Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pearls to knot or not to knot ..?

Because pearl beads are a relatively soft material (hardness of 3 on the Mohs hardness scale), it was recommended to limit the use of pearl beads to necklaces and earrings only. Rings and bracelets were considered not a good use for pearls because the abrasion due to wear can and will damage the pearl.

Pearl knotting with silk is by far the oldest method to string the pearls to form a necklace. With silk thread, you must knot the silk between each bead. The reason for these knots is that the silk thread is softer than the pearls, and will not damage the delicate necre. But the pearl beads will slowly but surely saw their way through the silk, causing the necklace to break. With the knotting, in the worst case, you will only lose one bead when the strand breaks. And it is for that reason that pearl necklaces be restrung every two years.

With the introduction of modern beading threads onto the market. Freshwater pearls can now be strung as necklaces or bracelets on beading thread. The beading thread must be flexible yet strong or it will suffer metal fatigue and break. The only brand that is recommended for stringing pearls is the Soft Flex Brand. The .019 size Soft Touch, which is a premium Soft Flex product. With freshwater pearl beads you will find that the .014 or even .010 size of Soft Touch will be required due to the small size of the holes drilled in freshwater pearl beads.

Now that there is a bead stringing product that will not break, this means that tying knots between each bead is now unnecessary. So when using Soft Flex, a knot is not necessary between each pearl bead. You merely string the beads, you can put a seed bead, crystal or other bead between them; the only consideration being that you need a good tension on your beading thread, this way there will be less movement between the components resulting in less wear on your pearls/components.

Beading threads .. what to use ?

Fireline is made of gel-spun polyethylene, an extremely strong fiber. Can be threaded on size 12 needles. Use Fireline in place of Nymo or Silamide thread when needle weaving crystals or other sharp-edged beads. Fireline is marketed by BeadSmith and comes in only two colours crystal and smoke. The smoke residue does come off on your fingers and hands, but as far as I am concerned this is no biggy. It comes in a 4lb, 6lb or 8lb size thread.

A relatively newcomer to the world of beading threads is WildFire. It is Beadalons' equivalent of BeadSmiths Fireline. However WildFire was created specifically for the bead weaving market; unlike Fireline that was taken from the fishing industry

I have not used WildFire to date, however from what I have learned from other beaders is that it is as good as Fireline, dare I say even better than Fireline? Unlike Fireline, WildFire when using black (yes they have a true black unlike Firelines' smoke). You do not end up with any residue on your fingers after beading with Wildfire.

WildFire is a great weight to work with, does not tangle, WildFire even feels softer yet still retains the non-stretch and water proofing qualities that Fireline boasts.

It has been tested against Fireline in how much effort it takes to get a crystal to saw through it, and the difference was indistinguishable.

It comes in black (a true black), a mossy green, and crystal.

Power Pro braided bead thread, this super strong, flexible, pre-waxed braided bead thread incorporates new age technology. Beadworkers and beadstringers will find that this new product feels and works better than the finest bead thread yet as strong as jewellery wire. Most beads will not cut this product. It knots easily and does not stretch. The 30lb test .011" diameter. Available in White. Even though this product calls itself 'pre-waxed' I always 're-wax' it.

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What wire to use for what projects..

The wire that you use for a particular project is as important as the design consideration. If you choose the wrong threading material you risk your design breaking or not lasting for as long as you had intended.

The weight of your design components is the clue as to what you should be using. For instance if you are working with gemstone beads or lots of large crystal beads/pendants you will want something that can hold a heavy design. Even the crimps that you may use will need to be considered.

Soft Flex wire is a superior beading wire, it is supple and even thin enough (.010 Very Fine) that you can even knot it, it also comes in a great range of colours. Soft Flex is availble in 4 diameters. I was able to make this crystal ring using .010 wire as I was able to tie knots and the wire makes the ring wearable due to its durability.


.010 Very Fine - Great for using small crystals, or other sharp beads, knotting, crocheting, weaving, embellishing and stringing small beads even seed beads (use 1x1mm crimps).

