Friday, July 29, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party

Have you heard of the Bead Soup Blog Party? It's a very clever idea by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things. Bead Soup is a bead exchange with a beader somewhere else in the world. You then take these beads and make a unique piece of jewelry with your own style and flare to it. What's fun is that you might receive beads which you would not have chosen for yourself and this will push your art in a new direction. In the end, all the participants get to see each other's creations via blogs. Here's how it works:

  • First, you must have a blog
  • Next, you let Lori know you are interested and provide her with the information she needs.
  • Put together a party pack of a focal bead, some coordinating beads, and a special clasp. 
  • Lori will then send you the information and address of a beader elsewhere in the world which you will send your party pack to.
  • Shortly, you will receive a party pack from someone else. 
  • You take pictures of the beads (post them on your blog) and then create something unique with them and post those pictures on your blog too. 
  • On September 17th,  there will be a list of blogs to check out which have participated and the blog hop will begin! 

For a more indepth explanation, visit Lori's blog. Even if you are not able or wanting to participate, it is still fun to look at all the creations and blog hop on September 17th. 

If you do not have a blog, this would be a great idea to do with your fellow crafty friends. Then after all the beads have been sent around and jewelry has been created, host a party where everyone brings their creations. Have a night filled with show and tell, laughter, and inspiration. 

- Julie 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stuff We Love: Oval Jump Rings

"Why oval jump rings?" you ask?  For one, the opening is on the long side in an oval jump ring.  When I first began making jewelry, I made a common rookie error.  I crimped my beading wire directly onto an open jump ring.  What tends to happen is that the wire is thin enough to eventually find its way through the opening, causing your necklace or bracelet to fall away from the clasp.

I've since learned that there are many remedies for this problem, such as crimping your wire around a closed jump ring and then using an open one to join the clasp, using a jumplock ring, a split ring, or (last but not least) an oval jump ring.  When the wire is attached to an oval jump ring it will naturally pull toward either end, nearly eliminating the risk of the wire slipping through the split.

They are also great for joining chain.  Since many of the more traditional styles of chain feature oval links, these handy little jump rings blend right in.

Another reason we love oval jump rings is that they have a narrow profile.  This is especially prudent when you are making bracelets.  Who wants to be wearing a sleek bracelet with obtuse round jump rings sticking up and flopping around?  Not I! Sarah calls them "The Stealth Jump Rings" and swears by the 3mm x 4mm size.

Finally, I love to hang tiny charms from them and string them in between various beads to enhance the visual interest of some of my pieces.  Since they are narrow, there isn't a chance that the adjacently strung beads will accidentally slip through the jump ring.  Also, since they are long, the charms hang lower than the strung beads, ensuring that they can move freely and be seen.

So, there you go!  What's not to love?  Did I mention that they come in a variety of sizes and finishes?



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BTW: Bead Table Wednesday 7/27/11

Andrea's Table
On my bead table today I have an assortment of Miyuki Delicas and Swarovski Crystals in warm purples, pinks, and reds.  The Delicas were used to create the pendant of this necklace.  By using a combination of peyote stitch and herringbone stitch, I completed a super cool bead woven triangle.  This weave is so much fun, I kind of went a little crazy with it-- making triangles here at Beadaholique, and late into the night at home!  Look for an upcoming tutorial video on how to make these triangles.

Julie's Table
On my table is a glass tube bottle with ornate metal surround by Patera and it is home to a wire wrapped beaded flower I made (video coming soon). I have always loved the thought of a "treasure" being incorporated into a piece of jewelry and I think this glass vial is perfect for that. I was also thinking of putting a particularly touching fortune cookie saying inside of another glass vial or even a small love note. For the clasp, I used a key toggle bar and round, I think it is very fitting for this piece. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Inspiration Monday: Miriam Haskell


If you are someone who has ever sought out that old cigar box filled with baubles and trinkets at a garage sale, eager to dive in, or a person who has spent countless hours carefully wiring vintage-looking elements onto a filigree backing in order to recreate your favorite brooch of a bygone era, chances are you have heard of Miriam Haskell.  She was, after all, the Fairy Godmother of costume jewelry.

vintage Miriam Haskell ad from 1946

Along with the help of her creative partner, Frank Hess, Haskell created a company which made beautiful, unique, and affordable pieces of costume jewelry. Remarkably, she started this successful endeavor during the Great Depression. She was extremely popular with the well to do, such as The Duchess of Windsor, and it is said that actress Joan Crawford owned every Miriam Haskell jewelry set that she could get her hands on.

