Mar 28, 2017

Creative Spaces

“If I could just have a place of my own to bead!” 

It’s something we hear a lot from our customers. “All I want is a cozy place to call my own.” We can certainly relate. We are headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area where space is at a premium and the luxury of a large creative space is almost unheard of.

During a recent Facebook LIVE broadcast, I asked viewers to share photos of their creative spaces. I thought it would be fun to hear your tips and tricks about how you get organized.

I have seen many creative spaces over my jewelry making years and I have noticed most successful spaces share three things: inspiration, organization, and ownership.

Inspiration: Many artists create a “mood board”… a collection of pictures, colors, pieces of ephemera, quotes, and samples. The board visually expresses jewelry style, inspirations, and goals of the artist. I have one in my studio that I pin all kinds of things that I find inspirational; from a collection of pretty silk ribbons to a photo of my Gran playing the accordion in her heyday.

Kate's Mood Board. Can you find her Gran in the photo?
Organization: Searching for ear wires finally pushed me over the edge. You know how it goes, you’re ready to start creating and a vital component in the project has gone missing! That just puts the brakes on and creativity comes to a grinding halt! Sorting my stash has always been a struggle for me, but once I invested the time into finding a place for my beads and components, my creative process just flowed better… not having to stop to search for those missing findings was a game changer.

Janice's Repair Stash

Those drawers hold treasures!
Ownership: “Whether you have a large room or a cozy corner in which to practice your craft, proudly proclaim it My Studio.” This is a line that I repeat again and again to my students and customers. It’s important to have a creative space, but sometimes we need to think outside the box to make it work. 

Our customer, Sandra Luck, shared photos of her cozy corner and it embodies all three elements for success. Don’t you just want to jump in and bead away? She has photos and charts pinned to the walls along with favorite items on the top bookshelf. A cute mini-quilt adorns her chair. 
Sandra's Creative Beading Space
We spy drawers and boxes that look like they are holding her bead stash and just underneath, can you see how she has repurposed the jewel box to hold her seed beads? 

What a great idea!
She has definitely proclaimed her bead studio as her own. We also love that she is watching our FB LIVE broadcast in her creative space… it’s like we are beading together with friends. What could be better than that? Thank you, Sandra for sharing your very personal studio with all of us. What a treat!

And, everyone out there, stay creative my friends! If you’d like to share a photos of your space, we’d love to see. Send them to
Happy beading!


Mar 26, 2017

The Hibiscus Collection

Janice has been at it again, delving into the world of color inspired by nature and coming up with more wonderful wrap bracelet designs. The Hibiscus Collection is ready for you to enjoy and add to your spring wardrobe.

Red Hibiscus ~ Project by Brittany Ketcham-Roney ~ Sample by Staff
For red lovers, there's Red Hibiscus. The CzechMates Tiles used in this wrap design include colors of watermelon, cranberry, rose, and metallic gold. A complete list of ingredients, project map, instructional links, and a free PDF download are all provided for you on the beadshop site. The toggle at the end of this pretty and feminine design is, of course, an Apple Blossom Brass Button
Green Hibiscus ~ Project by Brittany Ketcham-Roney ~ Sample by Staff
The Green Hibiscus also has a flower toggle. This time, it's a Giant Sunflower made of antiqued brass. Colors of CzechMates Tiles and seed beads are a mix of beige, flax, olivine, pale turquoise, and chartreuse. Green Tuff Cord is used to attach the beads to the Grass Green Greek Leather
Blue Hibiscus ~ Project by Brittany Ketcham-Roney ~ Sample by Staff
Blue is a color that everyone looks good in, so you can't go wrong if you select the Blue Hibiscus sample to craft. Turquoise, Capri blue, teal, denim, sea foam, and marina are some of the hues of blues combined in this wrap bracelet that closes with a cute copper colored dragonfly button.  
Purple Hibiscus ~ Project by Brittany Ketcham-Roney ~ Sample by Staff
Finally, this collection includes Purple Hibiscus. Along with various shades of purple, the beads and components in this jewelry piece include other colors that correlate perfectly with purple such as Matte Iris Green CzechMates Tiles and Matte Opaque Mauve AB 8/0 seed beads. The toggle is also a button, called the Garden Hero

While there is a free project handout for this design, to make sure you are a master of Mosaic wrapping, we suggest some additional resources:

Mosaic Wrap Bracelet Video:

