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Improvisation

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle

Some people might think that I am wearing 2 pieces of bracelets . . .

But . . .

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle front

These two parts of the bracelet are actually connected.

The chunky strap of beads (the one with the toggle clap) functions as the bangle’s wrist harness. Its main function is to prevent the bangle from falling from my wrist . . . or worse,  launching itself and hitting unsuspecting people.

It’s the very first beadwork bangle I’ve ever created. So, I decided to refer to several sources so I can size the bangle correctly. But, because I’m extremely small boned (not skinny, just small boned), the bangle kept on falling from my wrist.

It actually hit my friend’s head. Twice. In a public space.

But, I spent more than a 20 hours creating it. I don’t want to throw it away. I was going to give it to a one of my friends or family members; but, it’s too small for them.

So . . . I decided that the only way I can make the bracelet more wearable is by attaching a strap or wrist harness onto it.

angelica-brigade_handmade-sculptural geometric-avant-garde_bracelet_jewellery-jewelry_accessories_angelicabrigade

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle_workinprogess5

I started by making thin beadwork strap using the same beads I made the bangle with . . . but, to me, the smaller strap looked disproportionately small . . . So, I decided to replace the smaller strap and made a much larger one.

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This beadwork bracelet is basically a modified and enlarged version of the rings I created last week. I just give the beadwork some extra edges & make it more asymmetrical.

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_dimensional-hex-bangle_workinprogess4

Somehow, the piece makes me think of dinosaurs and old tree barks . . .

Anyway . . . I’ve been learning to create more and more shapes . . .

Love these dimensional triangles . . .

angelicabrigade_beadweaving_workinprogess

One of them is actually flat. It was my first try. I did better the 2nd and 3rd time.

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Next week:

There is a possibility that I’m going to write two different blog posts next week.

One of them has something to do with this video about Etsy:

I’m going to think things through before I say anything further.

If you have any input, additional information, or comment about this topic, please feel free to let me know. You can do so by writing a comment on this post or message me via my company’s Facebook Page.

Till then (:

-joyce

Sculptural Jewelry, Contemporary Beadwork, and Jewelry Making

angelica-brigade_sculptural-geometric-contemporary-avant-garde-metallic-beads-ring_unusual-jewelry_unique-handmade-jewellery_accessories (2)

I’ve been obsessed with learning to create sculptural beadwork jewelry.

Ever since I received my copy of Kate McKinnon‘s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, I’ve been spending most of my free time learning the basic principles taught in the book and adapting them so I can create my own designs.

angelica-brigade_sculptural-geometric-contemporary-avant-garde-metallic-beads-ring_unusual-jewelry_unique-handmade-jewellery_accessories (1)

Here’s an example:

I started by learning to create the triangular ring you can see on my index finger. Then, using the principles I learned by creating the simple ring, I created a more dramatic ring you can see on my ring ringer.

I also went a step further . . .

To make the ring extra shiny and rock-solid, I decided to glaze the ring

angelica-brigade_sculptural-geometric-contemporary-avant-garde-metallic-beads-ring_unusual-jewelry_unique-handmade-jewellery_accessories (6)

After that, using the same basic (but modified) principle and using different kinds of beads, I ended up creating this bracelet.

I’m still not 100% happy with it. So, I’m going to spend some time improving it.

You can see my behind the scene and work-in-progress pictures in my Instagram or my Tumblr photo blog.

angelica-brigade_handmade-sculptural geometric-avant-garde_bracelet_jewellery-jewelry_accessories_angelicabrigade

Anyway, when I was trying to finish making this bracelet, I could see the possibility of making mini top hats & tricorne hats using these same methods.  It’s gonna be a few months before I can create a decent beadwork hat; but, I’m so excited.

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Next Saturday: New Directions, New Designs, and Updated Classics.

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Have an awesome weekend, guys!!!

-joyce of Angelica Brigade

How to Make the Best of Out Skills & Maximizing Our Happiness

The seemingly simple (and trite, and unhelpful) answer is:
We should spend the bulk of our times doing the things we love to do.

I’m not saying that we should spend the bulk of our times doing some things that are related to the fields or activities we are interested in. Instead, we should take that principle one step further.

First, ask yourself this seemingly unimaginative question: If you can do anything you want & make a good living out of it, what would you choose to do?

Next, this is the more important question: Why? What do you like about like it?

Many of us will never become Olympic Athletes / famous writers / pop stars / leading actors / international models / etc. But, it doesn’t mean that we have to get stuck doing the things we don’t like so we can pay our bills.

