Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sparkly Heads-up from Artbeads

Are you ready for some sparkle?

Silly question right?

There is nothing like Swarovski sparkle other than the beautiful bright sunshine in the summertime! :) Ahhh!

Thanks to Artbeads.com for sharing some of the new colors and shapes to come for spring/summer 2013! Yummy stuff here!!

Take a look at this GREEN! "Crystal luminous green" to be exact...oh me oh my-o!

I am going to send you over to the Artbeads blog now so you can get your sparkle fix too! Enjoy!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Keys & Butterflies

Okay, I have a confession to make...

I've been visiting Etsy again! BUT, look what I found.

I LOVE these keys that have been decorated with "butterflies in flight". So cool! Since butterflies represent transformation or awakening, I think this is a PERFECT way to express the idea that "you have the keys" to making a great life.

Created by "Adorn me Jewelry" (Tina & James), whose Etsy profile reads:

"We are a mother and son team bringing you beautiful handcrafted artisan jewelry for all tastes and sizes -- large and small. Because making sure our jewelry fits you is a passion and important goal, we offer the option of making almost all of our designs larger or smaller than the listing sizes, as you need them. Each of our items are made with loving care and an artistic consciousness with you, the individual, in mind...."

Here is the description of these earrings: "I have decorated vintage skeleton keys (1 1/2" long in size -- size Medium in the photo guide in this listing) with small butterflies in flight, then hung them from medium-sized gunmetal kidney-shaped ear wires. These earrings are a little weighty."

Wow, thanks to Adorn me Jewelry for such a fabulous expression of creativity!! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

You Have the Keys!

I did a quick search for key beads because I had a thought last week after someone showed me a page in an inspirational book that said, "You have the keys".

I didn't really need to read anything else after that, I completely got it, felt it and agreed with it!

Of course my first thought was shrinky dink words to dangle along with some key beads as a great reminder of this absolute fact! So, that's the path I'm on at the moment.

As you well know, I am prone to taking a few different paths at the same time. In most cases, the ideas pan out down the road. It's the excitement phase that I LOVE!!

So, please feel free to jump on my band wagon with me for the ride, I'd love the company! :) Here are a couple of keys I have found so far.

The first from Bead Mecca and the second heart key from Artbeads.com.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Swarovski Sale & Mobile App!

Happy weekend! I wanted to take a few minutes to share some info I discovered today.

FireMountainGems.com is advestising a Swarovski bicone sale. Up to 15% off regular price on 4, 6 and 8 mm bicones. Yay!

These look like a great deal, 6mm Xilion bicones in assorted colors, NICE!

I also noticed the FireMountainGems.com catalog has gone Mobile!! Android, Iphone or Ipad!! Pretty exciting! Here are the details:

"Your favorite jewelry-making catalog is now more portable than ever. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Catalog app enables you access to the latest catalogs to shop online right on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Android equipped mobile device. Now you can view the latest beads, findings and other jewelry-making supplies whenever (and wherever) you want!"

Friday, January 27, 2012

Peace, Love & Bead Blogger Friday

Wow, time has flown this week! Let's get ready for a creative weekend. Here are some fun blogs to kick it off!

Beading Arts
Interested in publishing this year? How about starting out with a magazine? 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Everyday Gemstones from the publishers of BeadStyle magazine is beautiful, easy, and is a special Winter 2012 issue --and Jean thrilled to be in it! 

Jean Campbell
What exactly does a beadwork tech-editor do? Read on! 

Beads and Books
Join the spring challenge and makeover a ready-made wintry bracelet into a piece of springtime jewelry! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Want to help a small business out? It's so easy! With a few clicks you can help Allegory Gallery get some free advertising dollars! 

Art Bead Scene
Gaea shares some of her current favorite beading and craft related tools 

About.com Jewelry Making
Are you struggling with the cost of metal right now? Tammy gives you a tip for getting the look of metal beads without the cost. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frosted Cheese Cracker

You are going to love this!

I wanted to share something happy, sunny and bright yellow since we haven't seen the real thing up in the sky for a little while.

These are SO adorable and the name of them is adorable too:

Frosted Cheese Cracker Yellow Sun (Vintage Lucite Beads 25mm).

