Category Archives: Beading

My first selection of prayer beads for sale

I have always loved beads, and recently I decided I’d like to try my hand at making some prayer beads, to blend my love of beads with my spiritual path of Sufism, where most people use prayer beads (sometimes called tasbih or tasbee) to count their wasifas/mantras. Whenever I looked at other prayer beads that were being sold, I felt that they weren’t quite right for me. Usually, they were either too big, or too brightly coloured, or the tassels were too ‘tufty’! Making my own would solve those problems, hopefully, because I could choose all the materials myself. I made a couple, just for my own use, and really enjoyed making them. But then people started to ask if I’d make some for them….

As I’ve written on here before, each year around this time I go to Germany, to a Sufi Summer School (as I follow the Universal Sufi path of the Ruhaniat Sufis). It is a week long retreat, and in the middle of the week there is a market on the Wednesday afternoon, where participants of the retreat can sell things that they’ve usually made themselves, such as jewellery, scarves, clothes, and so on.

This is what I took to the market two years ago - lots of little embroidered boxes, and a few framed pictures

This is what I took to the market two years ago – lots of little embroidered boxes, and a few framed pictures

A couple of years ago, I made some little embroidered boxes, and they sold well, so this time I thought I’d take some prayer beads (plus a few of the boxes that I still had leftover from before).

Most prayer beads were made of semi-precious gemstones such as amethyst, lapis lazuli or hematite. Some were made of Czech glass, and some were made of painted glass pearls. They were all either 99-bead or 33-bead (suitable for Muslims and Sufis to count wasifas/mantras).

My ‘stand’ at the market was very basic – people just spread out blankets on the floor, put whatever they are selling on the blankets, and sit at the side of their blanket so that people can see what is for sale. So, here is my ‘stand’, in three sections :

Semi precious prayer beads 1

 

Semi precious prayer beads 2

 

Semi precious prayer beads 3

I made 36 sets of prayer beads altogether – and was amazed to find that I sold 23 of them during the one and a half hours of the market! I’m definitely going to be making more of these, and will probably start a new website for selling them, soon.

Here are some of the prayer beads, in close-up:

8mm 'cornflower' painted glass pearls, 99-bead set of prayer beads

8mm ‘cornflower’ painted glass pearls, 99-bead set of prayer beads

 

6mm Unakite semi-precious 99-bead set of prayer beads

6mm Unakite semi-precious 99-bead set of prayer beads

 

10mm Malay jade, 33-bead set of prayer beads

10mm Malay jade, 33-bead set of prayer beads

 

6mm faceted red crystal, 33-bead set of prayer beads

6mm faceted red crystal, 33-bead set of prayer beads

 

What do you think of them?

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Kit review: beautiful beaded fuchsia flower necklace set from Spellbound Beads in Lichfield

It was my birthday a little while ago, and one of the presents I got was this lovely necklace and earrings kit from Spellbound Beads, in Lichfield. I love making bead jewellery! This is what was included in the box (except for the thread grippers in the top right hand corner, and the purple ruler at the bottom):
Beaded fuchsia flower necklace 1

 

All I needed to supply extra was round nose pliers and wire cutters, which I already had.

 

Beaded fuchsia flower necklace 2

 

I first made up the stamens, in two lengths.

 

Beaded fuchsia flower necklace 3

 

Then I assembled the beaded flowers – five for the necklace, and one each for the earrings.
Beaded fuchsia flower necklace 4

 

The colours of seed beads included in the kit are lovely – all pinky-purple shades.
Beaded fuchsia flower necklace 5

It only took about two hours to complete, and I’m really pleased with the set. I altered the fixings for the earrings to be clip-ons, as I don’t have pierced ears, but other than that I made them up exactly as per the instructions, which were very clear. The fuchsia flowers hang nicely when the necklace is on, with the flowers sort of  ‘looking forward’, due to the way they are strung on.

The kit is called ‘Amanda Simples fuchsia flower necklace set’, and is available for £9.95 from the Spellbound Bead shop here (a bricks & mortar shop, but they do mail order too).  There is also a pale pink colourway available.

Pretty, isn’t it?

How to make beaded barefoot sandals

The other day, I was looking on Pinterest for some images of beading – particularly beaded beads, which I find fascinating. I haven’t made any yet, but I’m tempted…

While I was looking, I came across what are described as ‘barefoot sandals’, which I had never heard of before. They look like you’re wearing sandals, but really they are a kind of necklace for your feet, and they are often marketed to women who are going to get married somewhere exotic and hot, on a beach in the Caribbean or somewhere like that. And the prices often reflect that kind of  ‘it’s a wedding so money is no object’ idea. That is, they can be EXPENSIVE. I don’t fall for that, so once I’d seen a few images of barefoot sandals (sometimes called ‘slave sandals’ or ‘thong sandals’), I was starting to think ‘I could make that – it doesn’t look too difficult’. Beading is one of those crafts that doesn’t have to be difficult, fortunately  🙂

I looked carefully at some close-up images to try to count how many beads I might need, then went off to surf for a good bead shop. I decided on The Bead Shop in Manchester –  their range was good, and they did a lot of stringing elastic too, so I could get all I needed in one place.

Sandal 1

All you need is about a yard of 0.5mm stretchy bead elastic (I used Stretch Magic), some number 11 seed beads, some clear rocaille beads for the ‘spacers’, some 6mm beads in various colours (I used pearl white and frosted white), and some strong glue such as G-S Hypo Cement (available on Ebay).

You string about three inches of seed beads onto the centre of the length of elastic first – long enough to go round your second toe. Then you put both ends of the elastic through a large bead, then divide the elastic again and string the same pattern of large beads on to each side, then thread both ends of the elastic through a single bead again, and so on, for about three inches (to reach up to your instep). Divide the elastic and start to thread beads, in the same pattern for each side, long enough to reach around the back of your ankle. You will need to try the sandal on at this point to check the length. When you are sure, tie the elastic in a surgeon’s knot, and put the strong glue on the knot to make sure it won’t come undone (keeping the glue off the beads). When the glue is definitely dry, trim the elastic.

The beaded barefoot sandals, when completed, look a bit like necklaces

The beaded barefoot sandals, when completed, look a bit like necklaces

They are a bit strange to wear, at first. You can just about feel the part that goes round your second toe a bit, like you would with toe-post sandals. But they are very pretty. I made mine so that I can wear them when I do Dances of Universal Peace – I usually dance barefoot then, and it’s nice to have something pretty on my feet, and not just completely ‘bare’ feet! I can see that I might end up with several in different colours, to co-ordinate with different clothes that I wear for dancing. It only takes about two hours to make a pair, after all.

Beaded barefoot sandals 2

What do you think of them? I love them!