With precious metal prices being what they are, many people are returning to costume jewelry as a luxe-for-less way to accessorize. When I am designing, more often than not I am heavily influenced by the lovely pieces that my mother had in her jewelry box, handed down from her mother.

Miriam Haskell, old and new designs (source)

Haskell's pieces from the height of her popularity are highly sought after collectibles today, commanding very high prices. Although Haskell herself was only active from the 1920's through the 1950's, the company bearing her name still exists today, making unique handmade heirloom pieces for everyone to enjoy for years to come.

Are you a Haskellite? Show us your favorite vintage costume jewelry designs!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BTW: Bead Table Wednesday 7/20/11

Andrea's Table
I've been slowly chipping away at my mile long list of how-to videos that I need to make; many of them being bead weaving videos. Although I accomplished making a tubular peyote video, many of you were asking how one would end a tubular stitch. It is an excellent question, and one that I intend on addressing with ANOTHER how-to video... Which means I need to first make another tubular peyote stitch for demo purposes, hence all the seed beads on my Wednesday bead table! 

Julie's Table
We recently received some Vintaj Sampler Packs in and I have been pondering what to do with them (there were actually too many ideas in this case, not too few). What's nice is that the packs are themed and the one which stood out the most to me was the "Beach Fun" collection. On my table you can see that I have applied some Gilders Paste to the brass and am now assembling them into a charm bracelet. I think I will actually have some left over components and can make a matching necklace. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quick Tip Tuesday: Clear Storage Tubes For Findings

Many times when you purchase seed beads, they come packaged in handy little clear storage tubes.  Beadaholique, for instance, sells our Miyuki and Toho beads this way.  I've come to love these clear storage tubes so much, that I even break up my hanks of Czech seed beads and carefully pour them into tubes for easy access and seed-bead-uniformity.

Yes, these tubes are well known as keepers of the seed beads, but did you know that they make excellent storage containers for findings as well?  I have found them indispensable when it comes to organizing my head pins, eye pins, jump rings, crimp beads... you name it!

jump rings and crimp tubes and head pins, oh my!

They provide great easy access storage, plus you always know what you are getting because of the fact that the tubes are clear.  I like to make it even easier on myself and neatly hand-write out little labels with the appropriate description or item number.  The best part about it is that the tubes fit neatly into these bead pavilion organizer shelves, so they can stand upright on their own and have a very uncluttered appearance. I keep them right on my desk so the findings can be right at my fingertips, right when I need them.

clearly labeled and ready to use

Do you have any organizational tips you'd like to share?  We would love to hear them!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Inspiration Monday: Great Blogs

There are so many creative blogs out there--some amazing and some not so great (sorry but it's true). When you come across a really good blog, you know it right away. Instantly you say to yourself "YES!!" this is what I have been looking for, this is what I need, I can't wait to read more. Everyone's taste is different, but here are my favorite blogs, that I think you will really enjoy: 

This is one of the most engaging blogs I have ever come across. So much so, that I find myself hitting that "older posts" button time and again to see what else she has to say. Shannon Levart, the woman behind Miss Fickle Media, gives her blog followers several gifts: inspiration, advice, hope, and laughter. I particularly like the wisdom and recommendations she gives to other jewelry designers about how to market and sell their wares. She even goes over how to price your jewelry and approach stores, something we all struggle with. To me, this blog is not a passive reading experience but an engaging tutorial on life. 

Ice Queen Zine

The Ice Queen Zine (which is what I consider to be a blog) lives within the main Ice Resin website by Susan Lenart Kazmer. I look to this site when wanting to see fantastic array of creative talents brought together under one roof, all using resin and mixed media techniques. The photos are amazing and I never fail to have a new "ah ha!" moment, seeing something that is clever and that I would never have thought to do. Since this "blog" is part of the main Ice Resin site, you also have easy access to lots of resin tips and techniques.  

This is actually not just one blog but many. Elsa Mora is a painter, paper cut artist, jewelry designer, doll maker, and so much more! The main blog will link to all her other ones and within their depths, inspiration abounds. Her work is inspiring in itself but her thought provoking writing and sense of balance in life is what keeps me coming back to this blog. If you get a chance, make sure to review all her blogs and enjoy the journey they will take you on. 

You probably already know about Etsy, but did you know they also have a really engaging blog? It features highlighted sellers and their shops, craft news, informative stories from around the world, events, current trends, design inspirations, and more. There is a huge amount of content on the Etsy blog which is constantly being updated with lots of feedback given. This is a blog where you can spend hours reading - so get your jewelry done first and then read at night ;)

I hope you enjoy these selections. What are your favorites? 

