Blog for Beaders

A creative place to share jewelry making information, ideas, and inspiration! Hosted by Artbeads


Entries from October 2012

Holidays from the Heart – Party Bling

October 31st, 2012 · 3 Comments

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has made many people lose sight of what’s special about this time of the year. This year, instead of a gift purchased on impulse, give a gift from the heart: one made by loving hands that embraces its recipient in thoughtfulness and creates a lasting memory. We want to take you back to a time when gifts were more meaningful, when holiday family traditions were as much a gift as the box with the shiny bow. Our Holidays from the Heart series will provide you with gift ideas, decoration tips and more to prepare you for the most wonderful time of the year—full of good cheer and heartfelt traditions you can pass on to future generations. Each week until the end of December we will bring you inspiration for heartfelt gifts, fun family projects and party hosting.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and you can make it even more wonderful with blingtastic additions for your home, your friends & family and even yourself! Bling: term for any piece of jewelry or flair accented with eye-catching shimmer, derived from the Jamaican slang ‘bling bling’ which references the imaginary sound that is produced when light catches a bright diamond. This week you’ll learn how to add bling to everything, including your home décor and homemade gifts.

Bring Home the Bling

Add a bit of shimmer and sparkle to your home with small touches, like adding decorative beads to candle holders. Your guests will appreciate your creativity and effort to ensure everything in your home lights up as bright as your tree, but won’t feel bombarded with glitz at every turn. This sophisticated bling could be as simple as our Christmas Star Candle Holder idea (you can use any fire-polished bead with an AB finish). Place it on your dinner table next to sparkling cider and wine, or set it on the mantle to catch reflections from the fire.

Blingy Tree

A holiday ornament is a traditional and decorative way to add your own amount of sparkle to the home. For an extravagant accent, recreate our Gloria Christmas Ornament idea with beautiful garland chain. You’ll be piling on the elegance with a wide array of Swarovski crystals and base metal buttons! If you’d like a simpler sparkling touch, take a plain ball ornament and glue on your favorite components. We featured some of our favorite ways to decorate in our Sugar Cookie Ornament instructions. Make one for yourself and a few extra for the annual ornament exchange. Your originality is sure to stir memories for years to come.

Bling Yourself

Don’t forget to make sure you’ve got your own bling! The classic black and white color scheme is the perfect way to add icy crystal sparkle, like in our Manhattan and Evening Elegance necklace ideas. Manhattan is more elaborate with multiple strands and a large focal pendant while Evening Elegance adds the right touch of sophistication to make you stand out at the holiday party. If you want a pop of color in your blinged out wardrobe, experiment with shapes and dimension, too! Our classy and colorful Avante Garde Earrings are a great way to add color but still stay elegant. Or, if you want more shape, recreate our Vogue Earrings to light up our face while your ears jingle with bling.

Blinged Out Jewelry Set Gifts

There’s no better way to tell someone how much they shine like a shimmering set of jewelry hand made by you. Match your friend’s personality with crystals and beads in different colors and shapes. Our Emerald set includes a royal necklace and bracelet laced in crystals and glass with gold, red and emerald green tones. It’s perfect for Christmas! Make the Jonquil Mist necklace and earring set for your friend or family member with a sunny yet sophisticated style. The bold gunmetal contrasted with soft yellow crystals makes for a wonderful accent to an evening outfit. Or, if you are in need of a great winter gift to last throughout the year, our Evening Frost set is ideal. Both the bracelet and the necklace include sleek silver findings to complement their black and white patterns. Your gift will be the gift as cool as frosted glass windows.

Dress up your collection of beads and supplies with our boutique sale, focusing in on some of our most beautiful components.


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Tags: Holidays from the Heart

Artbeads Halloween Costume Contest 2012

October 31st, 2012 · 1 Comment

We had some great costumes this year around the office, but there can only be one winner! Take a look at who dress up this year, and scroll down to find out who won.

Our runner up was…

the pirate!

and the winner was…

the country pumpkin!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!


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Tags: Just For Fun!

Artbeads Halloween Fun

October 31st, 2012 · No Comments

Happy Halloween from everyone at Artbeads! Last year we had some pretty good entries for our annual costume contest. Before we reveal the winner from this year, here are a few more photos from 2011.

Stay tuned to see who won this year!


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Tags: Just For Fun!

