Jun 302007

Looking for a bit of eye candy and inspiration? The Saul Bell Design Award Competition, hosted by Rio Grande has announced winners in the 2007 competition. Beading Help Web would like to congratulate the winners:

Grand Prize – Gold/Platinum
Madagascar Jellyfish – Amy Roper Lyons

Second Place – Gold/Platinum
Circles = Squares – Geoffrey Giles

First Place – PMC
Botanical Bracelet – Patrick Kusek

Second Place – PMC
Big Links – Barbara Simon

First Place – Beads
Fall Fish Eye Necklace – Mary Smith

Second Place – Beads
Millefiore in Metal – Patricia Tschetter

First Place – Hollowware
Spore Shaker – Heather Bayless

Second Place – Hollowware
Formal Transgression #1 – Daniel Randall

First Place – Silver
The Juliet Bracelet – Beth McElhiney

Second Place – Silver
Egret Locket – Satya Linak

There are also photos of 17 Finalists in the competition, and I have to say that all of the entries are inspiring and beautiful!

Call to Entry for the 2008 Saul Bell Design Award Competition will be announced on the Saul Bell website July 6, 2007.

Jun 262007

Here in the States, we’re heating up for summer…in my neck of the woods, it’s been hot and humid, and midday is a great time to curl up with a good book inside the cool house!

If you are looking for a new beading book, be sure to check out the reviews on Beading Help Web first! I’ve recently added a number of new book reviews, and strongly recommend Getting Started with Seed Beads and Stringing Style 2.

A few other recent reviews include:
Jewelry Making and Beading for Dummies
Making Designer Mixed Media and Memory Jewelry
Beadwork Creates Jewelry

So grab a tall glass of lemonade (you know, the kind with lots of ice, a slice of real lemon and a long straw…) and settle down to cool off.

Jun 232007

Last night was rainy, so no working in the garden or on the yard. After making a Fairy Ladder (I love these, I have had all kinds of shop clerks commenting on my necklace in the past week!), I decided to give one of the ideas in Dustin Wedekind’s Getting Started With Seed Beads a try. I pulled out my book, a supply of seed beads, some thread, and a Big Eye needle.

I decided to try the Squishy Rings project on page 115. First I had to learn the Tubular Herringbone stitch. Since I’m unfamiliar with most stitches, it takes me a bit to get started, but I did it! For me, text instructions for something as detailed as seed beading are worthless; I am a very visual learner, so good illustrated instructions are essential. I found Wedekind’s illustrations to be Very Helpful in figuring out the stitch.

I didn’t quite finish the project, but I got about an inch and a half done. It’s going a lot faster now that I know what I’m doing! I just used practice beads this go round, so I’m anxious now to use some nicer beads to actually make something.

Read my full review of Getting Started with Seed Beads on Beading Help Web.

Jun 182007

First off all, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! I called my dad tonite to wish him a happy Father’s Day, and in the conversation, asked about some mysterious nut-like objects that he’d given me with a box of stones a while back.

The nuts are about the size of your fist, and look almost like miniature coconuts. No one that I showed them to had any idea what they were. Quick as can be, Dad identified them as Vegetable Ivory, a nut from the Tagua palm tree that grows in South America. They are used as an ivory substitute (since it’s illegal to make items from ivory any more!) and can be carved just like ivory is.

Now, I’m anxious to try something with them. Not quite sure what, but I want to open one just to see what is inside!

Jun 162007

Starting Monday, June 18, you can sign up for the Year of Jewelry project, sponsored by the Creative Wire Jewelry Artist forum. The challenge (it’s not a contest) asks participants to create one piece of jewelry a week, attempting to be “on theme”. Jewelry artists at all skill levels participate, and offer comments and suggestions to each other on pieces posted on the community forum.

I participated for the first quarter of 2007 (life has just gotten in the way for the second quarter!) and wanted to note that it’s a fantastic way to grow and learn new skills. And even if you don’t participate, there is always lots of eye candy to give you inspiration!

Learn more about the Year of Jewelry project here.

Jun 122007

LOL, not really dangerous waters, but there are so many treasures on eBay to be found! If you’ve never shopped for gemstones and beads on the world’s largest online auction site, you are in for a treat. Simply do a search on your favorite gemstone or bead name, and then get ready to browse (or shop!) for hours at a time.

A few tips….watch for seller’s feedback (check out any comments for anyone under 100% positive!), look at quality (I look for A-grade stones or better), and be sure you are getting what you think you are. If a full strand of stones are pictured, be sure you are bidding on that many, and not just one or two!!

Recently, I purchased some Apatite and Aquamarine faceted beads from a seller who resides in Thailand. I”m anxious to receive them to evaluate shipping and quality of the stones!!! I’ll report back here, because if the seller is terrific, of course I want to share!

So now I’ll just be tapping my foot waiting for FedEx to appear with my shipment. Are they here yet????

Jun 052007

Bead Fest Philadelphia is coming! August 23-26 are scheduled classes, with the Expo August 24-26.

Bead Fest Philadelphia will feature more than 200 classes and workshops taught by renowned jewelry-making experts from around the country. Participants can register for hands-on workshops on stringing, weaving, knotting, lampworking, and how to make, market and sell beautiful beaded jewelry creations.

Class registration is now online – visit www.beadfest.com for more information!

Jun 042007

Bead exchanges or trades are a great way to get rid of beads you won’t use, including those little “ends” from strands (you know, the ones that have a half-dozen beads left over from other projects?) and pick up some new beads at little or not cost. Set up a few rules with the other participants, and then go for it!

Currently I’m involved in a “beads you’ll never use” exchange, and have picked up a few interesting beads that I’ll be able to use. One beaders trash is anothers treasure, you know!

Get a few more ideas for bead exchanges in this article on Beading Help Web!

Jun 022007

After the disappointing experience at Beadstro on Thursday, I’m pleased to say that Savannah DOES have a decent bead store.

Bead Dreamer, located at 407 A East Montgomery Crossroads, is a good sized shop in a small strip mall. The shop appears to be an old office that was never converted into a single open space, so there are several small “offices” that contain beads in addition to the main showroom.

Prices are reasonable, and if you have a tax-exempt certificate, please be sure to ask about discounts. Using a debit card, I received a 35% discount on items not already marked down.

The shop has lots of glass, crystals, vintage, some gemstones, and a nice selection of pewter, silver, copper, and other metals. Lots of naturals (shells, wood, bone) and the largest selection of bulk chain I’ve seen in any LBS.

To top it off, you will be treated to genuine Southern hospitality by the staff…friendly service and light conversation will enhance your shopping experience.

The only beef I had about Bead Dreamer was that the baggies to place my purchases in as I walked around the store weren’t readily available. I like to be able to grab as I’m standing somewhere, and all the little baskets (with baggies and Sharpies for marking prices) were located in the front of the store.

Bead Dreamer receives a thumbs up from Beading Help Web!

Jun 012007

Update on our Savannah, Georgia trip…went to a bead store in the historic district of the city yesterday: Beadstro. Unfortunately, I was not impressed…the beads were nothing to write home about (plenty of Swarovski, Czech, a few strands of gemstones), prices were average. I did see some remotely interesting pendants that looked like they were carved from local shells, but there were only a few to select from. So…if you are touring Savannah and looking for a bead store, unless you are looking for “bread and milk”, skip Beadstro.

Last comment..the staff didn’t even acknowledge my friends and I when we came into and left the shop, which is a cardinal sin in my book. At least be friendly to fellow beaders!!!