Sep 29, 2017

Free Tip Friday: Green Girl + Leather + Chain = a necklace classic!

Today on Free Tip Friday, I went way back int the archives and created a piece based on my "Sundance Choker" class from The Bead Shop days. This necklace had a little bit of everything... some chain, some beads, leather, charms and a lot of imagination!

Boho Beauty by Kate Richbourg
 Here is a list of the materials and tools I used in the project:

Little Lentil- Antique Silver
Two Lanterns- Vintage Silver
Circle Back- Antique Copper 

Distressed Denim- 1.0mm Indian
Olive Drab- 1.5mm Indian

Sage - Regular C-Lon

Xuron Thread & Cord Scissor

Maxi- Shear Flush Wire Cutter

The idea behind a project like this is to flex that creativity muscle!

In the video, I go over how I chose my bead palette and the "winding path" that I take to come up with this final design.

There are a lot of great tips & tricks to mix it up and create your own Boho Beauty!

I am really pleased with the final result. 
Detail of the leather and chain connection.

Detail of the silk wrapped dangles.

Detail of the button and loop connection.

Check out the entire broadcast below and let me know if you create your own "Boho Beauty!" I can't wait to see what you make. -Kate

Sep 27, 2017

Drea, Janice, and the MG Walk

Frustrated with "The Eye," misbehaving
while at Janice's apartment/office.
It all started about about ten years ago when I was working in a bead shop in Maine and I found it difficult to pick up small beads...but I brushed it off. I have naturally crooked fingers, so I figured "that's why." I also developed double vision, but my mom has some major vision problems, so it must be genetic, right? It slowly got worse, but then it got so bad I was having trouble eye started moving inward like a lazy eye and I bumped into things A LOT. I was also feeling tired all the time, sometimes I would slur words together, and I confessed to Janice that I was worried about my poor memory. I didn't really know what was wrong, but whenever I brought these things up to doctors an excuse was always found...until this winter when an ophthalmologist discovered what was going on.

"You have myasthenia gravis," the good doctor said.
"I have what?!" was my reply.

Myasthenia gravis, or MG, is an autoimmune disease known as the Snowflake Disease, because it affects each of its patients so differently. The basics are the same: a feeling of muscle weakness. My brain and my muscles actually both work just fine, it's the connection between them that's deteriorating. The more I use a muscle, the weaker it becomes. Rest helps, and there are surgical options, drugs, and treatments that can help. But there is no cure and the disease is progressive.

I let Janice and Kate know and eventually told the rest of the team, too. There was huge outpouring of support. Working remotely, I kind of make my own allows for me to have a nap (yep, I take naps!) so I can function in the afternoons. I work from home more so I don't have to drive. And I can do my work around the many doctor's appointments and tests I have been going to in recent months. Who can say they have a workplace that amazing and understanding?

In June, during MG Awareness Month, I found out more about the disease. The awareness ribbon is teal...and so my world became teal. I dyed my hair, I got a tattoo, I made jewelry (hellooooo, Bead Aware charms!), I got teal glasses...and in an effort to make a splash, I asked a local landmark, The Capitol Wheel, if they would light up in teal for MG Awareness ...they did!

I also discovered that the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America has one big fundraiser, the MG Walk. There are about 40 MG Walks across the nation. They raise funds that are earmarked for research, which is exactly what this disease needs! It's such a mystery, even to the doctors and scientists who study it day in and day out.

Of course, I started a team. Of course, Janice joined! She and I, along with my friends and family, will be walking this Saturday, September 30th, at the MG Walk of Virginia in Springfield. This is not only an opportunity to raise funds, but one to spread awareness of MG and be a part of a community I didn't even know existed. Janice and I want to invite any locals to join us! We would be honored to see you there.

The staff is a very loving bunch, I don't think that's not a surprise to anyone. They've thrown support behind Janice and I for the MG Walk of Virginia, some of the gals want to join the MG Walk of San Francisco, some helped me design my teal MG Awareness jewelry (and my Tiara!), and then Janice came up with a way to raise more funds and spread more awareness: YOU!

