Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beading Contest: Back to Nature Finalists

Thanks so much to all who entered our Back to Nature contest!  We receive so many fantastic entries these days and it's getting harder and harder to choose just 10 finalists each month.  After much deliberation, here are our top 10 finalists (in alphabetical order by last name):

I'd as Lief by Laura R. Castano

Budding in the Sun by Cassandra Leigh Colgan

Ocean Renewal of Life by Hana Harman

Dreaming of the Sea by Penny S. Harman

Sea Breeze by Melinda Kadar

Flight of Love by Jessica Klaaren

Oregon Coast by Janny Perry

Mother Earth by Jelena Saveljeva

Autumn Morning by Paulene Shirykalova

Bronze Tree of Life by Dianne Whelan

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 May 1st at 4pm PDT.

Best of luck to all!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quick Tip Tuesday: How to Easily String Beads on 1mm Satin Rattail Cord

Satin Rattail Cord - Lilac Purple Mix
Most of my quick tips come out of solutions I have found to problems that i am having with my jewelry designs. This tip is no exception.

I have been braiding a lot of Kumihimo lately and recently started making beaded Kumihimo braids. It is very easy to add beads to Super-Lon Cord if you want to make a beaded Kumihimo piece which uses Super-Lon, but what if you want your entire piece to be made of Satin Rattail Cord? It seems impossible to get appropriately sized beads strung onto this thick cord.

Challenges: The satin rattail is too flexible and thick to easily string a bead directly onto it. When you try to push the bead onto the cord, the ends fray and it becomes even more challenging. If you thread a big eye needle with the cord, you are then forced to double the cord and it becomes way too thick. Ugh! 

Solution: Take a small amount of white glue and place it on your finger tip. Pick up the tail end of your 1mm satin rattail cord and spread the glue over the end, covering at least 1/2". Smoosh the glue into the fibers and then draw out to form a sleek, even end. If you can, make it so the end comes to a point (much like what you do when you clean off your paint brush). Let dry. You just made a glue needle. It will now be stiff, compacted, and will not fray - allowing you to easily slip size 6/0 seed beads onto the 1mm satin rattail.  

If you have larger beads, you can use this same technique with the 2mm and 3mm satin rattail cords.  

Happy Beading!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cuckoo for Quick Links

Sometimes I find a new product that I love and I get a little obsessed.  Beadalon Quick Links are one such product.  I found them, and their super handy little connectors, when I started designing here at Beadaholique, and was so excited by the endless creative possibilities they presented.  Since then, I've been using them constantly!

Quick Links come in both silver plated and gold plated varieties, and in a large selection of shapes and sizes.  You can link them together, wire wrap them, weave beads onto them - just let your creativity run free and you'll find endless ways to put them to use!  And just as their name implies, they are really quick to work with.

In this video, How to Use Beadalon Quick Links and Connectors, you'll get a quick overview of these handy little products and how they go together.

To give you an idea of how fast and easy it can be to create with Quick Links, here are a couple of projects that I whipped up using the links and connectors.  It was amazing how quick they were to make.  Check out the Mod Circles Bracelet and Two of Hearts Earrings projects for step by step instructions and see for yourself how simple they are.

Mod Circles Bracelet
Two of Hearts Earrings

Crystal Comet Earrings
Quick Links can also be used as a foundation for other types of jewelry making, such as in these gorgeous Crystal Comet Earrings that Julie made.  In this project, she wire wrapped the Quick Links together and wire wrapped some fabulous Swarovski Crystal beads onto them.  You can find the instructions for them on our free projects page as well.

Quick Links are such a fun and versatile tool.  I'm constantly thinking of new ways to use them!  What would you like to make with them?


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

BTW: Beading Table Wednesday 4/18/12

Julie's Table 

My addiction to Kumihimo continues this week, this time I am trying to master a flat 10-warp braid on a square Kumihimo disk. I must admit that this was not as "zen" like to me as the round braid to start with, but then once I finally "saw" the pattern, I was again hooked! If you are learning this technique, be patient and at some point everything will click and it becomes oh so fun! 

Megan's Table 

Well, it took a little while, but I've finally caught the chain maille bug! I've never tried my hand at chain maille before, and I think I'm addicted. I played around with a few of the basic patterns and then decided that I absolutely had to master the dragonscale! It was quite a challenge, but I must say, the results are worth the painstakingly slow progress. What a beautiful piece - even if it is only two inches long so far. I can't wait to see how it turns out. Stay tuned for a dragonscale video tutorial!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Artist Profile: Serena Garland winner of The Wearing of the Green Contest

We asked Serena Garland, winner of March's The Wearing of the Green Beading Contest, to tell us a little more about herself. Read all about her journey below. 