Mar 21, 2017

Herringbone Bracelet Tutorial by Lauren Hartman

Parade Project and Sample by Lauren Hartman

This wonderful tutorial was created by Lauren Hartman for beadshop in October 2016 and continues to be a constant source of help and inspiration. These how-to instructions and step-by-step images were created by Lauren herself. Pictured above is Parade, a wonderful wrap bracelet which now has a kit available, and is one of a number of Herringbone Ladder Projects from In her own words, here are Lauren's instructions:

Set your project up as you would with any laddering project. If you are making a triple wrap and are using a transition bead between the change in bead types, go ahead and string those on your leather. If you're planning on stringing a charm onto the leather, this is the time to add it as well. Just keep them on the leather towards the bottom of your design tray as you work.

TIP: Before threading your needle, condition your thread (if needed) and run your fingers down the length several times to relax the natural curling tendency it has made while on the spool.

I begin by tying a larks head knot with the thread on the leather.

Figure 1
When working with the herringbone stitch, I've found it's best to add an "anchor" bead first. It will help keep the beads from migrating down the leather as you are working on expanding the bracelet width at the beginning. 

In the men's example, I used a size 6 seed bead. In the women's example, I used a size 8 seed bead. After threading through the bead in both directions, I add a dab of GS hypo-cement to both the knot and the back side of the leather and push it up as close as I can to the knot holding the button. I let it dry for 5-10 minutes to make sure it is set. 

Figure 2
TIP: As you're waiting for it to dry, this is a good time to sort through your Superduos and make sure all the holes are clear. Unique to Superduos is the fact that sometimes one (or both) holes are closed due to the manner in which the coating on the bead is applied. There's nothing worse than working on a row and finding out that the second hole in the Superduo bead above isn't clear and you have to rip out a row to fix it. Get those babies out of there!

After it is dry, I go through that seed bead in both directions a second time to make sure it's going to stay put.

Before you begin the herringbone, I want to assure you that the trickiest part of the project is working the first 3-4 rows. After that, it is more straightforward, and tapering down at the other end is MUCH easier than increasing the width of the bracelet at the beginning.

Add two Superduos to your thread, and loop around the leather (back to front) and go back through the 2 Superduos. Push as close to the anchor bead as you can.

Figure 3
Wrap the thread around the leather (from front to back), go through the second hole in the first Superduo in row one, add 2 more Superduos to your thread, and then go through the second hole in the second Superduo in row one. 

Figure 4
Wrap the thread around the leather (back to front). Then go through the second hole in the second Superduo in row one and the first hole in the second Superduo in row 2. You will be working your needle at a 45 degree downwards angle to the project. Pull your thread completely though those two Superduos. 

Figure 5
Change your needle direction to a 45 degree upwards angle, and then thread your needle through the first hole of the first Superduo in row 2 and the second hole of the first Superduo in row one.  

Figure 6
String your first seed bead onto your thread, and then go through the second hole of the first bead on row 2. 

Figure 7

Add 2 Superduos to your thread, and then go through the second hole of the second bead in row 2.

Figure 8
Add a seed bead, wrap the thread around the leather from back to front, and go back through the seed bead and the second hole of the second bead in the second row and the first hole of the second bead in row 3 (needle is at a 45 degree downwards angle). Pull the thread completely through those 3 beads. 

Figure 9
Now thread your needle through the first hole of the first Superduo in row 3, the second hole of the Superduo in row 2, and the seed bead.

Figure 10
At this point, your project may not be lining up perfectly. This is a good time to carefully tighten the thread through the first three rows, beginning at the top. By the time you finish the next row, your project should sort itself out and lay correctly for the rest of the project.

NOTE: You may find that the rows where you're expanding (and decreasing at the end) the width of the bracelet may buckle a bit. I don't sweat it. I want that area tight so that it doesn't pull down from the button. Once the bracelet has been worn once or twice, the leather relaxes and it will lay flat.

Now you're just repeating the row above for the length of the bracelet.

Add a seed bead, wrap the thread around the leather from back to front, and go back through the seed bead and the second hole of the second bead in the second row and the first hole of the second bead in row 3 (needle is at a 45 degree downwards angle). Pull the thread completely through those 3 beads. 

Figure 11
Now thread your needle through the first hole of the first Superduo in row 3, the second hole of the Superduo in row 2, and the seed bead.

TIP:  When threading your needle back through your row, try not to pierce the thread that has already gone through the beads once. Also, you may find that your thread gets twisted up. If so, let your needle drop every few rows, and run your fingers over the thread to straighten it out. 

