The Missing Link Blog Book Tour

Posted by on Oct 16, 2013 | 112 comments

Hi Friends.

Giveaway Alert

 

I’m excited to bring you day two of the virtual launch party and blog hop for Cindy Wimmer’s brand new wirework book The Missing Link.  I am happy to have contributed two designs to this book.   If you have not heard of The Missing Link yet or missed Cindy’s post yesterday, you can go here to catch-up on day one.

 

The Missing Link Cover

 

I was honored when Cindy asked me to contribute to her book.  If you know Cindy’s work, she creates amazing jewelry with wire and beads.  She has a beautiful design aestehtic tending toward a modern vintage style.   I was a bit worried my work would not be cohesive with the other designers in the book and it would stand out (not in a good way) because of the rustic nature of many of my designs.

After I got my contributor copy in the mail, I felt at peace and was encouraged by all the designer’s creations being so different.  I think the variety creates an atmosphere in the book where people with all different skill levels and many different aesthetics can be inspired and learn a lot.

 

  Warning!   You may find yourself  RUSH ordering some new wire when you get this book!

 

If you are new to wire working, you will definitely be challenged by this book, but the step-by-step instructions will get you through each link.  The step-by-step pictures also really bring it all together.  Cindy did a beautiful job showing all the tools and supplies you need to get started working with wire.

If you are fairly experienced  in wire working, you will not be disappointed and will find unique links that expand your wire work horizons.  The links are organized into Easy, Moderate and Advanced categories.    The advanced links are challenging but very doable if you follow the instructions.

 

Here is a picture of a necklace I made for the book called Create Your Dream, using the lightbulb link.

DreamNecklaceMissingLink

I snapped this photo when my advance copy arrived.   I flipped it open and saw my necklace featured on the full page adjacent to the title page.  That was a fun discovery!

 

Handmade Wire LinksI also have a bracelet design in the book featuring the wrapped infinity link, pictured in the center above.    I shouldn’t  give it all away so I’ll show you the link surrounded by some light bulbs.

 

You can order the book directly from Cindy.   She will send you a beautiful hand signed copy.  A great opportunity!

If you can’t wait another minute to see the book,  then by all means go here to get the ebook directly from the publisher.  Patience is definitely not my virtue!

 

If you are feeling lucky, you could win a copy!

Leave a comment by clicking on the comments below the title of the post above and let me know a little about yourself.  Do you use wire?  If so, how much do you use wire in your jewelry making?  Would you consider yourself an aspiring wire worker, a beginner, fairly experienced or an expert?!   Make sure your name and best email appears in your comment signature or in the comment you type on this post so we can contact the winner.

 

I will randomly draw a number at the end of the day on the the 20th from the comments below and pass the winner  along to Cindy.

The winner will be announced on October, 21st on her blog.  If you win, the book will be shipped directly to you from Interweave, the publisher.

 

I am joined by 4 other incredibly talented designers in this book and they each have a stop on the blog hop.  Heather Power’s will make a guest appearance as well.  Each day, you have a chance to win a copy of the book and other goodies as you travel around to each site.

 

October 15-Cindy Wimmer (Sweet Bead Studio)
October 16-Tracy Statler (Make Bracelets) – *You are Here!
October 17-Lori Anderson (Pretty Things)
October 18-Kerry Bogart (Kab’s Concepts)
October 19-Diane Cook (Rosa & Josie’s)  & Heather Powers (Art Bead Scene)
October 20-Christine Damm (Stories They Tell)
OCtober 21-Cindy’s blog, Sweet Bead Studio

Have Fun & Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

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Pearls, Pearls, Pearls!

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 | 20 comments

Hello Again Friends!

Long time no post.  My brain fog regarding a big possible move around the world has cleared.  I have done what I can for now to prepare still not knowing for sure whether we are going to stay-or-go.   For now, life goes on here in Virginia and I am back to full steam ahead!

 

I am making my blogging re-entry with a post about pearls and a design challenge that inspired me from Mishel Designs.  Michelle Buettner loves pearls so much that she has a diploma in pearls from the Gemological Institute of America.  She is the perfect designer to issue a jewelry making challenge using pearls, pearls, pearls!

 

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 6.49.20 AM

 

Pearls also happen to be one of my favorite gems to use when I am making jewelry and I have quite a collection of cultured freshwater pearls in different colors, shapes and sizes.  I like to use them in ways that makes them look modern and fresh. Not that pearls ever have or ever will go out of style!   I like to combine them with leather and use them in slightly unexpected ways.

 

double leather pearl link

I was playing around with a double leather link and wire wrapped it with pearls and a few tiny bead caps as an accent.  The double leather link makes an interesting bracelet focal.