You...our customers, our friends, our are the best. Whether in emails, phone calls, Facebook messages, or on FB Live shows, I have gotten to know so many of you. A few of you already knew about my MG, and the support has been unreal. I am honored and humbled to have a chance to tell this story and to ask for your help:

Janice has donated a $50 gift card 
that we are "raffling" off to YOU. To win, you donate. 
For every $5 donated you will receive one chance at winning the gift card. So if you donate $5, your name goes in once. If you donate $20, your name goes in four times, and so on. I will keep track of the donations and tally up the names and numbers, and on Saturday from the MG Walk, Janice and I will broadcast LIVE on our Facebook Page and select a winner.
Donations must be in by Midnight PST on Friday, September 29, 2017 to be eligible to win. Donations must be made to the "Beadshop Dotcom" team member in order to qualify.

Questions? I'm happy to answer and happy to help.
Just email me at

Many thanks and, as always,
Happy Beading!

Sep 25, 2017

Rondelle, the Other Round Bead

African Opal Rondelle
When most of us think of round beads, a bead that is equal in diameter, perfectly spherical, will often pop into our heads first. However, rondelle beads are not to be overlooked when you want to add a little something different to your beading designs. Rondelle beads are more saucer or disc shaped.

Beadshop has recently added some beautiful rondelle gemstone beads to its offerings, and while they have been selling out quickly, you can add your email address to the notification box on any out of stock item to receive an email letting you know when they are back in stock. 

First, there is African Opal, pictured above. These are 5 x 3.5mm and have not been enhanced, naturally a mix of hues from brown to beige to light green. KO Thread would be a good choice to use for stringing.

Chrysoprase Rondelle
For more earthy tones that are a little bit darker, Chrysoprase Rondelles are also available, and like the other new rondelles in stock, come on 16 inch temporarily strung strands. These are 4mm in size and are faceted, thus adding a little bit of sparkle. 

Kyanite Rondelle
Kyanite Rondelles are also faceted and 4mm, but the colors in this strand are a mix of blue. Consider combining these with icy white metal beads and silver tone wire. We recommend 22-gauge. 

Rhodonite Rondelle
The final new addition is Rhodonite Rondelle. This stone is known for having pinks and greys mixed together with pink as the predominant color. Play off the grey by using similar colored stringing materials such as KO Thread in dark grey. 

If you don't have many rondelle shaped beads in your bead stash, why not add some? You can mix these with traditional round beads as well as cube shaped beads to add texture to a wrap bracelet or multi-strand jewelry piece

Sep 22, 2017

Free Tip Friday: Making Wire Beads with Kate

Thanks for watching today's #FreeTipFriday. It was fun making wire beads with you.

For this technique you'll need the following tools:
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Flush Wire Cutters
Nylon Jaw pliers
Tape Measure

And the following materials:
18 g wire
6mm, 8mm and 10mm round beads or beads of your choice.

I also used earwires, headpins and eyepins to turn the components into earrings.

Check out the #FreeTipFriday video for the step-by-step directions. I'd love to see how you adapt this fun technique to your designs. -Kate

Sep 20, 2017

Facebook Trunk Show!

Hold on to your hats, everyone! This is huge.

Kate's hosting a Facebook Trunk Sale and we have all the details for you right here.

Janice showing off some Trunk Show goodies!

Here is how it will go... Kate will make a single post to start the sale. This will not be a live video. In the comments Kate will post a photo of each item, how many we have, and the price. Comment underneath the photo with how many you want to buy. Comments to claim product are taken as first-come, first-serve according to what Kate sees on her computer screen. Kate will let you know she's seen your claim with a "like."

Once you've finished shopping, email us at with your PayPal email and we'll tally up your total and send you a PayPal request. At this time we will only be accepting payments for FB Trunk Show purchases through PayPal.

Shipping is $6.95 Flat Rate to US addresses $13 International (including Canada) for as many goodies as you can fit in that box!! 

These beads are not available on our website and they are not eligible for any sales or coupons we may have going on in our shop. These are all priced for a trunk sale so you are getting HUGE savings! And please note... all sales are final.

Who: Kate and YOU!
What: The Ultra-Fabulous Trunk Sale 
When: Thursday, 9.21.17 at 10:30am PST
Where: The Facebook Page
How: Items for sale will be posted in the comments! 

