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Entries from February 2012

Magic Finding Giveaway

February 29th, 2012 · 398 Comments

This contest is now closed. Click here to view our winner post.

The Magic Finding plier tool is one of the best jewelry making essentials out there, and when paired with the magic finding components, you can create multi-stranded designs with professional polish and feel. This multipurpose finding is a simple and fun way to create multi-strand jewelry designs without the need for countless crimp tubes. The round finding features seven small openings in its center, which allows you to thread up to seven strands at once in a necklace, bracelet or earring design and with the Magic Finding pliers you can clamp down on all of the openings at once for a good, even hold every time.

Now here’s your chance to win both the Magic Finding pliers and a bundle of multipurpose findings with our Magic Finding Giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog telling us what magical jewelry design you would create. Use your imagination to come up with an incredible new idea. Two winners will be randomly selected to win this amazing prize.

If you need help sparking some inspiration, head on over to the Learning Center to read our Handy Tip on how to use a Magic Finding.

No purchase necessary, must be 18 or older to enter. Please one comment per person. Odds of winning depend on number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Contest valid in the US and Canada only excluding Quebec. Prizes valued at $50 each. This contest runs from tonight, Wednesday, February 29, 2012 and ends Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 11:59PM PT. Winner will be announced Wednesday, March 7, 2012.

By submitting a comment on the Blog for Beaders, you agree to its terms and conditions.

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Just For Fun!

Oscar Jewelry Inspiration

February 29th, 2012 · 2 Comments

Now that you got to see celebrities sporting the real deal, here’s your chance to replicate some of the best looks from the Academy Awards. We created some quick jewelry ideas you can make with Artbeads products and be just as stunning. Whether you walk down the red carpet or the supermarket, you can still shine!

Louise Row Flower Hairpin

You can make your own hair piece like Louise Row with some sparkling Swarovski crystals! This one is really simple. Just use a Swarovski filigree flower and wrap it around one side of a bobby pin with sterling silver wire, then finish with Gem-Tac for a firm hold. You’re now ready to rock the streets!

Ellie’s Cocktail Ring

Ellie Kemper’s flirty cocktail ring caught our eye with its ornate feel and wild color, and we made ours in a similar fashion. We’ll give you a few steps to create this one.

STEP ONE
Cut approximately 3 feet of copper wire. Begin wrapping around a ring mandrel, then through one Swarovski 15mm large-hole round pearl in Vintage Gold.

STEP TWO
Create a circular cluster around the pearl by wrapping 10mm and 12mm Swarovski mini pear pendants in the Crystal Golden Shadow color along its edge, continuing to wrap around the mandrel. This random fashion will make your ring special and unique!

Octavia Chandelier Earrings

One of our favorite jewelry ideas from the 2012 Oscars was what Octavia Spencer wore. Her decorative dangle earrings were so breathtaking that we had to try our own version!

STEP ONE
Cut approximately one foot of 30 gauge sterling silver wire. Thread it up through one 12mm Swarovski large-hole round pearl in Creamrose Light. String the wire with fifteen TOHO 15/0 seed beads in white-lined crystal. Wrap the seed bead strand around the pearl and then back through the pearl. Repeat this four more times to go around the entire surface and trim any excess. Glue the strands to the pearl for a tighter hold.

STEP TWO
Thread one 2-inch, 22 gauge sterling silver head pin with the following pieces:

Finish the top of the head pin with a simple loop technique. Bend the ends of the flared star cap bead so they point out more.

STEP THREE
Cut 21 pieces of sterling silver wire approximately ¾ of an inch long. Thread each piece with a single 3mm faceted round and finish the ends with a simple loop. Connect three simple loops together to create a chain. Repeat this five more times. Attach each chain to one head pin, finishing the head pin with a simple loop. Attach one head pin to one open loop on the bottom bead cap. Connect the three remaining simple loops together for a shorter chain and attach this to the top bead cap.

STEP FOUR
Glue three 8mm Swarovski diamond leaf flatbacks in Crystal to a sterling silver 8mm earring post to create a floral shape. Slip one open jump ring over the earring post. Connect the three-loop chain to the jump ring and attach one earring clutch to the back of the post.

Just repeat all of these steps again to make a second earring and your ears are sure to sparkle!

Have fun creating these cool Oscar-inspired designs, and be sure to find even more red carpet jewelry ideas in our Learning Center.

-Marissa

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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Happy Leap Day

February 29th, 2012 · No Comments

Every four years, we are treated to one extra day in February called Leap Day. The reason we have Leap Days is because the Earth rotates on its axis for 365 1/4 days before making a complete rotation. This extra quarter turn results in the need for our calendars to catch up with the universe. This is why we have a Leap Year every four years. There are a lot of superstitions surrounding Leap Day, so let’s explore some of the oldest traditions.

