Friday, April 11, 2014

Bead Cruise 2014

Once again, I had a fabulous time on this year's Bead Cruise hosted by Heather Powers. Heather does an amazing job at making this thing the best it can be and so much fun. It's such a special event. If you like to bead and make jewelry, I highly recommend going on this cruise. Whether you are a beginner or advanced, there is something for everyone. Just go. Go on this cruise. It is so worth it! A bead retreat with friends and a tropical cruise vacation all rolled into one. I literally can't think of anything better than that! Check out all my photos from this year's Bead Cruise in my album on FaceBook.

Our 8 day Bahamas cruise left out of New Jersey. My friend and cabin-mate, Diana Ptaszynski of Suburnban Girl Studio lives about 45 minutes from the ship port. She graciously opened up her home and offered accommodations the night before the cruise to me and our friend, Terri. I'm so grateful for that!  
 Diana was a wonderful host, showing us around her home and her favorite local haunts the day before the cruise. After picking us up from the airport, she took us out to lunch at a real Jersey diner (It was Delicious), then took us to Ava's Cupcake Bakery for dessert. (Even more delicious!) After that, we swung by a little local bead shop called, That Bead Place where I snapped the above photo of her. Then, it was back to her place to settle in for the night chatting, talking beads, making jewelry and eating Jersey pizza for dinner. It was such a good time and one of my favorite parts of the whole trip before it even got started. I loved the extra time spent with my friend, Diana and Terri, too.

Day 1 - It's cruise day! We embarked from Cape Liberty, NJ. Once on board, we had a celebratory fruit smoothie drink. It was yummy. Cheers! Bon Voyage!

The first evening on the cruise was the Meet and Greet event. All the bead cruisers receive a goodie bag filled with beads, pendants and jewelry-making components made possible by generous independent artists and supply companies that sponsor the Bead Cruise. It was chalk full of treasures! There's also a little contest/challenge that goes along to make finished jewelry combining at least three items from the goodie bags. (The reveal for the contest happens during the farewell party the last night of the cruise.) Then, that same evening, there is a handmade pendant exchange. I made the pendant necklace above on the right to swap. Each pendant is shown off to the group after we exchange with a random partner. I'm always so amazed at the pendants the other cruisers create! They are all beautiful and the ladies that make them are incredibly talented.

Days 2 and 3 were spent in the class room while the ship sailed at sea. Day 2 was our day of full classes. I took Heather Powers' Petals and Leaves class. We hammered and textured metal shapes, experimented with painting techniques with the Vintaj metal patina paints and did some riveting with the Vintaj rivets. The third day, we had our half-day classes. I took Tracy Stanley's Earrings class. We shaped thick gauge wire, hammered, patina'd and wire-wrapped cute earrings. I love the pair I made.

Later that third evening, we had our Bead Bazaar event. I sold some of my favorite fibers and stringing materials along with my own project kits and tutorials and my book. Diana acted as my assistant, helping me set up and merchandise my table. Wow, she is really good at that stuff! I was so relieved and glad to have her help with that.

The second evening, was our first formal dining-room dinner and our 70's disco party night. I wore gold jewelry and did up my eyes in glitter eye makeup. We had a cocktail or two and some of us even danced a little. ;) That was a really fun time!

 Day 4 we are finally in the BAHAMAS. Whooo Hooo! Diana and I were so happy to see some SUN and blue-turquoise tropical waters. The two of us joined the official bead group excursion to go snorkeling at Rainbow Reef. Then, we had lunch in Nassau. I tried some conch fritters.  After lunch, we browsed around the straw market and a few shops downtown.

 Day 5 we missed our port on Coco Cay island due to a rain storm. Boo. Major bummer. Instead, we beaded and made jewelry all day long on the ship! Not a bad consolation, if you ask me. I made the set above for the designer contest. I wasn't eligible for a prize, but it was still fun to participate and I love what I made. The set includes a handmade pendant by Andrew Thornton, wing charms by Nina Designs, toggle clasp by TierraCast and a variety of accent beads donated by Rosanne Garvison.

Day 6 we were in Florida. Diana arranged for a group of us to spend the day with our friend, Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf, who lives close to the ship port. I'm so glad she thought to make plans with her. I was really excited for the chance to see Barbara, again. She is just a sweetheart. She even made up gorgeous little packages for each of us with some of her marvelous handmade beads and pendants. I love her and her work.
Barbara picked up a group of us (Kashmira, Me, Diana and Terri) from the port in Cape Canaveral and drove us over to Baker's Beads in Coco Beach, FL.What a great bead shop! Wonderful selection of Czech glass beads, seed beads, metal beads, gemstones and other natural materials. Awesome selection of chain and alternative stringing materials like leather and Irish waxed linen cord. The day we were there, they were having an African bead trunk show. I was in bead heaven. I purchased a nice selection of gemstone, wood, bone and African trade beads as well as some chain, leather and buttons to make a few gift bracelets for friends.

