Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Are you a knitter? Come Frolic with us!

BeadFX is proud to be participating in the 2015 Knitter's Frolic marketplace organized by the Toronto Knitter's Guild. This exciting show has been running for 18 years and is the premiere event for knitting, yarns and other fibers.

We will be bringing lots of seedbeads, findings, kumihimo needs, and much, much more! We'll also have the ever-popular Fleegle Beader needles in all three sizes (0.8mm, 1.0mm and 1.3mm) which is THE best way of adding beads to your knitting (if you're not stringing them on in advance).

2015 Knitter's Frolic
Saturday, April 25
9:00am - 4:30pm
Workshops by the Toronto Knitter's Guild will be held on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26.

Japanese Cultural Centre
6 Garamond Crescent, Toronto

Admission: $6.00 at the door

Note: The Don Valley Parkway, from the Gardiner Expressway to Highway 401, will be closed from Friday, April 24 at 8 p.m. to Sunday, April 26 at 6 a.m. This may affect your route to and from the Frolic on Saturday. DVP will be open Sunday for anyone attending workshops that day.

For more information on the Knitter's Frolic, go to http://torontoknittersguild.ca/

Monday, March 30, 2015

Taking it to the wall

I love metal and metalworking. I love paint and colour. I have a new (old) house with tall and oddly-sized walls to fill. I am thrifty. Therefore I've created my own wall art to suit my colour scheme and show off my skills. Here's a quick and easy tutorial on creating one of a kind pieces you can easily make at home with some basic art supplies and metal working tools. Loosen up and have fun with it!

You will need:
6" x 6" prepared canvases (available at any art supply store)
Acrylic paints
Sheet copper -- 24 or 26 gauge (you can buy pieces at BeadFX and cut them down)
Plumbers solder (pick up at a hardware store, comes in a spool about $25)
Flux (you can use Handy Flux or pick up flux at the hardware store sold alongside the solder)
Torch (any torch from a small one to a propane or MAP gas torch will work)
Solder block
Cross locking tweezers
Metal shears
Metal file
Bench block
Rawhide or nylon hammer
Rubber stamp(s)
Alcohol inks
Steel wool
Alcohol ( not that kind! Isopropyl alcohol)
Glue (I like E6000)

Modelling medium

Step 1
Prepare a working surface and paint the canvas. If you want an uneven surface, first put down modelling medium following the instructions on the jar.  Let dry then paint. 

Step 2
Cut out your copper squares (or rounds or any shape you're inspired by!) and file any sharp edges and slightly round the corners. Flatten gently on a bench block. Clean the copper of surface dirt and oil using steel wool and isopropyl alcohol. On my examples, each square is 2" x 2".

Step 3
Place the copper on a solder block and paint with flux. Cut several half inch pieces of plumbers solder and place them on the fluxed copper square. Heat the solder directly with your torch until it flows. Turn off your torch and press your chosen stamp into the solder. The solder will take the imprint of the stamp and excess will blob out around the stamp, if you used a lot like I did. If you use less solder you will get tidier results. Experiment with it! Remove with tweezers after it cools a bit and quench in some water.

Step 4
If you want, add a few drops of alcohol ink and blot to mottle it or create different effects. Then glue to the canvas. On the single square example above, I glued the copper onto the painted modelling medium then covered the whole piece with several light coats of resin, which you can purchase at art supply stores.  Most canvases will come with finishing hardware. If not, you can pick that up at a hardware store too.

Enjoy this technique. Photo idea bonus, for those who aren't comfortable with metal and torches. For this birch canvas hanging on the small wall inside my front door: I painted it with black gesso in a swirl pattern and then glued down a vintage button I embroidered around with Czech fire polish beads,vintage silver three-cuts and matte black delicas. Easy and very pretty. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Business Chat - 10 steps to generate buzz

Guess what happened this week? I looked at the calendar and realized that my first summer craft show is in 10 weeks!!! EEEEEKK! Boy did that start a bit of a panic attack! There is SO much to do. There’s inventory to be made, a new booth to be built, photos to be taken and packaging to order. 

All of these tasks will get me and my work into a beautiful booth and looking lovely. 

Wait - there’s something missing. Not only do I have to make and display the work, I have to take care of the most important part. I have to tell my customers all about the work. 

Telling them where and how to buy this show season is a start. More important is to tell them ABOUT the work. 

Your customers choose to buy handmade work because they want to know the hands that made it. As fabulous as your earrings/mittens/painting/dress are, there is so much other nice work competing for their attention. Showing everything behind the work means they see yours as not just an object but as 3D story. 

I’m embarking on a 10 week campaign to rev up my customers interest. Here’s my 10 steps to build the excitement. Do one of these every week and get the ball rolling! 

1. The idea or inspirations behind the piece or the collection. 
What made you think of the piece you’re working on? For me a lot of work is based on travel or food or flowers or a photo I’ve seen. Show your customers what you’re inspired by with a photo and add a few quick words. Adjectives are good here. Add 5 adjectives to describe the feeling behind the work. 

