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The Best of
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Stringing Spring 2007
See Ruby's creations on pages 36, 47, and 56.


Stringing Magazine
Stringing Fall 2006

See Ruby's creations on pages 17, 32, 60, and 62.



Stringing Spring 2006
See Ruby's creations on pages 17, 26, 42, and 61.



Stringing Fall 2005
See Ruby's creations on pages 19, 24, 60, and 87.


~ Compliments ~
"Congratulations on having such gorgeous work published in Bead Stringing! I really like the cornucopia necklace. The jasper is beautiful! ... great job!" -- Tracy M., Alabama
~ ~ ~

"Just wanted to say how much I love your "smoke on the water" design. Very elegant and simple." -- Nancy L., Morristown, NJ


~ Random Thoughts ~
My brother calls this one "Gothic." I just designed a necklace around a silver heart pendant that I've had for the longest time.
Gothic Necklace
I added black seed beads, silver daisies, and deep red freshwater pearls. I was surprised at how a simple design could look very attractive.

The first day I wore it, I had to stop by a couple of stores for errands. The sales clerk at Barnes and Noble asked if I make my jewelry, adding that it looked "professional." The cashier at Michael's asked the same question and said it looks "very nice." With a broad smile, I nodded, handed out a business card, and said, "There's more at my website." Even if they don't come around at all, I sure had a blast receiving the compliments. Simple joys make my day.

Twist Beads

I’m finally ready to showcase my original bead design: “Twist Beads” — polymer clay beads made by twisting colorful strands together. I chose natural twine and waxed cord to string the twist beads into light and frivolous bracelets for everyday free-for-all wear. I still can’t decide if I will sell them, give them away, or keep them all for myself! LOL! ;)

[Click on images for full resolution -- they're nice!]

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How to Hang a Crystal Heart

I received this email yesterday:

Hello,

Just wanted to drop a note to thank you for the easy instructions on how to hang a crystal heart. Turned out very nicely!!

Denise Polgar / www.vixtria.com

Denise’s words inspired me to post this old tutorial I have at my RubyBayan Jewelry mini-site:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My heart breaks every time I chip a crystal heart. I feel like I killed it. There are those fancy bails specifically used to hang crystals, but sometimes they don’t apply to the design I have in mind. There had to be some way to work with a crystal heart without killing it.

After a few “heartbreaking” attempts, I settled on a couple of very simple and super easy techniques that allowed me to hang several Swarovski AB hearts onto a chain bracelet with no breakage.

Let me share a simple how-to of the first technique (I made a pair of earrings so that I can take photos of the process). It’s followed by the second technique, and photos of the bracelet using both.

[I used 10mm Swarovski AB hearts and 24GA round half-hard 14K gold-filled wire.]

Bend wire.

Bend the wire (as shown) using your flatnose pliers.

Tip: To determine the distance between the two angles on the wire, check the depth of the heart’s hole, so that when you do the next steps, you have enough allowance to let the heart dangle freely. You don’t want to end up squeezing the crystal when you bring the vertical wire sections together.

Slip heart in.

Slip the heart in.
Tip: If the heart won’t slip in easily, don’t force it. Open the wire a little.

Make triangle.

Estimate where the wires will meet in a triangle above the crystal. Then bend the wires (one at a time) at that point.

Slip bead.

A bead holding the wires in place will minimize chipping that can be caused by the wrapping process. If you decide to do a wrap at this point, you will have to be very careful in holding the wires together without crushing the crystal.

Tip: Not all beads will let you thread two wires through, so you may want to take this into consideration before you finalize your design.

Position bead.

Slip the bead to secure the folded wire.
Tip: You may need to trim the short end of the wire so that it doesn’t stick out of the holding bead.

Make wire wrap.

Do the standard wrap.

Done!

And Voila!

My new, no-hearts-broken earrings.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The regular bail technique using regular wire is also easy. Shape the wire into an open triangle, slip the heart in, and squeeze gently. Once the wire is in place, the heart won’t easily come off.
Tip: I can vouch only for gauges 24 and thicker for this technique. I haven’t tried it with a 26, which might be too fragile to hold up.