- Julie 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Find Out Friday: Guest Designer Charlene Sevier's Bead Cap Chandelier Earrings

We have a very special Find Out Friday to share with you this week. We are pleased to feature talented jewelry designer Charlene Sevier who has created a lovely pair of chandelier earrings with the primary ingredient being bead caps. These are so clever and ornate looking that we just had to share her tutorial with all of Beadaholique's fans. Thank you Charlene! We can't wait to see what you come up with next. 

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 18 bead caps with holes along the bottom. They need to have an even number of holes. These bead caps  have eight holes along the bottom.
  • 18 3mm or 4mm beads for your accent beads. Mine are bright orange wood beads.
  • 18 E-beads or 3mm beads to put inside the bead caps. Without them, the bead caps flop around. I chose some luster E-beads in a color that complemented the design but let the orange beads take center stage.
  • 18 head pins
  • Pair of ear wires


Take a head pin and add an inside bead, bead cap and accent bead. All of the head pins will be strung in this manner. Make a plain or wrapped loop. This component is the top of the earring.

Take a second head pin and add the beads and bead cap. Make a loop that goes into one of the holes of the first bead cap. Then take another head pin and add the beads and bead cap. Looking at the first bead cap carefully, count the holes along the bottom. These bead caps have eight holes. The first head pin on the second row is in one hole. Skip over three holes and add another head pin into the fourth hole. This puts one head pin on either side of the top component with three holes in between them on both sides. If you don’t count correctly, your earrings will not lay flat.

The next step is the trickiest step of the whole deal – and it’s not that hard. Thread a head pin and make a loop that goes through one hole in the bottom of both of the two components you just added.

Counting the holes the same way you did earlier, add components for the third row into the outer edges of the bead caps above them. You now have a row of three components.

To create the fourth row, take a head pin with beads and bead cap and join the left hand and center bead cap of the third row together. Then, counting spaces again, add another head pin to join the center and right hand bead caps of the third row together. This completes the fourth row which has two bead caps. A final head pin joins them together. Add an ear wire, repeat for the second earring and done - you can see the finished product in the photo at the top of this blog.
Charlene graciously gave us permission to use these photos and her instructions. To learn more about Charlene Sevier, check out her blog: The Bead Dreamer's Blog. You can also purchase some of her beautiful work from her Etsy Store. 

Inspired by Charlene, I decided to try out her design in silver with some different bead caps and beads. Here is what I came up with --->  

I used the bright silver plated open point crown 8.5mm bead cap for all the bead caps and then the pretty light green beads are misty green opal glass faceted 4mm rounds. 

Thank you again Charlene! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quick Tip Tuesday: More Secure Crimp Beads

Tip: When crimping beads, do not cut off the beading wire right after the crimp bead, instead thread the wire back through 1/4" - 1/2" of strung beads. 

This will create a more professional look, prevent a scratchy end from sticking out, and cause the crimp to be more secure. 

For a more polished look, cover your crimped bead with a crimp bead cover

Have a quick tip to share? We would love to hear it and post on this blog and facebook. If we choose your tip to share, we will send you a $20 gift certificate for Beadaholique. In cases of a duplicate tips being sent in, the one which arrives first will get the certificate. 

- Julie 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Inspiration Monday: Julie's Favorite Jewelry Design Books

One of the benefits to being a designer here at Beadaholique is that a lot of books cross my work table and I am always so excited to open them up and see what treasures lay inside. To me, a good book not only has wonderful photos of projects which feed the imagination but it also teaches techniques in a clear understandable way. Most especially, a good book needs to bring something "new" to the proverbial table. 

The 4 books listed below are my personal drool-worthy favorites. I hope you enjoy!

Semiprecious Salvage by Stephanie Lee

Why I love: so, so, so many techniques featured in this book in clear step by step photos and accompanying text. Most importantly to me, the techniques are very unusual. I think we have all gone to the book store and flipped through at least 10 books which all show how to do the same thing which you already probably knew how to do. Not so with Semiprecious Salvage, it talks about creating your own bezels, using etching solution, creating with found objects, casting, and so much more.  The author does use a large number of tools (some of them more advanced) but her ideas are still fantastic and many of the projects you can still do without a trip to Home Depot. For someone looking to tackle a new aspect of jewelry making, this is the book. 


Enchanted Adornments by Cynthia Thornton

Why I love: This book is candy for the eye and music for the soul. It is so lush to look at, like a field journal by an enchanted fairy. There are fanciful drawings and sweet stories mixed in with some great techniques. A number of the projects in this book involve polymer clay, resin, precious metal clay, and other mixed media supplies. The back of the book proclaims: "transform your ideas into art jewelry" and that is exactly what this book shows you how to do.

