Our employees love our products just as much as you do, and they’re always coming up with new and creative ways to use them. Here you’ll find some of their brilliant creations to inspire creative designs!
High school was a time when we believed friendships would last forever and prom was the most anticipated event of the year. If you have a graduate this year, remind them that one day they’ll be able to look back at their time in school and smile—even if they don’t enjoy it right now. They’ll be able to pull out old photos, relive the moment in their minds and smile. To celebrate the graduation (and prom) season coming soon, here are some Artbeads employee high school stories!
“This was my senior year; I was a homecoming “princess.” For seniors, there were princesses and princes and a king and queen. During the homecoming game we got to ride in convertibles around the track and wave to the crowd! It was the only day that it was acceptable for me to wear a sparkly tiara everywhere I went.” – Becky, Copywriter
Cortney, Vice President, wore this gorgeous, handmade green dress to her prom. Her husband was her date back then!
Sherri, our New Product Coordinator, was 17 when she graduated from high school…and is glad that the feathered hair style has passed.
Jewelry Designer Teri McCamish back in the day, sporting her “preppy LL Bean oxford cloth shirt and ribbon head band.”
Brittany, our Web Content Publisher on the right, kept it real with her besties in high school and even after graduation. All three still keep in touch and reminisce about when they were teens when they get together.
Read about my prom story in a previous post—Swarovski crystals make an appearance!
Help your graduate remember this year with a memorable jewelry design, or create a customizable memento. Here are a few ideas from our Learning Center to inspire you.
Creative juices seem to flow a little easier with help from music. Heck, I’m plugged in to some my favorite tunes while I write this! Jewelry designing, or any form of art for that matter, is all about creativity. To get the fingers flowing at just the right angle, or to place the right beads into the perfect position, is all about one’s mindset.
Our jewelry designer Teri McCamish turns out beautiful, breathtaking ideas—and she admits that there are certain songs that get her into the jewelry groove. Teri shared her beading playlist with us, which is an eclectic array of jazz and blues. For Teri, these styles of music help stimulate the creativity but keep her mind mellow. The funky melodies are enough to keep her hands swinging to the stereo without moving too fast or too slow. Our idea Twist and Sprout is a wonderful example of how influential music can be to an artist. You can tell by the explosive colors, tiny twists, and branches that curl every which way that Teri’s music player was on shuffle when she created this piece!
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.
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.
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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If you’re a fan of our Learning Center ideas, you may notice that quite a few of our jewelry designs include birds—either as the focus or as an accent. A lot of these bird ideas come from our Chief Jewelry Designer and Artbeads co-owner Cynthia. In fact, the bird cage picture above is in Cynthia’s craft room. I recently had the chance to sit down with Cynthia and ask her about her love of birds, and learned there is so much behind the reason she likes using these feathered lovelies in new ideas.
Cynthia grew up in New Caledonia, a small island just east of Australia. Living on the island meant that the sun always rose early—around 5am or sooner. When the sun rises, the birds begin singing. She can still see the number of different birds all singing in the morning, and the beautiful colors in each one.
She remembers listening to a song in New Caledonia about the wild geese migrating to the south for winter, too. In the song, when the man looks up to see the geese flying overhead, it fills him with joy because he knows where they are heading. When Cynthia moved to Washington State, she got to experience this firsthand. One day while she was outside she heard a noise overhead. She looked up and watched a flock of geese fly over in their familiar V-shape. “like in the movies,” she exclaims. Living in Washington exposed Cynthia to the natural migration of the geese as they travel from Alaska to the south, so she gets to relive the movie-like experience each year.
Her connection with birds goes beyond observance, too. “You know when people ask, ‘what kind of animal would you be?’ I always think ‘bird’. Birds have no limitations. To me, birds equal nature”. Cynthia enjoys gardening, and says that having birds in your garden is a good sign. “Birds eat all of the bad bugs and help keep your flowers blooming. Even though they [the birds] eat some of the fruit [from my garden], it’s still a fair trade”. The picture above is in Cynthia’s craft room at home. If you notice, the birds rest just above her Swarovski collection.
So how does Cynthia choose the right bird bead to use? It’s all about emotional connection. Each piece she chooses evokes a memory or special feeling. With the larger pieces, like focal beads and big pendants, she is immediately drawn to the color. Some of the bright patterns remind her of the birds in New Caledonia or her time living in Japan. Another favorite focal bead features an elegant crane, which symbolizes longevity and good fortune in Japanese culture. The smaller accent pieces with birds on them are used because of the instant emotion they draw out of her. Cynthia also likes using birds in her designs because they work well for any season. A cheery hummingbird can help light up a spring design, while a wise owl helps keep a cozy feel in a winter idea.