Triangle bail.

Heart on triangle bail.

Heart on triangle bail.

Below is a close-up of the bracelet I created using both techniques.  

Crystal Hearts Bracelet

Crystal Hearts Bracelet

And here’s the whole bracelet:

Crystal Heart Bracelet

Crystal Heart Bracelet

.

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And Now, Polymer Clay!

I’ve always been curious about polymer clay. In fact I bought a starter kit many years back — the one with glow-in-the-dark clay with projects for kids. I tried it, baked a batch, burned it, and since then stashed the clay, hopefully for future use.

Years passed and then I found myself in an estate sale. The owner was a craftswoman! She had a box of polymer clay and some used sculpting tools. I walked away with 14 unopened packs of “Studio by Sculpey” clay (for $5) and a bundle of tools (for $1). I had re-discovered polymer clay!

Polymer Clay "Studio by Sculpey"

After a quick Google about the hobby, I headed on down to the nearest Michael’s store and grabbed a pasta maker (essential tool for conditioning clay), a few cutters (for template shapes), and a couple of other loose tools.

And here I am, like a child again. Now I can make my own beads!

Clay, pencils, pasta machine, and other tools.

Clay balls.

Clay balls.

Colorful clay balls!

My first try with the millefiore cane method.

Glow-in-the-Dark hearts and beads.

A big batch of experimental beads and forms.

Polymer clay on sterling silver findings.

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Beads Speak

I gaze at wonderful awe-inspiring jewelry by fellow designers, and I can’t help thinking those complex and artful designs must have started out as mathematical equations.

I’m not a metal smith and I don’t make my own beads, so I’m basically a stringer of beads. My art is in how I arrange and sequence the beads in one or more strands that come together at a clasp. Sometimes I start with a color scheme, a combination of gemstones, or a focal piece. Other times, when I’m not doing a commissioned piece, I let the beads dictate the design.

For example, here are photos of bracelets I designed some years ago (the photos were taken with an old point-and-shoot camera). These are straight stringing designs, only because the beads are great as they are. No need for fancy combinations with other beads, no complex or tedious compositions, constructions, or algorithms.

Agate and Jasper

Agate and Jasper

Carnelian Cubes

Carnelian Cubes

Ceramic Barrel and Moss Agate

Ceramic Barrel and Moss Agate

Tiger Eye

Tiger Eye

Black Cloissone

Black Cloissone

Picture Jasper

Picture Jasper

Picasso Jasper

Picasso Jasper

Other designers might say straight stringing is plain, boring, and too easy, but I think we can take the simple road every now and then and let the beads speak for themselves.

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Glow-in-the-Dark Beads

My brother sent me this stretchy bracelet many years ago, part of a huge stash of assorted beads I’ve since used in countless projects. I could’ve repurposed the beads but until now the bracelet remains intact, and yes, the two neon beads still glow in the dark.

I took the opportunity to study the features of my relatively new DSLR along with the layer functions of Photoshop Elements 8 by shooting this bracelet. After a few trials and errors and a number of “Oh look!” moments, I settled on this composition.

Glow-in-the-Dark Beads

Glow-in-the-Dark Beads

Ah, beading and photography. I reinvent myself almost everyday.

BTW, I haven’t been looking around, but are there more glow-in-the-dark beads like these out there?

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Bridal Jewelry Project

In January 2009, my son’s friends Rej and Oneal advised me of their plans for a Star Wars Wedding in Manila. Rej said she will wear a replica of Queen Amidala’s wedding dress from the movie series. And they wanted me to be one of their primary sponsors. I readily accepted, feeling honored to stand witness to their union. Then I said, “Let me make your bridal jewelry for you.” The following month, exactly one year from their wedding date, I drew the first drafts of my first bridal jewelry project. [Story and photo journal here.]

Bridal Jewelry for a Star Wars Wedding

Bridal Jewelry for a Star Wars Wedding

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