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Entries from March 2013

Spring Break Fashion and Fun

March 27th, 2013 · No Comments

Be honest—when you think Spring Break, what do you think of? Is it bikini-clad coeds at the beach? When you read the title of this blog, did you think we were going to show you some beads gone wild? Have no fear! We’re actually here to go over fashion for the non-traditional spring breaks, and fun project ideas you can do while you’re away.

Fashion for a Getaway

1938 Waikiki Surf Ride
Photo Source: National Geographic.

If you’re lucky enough to sneak away for a tropical spring break, be sure to dress for the pleasant occasion! Pack the perfect accessories, like blinged-out sunglasses, to match your bathing suit and beach towel. Speaking of towels, add more sparkle by wrapping it up with a Swarovski snap fastener! When you’re ready to step onto the dance floor after a long day of sunbathing, keep things casual yet fashionable with a solid color wrap dress in your favorite Pantone spring color (Emerald is our favorite). Want some jewelry ideas to make before you go? These are some of the hottest bracelet ideas for this spring:

Sylvan Boho
Sylvan Boho Bracelet

Miss Magma
Miss Magma Bracelet

Monterey Pop
Monterey Pop Bracelet

Grade School Spring Breakers

Kids on Spring Break
Photo Source: Crazy Frankenstein.

Be ready to keep the kids busy during their time off with fun projects you can do outside (to enjoy the sweet smells of spring) or inside (when April showers won’t subside). Our Learning Center is full of fun kid-friendly projects that we call Mommy and Me. Give the kids a day to unwind and celebrate their time off from school, and then introduce them to these ideas to keep their minds engaged:

Country Fair
County Fair Bracelet.

Savanna and Sweet Fun
Savanna and Sweet Fun.

Friendship Bracelet
Herringbone Weave Friendship Bracelet.

Road Trip Heaven

Road Trip
Photo Sourece: 8Tracks.com.

Whether you have an extended spring break or want to start planning for your summer vacation, be prepared for long trips with projects to keep you busy! Have you tried your hands at kumihimo yet? It’s a braiding technique that makes for colorful and durable designs. Bling it out while the wheels turn with crystal clay kits. Or, try a new design idea with one of our printable PDF files. Find these fun projects and more in our Bead it on Down the Road section!

What are your plans for spring break?

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Artisan Glass

March 26th, 2013 · No Comments

Paper weight by Akihiro Ohkama

Our lampwork beads are some of our favorite pieces, not only because of their beauty but because each one is made by hand. In a sense, these beads are small works of art! Each lampwork artist trains to master their craft, and having to work on such a small canvas takes a lot of dedication. Because each piece is handmade, these artists’ works are typically not mass produced—meaning that owning one is even more special. Lampwork artisans can use their skills to create everything from beads to paperweights to intricate decorations.

Akihiro Ohkama-profile pic

One of Artbeads owners’ Devin and Cynthia’s favorite artists is Akihiro Ohkama. His journey to becoming a lampwork artist is quite unique. Akihiro lives in Nara, Japan, where he first picked up beadmaking in 1996. After an unfortunate soccer injury forced him to leave his corporate job, he searched for something to occupy his free time. His father, Yashuhiro Ohkama, had been making lampwork glass and offered to teach Akihiro.

Cynthia's own pendant made by Akihiro Ohkama

Cynthia’s own pendant made by Akihiro Ohkama

It only took about a year for him to start selling his designs with his father at gallery exhibitions! After Akihiro healed from his injury, he decided that lampwork was what he wanted to pursue full time. He enjoyed working for himself rather than a company and just liked the whole process, and now teaches bead making classes regularly. He was also selected to be published in 2000′s Contemporary Glass Beads by 20 Japanese Artists. When you see Akihiro’s pieces, it’s no wonder why Devin and Cynthia love collecting his work.

Lotus Pod Bead-Terri Caspary

Take a look at the work of Terri Caspary, another incredible artist whom Cynthia got to chat with at the 2012 Tucson show, here!

Unicorne Beads

We’re also in love with Unicorne Beads and their amazing dichroic glass components. These bright and colorful beads are also made using the lampworking process, but also incorporate dichroic chips in the glass for an extra element of shimmer. Dichroic glass was originally created for the aerospace industry, but many lampwork artists have discovered that it’s perfect for adding brilliant shine in their pieces as well. The wild colors associated with Unicorne Beads are actually custom mixed so they produce the perfect shade needed. Their characteristic shapes often come from customer suggestions—another reason why we love this company! From owls to seahorses, their exquisite collection is full of wonderful shapes.

