December 18, 2014

Micheals Beading Challenge with a Twist Blog Hop Reveal

Welcome to the Micheals Beading Challenge with a Twist! The twist was to support your local bead shop, small bead business or beadmaker with your creations using the above beads from Micheals. I know it's a crazy busy time, so I hope a few of you have decided to join me and play along! I teamed up with my friend Lorelei again for this challenge so head over to her blog and see what she has created! 

So without further ado here are my creations for the challenge. 

First up I created a necklace with one of my bezel pendants of willow branches. It has such a wintry feel and matched the colors of the challenge beads perfectly. I wanted to keep my techniques simple for these projects and what could be simpler than stringing - it's always fun to puzzle out a pleasing design. 

I used a component from Green Girl Studios as my clasp for my twist piece for the necklace. I borrowed a little branch toggle from another GG clasp. One tip: attach your toggle bar with chain or 2-3 jump rings so that your clasp will lay flat and not bunch up on top of your beads. 

At first I thought it was a waste to use such a great clasp in the back, but then I thought "um J-Lo would agree that having some assets in the back can be the best thing in the world!" So I went with the fancy clasp that maybe only the wearer will see, but it makes the necklace! (Does that date me that I thought of J-Lo instead of Kim Kardashian? Perhaps!)

I went with two stands of beading wire to have the double stand of round beads to beef up the design and mimic the roundness of the pendant. I also added a little etched jump ring to the pendant, I thought it needed just a touch of texture there. 

My next design is a bracelet that uses just a few of the beads from the challenge and my "Twist" beads are a lovely set of ceramic beads from White Clover Kiln and a two of my polymer clay beads. 

I love how the crackle effect of both of the Michaels beads add an icy feel. If you saw my wintry inspiration that inspired the challenge, I think you'd agree that this piece best captures the feeling of that inspiration photo. Again, super easy design with simple loops of steel wire to link the beads together. 

And my last piece, doesn't really fit with the challenge since I just used one bead, but what the hey. It's my party so I will break the rules. The earrings feature lampwork beads from Gardanne and my polymer clay disks. I made some tiny tassels from brass chain. 

So that's what I created, I can't wait to see what other bloggers have created. Add you link with the InLinkz tool below. 

December 16, 2014

10 Last Minute Jewelry Gifts to Make

Short on time and inspiration and need to get some gifts made in a hurry? Here are 10 quick and easy, each one can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less. Click on the links below for a PDF instructions for each project. 

1. Memory Wire Cuff Bracelet - My most popular project, use a bead spinner to whip these bracelets out like a pro.  Use charms and beads you have in your bead stash to make a fun and eclectic assortment. 

2. Woodland Pendant - Perfect project for orphan beads that you may have amassed over the year.  Grab whatever charms and art beads you can find to make these fun and simple pendants. 

3. Candy Cane Earrings - A little sterling silver wire and art beads can create holiday magic with a few twists of the wire and pliers. A project that takes minutes but delivers a big wow factor! 

4. Frosted Leaf Earrings - Gilded leaves and faceted cubes add some sparkle and shine to this wintry pair of earrings. 

5. Favorite Things Pendant - Change up the charms and colors to reflect the interests of the recipient and you could make this style of pendant in a variety of themes for a handful of girls on your gift list! 

6. Smarty Pants Pendant - Personalize a copper blank with a name, date or word to create a pendant that reflects the wearer. Or use wintry charms with sayings like "Let It Snow", "Merry" or "Noel" for pendants that are in the holiday spirit. 

7. Birds & Blooms Knotted Necklace - Knot beads on leather cord to make a trendy gift for your fashion forward friend or teen on your list. The adjustable knot makes this a great gift because it can be worn long or shorter depending on the wearer's mood. This is a video tutorial. 

8. Growing Garden Earrings - Whimsical matchstick beads and Czech glass make an adorable pair of earrings in minutes, just add a little wire. 

9. Little Village House Pendant - My tiny house beads are irresistible and make the cutest pendants you've ever seen. 

10. Peacock Garden Bracelet - Have someone on your gift list that loves bohemian fashions? This trendy bracelet will be a hit with it's feather focal and mix of black metal and golden brass. 

So pull out those Humblebeads that you've been hoarding and start checking off the folks on your "nice" list!

Need a bead in a hurry? There is still time to shop from my Etsy shop and get items before Christmas Eve. Order before Friday for delivery by the 24th.    

December 13, 2014

Inspiring Bead Shops: Perfectly Paired

I thought I would try something fun today and feature a few online bead shops that are worth a visit. These are friends of mine, but this is just me saying "oh, look here at what they've got" because these three hardworking beady women sure do inspire me! I've paired up their beads with a few of my Humblebeads Bead Mixes. Enjoy!

