Thursday, July 21, 2016

Donuts, Clasps, and SUPERDUOS!

s49428 Czech Firepolish Glass - 7 x 5 mm Faceted Donut Rondelle - Turquoise Opal Picasso (strand 25)If you saw our InspirationFX project from a couple of weeks ago - you know that firepolish donuts s49428 Czech Firepolish Glass - 7 x 5 mm Faceted Donut Rondelle - Turquoise Opal Picasso (strand 25)are undergoing a renaissance - and I am madly in love with them - and also with easy stringing stretchy cord! Easy breezy lemon squeezy armfuls of wrist candy - and today - we have more! Because - when it comes to beads - more IS more!

Not only do we have a truly scrumptious selection of the medium size donuts (5x3mm and 7x5mm) and large (9x6mm) - but we also have a bunch more of the tiny little 3x2mm donuts!

s49625 Findings - Toggle Clasp -  Gingko - GoldplatedNow I've been having gobs of fun making bracelets that don't need clasps - but that s49624 Findings - Toggle Clasp -  Bending Tree - Goldplateddoesn't mean that clasps don't have their place! In fact - these super handsome clasps are too nice to hide at the back of your jewelry and deserve to be up front and part of the design!

And for the shaped-bead fans - we can't let you go a week without your new-bead fix - and this week - it's the "Gold Shine" colours of the SuperDuos! Yum!

And so there it is for this week - click on a link or image above, or just check out all the new items here and see what mooooves your herd!

Bead Happy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Crazy for colour!

Ok, so I’m absolutely crazy about colour!!! Does that make me a bad person? No of course not, it just makes me a colourful one! Colour lights up my life, and has the power to chase away, any possible threats of grayer tomorrows!
Although I’ve worshipped colour for years, it’s only now that I’m finally recognizing the fact that it’s totally necessary in my life. My uniform was heavy on basic black, during my corporate years, but my art has always been colour focused. Sure, I still wear the remnants of that uniform (it’s oh so practical, and hides a whole lot of sins), but as you can see from the photo above; colour still plays a strong role! Despite the fact that I’m not a huge lover of orange, it still needed to be the main focus of this book cover, work in progress. It has been needle felted onto a mono-printed background, and is being embellished with hand embroidery, beads and a resin filled bezel. Does it say me? Definitely! Do I know when it will be finished? Heck no! It doesn't matter though, because it's a joy to work on!
Over the years, I have participated in many different mail swaps and trades, and am proud to own a very colourful and eclectic collection. Wouldn’t it be fun if I gave you a peek into my journey? Warning, all names have been deleted, to protect the innocent. LOL! Some I made myself, and others were gifted or swapped. All include colour, and some even include beads!
As you can see from the above, I’ve included quite a variety, including hand spun art yarn, a felted cone ornament, postcards (sent naked, through the mail), houses, Inchies, and even an original quilt block. What a diverse group! Memories are oh so sweet, and I’m grinning, even as I type this blog post! But what about the future, you say? I'm playing with the idea of transforming leather with colour, but you'll need to wait to see the results! A blog post, an "Inspiration", or perhaps even a workshop? Only time will tell!!
Don’t be afraid to let colour into your life! It won’t really make you crazy, and will definitely end up enriching your life. The pursuit of colour is a lifelong journey, and one that shouldn’t be missed! Hop aboard, and don’t you dare let that train leave without you!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Getting the most from your classes

Even though I love to teach, I also love to take classes. There is always more to learn and seeing how other instructors teach helps me be a better instructor with my students. 

Classes are meant to be fun and a chance to learn something new. There are things that we, as students, can do to help ourselves get the most from our classes. Some seem like common sense, but all of these tips are worth sharing.

  • Arrive on time (or even a few minutes early). We've all been in a class that it has started well with introductions and explanations and the class is getting down to work - and one student arrives 20 minutes late. What is the instructor to do? I know that traffic and transit can make you late and sometimes it can't be helped, but late-arrivals can fully disrupt a class especially when they demand extra attention because they are late. If you are late, please wait patiently so that instructor can keep the class going; she will catch you up as quickly as possible. In the meantime, read the instructions and help yourself become prepared to jump in with the class.
  • Come prepared. Some classes require you bring materials to the class for your project. Unless it is specified that there will be time for shopping during the class, please have the materials with you when you arrive (or arrive early to purchase them) so you can give your attention to learning.
  • Beginners - believe you can! Your instructor will do everything she can to help you learn a new technique and help keep you from being overwhelmed and frustrated.
  • Know your skills. This is especially important when a class is listed as intermediate or advanced. If you're not sure if you have the skills for the class, check with the store staff at the time you register. They are there to help; if necessary, we'll contact the instructor on your behalf to find out. It also helps to review the technique or stitch, if possible, so you are better prepared for the class.
  • Ask questions. What an instructor says and what a student understands can be two completely different things! You're there to learn and asking questions helps you learn. An instructor can explain a technique differently to help you better understand.
  • Be respectful of the learning environment. Conversation is great but it can be distracting for some students' concentration. Please don't interrupt or talk over the instructor during explanations or comment on other students' questions.
  • Be patient. With only one instructor for eight to ten students they can't be in two places at once. Be assured that your instructor will answer your questions and repeat demos as many times as needed.
  • If you have special needs or require accommodation to help you learn, please let the store staff know when inquiring about a class. We will do our best to help.

