Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bead Spotlight: Twins and Tilas

In their own way, two hole beads have been taking the beadweaving world by storm. First we saw the release of the much-anticipated Tilas by Miyuki - tile shaped seed beads with parallel holes. Although they aren’t as versatile as other shaped seed beads, projects using these tiny tiles have been cropping up everywhere. The double hole makes them a little tricky to incorporate into existing designs and stitches, but they are perfect for constructing unique beadwork that lends itself to the unique shape of the beads.

Two Hole Tila Beads by Miyuki

Left to Right:

Matte Grey-Blue Rainbow Tilas from,
Matte Dark Orange Rainbow Tilas from Fusion Beads,
Opaque Canary Tilas from Auntie’s Beads

Matte Opaque Turquoise Tilas from Beadaholique,
Opaque Satin Matte Brown Tilas from Fire Mountain Gems,
Antique Rose Luster Tilas from Bobbi’s This n That on Etsy

Here are just a few examples of the fantastic tutorials available for Tilas:

Tila Wheels Tutorial for Bib Necklaces by Whimbeads
Tila Cuff Video Tutorial by Beadaholique
Karla Kam Simple Woven Tila Bracelet Tutorial by Auntie's Beads
Sky’s the Limit Necklace Project by
Sunrise Bracelet Project by Fusion Beads
Tribeca Tila Cuff Project by Beadaholique

Naturally, competitors wanted to get in on the action, and Czech bead makers responded with not one, but two styles of double-hole beads. Both the Twin and Czech Mate beads are much curvier than Tilas. The tiny twin beads are like a hybrid of Tilas and Peanuts, and warm up to traditional seed beads with ease. The Czech Mate is more akin to pressed glass beads, and can work double duty as seed beads or accents.

Czech Glass Twins and Czech Mate Beads

Light-Green Crystal Two-Hole Beads from,
Opaque Beige Picasso Czech Mate Beads from Dream Jewelry Supplies on Etsy,
Celsian Siam Ruby Czech Mates from Lima Beads,

Jet Dark Teal Pearl Twin Beads from Beadaholique,
Matte Color Mixed Lumi Twin Beads from Beads and Babble on ArtFire,
Bright Opaque Red Twin Beads from Yashma Creations on Etsy

And a few fun Twin Bead Projects:

Twin Beaded Bead Stretch Bracelet by Beadaholique
Spiral Twin Bead Bracelet by Julia Gerlach and Bead & Button
Twin Bead Rivoli Bezel Tutorial by Sashi Si
Circular Stitch Twin Bead Bracelet Video by Beadaholique

Do you have a favorite two-hole bead style?

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inspiring Links: August 2012

It’s been a very long time since we’ve had a roundup of delightful and inspiring links! With two of the most crafty seasons of the year coming up, and a new school year looming, the bar on creativity is now going up, up, up. Here are some of my favorite articles, products, and tutorials of late.

I love the way that the ribbon and bead embroidery perfectly complement each other in this beautiful Daybreak Frost necklace project from the Learning Center. The giant Swarovski cabochon in my favorite Montana Sapphire blue helps, too!

A picture is worth 1000 words - no matter what language you speak. We all know that beading ideas and inspiration aren’t held back by language - just look at the popularity of the infamous White Russian Beading Book. So I was thrilled to learn about a wonderful Egyptian Facebook page, care of one of my fans. El Antiquo Egipto is written entirely in Spanish, but the pictures are amazing.

Are you a fan of the TLC show Craft Wars? It’s received a lot of critisism lately for making a mockery of craft, and failing to live up to the inspiring and creative qualities of its predecessor, Project Runway. Even with guests like Margot Potter, the over-usage of odd materials and hot glue does leave something to be desired. If you were in charge, what would you do to make Craft Wars better?

Speaking of Margot Potter, check out this fun damask pattern locker magnet tutorial on Make It With Madge! It’s perfect for back to school, and was inspired by some of the store-bought trends for locker accessories this year.