Tell Us About Yourself:  

My name is Serena Garland, I am 50 years old. I have a son Nick, a daughter Lora and a granddaughter Katherine. In addition to making jewelry, I also love to paint. My favorite subjects to paint are butterflies, birds and flowers. I do most of my paintings in watercolors and acrylics. I live in Harrogate, Tennessee, on 80 acres, where I am surrounded by nature. Every day I see deer and wild turkeys grazing in the fields outside my window. 

Serena's Winning Piece
How did you get interested in beading/jewelry making?

As a young girl I can remember removing the covering from a telephone wire and using the smaller colored wires inside to fashion bracelets, rings and necklaces. My serious leap into making jewelry started about a year ago. My wrist is very small and I had purchased a bracelet that I loved, but it kept slipping onto my hand. I finally thought, how hard could it be to take it apart and make it fit? Long story short, I did it and it occurred to me that I could make more of my own bracelets to fit. I ordered about a dozen books on jewelry-making that interested me and educated myself on as many techniques as my abilities would allow. Even though I have now made hundreds of pieces, I still try to learn new things to incorporate into my work. Beadaholique has a wealth of information that has helped me learn so many new things.  

What are your favorite materials to use in jewelry making?

Metal and wire are so intriguing to me. I find that I gravitate more to those materials than any others. You can be extra creative with wire, because it is so versatile. I have recently taken a class on wire-working and will be trying some new ways to use wire soon. Honestly, I love using things that most people would never think to use in jewelry, and nothing is really off-limits for me. 

Who or what inspires your creative process?  

Most of my inspiration comes from the materials themselves; they just seem to beckon me to be made into a particular piece. There is no preparation done on my part, I just sit down and look at the things before me and then I begin working. But truly, most of my inspiration comes from family and friends, their support and encouragement is what drives me to be creative. They have so much faith in me, that it keeps me motivated to work and improve on my abilities to create new and better pieces. I would like to especially thank my best friend, Melinda for all of her pushing to make me work in the beginning. Another special thank you to my son for his support.  


Is there somewhere people can see/purchase your work? 

As of this time, there is no place to see any of my work. The name of my company will be called “DaisyKat” and my son is in the process of creating a website for me. Hopefully, we should be up and running soon. I will also have an Etsy shop very soon.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spotlight Saturday: Beading Hoop Earrings, Lady By The Sea Earrings, & Swarovski Aqua AB 2X Bicones

Featured Video: How to Make a Pair of Earrings Using Beading Hoop Earrings 

This video was inspired by a customer's question about how to use beading hoop earrings. They look just like regular hoops but with a straight wire end instead of a bent tip. This makes it so you can VERY easily slide on your beads. Once you are happy with your assortment, all that is left is bending up the tip of the wire. Watch the video to see exactly how to do this.

Featured Project: Ladies By The Sea Earrings 

A pair of enchanting ladies lounge by the sea under magnifying glass tiles in these vintage style earrings accented with Indian Sapphire Swarovski Crystal beads. A perfect accessory for Summer. Click HERE for the free project instructions.  

Featured Product: Swarovski Crystal Bicone 3mm 'Aqua AB 2X' 

The color of these beads reminds me of the sun setting on the warm waters of Hawaii. They are so vibrant and fresh, perfect for adding that touch of sparkle to your beading projects.

- Julie 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BTW: Beading Table Wednesday 4/11/12

Julie's Table

I have joined the ranks of Kumihimo fans this week. I love it! I have two beaded Kumihimo projects on my table. One is a simple bracelet where I put 8/0 seed beads on each of the 8 warps and then the other project is a slightly more complicated necklace where I combined satin rattail, Super-Lon cord, Swarovski bicones, and seed beads. The braiding process is addictive, I just want to keep going, and going, and going..........

Megan's Table

I've been in the craft wire again, and it's all over my table this week. We've got some lovely new hair accessory findings, and I've been working out a way to make a stylized feather embellishment for a headband. As you can see, I've been practicing with my pin vise, twisting the square wire to give it an interesting look. Stay tuned for the tutorial and instructional videos!