Jewelry Inspired by Breaking Dawn: Part II

October 30th, 2012 · 3 Comments

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The buzz around Artbeads is all about the final installment of the Twilight saga, so we wanted to share our findings! Here are some of the highlights from who’s wearing what in the film that you can recreate to celebrate its release.

The Other Vampire Covens
We are introduced to a whole new side of the vampire culture, with different covens from around the world.

Photo Source: Books and Review

The Denali coven from Alaska wears striking jewelry designs in the film, like Tanya’s multi-stranded necklace and Kate’s gorgeous rings. Try using a collection of Swarovski crystal round pearls, hemp cord and a large silver-plated pendant to get the look.

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The Amazon coven, consisting of vampires like Zafrina, wears colorful tribal designs. Let out your inner bead weaver and make this elegant collar necklace out of seed beads.

The Cullens

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Whether you prefer the look of Alice or Rosalie, you can get their style with nothing more than layers of chain and a bezel pendant. These designs are perfect for practicing mixed media ideas!

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You can make bold jewelry for men, too, like Jasper’s simple chain with a horse shoe link. Simply cut chain to fit and connect each end to a single bold finding, like a quatrefoil ink.

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Pass along a locket like Bella did for her daughter with your own special touches. You can use one of our shadow box pendants to make yours unique. Or, if you have a little boy, gift him with a pocket watch! Just take a watch pendant and string it onto chain.

Don’t forget to go see the final film when it hits theaters November 16, 2012! We’re already preparing to unveil our inspirations to you soon.


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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Take a Look Back at Bella’s Journey

October 29th, 2012 · 1 Comment

As we come to an end of the Twilight saga with the anticipated final chapter, Breaking Dawn: Part II, we wanted to shed light on one of our favorite jewelry designs inspired by the series. Our designer Cheri put together this beautiful charm bracelet with different components that represented the journey the heroine Bella has ventured. This bracelet is sprinkled with images of Forks captured in resin, moon and tribal charms, and is dripping with blood red accent beads. Use our free Bella’s Journey bracelet idea as inspiration for your own design! Choose a variety of findings that you think best tell the story of Bella.


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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Crazy about Clasps

October 26th, 2012 · 5 Comments

We at Artbeads strive to constantly bring our customers high-quality jewelry supplies often and in abundance. Sometimes we showcase so many different beautiful things at once that some of our favorite pieces are missed, like some of our outstanding jewelry clasps. Although it may not be the focal point of a jewelry design, the clasp has a lot of influence over what the overall feel of the piece will be.

Artbeads co-owner and chief jewelry designer Cynthia knows how important the right clasp is for a finished design—it’s just as essential as finding the perfect pendant to create the right look for a piece. Cynthia takes her time deciding which components to use when she sits down to create, and the clasp is one of the most important elements. It’s only when her piece is nearly complete that she knows what kind of feeling comes across in the jewelry. Then, she chooses her clasp. The shape, color, size and feel that radiates from the clasp will let Cynthia know if it’s a good fit. It’s no wonder why her designs are always amazing, since she dedicates so much of her time into making jewelry that anyone would be proud to wear. She loves using some of our gunmetal-plated and silver-plated brass toggle clasps with cutout designs, so we wanted to shine the spotlight on them and give you inspiration too.

Some of our toggles with cut-out designs have small stringing holes for a more discrete look, so designers may think they are too hard to use. The smaller loop for stringing just means they can be used in delicate and intricate pieces, like our bridal necklace Tuxedo Pearls.

The fun shapes and bright silver finish on some are perfect for casual looks. Cynthia used the round toggle clasp with small cut-out curls to finish our Beach Pebbles Necklace idea, and it blended beautifully with the silk fabric she used. The silver finish toggles are also perfect to pair with silver jewelry chain and are much brighter in person than in our picture (we didn’t want to blind you with their hot silver shine!). If you’re worried about working with one of these toggles in an idea that uses larger beads, simply finish the ends with smaller beads or strands of chain so the toggle ends close securely. The added dimension will create a lovely cascading look from back to front as well.

We not only provide unique toggle clasps with curved swirls and spots, but also toggles with encouraging words and symbols. Our round ‘Hope’ toggle clasps, offered in both silver and gunmetal finish, would be the perfect finishing touch on an awareness jewelry design or a handmade gift for someone going through a tough time. Make jewelry for loved ones using the heart or ‘Love’ toggle clasps paired with their favorite colors, since both sleek silver and bold gunmetal are great complements to all shades. If you’re looking to create a design with a vintage feel, use an oval toggle clasp with filigree cutout designs. Its fine curls add a fancy feel that would be perfect when working with pearls or CZ snap setting pendants. The best part about these clasps is that they are lightweight so you can use them to finish delicate designs and when working with small components.

