June 20, 2016

Miss Poppy has finally finished this grand piece.

Miss Poppy's Boutique

Black and White Check2The past weekend found me finishing some beading projects I started last fall. Between a beading cruise we went on in October, to getting custom Christmas ornament covers made, I put some projects aside and . . . well, forgot about them until this weekend.

As I was straightening up and cleaning my studio, I found the half-finished projects sitting patiently in a plastic box. The checkerboard-style cuff bracelet was my first to finish.

As you can see, when finishing off the ends, I prefer using wire/thread guards before attaching the clasp. They help to strengthen the clasp to the piece and prevent the Fireline® thread from fraying. For this bracelet, I used a tube/sliding clasp in silver plate. All beads used in this piece are high quality Czech glass.

Nice, isn’t it?

Black and White Check3

This pattern is from Virginia Jensen’s book, “Stitching with Two-Hole Shaped Beads,” published by Kalmbah Books (2015)…

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Indigo Fantasy Is Going Well

April 5, 2015

Here is the latest update on Susan’s book.

Indigo Fantasy

March 29, 2015

What better way to reconnect with my blog than to reblog my wife’s book publishing announcement.

Juicy Orange

February 10, 2015

Look what Miss Poppy is up to.

Miss Poppy's Boutique

When I shop for beads and findings, sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t, have a creation already sketched out. There are times — many times — that I will be looking for one thing in particular, and I come across something different altogether.  Most importantly, I am always on the lookout for the unique.

One day as I was searching for unique beads for no particular project, I came across a string or two of dyed jade beads.

Orange dyed jade beads.

Orange that looks juicy and fresh and evokes thoughts of citrus pieces and icy cold Dreamsicles on a summer day.

I bought as many beads as was available, knowing that some grand project would pop into my creative mind.

On my studio worktable, I laid them out, sorting by size, general shape, and shade of orange. I placed all the different colored wire next to them –…

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For Book Readers

January 30, 2015

Miss Poppy's Boutique

When I read books, I like to have something a little more special to mark my page than a ragged-edge piece of scrap paper, and I think you do, too.

One day I decided that I would make a beaded metal bookmark for myself. It turned out so well that I started making some to sell.

They are a popular item. For starters, I use high quality 14K gold plate and sterling silver plate markers. That’s the simple part. It’s choosing the right combination of beads that sometimes presents a challenge, because I want each bookmark to be as individual and unique as the readers who use them. Therefore, I only use high quality glass, porcelain, crystal, and gemstones, including unusual vintage beads.

Once I decide upon material and color, I painstakingly place the beads in pleasing combinations. Once that’s done, I hand wrap each bead cluster before adding them…

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I’ll Never Buy Another Jump Ring

January 20, 2015


As a jewelry artist who loves to boast about my “handcrafted” pieces, I want to put as many of my own hand made parts into my work as possible. While there are times I need to rely upon store bought “commercial” parts, I find that with a little time and effort I can keep that to a pretty good minimum.

I have not purchased a commercial ear wire in ages. Ear posts are another story. While I have perfected one type of handcrafted ear post, it doesn’t exactly fit into the style of every single project I create. It would also probably prove to be pretty boring if I tried to make it so.

There are several different handcrafted head pins that I make, but they are all too large for smaller creations that use smaller beads, thus I do need to purchase commercial head pins every now and then. Learning to use a torch to melt and shape wire is on my to do list, but even that wouldn’t always work out because I would then need to use wire made from pure precious metals. If I did that my price point would spike upward, and that would affect the purchasing ability of some of my most loyal fans, and I appreciate my fans too much to do that to them.

Jump rings are another story. By coiling wire I have all the jump rings at my disposal that I will ever need. All I have to is clip a ring off the coil as needed. I can make jump rings in any gauge wire, any finish, any color, and any size. I am sure that I have more different sizes of jump rings than your average arts and crafts store keeps on their shelves, and I like to feel that using the proper size jump ring puts my pieces into a better perspective than if I had to use a ring .5mm too large or too small.

If you want to see my work simply click the link and off to Gene’s Joint you go.

If you like more colorful work, check out my wife’s work in Miss Poppy’s Boutique.

The Zoe Clutch

January 10, 2015

disco ball clutch purse

As you may or may not know, I have a policy in my Etsy shop, Gene’s Joint, that whenever someone purchases any of my handcrafted jewelry findings I will do what I can to promote their work.