Some of her favorite Learning Center designs also tell a story, which is easy to do with birds.
In Sapphire Dawn, the bird pieces accent the story of Mother Nature. That’s why she also used branches and earth tone beads to complete the look.
In Nesting, Cynthia used a bird’s nest pendant to express the time, dedication and love that a mother puts in to ensuring a safe haven for her children. To her, it’s amazing to think that such a small creature can build such a complex structure as a need to to protect its young.
Her favorite bird design is the Opportunity necklace. The pendant is what really tells the story, which you can read here.
The next time you see a new Learning Center idea that uses birds, try and think of what Cynthia had in mind when designing it. Is there anything that inspires you as much as birds do for Cynthia?
I’ve been married for a little over a year now, but with wedding season just around the corner, I wanted to remind all of the brides to be that going DIY doesn’t mean you can’t be elegant. Last time, I shared how I made the jewelry for my bridesmaids using Swarovski round crystal pearls and rondelles, accented by gold jewelry components. You can have an assortment of fancy beads, but the key to pulling off the right look is all about balance. Above is a close-up of my bridesmaid’s jewelry, but you can read more about how I made the sets here.
Another great way to stay in budget and still have a fabulous wedding is carefully choosing your decorations. Stimulate the senses by working with the natural elements found during the season your wedding falls in. My wedding happened to be in the fall, so I worked the crisp, autumn colors into my theme. It turned out beautiful! Working with natural elements really helped me hone in on exactly what I wanted to do for centerpieces. I carved out live pumpkins and filled them with flowers in the colors of fall—you could do the same sort of thing for any time of the year! In winter, hang bare branches with icy accents; in spring or summer, choose bright and blooming flowers to complement your theme. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, opt for fake flowers in your centerpieces. They’ll last longer and you’ll be considerate of guests with outdoor allergies.
There are tons of different ways to make your big day special without breaking the bank if you’re willing to do the projects yourself (or have your bridal party pitch in, too). A couple of other members of the Artbeads family recently got married, and you know they had some awesome DIY project, too! Stay tuned to the blog as we’ll be bringing you more about this soon. Remember that you can always find amazing ideas on our DIY Weddings Pinterest board!
The Artbeads team sure is an amazing crew. Each person, from the inventory team to product fillers and customer service members, all contribute to the ultimate goal of providing high-quality pieces to our customers. We want to introduce you to one of our star employees.
Teri McCamish shines bright as one of our superstar jewelry designers in the Craft Room. Co-Owner and Chief Jewelry Designer Cynthia had always admired Teri’s jewelry, and loved the unique ways Teri used some of the newest Artbeads products. When the Craft Room was in need of a new designer, Cynthia knew without a doubt that Teri would be a perfect choice. “Not only is she a great designer, but she is also a wonderful and sweet person. She is always smiling, caring and everyone in the company knows her.”
Here’s what Teri had to say about the journey of jewelry making:
“I really think the most interesting thing about my beading life is that I didn’t know anything about beading before I came to Artbeads in 2008. I loved beads. I shopped for them, hoarded them, but didn’t make anything with them. I’ve always loved jewelry and collecting beaded pieces. I applied [for Artbeads] at a temp agency not knowing what the job was, and when they told me I got it and it was for a bead company I was thrilled! To find a job in a creative field after doing many things that weren’t meant the world to me. It’s every bit as wonderful as you imagine to be surrounded by beautiful and shiny things.
I learned everything I know from the Learning Center and my favorite TV show, Beads, Baubles and Jewels. While filling orders, my head would be swimming with ideas of things to make. My interest was so intense that I’d go home and pour over the web site, so when the other fulfillment folks would ask ‘What the heck do you do with this?’ I could tell them how it was used. For three years I worked in fulfillment and shipping before I was asked to join the design team in the Craft Room. Every night when I get home I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I love helping people, learning new techniques, working with new products and creating all the lovely shiny things!”
So what is Teri’s favorite tool?
“It has to be my Tronex round nose pliers. The taper is so small on the ends I can make any size loop I need. That’s my only fancy tool everything else is fairly basic. One very basic tool that I have mad love for is the narrow bead scoop. So simple and yet so perfect for getting tiny things back into their bag. I may not have a pen handy but my bead scoop is always in my back pocket.”
