Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beading Contest: May Flowers Finalists

Thank you to everyone who submitted their design to our May Flowers Beading Challenge. Again, the response was overwhelming and so many beautiful pieces were submitted. Here are the top 10 finalists in alphabetical order (by last name). 

Blossoming by Amelia Davenport

Apple Blossom by Oksana Gaevskaya

Pink Wisteria by Penny Harman

Boho Love Flower Bracelet by Veronica Jonsson

Bracelet Orecchiuto by Jana Kopilova

Spring, spring! Season of Love by Marina Lapitskaya

Breezy Gem Garden by Karen Lisa Lemler

Flower Power Wire Crochet by Sylvia Morse

Old Pond by Olga Romanenko

Hibiscus Dream by Melody Tangonan
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 June 5th at 4pm PDT.

Good Luck To All!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beading Table Wednesday: 05/30/12

 Julie's Table

On my table this week is a fun and light-hearted project. It might be hard to tell, but I am going to create a bracelet that looks like a red and white checkered table cloth (perfect for a picnic), and on that table cloth are going to be ants. Yes, I did just say ants! I hope it looks as cute completed as it does in my head right now.........

Megan's Table

I'm playing with my food this week. Well, more accurately, I'm playing with fake food this week, which is maybe even more fun. I've been feeling in a summery mood, so I am making some fun, whimsical jewelry with enameled ice cream and popsicle charms. They're super cute and look great with some Swarovski crystal accents to make the colors pop.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New - Shop Swarovski by Color at Beadaholique

My new favorite: heliotrope

A few weeks ago, I discovered a Swarovski effect that I had somehow missed called heliotrope.  It's a gorgeous blue, pink, purple color and I wanted to see what different components we carried at Beadaholique in this beautiful shade.  It made me realize that being able to shop for Swarovski by color would be really helpful, but little did I know that this option was already in the works for our site.

Esther, our wonderful Senior Merchandising and Inventory Operations Manager, was way ahead of me, hard at work on getting the page ready, and it is now live on and ready to make your shopping easier.

Part of the new shop by color page
When you click on the Shop Swarovski by Color page, you will see a lovely, organized listing of all of the colors and effects that we offer.  The neutrals and effects are first, going from clear/white to black and then browns.  Next come the fancy effects that really stand out, including my much loved heliotrope!  Then the colors are arranged in rainbow order in a very pretty red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, violet progression.  

It's super easy now to find exactly the kind of color you are looking for, and then see all of the different components that we have to offer in that shade.  Next time you're shopping for Swarovski, be sure to check it out!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beading Table Wednesday: 5/23/12

Julie's Table 

My table is full of completed projects that I NEED to type up the instructions to, eeeks. I usually make a project and type the instructions right away, but I was having so much fun beading this week that I did not want to stop and write. I have always loved bead weaving and bead embroidery but tend to forget just how much I love it until I start doing it and then I never want to stop. Utter zen! 

Megan's Table 

On my table this week is a fun project made from chain and ultra suede cord. I love the sturdy, interesting look that I got when I wove the ultra suede cord through the links in the chain! I definitely want to keep experimenting with this idea to see what other goodies I can come up with.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Beading Contest Update: May Flowers

Have you checked out our current beading contest, May Flowers?  We want to see your floral best and we want all of our other readers to see it too!  

Our 10 selected finalists will have their entries published here on our Beader's Blog and on the Beadaholique Facebook page for public voting, and the winner will receive a $100 Beadaholique gift certificate!  

We have a lot of great entries so far, but there is still time to enter if you have not yet sent us yours!  The deadline for submission is Tuesday, May 29th @ 4PM PT, so get beading! 

Other important dates:

Thursday, May 31st: Top 10 will be posted on our Facebook and notified via email. Public voting starts.

Tuesday, June 5th @ 4 PM PT: Public voting closes

Thursday, June 7th: Winner is announced in the next issue of The Beading Wire and notified via email.  

Be sure to read through the original post for complete rules and submission guidelines!  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spotlight Saturday: Using StazOn Ink and Rubber Stamps, Flying Dragonflies Earrings, Flat Tag Pendant

Featured Video: How to Use StazOn Ink and Rubber Stamps in Jewelry

This super easy-to-do technique produces professional looking results and really opens up a lot of new design possibilities. Think of all the rubber stamps out there and fun stamping blanks!  

