Category Archives: Beads and Jewelry

On my work table right now: cuff bracelet prototypes

I’ve been working on some prototypes for cuff bracelets made from upcycled fabric, ribbon and faux leather. I’ve had a lot of fun stitching ribbon to tubes made of fabric and pieces of faux leather. I’m embellishing some with beads and buttons. My next step will be working out how to finish the backs and attach snap fasteners. So much fun!

Cuff Bracelet Prototypes
Cuff Bracelet Prototypes

Upcoming Class with Carolyn on February 20, 2016: Jewelry Basics

Class with Carolyn Hasenfratz - Jewelry Basics
Class with Carolyn Hasenfratz – Jewelry Basics

Learn basic jewelry assembly techniques while creating one necklace and one bracelet. You will learn how to attach clasps on jewelry stringing wire with crimp beads, how to make a loop attachment, how to open and close jump rings and how to embed an image of your choice into a glass pendant. Class price includes materials. A variety of beads and images will be provided, but if you have any particular beads or images you would like to use you can bring them. If you bring any images they should be printed with waterproof ink (like from a laser printer or copier). Tools will be available to borrow so you can complete the two pieces and some tools and supplies will be available for purchase if you want to keep working on your own.

If you have the following tools, please bring:

Bead stringing board
Wire cutters
Chain nose pliers (flat and narrow)
Round nose pliers

If you have any questions about the class please feel free to contact me.

Class: Jewelry Basics
Date: February 20, 2016
Time: 1-4 pm
Location: 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood MO, 63143
Cost: $32 if paid in advance, $40 day of class
Signup form:

If you choose to pay ahead of time to get the discount for pre-paying, I will send you a PayPal invoice via email or if you’d prefer I can get your information over the phone and process your credit card with Square. Children under 18 must be enrolled with a parent as I think parents are best able to judge their child’s ability level and what tools they should be allowed to use.

Making Convertible Bracelets

One of my favorite pastimes is to take apart jewelry that I purchased from thrift stores and make new things out of it. When I do this, I end up with a lot of odds and ends of chain. It occurred to me that some of these chain pieces could be the foundation of a convertible bracelet design.

Three strands of different silver colored chain make a good base for a convertible bracelet.

In this example, I linked three lengths of chain together with a small jump ring on one end with a lobster clasp, and a larger jump ring on the other. The larger jump ring will be needed to accept multiple items clasped to it later. This bracelet can be worn as is, or used as a necklace extender.


Next I made some parts that I can attach to give the bracelet a different look. I made a narrow strand of small beads with small lobster clasps at each end, and a dangle that consists of three silver colored beads on head pins attached to a small jump ring and a small lobster clasp. The picture on the right shows the bracelet with the convertible parts attached – I twisted the bead strand around the bracelet and clipped it to the jump rings at each end, and clipped the dangle to the large jump ring.


I had so much fun with the previous set that I made another, this time with two strands of beads. These short bead strands could also be used as necklace extenders and the dangles could be attached to necklaces in strategic places as well. Think of all the different combinations you could have fun with! See my tutorial on convertible necklaces for more convertible jewelry ideas!

How many of those Pinterest projects have you made?

That’s a question I asked myself after listening to a discussion on that topic on a crafting podcast. Have I actually made any of these projects that I’m pinning, and if so did they turn out much like the original? I spend a fair amount of time pinning, for both business reasons and because I enjoy it. I have a Pinterest board called Craft Ideas – has all this work of collecting attractive items to inspire me actually done any good? This past weekend I went on a jewelry bender and I thought it would be good practice for my motor skills to try to make versions of some of the projects on my Craft Ideas board and here are some of the results. I hope I added enough of my own touches not to make these a total rip-off!

Too bad I don’t have more than one key like this, I’m pleased with this result. Creator of the original: Jennifer Evans.

I didn’t have any large briolettes so I used more faux pearl and crystal beads and linked them together to make more volume.
Creator of the original: Joan Stowell.

I added dangling beads to the bottom of my fringe instead of using paddle headpins. Creator of the original: Stefanie .

I added longer strands of faux pearl and crystal beads to mine and to compensate for the extra length I used post earring findings instead of earwires. I also substituted faux leather cord for leather. Creator of the original: Lynda Carson.

I liked the idea of seed beads on wire wrapped around the bead, but I ended up just using a small scrap of chain to hold my dangles under the large bead instead. I’m going to revisit the seed bead on wire idea, but will need some lighter weight beads to try it on if I’m going to make earrings like in the picture. I decided the large faux pearl beads I had on hand were too heavy for earrings. Creator of the original: unknown.

Have you been inspired by something on Pinterest? Feel free to share a link to your original inspiration and a link to your finished project in the comments below!

Have Fun With Your Jewelry and Accessories

Last night I co-hosted a jewelry party with my friend Laura who is a rep for Park Lane Jewelry. I was showing my own hand made jewelry designs along with her offerings. I delivered some remarks about my ideas for enjoying jewelry and accessories and here are my notes from last night, expanded a bit.

