Sep 17, 2014

Spider Jewelry Part III-Poecilotheria Bracelet

Stylishly scary, but chicly creepy. 

You probably saw my last Spider Jewelry posts- a hemp necklace and a leather wrap bracelet. These were my first endeavors into the world of creepy crawly art. I thought these were so cool so I asked my cousin (who gave me the last batch of spider molts) if he could get more from the spider lab at his school.

I got an entire lot of spider helmets, fangs, full molts and a couple spider legs. Spiders molt their "skin" just like snakes do, so making jewelry of their molts does not harm them at all!

I've asked Eric to give me a little background information on this specific helmet used in my bracelet. Here's what he had to say:

The cephalothorax molt from the bracelet is from Poecilotheria striata. Poecilotheria is a genus of the family Theraphosidae, made up of 14 species of arboreal (tree-dwelling) tarantula. They are native to Sri Lanka and India (this species specifically is found in India), and are most known for their speed, very colorful markings, and their rather potent venom...(which made me sticking my hand with tweezers down in there all the more stupid and dangerous haha). Depending on the species. Female adults (the molt came from a female) can have anywhere from 6-10" leg spans, with males being a little bit smaller. When roughly translated from Greek, the word Poecilotheria itself means "Colorful Beast"

Pretty awesome right? I loved the cool white stripes on the sides of the helmet which give it a desert-type look. I've decided to use this resin charm and transform into a simple macrame bracelet. I figured reflective and magnetic hematite beads from Cousin Corporation would be the perfect match for a unisex-type bracelet.

Contrasting with silver wire and elements gives a modern vibe.
Last time there were a lot of bubbles in my charm, because the natural material was slowly leaking air and creating bubbles throughout the curing process. This time, there were a lot less bubbles because I was able to catch most of them before it was too cured to mess with. There was one bubble caught right on the helmet, but it sort of blends into the white coloring. It will get better each time!

It all comes together to create a simple yet interesting piece! I've still got a lot more material to use; check back soon for more spidey items!

All images and text copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post/use without crediting me!

Sep 9, 2014

Five Minute Beginner Earrings

Simple and sophisticated with metal filigree accents and a mixed finish, these are some of the simplest earrings you will ever make.

All I've done here is take apart a Cousin charm pack and re-organize the charms, connecting them with jump rings. I've mixed the metal finish for a bohemian look, and used a cutout charm layered on top of another to create a 3D effect. This technique can really be used with any findings or charms you have laying around- play around with what you have to create different looks!

These are not heavy and are great for wearing to work. Plus, they took 5 MINUTES to finish. Amazing! 

Step 1: Gather Materials. You will need:
Metal Filigree Charms (I used Cousin brand)- their Metal Leaf Charms and Metal Charm pack, similar packs can be found at Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics and Walmart. 
Earring Fish Hooks
Pliers- flatnose

I first took the two silver filigree metal charms and attached the green crystal charm to the top (with a jumpring). For beginners, the proper way to open jump rings is by using two pliers (both flat nose for most control). Grab either side of the jumpring, with the opening at the top, and twist your right hand towards you and your left hand away from you. DO NOT EVER just pull both sides apart. This will drastically distort the ring shape and it will never look perfect again! Twisting allows for easy closing/opening without distortion of any kind.

Then, simply enough, I attached the bronze flower charm from the other pack to the same jumpring. The two charms laid on top of another. Then, I attached a silver fishhook to the top of the green crystal charm to complete. If you are using similar charm packs, try layering charms like I did here to achieve a multidimensional look! Always add a bit of sparkle with a crystal or shiny bead for that pop!

Seriously, these took you five minutes, right? That gives you extra time to play around with more beads and materials you have, to create more pairs of earrings. Love it!

Photos and text copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do NOT re-post or use without linking back to me.

Aug 25, 2014

Watercolor Blossoms Manicure

Super regal, super detailed, super cool.

These intricate nails surely make a statement! Thanks to Born Pretty Store and their vast selection of nail art wraps, rhinestones, paints, foils, decorations and more, I was able to create a totally unique manicure that is perfect for parties or events. I would say this manicure takes more time than most, but it's definitely worth it.

Let's get started.

Step 1: Gather materials. Needed are white nail polish, crystal nail gems, Born Pretty Blue Flower nail decals, Born Pretty Silver Decals and Born Pretty Rhinestone 3D Decoration. I also used clear varnish for a top coat.

Start by painting all your nails white. On the index, ring and pinkie finger, apply the full-nail blue flower water decals. For info on how to apply water decals, see my previous Royal Teal Nail Tutorial.

