Stretch Cord & Leather Bracelets. Kind of Different.

Posted by on Oct 23, 2012 | 43 comments


Happy Tuesday My Friends!

 I wanted to show you a fun and slightly different way to use stretch cord for bracelets.  Rather than only using stretch cord, I wanted to think outside the bead box for a second and add a linking component to the stretch cord.  It look a little thinking about how to run the stretch cord so I would not have to use two different sections.

I created the knotted leather figure 8’s last week so they were on top of the pile on my table.  I was going to use them as necklace charm holders, but they became focals for this batch of bracelets.  You could also use metal connectors if they have smooth edges that won’t fray the stretch cord.

1)  I cut a long length of  cord and tied it to one side of the leather link.   Then, I doubled the stretch cord over and strung the beads on the doubled strands.  You need to have beads with an ample hole size to string two strands of stretch cord through.  (The pearl bracelet is not a stretch cord bracelet.  It is knotted on S-lon bead cord – but it looked great with the set)!



2)  Once I strung on all the beads, I ran both ends of the stretch cord around the other end of the leather infinity link and pulled the beads tight.   3).  Next, I ran the doubled cord back through the last bead again so the knot would not be visible on the leather link.

4)  I tied an overhand knot with both strands of stretch and then I took each strand of cord apart and tied two more overhand knots together around the main strand.  I tested it and pulled it tight.  5)  I finished it with a dot of GS Hypo Cement, leaving it to dry for about 30 minutes.  The knot is hiding between the last two beads.



I used Stretch Magic in a .5mm.  I also like powercord from Fire Mountain Gems.  Don’t forget to finish off your knots with a bit of GS Hypo. I Love the precision tip applicator for getting just a little bit of adhesive in a tiny space!

I’m sending you warm thoughts today.  It’s going to be close to 80 degrees here in Northern VA.  Just beautiful.


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Art Bliss: Heavy Metal Beads

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 | 15 comments

I had the pleasure of attending my third Art Bliss Workshop about a week and a half ago.   Art Bliss is a series of jewelry, bead making and mixed media art workshops hosted and organized two very talented ladies Cindy Wimmer &  Jeannette Blix.   The workshops take place right outside of Washington DC so they are easy for me to get to.

Before my class, Lori Anderson of Bead Soup Blog Hop Fame, organized a really nice bead swap.   I destashed quite a few beads  I thought I  would never use and picked up a few fun beads that will make cute jewelry pieces for my daughter.  Thanks Lori!  She is doing a big blog hop right now to celebrate the arrival of her new book.  Lots of great prizes, you should go check it out!

I got to see some of my online jewelry making friends, which is always fun!  I love to catch up with them in person and see what they are working on.

 The main part of my evening was spent learning to make “Heavy Metal Beads” taught by Stacie Florer.  It was a really fun class.   Stacie has been doing metalwork for a long time and she makes beautiful jewelry.   I’m glad she decided to teach to a big group of people in a workshop format because she was a total pleasure to learn from – such a fun and giving spirit.

Here are some of the “Heavy Metal”  beads I made.  I learned to use a mixed gas torch  – quite a step up from my handheld propane torches I have been using in my studio.  I learned to cut metal tubing, texture it, drop a bead on metal wire right up to a bead (I only burned up one piece of turquoise).  You can’t imagine how bad a piece of smoking turquoise smells…

I learned to solder a bezel onto metal sheet and how to set a cabachon bead…  real metalworking skills!  I made three beads in class, which I thought wasn’t bad for a 3 hour workshop.  Most importantly, I was able to make the bezel bead successfully at home.  I gave the beads an extra tumble in my Lortone Tumbler and I think they came out beautifully.  I love hammering, bending and torching metal!   I put one of the beads on some round leather cord with an adjustable leather slide.  It’s a nice simple way to wear this style of bead.  I was thinking of making a long pendant out of one as well and hanging it from a thin chain.


I hope you get a chance to take a class soon to learn or freshen up a skill.  It doesn’t have to be about jewelry making.   It could be in person or online.  I always finish classes or tutorials with a renewed sense of creativity and a sense of accomplishment.  It’s always a healthy investment of my time!

