Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review and Give Away: Ring A Day by Marthe Le Van GIVE AWAY ENDED 3/5

For an entire year, a group of jewelers set out to create a ring every single day.  No matter what their day had in store, or where they happened to spend it, they challenged themselves to produce some sort of ring and post a photo of it to a flickr page.

What began as a small group spread like wildfire, and the endeavor resulted in an amazing community of artists, who shared in a year of creative growth and camaraderie.  In Ring a Day, Marthe Le Van introduces the project and then takes the reader on a photographic journey through the year's projects.

The photos are amazing.  The range of techniques and materials used is astonishing.  There are beautiful metal worked pieces, and there are rings made from paper, from food, even from dryer lint.  Then there are conceptual rings, that aren't rings at all!  Photos capture ring shapes in nature, plants wrapped around a finger while still planted in the ground, and a line of glitter glued around a finger, just to mention a few.

The creativity of these jewelers was stretched by the daily exercise, and looking through the resulting project is incredibly inspiring.  Perusing this book reminds you to think creatively, to look at the objects around you and imagine the way they could be turned into something more.

Are you excited to take a look?  To get inspired and create your own batch of rings?  One lucky reader will win a copy of Ring a Day, as well as a collection of ten assorted ring findings from Beadaholique! The different sizes and shapes will allow your imagination to run free!

To win this great book and ring findings, simply leave a comment on this blog post. Tell us about your favorite type of ring, rings you have made, or simply say "pick me."  Giveaway ends on Monday, March 5th, at 4 PM PST and a winner will be chosen at random from the comments.

Please leave only 1 comment per person and don't comment anonymously, or you can't win! All the terms and conditions for Beadaholique giveaways and contests apply. See HERE for official rules.

Good Luck!!

- Megan

Beadaholique is on Pinterest!

If you have not explored Pinterest before, then I must start this blog off with an apology. I am sorry that I am about to introduce you to something that can lead to obsession, can steal hours from your day, and will bring you fits of happiness (not to mention some serious giggles too).  

Some Pinterest Boards!

Pinterest is a world unto itself, yet its function is to bring all the content in the cyber world together.  Pinterest is an online bulletin board where you can organize and "pin" all the pretty, unusual, unique, crazy, awe-inspiring, and creative things you see online onto boards you have created to keep them neat and tidy.  You can also check out boards created by other people and "repin" items that they like, thus adding them to your board. Once you get the hang of it, you will love how you finally have a central location to organize all those things you love.  

We are excited to announce that now you can follow Beadaholique on Pinterest and see what items we are adding to our boards - they include cool new products, free projects, tutorials, color schemes we like, fashion inspirations, and cool stuff we find on the internet and just have to share!  Here are the boards we currently have:  

Tutorials: We have created an entire board for our tutorials! 

Neat New Stuff: We are constantly getting new products in at Beadaholique. We love them all but some products really stand out as something truly amazing. So when one of these products comes in or causes a stir in the receiving department, we are pinning them to this board.  


St. Patrick's Day and Easter Boards: Holiday inspiration at its best! We will try and make a new board for each holiday. In addition to beads, supplies, and projects, we are also pinning things like drool-worthy green key lime cupcakes and smores made out of peeps.  


 Julie's Favorites: These are all the favorite pins of designer Julie Bean. You will notice a lot of Steampunk, vintage inspired jewelry, bead weaving, and even "geek" items in here.  


Megan's Favorites: Here you will see all the favorites of designer Megan Patton. Think romance, pink, rock and roll, geek chic, and glam when looking at her board.


Esther's Favorites: Esther Lee, our Senior Merchandising and Inventory Operations Manager, also known as the gal who wears many hats, works crazy hard, and who is sweet as can be, has her favorites pinned to this board. She too loves Steampunk and has a fondness for chain maille, robots, and geekery.  


Sarah's Favorites: President and Co-Founder of Beadaholique, Sarah Diamond has pinned her favorite items here. Sarah's pins are lovely and classic, many imbued with vintage elegance. From her pins, you can tell she likes items which are unique and highly detailed or tell stories like the vintage record charms she insisted that we buy in Tucson, or the hand-painted Golem pendants she has selected.  