Of course, there are so many more artists that we adore here at Artbeads. The dedication it takes to produce delicate perfection consistently is a talent in of itself, which is why we choose to only provide the highest quality pieces to our customers. Don’t miss any of our favorite artists by visiting the Brands and Collections page on our site!

-Marissa

Information sources:
Kervin, Jim. Akihiro Ohkama: Introduction to Japanese Beadmaking Techniques. Livermore: GlassWear Studios, 2005. Print.
Akihiro Ohkama.
Unicorne Beads.

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Lampwork Bead Gallery

Our Designers’ Favorite Jump Rings

March 25th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Designers Favorite Jump Rings

The Artbeads jewelry designers are experts in using the best components and techniques, and love sharing their knowledge with our readers so anyone can create professional jewelry. One of the most overlooked (but very important) parts of a design is the jump ring. Using the correct size, shape and even finish can impact the overall look of a piece. We asked a couple of our experts which jump rings were their favorites and why. Scroll down to discover which ones they prefer for their projects!

Cynthia Kimura

Nouveau Necklace

I use the 19 gauge 0.90×4.60mm sterling silver open jump rings a lot. They are thin and go easily into every clasp and charm loop. Sometimes those loops have very small openings, and the 19 gauge of this jump ring is perfect.

Christmas Tableau Bracelet

For a stronger jump ring I love the 18 gauge sterling silver 1.00×6.10mm open jump rings. These jump rings go with a lot of chains, and they close so well that I know my thread won’t go through the opening if my jump ring isn’t closed perfectly. When I work with some heavy beads on a necklace I like to use the sterling silver 1.27×5.0mm open jump ring or the 1.27×8.0mm jump ring. I also like to use them between the clasp and the crimp tube.

Teri McCamish

Freedom Form Bracelet

I love oval jump rings and the reason why is: they have the opening on the long side of the oval, meaning the link is less apt to fail than a round where the crimped wire could find that opening and slip out. Don’t think that it won’t! Even if they were tugged it’s not likely to find that gap on the side. The sterling silver oval jump ring in 20 gauge is nice and sturdy.

Renesmees Locket

My other two favorites are base metal ovals in copper plated and gunmetal finish…these are a staple in my work. They are TierraCast and the quality is superior.

If you ever feel stumped on which findings would be a perfect fit, always know that our designers are here to help! You can leave a question here on our blog, on our Facebook page or email us at support@artbeads.com.

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Artbeads Employee Design – Katie’s Quilt

March 22nd, 2013 · 1 Comment

Katie's Quilt

Our email marketing specialist Katie is quite the quilter! She’s been working on this quilt for about a year and was kind enough to bring it in so we could share it with you. Her sea life theme includes cute jellyfish and seaweed right now, but she plans to add a few more aquatic creatures to it soon.

Jellyfish Close-up

You may be asking She works at Artbeads but doesn’t have any beads on her quilt? She will! Katie shared that she has mapped out where she wants to plant her embroidered beads—along the top edge of each jellyfish and a few sprinkled in the seaweed. She’ll use seed beads to create a delicate and intricate border.

Seaweed Close-Up

This is just a sneak peek at her cool project. Stay tuned for a blog update when we get to see the final design!

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-Marissa

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Tags: Employee Gallery of Designs

Fun with Fiber Arts

March 20th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Mojave Desert Fabric Art
Photo Source: doodlebudgetzines.com.

Art is meant to be an expression. It doesn’t have to be clean, precise or even make sense. It’s supposed to be an outlet for your creativity and emotions. Fiber Art is just one form of this expression—and it’s also a lot of fun! This style uses textiles like fabric and yarn to create eye-popping pieces, like tapestries.

Goddess of the Deep
Photo Souce: Debra Harry Quilts.

Contemporary artists, some of who are also avid beaders, incorporate beads and other components us jewelry designers think of as jewelry supplies for their work. The beads and components help the piece come to life, to jump off the one-dimensional canvas. There are countless ways to incorporate beads into fabric—and you can even carry this concept into your jewelry and accessories.

