Monday, December 10, 2012

Recycled Wine Cork Earring Card Hole Punch

Holiday time is so busy! I make tons of earrings as gifts and to sell at holiday craft shows. And all those earrings must be professionally presented on earring cards. 

I make my own cards rather than buying commercial ones, so I must punch holes in them myself too. Here's my easy and recycled material two-holes-at-once hole punch. Since my earring lengths vary, I do not like using a jig which puts the holes in the same place on each card; sometimes I need holes way up close to the top of the card, sometimes lower. I eyeball my position of the holes depending on the length of each pair of earrings. Make yourself a little guide if you don't feel comfortable doing this by sight.
Cork earring card hole punch with push pins
Cork earring card punch closed
1. Slice a wine cork in half lengthwise. 
2. Glue (any craft glue works) or use double sided tape to adhere two push pins to the flat sliced side of one half of the sliced cork.
3. Place the card on a soft board (I use an inexpensive cork hotplate)
4. Eyeball where to center the holes between the card sides. My visual guide is to align the holes under specific letters in my name at the top of each card.
5. Keep the push pins parallel and find the best place for the holes that allow enough room for the earrings to hang from the earwire when they're in the holes without lying too low on your card.
6. Push the pins through the cards.
TIP: You may want to make more than one of these and vary the distance between the push pins to suit the scale of your earrings, with holes father apart if you make larger earrings.

I hope this tip helps you spend less time making gifts and more time giving them! (Or selling them!)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS–and check out the Little Cogs Earring Kit on for a fun earring project!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Studio storage and finished jewelry

Storing your stash is one thing; storing your finished creations is a whole new adventure. I used to pin my finished pieces all over  my booth display panels which were stuck in a corner of my room. Some things hung from hooks I made to cling to branches (yes, from trees). But it was a mess, the pins were bending all the time,  and I feared the ruin of my display panels.

I ended up hanging pegboard. I was not sure how it would look, or if it would be cost effective because I'd need LOTS of hooks, and worried about how pieces would hang.

As it turned out the boards look really clean and their natural wood color works great as the background color. Hooks come in lots of sizes and shapes, and I slipped sturdy tubes over several pegs to help round out the way pieces are hanging.

Thanks to my hubs Mike I only bought  hooks with smaller gauges of pegs (the part that goes into the holes) to fit easily. IMPORTANT TIP if you want to do pegboard! Larger pegs distort the holes and are a pain to move around. Make sure to look for the hooks with the slimmer pegs!

I also still use my branches and hammered copper hooks so my jewelry wall has a bit more of a display feeling than just plain pegboard. Why not paint it, you ask? Because paint scratches-- and what color would match all my jewelry? Plus you can see that the pegboard matches the woodwork trim in my studio!

Now I am on the look-out for a nicer tube-thingy than cardboard to pad some hooks. Maybe there's an interesting but neutral color,  easy-to-cut hose... or the tubes used to control network wires. I'll find something.

But meantime I am quite happy with clean arrangement,  ease of organization,  low cost and especially the now-I can-see-everything-and-so-can-customers look of my jewelry wall!
PS: Yes, it's a TV, and yes, that's my Swarovski CREATE YOUR STYLE Ambassador apron on my dress form! 

Friday, July 27, 2012


EVOLUTION for Sleepless Beader! I've been working hard to grow the kit and tutorial sales part of what I do. This gives everyone out there a chance to make my designs and reveals which designs are ready to become workshops and classes with me at the helm, too. I have teamed up for this facet of my beady path with one of my sisters who is a whiz at the biz end of things. Her skills have enabled me to focus on what I do best, design and of course social networking! She's got the tech savvy to take over financials (taxes, tracking and ordering inventory, kitting and shipping, costing) and web based stuff such as our new site, and she even knows how to do some seed beading! With her help, the brand new commerce-enabled site will launch soon!
Along with the shopping cart part we'll have a newsletter sign up, calendar of events, special offers, a gallery, fun and games! Look for Sleepless Beader at the upcoming Bead Fest on August 17-19th at the Oaks Expo Center–Artisan Table 445. Kits and tutorials at the show will include popular favorites and new designs I have finally gotten around to writing and illustrating. Good thing I'm sleepless!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


The better to see you with, my dear!
Just got a pair of CraftOptics lenses. Wow these are cool!