One of the most well-known traditions of Leap Day is the customary allowance of a woman proposing to her man on a Leap Day. This started as an Irish legend, when St. Patrick was approached by St. Bridget about how unfair it was that women had to wait for a man to propose. The two argued about women’s privileges and finally settled on Leap Years. One out of every four years, a woman would be allowed to propose. It was also believed that if a man refused on a Leap Day that the woman he turned down would be granted from him a kiss and a silk gown. This fun story has evolved to be an exciting day for women today who want to break away from traditional proposals and pop the question themselves.

Another less loveable tradition is that Leap Day brings bad luck. Much like Friday the 13th is believed to be an unlucky day, Scottish lore tells that those born on a Leap Day are considered to be very unlucky people. Similarly in Greece, couples who marry during a Leap Year—or worse get married on Leap Day—will bring bad luck their way.

You, on the other hand, can luck out on amazing deals during our Leap Day sale happening today. Right now, 29 items are an incredible 29% off! Snatch up these great deals using coupon code ZZLEAP29, and then go make some great memories to last until 2016. Hurry because these items will return to their original prices tomorrow, March 1, 2012.

-Marissa

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Tags: Just For Fun!

Leaping Lily Pads and Frogs!

February 28th, 2012 · 1 Comment

In preparation for Leap Day tomorrow, get inspired from these adorable earrings! The Lily Pad and Frog earring kit comes with all the components to make the pictured final product—all you need are a few basic beading tools. Light up your ears from the cute sterling silver charms and colorful Czech glass beads that are perfect for the coming spring season. This earring kit is perfect for the beginning beader and is even a fun project for advanced designers.

-Marissa

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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Red-Hot Red Carpet Looks from the 2012 Oscars

February 27th, 2012 · No Comments

Here are some red-hot red carpet looks from last night’s Academy Awards! A lot of A-list celebrities decided to deck out in diamonds, but we found some fun, more colorful choices to showcase for you here.

Ellie Kemper’s copper dress and these stunning earrings really complemented her rich red hair, along with her gorgeous cocktail ring.
Photo Source: Zimbio.com.

Octavia Spencer’s chandelier earrings were a real show-stopper last night on the red carpet and on stage when she won for best supporting actress.
Photo Source: Glamour.com.

Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O’Dell lit up the red carpet in her yellow and black dress accented by these amazing dangle earrings along with a matching sparkling bracelet.
Photo Source: imnotobsessed.com.

Leslie Mann’s midnight blue dress was jaw-dropping, and so were her dazzling bracelets and large, dark blue earrings.
Photo Source: justjared.com.

Virginia Madsen’s ornate earrings were a favorite among the Artbeads staff!
Photo Source: Indiatimes.com.


Gwyneth Paltrow’s sparkling cuff bracelet was one of the best, along with her matching flower cocktail ring to help highlight her amazing white gown.
Photo Source: Skyliving.

Stay tuned when we show you how to replicate some of the best looks from last night, and find even more fun fashion ideas by visiting Artbeads on Pinterest to help inspire your jewelry designs.

-Marissa

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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas · Just For Fun!

Story Behind the Rose of Tralee

February 24th, 2012 · 1 Comment

One of our newest Learning Center ideas, the Rose of Tralee, has a lot of meaning behind it. This choker-style necklace and earring set was inspired by an elegant bridal piece, though it turned into becoming much more than a simple St. Patrick’s Day jewelry design.

This necklace had its humble beginnings in the Artbeads Learning Center craft room, drawn out as a dramatic necklace laced with antique copper components and Emerald Swarovski crystals. Designer Teri found her inspiration from a bridal fashion article which depicted a tight, layered choker with creamy white pearls and sparkling clear crystals. She imagined turning this into an old-world beauty, reminiscent of castles and princesses, and with the need for a St. Patrick’s Day idea she found her inspiration.

Once the elaborate piece was created, it was time for a name. What to call the Celtic beauty presented a challenge—until some research uncovered a classic Irish song and a popular Irish festival, both called “The Rose of Tralee.” The Rose of Tralee is a large festival in Ireland—second only to St. Patrick’s Day—and includes a beauty pageant with women from every county in Ireland, as well as women of Irish descent from around the world, competing for the title. This 52-year-old tradition takes place in Tralee, a county in Ireland. The song for which it’s named after tells the story of a man who falls for the beautiful Irish Mary, whom he lovingly calls the Rose of Tralee. It’s believed that the song is inspired by William Pembroke Mulchinock, a wealthy Protestant, out of love for Mary O’Connor, a poor Catholic maid in service to his parents. This discovery reflected the essence of this necklace perfectly, and it only seemed fitting to match the lovely design with a pair of earrings.


Photo Source: Tralee.ie.

“The moon through the valley her pale rays was shedding when I won the heart of the Rose of Tralee”. Here is a bronze sculpture depicting the real Rose of Tralee that sits in Tralee Town Park, in Ireland.

It was important to us to be able to display this design on a person, to really show how graceful and elegant the necklace looked against skin. It was a wonderful honor to wear this necklace for the website. Being of Irish descent, I am thankful to have become a part of this idea. I hope the story for this necklace doesn’t end here. I hope you will find new inspiration from it, and create your own jewelry design that captures what beauty means to you.

