Free Tutorial, Swarovski Spiral Tree Ornament or Sun Catcher

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Swarovksi Spiral Ornament or Suncatcher

Catch the Light!

I am so far behind planning for Christmas 2014 that Christmas 2015 seems a much more attainable goal! If your schedule is in better shape than mine then take a look at this new tutorial. If you have the time to make a few special but simple gifts for yourself or others, give these ornaments a try. You don’t even have to make the spirals. They are only $1 each and save you so much work (and hair pulling!)

The design is easy to alter and there are some suggestions on the tutorial page. They would also make beautiful suncatchers in your kitchen window to add a little sparkle all year long!

Swarovski Spiral Ornament of Suncatcher Tutorial.

While I’m at it……..another quick pair of earrings!

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Quick Crystal Earrings, marywilliamsdesigns

Quick Crystal Earrings

When I was looking for a good backdrop for the Taste of Pumpkin earrings I stumbled upon a pottery leaf I had purchased at the Napa Adult School pottery class Christmas sale. I was sorry to hear that their classroom was closed and the class no longer offered there because of funding. Sadly, that is the case with many art classes in our public schools as well.

The leaf turned out to be quite photogenic and I love the way the blue in the Swarovski Pacific Opal crystals looked against the rough texture and colors of the leaf.

The earrings are very simple if you want to try to make yourself a pair. You don’t need to know much about how to make jewelry, just how to twist the ends of two wires together!

The earrings are also a great “plan B” design if you can’t find a pair of earrings that will go with a new outfit. Depending on how big your stash of crystal colors is the possibilities are endless. The earrings are also easy to add your own special touches. If you already make jewelry it is fairly simple to figure out how to make them from the photo, but when I have the time I’ve added that to my list of step-by-step photos to work on.

As promised, the second fall earring tutorial!

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Touch of Pumpkin Earring Tutorial

Touch of Pumpkin Earring How-To

The background for this shot came to me courtesy of Billy and his first try using our new chainsaw. Good news is he still has all of his digits, and I have a cool new photo prop. I love the cracks in it and while the round is a little thicker on one side I actually like it even more because of it. It is a perfect backdrop, I think, for fall jewelry designs. The disk beads are a little darker orange (think Jolly Rancher), but the natural light on our deck brought out the tangerine!

If you would like a pair yourself, you can find them in the online store, or if you would rather make yourself a pair you can find everything you need to make them there as well.

Free Fall Earring Tutorial

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Brass and Glass Orange Disk Earrings,

Brass and Glass Orange Disk Earrings

In our part of Nevada Fall is creeping slowly upon us. The evenings are a bit cooler, the days seem to be shorter at a fast pace, and the wildlife are busy preparing for the colder months. However, with the majority of trees surrounding us being assorted pine trees, I find I miss the fall display of leaves changing from green, to yellow, orange, and red. The leaf in my photo is actually a dried leaf I brought with us when we moved and this leaf is my absolute favorite of all times:

Beautiful autumn leaf colors

What's not to love about Autumn?

Until we get a variety of trees planted at our house, I will have to satisfy myself with cheery autumn colors in my jewelry. I plan to wear a pair like the one pictured on top with a warm pair of Uggs, a soft and slightly worn pair of my favorite denims, a crisp white cotton shirt, and a cozy warm sweater while I eat a bowl of my favorite fall soup.

If you would like a pair yourself, you can find them in the online store, or if you would rather make yourself a pair you can find everything you need to make them there as well. I also have another design that I am working on for Fall or Halloween and will hopefully have a picture in a day or so.

Awesome photo prop and Free Jewelry Tutorial

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Firewood photo prop Mary Williams Designs

Firewood Photo Prop

I have a slight obsession to collecting pieces of art in nature. Just ask anyone that has gone on a hike with me, or even just walked with me on the pine-studded area surrounding our house.The chance of me returning to the house without some small (or more typical) large piece of wood or rock that I find interesting is unlikely.

