Jun 30, 2017

Free Floating Necklace How-To

Sunrise Float Away ~ Sample by Janice Parsons
Statement necklaces do not have to be overly large to gain attention, and the Float Away necklace projects are designs that bring the drama of statement jewelry pieces without any bulkiness. Stations of beads give the illusion of jewelry floating around your neck. Available in limited edition kits and also with free downloadable episode notes and video to watch online, the Float Away projects provide a light look for warm summer weather.

For jewelry makers who want the ability to easily copy the three current design samples made by Beadshop staff, convenient kits are a great option. There is the Sunrise kit, full of enough supplies for the pretty necklace pictured at the top of this post. The beading wire and findings used are copper colored, and the kit has beads in shades of pinks and lavender.

Sunrise Float Away Kit
The Spring Day kit is packed with beads that reflect a cheerful mood, such as Montana Blue Czech glass beads and various green tones seen in the aventurine, olive quartz, and serpentine stone pavers. 

Spring Day Float Away Kit
The nature-inspired combination of colors of the Spring Day design is simply beautiful! 

Spring Day Float Away ~ Sample by Emily Miller
Finally, Rainbow Float Away echoes the colors of the American Southwest with its hues of golds and browns. The beading wire used is Softflex in the Golden Bronze color
Rainbow Float Away ~ Sample by Kate Richbourg and Emily Miller
And, of course, there is a limited edition kit available for the Rainbow version of this design as well. 
Rainbow Float Away Kit
Kits are a good value and provide an easy way to make sure you have all the supplies you need. Keep in mind, though, they are limited edition! So when they are gone, they're gone! Full ingredient lists are available, however, on each project's page. Between the kits, the project pages, Janice's episode notes, and Kate and Emily's video (also posted to YouTube), Beadshop offers you lots of choices when you are ready to start floating away with your beads and beading wire. 

Jun 25, 2017

Treasured Family Heirloom

Treasured Family Heirloom

My mother, Lydia, was an avid collector of vintage pieces, including Art Nouveau. One of the wonderful things she passed down to me is a "boudoir set" for someone named Isa. It was made by Tiffany and Co., probably around 1890. Recently I unpacked the set of two brushes, a mirror, and a cachepot. As you can see by the unpolished brush, it was very oxidized. I wanted to shine it up, but I knew it had to be done with the utmost care. There is only one silver "cleaner" I would trust with something so priceless: Pro Polish Pads. With their gentle cleaning solution embedded in the sponge-like surface, the silver polish is released just where I want it and leaves no scratches or residue. I've always said that Pro Polish Pads are the best thing since sliced bread. I still believe that! And, thanks, Lydia, for the gift of Isa. I will treasure her always.  ~janice                           

Jun 23, 2017

Free Tip Friday Crimping Workout

What a fun #FreeTipFriday this week. Thanks to all for watching and sharing ideas. The broadcast this week is full of useful tips on working with crimps and Soft Flex...especially closures. We had a fun result from the broadcast, and we wanted to share the details here with you.

At the beginning of the show we had a viewer question on how to crimp an endless (no clasp) necklace. Kate showed her tried and true technique of using two crimp tubes and threading the Soft Flex through a center bead.

This photo shows one crimp tube with a crimp cover and one without. Whichever you choose, it's a sturdy way to finish an endless necklace.

Kate also shared her tips on floats and showed how she might end a multiple strand float necklace. The demo evolved into a terrific tassel design shown below:

Kate used a random mix of beads that were leftover from the Float Away project as well as the loop from the Plain and Simple Clasp, Sanctuary in Antique Silver, Be Here Too in Brass, Sweet Beech in Satin Silver, and Willow in Satin Gold.

The resulting tassel can be incorporated into a variety of projects...an earring, pendant, or keychain! Dig into your stash and get creative!

Watch the full broadcast below for all of the tips and tricks that Kate shares in this fun episode.

Jun 20, 2017

Grow Your Garden of Wrap Bracelets

Garden Fairy Project by Brittany Ketcham-Roney ~ Sample by Jen Tello
In the Garden is one of the most popular designs from beadshop's assortment of free projects. In the projects area of the web site, the In the Garden section boasts 18 different variations on this jewelry piece, three of which are fairly recent additions. So, if this wrap-style bracelet is an old favorite of yours, make sure you haven't missed three new ones: Garden Fairy (shown above), Tiger Lily, and Honey Dew (both pictured below). 

Project by Brittany Ketcham-Roney ~ Sample by Grace Noland

Project by Brittany Ketcham-Roney ~ Sample by Grace Noland
Along with new projects to add to the In the Garden design, a new handout also provides updated information and extra tips to go along with the already existing video. (For those new to In the Garden, it is strongly suggested you watch the video as you review the handout, as they work together). Each version of In the Garden posted in the projects area of the web site includes a link to this free pdf handout, which you can download and save to your digital device or print. 

Here are just a few of the extra tips covered in this updated version of the In the Garden handout:
  • To seal off ends of threads, GS Hypo Cement and Eurotool Ultra Flush Cutters are recommended.
  • While the video shows how to secure your project to a design tray, there is also a Skill Builder Handout that covers this important consideration as well.  
  • Longer wrap bracelets is a current trend, which wasn't the case when the video was published in 2013; therefore, the handout suggests using a longer piece of leather when starting out. 
Make sure you don't miss out on adding more beautiful wrap bracelets to your collection by taking a look at this popular design that has been given a few fresh new looks. 

Jun 16, 2017

Free Tip Friday: Findings + Glue = Perfect Earrings

Making custom earring findings is a quick way to get exactly the look you want. All it takes is a few specialized findings and a good glue... at beadshop.com we have both!