.014 Fine - Great for using with small beads or fresh water pearls (use 2x2mm crimps)

.019 Medium - Ideal as an all purpose wire, you can use it with smaller bicone crystals or small to medium gemstone beads etc (us 2x2mm crimps).

.024 Heavy - Perfect for abrasive beads such as large crystals, lampwork beads and large gemstone beads (use 2x3mm crimps).

Soft Flex comes in a great range of colours golden bronze, black, bone, white and satin silver. There is also a Metallics range antique brass and copper and a Extreme Range 24k gold and 925 Silver and lastly the Premium Satin Silver.

I have used the Soft Flex Heavy 925 silver for a project for Australian Beading (see pic) it has not yet been published but is waiting to be assigned to an edition. This wire is like supple silver wire, it looks like you are working with sterling silver however it holds up to 40lbs, can be crimped and is perfect for working with crystals. As these crystals are clear it was great that the colour of the wire is like sterling silver. It also comes in 24k gold. Soft Flex wire products are perfect for any beading project, for me they are first choice as they do not fail, and the range suits any conceivable design concept.

To see Soft Flexs' range of coloured wires follow this link:


If you like working with precious metal or base metal wires, there size is referred to as gauge, which is the diameter of the wire ie

14 - 16 gauge
Very thick wire, used as a frame or base for pieces that must hold their shapes such as cuff armateurs, frames or sculpture.
18 gauge
Thick wire used with beads with large holes, making clasps or in projects that require stiffness. Also used in chainmaking.
20 gauge
Good general purpose medium wire used for making findings such as headpins and small clasps.
22 gauge
A light medium wire used for wire wrapping semi-precious beads and making thicker earwires or thinner headpins.

Roxannes' Lace and Friends

Roxannes' Lace and Friends is a very special bead woven jewellery set that I have designed and created to raise funds for Mokutum Orphanage in Cairo, Egypt. My friend Nicky and her friend, Julia have done so much for this orphanage. The pair of them are really quite incredible. Together they are improving the lives of these orphans by providing them with a quality standard of living within their orphanage. By replacing and improving the run down house that they lived in, providing clothing, food, blankets, toys and medical expenses. They have done all this through donations and from their own pockets.

Roxannes' Lace & Friends will be raffled through Donburn Primary School, which is in Melbourne, Victoria's Eastern suburbs. The school will facilitate the raffle and it will be drawn on the last day of Term 3 at the school assembly, 17th September 2010.

I will also be selling raffle tickets on behalf of the school, so if you would like a raffle ticket/s please contact me at my email address honeybee67@gmail.com Raffle tickets are $2 for 1 ticket or $5 for 6 tickets. A register of names & ticket stubb numbers of those who have bought tickets through me will be kept at the school. I want everybody to be assured that their tickets go into the draw. You can pay me via online direct debit, provide me with your mailing address and I will post you the ticket stubbs. I will also cover the cost of postage should the package need to be posted to you.
As a thank you to Donburn Primary School for facilitating the raffle and assisting with raising funds for HUGS. I will design and create another jewellery set for raffling in Term 4, all funds raised will be donated to the school.

I do hope you can support this worthy cause, you get this lovely set of handmade bead woven 'Social Butterfly' jewellery and you are helping kids who until Nicky and Julia stepped in had no hope at all, and I mean this in the true literal sense of no hope.

love Mel
Contact details for Donburn Primary School
Telephone 03 9841 8099
Address: Colchester Drive, Doncaster East 3109

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Roxanne's Lace

This necklace has taken the last couple of days to create, not including design thought. It will be raffled at my sons primary school, all proceeds will go to HUGS a not-for-profit-charity sponsored by my friend HUGGER Nicky Haywood and HUGGER Julia Christie. This orphanage houses children who are not orphans in the true sense of the word but orphaned in that nobody wants them. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden in Cairo, children born out of wedlock are discarded like trash and end up in orphanges like the one Nicky supports. Nicky is a Westerner living in Cairo, she spends her days caring for her own family as well as caring, supporting and raising funds for a particular orphange. Click the link you will find some beautiful faces of children in the Mokutum orphanage. Be a HUGGER ..