Are you smiling?! I know, me too!

Thanks to the Gems & Knots website for this sun-shiny moment!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Treasure Hunting

Have you ever gotten lost jumping from one etsy site to another? WOW, it's like meditation or something...

I wanted to share a couple of great finds that are both related to Valentine's Day!

Look at this adorable labrador retriever, awwww! So darn cute!!

It's from the "Suzoom" etsy shop. I noticed a few other pets in her collection just in case you are looking!

This fabulous swirly set of beads is from the "Fanceethat" etsy shop. LOVE these! So fun and sweet!

Thanks to Suzoom and Fanceethat (AND Etsy) for a fun evening of treasure hunting!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do you Love Toho?

I'm so sorry, but sometimes I can't help myself...there is nobody here to censor or edit my silliness so I just ask for your forgiveness in advance...

So, I ask...Do you love Toho, like I love Toho?

There is NOTHING like true Japanese Toho beads! They are perfect in every way!

How do they get every tiny little bead so perfectly identical? All I really know is they are precision cut and perfect for bead weaving projects! The color combinations are unique and inspiring.

And now, the big news! It's time for the annual "Treasures of TOHO Competition".

If you aren't familiar with the competition, it is sponsored by Toho of Japan, but you must enter through a bead store. I received an email from an Ohio bead shop today, Ally Beads, now accepting entries.

For those of you entering, good luck and happy precision beading!

Here are some of my fave Toho beads from Artbeads.com (4mm green lined peridot)...Awesome!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tweet, Tweet!

I had to make one last trip to the vault when I remembered this necklace I made using a Necco candy heart!

How could I have forgotten this little valentine surprise?!

I had been working on a Rings & Things design challenge that incorporated a sweet "tierra cast" bird and frame.

Now, as a crafter all I could think of was gluing crazy things to that frame!

I absolutely LOVED the little bird, but when I happened to pick up some Necco candy hearts to give to co-workers and discovered the "tweet me" heart, it all started coming together in my head!

The crazy little crafter in me couldn't help but add some gold seed beads and then a little spritz of glitter on top of the Necco heart. :) You know, for good measure!

It sure is fun to take a trip down memory lane, I feel like I've been playing with glitter and I don't have any messes to clean up!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Red Hemp Cord?

I've had fun playing with the eye glass chain holders I mentioned in Saturday's post. Ideas are forming!

The latest and greatest one is about using red hemp cord to knot all these little pieces together into a 3 strand bracelet.

Did you know there was red hemp cord? Once again, the thought crosses my mind that I am so glad we live in a time of Google!

I found this particular "Barn Red Hemp Twine" at the Hemp Hut on Etsy! How fun!

Of course, there might also be a few hearts and crystals thrown in, but this idea is still under construction.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Design Idea

I came across a bag of these eye glass pieces that are meant to be attached to glasses and have wire, beads, cording or something added on to hold them around your neck.

I've had these for several years and never opened the package. I wondered if I could use them in an interestingly unusual piece of jewelry just by connecting them to each other. Hmm...

So, here is where I am at the moment...we'll see if anything evolves from it. :)

Maybe by adding red hearts, I can turn this into my valentine piece....you just never know!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Peace, Love & Bead Bloggers!

It's Friday and that means it's time to GET INSPIRED! Here are some fab links that will help!

About.com Jewelry Making
What is better than some beaded embroidery how-to for a buck? Errr..nothing! 

Beads & Books
See the 30+ beautiful winter jewelry designs in the Secret Snowflake Challenge. Participants used techniques such as bead embroidery, resin, stringing, wirework, etching, and more! 

Charlene Sevier Jewelry
Sometimes jewelry acts up a little before it comes together. Charlene shares one of those times 

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a link to a kumihimo give-a-way to share! 

Beading Arts
Cyndi has been trying to encourage everyone to get out there and take a class this year! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Valentine's Day is one of the most delightful days on Jean's calendar! Why? Because she gets to think about love, and jewelry such as the astounding pendants at NanoStyle! Tell your beloved "I love you" in a most incredible way! 

Art Bead Scene
Heather offers a beautiful free project inspired from high in the treetops! 