Wedding Ideas: If you are getting married or make wedding jewelry, this would be a board to check out. We have inspiring jewelry making supplies as well as great DIY projects and ideas we have seen throughout the web.


Steampunk: Steampunk is a retelling of history as if everything was powered by steam - so think cogs, gears, clock works, trains, and more. It has definite undertones of the Victorian era and the colors are muted and subdued, adding to its esthetic appeal.  


Color Inspirations: Check out this board if you are starting a new project and not sure of your color scheme. There are a wealth of ideas in here. Choose your favorite and then pick your beads to match!

Fashion Inspirations: Fashion and jewelry design go hand in hand. We have collected some of what we consider to be the most inspiring fashions here on this board.  

Other Boards to check out: Vintage Jewelry, Art Inspirations, Vintage Prints, and of course, Kittens

Join us on Pinterest to see all the additional pins that we add daily. As we think of them, we will also be adding new boards full of new pins and new inspirations. We would love to hear about your Pinterest experiences--we sure are having fun! 

- Julie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Artist Profile: Megan Patton

Megan, Dress by Megan
We have a new designer here at Beadaholique!  For months and months we searched for just the right person who was creative, crafty, enterprising, organized and, most of all, loved to bead! We needed someone who was not afraid to try new things, who delighted in tangled strands of awesomeness, and would want to wax eloquently about how to bead and what inspires them. We had honestly almost given up hope and then a delightful little polymer cupcake popped onto our computer screens. Intrigued, we dove further into the website and portfolio of Megan Patton and invited her in for a chat.

Megan is a joy to work with; her laughter and cheery spirit are infectious. Her designs are so very pretty and constantly have us saying "Wow, I would not have thought of that!" - which is exactly what you want in a designer.  We are thrilled that Megan is part of our team and proud to introduce her here. Below is a series of questions we asked Megan so that you can get to know her better. Happy Reading!

Polymer Clay Cupcakes
Q.  How did you get interested in beading/jewelry making?

A.  I have always been crafty, and would receive craft supplies for presents quite often.  One year for my birthday, my mom bought me an organizer full of beads and jewelry making supplies.  I was hooked!  I was in high school at the time, and I remember that all of my friends got beaded jewelry for their birthdays that year.

Q.  What is your educational background in the arts?  

A.  I have a bachelor's degree in theatre and I also attended fashion school.  Most of my education has been focused on visual, practical, and performing arts.  But I have been an avid self-teacher my whole life.  When I want to learn how to do something new, I learn what I can from books and tutorials, and I wing it!

Go Go Girl Costume by Megan
Q.  How would you describe your design aesthetic?

A.  I love delicate, feminine, dainty, simple jewelry with beautiful details.  I love vintage style and pops of color.  I also go for quirky, fun designs that indulge my (not-so-inner) child.

Q.  What inspires your creative process?

A.  I love to look through the materials that are available to me to get inspiration.  I see a particular component and start to imagine all the ways I could use it.  I also tend to get some of my better ideas when I'm not trying to.  I get struck with ideas when I'm falling asleep or doing everyday things.  They're like little creative gifts from my subconscious.

Q.  Who inspires you/your creative process?

A.  My family is incredibly creative.  My father is a graphic artist and musician, my mother is an artist and illustrator, my step-mother is an artist and cake-decorator, my sister used to dance professionally, and my brother is a musician.  Frankly, they would probably have been disappointed if I had decided to be an accountant.  Coming from a family like mine nurtured every creative impulse I had growing up and has inspired me to always follow my creative passions.

Q.  Do you work best in chaos or an orderly workspace?

A.  I tend to create clutter.  I think it's just something that comes with being artistic.  I try to battle the clutter as much as I can, because it makes it hard for me to focus.  I'll usually leave things a bit messy, but then clean up before I start the next project, so that I have a fresh space to begin in.

Knitting Keychain

Q.  What are your current favorite materials to use for making jewelry?

A.  I work a lot with polymer clay, making miniature cupcakes and other sweets.  I think it's amazingly versatile.  I also love seed beads, and intricate bead weaving.