Take a look at our entire collection of toggle jewelry clasps and decide which one works best for you! Not sure where to start designing? The perfect clasp could be just the right inspiration you need to get the creative juices flowing.


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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Holidays from the Heart – Gifts Inspired by Mother Nature

October 24th, 2012 · 1 Comment

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has made many people lose sight of what’s special about this time of the year. This year, instead of a gift purchased on impulse, give a gift from the heart: one made by loving hands that embraces its recipient in thoughtfulness and creates a lasting memory. We want to take you back to a time when gifts were more meaningful, when holiday family traditions were as much a gift as the box with the shiny bow. Our Holidays from the Heart series will provide you with gift ideas, decoration tips and more to prepare you for the most wonderful time of the year—full of good cheer and heartfelt traditions you can pass on to future generations. Each week until the end of December we will bring you inspiration for heartfelt gifts, fun family projects and party hosting.

Let’s not forget the reason for our Holidays from the Heart series—to get back to the times of homemade gifts and passing along traditions. What better inspiration for homemade gifts than Mother Nature? This week we’ll focus on how you can turn to the beauty of natural elements for inspiration when making your holiday gifts.

Winter Whispers that Christmas is in the Air

Add your favorite natural elements to our Christmas Tableau bracelet for a festive design you’ll cherish all season long. Make this for the nature lover in your life by adding flower accents made from glass beads, too! This idea can also be adorned with thematic pieces like Christmas Charms for a thoughtful and heartwarming gift. Such a simple design can hold such beauty, much like the branch on a tree or blooming bud sprouting from the earth.

Pearls—Nature’s Gift to Classic Beauty

Turn any design into an elegant gift with the help of pearls! Use natural freshwater pearls in various shapes and colors or be inspired by Mother Nature and use brilliant Swarovski crystal pearls. Our Royal Suburbs Three-Strand Necklace fuses both types of pearls together in a design that is simply stunning and will make anyone feel like a star. If you’re looking to make a classy necklace with a modern twist, recreate our asymmetrical Copper Couture necklace idea. With elegant filigree flowers and a nod to 1940s style, this necklace would make a wonderful gift. Browse our collection of Swarovski crystal pearls to play with color and make it match your recipient’s style. If you desire a simpler layout, make our Amber Empress necklace. Its stylish pearls complement the cluster of sophisticated crystals in the center, and the overall richness of gold and amber elements finish off its royal look.

Let Nothing Go To Waste

Take this go-green attitude to your gift ideas this season! Both practical and unique, our Seed Bead Trinket Jar is perfect for your best beading buddy and is the perfect project to do with kids. You’ll be using loose beads and scrap designs to give them a new purpose and create an irreplaceable gift. Our Fiber Trinket jar follows this same logic but allows you to make a great gift for a crafter or teacher using leftover fibers and components from past projects. Recycling is one of the best things we can do to preserve the beauty of nature, and when we help the environment we help ourselves. Give gifts with a deeper meaning this year by renewing your favorite jewelry components.

Breathe in the Beauty of Nature

It’s easy to incorporate natural elements in your jewelry with the simplest touch, like a leaf pendant or earth-toned colors. Celebrate the holidays with nature by making our Harvest Splendor Necklace with festive colors, or swap out the maple leaves with more wintery components like pinecones and fir tree branches. Instead of using sterling silver try brass or pewter jewelry components for a fresh, organic feel! Try putting your own twist on our Branching Out Necklace with your friend’s favorite outdoor elements for a terrific gift. The multiple strands of fiber and chain work together to reflect a feel of how nature and industry can coexist in a beautiful way.

Replace the sterling silver JBB jewelry supplies in these ideas with brass and pewter components for an economical alternative! Choose to go for more of a natural feel and use ones with a brass or copper finish now during our sale! Get 30% off JBB brass and pewter components this week.


