Monday, August 31, 2015

Classes & Bargains

Come and join me, Candie Cooper, Sandra Lupo, Wyatt White, Sara Ellis and the rest of the Beadalon gang at the Beadalon Tent Sale on Sept. 19-20 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. 

We'll be demonstrating jewelry making techniques and teaching classes while you shop for the ultimate Beadalon bargains! Plus, bring your hubs so he can browse the AFW/Hi-Seas Fishing Sale while you learn and shop. Besides, you might need some help carrying your bags!

Check out our video from last year's Tent Sale. We had fun goofing around in-between conversations...we even did a little line dancing! Don't miss out on the fun this year :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Heart Memory Wire • Giveaway!

Here are a few of the memory wire projects I've done on the past few
seasons of Beads, Baubles & Jewels. I love memory wire because you can
create so many different looks with basically the same wire. 

You know I love memory wire. And, since it's my birthday month, I'm doing a giveaway! Xuron Corp. is donating my favorite memory wire shears and Beadalon is sharing my booklet, Memory Wire Made Easy and some new flat memory wire. Enter below via Rafflecopter. I'll accept entries for one week, then Miss Ashley Kate will send out prizes to three lucky winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We've done a lot of memory wire projects on Beads, Baubles & Jewels over the years because it's such a popular beading staple and it's a great way for people to get started making jewelry. Here are links to some of my favorite projects that I've done on the show:

Make a quick, beautiful wedding accessory using Swarovski crystals 
and memory wire from Dreamtime Creations.

Want more videos?
Dark Neon coiled memory wire bracelet using beads and macrame cord from Beadmaster
Tri-color memory wire bracelet using faceted beads from Bead Gallery with chain woven-in
Double-strand memory wire bracelet using Tila Beads from Miyuki
Coiled stone memory wire bracelet using semiprecious beads from Bead Gallery

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Aurora Borealis = Gorgeous Inspiration

It's Pretty Palettes time again! Where has this month gone? 

Aurora borealis, or the northern lights, is the inspiration for this month's palette. In the beading world, aurora borealis (also called AB finish) is the special name given to a metallic rainbow or iris coating that's applied to the surface of beads. It was one of my first loves in beading and it's now widely available on a variety of beads, from crystal to stone. 

I've been sitting on my stash of Bead Gallery aurora borealis beads for just this occasion and have strung and restrung this piece to get it just right. It uses four strands of beads: big pre-made AB glass dangles, iris hematite cubes, gold/silver faceted rounds and aqua Czech glass beads, plus, a few spacer beads, Beadalon wire, crimps and a clasp. The secret to the lower strand is that you just slip the beading wire through the first/last chain links before adding beads to the sides of the necklace.

This is the inspiration image and palette that Erin chose for this month's challenge. So beautiful! I especially love these palettes that are taken from amazing natural images. The aqua hue really pops out to me in this palette, so I used it to create pops of opaque color with the sparkly AB beads in my design. 

We'll also be sharing projects using aurora borealis beads on the upcoming season of Beads, Baubles and Jewels. Get a little preview here. Plus, be sure to check out everyone else's takes and learn some more interesting facts about aurora borealis over on the Halcraft blog.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pretty Palettes: Colorful DIY Jewelry Inspiration

Colorful summertime inspiration's on the menu this month! The Pretty Palettes Challenge features surfboards and artwork inspired by the beach. 

It's always fun to shop with an inspiration palette in-hand and I love the images that Erin included with this month's challenge. They're so charming and cheerful! I found the multicolor beads and then picked a few shades of turquoise to round it out.

Beaded bezels keep popping up in my trend research, so I decided to make a hand-stitched pendant with a beachy, Boho vibe:

Here it is, all ready for a picnic on the beach! (See materials and instructions below.) Click on over to the Halcraft blog to see everyone else's creations for the Pretty Palettes Challenge. Or, check out this video clip from a segment about using color palettes for inspiration on Beads, Baubles & Jewels. Plus, here's a loom work bracelet project using the same multicolor rondelles. Have a great, sunshiny week!

“When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

10217643    42    Bead Gallery® 3x4mm multicolor dyed howlite rondelles
10265333    46    Bead Gallery® 2x4mm turquoise dyed stone rondelles
10172437    74    Bead Gallery® 6mm turquoise dyed howlite rondelles
(82799)          3    Bead Gallery® 15mm surfboard printed shell lentils
10140033      2     Bead Gallery® 25mm turquoise howlite mix disks
10121916     24”  Beadalon® 49 .018” diameter satin silver beading wire 
10104818     1 yd Beadalon® Wildfire .006” diameter frost beading thread
10443509      4     Beadalon® silver crimp beads 
10470334      8     Beadalon® silver crimp covers
10443234      1     Bead Landing™ silver-plated toggle clasp
                             thin scrap leather
Wire cutters
Standard crimping tool
Beadalon® #10 beading needle
Embroidery needle (or beading awl)
Small, sharp scissors
Craft glue