True to my word, I present to you The Zoe Clutch by A To Z Shoppe Designs.

If you look very carefully at the dangle hanging from the bottom of this fabulous “disco ball” clutch, you will see one of my handcrafted clover head pins. While I would never have expected to see my handcrafted findings used in any fashion accessories other than jewelry, I am delighted to see one used in this brilliant stroke of creativity.

This adds Zoe and Adriana, proprietors of the A To Z Shoppe, to the list of those using my handcrafted elements in their work. The other artisan using my pieces is Susan, proprietor of Miss Poppy’s Boutique. Please take the time to visit these shops and support their artistry. While you’re at it, don’t forget to take a look at mine.

Hey Dude……

January 3, 2015


I will be the first to admit it, the majority of jewelry artists out there seem to be women. Most of the Etsy shops are owned and operated by women. Take a jewelry class at any craft store and you will find yourself surrounded by women. There just doesn’t seem to be many of us men crafting jewelry.

I haven’t done any scientific studies on the matter, but I would venture to say that when you get around those Hallmark holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day, and when there are gifts to be given for Birthdays and Christmas, men are probably the biggest consumers of jewelry. What man out there hasn’t given one female or another in his life some nice bling? Husbands buying for wives, children buying for their mother, and boyfriends buying for girlfriends, it goes on and on.

Where do these guys shop? Judging by the sales I get in my shop, Gene’s Joint, they don’t shop on Etsy that’s clear. Even my wife’s shop, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, which does a far greater sales volume than mine, has never logged a sale to a male. This is a shame too, because Etsy seems to me to be one of the only really affordable places that one can go to find truly one of a kind pieces of jewelry, like my “Infinitely Cracked” earring creation pictured above.

So do yourself a favor men, check out Etsy, then spread the word. Bloggers should reblog this important information. People who find this via other social networking media should share it as well. Believe me Dudes, she’s going to appreciate that one of a kind creation a whole lot more than that mass production piece you over paid for at the chain store jeweler in the mall.

Head Pins To The Rescue

December 23, 2014


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Having handcrafted head pins on hand is a jewelry making essential. If you don’t have them in your supply stock, then knowing how to make them should be in your knowledge base of techniques. Here’s why.

Moments ago I was watching my wife, Susan, owner of Miss Poppy’s Boutique, making a ravishing set of earrings out of handcrafted Murano glass and Swarovski crystals. Not wanting to use common commercial head pins with such fine beads, she opted for a fancier, albeit still commercially purchased, head pin set with a sort of pyramid structure attached to the bottom. Holding them up and admiring them prior to making the wrapped loop on top, they looked as though they would become an outstanding set. Alas, once the wire wrapping of the loop began to snug up the beads the pyramid popped off the head pin. Obviously it was glued onto the pin. She told me this was not the first time this had happened with these head pins. She thought she was going to have to settle for the common, mundane, commercial head pins after all, since time was of the essence.

Fortunately, I happened to have some of my handcrafted clover head pins all made up, and no thoughts as to what I wanted to do with them. Unlike the infinity head pins, pictured above, they weren’t listed in my shop, Gene’s Joint, and I have no projects on my radar that I could envision them in. I offered them to her if she thought they would compliment her design. She did, so soon there will be another fine set of beautifully handcrafted earrings available in Miss Poppy’s Boutique. I don’t know if she posted them yet, but why don’t you just click on over to her shop and find out. It’s full of all sorts of splendid eye candy.

The Round Ear Wires

December 21, 2014


What simplicity, nothing special to see here. Why would anybody use something this blah, this bland, this simple? Why even bother to make something this unimaginative? Allow me explain.

Ear wires like these allow the rest of the creation to really shine. If you need a visual example just go back one posting to the blog I published yesterday, “The Lumps Of Coal“. These are the same ear wires I used in making that creation. If you look back at some of my earlier postings you can find more extravagant ear wires, for example, “This Is How I Work“, which features my square ear wires. Sometimes I simply don’t want the ear wire stealing the show, and I want the dangle to be the entire focal point of the creation. At other times I like the ear wires to yell “look at me’.

Why not simply check out my shop, Gene’s Joint? You can find all kinds of off the wall ear wires, and the creations that they are attached to there.

And while you are checking out shops, here are two others I think you might enjoy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, which is run by my wife, and partner in crime, Susan, and A to Z Shoppe, a whimsical shop where everything is custom made for their clientele.