Monday, June 28, 2010

Epic Projects

One of the running jokes around the Beadalon office is how many unfinished projects I have laying around on my desk. Don’t get me wrong, I like an instant gratification project as much as the next gal, but I also like undertaking what I call “Epic Projects": those complex, complicated designs that sometimes take years to finish. I like having ongoing, open-ended designs. More often than not, they involve seed beads. And more often than not, they go through many, many iterations before they reach their final state. They offer me opportunities to learn a new way of doing something, and challenge me to be truly creative.

This helix spiral necklace has been a work in progress for over two years. It was originally a test piece to see how much abuse WildFire™ Beading Thread could take. (Result: a lot of abuse – it holds up great to the sharp edges of the bugle beads and crystals). It’s been made, remade, and used in a number of different ways before I finally figured out how I wanted to finish it. As you can see, I’m still not sold on the clasp design that I came up with.

I’m always a little sad when I come to the end of these projects, and I’ll hold on for just a little longer before I attach a clasp, or cut the last bit of thread. Luckily, there’s usually another epic project right next to it for me to obsess about for a few more weeks.

Do you have any epic projects that you’re working on? I’d love to know I’m not the only one!

- Meredith Roddy

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Inspired By Design

When I left the Beadalon office for maternity leave, I thought I’d have all kinds of time to make jewelry. Yeah, right! That little bundle of joy took away any inkling of creativity that I previously had coursing through my veins. That, and the infinitesimal amount of sleep that I managed to survive on. I came out the other side relatively unscathed, and luckily, Katie Hacker’s gorgeous piece Gray for Day, Silver for Night awoke me from my creativity slump and inspired me to get beading again. Thanks, Katie!

I substituted our new gunmetal chain for the silver chain and used the findings from the new Gunmetal Plated Findings Variety Pack to connect the components. Instead of the hematite loops, I substituted CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements 4737 Triangle Pendants from my friend Alisa at Har-Man (Thanks, Alisa!) I used 14mm Pinch Bail Pendants to connect them together. I linked everything together with 20-gauge Artistic Wire™ in Amethyst, which matched the chain perfectly. I think the best part is that I got to use a bunch of leftover crystals that I had in my stash.

I’m so lucky to be surrounded by new components and designs that inspire me everyday. What inspires you? Share your ideas in a comment on this post and you'll be entered to win a Gunmetal Plated Findings Variety Pack. We'll collect comments for one week and then randomly select a winner.

- Meredith Roddy

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Bead & Button Show

We're off to the Bead & Button Show! If you're going to Milwaukee, be sure to stop by our booth for these events:

New Product Demonstrations: Wyatt White, Fernando Dasilva, Lauren Anderson and Katie Hacker will be demonstrating Artistic Wire, Kink Free Ti, Upper Clasps, Pinch Bail Components, Gunmetal Findings and Katiedids™ Creative Components and more! We'll be hosting demonstrations all day, sharing beading tips and techniques, and answering your questions.

Raffle Prize Giveaway: To support our distributors at the show, we'll do a Raffle Prize Giveaway worth over $250 of Beadalon Products. People are encouraged to buy a Beadalon item from any of the Beadalon Distributors at the show, which will earn their entry in the raffle. Shop with 1 Stop Bead Shop; Beadbury; Mad About Beads; Marvin Schwab; Melek Karacan; Rings & Things or SII Findings for your chance to win.

We're also sponsoring several workshops throughout the event:

"Beadalon Presents: Intermediate-Level Wire Wrapping 101" is almost sold out! This 6-hour workshop on Wednesday, June 9, is a fundamental class dedicated to teaching proper wire-wrapping techniques and usage of tools. German Style and Stainless Steel wires in round, 1/2 round and square wire will be used with CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements.

We're also co-sponsoring three workshops with CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements, taught by Katie Hacker: Pacific Rain Necklace; Quattro Pearl Necklace; and Copper Fusion.

-Yvette Rodriguez, Marketing & Events Coordiator

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Beading Parties


One of my girlfriends is getting married this summer and she asked me to teach her bridesmaids how to make earrings that they could wear in her wedding. Her favorite color is turquoise and she wanted something simple with a little flash. We settled on a Caribbean blue crystal drop inside a Quick Links™ silver ring with large kidney ear wires to add some length and movement.

It turned out that two of the bridesmaids didn’t have pierced ears. Instead of clip-on earrings, one wanted a bracelet and one wanted a necklace. Luckily, I brought extra supplies with me to the party! We used the Snake Chain Kit to create the foundation for each custom design, then attached the same dangle as for the earrings.

Everyone loved their jewelry so much that they wanted to make stretchy bracelets to match. We used Elasticity to string alternating crystals and spacers to make these fun bracelets. (Beadalon 49 would be a more durable alternative but the girls were excited about knotting instead of crimping, so we went with it!)

Tips for hosting beading parties:

• Start with the basics: Choose a project or projects that will make all of the guests feel successful.

• Be flexible: Someone may want to make a matching necklace with her earrings, or someone may want to make a bracelet instead of earrings. Choose a versatile project that can meet a variety of needs.

• Be prepared: Set a place for each guest with a beading mat and any necessary stringing materials, findings, or tools. If guests are choosing from a variety of beads, place them in pretty bowls around the table. Bring a stash of extra supplies, just in case.

• Don't forget the snacks! Offer sweet treats like chocolate kisses or candied almonds to keep spirits and conversation up. A glass of wine never hurts, either!

- Katie Hacker for Beadalon

Katiedids™

www.katiehacker.com