Monday, October 31, 2011

Inspiration Monday: Seasons - Fall & Winter

For many people, Fall and Winter can be the hardest seasons to design and be creative in. In most parts of the world, both seasons signify dark, cold, and rainy times. They also are the busiest seasons in terms of holidays and events on your social calendar. So how do you find that spark of creativity? For me, the inspiration is in the fact that the weather has changed, the color palette is darker, and there are so many places to be.

With it being cooler outside (or rainy or snowy), I no longer feel guilty staying at home on a Saturday and designing. This time of year I like to sit at my table with a warm blanket on my lap, our dog snuggled at my feet, and a cup of hot cider or hot chocolate waiting to be sipped. Some days I will not leave the house at all and I will get so much done! 

For designing, I use the colors of the season. Fall is captured in tones of rust, olive green, mustard, and burnt umber. Winter is striking with its dark and brooding colors of grey, deep blue, and black, which can be contrasted with pure white, silver, and glistening pearl. 

As to what to create, I look outside for inspiration: a pile of dried leaves with their textures and layers, pumpkins growing in a field, a lone red flower peeking up through the earth, or even a frozen over lake (wouldn't Swarovski Crystals be gorgeous to represent glistening ice!). 

Pumpkin Fun Earrings

You can also design for the holidays coming up - make something Halloween specific, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, etc. There are a number of great charms available (nutcrackers, wreathes, pumpkins, stars, etc.) and you can make instant holiday-themed jewelry by hanging them on earring hooks or a chain

Lrg. Round 38mm Filigree

One of my favorite tricks for finding inspiration is to build a jewelry design around an outfit. With all the holiday parties to go to, pick out your attire early and then spend time creating original designs to match. For instance, if you have a little black dress with jet beading and a lace cut-out design along the hem, perhaps make a black velvet choker with an Ezel filigree which you bedeck with Swarovski jet black flat back rhinestones

If your dress is gold and black, try making some beaded beads in gold and black seed beads then pair them with Swarovski faux pearls in black.  When designing around an outfit, pull out the colors of the clothing, take into consideration the neckline and sleeve, and decide if you want to make earrings, a bracelet, and/or a necklace. 

Fall and Winter are beautiful seasons, embrace their diversity and their potential for creativity. Have fun playing with colors you might not have worked with before and show off your jewelry to friends by wearing it to holiday parties. You will find that these two seasons can be your most productive time of the year - embrace them and have a blast doing so! 

- Julie 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Announcing Our 10 Finalists: Falling Leaves Beading Challenge

Thank you to everyone who submitted a design for October's beading contest: Falling Leaves. We received so many wonderful designs, all of them lovely. We had a difficult task narrowing all the entries down to 10, we hope you like our choices. To vote on your favorite, click HERE. You will be instantly taken to the Falling Leaves Beading Challenge album, and to vote, please scroll through the images and then "Like" the design you prefer. Make sure to hit "like" on the actual photo you prefer, not the entire album. 

Drum roll please.............
10 Finalists
(in alphabetical order)
Entry #1 Designer: Susie Bedell

Entry #2 Designer: Nancy Dale

Entry #3 Designer: Amelia Davenport

Entry #4 Designer: Carrie Grabowicz

Entry #5 Designer: Kristie Jones

Entry #6 Designer: Brenda Killackey-Jones

Entry #7 Designer: Cortney Phillips

Entry #8 Designer: Kim Shaver

Entry #9 Designer: Sherri Stokey

Entry #10 Designer: Una Valtere

Make sure to get your vote in early! Voting closes Tuesday November 1st at 4pm PDT. The winner will be announced on Thursday November 3rd and will receive a $50 Beadaholique gift certificate!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BTW: Bead Table Wednesday 10/26/11

Julie's Table
This week on my table is a bead woven toggle clasp I just created. I always have a hard time finding the right clasp for my bead weaving projects, so this week I was inspired to make one! The base is a 20mm quick links round and I am using size 11/0 and 15/0 seed beads. It's a technique which combines brick and peyote stitches. I am taping a video right now showing how to make this, it's so much fun I think I will make a bead weaving project which somehow uses two toggles in the design!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quick Tip Tuesday: Removing Diamond Glaze from Glass