Day 7 we were back at sea and it was time to teach my class! I taught my Triple Row Macrame Bracelet. Again, I had Diana's help to set up for class. Thank goodness she was there to help me. I don't know what I would have done without her.  Diana also supplied me with some of her handmade ceramic buttons for my students to use in their bracelets. Her buttons are beautifully made and perfect for this project. Everyone loved them.
I had 7 students in class. These ladies can knot! I'm very impressed with the work that everyone did. I took pictures of all the bracelets I could. The above bracelets are all the work of my students. I'm a proud teacher mama. 

Day 8 was our last full day on the ship out at sea. It was a free day to spend just relaxing. Diana and I slept in that morning and packed our suitcases. We ate lunch at Johnny Rocket's on the ship and then went out on the deck to enjoy some sunshine and take pictures.

The company on the Bead Cruise just can't be beat. I especially enjoyed the company of these 4 ladies. Diana, Kashmira, Sarajo and Kathleen. I made a great connection to each girl. We were all instant friends. What a fun crew. I have to say I really appreciate being able to hang with like-minded, jewelry-making, creative ladies in my own age group. These ladies made this year's cruise special for me. I hope I see them again soon. Till next time, girls.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Here Comes the SUN

Ornamentea created this chic e-magazine with 10 golden, glowing DIY jewelry projects just for you! I love ALL the projects in here. I would make each and every one of them. In fact, I did create one. The piece on the cover. A glittering gold version of my Rhinestone Leather Wrap in vegan leather instead. I love it!
I'll be taking these sparkly pieces with me on the Bead Cruise 2014. I leave tomorrow! Follow me on Instagram for a peek inside my journey on the cruise this year. I'm very excited to finally feel some sun on my face soon. I'm traveling far to get my sun, but you don't have to. This e-mag can bring it to you.

I'll see you when I return. Until then, make some golden jewelry to warm you up. Ornamentea even made KITS for every project! So, there's no excuses. It's so easy.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Double Clover Necklace DIY TUTORIAL

Double Clover Necklace
Erin Siegel

Double the clovers, get twice the luck! Create your own wire-wrapped clover pendant. Then, add an accent with a ready-made four leaf clover charm.


Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers

1: Use the wire to form a wrapped loop about 8” from one end of the wire. Make a fat wrap as shown.

 2: Use the long end of wire to string 1 teardrop bead. Use the short wire to wrap around the long wire after the bead as shown.

 3: Use the short wire to string 1 teardrop. Bend the wire over the bead and wrap the wire around itself a few times after the bead as shown.

  4: Repeat step 3 as shown. Trim the short wire and tuck the end in.

 5: Use the long wire to wrap around the base of all three beads as shown. Continue wrapping until the wire is used. Trim and tuck the end in.

  6: Use 1 jump ring to attach the pendant to the center of the chain as shown. Use another jump ring to attach the four leaf clover charm to the chain a few links over as shown.
 7: Use 1 jump ring to attach the spring clasp to one end of the chain. Use another jump ring to attach the extender chain to the free end of chain.

Wear and enjoy your lucky clover necklace!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lucky 7 Charm Swap
Are you participating in's annual charm swap? There is still a little bit of time left to get in on the fun. Make 7 charms, mail them to the Ornamentea shop in Raleigh, NC and receive 7 charms back from others around the world this March. Charms are due by February 28th, 2014. Click this link or the banner above to find out all the details and join in.

Here's my lucky charm I sent in tied up on a card:
I just love making these cute wire-wrapped clover charms. They are so fun to create. I even made a sweet little necklace with it. A perfect lucky talisman to wear for the month of March and of course, St. Paddy's day. Since I'm an Irish lass myself, I would not hesitate to wear this necklace year round for a little extra luck!