Continue until you have the length you need. Take into account when figuring your measurement that you'll need to factor in the length of two rows to taper the end, a knot, and the buttonhole.

On your second to last row, do not add seed beads. Go through the second hole of the first Superduo in the row you just worked. Add ONE Superduo. Then go through the second hole of the second Superduo in the row above.

Figure 12

Wrap the thread around the leather (back to front), and go back through the second hole of the second Superduo in the row above and the first hole of the Superduo you just added. Pull down at a 45 degree angle. 

Figure 13
Go back through the second hole of the first Superduo in the row above at a 45 degree upwards angle.

Figure 14

Wrap the thread around the leather (front to back), and go through the second hole of the last Superduo. Go back through it. If your needle is small enough (you'll need a size 12), go back through this hole a second time and knot.

Figure 15

If you're making a single wrap, you're done. Just knot off your leather, and finish as you would any other laddering project. VOILA!

And don't be surprised if your needle resembles the one below when you're done :)

Figure 16
If you're making a triple wrap, continue on.

Slide your first transition bead up as closely as you can to the first section of your bracelet. Begin by tying a larks head knot with a new length of thread. 
Figure 17
Continue on with the second section of your bracelet.

Figure 18
Slide your second transition bead up as closely as you can to the second segment of your bracelet, and continue with the last segment. If you have a charm, don't forget to slide it up and incorporate it into your bracelet a few beads shy of finishing (to keep it out of the way of the buttonhole). I've forgotten about it more times than I care to remember!

Figure 19
Here are some final tips:

The triple wrap example is with 1.5mm leather. 1mm leather would work equally well.
The single wrap is 2mm leather. 2mm leather takes some coaxing to work with, so don't be afraid to show it who's boss. That said, you may want to start out with 1mm or 1.5mm leather. 

Practice first! Take a scrap piece of leather cord and a few minutes to practice the herringbone stitch (see our Herringbone Wrap Bracelet video for help) before jumping into your bracelet project. You'll thank yourself later :) 

Also, the Superduo Duets I used in the single wrap are awesome! You can play with pattern with them. I knew I wanted the dark navy in the middle, so I strung them with the navy sides all facing the center. You could reverse it with the ivory in the middle, or string them all randomly for a completely different look.

How to Measure for the 3 Sections of Bracelet:

If you're making a triple wrap and want each section of wrap to line up fairly closely, each section of different beads will not be the exact same length. For the first section, you'll need to take into account the button and first knot. The second section will be all beads, and the third section you'll need to take into account another knot and the buttonhole. If you're using a transition bead in between the sections, you need to add that measurement in as well.

To give you a starting point, the triple wrap example is sized to my wrist measurement of a hair under 6". The first section of herringbone beads measures 6 5/8", not including the knot or transition bead. The second section of fire-polished Czech beads also measures 6 5/8". However, the third section of the tile CzechMates beads measures 6 3/8", not including the knot or transition bead. It is shorter to take into account how the button sits in the buttonhole. The transition beads I used are 1/4" wide.

For many more examples of the herringbone bracelet (and variations of the project) you can follow me on Facebook:  Lauren Hartman BEADS


Mar 16, 2017

Three Bracelet Projects Working Together

Save time and get the most out of your beading supplies with His, Hers, and BFF Wrap Bracelets. Make a single wrap for him, a triple wrap for you, and a double wrap for a BFF with this free project from beadshop. Along with a list of ingredients, this project also has a thirteen page PDF file with instructions and how-to images. There are currently ten sample projects available in a range of colors: Fire Sign, Forest Green, Stormy Skies, Sea Green, Cloudy Day, Steel, Wander Around, Party of Three, Deco Gold, and finally a design in the Beader Showcase by Lisa LaBarre-Kurz

Since these three bracelets incorporate the same type of beading ingredients as well as beading techniques, you save time and supplies. Each colorway uses just two tubes of beads, one spool of C-Lon, some 2mm Leather, and three Buttons (one for each bracelet).

Party of Three ~ Design by Janice Parsons
Sample by Beckie Ten Eyck ~ Single Wrap
The His version of this bracelet is a single wrap that is long enough for an eight to nine inch wrist. Some guys might have wrists that are a little larger, for example ten inches, and if so, just add a few more rows on the end to get the extra length you may need.

