Blog for Beaders

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


We Want Your Stories & Comments

Do you have a funny beading story? What about a great tip for all of the other beaders out there? We want to hear what you’ve got to say. Send us your stories at

Fabulous Moms

May 2nd, 2012 · 3 Comments

Whether your mom is still with you or lives through your precious memories, the relationship we share with our mothers is definitely a special one. Sometimes it’s not even your biological mother who brings to mind what this upcoming holiday is all about. Today’s blog is about sharing your story of fabulous moms, the ones who exist in all forms.

I’m blessed to have two fabulous moms in my life—my biological mother and my stepmother. Both have been in my life for a very long time, and both have definitely helped mold me into the person I am today. From my mom’s encouraging words in supporting my passion to write to my stepmom’s wise words about dealing with boys and fashion. As a budding jewelry designer myself, last year for Mother’s Day I made them each a unique bracelet that matched their personalities. This project was my first attempt at making jewelry. I still have a long way before my designs look professional, but those bracelets will always be special.

The bubbly personality of my biological mother inspired me to work with rainbow kitty beads, and the stylish flair of my stepmother sparked me to use a collection of rich amethyst beads paired with a copper clasp.

Do you have a story about your fabulous mom? Tell us!


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Tags: Share Your Stories

Prom Stories

April 3rd, 2012 · 3 Comments

With the spring season upon us, it’s time to start thinking about prom! We’ve already informed you on the 2012 prom jewelry trends so you can help style your daughter or granddaughter, but we want to hear what was trending for you in high school. I’ll get the ball rolling with my own prom story.

My junior prom was the first time I actually spent money on a decent dress. I found this little boutique an hour away from my home town and was sure I would pick out something casual. I had my eye on the color yellow, thinking that would be a fun springtime color to sport. Walking in to the overstuffed store, I browsed through hangers upon hangers of form-fitting styles. It wasn’t until my stepmom asked me to try on a ball gown style just to humor her that I felt special. The dress was bright yellow with colorful crystal accents. With a corset-style top and flowing ball-gown bottom, I left feeling like a princess.

This excitement spilled over into the jewelry my stepmom surprised me with. I had planned to wear some formal crystal jewelry that night—nothing too colorful. My stepmom slipped me this sparkling ankle bracelet that night to match the springtime crystal accents in my dress. She had even included the name of my date and finished it with a silver heart-shaped clasp. My night was definitely memorable, and I wore that ankle bracelet every day until it eventually broke and I was left with just a handful of beads.

Looking back now I realize how much my stepmom cared for me by creating an ankle bracelet out of Swarovski crystal bicone beads, faceted cube beads and sterling silver components. I really think that anklet helped make my night memorable.

So what’s your story? Tell us what fun fashionable prom tales you have!


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Tags: Share Your Stories

What’s Your Story?

March 14th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Our Caspia™ collection of large-hole beads and jewelry supplies is a wonderful way to create personalized jewelry that reflects every moment in your life. If you love Pandora bracelets and Trollbeads, you’ll adore these beautiful products. You’ll find finished silver necklaces and bracelets as well as dozens of large-hole beads to fit onto them.

Explore our selection to find charms, beads, and other components to help send a special message. Maybe you want to give a Mother’s Day bracelet to your mom that tells her story, with her initials spelled out in alphabet blocks and a crystal bead that looks like her birthstone.

So what’s your story? We want to know.

Share pictures of your designs or just tell us how you would write a story on a strand. You might just inspire someone’s next jewelry idea or spark some inspiration in our craft room. No matter who you want to share it with, let your story be known through the beautiful art of jewelry.


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Tags: Share Your Stories

Jean Yates – The Dame of Dolls and Decadent Jewelry

December 16th, 2011 · 6 Comments

Jean Yates is one of our amazing design partners, and always delivers us incredible pieces. Her charisma and upbeat personality flow through into her designs, bringing to life rich color combinations and twists on classic beauty. This is not a customer success story. It’s a Design Partner story. It’s an explanation into why we work with some of the most talented designers out there. In an interview she did with me, Jean explained where her inspiration comes from, how she became interested in designing and the various routes in which she expresses her creativity. Even in writing it is easy to spot her charismatic spirit between every keyboard stroke and blinking cursor.

So what first got you interested in jewelry making?

I have five sons. Three with my husband Jim! My two eldest boys are grown and have families of their own. My family with Jim consists of our twenty year old and our two youngest boys, who have severe autism and epilepsy. I have been occupied raising my children and participating in the Special Education arena of our school district for years. As a side interest, when the kids were young, I began watching the jewelry home shopping shows on cable TV. I am nothing if not a classy dame! I actually learned a LOT from the cable shows, specifically about types of gems, exotic gemstones, and what they measured on the Mohs scale of hardness. It was a good education on design, color and placement, while I stayed at home and cared for my children. Then I joined the Yahoo group run by fantastic teacher Tammy Powley online. I was fascinated by the diverse methods of jewelry making she was teaching, and also interested in the group’s forum conversations. I began participating online and at the same time learning how to make chain maille. When I learned how to wire wrap I was off to the races!