Featured Project: Flying Dragonflies Earrings 

Make this pair of earrings following what you learned in the featured video this week. The Nunn Design pendant link is very pretty even unadorned but once you start stamping it, it really pops! 

Featured Product: Nunn Design Pewter Circle Flat Tag Pendant 

These antique silver plated flat tags would be a perfect candidate for rubber stamping with StazOn ink. Once stamped, you can hang them directly from an ear hook or hang a pretty bead between the ear hook and the tag.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beading Table Wednesday: 5/16/12

Julie's Table

When a customer asked about odd-count flat peyote stitch, I knew I needed to tape a video to show how to do this, what I didn't realize was that it would lead to such a fun project! On my table this week are two panels of odd-count flat peyote stitch done in a chevron pattern. I am then going to sew Vintaj filigree panels to each end and hang chains from the base of it. It will be a big, bold, fantastic necklace perfect to pair with a maxi-dress. 

Megan's Table

I've been playing with our new bead loom this week! Mostly, I'm experimenting with different ways to finish the woven pieces that come off the loom. I've tried gluing them into bezels, sewing them onto ribbon, and onto ultra suede. Once I've got a few good methods down, I'll be doing a video on different ways to back and finish loom work, so keep an eye out on our Instructional Videos page!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Quick Tip Tuesday: Make Your Stampings Pop

I had always wanted to experiment with metal stamping, but never got the chance to until I started designing here at Beadaholique.  Since I've had some time to play around with this method of personalization, I've noticed one tiny thing you can do that makes a huge difference in how your finished piece looks, and it's quick and easy to do.  After you stamp your design onto your metal, simply take a permanent marker and fill in the letters or shapes one by one.  After you fill in each one, give it a good wipe with a jewelry polishing pad to clear away the excess ink.  Your stamping will be filled in and the words or shapes will be clear and easy to see.  You can even try using different colors of permanent marker to change the look!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Artist Profile: Cassandra Colgan, winner of Back To Nature Beading Challenge

April's beading challenge theme was "Back To Nature" and jewelry designer Cassandra Colgan's piece Budding In The Sun captured this theme perfectly. We wanted to know more about Cassandra and have asked her to share her story.  

Tell us about yourself:  
I am a 23 year old home birth after cesarean mother of two handsome boys, who cares deeply about maternity care, mothers, and babies. From this, Home Baby Crafts was born. I use my ability to create to support what matters to me. With each piece I sell I set money aside to donate to help support midwifery, doulas, and childbirth education. The whole month of April and half of May 40% of every dollar made was dedicated to CHOICE Midwives in Columbus, OH and Every Mother Counts. This donation is set to be given this Mother’s Day. Every month after I plan to continue giving 25% to CHOICE and one maternity related charity of my Facebook fans choice. My birth was a very empowering and healing experience and I am grateful for the ability to help other mothers through my art. 

How did you get interested in beading/jewelry making? 
To be honest, I only recently began making jewelry. This past November I was flipping through a catalog and saw a tree of life. I saw the price and cringed. $145. That kind of money was not in the cards for me, especially being 6 months pregnant. So I decided to go to the craft store, bought some supplies, and began fiddling. It was all downhill from there. While my first couple pieces, well more than a couple, were not that fantastic, I found creating with wire to be extremely enjoyable and relaxing and a wonderful creative outlet. For the next few months I spent hours every day letting my mind create away, it was a great way to pass time while waiting for my little one to arrive!

Who or what inspires your creative process?
I believe in keeping things simple & natural and I try to reflect that in my art. A lot of my inspiration comes from what I see as I am out and about, which is why all of my trees are so different. I have also been inspired by mothers and birth which led to the design of the abstract mother collection and the tree entitled “The Placenta”. Other than that, I don't really have a style, I just make what suits my fancy at the time. If I'm feeling bright...Rainbows and blossoms! If I am feeling woodsy...Trees and Nests! Down or Moody….Dark, desolate pieces. It all just flows at random. I don’t limit myself to one style or “signature” design.  