The wood in the picture is actually a piece of firewood that I rescued just moments before it was to be tossed into the flames of our wood stove. If it had burned I would have mourned it for awhile, I found it so interesting. The family has now been instructed to hold similar pieces of firewood for my inspection before using it to heat the house.(edited to add: Reminder to self after finding nearly a dozen pieces of firewood stacked on my worktable this morning: “be  more specific as to size when requesting firewood photo props”.)

I love the naturally occurring random pattern on it! The fact that it has a stub of a small branch ideally located at the top, perfectly off-center for interest, was a superb bonus! It will work wonderfully for bracelets, pendants, or, as in the photograph, a coiled spiral beaded necklace.

As an added bonus to you, I added a tutorial to the website for the seed bead chain shown in the photo (I know, you barely noticed it because of the awesomeness of the wood it is hanging on!)

Spin Out Spiral Seed Bead Chain FREE tutorial!

Easy Crochet Bead Bracelet

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Simple Crochet Bracelet_Mary Williams Designs

Simple Crochet Bracelet

There are a ton of simple crochet bracelet tutorials on the web so this is definitely not something new. As a child I spent countless hours sitting with my mom crocheting yards (possibly miles) of single crochet chains before moving on to more elaborate designs with her guidance. I will never possess the amount of knowledge my mother had with crochet, but if there was a “comfort craft” for me, crochet would be it.

When I crochet I picture my mother on the sofa, feet curled up under her, glasses just slightly down her nose, leaning her body toward the old brass lamp on the side table, crocheting row after row of bedspread cotton into the most amazing bedspreads for the people she loved. I remember the unmatched patience and willingness she had in teaching others. I remember that all a person had to do was admire something she made and it, or a duplicate of it would be theirs. Tomorrow my mother would have been 97. She passed away many, many years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her and her gentle spirit and recall what a true treasure she was.

Chainstitch bracelet in teal

Teal with Luster Opaque Green Beads

The version above is much shorter with a couple more chainstitches between beads. I’ve
used Opaque Green Luster facetted beads, C-Lon cord in Teal. and a matching czech glass shank button I’ve had for years.

This is not a complete tutorial, but just brief information on how my bracelet was made. It is a simple crochet chain (many tutorials for this stitch are just a google search away) fastened onto a button (I used a 2-hole button but a shank button or any other style would work just as well). The bracelet is nearly 2 yards long and has 200 czech glass beads. I crocheted right off the spool of C-Lon bead cord, but kept track of how much cord it took. Using a size 7 crochet hook (very small) it took about 10 yards of C-Lon to make nearly 2 yards in length. I crochet very tightly, at times so tight it is like trying to wrestle an elephant through a keyhole, so your results may vary. There are two chainstitches between each bead. I have a very small wrist and the bracelet wraps ten times around it.

The most tedious part was stringing 200 beads onto the cord before starting the chain. For this bracelet I chose to use a part of the chainstitch to loop through the button because I felt is was more decorative, but you could also just loop a single strand of cord through the holes 3 or 4 times and knot it at the back of the button before beginning your chainstitch. After every two stitches I pushed a bead down close the crochet hook before making my next stitch, thus locking the bead in place. I made sure the stitch fit snugly against the bead.

At the end of the chain, after all the beads the beads were used, I continued with a short section of chainstitch. I formed a loop with this section of chain just long enough to barely fit over my button, passed my crochet hook through the stitch at the base of the loop, picked up the cord with the hook and worked a single crochet back through several of the stitches. I then cut the cord leaving a short tail and pulled the tail (using the hook) through the last stitch to lock the stitches in place. You could make a knot here if you wanted or use a little glue to secure the end of the thread. I used a tapestry needle to weave the tail through the chain.

Here is a picture of the supplies I used along with a list and link to where they can be purchased.

Crochet bracelet supplies from The Red Bead

Crochet Bracelet Supplies

All supplies from The Red Bead:

C-Lon bead cord in Lilac
Pewter leaf print button
Czech Glass Jewel Luster beads

Or, if you like more earthy colors, give this selection a try. It is next on my personal to do list:

Earthy bracelet supplies

C-Lon Bead Cord in Latte
Stone Picasso Czech Beads
Turquoise Luster Flower Bead