What happened the first time you tried to make something?

When I first tried to make something I would occasionally misstep. In chain maille, you really want it to be perfect. You don’t really have a choice. It is just a pile of bent-up jump rings if you don’t. Therefore, while learning the basics of that particular jewelry art, I would have to repeat my steps over and over until I got something right. We are talking things that other people learn in a flash! On the other hand, I had a good eye for color and a great desire to make my pieces unique, so I would persevere and get that base bracelet or necklace right, and then add absolutely knockout focals and dangling charms and all sorts of fanciful things to my creations. That was my reward for all the hard work I had put in to begin with!

I found this to be great fun as I stayed at home, looking for beautiful beads and components (at places like Artbeads!), and taking care of our kids. I started submitting to countless beading magazines. I even ended up writing my own jewelry design book, Links, by Jean Yates. There are so many beads from your store in my book, and for good reason. You offer some of the most unique and lovely beads I have ever seen.

Is there anything in particular that inspires your creations?

Music always inspires me! I love classic rock and roll and R&B. I also love my son’s band, The Ruse. It’s right up there with my favorites. My next submission to a magazine (Jan. 2012) is inspired by music.

Additionally, really beautiful focal beads inspire me…it is as if, at times, I can get inside the bead’s artist and see his or her intentions when the bead was created. I have been told by a few bead artists that I made the designer piece they have always hoped would be made with their beads. This makes me so proud I can hardly express it!

Other inspirations are words (really long weird words–don’t ask why), colors (I love to dive into color, especially its subtle tonal permutations), crystals, and pearls! I just go my own way when I make jewelry. I am incredibly curious and love to research any and everything. I am, to be honest, a complete nerd.

Photo by Rose Mottl

I love your Blythe doll fashion. When did you first start incorporating them into your designs and why?

Thank you so much for liking my Blythes! I write a regular column, “Our Beading World,” for a super glossy beading magazine located in Australia. It is Australia’s number one favorite jewelry design magazine. It’s called, not surprisingly, Australian Beading magazine. My editor and I have grown to be dear friends. We exchange photos as well as chatty emails. Of course I have sent her photos of my Blythes. It was her idea to use them in my column, wearing jewelry. I LOVE doing this, and it gives me one other way to display my dolls, practice my photography, and design fun jewelry! The pieces I made with your components will be showcased in the December issue (That is Australian Beading‘s biggest issue of the year) on a different Blythe of mine, in a special story about friendship. My editor said when she read the story it made her cry. I dedicated it to her.

I wish to add that I have made lots of earrings for Blythes which ended up being worn by people–they often convert easily to the same size which people like wearing. Also, I have made period jewelry for my dolls. Once I made a whole Egyptian set which came out really well. Another Blythe lover made the costume for my doll, [then] I took the photos, and presto: we had “Nefertiti”!

Jean, along with all of our design partners, has that special eye for style and sparks inspiration in all of us to explore new routes in jewelry making. Every idea she comes up with is a true reflection of her, in one way or another. We’re happy to support Jean in her creations, and glad to have her on the Artbeads team. You can check out her blog to view more cool looks and fun stories at Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!

All photos were courtesy of Jean Yates.


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Tags: Customer Gallery of Designs · Share Your Stories

A Little Bead Goes a Long Way

December 9th, 2011 · 1 Comment

A lot of people donate their time and money to help those less fortunate during the holidays, and it’s always a nice reminder of the holiday spirit. The YWCA in Tacoma, Washington, helps provide shelter and basic necessities to women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. President and Co-Owner Cynthia Kimura has been involved with the YWCA, and I wanted to share her story with you today. In her own words, here is Cynthia’s story about getting involved:

I have been involved with the YWCA women’s shelter in Tacoma, Washington, for almost four years. During one of my visits, I saw some jewelry made by Miriam, the director, for their lunch auction that is held every April. This gave me the idea to make and donate some jewelry for the shelter to sell. Really excited by this, Miriam thought about creating a special jewelry auction event. As for me, I asked some of our Artbeads employees and friends to help, and they all happily volunteered their time and creativity.

Now we are in our third year of being actively involved with this event, and last month in November we donated 247 pieces of finished jewelry. All the beads and materials were donated by Artbeads, and I wouldn’t have been able to do this wonderful project without the help of Cheryl Laidlaw, Valerie Bruderer, Cheri Carlson, Teri McCamish, Brianne Hanson, Megan Pardee, Lisa Flowers, Jesica Thompson, my mom and even our young daughter.