Q.  Is there a jewelry-making technique that you are currently intrigued by?

A.  I've only dabbled in resin work, and I'm starting to experiment and play with what it can do.  I love the idea of sculpting original components in clay, making a mold, and then casting them in resin.

Megan & Kris
Q.  Is there a jewelry-making technique that you haven’t tried yet but want to try/learn/use?

A.  I haven't worked much with metal.  I want to get more into wire wrapping and stamping.

Q.  Are you or have you been actively involved in creating work in artistic media other than jewelry?

A.  Yes!  I have been sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidering since a very young age.  I've done fashion design, theatrical costume and make up design, writing, acting, illustration, and even millinery.

Q.  What is the favorite piece of jewelry or art that you own?

A.  My favorite piece of jewelry is my engagement ring.  It's absolutely gorgeous, and it means the world to me - just like the man who gave it to me.

Q.  Who is your favorite jewelry designer/artist?

A.  Faryn Davis.  She does amazing things with resin!  She does hand painted pieces and found object pieces that are just incredible.  One of my other favorite pieces of jewelry is my Faryn Davis necklace.  It was the first gift my fiance gave me.

Pink Cupcake Illustration on Zazzle
Q.  Are there other areas of your life that you feel are or have been enriched by your creation of jewelry?

A.  Being creative makes me feel more myself.  It enriches my entire life experience.  It has also enables me to handcraft gifts for my loved-ones, which reminds them how much I care about them.

Q.  Is there someplace people can see/purchase jewelry or artwork that you have made, other than 

A.  I sell my cupcake jewelry on and a variety of jewelry, accessories, and apparel in my etsy shop: MyCatHatesYou.  I'm currently working on a new etsy shop, MaeMaeMills.  I'm really excited about some of the new directions that my work is going in, and I'm looking forward to getting it up and running.  I also have a huge number of items on CafePress and Zazzle that sport my little pink cupcake illustration.

Polymer Clay Donut Charm Bracelet

Monday, February 27, 2012

Get the Look - Shambhala Bracelets

Diamond encrusted bracelet by Shamballa Jewels
Have you been seeing shambhala bracelets everywhere? I know I have!

On Princess Mary of Denmark! (Source)
On Celebrities Like Paris Hilton (Source)

Shambhala bracelets were originally inspired by ancient Tibetan prayer bracelets, but they have come a long way.  The basic style is a cord bracelet with macrame knotting and features some type of bead tied into the knot work.  From the inexpensive gift shop variety made out of plastic to top of the line luxury versions made with diamond encrusted beads, this style of bracelet is certainly hot.

The high end shambhala bracelets, like this one by Shamballa Jewels, available at London Jewelers, are gorgeous but can come with a hefty price tag.  If, like me, you'd prefer to reserve your life savings for, oh, a nice condominium somewhere, you can get this look for much less.  Follow our step-by-step Shambhala Bracelet Project tutorial to make your own!

Make this Bracelet!

Beadelle crystal pave beads are a great substitution for diamond encrusted orbs, and still look fantastic.  I used them in my version of a shambhala bracelet, which is made with macrame square knots.  This bracelet is so easy to make - but don't tell your friends that when they beg you to make them one!  Unsure how to make a square knot?  Check out this video!   You will also need to know how to finish off a macrame knotting project, which you can learn about here.

And finally, here is our video on How to Make a Sliding Knot Clasp to close your bracelet.

You'll be thrilled with how your shambhala bracelet turns out!  I love to wear accessories that sparkle, and this piece definitely fits the bill! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spotlight Saturday: Tila Bead Bracelet, Winter's Chill Earrings, and an Art Deco Connector

Welcome to our first ever spotlight Saturday! Each Saturday we will pick a new video, free beading project, and product to feature. We hope this section inspires your designs and gives you lots of ideas to play with. Enjoy!

Featured Video: How To Bead Weave An Openwork Style Tila Bead Bracelet 
This video shows a great use for Tila Beads which are so popular right now! Simple to do yet the results will have your friends saying "how did you do that?"

