Friday, August 22, 2014

Quick Inspiration: Sprinkles

Bulk Rainbow Sprinkles Inspiration

Have you ever seen something that would be totally amazing, if only it were made from beads? When beading is your number one obsession, it’s hard not to think of beads wherever you go. And some things can inspire while also being a disappointment for their actual un-beadness.

This happened to me just the other day. While on a family outing, we visited a shopping center that we haven’t been to in years, and found a nifty little bulk foods store. While browsing I turned a corner and was instantly transfixed by this display of sprinkles and dyed sugar. How gorgeous!

The first thing that really catches the eye is the color blocked display in appealing ROYGBIV (actually, WPROYGBP, but close enough). Nothing beats a rainbow when you want to make something unanimously likeable. I sometimes find myself wanting to buy things that I don’t even like, just because they have a perfectly executed rainbow palette. Then there’s the fun factor - all those tasty things that go on other tasty things. It’s like seeing every birthday party plan ever made, all squished into one place. Then of course there’s the glittery quality of the sugars and sprinkles - a little bit of childlike magic that reminds us of simple pleasures.

I smiled big when I saw these sprinkles. Then, even though there was never any doubt, I still became mildly annoyed that it wasn’t filled with beads. I’m sure if I was wild about cupcakes, it would have been pure bliss. I think my second reaction may actually be some lingering irritation about my last bead store trip. I’ll share the full story soon. In the meantime, let’s just enjoy these tasty colors, and pretend that they’re really bins full of beads!

Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Madonna and Cyndi

Today let’s travel back in time to the 1980’s, when more-is-more was the trend for jewelry. Two ladies who wore it best were Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. As iconic 80’s artists, they owned their bold styles, wrote now-classic feminist anthems, and inspired a generation of jewelry lovers to go wild.

Madonna, c. 1984 Cyndi Lauper, c. 1984


Some of the best 80’s jewelry trends that have returned of late include neons, layered bracelets, chunky chains, and mis-matched pieces. Pairing statement jewelry with casuals and incongruent accessories is also starting to make its way back - good news if you want to wear your biggest beadwork without dressing up!

Madonna, 2010 Cyndi Lauper, 2014


A few other things we still love are big, bold earrings (although the shapes have changed a lot) and beads, beads, beads!

Who’s your favorite style icon of the past?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Work in Progress: Bee Collar

The past week has been a very busy one at our house, with lots of work and plenty of fun summer activities. For the most part, I’ve had very little time for beading, and when I do I’m often too tired. You know you’re exhausted when beading is too much work. So, the necklace that I was hoping to start on a few days ago, and hoping to be finished by now, is only just under way. It’s already turning out great though.

I really had a craving for black and yellow, so I decided to whip up a quick daisy collar. And since I didn’t want to skimp on the yellow, I reversed the colors and put the white at the center. I’m also putting a flower on every stitch, which at first I worried would look too busy. Instead, I think it will give the impression of a continuous chain of flowers, rather than a row of embellishments, since the background is so simple. I definitely wouldn’t want to have less yellow with spaced flowers.

Daisy Chain Collar in Progress


I’m also still working on a patterned cuff in black and golden yellow. It’s going much quicker than the prototype I made, which used Czech seed beads. I’d almost forgotten how much larger Japanese seed beads can be. The new bracelet will have far fewer rows and a bolder look than the first. It’s going to be a part of the top secret project, and it’s definitely a favorite so far. More on that in just a few short months!

What are you making this week?

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Spotlight: Beaded Bracelets

Beaded Bracelets by Claudine McCormack Jalajas

My favorite craft and beading books are those that focus on a love for weaving with seed beads, and using them with their full potential. It’s always a joy to look at tiny glass jewels transformed into beautiful structures, whether playfully or precisely.

In her first beading book, Claudine McCormack Jalajas combines a love of jewelry design with a knack for seed bead weaving to create 25 gorgeous and wearable bracelets. Every piece combines techniques and materials in new ways - each different from the last - with styles to choose from that will suit every beader. There are geometric shapes, delicate florals, bold patterns, and plenty of embellishments.

Beaded Bracelets includes a really straightforward and beginner-friendly basics section, with suggestions for choosing the best threads and needles for your projects, supplying the essential tools for a beginning beader’s workspace, and finding beads that will last. My favorite section in the book is the contents gallery, which showcases each of the projects up front, so readers can easily find a bracelet that inspires them. Each piece has a new combination of beads, stitches, and styles to try, for hours of delightful beadwork.

The projects include step by step instructions and clear diagrams. Most of the bracelets are simple enough to make in one or two beading sessions, but look very elaborate. My favorite pieces include Melissa’s Honeybees with bold dagger bead flowers, and Sea Gold, with a trio of Swarovski Elements cosmic rings.

Beaded Bracelets is a great book for new beaders, providing a variety of quick and wearable designs to try. It’s also a great source of inspiration for using your favorite beads in new ways! Available now for pre-order, Beaded Bracelets will be released on August 26th.

I would like to thank Running Press for giving me the chance to enjoy Beaded Bracelets. Inspirational Beading has not received paid compensation for including the book in this blog post. I have shared my honest opinions about this book.

Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading
Running Press and Claudine McCormack Jalajas
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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Bead & Button 2006

The very first beading magazine that I ever purchased was the Bead & Button August 2006 issue. Just looking through the pages again I’m amazed at how much things have changed in my creative space. I was excited to try new techniques, explore jewelry design ideas, and learn more about the beads I was using - everything seemed new. At the time, many of the projects were intimidating, but I wasn't afraid to make adjustments to the instructions to bring them closer to my comfort and skill level.

If I remember correctly, the very first magazine project I tried was the diagonal peyote necklace by Rebecca Peapples on page 68. The design was inspired by Bargello weaving, and featured carefully stitched peyote with drop beads and dangles. I made three variations using the materials that I had. Back then it seemed like I had all the time in the world to bead.

Bead and Button August 2006 Issue Desert Star Necklace Inspired by Rebecca Peapples


Although peyote stitch is incredibly versatile, and able to morph into such interesting shapes, it never grew on me the way other stitches have. I learned a lot from this project, but I never had the desire to try the diagonal approach again. My other favorite projects from this issue include the fragrant beaded beads by Deni Whaley, Virginia Jensen’s loopy trimmed loom cuffs, and the shell donut necklace by Julia Gerlach.

Do you remember your first beading magazine or book?

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