Fund-raising at this event was also made possible thanks to jewelry donated by The Bead Factory in Tacoma, five artists that were making unique jewelry on the spot that was later auctioned off, decorative boxes made by YWCA employees, contributions made by various local businesses, numerous other participants that worked the auction, and of course the generous contributions of those attending “Jewelers for Joy.”

All of the efforts paid off—the YWCA raised more than $28,000 at their 2011 auction! This was an amazing feat and will be extremely beneficial to the program. The YWCA recently lost a large amount of its federal funding, so the money raised will certainly be helpful. Cynthia closed with:

I have to say that it is always a joy to help these women that are facing unimaginable circumstances, and hope that these kinds of events will inspire others to increase their support for those in need.

Below are a few pictures from the November auction that Cynthia was kind enough to share with me.

If you would like to learn more about the YWCA and becoming involved, visit their website at


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Tags: Just For Fun! · Share Your Stories

Kimberly’s Story – A Birthday Surprise

August 12th, 2011 · No Comments

We always love to hear about our customers who have discovered the joy of jewelry making and turned their passion into success. Kimberly Berg’s story of success may come as a surprise to some—it certainly came as a surprise to her! Here’s what Kimberly had to say:

It was my birthday. I had a jury duty summons. I could not believe I was going to spend my birthday waiting in a room full of people to be called for screening. I had not thought ahead to bring anything to read, but there were newspapers lying around and the clerks had a DVD movie playing. I don’t mind doing my civic duty, but on my birthday!!!

Sitting near me was a woman who was reading a beading magazine and the cover piece caught my eye. It was a beautiful purple crystal beaded bracelet. Noticing that I was ogling her magazine, the woman asked if I beaded. I responded no but the piece on the front was gorgeous and I wouldn’t mind making one.

The woman’s name was called and she asked me if I wanted her beading magazine to look at. I gratefully took it and began to leaf through it. I came to the pages with the instructions on how to assemble the cover bracelet. There were a lot of terms I was very unfamiliar with and it looked like a lot of work, but I’m one not to be intimidated by challenges…

Soon after, Kimberly was excused for the rest of the day from jury duty. She’d finally had a chance to celebrate her birthday—and she was headed to her local bead shop. Kimberly quickly realized she would need a lot of tools and supplies to get her started! Luckily she was assisted by a friendly expert who taught her simple techniques like crimping, and also explained some of the beading terms used in the bracelet instructions.

Even though it took her three weeks (and several attempts) to complete her first design, Kimberly was hooked. After that she started making mother’s bracelets and even created wedding jewelry for a co-worker. By this time she had enough designs to display in craft shows and had even grew a few repeat customers. After realizing she couldn’t work full-time and visit every bead show, and learning that it was expensive to keep up an E-bay store, Kimberly created her own Website: Bergie’s Just a Little Something. Here she sells jewelry to customers in both the US and Canada. Here’s what she says about her designs:

I use genuine Swarovski crystals in my pieces and love the timeless elegance of the beads. I like to put colors together that are reminiscent of Victorian times. I’m always thinking of different looks, color combinations, and designs all of the time. I carry a little notebook in my purse for quick sketching.

Browse her jewelry website and shop for lovely bracelets, necklaces and more for any occasion. We’re happy that Kimberly Berg was able to turn a passion into success. If you’re just staring out and looking for a way to sell your designs, check out our Seller’s Secrets page where we share helpful ways to develop your jewelry-making business.

We want to hear your story, too! Send your jewelry design to our blog e-mail to be featured as one of our customer success stories. Share your stories and inspire others to get creative! Mail them to


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Tags: Customer Gallery of Designs · Share Your Stories

Jessica’s Story – Preparing for Parenthood

July 22nd, 2011 · 4 Comments

We love to hear how our customers have become successful in their jewelry making hobby, and here’s a great story about how Jessica Sebastian got her start in jewelry making, in her own words:

When my daughter Ellie was born, I was so horribly underprepared for the challenges of nursing her that it was truthfully the single worst element of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and early care of her. I cried, I got angry, I complained, I was miserable. I needed something to make me feel normal again. Keeping track of feeding times on top of everything else was almost impossible. I had heard of nursing bracelets but couldn’t find one I really liked and didn’t want to pay a lot of money for something that was only so-so.

I got on and found the square number beads. Bingo! I was able to create my own bracelets that had tons of sparkle and style and an amazing thing happened…I began to feel slightly better! I could keep track of feeding times and sides and I looked pretty cute doing it. I started talking with other moms who also thought it was a great idea because it would help them through the difficult first months of newborn care and feeding. This also filled a need I had to be engaged in something other than daily routine.

