November 22nd, 2014 · 4 Comments
We love the way large-hole beads add character to designs. These fun components are easy to add to lots of designs and come in a variety of styles. The example above, our Royal Vanguard necklace, shows Swarovski BeCharmed beads and large-hole TierraCast spacers strung onto SilverSilk. This is just one of the many ways you can use large-hole beads in your designs. Their wide stringing holes allow you to explore options you may have never thought of before. The Artbeads Learning Center is filled with examples for using these goodies in unique ways.
Our At the Blue Note necklace is a simple idea to start with. This necklace features beautiful Grace Lampwork beads and large-hole bead caps strung onto silk ribbon. The ends of the necklace are knotted. Large-hole beads are always a great complement to silk ribbon and even simple stringing techniques like this look stunning.
This next silk ribbon idea, one of our Bailee necklaces, incorporates large-hole beads in a completely different way. After stringing a donut pendant onto the center of the ribbon, Artbeads Chief Jewelry Designer Cynthia Kimura strung Swarovski BeCharmed beads onto both ends of the ribbon. The BeCharmed beads act as a bail that keeps the donut pendant in place. A simple knot at the top of the beads makes sure everything stays put!
Large-hole beads are also a great option for shamballa style bracelets. These bracelets are fun and easy to make and look great! Use Chinese knotting cord or leather cord to complement the colors of the beads you choose.
Our Learning Center is full of ideas for large-hole beads, but that’s not the only place to find inspiration. Our customers also come up with great ideas! Take a look at what Artbeads user “corvettekat” made with our large-hole JBB dotted spacer bead:
This Artbeader used these spacers in a multi-strand fiber necklace and says, “These were perfect for stabilizing and adding some balance to the yarn used in this necklace.” The sliders really do bring the piece together.
Have you used large-hole beads in your designs lately? What’s your favorite way to incorporate them into your designs? We would love to hear from you in the comments below, or share a picture of your projects on our Facebook page. Your designs and ideas might just inspire others to start creating with large-hole beads!
Tags: Artbeads.com Customer Product Reviews · Customer Gallery of Designs · Employee Gallery of Designs · Jewelry and Craft Ideas
November 15th, 2014 · 4 Comments
Swarovski Bicones can be used in so many ways. They’re excellent accents of sparkle for necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The unique rhombus shape can be paired with pearls, chain and lots of other beads.
Artbeader Lynn P. used her bicones to make a very special necklace:
Lynn says, “I wanted to make some bling for a cancer survivor friend in Canada. Her favorite color is blue and I LOVE Swarovski, so this creation was born. Turned out pretty good if I say so myself.”
We have to agree, Lynn! We love the innovative way she wove the bicones together. They fit so nicely together.
Are you looking for more innovative ways to use your bicones?
Artbeads.com’s Chief Jewelry Designer Cynthia Kimura used bicones to create a Right Angle Weave bracelet, Shimmering Winds. Once again, the unique shape of the bicone works perfectly in this technique. Cynthia used one of our Artbeads Swarovski Designer Blends to make this bracelet.
These Blends feature Swarovski bicones in perfectly coordinated colors, so you don’t have to worry about choosing the right colors – they’re already picked out for you!
Bicones are also perfect for our Fairy Lantern idea. To make these cute little dangles, you string two bicones onto a head pin or eye pin and wrap bugle beads that have been stitched together around the two bicones. These dangles are great in earrings or as pendants and charms. Choose your favorite colors to customize this look to suit your tastes.
So what’s your favorite way to use bicones? Share with us in the comments below or leave a picture of your best bicone ideas on our Facebook page. We always love seeing what you’ve created with our products!
Tags: Artbeads.com Customer Product Reviews · Customer Gallery of Designs · Employee Gallery of Designs · Jewelry and Craft Ideas
November 8th, 2014 · 6 Comments
At Artbeads, we love creating beautiful kumihimo braids for our jewelry. This ancient Japanese art form is a relaxing way to pass the time and the results are always fabulous. As the ideas above showcase, we’ve experimented with adding animal print patterns, beads and even SilverSilk to our kumihimo designs.
Our customers are just as adventurous as us when it comes to kumihimo. Take a look at the bracelet Artbeads user Holly made.
Holly used Miyuki Long Magatamas in her kumihimo bracelet. Magatamas add interesting dimension to kumihimo designs, thanks to their feathered or scale-like look. Holly loves the “beautiful, subtle finish” of these particular Magatamas and we have to agree!
You can learn how to make a similar bracelet with the free instructions for our Monterey Pop bracelet.
We used a colorful pattern of different Magatamas for our bracelet, but you can pick your favorite beads and start adding them to your kumihimo designs today! Have you already experimented with kumihimo in your jewelry? Share your favorite kumihimo designs with us in the comments below, post a picture to our Facebook page, or add a picture of your design to a product review on our website. Your design might just be featured in a blog post, on Facebook or even on our Customer Designs Pinterest Board!