-Marissa

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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas · Just For Fun!

Join Artbeads in Pinterest!

February 23rd, 2012 · No Comments

Check out who’s pinning Artbeads on Pinterest! This website works like a virtual bulletin board where you can pin things you find interesting and inspire others all in one place. Use this site to organize ideas for wedding planning, home décor and even new jewelry ideas. We share some of our favorite jewelry ideas, components and more! You can even pin our stuff to your own board! To follow us on Pinterest, click here.

-Marissa

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Tags: Company News

Russian Artist Pendant Giveaway Winner!

February 22nd, 2012 · 2 Comments

Congratulations to Lora L., the winner of our Russian Artist Pendant Giveaway! This lucky lady is going to get to choose her favorite Russian artist pendant and add it to her collection. You can read her comment below to find out which one she likes the best.

Thank you all for participating! Stay tuned for our next exciting contest coming soon.

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Tags: Just For Fun!

Mardi Gras Giveaway Winner

February 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

Congratulations to Melissa B. for winning our one-day Mardi Gras giveaway! She has won a festive prize package filled with colorful bead strands and darling charms made from gold vermeil and sterling silver. We hope she enjoys her prize! You can read what Melissa had planned for her Mardi Gras Tuesday below:


We hope this prize package will be a token of good fortune for getting her homework done!

Thanks to everyone who participated, and we hope you all had a fun and safe celebration!

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Tags: Just For Fun!

How to Clean Silver

February 22nd, 2012 · 12 Comments

Here at Artbeads, we know tarnish never sleeps! Exposure to air and moisture create tarnish and it darkens the bright, white shine of silver. We do what we can to keep silver products from getting tarnished—store in sealed plastic bags with carbon paper strips to absorb moisture—yet the tarnish still settles on anything it can.

Different types of silver items require different handling. For example, a silver-plated tray cannot withstand weekly polishing with an abrasive cleanser because the plating will eventually wear off. Similarly, a highly detailed design that has been oxidized (blackened) to enhance the pattern should never be chemically cleaned or it would lose the detail. A delicate chain shouldn’t be pulled through a polishing cloth because it might stretch or break fine links. For these reasons we carry several tarnish removal products. Some require more elbow grease than others, but we will explain when to use these different types of cleaning techniques, including an old home remedy to remove tarnish.

It’s important to note that for very soiled silver, you must first carefully wash it with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly. You run the risk of scratching silver if you don’t remove any dirt first.

Polishing Cloths and Pads

The two-part polishing cloth will be familiar to most. The inner part is treated with jeweler’s rouge and will bring out the luster of your silver while removing any tarnish and dirt. The outer part is a flannel material that buffs away any residue and really makes a shine. These are never washed and can be used well after the inner cloth turns completely black. If it ever stops removing tarnish it’s time to purchase another one.

Euro-tool makes 2×2-inch polishing pads that are ideal for reaching tight spots and to avoid removing oxidation. These traditional Native American pieces would have been spoiled if the darkened patina was removed from the recesses. Here we were able to polish the high spots to a mirror shine and still maintain all the detail. These pads are disposable once they’re blackened and come in a package of twenty.

Microfiber has become as common as denim and nearly as useful! Our Artbeads microfiber cloth is perfect for any piece of jewelry and will not cause damage. Soft stones such as opals, malachite and pearls set in silver should only be cleaned with an un-treated cloth like this. These cloths are machine washable and last a long time. We keep finding other uses for them like cleaning electronic screens, wiping fog from windshields, and keeping eye glasses free of smudges. While we wouldn’t choose this to clean a very tarnished piece, it’s perfect for a quick wipe off when you notice it’s become a bit dull. Natural pearls should also be wiped with a soft cloth after wearing and before storing in a soft pouch, and the microfiber cloth is just right for the task.

Jewelry Cleaner

It may be time to bring out the “big guns”— Precious Metal Liquid Jewelry Cleaner. If you need to clean silver chain, elaborate filigree, wire work, delicate earrings, or other items that could be bent or damaged by rubbing with a cloth, this is what you should use. Be aware that if you were to spray it on an antique piece you could reduce its value by removing patina of age. Follow the directions on the bottle carefully, being certain to rinse the cleaned items and dry thoroughly.

Home Remedy

You may have seen silver cleaned with an old method that involves aluminum foil and baking soda. It can effectively remove tarnish, provided the items are in direct contact with the foil. First, line a glass pan with foil. Lay the item to be cleaned inside, fully submerge it in very hot water and then sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the piece. Keep in mind that your results will vary, and this method is not recommended. However, it’s a fun science experiment, doesn’t cost much to try and will continue to fascinate people!

For sparkling silver, maintenance and preventative measures will save you a lot of work. Keep your silver free of skin oils and dirt, and keep it sealed from humidity and air. If you store items that are difficult to clean carefully you won’t have to clean them as often!

-Marissa

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Tags: Ask The Experts · Beader's Resource

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