They are naturally a bit more to wear than just normal glasses, but the soft silicone nose piece makes it really comfy. There's also a little light which works off a small battery pack that clips onto your pants or whatever, like a cell phone would. The light slides right onto the optic part for targeted illumination. Clever! The light cord runs through a clip on the arm of the specs, and has a small spring action clip to attach to your shirt so it stays out of the way. VERY nicely engineered. (My lenses look lit up in the photo but it's just a reflection from my laptop screen.) AND they come with croakers, the soft cords that slide onto the arm ends like the kind of eyeglass cords surfers wear, with a button that slides on the cords to adjust the specs to stay put or let them hang down.

The magnifier part flips up to reveal my personal prescription. The glasses are nice and large so it's easy to look up through the top part to see normally, and then look down through the optic part for magnification, as you need. It's all very well thought out the way these work.

Great for my eyes and especially my craftsmanship! I expect to be using these on Beads, Baubles, and Jewels segments taping soon, so you'll be able to see them in action–rather, see me in action using them–when the episodes go on the air. I'll let you know when they're on!

And yes, mine are purple.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Deep Blue Bling

Did you know that the average human eye can register quantities of 5 at a glance without counting, and after that, not so much? So if you instantly see 6 sets of 5 crystals, good for you!

So this box comes from Swarovski today, and it is RATTLING which of course makes us all salivate, right? I forgot that Xilions were being sent to me for an upcoming taping of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels for segments sponsored by EK Success. Check out the 6 blues I chose to play with in size 6mm. They are, clockwise from top: Indicolite, Montana, Pacific Opal, Jet AB, Mint Alabaster and center, Light Azore.

I must have been an interplanetary hitchiker to love these colors because they're super stellar, like extraterrestrial gleams of brilliance from otherworldly galactic entities. Don't let my inadequate photography fool you. (I actally had to tone down the luster or you'd be seeing sparkles before your eyes for days.)

Or in earthly realms, perhaps I wish to be a mermaid in the Caribbean swimming in such aquatic magnificence. I just love these colors, is what I'm saying.

You can space out in your own sparkling waves over these hues too. Look for them wherever EK Success is sold and in your local bead store.

What did I make from them? I'll show when they're created!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fun with Beadalon

Making new videos for the Beadalon web site brought out
a variety of my facets, er, faces. :-)

Look for the videos now on Beadalon's You Tube page. My latest videos include how-to-do, why-to use, and what-to-use for: loom bead weaving, Elasticity stretchy cord designs, WildFire beading thread, all sorts of beading needles, bead organization and storage, arranging a beading work area, and Hybraid (Is it a wire? A beading thread? It's both!)

Here's one showing some basics for a well equipped beading work area.

Even though I was feeling a bit wired and threadbare myself after a long week just back from doing two back to back Jewelry Television shows, I know the videos now showing on Beadalon's You Tube page will educate and inspire you.

Stick around, because you never know when some of my actual design tutorials will appear, too!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sorry, This Class is Cancelled

Or, why I cant teach one or two students
even if you buy me dinner.

Steampunk Herringbone Cuff by Leslie Rogalski (c) 2011
Only one student signed up. 

Cuff was recently selected to be featured
in the new Lark book Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry
now on advance sale on Amazon.
People grab my arms when I wear pieces such as these and exclaim, ooh, teach this, teach this!

So I write up tutorials, a laborious and lengthy process. I spend days re-making designs I have so far only made intuitively– measuring the number of beads, calculating sizes, counting components, and simplifying technical aspects as I re-create my one of a kind pieces so I can teach them clearly and step by step.

