Nov 22, 2017

The Tiara Challenge: Results

The photos were sent, the votes have been tallied, and’s Tiara Challenge is officially at an end! We had so much fun creating our own tiaras as well as seeing all of yours. We kept it simple: purchase a tiara frame or comb from and decorate it however you saw fit! We allowed three votes for each beadshop employee to use, so each member pored over the photos and voted for their three favorites, not knowing who created which masterpiece, and the overwhelming winner was…

First Place

“Where Mermaids Play,” created by the fabulous Faye L. from British Columbia, Canada!! Her gorgeous design takes us on an underwater adventure. Silvery seaweed, beautiful blues and greens, charms, pearls…it’s an amazing piece and everyone just loved it. It’s unique, and very eye-catching! We adore the asymmetry and height, as well as the dangling charms and sense of whimsy. Faye's use of color and ability to transport us to another world had vote after vote cast for her crown. This tiara takes the cake and the first place gift card of $75 to Congratulations, Faye!

Faye used silver holiday decorations as “seaweed,” as well as ribbon. She also wire-wrapped lots of beads and charms from her own stash. We suggest:
Silver Tiara Frame and Silver Craft Wire

Currents and Tide's Out Recycled Glass Beads

Second Place

In Second Place we have this lovely piece that reminds me so much of Queen Elizabeth II’s Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara when worn with emeralds…a personal fave of mine! But this beader’s inspiration came from the Swedish royal family: The Connaught Diamond Tiara. The real-life Tiara has diamond drops inside diamond wreaths of Forget-Me-Nots, which has been echoed here with pretty silver drops and climbing seed bead vines. In sleek silver and stunning emerald green I am dubbing this masterpiece “The Danish Diadem,” as it was made by the lovely Gitte L. from Denmark. Hammered metal hoop components are supported by wired seed beads in lush green and silver. Hanging inside each hoop is a beautiful filigree drop. It looks just stunning on Gitte herself, with her red hair and sweet green eyes.

Gitte used:
Silver Tiara Frame and Silver Craft Wire
Silver metal hoop components
Silver filigree drops, we suggest briolettes or charms or even the Belle Epoque Connectors.
Third Place

 Rounding out our winners is the “Nature’s Princess Tiara” from Cindy B. of Florida. Cindy’s Circlet is simple yet elegant and with her signature exquisite beadwork and attention to detail. Her color story is just breathtaking and her stone “spires” transport us to a fairy realm in a secret forest where this Princess surely must live. Perfectly placed, her crystals sit amongst the faceted sparkle of Czech Glass fire polish beads and silver wire work. We are so inspired, Cindy! And we think you look SO cute in your design, too! Wold you believe she has never made a tiara before? Incredible work!

Cindy used:
Silver Tiara Frame and Silver Craft Wire
Cindy's own Natural Point Crystals
Czech Glass 3mm Fire Polish in Crystal Orange Rainbow, Pink Crystal AB (we suggest Luster Transparent Pink) and Dual Lustered Blue Green

Now, for the honorable mentions…we were blown away by all of these pieces as well and we’re so happy to those who participated! We wanted to thank everyone for creating, inspiring us, and being a part of this challenge…and, because you are all winners in our minds, we are also awarding a prize to the rest of our participants: a $15 gift card to for each of you. Thanks you again and enjoy these creative crowns!

Jane U. from Oregon made such an incredible showstopper! It was a very close fourth place. We love that Jane took inspiration from our Office Tiara Challenge to create her very own “Liquid Sunshine,” brought on by her appreciation of the Pacific Northwest’s unique weather. I couldn't have written a more lovely description than Jane herself:

“Here on the coastal end of Oregon, we have learned to appreciate the nourishing —if sometimes seemingly endless— rain  living in a temperate rainforest brings. Once the rain clears, all is awash with sparkling drops of liquid sunshine.

My entry features piles of clearing clouds in silver-filled wire with a golden Labradorite cabochon sun flashing rays of fire-polished beams while a passing shower falls below.”

In Florida, Trish P. created what we are calling “Beaded Blossoms,” using wired 8/0s and melon beads to make petals and flowers and adding Czech glass leaves from her personal stash. This is a floral arrangement that won’t wilt! We all fell in love with it’s ethereal beauty. “You do realize I only want to make more, right?” Trish said!

Melanie G. of Manitoba asked if a comb could be used instead of a tiara frame…and knowing she would make something stunning we of course said “yes!” Drawing inspiration from Pantone’s 2017 Fall Colors, Mel used Fireline to sew her selection of seed beads, Czech leaves, Daisies, and more to her comb. The addition of 4mm Copper Plate Fire Polish to the clear facets from her personal stash really stands out. We’ve dubbed this the “Czech Comb” and we adore it!

This is just too cute and really so perfectly made! Joanne S. of Virginia made this whimsical “Not a Perfect Pumpkin,” or so she says…what isn’t perfect about this? A plump little pumpkin has been wired with seed beads and Czech glass. Citing her love of Autumn as her inspiration, Joanne wired away…she claims to not be a wire whiz but we beg to differ! Your had work paid off, Joanne, this is splendid!