Have a great rest of the week!

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What I’m Working On…

Posted by on Sep 20, 2012 | 7 comments

78 degrees.  Blue skies.  A delicious fall flavored caffeinated beverage.  It was an inspiring day.

I got to work cutting and applying a patina to some of my upcycled leather.

I found some fun double slide beads at Michaels.  It’s part of their Bead Gallery line. (50% off  right now btw).

 Of course I didn’t use them as they were intended!



Update: I attached them by punching 4 holes in the leather.  One for each slide attachment on the back.  I strung waxed linen through the slider hole and then through the holes in the leather and tied it on.  It makes a nice tight, permanent connection and is soft so it won’t scratch your wrist.


I’m getting ready for a Saturday full of soccer games and a Saturday night of jewelry making fun with a bead swap and metal working class at Art Bliss.  I’m looking forward to seeing some of my jewelry making friends!  Then, hopefully on to some apple picking and photos in the orchard on Sunday afternoon!


Hope you are all doing well~  Enjoy your weekend!


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New Stitched Round Leather Cord: Great for Fall Bracelets

Posted by on Sep 10, 2012 | 14 comments

When the first signs of fall arrive,  it’s a great time to think about making leather bracelets.   They are perfectly in style for the cooling weather and are simple to make with the right materials and a few hints.

Suede especially reminds me of fall.  In the past, if you wanted to use suede in jewelry making, your options were  limited to different thicknesses of flat suede lace.  Not any more!

I have always ordered my leather cord from Leather Cord USA because their product is consistently high quality and they offer the widest selection of product, sizes and fashionable colors.   They recently sent me some of their brand new stitched round leather cord and some neat leather clasp findings to play around with.   The perfectly round shape of the new leather works so well for bracelet making and the stitching adds a unique and pretty detail.  The stitched cord is available in both suede and smooth leather,  in 2.5 & 5mm diameters.

The round stitched cord makes a big impact doubled up and glued in different types of clasps made for leather cording, which you can also find on their site.  You can create a simple, cleanly styled bracelet, combine different colors of leather  together or add different beads and embellishments for more a custom, artisan look.  Any way you choose, these bracelets are so comfortable to wear and are perfect for stacking and layering together.

In the bracelet above, I arranged large, patterned 14k gold plated jump rings around groupings of the cords and a chunky faceted citrine to play on the rich golden theme.  I added two different colors of waxed Irish linen at the base of the loop for a dash of fall color and to hold the citrine in place.  I love the look of the hook and loop clasp!  There are so many ways to dress up this leather cording.

A Few Tips:

1) Measure your cord to your desired length and then test around your wrist before cutting.  Be sure to take into account the length of your clasp and how much leather will fit inside the glue-in part of the clasp.

2)  When gluing more than one piece of leather into a clasp finding at a time, carefully lay it out on a table and arrange the leather cord the way you want it to lay around your wrist and fit in the clasp before you try to start gluing.   Otherwise, your leather cord will end up a sticky, jumbled mess!

3) Make sure your clasp is glued on facing the correct way.  When I was making my bracelet, I almost glued the bar end of the clasp facing inward so the leather loop would have not had a place  to catch.  That would have been a mess to try to fix once the glue was already in the clasp!

4)  Place the glue in the clasp first and be a little conservative with it.  You don’t want to be cleaning off oozing glue from the suede or from your clasp. I used Scotch Maximum Strength Adhesive glue but you could also use a GS Hypo Cement – it would just take longer to get the right amount due to the tiny precision applicator.

5)  Allow your bracelet to dry for at least an hour before wearing it.


That’s it -simply stylish!  The stitched round leather cord would be great for earrings and necklaces too.

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Handmade Paper Bead Bracelet

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 | 12 comments

I received a sweet gift of pretty handmade paper beads in the mail last week from  Passion For Paper.  Thanks Dee!  I have not made anything with paper beads since this post.   Brinn has been asking for me to make something for her so I played around with a bracelet to wrap around her wrist a few times.