This is what you'll need:

Top from left: Earring Post, Surgical Steel; Medium Clip On, Gold Plate; Medium Clip On, Silver Plate;
Center from left: Large Clip On Gold Plate; Large Clip On Silver Plate
Bottom from left: Earring Clutch, Surgical Steel; Zap Glue

Pair the findings above with your favorite charms, beads or buttons and adhere using the Zap Glue.

We used our Aventurine Butterfly for this pair. 

This pair has the I Ching Coins and beads from Vintage Finds and 8mm Appalachian Trail.

We used our new Pavers and our Doodle Bead in Bronze to make these earrings during the broadcast.
Watch the entire broadcast here. Find all of our archived #FreeTipFriday broadcasts on our 


Jun 11, 2017

Bead Crochet for Newbies

Clarity of Thought by Emily Miller
Don't know how to crochet but wish you could make beaded crochet jewelry? Not a problem! With help from crochet and beading expert Emily Miller and beadshop.com, you can quickly learn the basics to get you started. 

After mastering the simplest of stitches - crochet chain stitch - you will be able to combine your love of beads with colorful fiber. Chain stitch is just one of the many stitches that crocheters use, but for the Bits & Pieces projects now available from beadshop.com, the only stitch necessary is the chain stitch. 

Watch the video of Emily and Kate for helpful how-to instructions and tips. Make sure to also download both the episode notes (available on beadshop.com's Facebook Live page), and then head over to the Bits & Pieces project page. Select your favorite colorway, and you'll find a link for downloadable companion instructions that go with the video. 

Picking just one of Emily's projects will not be easy. Along with Clarity of Thought (shown at the top of this post), there are three other color combinations to choose from: 

In the West by Emily Miller
Roses by Emily Miller

Grey Gardens by Emily Miller
Emily suggests starting by learning the chain stitch before adding your beads. You may even have some yarn around the house, or kitchen twine is also a good choice for new crocheters to practice with. You may want to use a larger crochet hook when first learning to chain stitch, but once you get the hang of it and are ready to add some beads and use thinner fiber, you will size down your crochet hook. Beadshop.com suggests Clover Crochet Hooks because of their ergonomic handles. 

Whether you are new to crochet or are already skilled at chain stitch and other crochet techniques, we'd love to see some of your fiber and bead crochet creations! 

Jun 6, 2017

Beads, Wire, and Tassels Become Boho Earrings

Boho Earring Copper & Denim (2 inch hoops) by Kate Richbourg
Memory wire is most often associated with memory wire bracelets, but Beadshop's Kate Richbourg has come up with another wonderful way to use memory wire with her fun Boho Earrings projects. Pictured above is the design using shades of blue and 2 inch diameter memory wire. However, you can make a smaller version using the 3/4 inch diameter memory wire, all of which come together in Beadshop's Memory Wire Assorted Sizes Package in Copper (used by Kate for both these earrings). Here are the smaller Boho Copper & Denim Earrings:
Boho Earring Copper & Denim (3/4 inch hoops) Kate Richbourg
While they still have the Boho look and are very long, they are scaled down and may be more wearable for some who aren't ready for super large hook earrings. Both pairs of earrings include tassels in a beautiful turquoise color

Tassels, Turquoise
Kate used two tassels together for each earring and secured them with a Capped Off cord-end. Tassels can be a tad tricky to work with because they can come apart easily after pulling them off the mother cords, so make sure to watch Kate's pre-recorded Facebook Live video before tackling tassels. About 28 minutes into the show, she shows a neat trick for sliding the tassels off the mother cord and onto copper wire. Then she dabs a little hypo-cement on each one as an added precaution. 

Denim is only one color choice. Kate used the same technique and designed another larger and smaller pair of Boho Earrings using a Bronze and Olive color palette. Beautiful! And, these colors are more on the neutral side so can be worn with just about anything. 

Boho Earring Bronze & Olive by Kate Richbourg

For a complete list of Boho Earring ingredients as well as a handy map and links to how-to videos and more, head over to the Facebook Live page of this show, filmed in late May 2017. 

Jun 2, 2017

Free Tip Friday: Embellished Hairpins!

Hey Gang!
Making embellished hairpins is quick, easy and satisfying. It's a great summer accessory. Prefect for brides or anytime you need to dress up your coiffure.

Here are the Ingredients and Tools:

Silver Tone 16G Soft Wire
Silver Tone 28G Soft Wire
5mm Soft Grey Potato Pearl
2mm- Olive Gold Rainbow
Little Shadows- Bright Brass
11/0 Metal Seed Bead Gilding Matte
Ready Made Bobby Pins

Bench Block
Chasing Hammer
Maxi- Shear Flush Wire Cutter
Bent Nose Pliers
Nylon Jaw Pliers
Sharpie Marker
Nail File

1. Cut 7" of 16G wire, mark center and use the barrel of the Sharpie Marker to make a u-shaped bend in the wire.

2. Use bent chain nose to bend "zig zags" on each side of the pin.

They don't have to be super even. I made two zig-zag sections.

3. Place the pin on the bench block and hammer to flatten and work harden.

4. Cut 12" of 28G wire. Wrap around one side of the pin. Add a bead, bend wire and twist.

5. Continue adding the beads until the pin is embellished to your liking. Tuck in excess wire and clip away ends. Cut ends of the pin flush and file smooth using the nail file.

 The result is a fun and stylish pin, ready for an updo!

Check out the video below from #FreeTipFriday for the full hairpin tutorial 
including how to make embellished bobby pins.

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...