Feb 15, 2017

Charm Bracelets for Throwback Thursday!

Grace's Charm Bracelet.

At beadshop.com we love charm bracelets. They are so simple to make and are perfect for preserving memories like special occasions, vacations or life events. 

Some of the beadshop.com gang were chatting one day about their favorite pieces of jewelry and the topic of charm bracelets came up. It turns out  Kate, Grace and Cara all have charm bracelets in their collections. They brought them in and shared the memories that the charms held. It was fun to hear where the charms came from and to see the eclectic collection.

Kate has been collecting charms for her bracelets since she was a little girl.
She is now on her way to filling bracelet number 5!
We wanted to share some tips on how to get started and create your charm bracelets. They make such thoughtful gifts and cherished mementos. Start by selecting a sturdy chain, that has roomy links, like our Endless Love and a lobster claw clasp like our Swivel. Charms are best attached using a heavy-gauge jump ring. We like a 6mm, 18 Gauge ring as it is fine enough to fit through the loop of most charms yet heavy enough to stay together without coming open.

Cara's Bracelets. Many of her charms have moving parts!

The other main trick to assembling a sturdy charm bracelet is knowing how to open and close jump rings securely. Consult our skill builder to brush up on your technique. Use a chain nose and bent chain nose pliers to manipulate the rings.
All the bracelets pictured together make quite an impression!
We carry a variety of charms so you can jump right in and start designing your own. We'd love to hear how you incorporate charms in to your designs. Do you have a charm bracelet with special meaning? Share your thoughts and photos in the comments.

Feb 14, 2017

Color and Jewelry Personality

Janice Parsons is known for her color coordinating skills, and to help share her strategy for designing using color inspiration, she and Kate Richbourg dedicated a Facebook live show to the topic. During the show, which is now available through beadshop's YouTube channel, they work together to offer a sort of color workshop for beaders. Along with watching the show, you can also download a free Tricks of the Trade handout that Janice originally used while teaching in her brick and mortar store when it was open from 1983-2008. 

Color Inspiration
As Kate explains during the show, "Color can change the personality of the piece," and Janice agrees that it is important to feel free to experiment and not "be afraid of color." Both designers suggest that working with color is a good starting point when you are creating jewelry. Begin with a photograph, fabric, painting, any object that provides a ready-made mix of colors that personally inspires you. For example, in Janice's handout. a beautiful bouquet of flowers is selected as the place to begin, and eventually, by following her steps for design by looking at shapes in your object and coming up with adjectives that not only describe it by also how you feel when you look at it, you can collect beads and jewelry components that work well together. This is what Kate calls thinking of "the big picture" before focusing on too many details like what your clasp will be. 

This show, which aired live on the beadshop Facebook page on 1/25/17, is one you will want to watch and probably take notes to help you develop your own inspiring and colorful jewelry pieces. 

Feb 11, 2017

Metal Bracelet Sliders on Sale

Desert Lavender
Project by: Janice Parsons Sample by: Janice Parsons
If you have been dreaming about making a Prairie Bracelet or two or three, now is the time to load up on the metal slider components that make these jewelry pieces so much fun and so easy to make. The sliders are on sale! Plus, there are new finishes available, including gold, antique copper, and antique brass.

Metal Sliders
5mm leather is used for the Prairie Bracelet project, and these sliders slip easily onto the leather and can be arranged any way you choose. Our sliders come in a variety of shapes - such as feathers, hearts, stars, round, and square - and are free of lead, nickel, and cadmium. They are also hypoallergenic, which is so important for anyone with sensitive skin. 

The Prairie Bracelet continues to be one of the most popular beadshop projects. You can find a helpful list of ingredients, which links directly to the products you need, fourteen different sample projects, and a free project instructions download on the beadshop's Prairie Bracelet page

Feb 7, 2017

Beadshop in Tucson

FB LIVE Special Edition Calm Waters Kit
Some of the beadshop gang were lucky enough to visit Tuscon, Arizona at the end of January 2017 and enjoy the gemstone and jewelry goodness that settles on this town during the end of January and on into February every year. Kate and Grace were kind enough to share part of their trip live through Facebook. The impromptu show, which was broadcast in front of the Gem Mall tent, was recorded so that you can watch it on YouTube if you missed it. It was a jump packed episode. 

Part of the show included a how-to from Kate on wire wrapping gemstone beads, and she demonstrated with some chunky howlite nugget beads that were dyed and stabilized to look like turquoise and 18 gauge craft wire. If you want to make the same necklace yourself, a kit is available. Along with showing how to make the necklace, Kate reviewed various types of hand-tools you need, such as Maxi Shear Flush Wire Cutters, and she also discussed how you can use different beads and wire gauges but should be careful to test them out first. It is important that your wire fits easily through your bead holes, for example. 

If you ever decide to head to Tuscon during the shows, the Tucson Show Guide website is a wonderful resources, highly recommended by Kate, to help you navigate and plan your agenda. Other tips to consider once you get there is staying hydrated, wearing comfortable shoes, and bringing a rolling cart for your gemstone purchases. 

Watching Kate at Tucson, at least, is one way you can get a feel for Tucson.