Monday, July 18, 2016

I see a pattern developing here...

By Cindy Goldrick

Pattern, in the broadest sense of the word, is a particular way something is done or organized. In the arts, pattern is a repeating motif that gives order and structure to a work. 

Pattern can be natural or man made. Natural patterns can be things like waves, spirals, spider webs and crystals. In art, music, architecture and design, pattern and repetition please our senses and give order and symmetry. The Fibonacci number pattern is one sequence found in nature (think pineapples, nautilus shells and pine cones) and is also explained by mathematics. 

Pattern and repetition are major tools in a jewellery designer's arsenal, along with colour, texture and type of material used. Pattern can create visual cohesiveness in your design while at the same time offering visual variety. What a paradox. But what a great paradox too. 

For instance, I created a necklace that was meant to showcase some of the infinite patterns you could achieve on metal using the rolling mill. I used the same, repeating 1" x 1" squares of copper and put them together in a pleasing arrangement that mimicked a bib design but gave each piece its own pattern (from paper to netting to screen door and more) to enhance the visual interest of the piece. 

I added the drop at the end. If I go back and make another one of these necklaces I think I'd choose a brass pattern plate on one square that picks up the scroll motif in the brass stamping. 

Here's another necklace created with just the repetition of a single element. How easy but what beautiful results. The trefoil element was created using three simple pegs on the Now That's a Jig! by Brenda Schweder. The necklace design came from the collective brain of Bench Artisans (me, Sue Henry and Gail Speers.)

Think of all the materials you can create with that you can impose pattern on and that come with their own unique pattern that you can incorporate into your design. From stones like picture jasper to imprinted leathers, Japanese papers, wood, wire and fabric to metal blanks you can stamp and bang on to texture plates and stamps that offer endless patterns in precious metal clay and polymer clay designs, the pattern possibilities are endless and subject only to the limits of your imagination (or, I suppose, access to materials...) 

Come into the store, open up your mind and your stash, and let pattern rule your next creation. I'd love to see what you come up with. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

InspirationFX: Pip Jangles

Pip Jangles 

by: Anne Marie Desaulniers

Get in touch with your inner hippie, with these light and lively "Boho" inspired earrings. You could even pair them with gauzy tops and well-worn blue jeans, for a retro-sixties look! This project uses more of the leftover Pips from my prior two projects ("Pip, Pip, Hooray" - Pendant & Earrings; "Pip The Magic Dragon" - Bracelet), Firepolish crystals, eyepins, Fireline and closed Jumprings. And I'm not even finished with the Pips yet! Talk about the bead that keeps on giving!


These earrings contain two elements, that when connected, make the 7 dangles that hang from the loops in the 7-Loop Channel Ear Hoops. The stitched drop component is attached to an eyepin component; a wrapped loop is made at the top; which is then attached to the Ear Hoop via a jump ring.

1 - Drop Component:
-Cut a comfortable length of Fireline (I like to cut a generous wingspan's worth, to start)
-Thread needle and then take your needle/Fireline through the following combination of beads (note, we won't discuss colours, just the correct sequence for threading beads on the needle.
-Take your needle/Fireline though the following bead sequence:
-Take your needle/Fireline through the beads a second time to join the drop component
-Pull tight!
-Tie off with a surgeon's knot.
-Cut Fireline (either by using a Thread Burner, or cutting with scissors)
-You will need to make 7 drops per earring, for a total of 14 drops for the set.
-Follow the sequence shown in the photo below, for colour selection and placement for each of the drops.
-The colour sequence for the 2nd earring should follow the same pattern as the first. Of course, if you're a little bit daring, you could mix up the colours completely! It's your choice!

2 - Eyepin Component:
-Open up loop in eyepins (using your pliers - opening it up gently, and to the side).
-Link the open eyepins to the top of your drop component (where the knot is).
-Close the link (again, using your pliers - closing it gently, back to where you started in the first step - use the reverse of the movement you used to open it)
-Add the following sequence of items onto your eyepin:
2mmFP/3-4.5mm Closed Jumprings (Nickel)/4mmFP/2mmFP
-Make a small wrapped loop at the top of your eyepin (see "Tips & Tricks" on BeadFX website)
-You will need one eyepin component, for each drop component (7 for each earring, with a total of 14 for the pair).
-Attach each eyepin + drop component to the 7-Channel Ear Hoops with a 5mm jumpring.