Being a huge fan of photo collage jewelry and any other artistic form where I can turn paper and images into art, I am also a big fan of glass cabochons and diamond glaze. Diamond Glaze is my medium of choice for adhering the images to glass cabochons

However, there can be a frustrating aspect to using these two together - if the Diamond Glaze accidently smears onto the top side of the glass and fully dries, it can be difficult to get it off. Unlike white glues which just peel off, Diamond Glaze acts almost like a nail polish and creates a lacquer-like (and very hard) streak. The solution? Perhaps unsurpisingly, you can use nail polish remover to get it off.

All you need to do is take a clean Q-Tip and dip the tip in a bottle of nail polish. Gently rub the saturated tip over the area of dried Diamond Glaze that you want to remove. Swipe it back and forth gently several times until you have removed the glaze. Wipe the top of the glass with a clean cloth when finished.

- Julie

Friday, October 21, 2011

Falling Leaves Beading Contest - Just 6 Days Left To Enter!

To all those who have submitted their beautiful designs to our Falling Leaves beading contest, a HUGE thank you! We have received some absolutely beautiful submissions.

If you want to enter, there is still time. The last day to submit your project is next Wednesday, October 26th. The 10 finalists will be announced on Friday, October 28th and public voting will begin. A winner will be announced on Thursday, November 5th! 

Winner will receive a $50 Beadaholique gift certificate! 

For a complete list of rules, details, and how to enter, please click here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

BTW: Bead Table Wednesday 10/19/11

Julie's Table

Crystal Clay! Have you tried this stuff? It is a two-part epoxy clay which is so easy to use and comes in 17 different colors. No firing, baking, or sealing is needed as the clay cures on its own in less then a day. I like that the Crystal Clay actually comes with a pair of gloves to use as this stuff tends to be pretty sticky. So far this week I have made compacts, rings, purse hangers, and more. I keep trying to think of new ways to use the clay - some free-form shapes, beads, and bails are coming to mind! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Beadaholique is Vintaj's November 2011 Online Bead Partner!


We are very excited and proud to announce that the creative team over at Vintaj has chosen Beadaholique to be the their very first Online Bead Partner!

Charming Discoveries Project

As you can see in many of our free projects, we are big fans of Vintaj. With their wide range of hundreds of products stemming from altered blanks, to filigrees, to charms and chains (and everything in between), Vintaj has become a staple for many designers, us included! Their innovative pieces feed one's creativity.  Whether you are looking for a focal piece, special clasp, journal page, or ornate bead cap, Vintaj always has that special element to turn an ordinary piece of jewelry into something extraordinary.

Our latest Vintaj obsession is the Vintaj Big Kick machine by Sizzix, which has special etching and embossing plates to use with metal blanks. The machine is extremely easy to use and the results are pretty amazing. The first time we used it, we looked at each other and said “Wow! Did that machine really just do that? It was so simple!” To make the etched and embossed images pop, it just takes a few swipes of the Vintaj Relief Block.

If you have yet to check out the Vintaj blog, you must do so! Get ready to be inspired when you click on the “Idea Gallery” link which is full of projects, many with step-by-step instructions. Also learn tips and new techniques; see new product announcements, contests you can enter, and more. The Vintaj blog is constantly updated and Jess Italia-Lincoln adds a personal touch to her posts and shares her words of wisdom. 

A big thank you to Vintaj for choosing us as their first Online Bead Partner! Over the years, Vintaj and Beadaholique have worked together, sending beads and projects back and forth. We have gotten to know many of the team members at Vintaj and can say with certainty what a great group they are. It is such a joy to see their line expand and new innovations emerge. Thanks Vintaj!

- Julie 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Inspiration Monday: Pearls

Freshwater Pearl Mix
Pearls are a classic and timeless jewelry design element. Usually they are paired with a formal or tailored outfit, but as seen with the Tin Cup necklace, they can be dressed down as well. If you are a jewelry designer who is stumped and looking for a burst of inspiration, challenge yourself to do something creative using one of the many sizes, shapes, colors, and styles of pearls available. 