Tags: Artbeads.com Customer Product Reviews · Customer Gallery of Designs · Jewelry and Craft Ideas
November 3rd, 2014 · 1 Comment
It’s always great to hear from a satisfied customer who can’t get enough of our stuff! Dawn W. recently started buying from us and now she can’t stop:
“We stumbled across Artbeads.com while looking for jewelry findings. The free shipping, 100% satisfaction guarantee and return policy plus all the secure icons led us to sign up for the emails/newsletters and then we got the email about the sterling silver sale. That was our first purchase and when the order arrived within a week we were VERY pleased with the items we purchased. So pleased, in fact, I turned around and ordered more beads, gemstones and sterling silver within days of receiving that first order that were on sale. Within days of that 2nd order I placed our 3rd order for even more beads, gemstones and sterling silver!
We are ECSTATIC with not only our purchases, but the quality of the items and the customer service received during these purchases. Prices are good – and when there is a sale – they are even better! The variety of merchandise available at one online store is fantastic!
My husband makes Native American themed jewelry so we shop online at various sites and I am always comparing prices, but along with getting the best price I look for security, customer service, shipping and return policies and we have found all of that and more at Arbeads.com! We have told artisan friends of ours about this site and how pleased we are with the entire buying experience.
My only problem is that each time we get a sale email I want to go buy more stuff! LOL Needless to say, Artbeads.com will definitely be one of our main ‘go-to’ places to buy our supplies!”
So, what can’t you get enough of at Artbeads.com? Leave a comment below, write a product review on our website, or leave a post on our Facebook page. You can also check the box on your next order to review our store. We love hearing from you!
Tags: New Product Introductions
October 29th, 2014 · 3 Comments
It’s always good to hear when we are doing something right. We recently heard from Eva K., one of our customers, who had lots of lovely things to say about us:
“I wanted to drop a note to just say how much I appreciate your company. As a new small business just starting up, I have run into my share of bad customer service and getting “taken to the cleaners”…and only in the last few months!
I have come to trust your company for CONSISTENT quality in products. CONSISTENT speed in shipping. CONSISTENT low prices and then coupons that customers can actually use WITH sales! (How amazing is THAT?) Then, a Crystal Rewards Program (FREE) where customers earn FREE credits to use to purchase more products in the future as they make their regular purchases! It can get almost addicting…;-)
I actually had to return some items (which I hate to do and so rarely attempt), but only because I realized I couldn’t use them. I called your customer service line and got a very friendly and professional lady on the phone. Her name was Mariah. Instead of what I get from other companies; “Well, there is a ‘restocking’ fee and we won’t pay for shipping,” I got “How would you like your refund?” and “Oh, why do you need our address? It should be on the label you print out for the shipping.” What? “Oh, no, we certainly wouldn’t expect our customers to pay for a return! And we try to keep our shipping costs as low as possible as well.” Well, duh. I DID know that part. I order enough from your site!
I should not have been surprised by all of this as it is all just basic good customer service. It’s just that it’s so RARE. That’s sad, I know. HOWEVER, Artbeads is doing it right, doing it WELL, and doing it CONSISTENTLY! That makes me a loyal customer and strong supporter of your company. Thank you!”
Thanks for the excellent feedback, Eva! What do you have to say? Check the box on your next order to review our store or add your comments to our Facebook page. You can also email us with your feedback at email@example.com. You might just be featured right here on our blog!
Tags: Share Your Stories · Top Rated Products & Reviews
Gilders Paste is a great way to add new color to metal, wood, polymer clay, ceramic, wax and resin surfaces. It comes in lots colors and each container provides enough paste for many, many projects. We’ve used Gilders Paste in some of our Learning Center ideas and they all turned out fabulous!
A little Gilders Paste goes a long way in projects like these, so you’ll have your Gilders Paste on hand for a long time. After a while, you might notice it start to dry out. Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw it out! You can refresh dried out Gilders Paste so it is as good as new and ready to use on any project!
Take a look at our How to Refresh Dried Out Gilders Paste Handy Tip to learn the techniques for rejuvenating this amazing paste. Or, if you’re new to using Gilders Paste, learn the basics with our How to Use Gilders Paste Handy Tip.
Now that you know all the tricks to using Gilders Paste, we want to know: What will you make? Leave us a comment below with your plans, or share a picture of your Gilders Paste creations on our Facebook Page!
