Apr 16, 2014

Grinning Geisha Bracelet

What a doll!
For this tutorial, I took inspiration from this little Geisha bead from Beadmixer.
The clean whites but pops of contrasting red/pinks and greens.

I decided to mix materials by weaving cotton and a mix of glass and porcelain beads through flat silver cable chain from Cousin.
How perfect are these porcelain flower print beads, also by Beadmixer?
I am in love with Beadmixer's selection of porcelain beads. They are all a little different and in all different colors and shapes. I knew I wanted to feature them in this design!

I love the fun, "lightness" to the design, while still using a chunky chain and larger beads. Taking hues of pink and red directly from the geisha charm, as well as the floral element makes for a perfect combo.

Usually pinks and reds are not paired together. I say why not?? Last year, fashion runways showed color blocking in a new way, with similar hues like orange/red, pink/red and a mix of blues/purples paired with each other. I am still lovin' the trend a year later. 
If you make your own, find a color combination that works for you! 

Be sure to check out the Beadmixer site, ESPECIALLY if you love to use vintage rhinestones.
You can also connect with Beadmixer through their:

Are we ready? Let's get started!

Step 1: Gather materials. Needed are:

-6mm or 8mm glass beads (I used pink)
-Embroidery floss
-Large link flat chain- mine from Cousin-you can buy from the link or at AC Moore stores 
-Porcelain flower print beads. I used Beadmixer beads
-A large porcelain charm. Mine was a geisha charm from Beadmixer
You will also need a clasp and some jump rings, as well as pliers and headpins.

Step 2: Cut two 1.5 foot pieces of embroidery floss. 
Starting somewhere in the middle of the length of chain (you could also start at the end), thread the floss up through a link. Make sure there is about 4" of thread to the left of where you started threading, you will need to knot this later. Add on a porcelain bead, then thread down through the fourth link next to it. add on a bead, and thread up the fourth link from that chain. They should lay next to another.
Repeat this process unit you have enough porcelain beads threaded on to make your bracelet long enough for your wrist.
Take off the extra links on either side of your porcelain beads to secure the length of the bracelet. If you started at the end, only take off the long excess on the other side of your beads.

Step 3: Then, thread through the end link. Add a glass bead, and thread down two links over. Thread up through the next link. Thread on another bead, and thread down two links over. Thread up through the next link.

Keep repeating this process. It helps to lay the bracelet on your knee instead of a table because it will curve and be easier to weave with. I kept going until the pink beads reached the end of my chain.
Then, take both ends of the floss and tie in knots, incorporate the red floss from the porcelain beads. Make sure the are woven in opposite directions on the end link of chain so that the knot stays put.

Add your extender chain with jump rings to the end of the chain, and add your charms here with looped headpins. That's all there is to it!

Try out all different bead and color combos! Gold chain would look sweet with bright blue and white for a Grecian look, while copper chain would pair with turquoise and silver. 

As for the geisha charm, Beadmixer has all different colors and styles, and even has little russian doll charms and owls! They are totally unique and quirky which I love.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! If you make this bracelet, be sure to post on Instagram and tag @quietlioncreations!! I'll repost it!

All photos and text copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do not post/use tutorial without linking back to me.

Apr 12, 2014

Royal Teal Manicure

Hello! It's been a long time since my last nail tutorial.

This time, I'm using water decals from BornPrettyStore.com for the first time!
Born Pretty has a TON of different beauty products, jewelry, clothing pieces and other great accessories. What I love most is their extensive collection of nail art products!
Their prices are great- you can get nail decal sheets for less than a dollar. That means a lot of bang for your buck!

You can get rhinestones and studs and other super-cool decorations like spikes, pearls, chain, bows and more! Seriously, if you love nail art, you will love their site! You can spend days looking at their huge amount of inventory.
Get connected with them!

Here is a 10% off coupon code that can be used on a purchase from Born Pretty!

I'll show you how to use these water decals over a base color for a simple manicure that looks like it took a lot of work!
Let's get started.

Step 1: Gather materials. Needed are a base nail polish (I used the Gel SensatioNail Island Oasis), top coat and BornPretty  Pattern water decals (#K210).

How to use the water decal:
Paint your nails your base coat. Get out a dish of water. Cut out the decal you need. Take off the plastic film, don't peel it off the white backing.
Submerge the decal in water for about 15 seconds.