Most people think of pearls and instantly envision a classic single row of round white pearls knotted together to form a necklace. While this is a lovely piece of jewelry, pearls offer so much more fuel for your creative fire.  

Available in colors ranging from neutral tones of pale cream, golds and browns all the way up to vibrant peacock hues like purple, green, and blue, pearls blend well with any color palette. Further expanding your design choices, pearls come in all sizes and shapes - including unusual shapes such as stick, coin, potato, keishi, and faceted. 

Swarovski Petrol Crystal Pearl

Some designers prefer not to deal with the natural variations characteristic of freshwater pearls.  For the perfectionist, beautifully uniform Swarovski faux pearls are availble in dozens of colors in rounds, pear shapes, twists, baroques, and even half pearl cabochons. Newly released is the vibrant "Petrol Crystal Pearl" color - a striking deep blue. Since underneath the glowing, natural looking coating is genuine Austrian Swarovski Crystal, you know these pearls will stand up to the test of time and wear. 

To inspire you on your designing journey, here are a few of the projects we have come up with using pearls: 

Vintage Wedding Necklace: Here we have used Swarovski faux pearls, Baroque shape, in Vintage Gold. Since the pearls were used sparingly, this does not look like a "pearl necklace" but instead a romantic interpretation of a vintage wedding which happens to use a few pearls as a carefully chosen design element.

Classic 16" Knotted Pearl Necklace: This is the classic! So simple yet so pretty. Round white pearls have been knotted using Griffin Silk and attached to a sleek gold box clasp. If you like this style but want a less formal look, try using some vibrantly colored pearls or even some unusually shaped ones. Pearl knotting is an addictive jewelry making technique, which to me feels very relaxing, much like knitting. 

A Midsummer's Night Necklace: taking full advantage of the vibrant heliotrope purple cultured coin pearls, this necklace is bursting with life. This same necklace design would have been very interesting to see in peacock blue coin pearls. It would have muted down the boldness of the piece but still have kept it's originality and uniqueness. 

I think my next pearl project will use some stick pearls paired with a mixed-media resin piece, something organic and salvaged looking. What will you make?

- Julie 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Give Handmade Gifts this Holiday Season!

As hard as it is to believe, the holidays are almost here! Halloween candy has been on the shelves for over a month now at the supermarket, and warehouse stores already have Christmas decorations for sale.  Despite the deluge of commercial goods available,  I think we all are feeling cost-conscious this year, so why not make some gifts instead of buying them!

Jewelry is an excellent gift to give and one which is always appreciated.  It can be worn year-round which also adds to its attractiveness as a gift.  It can also be extra personal if you incorporate a photo or a particularly poignant quote into the piece.

Besides, making the jewelry, alone or with others, is just as fun as giving it.  You can create lasting memories with your children by having them help with some of the designing and simpler steps (under adult supervision of course).

Here are a few great gift ideas and some videos to help you get started:

We have also just created a Gift Center on the Beadaholique website. From Quick & Easy Crafts to Under $20 Projects, from Fun & Funky to  Easy & Elegant Jewelry - there are great ideas for everyone on your list and to fit every budget.  Check back often to our Gift Center as we are constantly adding new projects, ideas, and videos!

Remember to let all your friends and family know that you handmade their gift - they will treasure it even more!

- Julie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BTW: Bead Table Wednesday 10/12/11

Andrea's Table
On my bead table today is a strand of Czech seed beads, spelling out the word "bye", accompanied by a glass cabochon in the shape of a heart, and a sad face of Miyuki cubes with a chalcedony briolette for a nose.  It is with a very heavy heart that I have to announce my departure from Beadaholique.  Due to health issues, I have had to make the difficult decision to move back to my home state of Michigan so that I may be closer to my family.  However, I will very greatly miss my "family" here.  The past two years have been incredible; not only did I get to have my dream job, designing jewelry for a fantastic bead company, but also I have made SO many friends in the beading community.  I plan to continue beading wherever life takes me, and I will most certainly keep in touch!  Thank you, everyone, for two years of fun, inspiration, and camaraderie.  And thank you, Sarah, Chris, Julie, and everyone here at Beadaholique... for everything, from the bottom of my heart.  Love Always, Andrea