Batik Beach

One fun way to blend beads and fiber together is through accessories and home décor. Our jewelry designer Cheri Carlson made this cute beach bag that incorporates Swarovski pearls and Kristal Wick’s Batik Beauty beads for double the fiber fun! Revive an old handbag by sewing some rhinestones or buttons on it, too. Or, if you’re looking to add extra dimension and element, try a new mixed media project.

Seed Bead Bezel Fringe

If you’re still not quite ready to take the plunge, start with bead embroidery. The practice of sewing seed beads to create jewelry will give you a keen eye for overall style and shape, which will be ideal if you decide to transition into fiber art. We have some fun ideas to get you started and even some bead stitching instructions in our Learning Center.

-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Branching Out with Beads Giveaway

March 20th, 2013 · 132 Comments

Branching out with Beads Giveaway

This contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to our winner, Sundari!

Beads are not only wonderful for jewelry designs, but they can be used to spice up craft projects, too! An art quilt can shine with beaded accents, bookmarks become personal with dangling charms and beautiful buttons can be used in a multitude of projects. Add flatbacks to picture frames, decorate everyday objects with cabochons or use crystal yarn in fiber arts. It’s time to use beads in unexpected ways with our Branching out with Beads Giveaway. One lucky winner will receive buttons, seed beads, adhesive, flatbacks and more to make your craft projects shine even brighter. Leave a comment below sharing a new way to use beads in craft ideas. This can be an idea you’ve had or something you’ve actually done in your own craft projects. Feel free to also share pictures of your ideas in action on Facebook! Only one entry per person, please.

This contest runs from Thursday, March 21, 2013 to Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 11:59pm PST. Please see our official contest rules for more details.

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Tags: Just For Fun!

Welcome, Kristal Wick!

March 20th, 2013 · 5 Comments

Head Shot

You might already be familiar with Kristal Wick, an internationally awarded jewelry designer and CREATE YOUR STYLE with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador—and lover of all things blingy. We’re excited to announce that she’s bringing her sparkling personality to our team, and to celebrate, we wanted to let you know all about this beading rock star!

British Award Design

Kristal started her company, Kristal Wick Creations, in 1995 and designed pieces inspired by the Colorado landscape that she called home. It wasn’t until 2004, though, that Kristal decided to pursue her passion full time through blogging and the creation of her Sassy Silkies™, beads made from hand painted silk resembling little scrolls. Her resume goes beyond making her own beads, too. This incredible designer was also the editor of BeadingDaily.com and has had her designs featured in magazines, including Bead Style and Stringing magazines. She’s also written books on jewelry making, including her self-published Sassy Silky Savvy and Amazon best seller, Fabulous Fabric Beads.

Matt Fox and Shari Hiller from HGTV with Kristal!

Matt Fox and Shari Hiller from HGTV with Kristal!

You may have seen her on HGTV in Crafters Coast to Coast or sharing the screen with Martha Stewart! Or perhaps on PBS’ Beads, Baubles and Jewels? Kristal has also rubbed elbows with celebrities through her craft—she designed jewelry for the Jimmy Buffet Band, actress Ali MacGraw and lecturer Marianne Williamson. This expert blogger shares her talent with fans, too. Kristal travels around the country leading workshops and helping others discover their creativity.

Crafty-Cafe-Book-Signing

Kristal is also a talented quilting embellisher! She’s taught many fiber art quilt classes incorporating beads, bling and other embellishments, giving them amazing dimension and style. We’re excited to learn all of the new possibilities with beads! Look for fun and new ideas from Kristal on our website and blog.

Kristal with Dolphin

Do you have any questions for Kristal? Leave a comment below!

-Marissa

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Tags: Company News

Celebrate Quilting Day During National Craft Month!

March 18th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Monterey at Sunset
Photo Source: Galenfrysinger.com Quilt Festival.

The third Saturday in March is officially designated as the day to celebrate the fabulous fabric designs, though this whole month is dedicated to crafting in general. This special holiday was established in 1991 in Lincoln, Nebraska and has now become titled as a “national” holiday. Quilting is a therapeutic process with a warm and cozy result—which we can all appreciate!

Quilters are skilled artisans and should be appreciated for their incredible talent. If you’re a quilter, have you ever thought about embellishing your pieces with beads? A small touch here or there could make it pop with extra dimension. This little addition is perfect for complementing your desired pattern rather than taking away from it, so why not experiment! Here are some fun ideas we found where people used seed beads, buttons and Swarovski crystal sew-on stones!

Fiber Fantasies Quilt
Photo Source: fiberfantasies.com.