French Inspired Jewelry by Kaari Meng

Why I love: If you are not into found objects, mixed media, or resins and clays but adore "beads, buttons, and baubles" then this book is a must! The photos in it are amazing and the color palettes are absolutely scrumptious. The way the images have been compiled with vintage graphics and ribbons in the background further feeds the imagination. Some really wonderful and easy to understand beading techniques are highlighted making this an excellent book for both the beginner beader and the more advanced. 

Why I love: If you have been following some of my projects and videos, you know that I am a big fan of resin. This book covers all aspects of using resin, from basic pouring into bezels to applying to paper and using molds. There are also tons of amazing photos with inspiring projects. I feel like this book encourages one to think outside the box and really let the imagination flow, which is what jewelry designing is all about. There are also quick tips spread throughout the book which are extremely helpful in making your resin projects come out right. 

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Get The Look: Wrapped Bracelet

We designers are constantly on the lookout for hot new trends in the world of jewelry. We are often trolling the blogosphere, trying to spot that piece that screams for its own Beadaholique version.  Web sites that feature "Young Hollywood" and street styles are always a great place to start looking.


While perusing these sources, I came to the conclusion that the wrap bracelet is still going strong-- although it is morphing into something slightly different.  The bracelets that are oh-so-now only wrap around once, but you layer the heck out of them, wearing upwards of a dozen at a time.  There are many that are knotted, in a micro-macrame fashion.  We settled upon one style that we wanted to try out for you, and here it is:

Shashi version found here for $62

Our version features a segments (the connectors) from this chain, Swarovski flatbacks, and our new waxed Irish linen cord .  It uses the knotting technique found in the tutorial "How to make a knotted waxed lined wrapped bracelet":

And here are our results!
So next time you see a celebrity wearing something you love and the thought occurs to you "I can do that" - go out and do it! It's a fun challenge to take on and very rewarding.

- Andrea

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

BTW: Bead Table Wednesday 7/6/11

Andrea's Table
This Bead Table Wednesday calls for a little playfulness.  I figure since the week began with July 4th, and ends (for me) with a trip back to my hometown, I'd have a little fun this week.  This is not actually very different from any other week, since beading generally IS fun!  Anyhow... I am revisiting the "beaded bead" this week.  By using R.A.W. and some cute colors of Czech glass or Swarovski bicones, I've made quite a little collection of these awesome orbs in preparation for an upcoming video tutorial on them!

Julie's Table
My table is actually neat and tidy this week as I just finished two projects and am in the process of typing them up. The very colorful necklace and earring set uses red Cinnabar beads combined with Salwag seed wood round beads and splashes of Czech glass turquoise beads (one of my favorite color combos). The other necklace and earring set is a stark contrast, simple and sleek it combines copper and gold tones and then a has a bright punch of intense purple Czech glass beads. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Beadaholique Mobile!

That's right, there is now a mobile version of your favorite online bead and beading supply store!  You can now feed your need to bead on the go using your smart phone or any other compatible mobile device. Whether you are on the beach or in line at the DMV, you can now browse page after page of Beadaholique's wonderful products in a convenient and clear format, right from your phone!  All of our great features are available at the touch of a button (or a screen!), including browsing by category, projects and inspirations, and an in-depth FAQ page. Here's a little preview of what it looks like:

HOORAY for Beadaholique Mobile!


p.s. We would love to hear feedback on your Beadaholique Mobile experience!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

From all of us at Beadaholique, Happy 4th of July!

Some fun facts about the 4th of July: 

In July 1776, there were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the U.S. Today, there are approximately  311.7 million people. 

31 places have "Liberty" in their name and 11 places have Independence in their name. 

The 4th of July was not declared a national holiday until 1941.

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest started on July 4th, 1916 and has happened every year since with the exception of 1941 and 1971 when it was canceled as a protest to political events. Americans will consume an estimated 150 million hot dogs today. 

An estimated 74 million Americans will BBQ today. 

There is a 50/50 chance that the potatoes in your potato salad or potato chips came from Washington or Idaho. 

Have a happy and safe holiday!

*** adorable dog tie for sale on Etsy by seller GypsyTailor 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Staff Pick: The Beadsmith Jump Ring Opener Tool

Today I would like to introduce to you a little tool that has become my bff: The Beadsmith Jump Ring Opener.  This unassuming, inexpensive little gadget has just about saved my wrists from total annihilation.  Sure, using the normal method of opening jump rings is fine when you only have a few rings to open, but what about when you are working on a monumental chain maille piece and you need to open hundreds upon hundreds of rings? This is where my little friend becomes invaluable.  Watch a video on how to use this device, and I'm sure you'll be ordering one for yourself soon after!


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