I love the yellows, turquoise green and oranges in these beads.  I had some orange waxed Irish linen and added Czech seed beads to make the loop.  Simple knotting between the beads, silver end caps and threading one cord on the outside of the beads added some extra interest to Brinn’s little bracelet.  I designed the loop  just large enough for the end bead to slip through tight enough to act as a clasp.

Dee also sent a sample of some of her other paper beads.  I collected stamps as a child and  I had quite a collection thanks to my grandfather.   I have something in mind for the replica stamp bead below!


Hope your week is going well!

We are gearing up for school.  13 days and counting.  Brinn starts Kindergarten and could not be more excited!  Nick heads into 5th grade and sort of wishes summer could go on forever.  Me…. I love Fall.  Gorgeous weather in Northern VA.  All the excitement that the new school year brings.  Fresh paper and pencils – a full day of getting things accomplished!  How about you?  Are you looking forward to the fall routine?



Update:  Dee added a comment with a coupon code if you would like some paper beads of your own!   

“I created a special code just for your readers to use in my shop TSMBSAVE. 
This code will allow your readers a 10% discount at checkout. They will also receive free shipping on any order over $50.00 (I will refund shipping charges when payment clears).”   Go here to check out her shop.   A Passion For Paper

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How To Make Wire Wrapped Loop Clusters

Posted by on Aug 2, 2012 | 14 comments

I have been playing with a little add on to the usual wire wrapped loop and I’m getting ready to make lots of jewelry pieces with different variations of these wire wrapped clusters.

It’s an addition to the standard wire wrapped loop you would use to join beads into a chain for a bracelet or necklace. Adding two beads per section of wire and a dangle bead in the center of the double beaded wire wrapped loop adds a look of fullness and interest.  This cluster configuration works well with round beads of at least 10 – 12mm.  It would work with other shaped beads as well.  There are countless possibilities.

You could also make a great necklace.  Imagine a string of brightly colored clusters attached to long cording,  ribbon or silk!  Several of these bracelets layered together in different fun colors of the same size bead would look really great together and work with the current color blocking trend.

I’m assuming you know how to make and connect wire wrapped loops already.  If not, there are quite a few videos out there that do a good job of showing you the basics.  Here is a video that shows some of the basics from Beadaholique.


If you are good with wire wrapped loops, then this is the easiest way to assemble the clusters.

Make All Your Wire Wrapped Dangles First!

1)  Cut about 2.5 inches of wire.  I used 24 gauge wire  to fit through the glass pearls I used in this bracelet.

2)  Create a tiny loop at one end of the wire and string the bead on the wire.  You could use headpins too – but I like using wire and I like the look of the tiny loops at the end.

3)  Create a wire wrapped loop on the other side of the bead.

4) Make as many as you need for the length of your bracelet or necklace.


Make Your Double Wire Wrapped Loop Sections to be Connected Together

1)  Cut about 4 inches of wire depending on the size of your beads.  Make a wire wrapped loop on one end.  Slide on one bead, one dangle and the second bead.

2)  Start the second loop on the other side of the section and attach to the next wire wrapped loop and so on.

3)  Continue as many times as you need to complete your project.

4)  Attach your clasp of choice.  I love magnetic clasps.  Note:  magnetic claps can not be worn if you have in implanted medical device such as a pacemaker.

That’s it!

I hope that provides a little inspiration.

Have fun.  Time to get back to my other projects so perhaps I can get some sleep tonight.  I had no less than 5 five year olds running around my house today so I did not get much accomplished today!



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Bead Hunting at Yone Beads San Francisco

Posted by on Jul 18, 2012 | 13 comments

I’m starting this post from a hotel room in San Francisco.  We are winding down a week in Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco and Marin.  I love, love, love this part of the country.  I spent some of the most fun years of my life –  to date –  in San Francisco

I moved to San Francisco all by myself, sight unseen,  from Wisconsin right after graduate school.  I was 25 years old.  I did not know a soul.   I had an internship with a small consulting company, a few suitcases, a car and lots of enthusiasm to explore.  I thought I would just stay for the internship, but the diversity, energy, incredible people, food and beauty blew me away.  I ended up living in San Francisco for about 3 1/2 years and so much happened in that time.  I met my husband, got married, got a great job, explored and did amazing things in this beautiful, diverse and exciting part of the country.