I take photos I hope will entice, fill out forms meant to present the projects as fun and doable, and submit packages to events. I'm ecstatic when I get juried in. I make hotel and flight reservations. And then... I get one, maybe two students (thank you!) who sign up.

I can just feel all you other teachers sighing and nodding. It is never an impulsive decision to cancel a class even if we have but one student, because every single student is important and valued, very valued.

Cubic Right Angle Weave Fiesta Links bracelet
Leslie Rogalski (c)2011
Only two students signed up.

Have been told by those who learned this from me
that it's the best class ever to learn this stitch.
The truth is we cannot afford to travel to shows unless we make a profit. Not just cover travel expenses, not just be compensated for all the time it took to develop the class, write the tutorials, determine the best way to get a technique presented. Make money, as in, to put in the bank and save for the kid in college or get a real haircut not by your neighbor in beauty school.

It's not a profit just to pay your way and break even. That's living hand to mouth. I bet most of you are close to doing that no matter what your jobs are.

Purple Path Tila Herringbone cuff
by Leslie Rogalski (C)2011
Taught it to several "I'll never like seed beading" friends
who now can't stop beading.


Sometimes it's hard not to be mad when a class you signed up for is cancelled. Teachers think you are the BEST PEOPLE EVER for wanting to be our students. We just wish there were more of you signing up. Then we can not only come to the shows and teach the classes, but eat, too.

There are a couple amazing shows with registration open NOW for fabulous classes, with renown, master teachers. They are very varied in time and cost and skill level, so there is bound to be at least one class you'd love. Maybe even one of mine.

Bead & Button is in June in Milwaukee, and Bead Fest Spring is almost here, April 13, 14 and 15th at the Oaks convention center, easy to reach, just a few miles from Valley Forge PA.

Hollywood Filmstrip loom cuff by Leslie Rogalski (c)2012
Sign up for it at
Bead Fest Spring
Kit includes the loom and beads and the cool special bezel cuff!
Treat yourself for your birthday. Or your unbirthday. Celebrate your emancipation from that guy you thought was Brad but was really the pits. Classes are kosher for Passover, and I know the Easter bunny would leave a gift card for a class in your basket if you promise not eat all the jellybeans except the green ones.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects

It is not every day you have the chance to get the inside scoop from a master, let alone one who shares your own passion. Diane Fitzgerald is such a worthy mentor for anyone who makes, wears, or simply appreciates the art of beadwork. I encourage you to enjoy her journey with her in her new book from Lark,  "Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects." 

The appealing variety of styles, techniques and materials on the cover are indicative of the lovely, feminine and colorful projects found inside. Diane's designs are lush with seed beads but she also uses beads in other shapes and materials. 

Variations of designs include these
juicy versions of the Hard Candy bracelet.

Diane has chosen 24 personal favorite projects to represent her journey (so far!) as a teacher, designer, historian, and ambassador of global bead arts.  The delightful introduction by another bead master, Jean Campbell, fills in the storyline about Diane and how she became who she is.

Diane can be such a romantic.
The soft fabric used in this
Apple Blossom Necklace proves it.

There is a range of skill levels but truly anyone familiar with beading can make everything in the book. The projects have wonderfully clear illustrations and well written, step by step instructions. The photos are nice and large making it easy to see the beads, read the tutorials, and follow the illustrations.

Excellent details abound in close up photos.

There are also tips on using color, improving your technical craft, and inspiration from the four corners of the globe—which, by the way, Diane has visited. She has literally searched the world for inspiration and technique, and has gathered a history of beadwork along the way which is shared in comments scattered through her book.

Fortune Teller beads predict happy hours with bright colorss.

You all know I'm a seed bead devotee above most other materials. I have not been around the world  but I have been around as an artist, teacher, editor, and beady babe. I know a lot of beady peeps. So,  I have high expectations when it comes to inspirational and informative beading books. "Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects" will make your fingers itch to bead!

Diane's Zipper Bracelet is my personal favorite.
I  love the purple iris cube beads, too!