The best thing about fall is the colors, followed closely by the tastes. This is a bit of a shameless plug, but I can’t resist sharing my favorite fall recipe, Perfect Blackberry Crisp. The secret ingredient ensures that your dessert will be perfect for fans of both sour and sweet!

We’ve already seen some fantastic beading accessory tutorials in the form of fabulous pincushions, but what about storage spaces? Back to school time provides great opportunities to discover ways of refreshing your work space with decorative jars for holding scissors, pencils, dowels, and rulers. Crafts by Amanda has a cute neon pencil holder tutorial, and here’s a more stylish version in burlap from Simply Chic Treasures.

If you’re a creative over the age of 20, and grew up in North America, chances are you know and love the work of PBS painting personality Bob Ross. If you haven’t already seen this fantastic Bob Ross Remixed video, it might bring a tear to your eye!

I’m a thrifty bead shopper. Getting the most value for shipping costs is a big factor when I shop online, so one-stop-shopping is a must for me, and I’m really excited about some new additions to two of my favorite bead stores. recently added 125 yard Fireline spools to their amazing selection - a definite must have for obsessive seed-beaders like me.

And, one of my favorite methods for trying out new bead colors and styles is to add a few fun pieces to my regular seed bead orders. Auntie’s Beads is a favorite destination for fun focals, and now I have an excuse to visit them more often. They’ve recently added tons of new seed bead colors to their inventory!

Nature is one of our very best sources for inspiration, and it’s wonderful when we can find new ways of looking at these bounties. Check out this fantastic rainbow ocean collage by the inspiring folks with the David Suzuki Foundation, and Marine Detective.

And last but not least, I want to extend a huge thank you to for adding Inspirational Beading and myself to their desiger profiles. Many of our favorite beading tutorials are featured in their enormous database of jewelry and beading techniques.

Are you getting excited about fall? What’s your favorite inspiration right now?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Inspired Beader: Louise Goodchild

In The Shallows Pendant by Louise Goodchild

One of the most versatile of beading materials - apart from seed beads, of course - is malleable and adaptable beading wire. Unlike the beads themselves, wire can be shaped, wrapped, twisted and curled into an endless variety of designs. One artist who makes the most of these qualities is the very talented Louise Goodchild. Her creative and detailed wire wrapped pendants are something to behold.

Inspriational Beading: How did you first get into jewelry design?

Louise: I fell into it quite by accident. I was working for a haberdashery wholesaler, and one day I spotted a little box of beads and findings on one of the shelves. The rest, as they say, is history!

Inspirational Beading: Do you remember your first wirework design? Where is it today?

Louise: Ooh, first wirework design, that's a tough one. It was probably a wrapped bead bracelet (which I still enjoy making).

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite kind of bead or jewelry component?

Fairy Door Pendant by Louise Goodchild

Louise: I'm a complete bead addict, but I'm especially fond of glass - handmade lampwork, Czech glass and most of all, teeny tiny seed beads. They're just so versatile, and they come in the most fantastic array of colours.

Inspirational Beading: Where do you find the most inspiration?

Louise: Inspiration can strike from anywhere! I'm most inspired by nature - trees, water, flowers and leaves. But I also take inspiration from legends, fairy tales and the seasons. I also find it fun but useful to participate in challenges set by the Etsy team I'm a member of - the Wire Goddess Team. There's no prize for the challenges, but I think it does me good to use a set theme as a springboard. It's certainly resulted in some pieces I'd probably never have made otherwise!

Inspirational Beading: What was the inspiration behind your favorite design?

Louise: My favourite piece is probably still my lilypad pendant - it looks quite simple to me now, but I was so pleased with the way it turned out at the time, and I love those colours!

Inspirational Beading: Is there a material or subject that you would love to work with, but haven’t tried yet?