Congratulations, your earrings are finished! Now go out and be Boho-fabulous!!!


Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Semi-Glaze Toho 15/0s & Swarovski Pastel Pearls

and one really awesome chain!

s50004 Chain - 4 mm Heavy Box Chain - Bright Silver (Foot)
Chain first! Love this chain! Fat and sleek and strong - this is a super handsome chain that stands on it's own - or looks great with a pendant or large-hole euro-style charm beads. Would also make great guy-jewelry! Don't dawdle - half the staff is drooling over this.

tb15r2639f Japanese Seedbeads - 15/0 Toho Seedbeads - Semi Glazed Rainbow RedNext up - Semi-Glazed Toho 15/0s - a new finish from Toho - a light matte-finish, gently textured, with a hint of soft earthiness - you'll find this amusing little bead to be an attractive addition to your beading palette! ;-) We're starting out with the 15/0s this week, and the 8/0s and 11/0s are coming up in a couple more weeks.

27099002-00 Firepolish - 4 mm Faceted Round - Crystal Glittery Argentic Shine/Matt (50)
Also new and innovative in the texture department - these blends of glittering metallic and matte firepolish in 4 and 6 mm. Yum!

And speaking of Yum, swing over to the Swarovski pearls - a summery selection of pastel pearls in cotton-candy colours! Except for the grey - which is not generally a candy colour - but is a lovely neutral to make other things pop. Like that crisp new top you were thinking of wearing to the garden party?

Update on Shipping

For now, it looks like everyone at Canada Post is talking again - so we are resuming our regular shipping schedule! Fingers and toes crossed that negotiations work out!

There you have it - until next week - check out all the new items here and see what waxes your board!
Bead Happy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What's on my bead mat - July edition!

We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave”, so what better way to deal with it, than a long, cool drink, a few beads, and some mixed media items? Once again, I’m all over the place artistically, but that seems to be a huge part of my creative process!
I facilitated two completely different workshops this weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed both, thanks to my eager and talented students! Who knew, when I was living the stressful corporate life, that I would get so much pleasure out of sharing my creativity? I always knew that there would be a “Plan B", when I decided to chuck it all, but I didn’t realize that it would come so soon. Also, I’m not really an art supply junkie; I’ve just been saving for retirement! At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself! By the way, the bezel in the above shot is still waiting for its resin layer. Somehow, I didn’t get around to adding it in the class.
Which pixie misplaced my beaded pendant (last Friday’s workshop)? This one was made ages ago, but has mysteriously gone missing, and is probably somewhere in my home. Surprise, surprise! Did the faeries spirit it away? Is it hiding under the dust bunnies? Or could it have fallen into an open stash bag, a box, or that infamous “safe place”? Sure, I was able to stitch up a couple of replacement samples, but the mystery remains unsolved! The pendant I started in the class has not been completed, so I expect you may be seeing it in some future update.
I find that I’m never quite as creative in a workshop (resin this time), as I am when I’m working solo. Teaching is less about experimenting, and more about describing a process, and then demonstrating techniques. I had planned to experiment with resin and a torch, but I think that needs to wait for another day. Probably not a good idea to try it, with impressionable students!!!! Confession time! Gulp! I did use the torch just a little! Enough to realize that I liked the effect, but not enough for show and tell! Could this be another class in the making? We played with collage, botanicals and Ice Resin (including various colourants), and I even demonstrated Iced Enamels, and Pebeo Fantasy Paints (Prisme). We had a blast! The shell is a borrowed idea (I learned it on one of my internet groups, but my apologies, because I don’t remember who the tip was from), and a way to use up those leftover bits of resin. Drip them into a seashell, and turn it into a decorative element. This is my first one, but this serendipitous multi-layered approach, seems promising! I’ll be sure to collect some more interesting bits, for future shells!
My “Silly Goose” doll is progressing nicely (I’ve fallen in love with the Czech Rizo beads), though she’s still missing her hair! The pile of Archeology beads will be turned into a bracelet, the filigree pieces are for a future mystery project, and I’ve included a workshop teaser shot! It’s all fine and good, but I do have some paperwork to complete, before settling into any extended beading sessions. Wish me luck!
Despite the heat, summer is a fabulous time for both exploring your creativity, and discovering new techniques, so don’t forget to check out the BeadFX classes! Now point me to a cool drink, because I feel the need to bead, as I find all that paperwork terribly distracting!!