Someone who loves to play tennis might never become a world class tennis player. Some people might encourage her to become a coach or work for a sporting goods company. But, those solutions might not be the best ones for her. She might love tennis because she loves being active.  She might also love the challenge and the adrenaline rush she gets when she faces her opponent. So, if (after giving her best shot) she’s not able to become a pro tennis player; then, it’s in her best interest to find a challenging job that can give her plenty adrenaline rush. There are a wide range of options she can choose from, such as:

  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • War zone photographer
  • Wedding planner
  • Bail bond agent
  • ADHD kids’ babysitter
  • etc.

Besides, she still can play tennis on her spare time . . .

Someone who wants to become a famous rock star, on the other hand, might want to become a rock star because he loves being in the spotlight . . . they love the fame, the money, the booze, the girls . . . Booze and girls are not on a rock star’s job description . . . so, if those are the kinds of things he wants, he might fare better if he:

  • DJ on the weekends (girls, booze, some degree of fame)
  • Opens a nightclub
  • Becomes an Alcohol Promoter, or
  • Becomes an Auto Show Organizer
  • etc.

Or, he can use his skills to get rich in some other ways . . . Gold diggers & alcohol can be a part of the deal

There’s a solution for everyone. Just focus on your real wish and find the best way for you to achieve it

  • What does it (doing the things we love) to do with finding finding happiness?
  • People should not define themselves by their jobs. A job should be a mean to an end.
  • If someone wants to stay at home with their children she should feel free to do it.

Well …

Most people spend the bulk of their times at work (or school). People who hate their jobs (or studies) aren’t very happy, are they?

Besides, I’d never said that we should find a job that fulfill us did I? I merely said that we should spend most of our times doing the things we like . . . if raising & supervising a child if something someone loves to do; then, by any means she should do it . . .

angelicabrigade angelicabrigade bead embroidery beading handmade accessories beadwork seed beads handmade jewelry headpiece beaded 1920s inspired demi couture

I on the other hand, love to create things with my hands. There are times when I work 15 hour days to meet some deadlines; but, I welcome such long days anytime. In fact, I’ve been working long hours these days because I’m getting some pieces ready for an upcoming photo shoot (8 different outfits for 2 different models).

When we enjoy what we are doing, more is just more.

~0o0~

So, that’s it?! If we do the things we love then we’ll definitely be happy?

No … You can read more about it here

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Next Saturday:  Common Sense is a Trap

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Have a great weekend :)

Jewelry-Making: Sabine Lippert’s Beaded Fantasies + Beaded Chainmaille Bracelets

If you are a fellow jewelry-maker or love to create jewelry for fun, you’ll love (and learn a lot from) this beadweaving book: Sabine Lippert’s Beaded Fantasies.

I LOVE her designs!!! The nice clean lines, the dramatic style, & the fact that all of the designs are three-dimensional (not flat!!!).

Beaded Fantasies by Sabine Lippert beadweaving lark publishing book jewelry jewellery making handmade accessories beads seed bead

I love this book because many of the techniques I learned from it can be adapted & combined with other techniques. That way, I can use & adapt those techniques to create my own original designs.

Some of the materials needed to create some of the designs are a little difficult to find. But, the rest of the jewelry-making instructions are so superb that I don’t care I can’t learn to make some of the beautiful pieces.

I know that this book is not written specifically for beginners. But . . . though I’ve never done any beadweaving before, I could follow the instructions just fine. The instructions are jargon-free & written without the assumption that the readers are familiar with basic beadweaving techniques. (Unlike many crochet & knitting books. Oh, gosh!!! To me, many of them look like they are filled with encrypted messages. That’s why – till this day – I still can crochet & knit to save my life).

Anyway, I never let my “experience/expertise level” limit me. I learn to create whatever piece I want to make (i.e. The first three chainmaille weaves I learned are: Box Weave, Byzantine Weave, & Dragonscale Weave. Yes, I learned to do Dragonscale Weave before I learned to do the basic European 4-in-1 weave). It usually takes me a while to get everything just right; but, it’s much better this way because:

  • As I play around with it / try to fit everything together, I get to understand the basic mechanic or construction of the piece
  • And, I will be able to create the piece within hours (or – sometimes – a few days) instead of a few months or years.

Who cares if I haven’t mastered (for example) European 4-in-1 Weave & some other basic weaves while I was making a Dragonscale Chainmaille bracelet. I don’t need to. On the other hand, I was dying to own/learn/make a Dragonscale Chainmaille bracelet, so I did. I got myself the best instruction/tutorial I could find and dedicated my time to create that bracelet. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth the effort.