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie looks back at an older post where a favorite song inspired a series of wing themed pendants. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Valentine's Day Design Challenge

I just got word that "Bead Happily Ever After" is hosting a design challenge for Valentine's Day!  Yay!

The beauty of design challenges is they have a tendency to push you out of your comfort zone and often require ingenuity along with an extra dose of creativity.

By the way, some lucky participants are going to win bead money!

Here are some of the details of the challenge and you can find them all on this Bead Happily Ever After post. :) Have fun!!

"1. Create your “Valentine’s Day” inspired design using at least one product(beads or findings) purchased from our Bead Shop

2. Email a clear photo of your finished design by 9:00 p.m. EST on February 10, 2012." 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shrinky Love!

Since we're talking about shrinky dinks and I dug into the vault yesterday, what's one more day of it?!

I forgot how I can obsess when it comes to shrink plastic!!

Here are a couple of past projects I made into bracelets.

Based on my personal experience, the printable white shrink plastic seems to work the best.

You can print all kinds of fun things on them to make into jewelry, keychains or embellishments including digital photos and free clip art images.

From the creators of the original shrinky dinks which came on the scene in 1973, there are more types of shrink plastic than you can imagine.

Check out their website, "the magical land of shrinky dinks!"


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Plexiglass & Shrinky Dinks for Valentine's Day

Okay, I've dug into the vault for these, but I think you are going to like them!

I took a class designing jewelry with plexiglass a couple of years ago taught by the fabulous Tonia Davenport, author of "Plexi-class: Cutting Edge Projects in Plastic".

It was a great experience and many tools were involved such as a jeweler's saw, files, dremel tool, heat guns, alcohol inks, razor blades and lots of other things I had never used before to make jewelry!

I knew I was in over my head, but Tonia was great and there were friends in the class so we had a great time. As always, everyone's project turned out VERY different.

That's pretty amazing considering we were all using the same heart pattern that we cut out of our little plexiglass pieces with a saw.

Here is the end result with a tiny little shrinky dink note attached that I rubber stamped with the word "smile" and then shrunk with a heat gun.

Wow, just talking about it now makes my head spin and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself all over again! :) Yes, friends, a great example of the phrase, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" or maybe it should be "...in the eye of the creator"!

The other piece shown here was created by Tonia and, in my opinion, perfectly represents valentine's day.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Ready for Red?

Moving right along! The snow has melted (yay!) and I've seen lots of jewelry designers and crafters talking about Valentine's Day!

Time for some bright red to take center stage!

I'd love to hear about the Valentine's Day jewelry making challenges you are all involved in or what you are working on in preparation for a festive and romantic "holiday".

I have successfully deconstructed a previously well-worn Christmas bracelet and cleaned all the 10mm swarovski cubes so they are ready to be valentined! (Another great reason to have a blog...making up words!)

Here are a couple of fun projects from previous years. Now it's time to create something new with clear and light siam sparkly cubes!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snowflake Design Challenge HOP!

It's time for the big reveal of the Snowflake Design Project Challenge!

There are 30 others listed below who are sharing how they used the same group of beads that I've been mentioning over the last week.

My project turned into several since there were so many beads to use!!

I made a bright aqua stretchy cord ring with matching earrings as the perfect little girl gift. (see below)

As always, I seem to design for myself, so I created a very simple choker chain design to show off the gorgeous ceramic pendant and connector. The brushed silver chain seemed to give it a wintery feel.

I placed the second connector inside the silver loop to use as a bracelet focal piece. Using soft-flex wire in two different shades of blue, I created a woven pattern incorporating some of the other great beads.

I'm wearing them now which usually means I like them and I hope you do too!  :)

If you have a few minutes, I hope you'll hop along to all the great blogs below to find out how others used them.

HAVE FUN, that's the name of the game today!

Millie (AMM Jewelry)
Norma (Moonlit Fantasies)
Pam (The Crazier Sister)
Rebecca J. (See B&B Blog)
Renetha (Lamplight Crafts)
Rosemarie (Gem Rose Designs)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snowflake Design Project: Part 1

Tomorrow is the big reveal day for the Snowflake Design Project! There are 30 others who will be sharing how they used the same grouping of beads.