Besides beading, Teri is also very interested in plants and organic gardening. She hopes to one day become a Master Gardener and be able to devote time to teaching others what she has learned. She claims that music has a huge influence on your creativity, too: “It can really set a mood. I listen to all kinds but prefer instrumentals while I’m working so the words don’t occupy my brain. Plus, I tend to sing along—which is bad form in an office setting.”
What does Teri advise for new beaders?
“Practice. Don’t be afraid to take things apart and start over—just chalk it up to a learning experience. It’s a common tendency to think what you’ve made is going to make a wonderful gift but if that strand falls apart while your friend is in church, you won’t be remembered fondly for your great design. Wear test things, too. Better it break while you’re wearing it [than whomever you give it to]. That and be patient. It’s a relaxing craft, so don’t become frustrated and spoil the fun. Put it aside and start over!”
We think that’s great advice for beginners and professionals alike! Teri admits that there are a few things she has been intimidated by: “I’m learning different bead weaving stitches now and really enjoying conquering what I’d previously thought was so hard. Honestly, I feel that anyone can do this at some level and that’s what makes working in the Learning Center such fun. Not everyone is going to take to bead embroidery like the work of Sherry Serafini. Not everyone has the budget to layer strands of precious metal and Swarovski beads. It’s our mission to inspire people to make what pleases them and help them with the details to make that happen.”
The next time you see a beautiful new jewelry or craft idea displayed in our Learning Center, that piece may have come from the skillful hands of Teri. Remember that she and so many others at Artbeads are always keeping a keen eye on what cool new ideas can be created, and dedicate their time to ensuring your products are the best—they know what a designer wants because they’re designers themselves.
There’s been a trend buzzing around the Internet where pizza patrons take advantage of the special request box in the online order forms. When pizza orders are placed online, there is often a blank box labeled “special instructions” or “notes” where customers can give special requests. The requests were meant to be pizza-related, like to cut the pizza into squares or for extra sauce, but customers took advantage of the blank space and instructed what they wanted drawn on their pizza box. You can find some examples of instructions for the pizza delivery here.
Some Artbeads customers have been catching on to this craze and have put special requests in their orders for things they want drawn on their invoices. Anna in Customer Service took care of these fun requests, drawing everything from a goldfish to a dinosaur on customer invoice sheets. Here’s some of her lovely artwork before it got shipped off:
Ryan in Shipping also pitched in one day! There was a request for a wizard to be drawn on the customer’s envelope and he came through with this masterpiece.
We want our customers to know that we really listen to what you have to say—even if it’s a request for something drawn on your order! It’s little things like this that make our Customer Service team and everyone here at Artbeads great.
Artbeads employees are passionate about ensuring your selection of beads and jewelry supplies are sufficient. Each person, from the inventory team to product fillers and customer service members, all contribute to the ultimate goal of providing high-quality pieces to our customers. We want to introduce you to one of our star employees.
You may remember reading a little bit about Colleen in our last Employee Spotlight with Ryan. Colleen is Ryan’s roommate who makes wind chimes out of found objects and driftwood. What you don’t know is that she makes other colorful, creative things that serve a purpose.
Colleen Sly rocks as one of our order fillers in fulfillment, double-checking what gets put inside those individually-packaged products. When she finds cool beads to use with her collection of cute knick-knacks they always turn in to amazing displays.
One of Colleen’s most elaborate wind chimes is hanging in our building, helping to brighten up the day!
Another special project Colleen has is making bead gardens for her sister. The bright displays are an assortment of her favorite pieces that would put a smile on anyone’s face. This is precisely why she makes them!
Colleen started making them to help cheer up her sister when she’s sad, and they have now blossomed into sources of inspiration for everyone. Her eye for beauty in every tiny piece is what makes Colleen such a joy to have at Artbeads!
The Artbeads crew is an amazing cast of characters. Each person, from the inventory team to product fillers and customer service members, all contribute to the ultimate goal of providing high-quality pieces to our customers. We want to introduce you to one of our star employees.
Ryan Messinger is one of the outstanding employees at Artbeads who has discovered a passion for jewelry making since being here. Ryan, who has helped in filling orders and in shipping for four years, caught the eye of co-owner Cynthia when she noticed other employees wearing his amazing designs. When she asked them who made their jewelry they told her it was Ryan. His raw talent has blossomed from a chance experience at a beading party into intricate, detailed designs. We recently had the chance to ask Ryan about his jewelry-making journey and what he has planned for the future.