Featured Project: Winter's Chill Earrings

Winter's Chill Earrings
Aquamarine Swarovski Crystal rondelles and baroque pendants combine to make these pretty chandelier drop earrings. Great for day or night! Click here for the free how-to instructions!

Featured Product: Antique Silver Plated Art Deco Connector Links
Art Deco Inspired Connector Link
These connector links are so pretty and versatile. Connect several together to make a bracelet or simply hang one from an earring hook with a little crystal dangle below. They measure 28mm long, a great size for a multitude of projects. I love their ornate surface and vintage detailing. 

Quick Tip: Turn these connector links into bails using bail making pliers. Check out the video below to see how. 

 - Julie 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beading Contest: Love is in the Air Finalists

Thank you so much to everyone who entered Beadaholique's Love is in the Air beading contest!  We had a fantastic response with a record number of entries.  Here are our top 10 finalists (in alphabetical order by last name): 

"I Carry Your Heart" by Denise Brown 
"Letter From Paris" by Chiara Cattaruzza

"Chocolate Passion Chandelier Earrings" by Joella Fostermatt

"Key to My Heart" by Carrie Grabowicz

"My Heart Soars" by Nancy Hatcher

"A Charmed Bouquet" by Amber Hohman

"Wings of Love" by Cheri Mendieta

"Lots of Love" by Georgia Sotiriou

"Purple Passion" by Donna Woodward

"The Queen's Heart" by Nadezhda Yehurnova

To vote for your favorite design, please go to Beadaholique's Facebook page and "like" the design you like best. You will need to "like" the actual photo in the gallery and not the entire gallery itself for your vote to count. Public voting ends Tuesday February 28th at 4pm PST. 

Best of luck to all!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BTW: Beading Table Wednesday 2/22/12

Julie's Table

The project in the forefront of my table is a whimsical double square pendant necklace featuring storybook images of Alice In Wonderland. The fun secret to this necklace is that it is reversible and there is another set of images on the backside. The ingredients next to the necklace are for a St. Patty's Day themed project. I just love the large olive jade serpentine four leaf clovers yet I can't decide if they should me made into a bracelet or a necklace. 

Megan's Table

On my table today are some of the fantastic new components from Tierra Cast. I love their black finish, so I've been playing around with some of the new items that are available to see what I can come up with. I love the way that colors stand out against the dark metal, really showcasing the accents that I'm using. I especially love the way that resort colors like coral and turquoise look with the black finish. These are colors that are huge right now, so I love finding new ways to make them stand out.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Inspiration Monday - Butter Bridal Shoes

I am in the middle of planning my wedding, so quite a lot of my free time goes to looking at pretty things on the internet.  It's really not a bad way to spend time, and I keep running into ideas and images that inspire me to create.  

One of my favorite things that I have come across in my wedding web travels is Butter Bridal Shoes.  I was stunned by this collection of gorgeous, retro style shoes.  Most of the shoes in this collection are adorned with fantastic embellishments on the toes, such as flowers, crystals, or bows - my favorite!

I was inspired by the definitive style that all of these shoes exude.  I want to make bridal jewelry to match!

But more than matching jewelry, I was inspired to make something that could add that kind of flair to all of my everyday shoes.  I've been seeing shoe clips around a lot (which I mentioned in a post last month) and these shoes made me want to get to work on trying my hand at my own shoe embellishments.

I made several pairs of shoe clips, but the pair most directly inspired by Butter Bridal Shoes were these Bridal Bow Shoe Clips, below.  I loved all of the bows and wanted to bring an elegant, shimmery touch to them in my take on a bridal shoe clip.

Since I found the Bridal by Butter line, I've been trying to justify the hefty price tag in my small wedding budget.  But my bridal shoe clips turned out so nicely, I think I may just make myself a pair for my wedding day!