I had mentioned there were some brighter blue beads that I was going to use as earrings rather than in the main project, so I thought I'd share them now just for fun. :) Since there were four of these coin beads, I threw together a stretchy cord ring to go along with them.

Simple and sweet, these would be a perfect gift for a young girl. Also perfect for winter time to add a little pop of color! Why do I like things that appeal to little girls? Re-living childhood? Hmm.....

Stop by tomorrow for the reveal HOP!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Blue Bead Group

Here's the last grouping of pretty blue beads included in the Snowflake Design Challenge, yay!

It's been fun sharing all of these beads with you as I prepare to finish up the design that will be posted on Sunday. I can't wait!

For now, let's see what our bead blogger friends have been up to. They always seem to come up with something interesting and new to inspire!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!

Margot Potter, Swarovski, the incredible low down on the most fab event at Tucson this year! You must check this out!!! WOW! 

Resin Crafts!
Carmi has a two part series featuring resin on agate!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie goes into her blog archives to share two pretty bird necklace inspiration pieces 

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi declares 2012 as the Year of The Knot! 

Beading Arts
Do you struggle to add Swarovski rivolis to your bead embroidery? Cyndi has the solution for you in her brand new e-booklet, "Three Bezels Plus a Bonus"! 

Art Bead Scene
We giggle and chuckle along to the sexy bead humor of the new blog Beaded Laughter by Sylvie Lansdowne 

About.com Jewelry Making
Don't you love rubies? But, they are pretty pricey unless you opt for sparkling ruby yarn. This necklace combines ruby yarn and black filigree components.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Featured Designer: Debbie Rasmussen

We're taking a little detour tonight to feature a designer! Unheard of on a Thursday here at A Bead A Day, but hey, I just had a little realization....I can do whatever I want on A Bead A Day! :)

The best part of having a blog... total freedom!

So, here we go!

Debbie Rasmussen is new to blogging, but obviously not to beading!

Her designs are pretty spectacular. I have posted a couple of my faves here, but there are quite a few more on her blog, "A little of this, a little of that...beautiful things..."

I had to chuckle at her first post back in December. "...went on another beading field trip...like I need more beads. Actually I needed a couple of focal beads for my latest project..."

I know, I do the same thing. Go for a few beads and end up peeking at a few extras!

I also enjoyed how she speaks so emotionally about her designs. It makes them come alive! Here's what she wrote about this crystal encrusted pink necklace:

"The stone is Cobalton Calcite and is believed to aid in opening one's heart to others. The pink symbolizes love and caring, good for broken hearts and self discovery and can also aid in peaceful sleep."

Thanks for sharing Debbie!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Slick Icy Beads

I am happy to report the weather is holding steady at 45 degrees and after a bit of rain, seems calm and peaceful out there! Yay! I think it's safe to talk about icy looking beads!

One more day of studying the Snowflake Design Challenge beads before getting busy and finishing up my design.

Final designs are posted by all 30 participants on Sunday!

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. I am always amazed at how different the final pieces look considering everyone had the same beads to use.

Now I can't wait to see what I design! :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The "S" Word

Dare I say it???

I don't want to bring it on, but I did hear the "weather that must not be named" is coming at the end of this week.

Yes, I'm talking about the "S" Word, otherwise known as S_OW. Nah, I just can't bring myself to say it.

However, these sweet and innocent looking beads do remind me of it.

If only S_OW was as kind and sweet as these beads!

I will embrace the winter, I will embrace the winter.... Oh, sorry, I just slipped into my mantra. It's one that I really do want to achieve. It's silly to live your life dreading a couple of months out of the year!! :) So, for those of you in the same predicament, say it along with me..."I will embrace the winter"..."I will embrace the winter".

Okay I have to be honest, deeeeeep inside I'm cursing it, but I will not give up!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bright Watery Blue

I sorted through all of the Snowflake Design Challenge beads and put them in little groupings. These are really nice, bright turquoise/aqua glass beads.

I LOVE the bright color, it reminds me of the Caribbean....ahhh.

I'm working on a crochet idea, but I'm still not sure these are going to be part of that particular design. They would make great earrings, so we'll see what happens!

In the mean time, let's enjoy these pretty watery blue beads!! :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Group of Beads

Is it just me, or is this a happy looking bunch of beads? They are from the Snowflake Design Challenge I'm working on.