Ornamentea + Humblebeads
Ornamentea is a brick and mortar bead shop located in Raleigh, North Carolina run by Cynthia Deis. Ornametea has a super inspiring website with lots of free projects from trendy designers. They offer an eclectic array of mixed media and jewelry making supplies.Cynthia works with several different bead artists to round out her collection, which I love to see!

Humblebeads: Wild Bird Bead Mix

Ornamentea: Chexx Beads, Beveled Bayong Wood Beads, Green Girl Shibuichi Bird, Antique Brass Metal SpacersHarvest Gold Dupioni Silk
Stinky Dog Beads + Humblebeads
Kitty Bozzini has carved out quite the bead inspiring beauty of a website at Stinky Dog Beads. This is an online only bead shop that offers a beautifully curated collection of beads with photographs that just make you want to shop! Stinky Dog Beads offers lots of unique items that have my nature-lovin' heart going pitter-patter. Must shop the clasps.

Humblebeads: Woodland Bead Mix

Stinky Dog Beads: Central cut Picasso Czech glass beads, Double link chain, antique brass, Mykonos Peace dove, twig connector, Halo Heavens English cut Czech beads

The Curious Bead Shop + Humblebeads
Rebecca Anderson is the curious bead propieter behind The Curious Bead Shop. Rebecca's popular Etsy shop is run from home in Scotland! You may have seen Rebecca's jewelry featured here on my blog, she has a way with Humblebeads.  Rebecca's shop offers mainly Czech glass in so many yummy colors and styles but she is also branching out with findings, metal spacers, waxed linen and leather.

Humblebeads: Tribal Pattern Bead Mix

The Curious Bead Shop: Copper faceted cornerless cube, Orange Evening Ember Faceted Rondelles, Royal Blue Faceted Glass Bicones, Violet Opal Petals, Burnished Pink Leaves

December 11, 2014

Pinning You a Merry Christmas

Do you sell jewelry online? Have you created a Christmas or holiday pin board featuring inspiring images and your your jewelry? You should. Like today! 

Here are a few different holiday pin board ideas

  • Pin holiday outfits and your jewelry. You can find outfits on Pinterest or create some on Polyvore. You can name your board Holiday Style or Holiday Outfits. 

  • Create different types of holiday gift guides and include your jewelry. Like a Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide or a Gift Guide for Nature Lovers or a Gift Guide for Sisters, etc. Include items that compliment your brand that would fit in the gift guide. These are fun to make! 

  • Create an all handmade gift guide featuring your favorite makers and your jewelry. Or create a holiday gift group gift board with several different types of makers. 

  • Niche holiday boards - have jewelry that fits a certain niche? Create a board just for it. I did this with my pet holiday ornaments and we created a cute board that mixes the ornaments with adorable holiday pets in the Paw-fect Holiday board (warning: cute overload!). 

Once you have your boards created, share them on Facebook, Twitter, and in your emails that go out to your customers. You can also create contests and encourage your social network to pin your images to win a gift certificate or prize. 

Keep a good ratio of other pins mixed in with your jewelry and try to capture a feeling or mood in your boards instead of just going to town pinning whatever - be a good curator and give your followers high quality images and content. 

Know your audience and get creative with your boards. This board is more crafty than ones that feature my jewelry because it's more geared towards makers and those who would be interested in my beads.

Increase Your Views: 
You can use #hashtags to help increase your chances of being picked up by Pinterest's search. Make sure they are relavenat and only use 2-3 hashtags. If you include the price on your items they will show up in the Pinterest Gift Category.

Best time of day to pin? 9pm -1am. We all must lay in bed and scroll through Pinterest trying to fall asleep. I thought that was just me!

Images that are vertical get repinned more often. As always, make sure your jewelry photos are top-notch and pin-worthy!

So your assignment - create a holiday pin board with your jewelry. Share the link below and I'll pick a random comment to win a $20 gift certificate to my Etsy shop! Go on, promote your work in clever and fun ways - it's good for you.

December 6, 2014

Creating to Battle Holiday Stress

There has been a flurry of activity in the studio this week. Jess and I have been working away filling orders. I've been busy behind the scenes working on my second book and other deadlines. 

Life is crazy busy right now. And while adding one more thing to my to-do list may seem crazy, it is actually the one thing that keeps me sane.

Finding time to explore and create something new gives my spirit wings, brings me joy and instills some sense of peace that only creating can fulfill in me.

So while I juggle my vida loca, as long as my hands stay busy and new ideas are being brought to life all is well with my soul. 

Does creating help you relax and dust away the stress of the holidays? 

Share with me something you've made recently in the comments, anything at all! I want to see what you've been up to lately. 

Peace and joy sweet souls!