Mix Up Your Beads

There's nothing like a beading cocktail to mix up your jewelry designs, and beadshop has started whipping up a mix of beads each month for you. Start collecting all the mixes now and enjoy this easy way to add amazing color to your jewelry pieces. Each of our Monthly Mixes are available for a limited time, so make sure you sign up for our newsletter to receive notifications of new mixes when they first come available. 

Strawberry Lemonade
Strawberry Lemonade started it all this summer as the first mix of beads in this new collection. Use this mix as part of a pretty Float Away necklace. 

Summer Sky
Summer Sky came next and is made up of eight different bead choices. Blues and greens are always popular selections when it comes to beading designs. For project ideas, consider our free Soft Flex 101 projects. 
Harvest Time
Finally, Harvest Time is our most recent addition to the Monthly Mixes collection. Use these to create some of the wonderful Looming Projects available on See how Kate used it in a #FreeTipFriday broadcast this Summer.

Sometimes it can take just as long to decide on the color of beads you plan to use as it does to actually bead a jewelry piece. Each mix starts with an assortment of color combinations to  inspire and save you time and help you get right to the beading as soon as possible. 

Sep 8, 2017

Free Tip Friday: Harvest Time Wrap

Hey All!

What a fun time on Free Tip Friday today! I am so glad you enjoyed the broadcast for Harvest Time Wrap.

It's a great way to stretch your creativity and use up some items in your bead stash. Or better yet, grab our newest Monthly Bead Mix and get stringing!

The finished piece I made measures 60 inches total. It wraps three times around my neck or nine times around my wrist. It's a perfect layering piece. 

As promised, here is the materials and tools list for what you will need to make your own wrap.

1 tube Harvest Time Seed Bead Mix
1 strand Drops- Jade Picasso
1 strand 6mm Melons- Champagne Turquoise Picasso
1 length Wheat Chain- Antique Copper ( I used about 8")
1 spool SoftFlex .014- Golden Bronze
1 pkg Beadsmith Crimp Tubes- Copper
1 pkg Wire Guardians- Antique Copper

Check out the #FreeTipFriday broadcast (posted below) for all the how-to details.

 Learn stringing and patterning techniques

 Link chain using wire guardians and crimps.

Drops add color and texture to the design.

Watch the broadcast below and let us know what you make! We'd love to see how you are inspired by this piece.

Sep 6, 2017

Connections: 9.6.17

Hello again, dear friends! I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing long weekend! If you spent some of that time beading, be sure to send me your work, I'd love to feature it in a future Connections post. Just email them to me at the customer service email: As for today, we’ve got some really stunning pieces to show off, so pull up a chair and get ready to be inspired!

Happy beading!

From Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, comes Lynn C. and her beautiful blues. A simple pair of earrings using our Tide’s Out in Marina matched with some beads and components from her own stash, they really do stand out. Love those patterned jump rings, Lynn! And your wirework is impeccable--perfect coils make a piece look so professional. 

Let me just preface this next submission from Lynn as being a favorite of mine…I am a Superduo fan, but I am also a fan of fancy knots! And this knot is so gorgeous…what a fantastic way to end and begin a ladder bracelet! Lynn told me it’s called a Josephine Knot, and with Josephine being my grandmother’s name…well, I had to learn how to do it! Lynn was kind enough to send me a diagram she found on Pinterest…mine don’t look as perfect as Lynn’s, but I did give it a try! Lynn’s beautiful Seashore-inspired wrap uses Picasso Turquoise Blue and Silver Superduos (try Full Labrador if you'd like to make a similar design), Metallic Grey 1.5mm leather, and Fireline—which we just started carrying in the shop!

“I've been making the ladder bracelets for a good many years but I have learned some great tips from Kate and Janice's broadcasts and the project lessons.  As the saying goes, ‘Even an old dog can learn new tricks!’"

Next up is some pretty looming sent in from Sheila A. in Arroyo Grande, CA. Using our Strawberry Lemonade Monthly Mix and some turquoise and gold beads from her own stash. Would you believe this is Sheila’s first loomed piece? It’s so very well done. She used an Endless Loom and says “all in all it was great fun and a rewarding experience.”  Our newest Monthly Mix, Harvest Time, is just out! We think it'd look great loomed or woven, and takers? Show us your work!