Monday, February 27, 2012

BEAD CAPS: Before, During, After

First I chose these Lucite beads from my stash
Then I made a glorious mess playing around with Beadalon bead caps, Swarovski crystals, Swarovski crystal pearls, more beads, lots of wire, headpins, and stuff. You know, STUFF.
Here are the finished bead components I made.

Want to see more? 
Tune in to Jewel School on Jewelry Television
March 18 and 19th 
10 AM to Noon EST.
See everything I made with 
Beadalon bead caps!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


The CREATE YOUR STYLE with SWAROVSKI experience in Tucson this year was beyond my expectations.
First, being together with the other ambassadors was as warm and fuzzy as it was sparkly! I heard this event brought more ambassadors together in one place than ever before.
We had a special showroom with tables to share our creationss, kits, books and more with everyone. Seeing the diversity of work and astounding innnovation in materials and techniques among us was simply cosmic.  For example, look at Diane Whiting's Crystal Balls necklace--and the issue of Step by Step Beads in which it appeared. (True story--I was the editor in chief of that magazine and brought that project in from Diane before we even really knew each other!)
Crystal Balls necklace and published pages from Diane Whiting
Kristal Wick's collection of finished jewelry and kits featured some of the most lush combinations of crystals and her original fabric beads, plus more yummy luxe materials. if you haven't made one of her necklaces, check out her kits and her fabulous books online--because you are missing out on making something extraordinary that will have people oohing and aaahing.

The vunderbar folks from Austria presented the new shapes, colors, materials, tools, effects and trends for the next year.  Everyone was so eager to see the presentation and listen to Chris, Raphaela and Katrin "romancing the stones!" (But we missed Nicole and Marlena, who could not attend.) Here are ambassadors Debi Simon, Brenda Schweder, Kelli DeFries and Stephanie Dixon.meeting
Among other new tools and web enhancements, we'll all be able to add a fabulous color wheel tool to our own web pages, showing how to mix and match all the Swarovski elements styles and colors.I love getting our little "candy box" of samples of many new elements.

candy box of new elements

Classes, workshops, and make and takes were a huge success--can you tell from my student that she was happy with her Chessboard earring project?
make and take happy student
The newest part of the event was a showroom for Ambassadors to display (and sell) our finished work, kits, tutorials, books and DVDs, and demonstrate our favorite techniques.It was so incredible to meet people face to face! The best part for us was being together with the other Ambassadors. I am sure our camaraderie was tangible. We just love being part of this group! (And we really missed those who coud not be with us.) Personally I can't eait to do this again next year. Thank you Swarovski for making this possible (and for the nightly Happy Hours). Huge hugs to our Ambassadors who helped put it all together (Tammy, Diane, Debi). Thanks to the local bead society folks who were just as nice as could be on helping us in any way we needed.
And thanks to everyone who came to see us!
Leslie at her table

Make the world beautiful!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Sign up to make this stellar cuff
at the Bead & Button Show!

Working on the Beadalon loom is so much fun, it really takes me back to my beady beginnings. I started using seed beads on a loom almost exactly like the one that every student will get in my class at the Bead and Button Show in June. I know, I know–what about those pesky warp thread ends, right? That "chore" has kept you from using the loom, right? Not any more!! In my class you will learn to whisk those ends outta sight plus many other practical and easy loom weaving tricks:

Use strong and non-stretch WidFire
to string the main long threads (warp)
and for weaving (weft).
We learn how to read and design a chart.
See how to make your piece as long as you wish!
Discover how many things you can
weave on a loom--earrings, for example!
The colors of the Hollywood Cuff
are shimmering Miyuki size 11 Delica beads

Next to the zen of weaving with Miyuki Delica beads and the satisfaction in the way those beads fit together, the best part of this project is the way we finish. We simple cut the cuff from the loom, fold under the threads, and adhere into a bezel cuff from EK Success. The look is superbly crafted and stylish.

So sign up! You keep the loom as part of the class kit, and I will have plenty of other patterns and blank cuffs for sale so you can make more– because I guarantee your friends will all want to be a film star too!