Kathy Petersen adn Susan Matych-Hager that teaches you Byzantine weave, and then a design by Wendy Hunt.  This design uses a series of links to actually create a focal point by itself or with gemstones between then.

If you want to start wirework with some simple projects so you can get to know how wire turns, twists and forms, try Twisted Sisters by Kimberly Berlin.  This one pattern shows you three variations of earings, using round beads and 18 g round wire.  I also loved the Paisley Perfection earrings, a creation from Sonia Kumar.  If you ever wondered how to make an adjustable ring, try Following The Curve by Lilian Chen.  It uses only 2 beads. Stunningly simple, yet offering literally hundreds of variations, this can be a quick design with lots of potential.  The Keshi Cuff shows you how to make a freeform bracelet frame then literally cover it with beads. The Keshi Cuff is a design by Candice Sexton.

But the most stunning design is Maria Kirk’s Autumn Garland.  On cord, this has lucite flowers and leaves in fall oranges and browns, forming a wreath of fall flowers to adorn your throat.  Light, simple, this has the potential of a show-stopper.  You are sure to get compliments every time you wear it!

I love the Creative Beading books.  They pull the best designs from a year’s worth of magazines and bundle them into 1 book for your library!

If you make something from one of the projects in this book be sure to post a comment and let everyone know!

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