Lilypad Pendant by Louise Goodchild

Louise: I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and attempt silversmithing at some point, although the reason I haven't so far is the same one that prevents me from trying out lampworking - I am regrettably accident-prone and I don't want to end up either burning down the house or getting myself sent to Casualty! I'm also tempted by resin, which may be a little safer…

Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

Louise: I would like to inspire anyone out there who fancies having a go, or is like I was, and hasn't even considered it. Making jewellery, and becoming involved in creating handmade work has really opened my eyes to the astonishing wealth of talent out there all around the world. It's quite humbling, really, but it's great to be a part of that worldwide talent, even in a small way. No-one should ever feel discouraged by the work they see that seems so much better than theirs. It's a fact of life that there's always someone better than you - there'd be nothing to aspire too, otherwise!

Springtime Pendant by Louise Goodchild

Lemon Grove Bracelet by Louise Goodchild

Apple Picking Pendant by Louise Goodchild

You can see more of Louise Goodchild’s beautiful designs in her Etsy shop, or catch up with the latest pieces on Facebook. Louise also shares inspirations and ideas on her blog, Confessions of a Wire Worker.

Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading and Louise Goodchild
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is This Thing On?

Have you ever looked at your work space and felt like you’ve just stumbled out of a weird dream, or come back from a long vacation, or that you just have no idea what’s going on? This is the feeling I get whenever I start a project that gets away from me. I start avoiding beads without even realizing it, until it seems like I’ve lost track of my talents. It’s a lot like that feeling that you’ve forgotten to do something really important, but can’t figure out what it is.

Herringbone Colorblock Project in Progress

A while back, I started a new herringbone rope necklace, with the plan that it would gobble up all of my miscellaneous 11/o seed bead remainders. I mixed together all the reds, yellows, greens, and blues, and cut into one of my new black hanks. Everything was going great, and then I started to get a little bored. I started worrying about how exactly I was going to add one clasp to two ropes. Before I knew it, I was avoiding beading, and even planning blog posts left me feeling drained.

So, I decided it was time to take a rest from this project - refresh and restart my creativity. I pulled out my strand of wasabi green diamonds, and worked on a multi-strand necklace, similar to the one featured in this month’s fashion collages. I needed something funky for the backdrop, and I thought it would be refreshing to use up a whole lot of my very precious tortoiseshell druks.

Lime Leopard Necklace

I was still dragging my feet a little, feeling creatively drained, but the new necklace turned out great. I tried going back to the color blocked rope project, but I just didn’t feel it. I’ve decided to leave it on the tray for those middle of the night emergency beading situations, when I still have half a movie left to watch, and I don’t feel like digging out new beads when another project is finished. Eventually I’ll find the right mood and moment to finish it, but for now, I think I need to make a striped cuff or something really ‘me’.

I'm not sure what this could mean for the destash challenge. I only have a few months left, and the remaining beads have yet to inspire me. I'm determined to finish, but I have to find a way to make the beads work for me, instead of working against them.

Have you had any beading mishaps or creative slumps lately? What do you do to get past them?

Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bead Shopping Made Fun

It is truly an amazing time to be a beader, or an artist of any kind. Heaps and mounds and oodles of inspiration are right at our fingertips, and some of the tools available to us are incredibly fun to use. Pinterest is a fantastic example, and you know that Polyvore is one of my personal favorites. These are great tools that reach out and sweep in inspiration from every source imaginable, but there is one fantastic resource that caters just to beaders.

I’ve been meaning to try out the Fresh Picks tool at Lima Beads for a long time. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of shopping for myself at the store, but their selection of colorful, quality beads is really excellent, and I’ve shared a few of them here in the past. Every time I visit, I have a peek at the latest Fresh Picks - selections of beads and beading products chosen by customers and staff.

There are some really talented Pickers, who create beautiful boards of beads in every theme imaginable. There aren’t just color selections, but shapes, materials, moods, and even Picks that tell a story. Here are a few of my favorites from just this month:

Carnival Bead Palette


Tending the Pumpkins Bead Palette

Tending the Pumpkins

Squared Off Bead Palette

Squared Off

Egypt Bead Palette


Dill Pickles Bead Palette

Dill Pickles

Right now, Lima Beads has an easy color picker of the Fall 2012 Pantone line-up - two pages each of beads, findings, and beading materials that match this year’s palette. Of course I couldn’t resist using my favorite Pantone picks as inspiration for my first ever Fresh Picks!