Wet your nail. Gently, with your other hand (get it wet first), fish out the decal from the water (it will release from the backing) and place it on your wet nail. What's great about the water decals are that they are moveable while still wet, unlike stickers. Move it gently on the nail until it is in the right spot, then press gently and leave it alone.

Your nail and fingers must be wet while doing this otherwise it will stick and not move!

See how easy? Just be careful, while the nails are still wet the decal might move. Repeat for all the other nails.

I then, when they were fully dry, painted with a top coat and stuck a nail stud at the top of each decal. I placed one bigger one on my thumb as well. The BornPretty decal sheet came with 10 black decals and 10 white decals enough for 2 manicures. I accidentally dropped the one for my thumb while doing the tutorial and trying to photograph :(. So I added just a stud to the thumbs.

What's also great about these water decals is that the plastic is invisible! It looks like the design was painted straight onto your nails!
These decals were so easy to use, especially with your opposite hand. You don't have to worry about placing it in the exact spot at first. 

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do not post tutorial or images without linking to me.

Apr 5, 2014

Imperial Palace Necklace

Things are gonna get colorful!
My newest tutorial is my Imperial Palace necklace. It was inspired by the colors and materials of China, including a lot of jade and carved coral beads. The red and green contrast each other, making the hues "pop". Blue was added for good measure, keeping the look very jewel-tone. Using the natural coral beads gave interesting texture and line variation within the necklace.
I went for an old-meets-new vibe with the traditional carved coral drops and jade against the modern clear glass beads. The mix of transparent, sparkly and opaque give the look more dimension.

For my Imperial Palace necklace, I am using entirely materials from Beadmixer. Beadmixer is a bead and supply company based out of the Netherlands. They have a huge selection of beads such as gemstone, glass, porcelain, acrylic, metal and pearls. Beadmixer has a lot of vintage-inspired materials that work well in both jewelry and mixed media.
 However, my favorite of theirs is definitely their vintage rhinestones and chatons. 

I never could find a good place to buy rhinestones and rhinestone settings: I had tried Etsy and such but they were very expensive. Also, the quality was not that great. However, when I received these, I was stunned. They were all perfectly cut, heavy glass, foil-backed and insanely sparkly. 
I also got cool coral dagger beads, green jade rounds, carved coral focal beads and howlite rounds.
I just love the large selection of gemstone and natural beads that Beadmixer has. These are materials I don't usually work with but love, so I chose to feature them in this design.
Also, they have beautiful porcelain beads that I am kind of obsessed with. I didn't feature them in this design, but check back soon for a tutorial using those.

Be sure to check out the Beadmixer site, ESPECIALLY if you love to use vintage rhinestones.
You can also connect with Beadmixer through their:

I also made a pair of matching drop earrings from the coral focal beads and jade. These are easy to make; simply do a wrapped loop on either side of the jade bead. Place the coral on a headpin and make a wrapped loop to finish, catching the loop from the jade piece into it. Then, string it onto large kidney ear wires.

But let's start the tutorial already!

8mm jade gemstone rounds
8mm blue glass rounds
Vintage rhinestones (explained below)
Waxed cotton cord, white
Toggle clasp
Coral carved drop beads (3 if making earrings)
Gold cable chain
4mm howlite red rounds
Small natural coral beads
Beading wire, crimps

Step 1: Get your rhinestones in order. Place your rhinestone gently in the frame, and bend the prongs down onto the stone to hold it in place. I used flat nose pliers wrapped in masking tape so that it wouldn't scratch the glass if I accidentally slipped. The prongs should be flush to the stone, as you see in the picture. If they are flapping up, it will catch onto clothing and more, :((

I bought different sizes: a focal stone at 25X18mm, 5 medium ones 18X13mm at and 6 little ones at 10X6mm. I chose all ruby red ones because I love red and gold. 
The round blue and white ones you see were glued into their settings. I chose not to use them in this tutorial, but will post an upcoming tutorial featuring them---stay tuned!!


Step 2: Start beading.

Strand 1: I beaded on alternating red howlite beads and blue coral beads on beading wire, and finished off with jump rings on the ends. Don't add a clasp to the ends yet. 
The strand was about 16.5" long. 

Strand 2: I knotted on 39 8mm blue glass beads to waxed cotton cord (white). I then placed my rhinestones evenly between every three beads (attach to a jumpring, then attach the jumpring to the string/knotted part between the bead). Make sure there is a gemstone right in the center of the strand. I left 4 beads empty at the end as you can see in the picture.
This strand was about 14" long.