Party of Three ~ Design by Janice Parsons
Sample by Beckie Ten Eyck ~ Three Wraps
The Hers version is much longer, around twenty-one inches total, and thus can be wrapped around an average seven inch wrist three times. This extra length means you can also wear it as a necklace too.
Party of Three ~ Design by Janice Parsons
Sample by Beckie Ten Eyck ~ Two Wrap
Finally, the BFF version wraps around a seven inch wrist twice, so the full length of this bracelet before you start wrapping is about fourteen to fifteen inches. 

Along with having plenty of the right ingredients to make all three bracelets, you will find yourself using the same techniques, most importantly the ever popular laddering technique. In fact, it is recommended that if you are new to laddering that you make sure to watch beadshop's free video tutorial on this technique:

After making all three bracelets, you will be a master at the laddering technique and have some beautiful beaded jewelry pieces to share. 

Mar 9, 2017

Favorite Jewelry Supplies of Beadshop Staff

Every member of the beadshop crew is addicted to beads, and as you can imagine, if you were to also work at beadshop, with so many beautiful beading ingredients to pick from, you might start creating a long list of favorites. Each staff member has specific tastes and is eager to share personal picks at the beadshop Staff Picks page

5-Wrap-Tahoe-Pumpkin-Seafoam by Janice Parsons
First, there's Janice Parsons, the owner, and her list of favorites. Her color preferences tend to lean towards greens and earth tones, as is evident by one of her favorite wrap designs, 5 Wrap Tahoe - Pumpkin & Seafoam. This is a great beginning project and is loaded with Blue Gray Padres and brass beads on Distressed Pumpkin Colored Leather.

Ghana Circa 1850 Bodom Beads
Bodom beads (Ghana circa 1850) are on Kate's favorite picks page. Her love of metal shows through on her list with the addition of lots of metal findings and components alongside beautiful Shadows Antique Brass and other crystal and bead selections. 
Mr. Bumble Silver 12 x 16mm Plated Pewter Charm
Linnea admits to catching the gardening bug, and these adorable Mr. Bumble Silver Plated Pewter Charms are a one of the influences she receives from nature that you'll see on her favorites page

I Heart You
The webmaster at beadshop, Karen, loves simple and fast projects so she can enjoy her jewelry right away, and the Prairie Leather Wrap is one of her go-to projects, which means using lots of cute sliding components such as I Heart You Sliders
Let It Be
Grace is often behind the camera at beadshop, taking photos for the web shop and also filming the Facebook Live Shows that have become so popular. As a very visual person, Grace loves color. Some of the bead strands on her favorite picks page are these Let It Bee beads, which are made with thermo-sensitive liquid crystal that continually changes color based on the temperature around it.

3mm Picasso Green Turquoise Czech Fire Polish Glass Beads
Cara is a full-time beadshop associate, and her favorites page is loaded with cute silver findings, a rainbow of Stringing Materials, and lots of sparkly glass beads, such as these Picasso Green Turquoise Czech Fire Polish Glass Beads.

So if you feel overwhelmed by all the products you can pick from at beadshop, wander over to the Staff Picks page and get the inside bead scoop from those in the know. 

Mar 2, 2017

New Odyssey Kits!

Odyssey Kits
Thank your mom, or anyone special to you, this Mother's Day by making or gifting one of the new additions to the Odyssey project, Lydia or Guin. Either kit has colors that align with the latest Pantone Spring 2017 Fashion Color Report, Pale Dogwood and Niagara.

If your mom loves to create like you do, then the kits include all the ingredients and instructions to let her enjoy a few hours of beading. The Odyssey is considered an all-levels project, which can be completed in three to four hours.

The Lydia Odyssey sample is named after Janice's mother, who loved the color of Antique Rose. This jewelry design is strung on Tea Rose 4 ply Irish waxed linen and finished off with a 16mm Bamboo Silhouette Antique Copper Plated Pewter Button

Just as with the Lydia kit, all the supplies you need to complete Guin are already in the kit when you order it. Kate's mother loves the color blue, and this piece is packed full of beautiful blue hues: Seafoam crystal lined AB 6/0 seed beads; Denim Irish Waxed Linen; and Light Blue Fine C-Lon

Additional tools required to make an Odyssey, other than your hands, include a tape measure, flush cutters or Xuron scissors, Deep Dish Project Tray and Insert or Macramé Board, scrap twine, and two binder clips. Each kit comes in a pretty organza bag to make the gifting that much easier for you. 

Flash Sale Friday...get creative!

Last week Kate went shopping for some special strands at a local gem show, and she brought back six stone strands she couldn't live with...