Mar 272009

If you’ve ever wanted to see your work in print, here’s your chance! Bead Trends magazine is looking for beaded work for their September 2009 issue…but hurry, the deadline is today!

More information available on the Bead Trends web site.

Bead Trends (September 2009) Call

Bead Trends is currently looking for designs with the following themes for our September 2009 issue

  • Quick & Easy
  • Fashion Favorites
  • Birthstones (Sapphire)
  • Anything Goes – The beaded possibilities are endless and not just limited to jewelry. What about pillows, table runners, picture frames, lamps, clothing, candle collars, wine glass charms, and home decor. This category can contain jewelry and a whole lot more!
  • Necklaces
  • Eclectic Design
  • Autumn Color & Texture
  • Matching Sets
  • Semi Precious Gemstones
  • Great Gifts

If you would like to submit your work to this publication, please e-mail a photograph, the name or title of your piece, and contact information to:

If submitting multiple pieces, please send a separate e-mail and photograph for each design.

Deadline for the September 2009 issue is 11:59 p.m. MDT, March 27th, 2009. All ideas should be your original work and not previously published.

Mar 262009

It’s that time again, and the OT group is coming up with some beautiful Celedon (pale green) projects for you to make!

My contribution this month is a delightful pair of embellished ear wires – simple to make, and super cute to wear! I’ve used spring colors to symbolize all the flowers that are starting to poke up through the dirt, and soon will be blooming and bringing color to the drab landscape!

Easy Embellished Ear Wires
I found that a Czech glass bead, in the shape of a flower or bead cap, makes a perfect embellishment for a simple pair of French-style ear wires. Here’s how you can achieve the same look with your own wire and beads!Materials:

22g 1/2 hard sterling silver wire
Czech glass flower bead (2)
Decorative bead (I used a cat’s eye bead in a heart shape, pink color) (2)
4mm Swarovski crystal (2)
Sterling silver head pins (2)

1. Working from the spool of wire, thread a Czech glass flower bead on the wire, cupped end last.
2. Make a small loop on the end of the wire…you’ll use this for your dangle.
3. Let the flower bead fall to the top of the loop, and made a bend in the wire at the top of the bead to hold it in place.
4. Using a Sharpie marker or other round object (pen, knitting needle, mandrel), form the shape for the ear wire just above the bend.
5. Clip the end of the wire and file.
6. Create a dangle, threading the crystal and decorative bead on the head pin.
7. Create a wrapped loop at the top of the dangle.
8. Attach the dangle to the loop at the base of the ear wire.
9. Repeat for second earring!

In retrospect, I would bump up step #8 before #3 – it was a little hard to open the loop because of how it fit “into” the flower bead.

Mar 242009

I squeaked through the R&T trunk show today in record time…despite getting there a little late, I was able to force myself to look at each table (only once ;-), I decided there were no “backsies” this year!) and pick up a nice bag of goodies.

While I had a little different methodology this year, I do have some tips for shopping at a big bead show like this for you.

1. Pick up your jaw from the floor. Breathe. Don’t get panicky or overwhelmed. (Seriously, I’ve seen it happen!)
2. Grab a tray or whatever is provided for you to place strands in.
3. Pay close attention to pricing strategies…many times, the price on a strand is NOT the price you’ll pay. For example, for most items, R&T charges 50% + 15% of the strand price. A $10 strand of beads is actually going to only run you $4.40 (if I did the math right ;-)).
4. Touch, feel, experience what the beads will be like on the skin.
5. Sometimes you are going to want to pick up things that go together, sometimes you’ll just see something that catches your eye and you’ll have to have it. Don’t be encumbered by feeling like you need an immediate purpose or plan for everything.
6. Pick up what you like, really like…you can cull out what you “need” later.
7. Work the entire room, and then sit down and look through what you have. If you set yourself a budget, figure out what fits in the budget and what’s optional. Sometimes those optional things can be allowed to go over budget, but really think through those purchases. I have strands that I’ve picked up and never used…thinking through it, I probably should have just let them stay where they were.

8. If you’re not taking some of your strands, find out what the folks who are running the show would like you to do. Sometimes they’d prefer to put away extras themselves, but if not, help out by returning the items to the right bins.

I do usually have “bread and milk” for a bead show, this year it was round sterling silver beads and some assortments of Swarovski crystals. I picked up both, in addition to all the goodies you see here.

A couple of disappointments…I usually grab a good assortment of Bali silver, but the selection was really limited this year. Only picked up a couple of small strands of regular daisy spacers, none of the specialty beads really caught my eye.

And less on the “Drool Table” than I remember from previous years. I treated myself to a gorgeous strand of sapphires…was tempted by some emeralds, but decided I’d probably already spent enough money and would wait for next year.

Icky find: snakeskin beads. Ugh. I can’t believe I actually picked one up and touched it. I hate snakes. Even dead ones that have been made into beads.

I absolutely love everything I got…my fingers are itching to get at some of it…overall, it was wonderful! Thanks Russ, Kim, Dave and all the rest of R&T for throwing a great bead show!!!

Mar 222009

What a week this will be!

– Rings N Things annual trunk show “Wholesale Bead Show” is in Des Moines, IA today and Omaha, NE tomorrow. I really look forward to this show every year – it’s fun to see and chat with the R&T staff, plus there are beads, beads and MORE beads! Check out the R&T site for a location near you!

– Ornament Thursday is March 26. This month’s theme is “Celedon” (pale green). I’m whipping up a quick project that may make your friends green with envy when they see you wearing it!

– Studio clean up was last week, but I’m reaping the benefits now. Once in a while, I like to go through the various boxes, bowls and piles of “stuff” that’s accumulated on my work bench and put away beads, sort through findings and toss projects that seemed to make sense into the scrap bowl. Sometimes I’m amazed at what I find, and it always creates at least a little inspiration for new projects!

Have a great Sunday…I’m looking forward to a great start to a wonderful week!

Mar 212009

Been a busy couple of weeks here on the ranch…between traveling for Bree’s bridal showers, the Art & Soup show, and everyone in the family having their own version of The Plague, I haven’t had much time for blogging!

I’ll get caught up with “Everything from Weeks…” this weekend.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share one of my favorite tips on findings! For the last several years, I’ve been making my own headpins, ear wires, clasps and other basic findings. Rather than make a set of simple ear wires every time I make some earrings, or ball up a few headpins when I need them, I like to make in bulk and have on hand whenever I’m working on a project that requires those supplies.

Yesterday I made up 100 copper head pins…they’ll last me quite a while, so I may list some in my Etsy shop. Copper head pins take a little longer to ball up with a small butane torch than fine silver, but it is possible. Just make sure your torch has plenty of fuel and you turn the flame up pretty high.

I also made up 64 (32 pairs) ear wires while watching a movie last night. (Good Will Hunting, if you must know!) I can sit down with a beading mat, pliers, cutters and a spool of 22g half hard wire and feel like I’ve accomplished something!

For these “make in bulk” projects, I generally just make basic findings, nothing too fancy…but it’s always good to have plenty of basics on hand. When I find I’m getting low on findings, I’ll have a production day again!