Honestly, when I looked at them framed in the photo, I heard these lyrics in my head (no joke): "sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy".

What is that about? All I can think of is maybe the round metal link said "sun" to my brain and the other tiny little round beads seem cheerful....you got me, I don't judge it, I just appreciate it and share with unsuspecting passers-by.

So, isn't this a happy looking bunch of beads?

....."Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry..." :)

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Re-purposing Swarovski Crystals

I have been trying to clean and organize our craft, exercise, catch-all room which must be done and the only good thing about it right now is that I am finding quite a few things that had slipped through the cracks.

This is a holiday bracelet I made 3 years ago and somehow lost track of it.  I remember wearing it for 2 months straight, but then it's a blur.

I LOVE these giant cubes and am planning to deconstruct it so I can use the red and clear crystals in a Valentine's project!! YAY!! :) Love re-using favorite things!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Peace, Love & Bead Bloggers!

Happy Friday! It's time to visit our fellow bead-bloggers to get inspired for a weekend of creativity! YAY!!

About.com Jewelry Making 
Step up from the basic pearl post earrings with this dangle earring tutorial. 

Art Bead Scene 
It's the start of a new year and a new month and that means a new Art Bead Scene challenge! Check out the beautiful color palette that we pulled from a William Morris wallpaper design. 

Beading Arts 
Have you heard about Take a Stitch Tuesday? 

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles 
Melanie starts a new blog project for the year, being inspired by places of the imagination. Read about the first month's inspiration of places in the sky. 

Resin Crafts! 
Carmi makes a rose themed necklace with cooking molds. 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean's involved in a new project! It's jewelry, wait--it's crafts, no--hold on--it's dolls, no wait! It's a book! Hold on to your hats! It's a whole bunch of fun and it is debuting this week! See more on Jean's blog! 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ceramic Snowflakes

Tonight I've got out all my fabulous beads for the Snowflake Design Challenge.

Now that I'm focusing on these pieces, I wanted to point out how special these ceramics are.

The snowflake pendant and connectors were created by Mellisa of Chinook Jewelry. She has so many beautiful pendants on her site, I wanted to share a link directly to them.

Mellisa's blog profile reads, "I make pendants from clay and even some jewelry when I get around to it!" That is so honest and I completely understand what happens when you get caught up in one aspect of creating, everything else seems to slip away for a while! :)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bead Fest Fun!

WOW! Get ready for a springtime BEAD FEST!!!

I received this info recently in a "beading daily" email, HOW FUN!!

Bead Fest is being held April 13-15, 2012 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center!

I noticed some familiar names on the instructor list including our pal Barbara Lewis of Painting with Fire!!

Gosh, I need to check my calendar!!! I'd LOVE to experience this!

If you are planning to attend, let us know, just in case we need to live vicariously through you!! :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Design Challenge

It's time to start designing, yay! I was so excited when I received my package in the mail for the Secret Snowflake Challenge from Michelle Mach.

The picture above is EXACTLY what I received! I currently have all the beads out and my wheels are turning!

Once you start looking at every single bead and recognize the potential of each, it gets exciting!

If you want to throw in your ideas now, feel free! This challenge deadline is January 15th. At that point, you will be able to see all of the designs created by 30 people using the same beads! How fun is that?

It's really one of my favorite types of challenges. It's amazing how people think and design so differently even using the same pieces!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Official Jewelry for the New Year


I ended up using the red and green bracelet I made last month as a prototype for this bracelet. For this version I used black beading wire, clear swarovski crystals and black diamond.

The first time I put it on I realized I should have had my Ott Light on while making this...

There is a tanzanite crystal in place of one of the black diamonds. :) That's the beauty of home-made when I am the one doing the making. It adds character!

Have a great new week in the new year!! I made a simple pair of earrings as well that I'll share in tomorrow's post.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sweet Little Ring

Cute, cute, cute! I have been wearing my new ring since I glued it all together.

I ended up using super glue to adhere the flatback swarovski's to the ring blank.

After trying out a few new sparkles around the covered button, it became clear that simple is better! No need to add extra crystals to the form!

Lots of fun as well as quick and simple! My favorite kind of project! :)