Winning Design!
Is there somewhere people can see/purchase your work?  
My full gallery, including previous works, the abstract collection, and miniature trees of life, is available on my facebook page and I do take requests for custom ideas and pieces. Current pieces for sale can be found in my Etsy store 

Thanks Cassandra for sharing your story!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Beading Table Wednesday 5/9/12

Julie's Table

This week on my table I have a beaded kumihimo bracelet which I created using the new long Magatama beads we just got in (soon to be on the website!) and Swarovski Crystals. We are already planning for the 4th of July so the color palette I chose was red, white, and blue. Megan made the astute observation that I will have to make another one of these at Christmas time because it will look just like a wreath! 

Megan's Table

We think ahead here at Beadaholique, so red, white and blue are in the air...and on our tables! I'm working with a great Czech seed bead mix and bead weaving cute little stars, which I can't wait to make into some fun, festive jewelry for Independence Day!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Inspiration Monday Book Review: Vintage Jewelry Design

Vintage Jewelry Design, by Caroline Cox

In all of my creative ventures, I find myself endlessly inspired by the past.  I especially have a weakness for vintage jewelry.  I want to wear it, collect it, and make my own creations based on the ways it inspires me.  Imagine my pleasure, then, in perusing Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect and Wear, by Caroline Cox.  This book gives a fantastic overview of jewelry trends and innovations over the last 100 years, with lots and lots of gorgeous pictures to drool over as you read.

Beginning with La Belle Epoque and continuing through the 1990s, Caroline Cox has collected a wonderful history of modern jewelry in this book.  In chronological order, the book goes through the last century.  In each section, we are given an introduction to the time period, an explanation of what influenced the trends in jewelry, key designers and trendsetters, beautiful examples of pieces from that era, and finally a concise visual summary of key looks from the decade.  This is a volume that you can come back to again and again for inspiration and for knowledge on the different modern design movements.

Cox also includes information on shopping and collecting, with advice on finding the true vintage jewelry treasure and how to spot a fake.  If you are a lover of jewelry, or of all things vintage, I highly recommend this book.  Find this gem of a book here, and improve your knowledge of jewelry history, gain insight into the world of vintage jewelry collecting, and most of all, be inspired!


Friday, May 4, 2012

May Beading Contest - May Flowers

Leave behind the days of gloom and celebrate the things in bloom!  Though it doesn't rain much here at Beadaholique headquarters in Southern California, rainy days in April usually make way for wonderful flowers in May.  This month, put pretty petals on display and give your pieces a floral theme.

Check out our free beading projects and tutorials for some inspiration and view our selection of flower components for some ideas.

Will will select 10 finalists from the contest entries, all of whom will have their work published here on 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 pixels in width or height but no bigger than 1600 pixels wide and 1600 pixels tall, to (do not use this for questions: contact us here) with the following included in your email:

Subject line: Name of Piece tags: may 2012 (Example: "Flower Fiesta tags: may2012")

Body: Very 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, May 29 @ 4PM PT: Submission deadline
  • Thursday, May 31: Top 10 finalists will be posted on our Facebook and notified via email.  Public voting starts.
  • Tuesday, June 5 @ 4PM PT: Public voting closes
  • Thursday, June 7: 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, 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.

Congratulations to Cassandra Leigh Colgan - Winner of April's Beading Challenge

Congratulations to Cassandra Leigh Colgan who won April's Back To Nature beading challenge! Her winning design was Budding In The Sun. An artist profile will be coming soon on Cassandra and her work. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ENDED - Amazing $200 Nunn Design Giveaway!

We were so excited when Nunn Design introduced their new line of channel bead cores, matching collage sheets, and new pendants this past winter. We were able to see them for the first time while at the Tucson Gem and Mineral show and the entire Beadaholique crew was drooling over the designs and their possibilities.  

Becky Nunn has been extremely generous and has donated a large stash of these new pendants, beads, and art work for us to give away. One lucky Beadaholique winner will receice a prize worth approximately $200!  The prize includes 4 channel bead pendants, 4 large channel beads, 4 medium channel beads, 4 small channel beads, 4 collage sheets, 8 ornate mini circle pendants, 8 ornate mini oval pendants, 8 ornate mini rectangle pendants, and 8 ornate mini square pendants. That is 52 items worth $200!