Debbie M. from Reno sends me her version of our project Homewood. She’s changed the button to our Giant Sunflower, and she’s also mixed up the pattern sequence and added some short sections of macrame, which all looks really great! She’s also added in some Empathy in Picture Jasper to use as charms, those heart-shaped jaspers are beauties! Debbie likes to create a project in our color ways first to learn, then to re-create or adjust in her own colors and styles. It's a great way to learn a technique or project and then make it your own.

Debbie also created these leather earrings. How cute are these? They’re very light, she says, which is great for women wanting a larger or longer earring without the weight. Black leather, a pair of foldover crimps, and some Shadows and Sliders…easy-peasy! This is a great way to use up some leftover leather that’s too short for a bracelet. Smart, Debbie!

Kendra D. from San Geronimo, CA, sent Kate a photo of her completed Brick Stitch project after watching Emily’s FB Live Broadcast. The stitch was a challenge for her…or so she claims. It looks perfect to us! We’d never have known! Kendra has a few pearls of wisdom for us and anyone else starting bead weaving: “I would encourage using matte 8/0 seed beads, even with the tension issue, I found them easier to see and maneuver. I also watched the video over and over to see how the first row of brick stitch was done…ie from what angle did the needle enter the beads. I used a shorter, squatter size  #10 needle so I could see it enter and exit ‘cleanly’ through a bead or a stitch.”

Good tips, Kendra, and thanks!! Using full Tilas in Mustard, Picasso Seafoam Green 8/0s, and her own button…this is a great work of art! 

One question we are asked often is “what’s a good men’s bracelet?” While we do have a few projects that are easily unisex, we have the Herringbone Ladder single wrap that was designed for men. Debbie G., our resident St. Louis Cardinals fan, made one of these and then adjusted the design to make two more. She makes them for her adult sons, which we think is really sweet!
This first one is straight out of Lauren Hartman’s Herringbone Ladder project. Using Picasso Opaque Coral Red Superduos and 8/0s on the edge, dark brown leather and a button that looks like a Buffalo Nickel coin.

These two of Debbie's own design are very cool. Rather than add beads on the outer edges of the Superduo herringbone, she’s added a bead in the center. It’s still a chevron look but with a distinctive flair. We’re loving it! She says they're a silver-lined clear 8/0, which would give a little shine without being feminine. It's like a racing stripe...what guy wouldn't like that??

These two use Crystal Bronze Fire Red and Jet Picasso Superduos, respectively. They also both use a clear 8/0 in the center, and Natural leather, and Debbie's own buttons. Your sons are lucky guys, Debbie!

Thanks, as always, everyone, for sending in your beautiful work. If you would like to be featured, too, send your photos to me at with "Connections" in the subject line.

Sep 5, 2017

Queen of Beads

Cara - Mermaid Dream
Are you busy designing your entry for beadshop's Tiara Challenge? Hopefully, at this point you have at least decided which frame to use, silver or gold, and you are well on your way to finishing and submiting your entry by the deadline, which is coming up pretty soon!

Once you finish your beautiful tiara, what next? Who will be the recipient of this beaded piece? If you are looking for suggestions, here you go:

  • Gift the beaded tiara to a friend. What about a BFF who needs a little pick me up? A bead-encrusted headpiece made by you will definitely put a smile on her face.
  • Then there is the person on your gift list who has everything. I bet she doesn't have a one-of-a-kind hand-crafted tiara.
  • Do you have any brides-to-be in your family? Ask if you could create something for her for her bridal shower, bachelorette party, or even her wedding.
  • An upcoming event could warrant a crown. Drea made her tiara in the same colors as the awareness ribbon for an upcoming fundraising walk.
  • Any young girl in your family would more than appreciate a crown to wear. Do you have a little princess in your life who would enjoy the magic of your beaded creation?
  • Finally, there is no need to gift it at all. Keep it for yourself. After all, you deserve it.
Janice - Charlotte
If you are still looking for some creative inspiration to get your tiara underway, make sure to take a look at The Tiara Challenge blog post. You will see the tiaras made by beadshop staff, and all the rules for entering are listed there as well. 

Oh, and of course, one big reason to join in the fun is the possibility of winning. Winners will be announced shortly after the September 30th deadline and awarded with gift card prizes: 1st place: $75 gift card; 2nd place: $50 gift card; and 3rd place: $25 gift card. 

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...