Last but certainly not least are Kendra D. of California and her friends and family. Kendra celebrated her 70th birthday in style with not one but two Tiara-making parties! Friends and family gathered to create together, and we thought the idea was just FAB!

 Kendra made two tiaras, one at each party. We judged only one entry per person, but we did want to showcase both of her tiaras! On the left, “Flowers for her Seventieth” and on the right, “Vintage Glass.”

Also from Kendra’s parties:

Christie G. in “Lots of Pearls Tiara”

Betsy I. wearing “Celtic Spiral”

Marilyn R. wearing “Ocean Waves”

We loved each and every entry, all of the creative spirit, and all of the fun! Thank you all so much for participating and for being such wonderful customers and friends!
Happy beading!

Nov 17, 2017

Free Tip Friday: Snowflake Earrings with Kate & Drea

Hi Everybody!

Wasn't it great to have Drea on the broadcast today? We had so much fun creating these festive snowflakes!
Here are the materials we used:
The steps are pretty easy! There are 3 rounds of beading...or four if you do the extra 3mm Fire Polish row.

Start by stringing six SuperDuos. We used the Crystal Bronze Pale Gold to begin...and we'll just refer to them as "gold" from here on out.

 String through the same beads in the same holes again, to "double up" for a secure base. Pull tight so the beads form a tiny six-pointed star, and tie two overhand knots. Add a dab of GS Hypo Cement, but don't cut the tail.

String up through the top hole of the closest SuperDuo, string on two new SuperDuos (we used Pastel Emerald, hereafter known as "teal"), then through the top hole of the next gold bead. Your teal beads should nestle in a neat little V shape right inside the V of the gold beads. Continue through, adding your pairs of teal SuperDuos, then circle through the circuit again for security.

Now come up and out the top hole of a teal SuperDuo so your needle exits into the center of the V.

Add a single SuperDuo (we used the silver Full Labrador) and go out through the next teal Superduo so the silver bead is nestled right inside. Circuit through those three beads again to secure, then carefully go down to the gold bead, go through the top hole, and back up to the next teal bead's top hole. Pick up a silver Superduo, through the next teal top-hole, circuit through to secure, and down through the next gold and back up through the next teal. Continue around until you have all six silver "spires" or points of your snowflake.

If you'd like to finish your snowflake as-is, weave your thread back down through the SuperDuos to meet with your original tail in the center. Tie together, add a dab of glue, and trim the ends.

If you'd like to keep embellishing, go for it! We added 3mm Full Silver fire polish, which adds a nice bit of sparkle. They fit nicely in between the tops of the teal V's. When you string through, be sure you string through all three holes of the snowflake's point, if you skip the silver bead's bottom hole the point won't sit right.

Again, end in the same way: weave down through your beadwork and tie the tails together, glue, trim.

These cute little components can be used in a variety of ways. We created earrings with ours, but you could also use as a pendant, string several together to make a chain, use as a garland, ornaments, and more! Tons of ideas were tossed around on the Live's comments and they were all fantastic!

We wire-wrapped to create earrings. Make a wire-wrapped loop, stringing your loop through the top of a silver SuperDuo. Add a 3mm Full Silver, and wire-wrap another loop to attach to your earwire. Tahdah!

Watch the entire broadcast below for the complete step-by-step with Kate & Drea.

 We are dying to see what you all create! Please share with us! Send us an email or share on our new Facebook Group, Community: The Bead Table.

Nov 16, 2017

Connections: What A Woman!

Faithful friend and customer Debbie M. of Reno, Nevada has been a busy beader. I promised to tell this story way back when in our first Connections post, and finally, here it is. 

When Debbie’s longtime friend told her some bad news, Debbie jumped to action. This friend's daughter had been diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor, a very rare and aggressive form of cancer that’s usually found only in children under 5, though this daughter is actually a grown woman with a child of her own. The shocking news sent the family into a tailspin, and now they work together to cope with the news and fight the disease.

One thing that can be offered to support a friend in need is love. Debbie has taken her love to the next level with her latest beading project. To support her dear friends she wanted to create something with a symbol of strength. Drawing her inspiration for her beadwork from their adopted “mascot” through this struggle, Wonder Woman, Debbie got to work. The family couldn’t have picked a better icon. With the new films starring Gal Gadot portraying feminine strength and power, Debbie's friends can take their Wonder Woman bracelets and fight with all their might.

For the daughter, the fighter herself, Debbie’s made an Across Cultures based off Grace’s contemporary updates to our classic project. The classic Wonder Woman reds and blues are on full display with Czech Glass, 6/0 Seed Beads, and the delicious Pomegranate Czech Rollers. A mixed-metals selection of Tierra heishi, Shadows, Sliders, and River Shannon beads completes the second half of the bracelet. A large silver and gold Wonder woman charm hangs near the button loop, cohesively blending with the rest of the metals yet also standing out enough to make a statement. The Cobalt Daisy Czech Glass Button, a tassel, and a golden “lasso” of 3mm Czech Glass in 24K Gold Plate closes the piece. Filled with symbolism and strength, this bracelet is fit for a wonder of a woman. 

