The Vintage Cookie

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chain tassel earrings

I made this pair of earrings after a trip to NYC. I love the bead shops on 6th Avenue, and I bought a bunch of brass beads and chains. When I got back I whipped out this pair. They weren't hard to make, although I had to fiddle with the length of the chain tassels a little to get it just right for my neck. The bead is green serpentine from China. I find I pull this pair off of my earring rack fairly often.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Earrings on stranded beading wire

These earrings have a (for me) novel construction. The beads are strung on stranded beading wire. I used Accu-Flex beading wire from Fire Mountain Gems. The beading wire is finished off with a copper crimp b/c I liked the look of it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Catch-up Day - Two Earring Designs that play with the ear wires

I didn't get a chance to blog on Sunday, so today is I will catch up with two earring designs. These two designs look different, but they are both examples of earrings that incorporate a hand made ear wire into the design.

The first design is a simple three bead drop. The design element that makes these a little difference, apart from the wonderful color combo of orange and blue, is the bead mounted on the ear wire. Commercial ear wires often have a metal bead, a wire coil, or both, decorating the shaft of the ear wire. When you make your own wires you can put a bead on the shaft instead. You can pick a bead that matches (as in this case) or coordinates with your earring drop. Using a bead will minimize the visual impact of the ear wire and give the illusion of a longer earring, which will in turn visually lengthen the neck.

The second design is a further development of the super easy super elegant earrings I posted two days ago. Here again I have hung beads on the ear wire itself -- in this case 5 freshwater pearls. These earrings are gently curved so that the pearl drop at the bottom hangs exactly below the ear.

Hope you like these designs and are inspired to play around with ear wires a little.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

World's Easiest Super Elegant Earrings

These are so easy you can make a pair every morning to coordinate with your outfit.

I made these with 22g wire, but 18g or 20g works well, too. You should match the visual weight of your dangles and the gauge your ears like.

Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Wire cutters
Fine emery board

2 beads you really like
2 headpins
2 pieces of 22g sterling silver wire, each about 3 3/4 inches long Instructions

1. Make the dangles. String beads on headpins, trim excess, leaving just enough to make a hanging loop. Use round nosed pliers to make a hanging loop. (Loop hint - the circumference of a loop is about 3x the diameter, so when you trim the headpin, leave a tail about 3x the length of the loop you plan to make.)
2. Make the elegant ear wires. Working with the curve in the wire from the spool, make a tiny loop on the end of each wire. Measure 2 inches up from loop. Using round nosed pliers, bend ear wire into "V" shape.
3. Open loop on each dangle using two pliers, hang each on an ear wire, and use two pliers to close the loop. 4. Use the emery board to smooth ends of ear wires.

 This design is very minimal, so be careful to keep your loops small and everything exactly the same on each earring.

If you plan to make a lot, you can use plated or sterling filled wire to save $$$. If you are feeling rich, use gold filled or vermeil. If your ears are tough, nickel free brass and copper can be very handsome.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Art Deco style Pearl and Rock Crystal Earrings

An Art Deco inspired pair of pearl earrings.

These weren't so much inspired as discovered. I had seen a design in a book using a bead spacer in an earring, a different style of spacer, with brass chain, seed beads and no pearls - a completely different earring. But I had a pile of these spacers -- silver plated and set with a clear Swarovski crystal. They had been on clearance at Fire Mountain Gems about 2 years ago and I overindulged. So I went down and took them out, and some wire and some freshwater pearls, and started playing around and this is what I found.. I added the rock crystal bead for a bit of contrast, and voila. All I need now is a 1920s/1930s themed formal event. Oh, and a dress to go with.

Bead Soup Earrings

Bead  Soup Earrings.
If you have been beading for any time at all you will end up with a bowl of bead soup. I dipped into my soup today to come up with these boho beauties.
 Each bead is hung on a headpin with a little spiral built in. I love how the little wire spirals to give the beads more liveliness when they are hung on the earring chain.
The finished pair are balanced, but not identical. (I'll post the other earring when I find it - I just took these beauties off to work on tomorrow's earrings, and now I can't find'em.)

The Year of Earrings Challenge

Earrings, earrings, earrings...

I have given myself a challenge -- I will try to post a new earring design every day for the next year. If you make earrings, or just love'em, follow this blog for a daily earring design.

A few of the favorite designs will be sold at Eclectic Nature, 1503 Mt Vernon Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA - so if you see a design you like, let me know. Or if you like to make your own, I can identify the sources of the beads and findings.

My first pair -- Victorian Garden. I bought the rock crystal beads some time ago from Fire Mountain Gems. They remind me of the crystal globes popular in Victorian gardens. I found the little butterfly charms last week in New York City at BeadMax Corp, 1030 6th Avenue, 10018. 212-938-1268 ( The pressed glass bead caps, brass wire, and brass ear wires are also from Fire Mountain Gems.