When did you first start beading?
Two years ago I went to my first beading party. Cynthia taught me how to wire wrap earrings and how to make bails. It was nice to have her teach me right away…the right way. I like the wire wrap. On my first day of the beading party I picked all the dichroic out of the boxes and a lot of Swarovski. I made 7 pairs of earrings and saved them until Christmas time, and then gave them to my best girl friends at work. I also made one-strand bracelets with TOHO [seed beads] and gave them as Christmas gifts to the rest of the girls I work with. I never thought that I would enjoy beading as much as I did. And since [the beading party], I look at the beads a lot closer when I’m filling orders.
Where do you go to bead?
At home I have my own beading table, like a dining room table. My roommate Colleen and I have a ton of beads and we just add it together and now after work we sit and bead together. The dining room table is now covered in beads! I use a tray to put my beads in when I sit and watch TV.
Where do you eat?
On our laps!
Do you sell your jewelry anywhere?
I sold some of it to a consignment store in Ocean Shores. But I recently went back and got the rest of my stuff because they have a time limit of [how long you can keep your stuff there.] Whatever of yours they don’t sell they donate it so I got my stuff before they donated it. I’m gearing up to start selling online using ShopHandmade.
So would you and Colleen sell online together?
We make our own things, but if we ever did get a store we’d probably do it together. She makes wind chimes. She takes old driftwood to use for the tops, and puts floating beads on clear fishing line…the Venetian glass beads that look really nice. She also uses old brooches with broken backs in the wind chimes.
What are your favorite beads? Dichroic beads. NASA invented it for the reflection on their satellites and now they’re beads. Dichroic beads are popular. I love TOHO’s, too. The silver-lined or color-lined especially.
I really like Swarovski—pretty much all Swarovski! I love the sew-on ones. I want to try and make a top with sew-on crystals. I’m actually supposed to make a veil for a friend and I was thinking of using Swarovski flatbacks. I’m also supposed to make a couple of wedding gifts for friends.
I got my ears pierced about 6 months ago, and ever since we got those glue-on earring posts I’ve made earrings [for myself]. I use the Swarovski enhanced flatbacks.
What are your favorite colors of flatbacks?
My favorite color for flatbacks is Bermuda Blue. I like the ones that change colors, like Crystal Volcano and Tabac.
Do you have any summer projects planned?
I want to get some leather and get something that a guy would wear that would go with leather. Eventually I’ll be able to learn make more elaborate stuff and make more guy stuff.
Anything you want to add?
I never thought I’d have so much fun with jewelry and it’s a great hobby; it helps calm me. It helped me bond with everyone I work with, too. I love working at Artbeads.com, my favorite place to shop. Their great selection is helping to feed my hobby!
The next time you open up your Artbeads order, unwrap the purple tissue paper to reveal your delicately wrapped beads, remember that Ryan was there. Each shipper signs the invoice so you know your order was checked. Look to see if Ryan’s signature is on your next order! Remember that he and so many others at Artbeads are always keeping a keen eye what cool new ideas can be created, and dedicate their time to ensuring your products are the best—they know what a designer wants because they’re designers themselves.
Artbeads President and Chief Jewelry designer Cynthia Kimura wanted to share with everyone the story behind one of her favorite necklaces. Here’s what she had to say about the inspiration for her fashion ideas.
I like to mix contradicting materials together when I design because it brings a sort of balance to everything, like combining something delicate with a rough element. When I received this big Swarovski crystal as a present I immediately fell in love. It is so elegant with its long, slender shape and light-reflecting details that it would be perfect to pair with rougher-looking beads.
I had a strand of mother of pearls that I bought 2 years ago in a trade show. When I put it against the crystal, I knew I had an amazing combination. To create a transition for the heart pendant from sophisticated to rough, I used a TierraCast antique silver-plated pewter with large spiral pinch bail. Its sleek, silver shine contrasted with fun spiral patterns was the perfect balance. I also added the 14mm Antique Brass Swarovski Pearls in order to maintain the elegant look of the heart crystal. When going over how to finish the necklace, I wanted to keep a simple style that wasn’t overpowered by large pearls and the brilliant pendant. So, I used this beautiful antique copper-plated chain, which is really easy to use. The big oval links are actually jump rings so there is no need to cut it.
This necklace is quickly becoming one of my favorite pieces. The idea of balancing rough and delicate must be a popular trend because every time I wear this necklace, someone will ask me where I bought it!
President and Chief Jewelry Designer