Anyway, I learned to make my first European 6-in-1 chainmaille bracelet only about 3 weeks ago as I was trying to create a bunch of one-of-a-kind beaded chainmaille bracelets like this one.

angelica brigade angelicabrigade handmade beaded chainmaille bracelet cuff chain maille jewelry chainmail jewellery beadweaving swarovski ornella preciosa czech fire polished beads japanese seed beads blue buddha boutique jump rings

I beaded the piece at random using whatever beads I happened to own.

To find the best place for me to stitch the beads,  I held them on my hand and moved them here & there till I thought that they’ll look good on particular spot(s) before I stitched them onto the bracelet.

I used Spiderwire and Fireline beading threads to stitch the beads on. Both of them are superbly strong.

angelica brigade angelicabrigade handmade beaded chainmaille bracelet cuff chain maille jewelry chainmail jewellery beadweaving swarovski ornella preciosa czech fire polished beads japanese seed beads blue buddha boutique jump rings

Till next week!

Have a wonderful weekend~

-joyz*k of AngelicaBrigade

A Simple yet Fun ChainMaille Bracelet

Update (04/17/2916): Blue Buddha Boutique is closing its door permanently. The link to their website (below) is no longer active.

You can create this ChainMaille Bracelet in within 1 hour or less

What you need are a pair of pliers & some jump rings.

I used 16 gauge (1.6 mm) aluminum wire jump rings with 1/4″ (6.35 mm) inner diameter

You can either purchase some jump rings with 4.0 Aspect Ratio or make your own jump rings

And, if this piece is going to be your first chainmaille jewelry, learn how to open & close jump rings properly by reading my previous blog post

You can download the pdf tutorial here or follow the following tutorial (^_____^):

1. Decide your color scheme. (For first-timers: It’s easier to start with making a two-colored version of the bracelet first).

2. Open all of the jump rings in color A (in this tutorial: Red) & close all of the jump rings in color B (in this tutorial: Green)

3. Using a jump ring in color A (red), scoop 2 jump rings in color B (green)

4. Close the color A (red) jump ring

5. Hook another color A (red) jump ring onto the previous color A jump ring

6. Weave two color B jump rings (green) onto the open color A (red) jump ring

7. Close the color A (red) jump ring

8. Put the jump rings on top of your workspace and separate the color B (green)

9. Weave another color A (red) ring onto the previous color A ring right between the two color B (green) rings

10. Weave 2 Color B (green) rings onto the open Color A (red) ring; then close the Color A (red) ring.

11. To create a standard size bracelet, repeat steps 8 – 11 till you have a 7″ (17.75 cm) chain.

12. Then, find the first & the last Color A (red) rings. Use jump rings to attach a clasp onto the bracelet. Or, you can also use a ribbon instead.

And … that’s it!!!

It can make a pretty good holiday gift, don’t you think?

~0o0~

Note:

If you can’t find a 6.4mm cylindrical object [to coil the wire and create your jump rings], a slightly smaller or larger mandrel will do

Or, get a chance to WIN enough premium quality jump rings to create this bracelet in any 2 colors you like or an All-in-One Starter Pack.  For more details, please read my previous blog post >>> https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-best-way-to-start-learning-to-create-chain-maille-jewelry-giveaway/