Julie's Table
On my bead table is the brand new Vintaj special edition Big Kick machine by Sizzix along with some of the stamping blanks I have already embossed and etched. I am having such fun playing with this new gizmo, I feel like a kid again and am constantly smiling in amazement at how easy it is to use and how great the results are. Tomorrow I will be making a series of 4 videos showing how to use the machine itself, how to etch, how to emboss, and how to add finishing touches to your pieces to really make the designs "pop". As happy as I am to be trying out the long awaited Vintaj Big Kick, I am so sorry to see Andrea leave. It has been such a delight to work with her and to learn from her awesome beading skills. We plan to stay in touch and I can't wait to see where her journey takes her! Lots of love and happy wishes to Andrea! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Inspiration Monday: Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It is a time when adults get to be kids again and kids get to become their favorite heroes for a day. It is a time of merriment, laughter, and dreaming. The world is transformed and suddenly the scary is wonderful and the odd is celebrated. 

Most historians conclude that what we today call Halloween started as an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. During Samhain, villagers would wear costumes and light fires to scare off ghosts. Pope Gregory III in the eighth century declared that November 1st was All Saints Day and he incorporated many of the traditions of Samhain into this holiday. However, All Saints Day was not to ward off ghosts but instead meant to celebrate saints and martyrs. The actual name "Halloween" did not pop up until the 16th century and was a Scottish variation on All-Hallows-Even - meaning the night before All Hallows Day (also meaning All Saints Day). Our traditional ideas of Halloween with children trick-or-treating and candy are all modern conventions - coming about in the late 19th and early 20th century. 

Are you dressing up this year, or helping make a costume for a friend or loved one? If you are, one of the easiest ways to instantly make it "pop" is to add some fabulous accessories. We have created a couple of "costume" inspired designs to spark your creativity. This first set is based upon the character of the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland:

Here is a fantastic necklace titled "Spider Queen" and would look great on a witch, gothic gal, or vampire this Halloween: 
If you're not dressing up this Halloween but want to show some festive spirit, try out one of these fun designs: 

You can find all the project instructions and ingredients for these spooky creations on our Free Beading Projects page. 

Have a happy and safe Halloween! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Beadaholique Beading Contest: Falling Leaves

We are very excited to announce the first ever Beadaholique beading contest! Enter a photo of your original jewelry design for a chance to win a $50 Beadaholique Gift Certificate and lots of exposure on our blog and Facebook page. The theme is "Falling Leaves" and you can interpret that however you like, let your creativity and inspiration flow! Just make sure to use at least 1 item from Beadaholique and follow the contest rules

From all the entries we will narrow it down to 10 finalists, all of whom will have their entry pieces published on the Beadaholique blog and Facebook page. There will then be public voting to decide the winner. 

We can't wait to see all what everyone comes up with! 

Here are some important dates to keep in mind: 
  • Wednesday, October 26 4 PM PDT: Last day to submit
  • Friday, October 28 @ 1 PM PDT: Top 10 will be posted on our Facebook and notified via email
  • Tuesday, November 1 @ 4 PM PDT: Public voting closes
  • Thursday, November 3: Winner is announced in the next issue of The Beading Wire and notified via email.
Click here for a complete list of rules, deadlines, and more specifics. 
Happy Beading!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BTW: Bead Table Wednesday 10/4/11

Andrea's Table
Today, on my beading table, I have... BEAD WEAVING!  What a big surprise!  With the holidays right around the corner, I couldn't resist teaching myself a new weave (flat spiral, I LOVE IT), and working up a very Christmas-y bracelet, complete with an adorable Christmas wreath toggle clasp from Tierra Cast.  How-to video soon to come!

Julie's Table
On my table today I am working on quick and easy craft items which you can give as gifts this holiday season. I have a romantic bookmark and a pretty butterfly Aanraku bezel key ring. I am thinking that my next project will be some beaded eye glass holders and maybe an ornament or pair of holiday earrings.
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