My background

  • Disclaimer – I am by no means an expert on fashion. I am a designer and I pay some attention to what people are doing in many different areas of design so I’m a little bit aware of what is fashionable even if I don’t make the effort to follow it!
  • I’m involved in lots of different arts and crafts.
  • I have been making jewelry as part of my creative output since 1989. In that year a friend of mine introduced me to the twin joys of thrift shopping and making things out of old jewelry. I was never the same after that!
  • Sometimes I try to make a jewelry piece harmonious with current trends, sometimes not – I just make what I’m inspired to make.
  • I love to incorporate found objects, mixed media and reused beads and components.
  • I do take special orders.

Fashion vs. Style

  • My own definition of these terms is that fashion refers to what is popular right at the moment.
  • Style, in my opinion, is incorporating your own tastes into a mix of current, vintage and other favorite items of yours to express yourself.
  • What is fashionable might be appropriate for your own lifestyle and where you live, or it might not. I don’t feel obligated to follow any trend that doesn’t fit my life.
  • One of my design teachers gave me what I think is some very good advice – “If it looks right, it’s right.” In other words, your eye is more important than “the rules”.

How do you develop your own style if you are not sure what it is?

Current trends include layering and BOHO

  • Both of those trends give you the opportunity to be creative because you can mix and match.
  • Layering and BOHO are favorite looks of mine, but there are usually so many different trends going on at one time that you’re sure to find something you like no matter what your taste is.

My ideas on good value

  • Buy (or make!) some new pieces to feel fresh but save and reuse old pieces too.
  • Many people feel that something new now and then lifts the spirits (my opinion, not science, but I suspect science would back it up!). A new outfit gave me extra confidence on a recent job interview, for example.
  • I know of no human cultures that don’t decorate their body with jewelry – there must be a deep human need for personal expression in this manner.
  • Convertible pieces are a good value.
    • Some pieces are designed to be worn in different ways.
    • Extenders are a good investment also – you can adjust some jewelry you already own to different clothing necklines.
    • Large rings that open and close can help you twist necklaces together.
    • Link items together to make a longer strand, such as a bracelet and a short necklace.
    • A really long necklace can possibly be worn single strand, double strand or even triple if it has a clasp.
  • Accessories are a good value because they can breathe new life into clothing to make it look newer or seasonal.

Layer older jewelry with new for a fresh look

  • Some ideas for getting new life out of old jewelry are on this web page:
  • If you’re not a crafter, you can commission a local jewelry maker to re-work parts of something you already have into something new.
  • If you keep a piece long enough, there is an excellent chance it, or at least parts of it, will come into vogue again – no matter how unlikely this seems! I can think of several things that I wish I had back that I once thought were completely hopeless!

To find out about my future events, go to:

Bracelet with Emerald Green Polymer Clay Beads

Double stranded bracelet made with polymer clay beads coated with Emerald PearlEx powder. Short segments of chain keep the strands together. Chain, findings and apple green faux pearl beads were recycled from thrift store jewelry. To make the beads see tutorial –

PearlEx Clay Beads

Make Polymer Clay disc beads with PearlEx Powders

Polymer clay beads made with PearlEx Chromatic Colors by Jacquard Products.
Polymer clay beads made with PearlEx Chromatic Colors by Jacquard Products.

Normally when I’m planning a new craft project, I try not to be too influenced by trends. The new Pearl Ex Chromatic colors however seem to be in harmony with some things going on in the world of fashion, so I decided that bead-making would be a great application for these bold new colors. Bright jewel and metallic tones are perfect for jewelry!

Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments are a versatile pearlized powder that can be added to nearly any artist medium. They need to be mixed with or coated with some kind of binder for permanence. In this project we’ll be rolling the beads in the powder to apply it to the surface of the beads, and then sealing the surface with PearlEx Varnish.

Read the rest of this tutorial here – PearlEx Clay Beads

Buy PearlEx at Carolyn’s Stamp Store!

Examples of jewelry made with my PearlEx beads:

Necklace With Metallic Apple Green Beads made with PearlEx powder.Necklace With Metallic Apple Green Beads
26 inch necklace with clasp with 2 inch wide beaded pendant sporting a 3 ¾ inch silver colored chain tassel. Beads on pendant are made of polymer clay with a Pearl Ex powder coating, sealed with varnish. Chain and findings are recycled from thrift store jewelry.

Necklace With Metallic Sapphire Blue Beads made with PearlEx powders.Necklace With Metallic Sapphire Blue Beads
56 1/4 inch necklace with four segments of metallic blue and gold beads on wire. No clasp, can wear as one long strand like a “flapper” necklace or double the strand. Blue rondelle beads are made of polymer clay with a Pearl Ex powder coating, sealed with varnish. Gold color chain is recycled from thrift store jewelry.