I knotted smaller 6mm, large hole pearls on brown C-lon bead cord along with faceted, sterling silver nuggets and faceted clear quartz.  It could be a necklace or a wrap bracelet.  I have been wearing it as a bracelet that wraps around my wrist 4 times.

 

Asymmetric Pearl Earrings
Asymmetric Pearl Earrings2

For my second design, I created a pair of asymmetrical earrings strung on 26g sterling silver wire.  There are three different kinds of pearls in these earrings.  The smallest are teeny tiny, 1mm rice pearls.  It amazes me that a hole can be drilled in such a small pearl!  I also used peacock biwa pearls as the base of the triangular shape that have an amazing luster and color and a single large hole 6mm pearl that is the same pearl used in my wrap bracelet above.  I used a faceted iolite bead to play off the color of the peacock pearls.

 

 

Buying Advice For Pearls:

I tend to buy most of my pearls in person from a variety of vendors at bead shows I attend.  Many of the vendors at these shows don’t have good retail websites you can visit to see their inventory.

I like to see and touch the pearls because the luster, color and texture of the nacre, the outside coating of the pearl, can make a pearl amazing or just completely flat and so, so.   It is hard to completely judge those qualities online.

However, I have purchased pearls from many of the popular online bead stores and if you do, make sure they give the pearl a grade.   I like to spend a little more for an “A” or at the least an “AB”  grading if buying online becasue they should have better luster.  When I go below that, often I find I am disappointed.

I have had some luck with JBC Beads in the past buying large hole pearls online.  They show the pearl grading.  Lately it seems I am only buying large hole pearls to use on all sorts of cording and leather.  You can also search Etsy suppliers.  There are tons of shops these days selling large hole pearls and often you can purchase just a few pearls to test the quality.

 

 

Head over to Mishel’s blog for more buying resources and to learn about the history and the vast variety of pearls that exist.  Spend a few minutes to hop around and take a look at the other participants blogs to see many gorgeous pearls used in interesting ways!   There is some swoon worthy jewelry.  Thanks for hosting this wonderful, pearl filled blog hop Michelle!

 

Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop Participant List:

 

MiShel Designs – Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Host 

Sadafulee,…Always in Bloom 

Antiquity Travelers

Jewelry By Jasvanti

Bead Contagion

 Back Story Beads

Sharyl’s Jewelry and Reflections

Silver Niknats

Fresh Baked Designs

Lisa Yang Jewelry

Designed by Vera

Serena Trent

Amy Bright

Carefree Jewelry by Lisa

Agape Creations Jewelry

Klassy Joolz

Beautifully Broken Me

One Kiss Creations

Stories from the City of  Brass

** Make Bracelets! ** You are Here

Carolyn’s Creations

Raindrop Creations Jewelry

Freestyle Elements

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

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Far, Far Away?

Posted by on May 30, 2013 | 30 comments

Hi!

There has been a lot of nothing happening on Make Bracelets lately – hasn’t there?

Here’s what’s going on.

 I have had to put tons of things on hold as my attention has been drawn to possible alternate universe plans.

Jewelry making has largely been pulled off the table except for a special project, a quick trip to a bead show and very few special orders lately.  I’ve had to be tentative with so many people lately including my own kids – which has been so hard.  Life has been in major limbo.  No booking kid camps, summer vacations, no new purchases for the studio.

We may be making a big move.   Far, far away to SINGAPORE.  It is not for sure yet - but very possible.  The girl from a small rural town in WI, then IN, then San Francisco and now Metro DC (albeit the far edge)  in Northern Virginia may be packing up her home of 10 years, putting it in storage and headed Far East for a few years!

beautiful-singapore-cityscape-1600x1066

Singpore Skyline.  Photo credit:  Get In Travel

Singapore_ArtScience_Museum_t658

Singapore Art Science Museum.  Photo Credit: San Diego Reader

The possibility of Singapore surfaced several months ago when my husband was asked if he would be interested in a new position overseas. He is not in the military so the thought of a job overseas was not on the radar.   He runs a sales group in the telecom & video conferencing technology industry.  Totally not on the radar.

We are still waiting to see if the numbers make sense. Singapore is crazy expensive.  Lots of corporate red tape and waiting,  back and forth on details on how it could all work.  It’s been a drain.  Tons of research on schools, cost of living, international taxes, housing and life in Singapore for an American Expat family.   This has been taking up my time.  Not to mention the thinning out of 10 years of life’s accumulation with two kids in our current home.

This next week could bring pivotal change in my life.   The details are supposed to come.

That’s why the crickets have been chirping on the blog.

Singapore Word Cloud Art

 

All these thoughts have been taking a turn in my psyche over the last few months making it a bit hard to concentrate.  Major overwhelm.  I’ve really never felt this way before.