Pantone Peacock Bead Palette

Pantone Peacock

Making a Fresh Pick is incredibly easy - all you have to do is click the flower icon over a product that you like, to add it. For all the basics, Lima Beads has a detailed guide to creating Fresh Picks. And the best part? Your picks can be chosen for showcases on the website, and may even go on sale for a limited time!

Have you used the Fresh Picks tool before? What’s your favorite way to use it?

Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading and
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bead Wish List: By The Hank

It’s confession time again, beaders: I’m cheating on my Japanese seed beads with Czech hanks, and it’s fantastic! There are so many pros when buying Czech seed beads by the hank - great quantity at a low price being just one of them. I also love that you can hold all those beads in your hand at one time - again, the quantity is amazing - and apart from the threads, there’s no plastic packaging required.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: Japanese seed beads are much better quality than the Czech variety. One or two years ago, I would have agreed with you, but now I’m not so sure. Of course if you need absolute precision for something like graphic peyote stitch, you want the quality of Delicas, but for everyday round seed bead designs? Czech seed beads are often just as good as Japanese ones, particularly in the opaque finishes. While the sizes of the beads can vary a lot on a single hank, the actual amount of culled beads or wonky beads is much less than the more expensive packets and vials.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons of Czech seed beads vs. Japanese seed beads (rounds, not Delicas). Which do you prefer overall? In the meantime, here are some delightfully tempting, cascading hanks of ‘rocailles’.

Opaque Rainbow Multi Mix Hank
From Beadaholique

Matte Opaque Olive Green Hank
From piecesparts

Turquoise Topaz Picasso Mix Strands
From Beads-and-Babble

Vintage Green Iris Maco Tubes
From Evez Beadz

Opaque Black Precioca Hank
From Canterbury Lane

Transprent Denim Glass Bead Strand
From Happy Mango Beads

Southwest Mix Mini Hank
From Spirit Bear Beads


Transparent Dark Orange Preciosa Hank
From Fire Mountain Gems

Happy beading!

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wear It Twice: Fall Trends

When you make jewelry for yourself, to you make it to match your outfits, or do you create outfits to match your jewelry? Either way, clothes and jewelry are made to complement each other - not just in color but in style as well. When you’re wearing a piece of jewelry that you really love, the trick is to match it with garments that let the jewelry stand out!

I had so much fun working with Pantone palettes this week, that I decided to keep going and include it in some fashion collages with great statement jewelry. I started by seeking out an assortment of items in Fall 2012 colors, but there were so many fantastic pieces, I couldn’t decide on a single palette. Instead, I made three separate collages, each taking a cue from this month’s bead color trios.

Jet Set Peacock

Bright Chartreuse, Olympian Blue, and French Roast is still my number one favorite. I can’t get enough of this palette, and I hope to work with it and a few variations in the coming weeks. Tribal is trending this season, and while there are many meanings of the word, I like to think of it as a combination of prints and natural elements. I included a few different animal themes together in this set, including a fantastic elephant cuff.

September Sunset

Honey Gold, Pink Flambé, and Titanium look even better in fashion than they did in beads.
For this set, I went with a more casual, back to school look. There are a lot of great stand-ins for the Pantone colors, including amber, gunmetal, and hot pink suede.

Autumn Rain

I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results of Ultramarine Green, Rhapsody, and Rose Smoke in beads, but in fashion they really stand out. I chose amethyst as the focus for lack of anything prettier in soft purple - there were just too many gorgeous green tops and dresses not to use them as the backdrop for a great necklace.

Here are my three favorite Polyvore sets featuring today’s statement necklaces:

Peridot Perfection

Summer Brights

Perfect Purple POP

Do you prefer tops or dresses to display your statement jewelry?

Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading, Polyvore, and Friends
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Double Chevron Tila Collar

Maybe I’m just procrastinating, but I’ve been still working on destashing seed beads, even though most of them are welcome to hang around for awhile (unlike some of the other beads in the pile). Last week, I decided it was time to make use of some of my leftover Tila beads.

Although I love the idea of Tilas, and I’m really pleased with how it worked out in chevron chain and right angle weave, I’m not all that crazy about these beads overall. I’ve seen so many projects and tutorials for them in the last year, and none of them really grabbed my attention. The projects look fantastic, but I’m not in a hurry to try any of them myself. I can’t explain it, but Tilas just don’t speak to me like some other beads do.

Tilas and Lime

Still, I’ve got some beige and white baggies in my shaped seed beads stash, and I thought it would be fun to experiment a little more with the chevron technique. I hoped that if it turned out, I’d have a new place for Tilas in my repertoire. I’ve already had success using double chevron chains for a collar, so I tried it out using Tila beads in the shared rows.

I don’t want to say the chevron chain is a finicky technique, but the truth is that when doing a curved chain, the slightest change in bead sizes or quantities can really effect the shape of the beadwork. I love how this collar turned out overall, but next time I’ll have to try reducing the inside row a bit. This is by far the widest collar I’ve made yet!

Sobek Collar

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bead Color Ideas: Pantone Fall 2012

August is rolling along at a steady pace, and that means that it’s time to start thinking ahead to one of the most beautiful seasons for color. Of course nature has its favorite palettes, but as far as fashion is concerned, Pantone has some great picks this year. For this month’s color ideas, I tried to match up some fun bead picks with the Fall 2012 color line up.

Pantone Fall 2012 Colors

There are 10 colors for women’s apparel, including the color of the year - Tangerine Tango. Subtract one, and we’ve got three trios to work with. I chose to eliminate Tangerine Tango - between you and me, I don’t actually care for this color. It’s far too pink, and I like oranges that are a bit more yellow. Once that was out of the way, the remaining palettes just fell together.

Notebook Bead Color Palette

I was so very tempted to include Bright Chartreuse more than once - it’s my absolute favorite color, and so much fun to pair with other hues. It always looks great with neutrals and blues, so the first palette was a no-brainer - or so I thought. I started with transparent lemon-lime AB seed beads, but when it came time to find an Olympian Blue, I went with an opaque. I switched out the lemon-lime for sour apple, then added some lovely brown shell coins with just a hint of French Roast. I think this palette has the most back-to-school appeal, so I’m calling it Notebook.

First Frost Bead Color Palette

For the remaining colors, I had to choose between keeping the soft tones and bright tones together, or mixing things up a bit. I went with the latter, and combined neighbors. Honey Gold was a tough color to match, but transparent topaz AB druks do a nice job. For Titanium, gray lined AB cubes continue with the shimmery theme and add a metallic look. I finished things of with a shocking splash of Pink FlambĂ©, played by raspberry lined crystal seed beads. First Frost definitely looks like fall, but with just a hint of summer’s heat left.

Sweet Shop Bead Color Palette

The final palette took a lot more work. All three colors are tough to match - the soft shades of Rhapsody and Rose Smoke are much more subtle than most bead finishes, and Ultramarine Green is hiding a lot of blue. After choosing and rejecting several colors each, I finally found the perfect trio. Dusty pink pearls set the soft tone, and purple lined crystal 6/o seed beads come along for the ride. After much searching, I finally found some matte emerald AB that could stand in for Ultramarine Green in Sweet Shop.

I think all three palettes are definitely do-able, but if this is the year for chartreuse, I’m not going to miss out on the opportunity!

What’s your favorite fall color?

Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading
Pantone Color Institute and James Coviello
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

World Beaders: Spain

Today were are going on a journey to lovely and historic Spain. Like many countries in the region, Spain has deep connections with beads, including the bead trade that spanned hundreds of years and across the globe. A very warm welcome to Inspirational Beading’s visitors from Spain!

Happy beading, Spain!

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