My husband’s work transferred us to Northern Virginia 13 years ago and as the saying goes, I left my heart in San Francisco.  We love where we live now and the life we have made in VA, but there is just nothing like the Bay Area.  Our  jobs and my husband’s family, have given us reason to travel back countless times in the last 13 years, but this is the first time we’ve spent so much time in San Francisco playing tourist in “our city.”



The Beads of San Francisco 

For all my jewelry making, beady, artsy, craftsy friends of mine, I know you want to know about the beads.

One would think (I did anyway)  that San Francisco would be full of bead stores.  This is not the case.  I guess rent is just too expensive and a bead store is a difficult brick and mortar business to run in a very high rent city. There are only a couple of bead stores and only one worth visiting.  When I lived in San Francisco I hadn’t discovered my love of beads and jewelry making, so this was my first time to this unusual bead store.  Yone has been in business for over 40 years and is just bursting with beads – but you need time and patience to sift through them all.


Yone is located in the bottom of a Victorian home in the North Beach neighborhood known for it’s great Italian food.  My husband, kids, niece and nephew from New Zealand sat in a restaurant across the street and enjoyed pizzas while I spent almost an hour and a half playing with the beads.

Yone was owned by a former fashion designer of the same name who had a passion for beads.   His business partner Herman Baker still owns the store and works there after 40 years.  I believe he is around 88 years old.  He has an interesting assortment of beads collected from all over the world.  Herman does not buy beads anymore unless a customer needs something specific.  He told me he has enough to last forever!  That looks to be true.


Beads hang from the ceiling, are in boxes all over the floor and the glass cases are full of expensive and rare beads.   When my husband came to check on me after an hour or so he was surprised I was not climbing the walls to get at all the little numbered boxes!

Definitely overwhelming – if you need to find something.   But it was fun talking to Herman about his beads.  He knows the price and origin of every single bead in the store without looking it up.   When you find a sample bead you want to see, he gets the number off the tag and goes to the wall to get the corresponding box so you can choose what you like.  Not efficient, totally different than anything I have seen in a bead store before – but  it was fun.

I was searching for something for a special project I am working on.  I don’t think I found what I needed for the project – but of course I  managed to find some treasures to take home.  Unique beads from India and Ethiopia I had not seen before.  Some old Thai silver buttons – which I love.

Yone is only open a few days a week for a few hours a day and they don’t have an online store.  I am glad I was in town at the right time.  If you ever are in the San Francisco area on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday between the hours of 1-6pm, it is worth a trip to Yone Beads to see what treasures you can find.


Here is a little sample of some of he beads I brought home.




If you are ever planning a trip to the Bay Area and want info. on great places to eat, beads, crafts, fabric stores, shopping, hotels, highlights of the city, etc.  Places the locals go for the best of….  Contact me.  If I can’t answer a question then I live with someone who can!


Enjoy the rest of your week.

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4th of July Bracelet Sample Sale

Posted by on Jul 4, 2012 | 11 comments

Happy 4th of July!


To celebrate and clean out my studio, I am selling some of my sample pieces of jewelry or pieces of jewelry I’ve made for display, blogging, blog hops, challenges, publication, etc.  Pieces that may or may not have made it to the store before.  20% off through this Friday, July 6th.


 Click here to go to the store:  Tracy Statler Designs

Have a safe, wonderful day with your family and friends today.  I hope it’s filled with fun, good food, fireworks and a moment or two to reflect on the incredible freedoms & choices we have as Americans.

We are getting ready to head to San Francisco next week to meet up with my husband’s 14 & 16 year old Niece & Nephew from New Zealand who are visiting the U.S. for the first time without their parents.  They are staying with my husband’s parents.   I can’t wait to see them again and experience a little bit of America through their eyes.


I will be visiting a very unique bead store in San Francisco.  Very old.  It is only open a few days a week.  Major treasure trove.  I sort of think of it as going on an archaeological dig for beads.  I am looking forward to sharing that with you!









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