Nicky says "the Mokutum Orphanage has received two new babies, a little boy and a little girl – unrelated, left individually in the middle of the night on the steps of two different police stations. We are so thankful that whoever left these babies had the sense to leave them where they would be found. These two babies are just wee newborns, left still with their umbilical cords on. The situation of orphaned and abandoned children here in Egypt is dire, but thanks to YOU HUG is able to do something about it".

Monday, July 19, 2010

My website www.sbj.com.au is now closed for business

I closed the website www.sbj.com.au yesterday and will be offering my beaded jewellery, beads and beading kits in other ways. I will advise when all is confirmed.

Boudoir Beautiful Competition Update

Just had word from E-Beads that they are looking at the first round of Boudoir Beautiful finalists, finalists will be selected on the competition entry criteria first and then on originality, technique and whether they match the competition theme. Ok does this mean that if they don't there is a second round and so on ..stay tuned.

New Postcard for my Collection

Another interest of mine is collecting vintage or antique postcards, photos, magazines etc .. this sweet little lass is the latest addition to my collection it reads "May the Easter Sun Shine Brightly on you..!" It is from the 1800's, I collect images usually with butterflies featuring somewhere in the image.. hmm fancy that..

Margie Deeb .. the Goddess of Colour

Everything you need to know or understand or did not know you had to know about colour and jewellery design, you will find through Margie Deeb .. Goddess of Colour..


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Social Butterfly Jewellery is on Facebook

Come and join Social Butterfly Fans on Facebook.


A Busy Butterfly ..

My website www.sbj.com.au was closed down yesterday 16 July 2010. I have decided to market my beaded jewellery designs by other methods. I am on the waitlist (August 12, 2010) for a 'cube' at the Incube8r Gallery in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
I will be opening up shop on Ebay.com.au to onsell beads, findings and other lovely bits as I have more beads than I will ever use in a life time. I have some of the most beautiful beads you will ever find, these have been sourced globally. I am mad about vintage and antique beads so you will find some really wonderful types of beads, buttons and stampings.
Also SBJ will be opening up a shop on Madeit.com.au which is like an Australian equivalient of Etsy.com I hope to have this up and running by the end of August.
Lastly I will checking out Magnolia Square in August to see if this might be a way forward for SBJ. Magnolia Square is like a 'pop up' market which is held around Australia. Magnolia Square have lots of sellers with a focus on handmade.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

2010 Boudoir Beautiful Competition - Midnight Mistress

It is becoming clearer and clearer that if you do not have a vast network of support you will fail to secure a seat on the Swarovski train to designer glory. Some entrants to this contest have in excess of 2000 votes, yet Midnight Mistress is struggling to reach 250 votes. I have exhausted every avenue of support. I really do feel that Midnight Mistress is a worthy entrant but how can one compete against an entrant with 2000+ votes. I do not know if a contest has successfully be carried out like this before, whereby a finalist is determined by the public popularity vote.

How can the playing field be viewed as a fair when the voters per each entry are an unknown quantity. For instance 'Butterfly' is sitting in first place of the Top Ten on the e-beads entry site with a 3.3 average. Yes this is a pretty necklace but by no means is it a first place entry, it is ordinary in every sense of the word. Yet it holds first place based on its count of votes and the quality of its votes, so I ask does the entrant have a vast network of supporters? I say yes. Butterfly captures absolutely none of the Boudoir Beautiful theme elements as stated in the contest pitch. Nor does 'Peacock Garden' with a vote count of 158 votes and a 2.7 average. Many hours and much skill have gone into the creation of this entry, but it is not following the theme.

The purse by Blair Scott has 251 votes and a 2.7 average, yes a great design but the central design does not even sit centrally on the purse? Avante Garde by Marta Brennan is a lovely design but again, by no means does it capture Boudoir Beautiful yet it has 1372 votes and a 2.9 average. Firecracker..? great design and colour choice but there is nothing Boudoir Beautiful about this design. Seriously am I the only one that is dissilluisoned by this contest .. I would love to hear your thoughts ..