THEN

My thoughts turned to:   I hope there are high quality jewelry supply stores in Singapore!  Wow, we would be so close to Thailand and hub of the silver trade!  Oh man – so much closer to the gemstone manufacturing capital of the world.

I found out that one of the biggest  jewelry trade shows in the WORLD happens each year in Singapore in October!  I did this research before I researched the international schools –   Yep, priorities.  : )

 

The huge question of whether to stay or go will work itself out one way or another.  We’ve done our research and now it is just a waiting game.  The kids still have no clue.  My husband and I have had to talk in code around my 5 year old and avoid the subject all together when my son is around.   I do not want to upset them during end of year test taking at school if this whole thing does not come to pass.

If it does, the great thing is you are all just as close  as ever via the web.  You will get a glimpse of life and beads and the handmade jewelry scene in Singapore.  I’m very thankful for technology.  I’ll keep you posted!

 

Hope you are having a good start to your summer season!

 

 

I’d love to hear from you if you have lived abroad with elementary or middle school aged kids for a few years, especially Singapore or other Asian countries.  I keep hearing from people I talk to in person it was the best decision they ever made!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Silver Pricing Lowest in Years

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 | 5 comments

Have you seen silver prices lately?!   They are down to the lowest prices in almost three years!

 

I haven’t purchased silver sheet or wire for quite awhile because I stocked up the last time prices were semi-reasonable and I use it sparingly because of the prices.   As you may know, silver has been on a three year run with prices ranging as high as $48+ (briefly) a troy ounce – mostly hanging out in the low to mid $30′s. When I first started making jewelry and started paying attention to silver prices it was about $12 an ounce.  Ah – the good old days!  The jewelry supply market has adjusted by providing cording, leather, alternative metals, silver plating and silver filled options widely available and attractive with so many stylish components to choose from.

For me, you still can’t beat sterling silver for certain things.  I was looking for some half round beaded silver wire the other day because I want make some cool silver links with it and it’s not manufactured in brass, copper or silver filled!   I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed the pricing.

I thought I would pass along this info to you if you have been wanting to invest in a little silver but have been scared by the high prices and have sort of given up on silver as an option.  Don’t get me wrong, silver is still a bit of a splurge – but it is in a much more reasonable price range right now.  Around $23 an ounce as I am writing this.

 

Here are some geeky charts – if you like that sort of thing, like I do – to see just what I am talking about.

 

1 Year Silver

Last time prices were this low was October , 2010

5 year Silver

 

I was feeling a little sassy the other day after looking at the numbers and dove into my silver stash with less caution and went for some nice thick 16 gauge wire and whipped up a little sterling silver bangle for myself.  I oxidized and tumbled it and I kind of like how it turned out!

Sterling Bangles

 

Have you been holding off on buying sterling silver supplies?  If so, maybe it’s worth a little look in your stash to see if need to restock or it’s time to try something new.   It will set you back about $10 less a troy ounce then it did a few months ago!

P.S.  I get most of my silver by weight from Rio Grande, Monster Slayer or Thunderbird Supply.  There are many Etsy sellers supplying wire and sheet as well as beading stores but be aware that their prices may not reflect the lower pricing.  Shop smart and compare.  Many times,  what you pay in shipping fees makes it a good deal or not.  If you are only ordering a small amount – then bead stores, some Etsy sellers or Rio Grande may be your best bet.

 

 

 

 

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A Few Words About Passion

Posted by on Apr 13, 2013 | 5 comments

 Passion is above all a remedy against boredom.

  – Joseph Brodsky

 

 

Try new things.

Amaze yourself.

Discover your Passions & Pursue them.

Repeat.

 

Tracy Statler Jewelry Studio

 

 

 Have a great weekend!

 

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Upcycled Silk Ribbon Yarn Jewelry

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 | 5 comments

Nicole from Darn Good Yarn just sent me some of her new and very awesome upcycled, reclaimed silk sari ribbon cards.  Her packaging has been reimagined and now comes in 5  yard sections that are perfect for jewelry designers and crafters who don’t require a full skein and want a  more consistent and wider range of color for their designs.

 

For those of you that don’t know Darn Good  Yarn, Nicole works with factories overseas and upcycles silk scrap from garment factories in India and Nepal that would otherwise be thrown away.  She gives women a means to make a living for their families by salvaging and dying the silk remnants and making them into beautiful yarns and ribbons to be used in any project you can imagine.

 

I have to give Nicole a public congratulations.  She is sort of famous now!  She recently won the grand prize in the Fed Ex Small Business Grant Contest.  No small feat.  There were tons of  applicants –  awesome accomplishment Nicole!