Tags: Beader's Resource · Jewelry and Craft Ideas
October 14th, 2014 · 3 Comments
We receive lots of feedback from our customers every day! It’s a joy to hear about what people most enjoy about our site. Here’s what Karen V. had to say about us:
“I’ve very much appreciated the excellent quality of Artbeads.com’s merchandise and service. I’ll continue to purchase my jewelry-making supplies from this company because of the discounts, free shipping & handling policy, efficient processing and delivery, and the user-friendly web site of this company. I have no complaints or suggestions for better customer service. And the Artbeads Cafe sessions are EXCELLENT! I learn something from each new episode. THANK YOU FOR A JOB WELL DONE!!!!”
Thank you, Karen, for the excellent review! What’s your opinion? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a review on our Facebook page or our website. You can also leave a comment right here on our blog. If you haven’t discovered Artbeads Cafe like Karen has, be sure to check it out on our YouTube channel.
Tags: Share Your Stories
Did you know you can leave a review on any of our products and upload a picture of the design you made with them? We love seeing all of your creative designs! Here’s one from reviewer jewelryblue:
She used our purple-lined blue TOHOs to add a pop of color to this intricate necklace. As jewelryblue says, “the color was perfect for this project.” They look great with the golden seed beads and the sparkling crystal focals. What have you made with our products? Make sure to share your designs with us and you could be featured right here on the blog, on our Facebook page or on our Pinterest board!
Tags: Customer Gallery of Designs
Our customers send us a lot of feedback and reviews and we love seeing each and every one of them! Here’s a recent review from Bruna P:
“I can always count on Artbeads for quality items and good service. Shipping is free, which is great. I’ve never had to return anything, but they have a ‘free returns’ policy which is great, should I ever need it. They also put together special ‘Designer’ mixes which are just fabulous.”
Thank you, Bruna, for such kind words! Haven’t heard of our Designer Blends yet? We have Seed Bead Blends and Wire Blends that give you sensational color palettes to work with. Want to leave your own review? You can comment here on our blog, leave a review on our website or leave one on Facebook. We want to hear from you: What do you deem “fabulous” about Artbeads?
Tags: I Heart Artbeads
Linda and Tim Hartung, co-owners and designers behind Linda Arline Originals, Alacarte Clasps™, WireLace™, and WireLuxe™, have been designing jewelry for most of their lives. Driven by their faith, love for one another, and passion for beautiful, high-quality jewelry design, the couple has blazed a trail in the do-it-yourself jewelry market creating new tools, techniques and products for designers. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Linda after her recent Artbeads Café shoot to talk about her passion for jewelry, how she came to be a pioneer in the DIY market, what inspires her and what words of wisdom she has for the rest of us.
Jes: Hi Linda, welcome to Artbeads! Thank you so much for sitting down with me today. You have accomplished so many amazing things in your life; I don’t know exactly where to start. Maybe we should start at the beginning, how did you first get into beading?
Linda: Thanks for having me. That is a good place to start. I have been asked this question a lot, so I’ve really had to think about it. Starting as young as five, I can remember walking along the riverbeds to find “friendship rocks” with holes in them and stringing them on my shoelaces to make a necklace. I remember doing that a lot because my mom was always asking me “where are your shoe laces?!” [Laughing] I couldn’t wait to get colored tennis shoes because they had colored laces to make colored necklaces to go with my rocks. My mom was a Girl Scout leader and my little sister I got to tag along to meetings with her and my older sisters to make lariats, and lanyards, and potholders, so I’ve always loved crafting. Lanyards were one of my favorite things to do, so I think a lot of it is just the way I’m built and a lot of it comes from being exposed to it through the Girl Scouts. As I grew up I was into horses, and you know that kind of preoccupies your time, and then I met my (didn’t know then) soon-to-be husband. He was an artist and we would go to craft fairs to sell his art. I wanted something to do, and feathers were big at the time, so I started making feather earrings. I would sell out every time and made enough money to cover the cost of the booth and enjoy some food while we were sitting there. It was just kind of a neat way for us to do things together.
Jes: That is so sweet! So how did selling jewelry for booth money turn into the business you have today?
Linda: Well, then of course I got into the business side of life. I had a couple jobs, had my horse, and then my husband graduated with a graphic design and marketing degree and I decided to represent him, and we grew our business doing that for 25 years. When we had our daughter, I decided I wanted to spend more time raising her, so we made a shift. We decided to downsize, before downsizing was a buzzword, and moved to Forestville, CA. We visited there all the time and thought it was the most beautiful place, and one day we just thought, “Hey, why can’t we just live here?” So we did. We kept a handful of customers, and started to move into jewelry because it was small and manageable.