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Tags: Holidays from the Heart

Family Traditions

October 24th, 2012 · No Comments

Traditions give our lives a deeper meaning; they give us a sense of time and an anchor to our history. The holiday season is the most common time to see our family traditions in action, whether it be what we cook for dinner or who is sitting around the table. When you start your own family, you often hold on to traditions you cherished when you were younger—but give them your own twist or start brand new ones all together. Maybe you try making your grandmother’s amazing pumpkin pie but add extra spices to give it a modern flavor kick. Some of the Artbeads staff shared what their family traditions are:

My family has a Christmas craft day every year. We each bring a craft or two to teach everyone else, along with enough supplies for everyone to make the craft and at the end of the day we all have cute holiday decorations, gifts or cards to give away. I still have a lot of the crafts we’ve made over the years.” – Becky, Copywriter.

I hate throwing away tons of wrapping paper, so I try to wrap gifts in things like towels or scarves, which can be a little present themselves. Ikea is great for picking up inexpensive kitchen towels to wrap with.” – Pat, Graphic Artist/Photo Editor.

I’m Hispanic and in my family we always have tamales for Christmas. A bunch of us get together and make batches and batches of both chili and sweet tamales. I try to fly home as often as I can to be a part of this wonderful tradition.” – Yvette, Manager.

We would always purchase a Christmas tree permit and take a trip into the mountains to search for the perfect tree. We liked the Charlie Brown types with plenty of open branches for displaying our favorite ornaments. Back then, you could bring sleds along and slide down the slopes on virgin snow. Since we lived in the Pacific Northwest, that was sometimes the only snow we saw that year. It made for a great adventure, and at the end of it we had something to bring back with us to remember the day.” – Katie, Email Marketing Specialist.

“There is a tradition that we keep doing every year: it is the Christmas for the birds. We don’t throw away our tree after Christmas; we put it in the garden, in front of the kitchen. I buy big jars of peanut butter, we collect pine cones and I buy big bags of bird seed. We put peanut butter on the pinecones and roll them in a box filled with bird seed. Then, we attach the pinecones on the tree. We even put peanut butter directly on the tree branches and throw bird seeds on them. The birds love that tree! Not only does this give them protection while they are eating (they hide in the branches) but we keep doing this until February/March and get to see so many birds on that tree.” – Cynthia, Co-Owner and Chief Jewelry Designer.

What keeps traditions running is their ability to appeal to everyone—sustainability through the generations. We rely on traditions to progress our lives. We find something we enjoy and continue to do it. In a way, we practice tradition in our designing. You find a certain style or technique that you find yourself going back to. Designers like to experiment and try new things, but oftentimes you can find a familiar style, a signature if you will, in each piece.

The Artbeads family traditions include designs with influences from nature, like birds, and focal pieces full of color and life. Here are some more designing traditions from our family:

I always turn to nature and architecture for inspiration when I create. Looking back on some of my designs, this is apparent in the shape and structure.” – Cheri, Product Team Manager.

I love the colors blue and green. Whenever I can get away with adding these colors into something I create, I do it…it’s pretty much the dominating color palette in my beading boxes. Oh…. And stones! I love using this natural element, with brown accents to follow that organic look– I guess it’s me missing the New Mexico desert.” – Yvette, Manager.

Since we live in the woods, decorating with greens is a natural choice. The rural post box gets the full treatment with cedar boughs, holly and fir. The wood fence gets swaged with cedar, all cut from our trees. Being a bead fan, our tree gets garlands of beads that have been strung over the years. I make a loop on each end to hook on a branch and make them as long as I can. Some have crystals but they are all shiny and wonderful!” – Teri, Jewelry Designer.

Can you spot a signature technique in your pieces?


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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas · Share Your Stories

Find Your Surroundings

October 23rd, 2012 · 1 Comment

Grab a bit of inspiration from your surroundings, wherever you may be. As you sit at your craft table, take a peek out the window or simply look over your shoulder and focus in on one particular thing. Focus on its shape, its color, and its smell— everything that makes that object what it is. You’ll be amazed at what you will create just by being able to draw your energy into one thing. Our Lost in the Garden necklace interprets what you can find in a garden, but discover what you are inspired to make from anything you see. Read our free necklace instructions in the Learning Center if you need a bit of help getting started.


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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Intrigue Others with Your Unique Style

October 22nd, 2012 · 1 Comment

Dramatic layers are a hot style right now, and you can get the look for less by making the necklace yourself! Our Intrigue Necklace features bold gunmetal accents and is dripping with eccentric layers full of dimension and shape. Use up your pieces of scrap chain to put this necklace together and get a one-of-a-kind look. Read the free necklace instructions in our Learning Center and be ready to rock this hot look in no time.


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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas

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