Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Button Clasp for a Flat Spiral Stitch Bracelet

I made a perfectly lovely beadwoven bracelet, using tiger eye and gold lined seed beads. But I couldn't find a toggle clasp for it. I have silver, antiqued brass, copper, but nothing that would go with the sparkling golden look of the tiger eye and the seed beads. I do have some gold plated lobster claws, but lobster claws on bracelets ... no. Way too hard to clasp unless you have someone do it for you. So I decided to make a button and loop for the clasp. After a couple of starts and stops, taking the "button" apart a few times, this is what I came up with...

Tiger Eye Bracelet

So, now that I have the hang of it, I made another bracelet, this one with sodalite. This time, the "button" came along much easier, and the securing of it to the bracelet was also much easier.

But, alas, as I was weaving the thread ends in, as I was pushing my needle through one of the sodalite beads right in the middle of the bracelet, the bead broke! Ahhhhhhgggggggg !!! I'll eventually take it apart, but right now I am wearing the bracelet to give the button and loop clasp a good workout.

Now I am working on a bracelet made with rhodonite (the pink beads in the middle) and fuschia colored seed beads.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Anise is one of the essential oils that I like to keep stocked up on. I really enjoy it's spicy licorice scent, and I appreciate it's ability to hold it's scent in a cold process soap.

I use Anise Star essential oil. The Anise Star plant is a small to medium evergreen tree of the magnolia family, growing mostly in China. The seeds are steam distilled for the oil.

Anise Star is not the same as Aniseed Oil. Aniseed is the fruit of the annual anise plant of the parsley family.

Both are used in cooking, both are used in aromatherapy, both are used in soap making. I use Anise Star because my research between the two convinced me that Anise Star is easier on sensitive skin than Aniseed.

My favorite soap scented with Anise is my Anise Supreme. I started with one of my most luxurious recipes ... olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter (yes yes!), sweet almond oil, castor oil, and goat milk !! The essential oil scent blend I used anise, orange, clary sage, clove, and a couple of drops of patchouli and palmarosa.

This is a nice, deep, complex blend, and I find it very satisfying.

But then I wanted to make a less complex blend. I wanted to keep to 2 or 3 essential oils. Anise is a strong smelling oil, and tends to take the lead in a blend. So, I wanted to see want happened when I mixed it with another strong scent. So I did a blend of anise and patchouli. Now there's a battle of the scenses for you! :-D I also added just a touch of lemon. Yeah! I like it! I used the blend in my mild mild mild recipe of olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, rice bran oil, and avocado oil. I added some Rhassoul clay for texture. I'm very happy with this soap! Of course, after 6 weeks on the curing rack, the lemon has pretty much faded (as I thought it would). The anise and the patchouli are no longer in a battle and they have blended quite nicely to a deep earthy licorice scent.

Patchouli Anise

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

I did indeed take a foray out to the gem show. :) I went to the Best Bead Show at the Kino Veteran's Memorial Community Center, one I haven't been to before. Very nice! Lots of very pretty lampwork, lots of seed beads. I spent most of my $$ at Dakota Stones. I have been hooked on doing some bead weaving, mostly in the flat spiral stitch. So I was looking for stone in the 6mm - 8mm range. They had plenty of what I was looking for! :) http://www.dakotastones.com

A couple of different sizes of onyx. The pretty faceted ones will be used in a necklace.

Tiger eye and red tiger eye

Sodalite, white howlite, rhondonite

Goldstone, pyrite

Mexican laguna lace agate, apple jasper, iron zebra jasper

I also found some very pretty copper beads from Avian Oasis

Then I zipped across Ajo Way to the Tucson Electric Park. This show is always fun, because it is huge, and there is a lot of variety. Tools, uncut stone (buckets full of uncut lapis and turquoise!), minerals and fossils, beads, jewelry. I got a good fist full of faceted glass beads. :)

AND .. I've already finished one project with some of the glass beads.

Golden Poppies Bracelet