My husband had made jewelry all through high school and college using The Lost Wax Method* and I liked to create things, so one day we just decided to retire from graphic design and marketing completely and just focus on making and selling our designs. By then, our daughter was off to college and it was something we thought would be small and portable that we could travel with. We would go to jewelry and craft shows near our daughter’s college so we could go visit her and then go to the shows. We started traveling for shows all of the time, and eventually got started with the clasps because we could not find elegant clasps to go with our finished jewelry. We purposely chose to go with high-end costume jewelry because there were so many cool things to work with. We traveled all over looking for someone that would make us high-end, nickel-free clasps that could be customized with Swarovski crystals, and eventually found a few manufacturers in Europe. Once we started using the clasps in our finished jewelry, fellow designers would beg us to sell them some because there just wasn’t anything else like them on the market. So we would sell to them, and that increased our demand for more, and then Bead & Button featured them in an issue, and that increased our demand so much that it kind of pulled us into the DIY market (Alacarte Clasps). Swarovski was just starting to expand into the DIY market at the same time, and they liked the pieces I had been making with their stuff, so I began working with them on their Create Your Style program, and that’s how we really got our momentum in the DIY market. Now I would say I do DIY in reverse, I make pieces for my finished jewelry line or for a magazine and I see what people are interested in learning about then I go back and think “how can I turn this into a project?” So my kits are really designed to take the frustration out of learning to design so that people can focus on picking their colors, and learning the technique, and just having fun with beads.
Jes: Wow, what an amazing journey! I love that your kits are designed that way. I have experienced frustration while trying to learn a new technique on more than one occasion; I think I might need to try one of your kits! It sounds like you are part entrepreneur, part jewelry designer, and part inventor. What inspired you to create WireLace and WireLuxe?
Linda: For WireLace, I had seen a sample of knitted wire in Europe and I let my mind whirl trying to figure out what I could use it for. Eventually I tracked down the manufacturer and we worked with them to see what we could do together. It was so exciting because I felt like we were exploring uncharted territories. Eventually I ordered a full spool of every color and hung them from the wall in my craft room. For years I just admired them and thought about how to use them in my designs. Sometimes I’d make a piece or two with it but I hadn’t really figured out what to do with it yet. One day, the editor of Beadwork Magazine was talking with Tim, trying to find a source for a project that used knitted wire. She mentioned they had a project but could not run it because they had no source in the USA for the material. Tim knew immediately she was searching for WireLace and told her “we have a whole wall of it in our studio!” The editor asked if we would be willing to be listed as the supplier and Tim said “sure”, not really thinking much of it, and all of a sudden my phone was ringing off the hook; everybody wanted to order WireLace! I sent my daughter to the store to get the magazine because I couldn’t figure out why so many people were interested, and it turns out they had put the project on the cover [laughing]. WireLace just took off from there. We ended developing additional colors and sizes to meet the needs of the DIY market.
WireLuxe really just came from knowing the market. I like to look for needs that aren’t being met across multiple channels and try to figure out ways to meet them. In this case, seedbeaders, wire workers, and beaders all had a need for a wide, stable-yet-flexible structure to work on. So I started thinking, “what if I could make an open wire weave structure that was useful for design, but interesting enough to be used alone?” So Tim and I tracked down a company that was willing to build a machine for us. We tinkered with it for over a year. We would try something and that wouldn’t work so we would take it apart and start over. We spent a lot of time on the phone with their support people and they would help us try to figure out what to try next. We ended up having custom pieces made for the machine and eventually we came up with the WireLuxe open-weave structure. I’m really glad we did it because it was a lot of fun and we’re so happy with the finished product.
Jes: Your story is simply remarkable. I really admire your creativity and ingenuity. I’ve got to ask, what inspires you as an artist, designer, and inventor?
Linda: Well my husband and I always knew we wanted to work together. We are deeply faithful Christians and I would say faith is the core of my inspiration. Nature is beautiful and inspirational, and I really marvel at the endless creations on earth, but there is a verse in the Bible that says “…and by Him and through Him all things are created” and I really connect with that. I feel like there is a wellspring within me and creativity will flow out if I just let it. Some people really focus on putting information in and trying to get a certain result; I just focus on letting ideas and creativity flow out.
Jes: That is really special, thank you for sharing that with us. Last question, do you have any words of wisdom or advice to pass on to our Artbeader community?
Linda: Sure, well my advice is to have fun, you know, play with your beads! Lay them out, position them in different ways, and see what you like. Don’t be afraid to waste a little string or wire. Let yourself experiment, that’s how you learn to be a better designer. When I put together a piece I leave the components out at my desk for while. I arrange them in different ways until I see a design that really speaks to me, then I start thinking about how to make it. If you are afraid to waste stringing materials at first, start with a kit. Find a design you love, get a kit for it, practice the technique and then adapt it.
Jes: That is great advice! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today.
Linda: Thank you so much for having me!
*The Lost Wax Method: The lost wax method of casting first began in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome thousands of years ago. This technique is still respected as one of the premiere methods of capturing superb detail in metal. Once an artist carves his or her design into the wax it can be transferred to a variety of metals, and it is often used in dentistry, sculpture, and fine jewelry.
Tags: New Product Introductions