Friday, April 6, 2012

April Beading Contest - Back to Nature

In honor of Earth Day on April 22, the theme for this month’s contest is “Back to Nature”—show your appreciation for the natural beauty of our planet and feature plants, animals or other “earthy” elements in your piece. So whether it’s birds and beesleaves, or even fish, your options are as vast as the Earth itself!  Check out our free beading projects and tutorials for some inspiration.
We will select 10 finalists from the contest entries, all of whom will have their work published here in our Beader’s Blog and on the Beadaholique Facebook page, for public voting. The winner will receive a $100 Beadaholique gift certificate and further exposure on our blog and Facebook page!
Rules/How to Enter:
Email us a clear, in focus, well-lit photo of a beading project which fits our theme and uses one or more products found at Beadaholique. Email one photo, at least 500 px in width or height but no bigger than 1600 px wide and 1600 px tall, to (do not use this for questions; contact us here) with the following included in your email:
Subject lineName of Piece tags: april2012 (Example: Curious Forest tags: april2012)
BodyVery important! Include your full name and email address within the body of your email. Optionally, you may also include a brief description of your piece.
Important Dates:
  • Tuesday, April 24 @ 4PM PT: Last day to submit
  • Thursday, April 26: Top 10 will be posted on our Facebook and notified via email. Public voting starts.
  • Tuesday, May 1 @ 4 PM PT: Public voting closes
  • Thursday, May 3: Winner is announced in the next issue of The Beading Wire and notified via email.
Other Rules:
One entry per person. If you send more than one entry, you may be disqualified. If your entry does not meet the “Rules/How to Enter” stated above, you may be disqualified. Winner must respond to our email notification within 2 weeks to claim gift certificate. No one person may win more than once every 3 months. By entering, you retain the rights to your original jewelry design but are giving Beadaholique, Inc. permission to use your submitted photo(s) on our websites, newsletter, Facebook, blog and other properties. The terms and conditions that apply to all Beadaholique contests and giveaways also apply here.
  • Send in a large, clear, and well-lit photo.
  • Try to use natural light to illuminate your photos.
  • Double check to make sure that your full name and email address are included in the body of your email. We continue to receive submissions with no contact information.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Giveaway! 10 Sets of 3 Swarovski Elements Inspiration Books and Magazine! THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. THANKS!

Salt Magazine: Spring/Summer 2012

Another chance to win fantastic free stuff!  If you love working with gorgeous, sparkling Swarovski Crystals, then you are going to go absolutely crazy over our giveaway of 2 inspiring books and a stunning magazine. These 3 full-color publications are packed with design ideas ranging from the simple and elegant to the extravagant and fantastical. Everything from crystal encrusted modern chairs, to handbags, necklaces, and clothing can be found within these pages. Here is your chance to be one of 10 lucky winners and win all 3 of these beautiful editions. Good Luck!

Fire & Ice: Creativity at the crossroads

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post. Next Wednesday, April 11th at 4pm PST, we will choose at random 10 lucky winners.

Each winner will receive one copy of each: Africa & Scandinavia: Fire & Ice, Design Expressions from Brazil & Russia, and Salt Magazine Spring/Summer 2012. All three publications are created by Swarovski Elements and showcase various artists' designs using Swarovski Crystal from around the world. 

Design Expressions from Brazil & Russia

Please just one entry comment per person and please abide by all Beadaholique contest and giveaway rules and conditions. Contest value: over $60.00!

Page 49: Brazil & Russia

Page 42: Africa & Scandinavia

Monday, April 2, 2012

Inspiration Monday Book Review: Japanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue

The latest addition to Lark Crafts' Beadweaving Master Class series: Japanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue is simply stunning.  I had the pleasure of perusing this breathtaking book, and I have to say, it's left me charmed and inspired.

The first thing I noticed when browsing through this book was the striking visual aesthetic of the photography.  Each project is shown on the same model.  She is lovely and classic-looking, and appears in black and white.  The jewelry she wears is in full color, and stands off the page in an eye-catching contrast.  It's a really beautiful way to showcase the jewelry.

And oh, the jewelry!  Sonoko Nozue has used beadweaving to create some of the most delicate, feminine and beautiful pieces of jewelry in this book.  It feels like such a treat to look through the pictures and know that the instructions provided will enable us to recreate these exquisite pieces.  It left me with my fingers itching to pick out some beads and get to weaving!

The projects range from simply beautiful one stitch pieces to more intricate, advanced skill level pieces.   But even these harder projects are built upon basic stitch foundations which have been combined in very interesting ways.  The instructions are mostly visual, with clear, easy to follow diagrams, and just a bit of written guidance to bring you step by step through the project.

Beadweaving is one of my favorite jewelry making techniques.  So all of the books in the Beadweaving Master Class series are particularly inspiring to me, and this one is especially lovely.  If it looks like something you might also enjoy, pop on over to Lark Crafts' website, where you can download a free PDF of one of the projects in the book: the beautiful Crystal Rose Necklace.  You can get a taste first hand, and you may just become as big a fan of Sonoko's work as I have.

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