Apply the silver decal over the ring finger's blue flower decal. Add a clear crystal with nail glue, and cover with clear varnish to finish. Coat the index and pinkie with clear varnish as well. Add two silver decals to the thumb, and then add a crystal to finish. Coat with clear varnish.

On the middle finger, add nail glue and apply the large 3D decoration.

Lovin' it, right??! Born Pretty is the go-to one-stop-shop for all of your nail art and beauty needs. I love their full-nail water decal wraps, which save you time hand painting and always look perfect. They are also easy to apply. I just put the whole decal on, then waited for it to dry. Cut the excess off with a cuticle cutter or small scissors to fit your nail. These blue flowers here remind me of watercolor paintings. When contrasted with the ornate 3D decoration and rhinestones, you have a winning combination. These 3D decorations really only work if you have long nails. They will not fit on smaller, shorter nails. Also, they need a lot of nail glue to stay on. They are quite heavy, so be careful and don't expect them to stay on past a day. That's why these nails are more "event-ready" instead of everyday!

Style these with a black oversized sweater, skinny denim, a long crystal necklace and sweet shades. Rockin' it!!

I have a coupon code here for all those who want to shop Born Pretty. Use this code HXSQ10 to get 10% off your order. Born Pretty also always offers free shipping, what could be better than that???! Shop away girls!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post/use images without linking back and crediting me.

Aug 14, 2014

Barcelona Earrings

I'ts time for some Chainmaille.

I never, EVER usually do anything associated with Chainmaille. Reason 1: I never have any jump rings. Reason 2: I never really knew how to do all that complicated hooking and threading and twisting and what have you. 
Well, there is a first time for everything.

This is an easy Chainmaille pattern I've created for beginners and advanced 'maillers to try. I've added the addition of faceted gemstone drop beads to give a more bohemian look to an otherwise very industrial look. To prevent tarnishing, I've only used Cousin brand Elegance Metals jump rings; these are either gold or sterling plated so that you won't worry about them losing their shine. I recommend these for use in any Chainmaille pattern.  

These are great everyday earrings that aren't super heavy, but are great quality because you've used great metals. These agate faceted drops and small garnet drop add pops of color. I've used mixed metals here because I'm going for a hippie-chic look. If that's not your thing, use just one metal color. I call these Barcelona earrings because of the eclectic mix of colors, and the fan pattern that forms when you link the jump rings!
Let's get going!

Step 1: Gather materials. Needed are:
4mm Faceted Gemstone rounds (mine from Happy Mango Beads)
Garnet 3mm Rounds from Happy Mango Beads (optional)
Cousin Elegance Metals 6mm Jumprings (Gold, Rose Gold and Sterling Plated)
Cousin Elegance Metals Gold Headpin (or other gold headpins)
Flatnose Pliers and Wire Trimmers

To start the chainmaille pattern, open each of your jump rings packages and separate into like colors. Then, halve those groups so that you will have separated piles for each earring. 

1. Starting with the silver, open and attach a rose and gold. Close silver ring.
2. Open another silver and thread through the rose and gold. Don't close.
3.  Add a silver, rose and gold ring to the open silver. Close.
4. Open a rose. Thread through the rose, gold and silver. Don't close.
5. Add 7 rings, in alternating pattern (rose, gold, silver) to the open rose ring. Close rose ring.
6. Open a silver ring. With the leftmost rose and gold ring, thread silver through these rings and close. There should be 5 empty rings still hanging.
7. Open a gold ring. Thread through the gold of last step and the silver to the right of it, making sure to thread over the last ring (so the new ring lays on top of last). Close ring.
8. Continue this pattern; with a rose ring, thread through the silver of last round and then the rose next to it. Keep repeating, threading through two jump rings only each time, one being the rightmost ring of the last step. You should use 6 rings to finish.

You should have a "fan" of sorts, each jumpring laying beneath the other. MAKE SURE TO ALWAYS ADD EACH JUMP RING IN FRONT OF THE LAST ONE YOU ADDED, to keep that clean fan pattern. 
Simply add gemstone wrapped-loop charms to each of the 6 empty jump rings at bottom. If feelin' groovy, add a small garnet charm to the top jumpring, and finish by adding a fishhook to this ring as well.

The gemstones lay next to each other, creating a cool fan-like pattern.

These would also look great in all silver metal, with turquoise rounds for a southwestern look. Or, try all gold metal with pearl drops for a totally traditional vibe.

Maybe I'll try Chainmaille again in the future. It has served me well up to this point. What do you think?

All images copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post images/tutorial without crediting and linking back!