Strand 3: I knotted 54 8mm green jade beads onto waxed cotton cord. I grouped the 10 center beads together by tying a small piece of cotton between them, right where you see the arrow. I placed my biggest rhinestone in the center, and it fit snugly so that the beads "framed" the rhinestone. I added a coral drop (make a wrapped loop on a headpin) in-between the fifth and sixth bead in the frame.
I attached the top loop of the rhinestone to the tied string with a jumpring to secure it in place. 

I added a bead of glue around the edge of the rhinestone frame and adhered the beads to it, so that the frame didn't pop out of place.

To finish, get a gold toggle clasp. Add jump rings between the last two beads of your knotted strands and attach them to the toggle with chain and more jump rings. I had to add some chain to play with the length of each strand, and make sure they laid nicely. As you can see, I added a little more chain to the coral/howlite strand so it ended up being a little longer, and laying nicer. You may have to play with these lengths yourself depending on how big you want your necklace, and your bead sizes.

Everything should lay nicely. Just play around with the lengths until find something that works!

Feel free to use other gemstones or colors for this design. 

I hope you like it! Any questions, or if you noticed I missed something, just leave in the comments section. Half the time I don't even know what I wrote by the time I'm done!! 
Also, be sure to like Beadmixer on Facebook!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do not post/use images without crediting me and linking to me!

Mar 27, 2014

Handmade Crystal Tassels

Finally, another tutorial!

I've made luxe crystal tassels perfect for adding to anything such as curtains/window treatments, table runners, doorknobs, or anyplace else where you want a bit more sparkle!

I've collected a bunch of different beads in different mediums; glass beads, crystals, pearls, chain, and some focal pendants. All the materials here I am using are from Cousin Corporation, and can be found at JoAnn fabrics, Michael's, AC Moore stores and Walmart.

I made these tassels for my table at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago portfolio show today. Yes, I am officially graduated and have a BFA in Graphic Design. I used them on the four corners of my table setup to add some glitz, glamour and fun to my station! More pics from the show follow the tutorial below.

These did take a little time to make, so be patient. These are great especially for holidays or special occasions. They add such a unique handmade touch!
This tutorial is a bit ambiguous, just because there can be so much differentiation in size and style of your tassels, I didn't put exact measurements. Just have fun and use your own judgement!

Step 1: Gather materials. I used a bunch of beads (pearls, crystals, glass beads) and chain. There is no certain amount of beads you need; I just threw together beads that complimented each other! 
Sticking to a specific color palette will help too. 
Start stringing strands of beads on beading thread (I used two strands for strength). To end, simply string back through the last bead to catch it, add a dab of glue and cut flush. MAKE SURE there is at least 3" of empty string at the top, we will be using this later. 

Continue stringing, making sure the same amount of beads are on each strand so your tassels are the same size. Make strands of pearls, crystals, glass beads and whatever other beads suit your fancy.
I used Cousin crystal drop beads, attached them to a jumpring and chain for a focal drop piece.

Gather up all the strands you want in the tassel. Then, string them all through a large-hole crystal (or other bead) and tie a knot to collect them all. Then, I poked a headpin up through that large-hole bead so that I could use it to hang the tassel with.

Finally, I cut the excess string off all the strands, and finished with a bead cap and pearl. I created a round of beads to add at the top of the tassel as well; simply string on the required amount of beads and string back through the first bead, it should pull into a round.

There is no specific formula to make these; it all depends on the length, amount of beads, kind of beads, and number of strands that are in your tassels.

Here are my finished tassels. I made them with the flexible wire top so that you can hook them places, or even wrap them onto something. Below are some shots of my portfolio show tablescape at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago…...

I made two flower arrangements for a bit of freshness. They had black tablecloths on all our tables but I amped mine up with a caramel-color satin overlay, where I added my tassels on the corners.

My business cards were in a silver-flaked shell dish and filled with acrylic diamonds. I had some caramel candy in there too! Of course the letterpresses cards were decked out with metallic foil and I added a Swarovski crystal flatback to the center.

I added rock details across the table with sliced agate, amethyst, quartz and carnelian to add some of my "metaphysical" vibes. Maybe the audience there though I was a gypsy or something. The other kids had their process books, mock-ups of final reports and such, and I had rocks, gems, crystals and flowers. And was wearing plenty of handmade jewelry, of course. Oh well.

I'm saving these tassels to use again. They've got all my favorite neutral colors but pack the glam factor with sparkle and shine!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. Do not post without crediting me!