Time – 2.5 hours
  1. Thread the needle and stitch a surfboard bead onto the leather by passing through the bead and tying the thread in a knot on the back of the leather.
  2. Pass the needle through the bead again and add four 4mm turquoise rondelles. Position them alongside the surfboard bead, then stitch through the leather and back through the last two beads. Repeat this backstitch bead embroidery technique to encircle the surfboard bead with turquoise rondelles. Pass through the beads again to strengthen the circle.
  3. Stitch down through the leather after the last turquoise bead and bring the needle up to begin another row. Backstitch as before to add the multicolor beads in a circle. Pass through the beads again to strengthen the circle. After the last bead, stitch down through the leather and knot the thread on the back of the pendant.
  4. Cut the leather closely around the beaded circle (watch out for your thread!). Use an embroidery needle to make a hole through the leather about five beads away from the topmost multicolor bead on each side of the medallion so you have a place to attach a beaded strand for each side of the necklace. 
  5. Cut a 12” length of beading wire and pass it through the hole on one side of the leather. String a crimp bead and pass the short wire end through it to form a loop. Crimp it and attach a crimp cover. Pass the wire through: 25mm disk, closed crimp cover, surfboard, closed crimp cover, nine sets of alternating 4-6mm rondelles, twenty-eight 6mm rondelles, crimp bead. Pass through half the clasp and back into the crimp bead. Crimp it and add a crimp cover. Repeat for the other side of the necklace.
  6. Cut a leather circle that's slightly smaller than the medallion and glue it over the back to cover your thread ends.
Tip: You can use this basic bead embroidery technique to make custom medallions of all kinds! Just look for coin, disk or lentil-shaped beads for the center and 4mm rounds or rondelles for the embroidery. The same necklace would have a totally different look in a black/white color palette.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Trendspotting: Cut-Outs

Have you been seeing Beadalon's Fashion Watch updates this year? You can pin along over on Pinterest. This month's hot topic is Cut it OutImagine a paper cutting machine cutting intricate shapes on fabrics and talented designers converting them to fashion. I've had fun contributing to the boards each month. This is one of my favorites so far this year!

Here are two designs I made to reflect the Cut it Out trend. I pulled these cool Cut-Outs buttons from my stash. We used them to make chandelier earrings a few years ago on Beads, Baubles & Jewels but the intricate, laser-cut style looks fresh with the addition of some other bold components. You could use any cut-out components to get a similar look.

I love the look of Beadalon's new metallic tassel cording as the foundation for this necklace featuring
a big, sparkly bead from Halcraft USA and a pretty, pearlized button from Blumenthal Lansing.
Use Artistic Wire Findings Forms to make your own custom ear wires for special components
like these buttons with dangling pearl stud drops from BeadMaster USA.  

Have three more minutes to watch something fun? Check out the video we made at CHA last January that spotlights some of our favorite trends from the season. And, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What trends are influencing your jewelry designs these days?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Scandinavian Inspiration for DIY Jewelry

It's time for another Pretty Palettes Challenge with Erin Prais-Hintz and Bead Gallery® by Halcraft. This month, our inspiration image is this Scandinavian print fabric: 

I love this playful design! And, the chair placed in front really makes it pop for me. There's something sweet about that combination of the bold pattern with natural rattan. 

For the palette, I grabbed a bunch of beads from Michaels: red glass faceted rondelles, matte gold bicones, brown/black three-cuts, small antique brass rounds and two sizes of garnet rounds for a subtle red/black hue. 

Here's what I made! I like the way the textures play off of each other and reflect the dimensional look of the pattern on the fabric. The trickiest part of making this type of necklace is figuring out the spacing for the graduated strands and the color block pattern. I definitely recommend using a bead board!

I decided to attach a clasp to each strand so they can be worn together or layered with other necklaces. (Extension chains or jump rings added to the ends make it easy to adjust the drape, too.) If you wanted a longer necklace, you could fasten them together end-to-end. Or, if you want less movement from the strands, then you could attach them to a multi-strand end connector. The rest of the materials are things you probably already have in your stash: Beadalon 19 and crimps. 

See what everybody else made over on the Halcraft blog! How has the Bead Gallery inspired you?

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Leather & Bead Stacking Bracelets

Here's a project I made for Halcraft's Inspiration Blog...these are going to be super fun for summer. Come on, sun! Choose from over 800 Bead Gallery beads, or dig through your stash and pick out a few favorites. You'll also need leather cord, Artistic Wire and basic tools.
Find printable PDF instructions here. All materials are available at Michaels. (If you're looking for other colors of leather cord, you can find almost 100 colors at
I like these beads together, but you could sure branch out into other color schemes. The Pretty Palettes blog hop has given me a lot of new ideas about color. Now I have a Pinterest board all about color stories for fresh ideas! What's your favorite palette at the moment?