You can check out all of my shoe clip projects on our website and get step by step instructions for making your own pair!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Artist Profile: Ana Luisa Remelgado Gomes - Bead Artist and Jewels of January Contest Winner

Jewels of January Contest Winner: Ana Luisa Remelgado Gomes

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Ana and I’m 23. I’m from Portugal, living very close to the shore with my mother, my younger sister and our silly but loving 2-year-old cat. I’m a landscape architecture student; I’ve finished my graduation this past month and am now aiming for a master’s degree. My hobbies include reading, writing, role-playing, biking, beach/park walking, drawing, and of course, jewelry making.

How did you get interested in beading/jewelry making?

It was actually my boyfriend who suggested to me jewelry making as a new hobby, around 4 years ago. I was trying to improve my high school grades so I could get into college. I also used to dance, however, successive injuries kept preventing me from devoting myself to such activity. I was going through a hard time and in need of something else to keep me busy besides studying – something that wouldn’t require too much of me in a physical way. He knew I used to spend hours browsing online handmade jewelry galleries and threw the idea. And so, in the following months, I would be falling in love with jewelry making as a form of therapy, which helped me in letting my body and mind fully heal. I had to put it all aside when I got into college, because my course was too time consuming, but a few months ago I was able to revive it and here I am!


What are your favorite materials to use in jewelry making? 

That’s quite a hard question! Not sure if I can nominate just a few. Czech glass beads, pearls, lucite flowers and cabochons, Swarovski crystals, organza, vintage findings, artistic wire… I’m crazy for a lot of different materials and I love combining them – and thus playing with different textures. I would also like to have a try at resin and clay sometime in the future!

Who or what inspires your creative process? What inspired your winning design?

Jewels of January Winning Design!
As a landscape architecture student and a nature lover (not to say an actual tree-hugger!), I am always inspired by Mother Nature and the wonders she has to show and give. During my course, I’ve been taught to observe landscape at a higher level, and to try to understand it along with its components. So, to me, jewelry making takes it even further, as I always seek to deliver an ethereal, natural meaning to each piece I create. It’s like a form of meditation on all the natural wonders out there, be it single trees or flowers, scenery, ecosystems, or even a few natural phenomena. For this contest, I was inspired by an imaginary landscape of a dormant, snow-covered forest, dipped in chilling white-bluish hues of a cold winter night. It is something I have never really been able to watch, excluding in pictures, movies, or Christmas postcards. In other words, ‘Iced Forest’ represents kind of a wintery fantasy of mine.

Is there somewhere people can see/purchase your work?

I do have a couple of online sources where I display all my work and everyone is more than welcome to visit! But as I am still quite new to this huge, wonderful world of jewelry making, those sources are nothing more than my blog and my Facebook page. Also, portuguese is my main business language at the moment, but now that I have a few non-portuguese followers, I am currently working on this language issue. Besides, my next plans include opening an Etsy store (I didn’t want to take the risk and invest when I wasn’t sure of my possibilities) and a more versatile, accessible new website.
For now, feel free to browse my work through:

And I’ll be sure to let you know when I get my next steps sorted! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Swarovski Demo Project in Tucson - The Urban Gauntlet Bracelet

When I was in Tucson for the big Gem and Mineral Show, I had the pleasure of teaching a jewelry making demonstration at the Swarovski Crystal Event. I have always enjoyed teaching and felt honored to be included in this event. The project I designed for the event was the Urban Gauntlet Bracelet which combined the elegance of Swarovski Crystals with the industrial strength of heavy gauge, textured antique silver chain.  


We had over 150 people watch the demo. We also gave out Beadaholique goody bags with notebooks, pens, and measuring tapes. I think everyone enjoyed the project and instruction, i know I sure did! 

This bracelet's band has the look of a complicated chain maille technique. I am a huge fan of chain maille, but for this project, I wanted the look of this age-old technique without the complex calculations and huge time investment. By taking a cut length of chain (comprised of open links) and attaching them together with separated chain links, I was able to achieve a chain maille look that could be created in very little time with little effort (and no math!). Here is an instructional video showing the technique: 

In case you were not able to make it to Tucson, we have put together a free beading project for the Urban Gauntlet Bracelet. You can find it by the following the link HERE


Did you go to Tucson and take some classes or watch some demos? We would love to hear your stories.
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