:)

~~~

Credit: This chain maille weave is Shaggy Loops, invented by Shelley of Metal Designz

However, all of the jewelry & step-by-step tutorial you see in this page is created by me, @k_joyz of Angelica Brigade

The Best Way to Start Learning to Create Chain Maille Jewelry + Giveaway

Update (04/17/2916): Blue Buddha Boutique is closing its door permanently. The links to their website (below) are no longer active.

* * * * * GIVEAWAY * * * * *

Get a chance to win a Shaggy Loops Bracelet kit in any colorway (you can choose any 2 color) you prefer by leaving me a comment on this blog post between November 18 – 21, 2012 !!!

This giveaway is open to everyone, not just US residents.

I made the bracelet in several different colors. What color combination will you choose if you make your own version of the bracelet?

The winner will be selected at random & will receive an instruction & enough jump rings to create a 7.5″ version of this bracelet from Blue Buddha Boutique.

Also, get a chance to win an All-in-One, Easy Start to Chainmaille Pack

Read on and find out what the All-in-One pack contains & how you can win it!~

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* * * * * The Best Way to Start Learning to Create Chain Maille Jewelry * * * * *

We can’t create chainmaille jewelry using randomly selected jump rings.

If the jump rings you use is too small or too thick, you either can’t weave the rings through or the weave is going to be as stiff as a chopstick or a twig

On the other hand, if the rings you use are too thin or too large … the weave is going to be so loose that the links can’t hold its shape and when you wear it as jewelry, the links will definitely flop or look flattened

~0o0~

In the beginning, whenever I learned a new chainmaille weave, I used to need some time to figure out the ring sizes I need.

But, now, people who want to learn to create chainmaille jewelry do not need to go through a similar difficulty because – recently – Blue Buddha Boutique launched a number of chainmaille starter packs that simplify the process.

Every pack is different so you can start learning to make chainmaille jewelry by creating your favorite piece(s) & without having to purchase too many jump rings you might not need.

You can start by learning just one piece such as this one by using the All-in-One, Easy Start to Chainmaille Pack

The pack contains Euro Tool Ergo pliers coated with Tool Magic*, mini bead mat for holding your rings while you work, instructions (for right-handed & left-handed learners) and enough jump rings to create a Celtic Visions bracelet in the colorway(s) you prefer.

There are a few more exciting starter packs you might want to check out:

They can make great holiday gifts, don’t you think?

To read more &/or purchase the starter packs, please visit the following link >>> http://www.bluebuddhaboutique.com/b3/supplies/starter-packs/

To get a chance to WIN the All-in-One, Easy Start to Chainmaille Pack, simply leave a comment on the following blog post by November 28, 2012  >>> http://www.bluebuddhaboutique.com/blog/2012/11/chainmaille-starter-packs-blog-hop-giveaway/ <<<

Good luck!~

:)

@k_joyz of Angelica Brigade

How to [properly] open & close jump rings

Using flat nose pliers, hold the jump ring near its kerf / opening.

Then, gently & simultaneously, pry the jump ring open at a straight line

( Do not yank the jump ring, otherwise, you might end up with a bent jump ring )

To close the jump ring, gently wiggle the jump ring back & forth till you hear a click.

You know that you closed the jump ring properly if you can barely see the kerf/opening & the ring lays completely flat

~0o0~

Note:

1. Always use [at least one] flat nose pliers that are big enough to hold the entire jump ring. It will give you much more leverage & make it easier for you to open and close the jump ring at a straight line.

2. Do not use chain nose pliers. Its doesn’t provide you enough leverage & good enough grip to open your jump rings at a straight line.

3. Proper pliers that provide your grip with good leverage enable you to open & close the jump rings smoothly, no death grip necessary.

4. In fact, you shouldn’t grip the pliers too tightly because it can mar your jump rings and – overtime – can give you a wrists injury.

5. To make sure that your pliers don’t scratch the jump rings, you might want to cover the tips of your pliers with Tool Magic or masking tape.

By the way …

Do not close your jump rings this way as the ring will simply pop back open the moment you let the pliers go:

Continue reading

Chain Maille for Beginners

Update (04/17/2916): Blue Buddha Boutique is closing its door permanently. The link to their website (below) is no longer active.

Here’s my current teaching method:

  1. I will give you the basic principles.
  2. Then, I will show you some examples.
  3. Finally, I will show you how you can use the principles to design & create your own jewelry.

Ready?

~0o0~

What you might need:

  1. Jump rings*
  2. A pair of pliers*
  3. Wirecutters (only if you plan to make your own jump rings)
  4. Pen & Paper

[* Notes & tips at the bottom of this post. To find out which jump ring size(s) you need, please read my tutorial below ]

~0o0~

Wanna make your own chainmaille jewelry but not sure which where to start?

In my opinion, the first chainmaille weave you might want to master is the Japanese Weave.

It’s easy to figure out & very versatile.

It’s the only chainmaille weave I used to construct this necklace:

Angelica Brigade Handmade Chain Maille Jewelry Steampunk Brass Copper Necklace ChainMailler Jewellery Skeleton Key Tim Holtz Sprocket

The basic principle of this weave is:

2 jump rings … linked with 2 other jump rings … by 2 jump rings.

2 jump rings … linked with 2 other jump rings … by 2 jump rings

Okay, now, let’s bring it onto the next level:

The principle is still the same: 2 jump rings … linked with 2 other jump rings … by 2 jump rings

