15 December 2009

Little Joys

"In the course of my research I found that although, of course, some rare stones have amazing and frightening dynastic tales, every jewel, however small or flawed, has its own story..." ~ Victoria Finlay

Are you in need of a last minute holiday gift? Do you have a beader-reader in your bunch? Then I have two ideas for you...

I just picked up a copy of Jewels: A Secret History by Victoria Finlay. It was recommended reading by the wonderful Beth at Hint. She has been sharing some of the history behind the jewels she was reading about and I was fascinated. I am only in the Preface but already this is reading like a juicy novel.

This book was inspired by the unique ring that Finlay received for her engagement which features glass mosaic tiles from a famous church turned mosque now a museum...something so unique and "a reminder," writes Finlay, "of how the most precious thing about stones in a jewel box is not always their rarity, their size, or their imperfection. It is their stories."

Finlay goes on to write about not just diamonds and rubies but jet, amber, opals and pearls among other more and precious gems. She says that the word "jewel" is from the Old English for "little joys." I like thinking of the stones and gems and components that I use as "little joys." I think it will only enhance my designs to know the history and intrigue and fascination about the jewels that I am using and maybe inspire me to seek out new stones. I like books that transport me to a place and time, and I think that this will do just that, while enlightening me to the real stories contained in each pretty stone.

I will check back in and let you know what I find out as I go...

And if you have a book, you need a bookmark!

In November, I was sent a delightful little package from Rings & Things.* I used some of the chain in the bracelet that I posted on Monday. One of the other things in the package were these cute little lampworked figural beads...snowman heads, teddy bear, stocking, tree, and my personal favorite, penquin. My daughter thought that these were really nifty and wanted to craft something right away. So we made some bookmarks we like to call "Book Tales" to give to her teachers for the holiday and thought we could give you a little tutorial to inspire you.

Quick & Easy Book Tales


Waxed cotton cord
Crimp beads (optional)
Assorted beads, bead caps
Assorted figural lampworked beads (snowmen, teddy bears, stocking, trees, penquins, etc) from Rings & Things*

  1. Cut a 15" length of the waxed cotton cord.
  2. About three inches in, tie a double knot. (Note: in order to be sure the beads don't slip off, knot the cord twice to make the end larger.)

  3. String a pattern of larger beads, like a red and black striped seed bead, the onyx "hat" and the snowman head. Add a silver spacer and a crimp bead. Then string 1 1/2" of white seed beads for a body. Slip the end of the cord through the crimp and secure (alternately you could tie a tight knot).
  4. TIP: use a needle or a piece of scrap wire to snug the knot to the end bead. Slip the needle through the loop when you are tying and keep it close to the bead. This will keep the knot as close to the bead as possible.

  5. On the other end you will make a smaller coordinating pattern.
  6. Tie a knot in the opposite end an inch or two from the end.
  7. Thread a small seed bead on the end to start. (Note: this will prevent larger holed beads from sliding off.)

  8. Continue with a pattern of beads for about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. (Note: this is a great way to use up leftover or mismatched beads from your stash.) Knot twice at the last bead to keep it snug in the pattern.

(Note: you can alter the pattern and the beads for endless possibilities!)

Now all you need to do is tuck it into a special book and you have an instant gift!

*FTC compliance disclosure: the '*' items mentioned in this post credited to Rings & Things were provided as a promotional gift as part of the Blog Partner Program. These items are for review or design purposes. Find out more about the Rings & Things Blog Partner Program

What is your favorite jewel? (Can you guess what mine is?)
Is it something precious?
Have you ever had it in a piece of jewelry?
Or is it something that you would just love to have?
Is it the color that draws you or the mystery behind its being?
Do tell!

Check It Out::The Secret Life of Gems

Enjoy the day!

P.S. Don't forget that you have until Sunday, December 20th at 11:59 pm CST to enter the Inspired by...Sewing Kit challenge. I have some great prizes to give away, but as of yet, we have no entries! If we do not get any entries, then I will save the prizes for another challenge...don't delay!


Davinia said...

See now you've created a monster Erin. I'm up for this challenge and will upload a couple of things over the next day or two, plus I'll remember to put a link on my blog this time.

Sara said...


Beth Hikes said...

haha! If I didn't already own the book I would be out buying it right now. Your excitement for Jewels: A Secret History is infectious!!

I love that you touched on the story of Victoria's ring. I think that was one of the most touching openings I had ever read. Thanks for jumping on wave and asking others to come along. This is going to be a fun year :)

Love, the special book buddies too. What a neat project to make your reading more special...I see them sweeping libraries everywhere!

Always refreshing to be in your presence, Erin.

Blessings, Beth

Leslie @ Bei Mondi said...

I'll have to look for this book. It sounds very interesting. My favorite gem is tourmaline. I think it is unique because of the rainbow of colors it comes in. I'm going to guess your favorite jewel is ...opal. Just a guess! Opals are very unique because of all the colors they give off in one stone but they are considered unlucky for some reason.

Dave Robertson said...

Great project to share with your daughter, Erin. Thanks to both of you for sharing it!

at Rings & Things

Unknown said...

I love those tiny little penguins! They have such cute little hats too. lol I always love seeing where you find inspiration. :)

SueBeads said...

I bought the book, too, Erin, because of Beth! I haven't started it yet, but am excited to!


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