A month before Ellie was born I was attending school full time and working. A month after she was born, I had graduated and left my job to stay home with her; life changed. Making nursing bracelets helped me get back to feeling great and enjoying feeding time with Ellie. Since then, it has been my mission to provide stylish, truly affordable jewelry. I sell my feeding bracelets as close to cost as possible because it is something I love to do and I think everyone should be able to afford to have something that makes the hard times slightly easier. Women and their babies around the country have benefited from my creations and knowing that I have helped them even a little is the best feeling of all!

Thanks to Jessica for sharing her story with us! We’re proud to be able to supply beads to her company Jewelry by Sebastian Designs. If you would like to check out her designs, visit her Jewelry by Sebastian Designs website.

We want to hear your story, too! Send us your jewelry design to our blog for beaders e-mail to be featured as one of our customer success stories. Share your stories and inspire others to get creative! Mail them to

If you’re just starting out and looking for a way to sell your designs, check out our Seller’s Secrets page where we share helpful ways to develop your jewelry-making business.


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Tags: Customer Gallery of Designs · Share Your Stories

Call for Customer Creations!

July 1st, 2011 · 1 Comment

Check out more cool designs like this Fox necklace from Artbeads customer Betty by reading our previous blog post!

We want to hear your story! Do you have a secret to success? Have you turned your love for jewelry making into a great business? Send us a photo of your design to our blog for beaders e-mail to be featured as one of our customer success stories. Share your stories and inspire others to get creative! Even if you have just a funny beading story, we want to hear it! Did you have to bedazzle your daughter’s outfit the night before her first day of school? Have you discovered a new use for your favorite tools and supplies? You never know how or when your ideas will help someone else!
Mail your stories to

Read some of our previous stories under our “Share Your Stories” category on the top lefthand column.


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Tags: Company News · Share Your Stories

Cathy’s Story

June 17th, 2011 · 2 Comments

We always love to hear about our customers who have discovered the joy of jewelry making and turned their passion into success. Cathy Partan sent us a picture of one of her bracelet designs, and we decided to tell her story.

Cathy Partan got into jewelry as a way to support her family. Her husband was working two jobs to bring in enough income, and Cathy looked for work that would allow her to help out financially while being able to stay home and raise their children. She found her niche in a small jewelry shop making piece work that she could create at home. Her favorite things to work with are silver and various stones. She also loves to work with Czech fire-polished beads to bring an extra shine to designs. Once her kids were in school, Cathy started working full time outside the home and relied less on her craft for income. It was not until her sister showed her some of the jewelry she was making for friends that Cathy revived her interest. Cathy learned from her sister particular techniques of jewelry making and her love for the art flourished. She now runs her own business, C. Partan Designs, and plans to start giving lessons to those interested in learning the craft starting in July.

The piece she submitted to us has its own story, too! Her creation, a bracelet she calls “Nola,” was actually created for a special customer. One of Cathy’s customers named Nola loved a triangle bracelet design she had on her online shop. Nola asked Cathy if she could customize the colors and material to create a special gift for her mother’s birthday. Nola had certain colors in mind she wanted to use and asked for a little more “added bling.” This inspired Cathy to incorporate sparkling Swarovski crystals and use gold instead of silver for the findings. This story demonstrates the dedication Cathy has for her love of jewelry making, going out of her way to bring satisfaction to her customers. If you would like to see Cathy Partan’s jewelry, check out her website, . Cathy loves displaying her designs to bring inspiration to others who share her passion for this craft.

If you’re just staring out and looking for a way to sell your designs, check out our Seller’s Secrets page where we share helpful ways to develop your jewelry-making business.

We want to hear your story, too! Do you have a secret to success? Have you turned your love for jewelry making into a great business? Share your stories and inspire others to get creative! Mail them to


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Tags: Customer Gallery of Designs · Share Your Stories

Donna’s Story

March 31st, 2011 · 2 Comments

We’ve mentioned a few times on the Artbeads blog that we’d love to hear your stories about beading, whether it’s about the project that took on a mind of its own or simply what inspired you to start beading in the first place. This story is by Donna, and she talks a bit about her love for beading and everyday life. You can submit your own story to be reviewed at

Clear Salad Servers by Donna

I began beading over 20 years ago, as a young girl. I loved to make all kinds of jewelry and the shinier the better. Beading to me is a wonderful way to use your creative mind. I started beading a lot this past winter, which led me to open my Etsy shop in January. I’ve been a stay at home mom with my beautiful one year old daughter. She loves to watch me bead, in fact, I think she’ll be a creative one also!

I like to specialize in beaded wrapped serving ware. This is such a unique and special addition to any occasion. I love to make wedding cake servers and wine glasses. I believe that adding such beautiful and exclusive designs to special occasions makes guests feel special and unique. Each piece is made with a lot of love and careful design.

If you’re interested, you can see more of Donna’s work in her Etsy shop.

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Tags: Share Your Stories

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