Add a few more links here & there, and this is what you might come up with:

Angelica Brigade handmade chain maille jewelry AngelicaBrigade chainmaille jewellery ring Japanese Weave

And … if you mix the the jump rings with other materials such as Swarovksi crystal oval rings, the weave is  going to look like this:

AngelicaBrigade Handmade Chain Maille Necklace Jewelry Fashion Jewelry Angelica Brigade swarovski statement necklace

If you look at the picture closely, you can see that the same principle still applies:

2 jump rings … linked with 2 other jump rings … by 2 jump rings

~0O0~

Now, let me show you how you can use the principle to design your own jewelry:

Start by sketching you design (in 1:1 scale) on a piece of paper. That way, you can see what jump ring size(s) you need, & how many.

One of the ways to do it is by linking them one jump ring at a time, but … if you want to finish making the piece a little faster, here’s what you might wanna do:

1.

Scoop 2 pre-closed jump rings (shown in black) with another jump ring (shown in gold):

and then close it (the gold jump ring).

2.

Double the gold jump ring by weaving it onto the black jump ring:

then, close that gold jump ring.

3.

Next, weave yet another gold ring through the black rings

4.

Weave 2 pre-closed black jump rings onto the gold jump ring (in this case, gold ring #3) before you close it.

5. Then, repeat steps 2 – 4 till you come up with the number of links you want.

Remember: 2 jump rings … linked with 2 other jump rings … with 2 jump rings

All I need to do now is to get a pair of ear wires & link the ear wires onto this handmade chain using the small jump ring I already attached on the top of this short chain.

I know, the design of this earring is not very attractive. So, let’s turn it into a necklace instead, shall we?

Simply repeat steps 2 – 4 till you have the length you want, then attach a toggle clasp at the ends of the chain using small jump rings:

Better?

If you like, you can embellish the chain with ready-made pendants or other jewelry findings.

The ones I used to create this piece are Tim Holtz‘s idea-ology World Keys and Sprocket Gears by available in JoAnn, Michaels, and (of course) Amazon.com.

Angelica Brigade handmade hair fascinator AngelicaBrigade hatinator for wedding bridal bride race racing festival party parties special occassion event lolita silk flower floral organza shantung headpiece hair fascinator unusual unique couture quality

~0o0~

Now, some notes on the jump rings & pliers.

If you are not sure that chainmailling is for you & don’t want to purchase some things you might never use again, you can start by making your own jump rings & borrowing a pair of flat-nose electrical pliers (not the huge ones, though) … or getting them from a hardware store with a good return policy.

Or … get a chance to WIN chainmaille starter packs [ courtesy of Blue Buddha Boutique ] via an online GIVEAWAY I will host on this blog (https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com) this weekend (Friday, November 16, 2012). The giveaway is open to everyone (not just U.S. residents). So, please check back this Friday, or – to receive a reminder about the giveaway – please follow my blog via email.

Thanks, and have a great week~

@k_joyz of Angelica Brigade

*** UPDATE: Get a chance to WIN a jewelry-making kit or an All-in-One ChainMaille Starter Pack.  For more details, please read this blog post >>> https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-best-way-to-start-learning-to-create-chain-maille-jewelry-giveaway/

 

Continue reading

If you can’t conceal it, and can’t find a better substitution …

If you can’t conceal it and can’t find a better substitution either …

Then, it’s best to incorporate it into the design.

~0o0~

For months, I’ve been looking for high quality undrilled freshwater pearls & undrilled crystal beads I can use to replace the Swarovski crystal pearls create this chain maille necklace.

Angelica Brigade angelicabrigade handmade jewelry jewellery necklace new weave swarovski crystal pearl pearls gold silver unusual elegant glamorous captive variant weave joyz*k

The Gwynn Handmade Chain Maille & Swarovski Crystal Pearls Necklace by Angelica Brigade

I love how the Swarovski crystal beads look with the chain. The thing is . . . each of these beautiful, gleaming crystal pearl is created with 2 pin-sized drill holes on it. People who see me wearing a similar piece never notice the holes, but . . . I know they’re there . . . and if I have a choice, I’d rather use beads and crystals that have no holes (no mater how tiny) on them.

Why?

  • The drill holes serve no aesthetic nor practical purpose
  • To some people, the holes might look like product defects
  • Plus, it makes the necklace looks too home-made & less professionally-done

Some people don’t mind the drill holes a bit … but, if it is possible for me to create a drill-hole-free version of the necklace, by any means, I should. right?! (I think so . . . )

Well, unfortunately, currently, my company isn’t big enough to place custom drill-free Swarovski crystal beads & crystal pearls

So, I have to find other ways to create the Gwynn necklace without unnecessary drill holes on the beads. So …

independent designer angelica brigade angelicabrigade blog jewelrymaking jewelry making indie designer etsy seller

I decided to use hand-painted & enameled (cloissone) beads, which motif highlights the drill holes by making them to look like black dots that serve as the the focal parts of the design.

( I will make this style in several different colors )

I love how the beads make the Gywnn looks art deco

~0o0~

I’ll still make the crystal beads & crystal pearls version of Gwynn …

The cloissone-beads-Gwynn will merely be a (more refined) variation /option to the “style family”

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