Fighting cancer takes strength and support, and family is oh-so important in that. For the younger sister, Debbie has created a Herringbone Ladder design. Using Picasso Opaque Blue SuperDuos and 1.5mm Blue Leather, the bracelet starts out strong. The Czech Rollers used in the Across Cultures are echoed in this bracelet as well, this time in Antique Silver and they separate sections boldly but gracefully. Laddered Marbled Gold Siam Ruby Czech Glass and Golden Hematite Rondelles come next. Finally, Czechmates Tiles in the last section complete the look, again echoing the traditional red and blue, with hints of metals thrown in. Debbie used Picasso Black Opaque Coral RedPicasso Cobalt, Matte Metallic Flax, and Silver for this section. A Tattoo Button in Silver completes the piece.

For those loving parents, married over 40 years, a Strong Point (perfectly named!) and a version of Sumer Tahoe were created. Debbie and I hunted the internet for Wonder Woman components, since that’s not something we’d carry at Together, we found a great selection and Debbie bought a bunch! The Summer Tahoe for Dad has a bold and gold “WW” symbol plaque as its centerpiece. Knotted to either side of it are bright red and blue 1.5mm leathers adorned with Wonder Woman beads traditionally used on a Pandora-style bracelet, but Debbie ingeniously used them to collect all her leather strands together. Adding flashes of the mixed metals, there are Happy Donuts, Czech Rollers, and Silver Metal 6/0s, and of course Silver Evolve Beads used to crimp the Round and Round Clasp on. 

Mom’s Strong Point has the 1-2-1-2 beading pattern. Debbie used the beautiful Peacock Hematite Rondelles along with Silver Shadows sprinkled throughout. A great point of added interest, we think. The Red Wine Star Czech Glass Button is so reminiscent of Wonder Woman’s shield, and resting upon the blue background of hematite and leather it looks fierce and strong. To hold the button, another golden lasso, this time using Bright Brass Shadows. A Royal Blue Tassel adds a touch of whimsy and matches with the Across Cultures. The two women have been friends since grammar school, and knowing her friend well, Debbie expertly created a piece that’s perfect in both style and personality.

Notice that in all of Debbie’s bracelets there’s not only the Wonder Woman theme, but also certain beads carried from piece to piece. Truly a matching set, the same beads and leathers can be found across all four pieces, the imagery of the shield represented in the button, the lasso in the button loops…I see it as just one more way this quartet is bound together.

Personally, I want to attest to Debbie’s caring nature. With a pharmaceutical background and a brain that’s just chock-full of knowledge, I have been blessed to get to know Debbie as more than just a customer. What started as a customer emailing in to ask a few design questions turned into a friendship I am so thankful for. She’s always looking out for me (and scolding me for my sweet tooth) and she’s been a great asset as I deal with my own journey with MG. Debbie inspired me to create my own Wonder Woman Across Cultures for myself. I had just seen the movie and loved the message and experience, and Debbie and I collaborated to create our jewelry. Cara and Grace helped us to select colors, and Debbie and I ordered our components and got started. I jumped the gun and started working on mine before Debbie had even gotten her beads! I just couldn’t wait. Our pieces ended up pretty similar although the differences that attest to our personal beading styles are still apparent. I added leather strands to my “metal side” of the bracelet, and used more charms. Big, chunky, bold…you can’t miss it on my wrist. I wore it to Johns Hopkins for my first round of testing…oddly enough, since my disease makes me very weak, I don’t feel like such a Wonder Woman as my neurologist tests my muscle strength (I don't ace these tests…) but I do love the fighting spirit it instills.

I shared the story of Debbie’s projects and this cancer fight with the team. All of us here at the office are rooting for you, girl. We know you’re going to kick some serious cancer butt, and you’ve got your very own fan club here.

Nov 10, 2017

Free Tip Friday: Tassel and Leather Lariat Necklace

Hey Gang!

We had such fun in #FTF today... I am really enamored of the resulting necklace, thanks to the inspiration of customer Susanne from Finland.

This lariat is a "mash up" of two projects... the simple tassel that I created on Free Tip Friday on 11.6.17 and Janice's Boho Beauty Leather Choker Necklace.

As promised, here is a list of the products I used in the Tassel Lariat:
Distressed Violet 1.5mm Leather
Distressed Violet 1.0mm Leather
Pinwheel- Purple Serpentine
Russet Sands
Circle of Bronze
.05mm Chinese Knotting Cord Deep Plum , Grey, Light Iris.
C-Lon Fine Grape, Orchid.

Check out the rebroadcasts below for all the learning you need to start creating! Enjoy!

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...