Quilter Blog
Photo Sourece:quilterblogs.com.

Lucy Disguised
Photo Source: Lucy Disguised.

Not sure where to start? If you’re looking for a new project, choose a special cause to make a quilt for or get inspired by your favorite picture. Then, find a pattern online or in a book that reflects your theme—or free style your pattern! Embrace your talent on National Quilting Day and encourage others to get into quilting, too.

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-Marissa

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Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas

Guess Our New Arrival and Win!

March 14th, 2013 · 82 Comments

Guess Our New Arrival

This contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated!

We’re welcoming a new arrival here at Artbeads and we’re so excited that we’re celebrating with a giveaway! Each day we will be giving you hints on our Facebook page—so be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook to get the updates—which will reveal more and more.

Take a guess at what or who our New Arrival is and then tell us which Swarovski pendant is your favorite. To enter, leave a comment below with your guess and the Artbeads item code of your favorite pendant. For example, if your favorite pendant is the Swarovski 27mm Devoted 2 U Heart in Crystal Antique Pink, leave your guess and the code 6261-CAP27. 5 people will be randomly chosen to win their favorite pendant…and everyone wins with our new arrival!

Share this with your friends so they can ‘like’ us on Facebook, and then you two can work together to decipher our hints!

Clues Revealed:

  • Puppies help the beading process 
  • A leader in sparkling designs
  • Branching out with beads is a specialty
  • Hint:

Photo: Hint:

  • More bling and sparkle for us!
  • colorado

  • She’s a Tucson treasure

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Tags: Just For Fun!

Which Witch Are You?

March 8th, 2013 · 2 Comments

The Witches of the Emerald City
Photo Source: carriewithchildren.com.

In celebration of the new film, Oz the Great and Powerful in theaters now, we thought it would be fun to break down the styles of the three witches of the movie. This prequel to the 1939 The Wizard of Oz tells the story of how the wizard came to the Emerald City and his encounters with three witches. All three witches have a distinct style to match their equally unique personalities, so we’ll showcase each style and how to make it your own.

Glinda

Glinda
Photo Source: sugarscape.com.

You may remember Glinda the Good Witch from the original movie. Glinda’s gentle nature comes through in her angelic voice, bubbly personality and appearance. This kind witch symbolizes light—demonstrated by the delicate sparkles on her cream colored dress and fair hair. Glinda is a powerful witch who wishes to restore peace to her land, but cannot take on the evil forces that plague her city alone.

Gilda Necklace

If you believe your style matches Glinda’s kind spirit, reflect her bright and sparkly fashion with creams, whites and blush pinks. Accent these colors with clear Swarovski crystals for a classy finish. Embellish a flowing top with golden glimmer, too. We see Glinda shining through in our Learning Center idea, Gilda.

Evanora

Evanora
Photo Source: themamareport.com.

The delightfully devious ruler of Oz is Evanora. Although she has tricked her sister Theodora into believing she is a good witch, Evanora has fun being a bad girl. Her dark and twisted attitude is hidden behind her beauty, making for a dangerous enemy for the movie’s hero. Her wardrobe shadows this, with her dark dress accented by enchanting greens and gold.

Emerald Necklace

Do you like Evanora’s good-to-be-bad style? If so, play with bold elements like gunmetal chain or antique brass and enrich them with electric pops of color, like an emerald green pendant or a bright rubber cord. With this beautifully dangerous persona, Evanora can be embodied in our Emerald Necklace idea.

Theodora

Theodora
Photo Source: ryansecrest.com.

The sweet, naïve little sister of Evanora, Theodora believes both she and her sister want only good to come to their land. She is unaware of her sister’s intentions and is still learning where she herself fits in. Her style is very much a combination of Evanora and Glinda’s personalities—she wears the color red through the film, which is not a dark color but is still bold. Her feminine blouse and jacket are offset by black pants, as if even her style struggles to find definition.

Modern Filigree Earrings

If you’re a fan of balancing fierce and feminine like Theodora, pair a neutral tone like white or tan with a louder color—like bright red. Try mixing pearls with lampwork glass to create a design that’s dangerously stylish and delicate. We think our Modern Filigree earrings are a perfect representation of this young witch.

Don’t forget to go see Oz the Great and Powerful, and keep your eyes out for more cool style ideas from the film!

-Marissa

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Tags: Jewelry and Craft Ideas · Just For Fun!

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