Here are just a few ideas to get you started at creating with these great products: 

Video Tutorial: Make Your Own Crystal Pave Bead

Video: How to Apply Collage Images to Nunn Design Channel Bead Cores

To win, simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us what your favorite Nunn Design item is. Giveaway ends next Wednesday, May 9th at 4pm PDT. At that time, we will choose 1 random winner from those who left comments on this blog post. Please do not comment anonymously and do not use your Yahoo Pulse Profile if commenting, we cannot contact you if you do. Please adhere to all Beadaholique rules and conditions for this giveaway.  

Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tips for Taking Great Photos of Jewelry

Here at Beadaholique we have a talented professional photographer, Alex Dash, who takes most of our project and product photos. However, since most jewelry artisans are not also professional photographers, I wanted to write this blog to help my fellow jewelry makers.  Here are some tips on taking professional looking and visually appealing photos of your work.  

Before you take any pictures of your own, check out pictures from other jewelry artists and see what you like (and don't like) about their photos. A great way to do this is to go on Etsy and start looking around. See what draws you to look at some pictures and not others. Are their pictures cluttered or do they have white backgrounds? Are they taking close up or far away photos? How bright are their colors? Make a physical list of everything you do and do not like. When finished you will have some idea of what aesthetic you are aiming for.

Here are some examples from my own work, of both good and not-so-good photography: 
Older photo of my work: too dark, too far away, and prop is too distracting
Recent photo of my work: bright, white background, minimal props, and in focus

Now that you are ready to start taking photos, here are some guidelines to help you along the way:  

1. Get a decent digital camera with macro ability (usually represented by a little flower icon) which lets you get up close to objects and still keep them in focus. I personally use a 3 or 4 year old Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1. I purchased it at Costco for under $200. I am sure you can get much better ones now for less, but it just goes to show, even older cameras can still be perfectly adequate.  

2. Shooting outdoors in natural light is usually a good option, especially if it is a cloudy, overcast day. If not, try shooting in the shade, or under a white bed sheet or similar item to soften the glare of the sun, and the shadows it causes. Also, using a white piece of paper to reflect some light from above can brighten up shadows, and improve the look of metallic pieces. 

3. Try to have just one light source. Shooting indoors is usually a bad choice because you have conflicting light sources from various rooms and lamps, which can all cast different colors of light and shadow. However, you can shoot indoors when close to a window. Use a reflective white paper to reflect more light onto the shadowy side of your piece. 

4. If your camera has the option, set the white balance. Look in your manual for this, it is a huge help! If you are taking photos in the direct sun, set the white balance to that, if shade, then set it to that, etc. You might even have the choice to customize it and actually have the camera "read" what is white in the light you are working and set it to that preference. This option is one of the most important settings on your camera, so read up.  

5. For your background, avoid busy patterns and excess clutter. You don't want to see your purse strap or drinking glass in the background of your necklace. I used to enjoy using a lot of props but I realized they actually took away from my jewelry. I now prefer to use a simple prop like a post card and then have some white space around it so the eye can rest and really focus on the jewelry.  

6. Take a combination of close up and far away shots. You want people to see the detail and quality of your piece but you also want them to see the entire piece as well. This is especially important with necklaces. 

7. Make sure your photos are sharp and in focus. Blurry photos make it impossible to really see all your hard work and design. People viewing your pictures will most likely just skip right over the blurry ones. So first make sure you have that macro setting turned on.   If you still find blurriness to be an issue, you can purchase a tripod to steady your camera. If you still find that your photos are blurry, try using the tripod in combination with the self-timer option on your camera.  

8. You want your photos to be bright so that you can see all the detail in your design. Bright photos are also more appealing to those viewing them. If you are making a Steampunk or Gothic piece and want to create a moody dark photo, this can work, just be careful that it is not too dark to the point where you can't see what's happening and it all just blends together.  

9. Finally, find a simple photo editing software. You do not need to purchase an expensive and complicated program like Photoshop. There are lots of free programs online to use, you basically just want to be able to crop and adjust the brightness and contrast of your pictures. At the end of the day, you want the colors and appearance of your jewelry in the photo to match that of it in person.  

I hope this helps everyone!
Julie Bean
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