 

Just look at some of these delicious colors –  They are so perfect for spring and summer.

 

Upcycled Silk Ribbon for Jewelry DGY

These  ribbons make cool wrap bracelets!  You can tie just a little bit of silk to an earring for a interesting design accent.  They can be combined with chain, leather, wire wrapped  beads or you can just simply add a great focal and some beautiful beads for a necklace to create an easy pop of color.

 

Upcycled silk ribbon yarn necklaces

I can just picture these necklaces dressing up a simple t-shirt and jeans!

Go check out DGY and tell Nicole congratulations.  She’d like that!

That’s all for now.   My house is grand central station this week.  Tons of kids in and out for Spring Break.   Have a wonderful Easter!

 

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Mini Video Workshop: Leather Infinity Links

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 | 10 comments

Add A Little Rustic Chic To Your Jewelry Designs!

 

After many comments, personal emails and Pinterest pings about these beaded leather Infinity links, I have finally poured my heart out and created a mini video workshop to help you unleash a little leather link creativity.  Thanks to everyone who cheered me on with this little project and for your patience when I said – “it is coming soon”…

 

LeatherInfinityLinkVideoWorkshop

 

Mini Video Workshop

 Here is What You Will Receive:

  • I show you step-by-step in an over the shoulder view how to create these awesome leather links.  There are endless possibilities to incorporate a little rustic chic into your necklace, earring and bracelet designs.
  •  You will learn some simple tricks I use to create these quickly and easily and finish them so they look professional.
  •  You will be given access to a private password protected page with full and unlimited access to the video, supply lists & resources.
  •  Access to the leather links Pinterest board where you can showcase your designs.
  • A video photo gallery at the end of the lesson that shows some  beautiful ways you can add designer touches to these links to kick start your creativity!  It’s set to some cool music.  : )
  • Ability to ask me questions you may have about making these little pretties.
  • Approximately 17 minutes in length.
  • I will provide you with my list of favorite vendors I use online to purchase the materials you need to get started making these cool leather infinity links.

 

Click the Buy Now button below to purchase through PayPal and you will be on your way to making your own leather link creations to add a new look to your jewelry designs!

Important information:
The log-in information is sent to the EMAIL ADDRESS that Paypal has on file for you when you order.  Once you log-in you will have instant and unlimited access.  Please make sure the email address is correct in PayPal.  If you run into issues, you can email me here.



Video Workshop ButtonCreativity is contagious – Pass it on!

-Albert Einstein.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

If you know some other creative people who you think would like this video,  please share this post.  Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Little Competition! Nina Designs Earring Contest

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 | 16 comments

Happy March Everyone!

 

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 6.58.07 AM

 

Nina Designs asked four of their blogging design partners to participate in a little Design-Off, so-to-speak, using some of Nina’s beautiful sterling silver jewelry making components.   Each of us were sent the same exact package of goodies and our charge was to make a pair of earrings using at least three of the pieces they sent us.  I snapped a photo of the components after I had already made two pairs of earrings so here are some of the pieces I didn’t use.  I will soon!

 

Nina Designs silver components

 

I sat and looked at my choices for quite awhile not quite knowing what direction I was headed.  I felt I had to add a little leather to my design because that’s one of my favorite things to add to my jewelry and I always like to mix metals if possible to add warmth and contrast.  Those were my only thoughts when I started.  My challenge was figuring out how to add leather to this pair of earrings and keep them wearable, not too big and not let the leather overwhelm the pretty sterling pieces.  I printed the Pantone Spring 2013 color palette and then I was off in my jewelry making ZoNE!  Here is what I created.

 

Sterling Leather Nina Design Earrings

Nina Designs Leather Rings 7

 

Vote- Silver Leather Earrings

Nina Designs Leather Rings4

I made sure to carry the silver ball theme from the fun circle wheels throughout the earrings so I grabbed my torch, took my fine silver wire and created some large balled head pins for the gemstones.  Wrapping the brass wire around the cord ends, from my collection, helped to give the earrings an artisan feel and  I finished the earrings with some sterling french wires with a ball that I already had from Nina Designs to give it a subtle but cohesive look.  I have to say I’m pretty thrilled with these and they are totally wearable in real life!

 

Update:  Congratulations to Andrew Thornton.  

 

You have to go there to see what the other designers have made.  Choose your favorite design and then vote for my earrings.  Did you catch that?  I mean vote for your favorite design.  Really.  My fellow challengers include: Lori AndersonCarmi Cimicata  & Andrew Thornton.  Talent overload!  The winner receives $100 Nina Designs credit.

 

The voting runs today, through March 11, 2013.   Thanks for your support!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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