My Double Clover Charm Necklace is an upcoming Ornamentea tutorial. I show you just how to make this adorable 3-leaf clover charm. You can make this exact necklace or you can add the charm to your own jewelry design. I think you'll agree these charms are fun to make. Look for the tutorial soon!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Jewelry Stringing Magazine Spring 2014

I'm extremely excited to share the cover of the Spring 2014 issue of Jewelry Stringing magazine with you! It's a proud, proud moment for me to see my necklace on the cover of my favorite beading magazine. I'm honored to have my piece featured in this way. So few are chosen for this coveted spot. I feel very fortunate. I can't quite describe how much this means to me. I have dreamed of this. I have visualized my jewelry on the cover many times and thought of what a wonderful feeling it would be. I feel so happy and over-joyed to reach this goal. It just goes to show what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. Dreams really do come true!

However, I do not think about the cover of the magazine while I make my jewelry for submission. I create what inspires me at the moment. I always create pieces that reflect my own interests and style even when working within the parameters of a magazine's guidelines. Some of you might remember that I wrote an article last September, for the Art Bead Scene about submitting jewelry designs FOR THIS VERY ISSUE! I wrote the article while I was in the process of creating my jewelry pieces for the submission process. Read that post here, if you missed it or for a refresher.

My goal was to offer helpful information for aspiring designers to submit jewelry to the magazine and also encourage participation in contributing designs to publications in general. I took a BIG risk writing and publishing that post before submitting the finished jewelry and again, took another gamble that a piece would even be accepted and then published! I created and submitted 4 pieces for this publication. Two out of those four were accepted for further consideration. I sure am grateful that those two designs were indeed accepted and published in the magazine. I would have felt pretty silly and foolish writing an advice article about successfully creating jewelry for publication and then not getting any pieces accepted to the magazine myself. That would have been slightly embarrassing, but that is the chance I took! I felt inspired to be open and put myself out there. My intention was simply to share my creative process and maybe inspire someone else to give publishing a shot. I hoped I'd get at least one project published in the issue. I never in a million years expected one of my designs to make the cover!

Since I shared a sneak peek at the designs I was working on in my submissions post from last September, I thought it would be fun to reveal all 4 of the necklaces I created and submitted to the magazine for the Spring 2014 issue, even the pieces that were not accepted. So, here it goes.

Necklace submitted to the "Soft Jewelry" theme for Spring 2014:
"World Beat"

Necklace submitted to the "Spring Green" theme for Spring 2014:
"Hemlock Forest"

Necklace submitted to the "Monochromatic" theme for Spring 2014:
"Stormy Winds"

Necklace submitted to the "Bead Soup" theme for Spring 2014:

Now, here are my two designs in Jewelry Stringing magazine as published!:
World Beat
Necklace and Bracelet in the "Strike a Cord" section
Necklace and Bracelet in the "Bead Soup" section
Seed beads from and a handmade ceramic bead set by artist, Keith O'Connor.

Pick up your copy of this issue on newsstands now or download the digital version. Happy beading to all and if you are so inclined, happy submitting to magazines as well. 
Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!!! I hope you are doing something you love today and spending time with whom you love as well. Much love to you all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Lovely Little Knot Necklace DIY TUTORIAL
My latest jewelry tutorial for is perfect and just in time for Valentine's Day or any day for that matter. One hot trend you will be seeing a lot of this year is knot jewelry. Knot necklaces, knot bracelets, knot earrings and knot rings. Knots, knots, knots everywhere! Of course, this trend is right up my street. This sweet little necklace made of soft, subtle deerskin leather lace, is an ideal project to try out the trend. It's so quick, easy and cute, it will have you tied up in 'love knots' in no time. I'm pretty darn sure you will want to make more than just one!

Lovely Little Knot Necklace
Erin Siegel


Chain nose pliers

 1: Use the leather lace to make a loop passing the cord up and over the other end of the cord as shown. Make a second loop over the first, passing the cord underneath the tail end as shown. Create a third loop passing the cord over the second loop and under the first loop as shown in the last two photos.

2: Slowly tighten up the knot. Take care that the leather lace is laying flat with the right side facing up as shown. Adjust the loops evenly as you pull the ends tight.

3: Trim the leather lace ends ½” from the knot. Insert each end into a fold over end and close. Use 1 oval jump ring to attach 7” of chain to the loop of one fold over end. Repeat for the other side.

4: Use 1 oval jump ring to attach one end of chain to the lobster clasp. Attach the 5mm jump ring to the other free end of chain.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Show Some DIY LOVE

Valentine's Day is a great time to let your friends and family know how much you care. These DIY jewelry projects are perfect for saying "I love you" on V-day or any day! Click below to go to the tutorials:

Also, two jewelry kits I designed for are now on sale. 50% off! Now is a great time to get these before they are gone.