2. The design process. 
Sometimes I sketch the piece first, sometimes I throw a whole lot of beads and findings in a pile beside the photo. What do you do? 
Take a photo and share it. People LOVE sketchbook photos. 

3. Work space
This is where the magic happens. If your area is totally messy that’s fine, it makes it more real (that’s what I tell myself). Share a photo.

4. Tool time. 
Take a photo of your favourite tool and talk a bit about it If you use technical terms explain them. Remember, what is obvious to you is magic to your customers. 

5. The piece in progress. 
What does it look like halfway done? 

6. Done!
Share a photo of the finished piece sitting on your workspace.

7. Booth!
If you, like me, are generating buzz for an upcoming show, document some of the process of getting ready for the show. How about a photo of packing your car? Or building your booth? 

8. Packaging.
Wrap your work up as the customer receives it. This is a great time to let them know where, when and how they can purchase it. 

9. Out in the world. 
Show your work out in the wild. Hang your painting in a room, have someone wearing your necklace, put the mittens on a hand. 

10. Social proof. 
If you’re buzzing up for a craft show, take a photo of your crowded booth. If you’re selling online, take a photo of a pile of packages being sent to the world. Provide social proof of how great you and your work are. This is the crafters version of those testimonials you see on the back of book jackets. 

In 10 weeks time my earrings will have gone from being a concept on paper to earrings inspired by the ocean, made in a torch that the customer has seen and understands (from my photo), from beads to final earrings, bought at my booth and worn at a party. 

They are no longer earrings, they are a story. 

Go ahead, it’s time to share your story. 

InspirationFX: Like a Rock


Get your creative juices flowing

Like a Rock

by: Lee Metsalo

Yes, I like rocks.   They’re all unique and attractive in their own ways. Some are pretty colours.  Some have patterns in them like paintings. When I need a break from the computer, I visit this section of the store:  Stones
The rocks just need a simple setting to let them shine.  You can dress them up sparkly or masculine by adding a few beads on the sides.
Simple to construct: 
Pinch the bail into the hole at the top of the pendant (or use a headpin with a stone bead if that is your favourite rock today). 
  • Link this to the lattice tube bail with a jump ring. 
  • String the whole assembly onto your leather cord. 
  • Use the twin link connector to bring the two cords together. 
  • Trim the leather to the appropriate length and glue the end caps on. 
  • Once the glue is dry link the lobster clasp to one side with a jump ring, and add a solo jump ring to the other side for the lobster clasp to have something to grab onto to close. 
Tomorrow?  A new rock!



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.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring cleaning sale ...

On Sale this Week

More Spring Cleaning 


35% off

Bakelite Beads
& Shapes

s36681 Vintage Bakelite - 28 mm Ring - Mahogany (1)



50% off
78024030-04 Feathers -  Coque Hackles - Royal Purple (Pack)



50% off
Thai Silver

s32151 Thai Silver -  Curved Carved Horns - Sterling (1)



50% off

Metal Plated

s16685 Plated Leaves - Medium Hart Ivy Leaf - Bright Copper (1)

spring cleaning sales - continue to April 29!


Cleaning ...

30% off Spikes

30% off Daggers

50% off

35% off
Simplicity Spacers

70% off
Crystal Letters

50% off
Vertical letter

50% off
Big Bold
Fancy stones

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ooooh, Aaaah, oooo ... @ BeadFX

s44104 Stone - 15 x 20 mm Oval Cabochon - Titanium Rainbow Window Druzy (1)that's the sound we're hearing the most of around here - because this update is a doozy! Or, should I say, Druzy? 

s44093 Stone -  Pear Drop Druzy Pendant - Titanium Rainbow Window Druzy (1)Because we have a spectacular update this week - with amazing, yummy, fabulous items, and we're going to start off this guided tour with Druzy cabochons. Or Drusy, if you prefer. Or even Drusie - because apparently s44103 Stone - 10 x 13 mm Oval Cabochon - Black Knight Druzy (1)not even I can spell it consistently! 

We have a wonderful new selection of Stone Cabochons this week, including window druzies, that's thes44106 Stone - 13 x 17 mm Pear Drop Cabochon - Rainbow Titanium Window Druzy (1) kind s44100 Stone - 36 x 67 mm Freeform Cabochon - Bronze Beauty Window Druzy (1)with the smooth stone with a "window" of crystals, or just all over crystals

s44112 Stone - 10 x 12 mm Oval Cabochon - Turquoise (1)Next - we have some turquoise cabochons. Actual turquoise - not imitation. With lovely s44114 Stone - 7 x 9 mm Oval Cabochon - Opal (Synthetic) (1)patterns of the matrix in them. These are not huge, but would really make a project! 

And, some Opals! These ARE synthetic - they are man-made opals, but because of that, are much more affordable. And less finicky too - stronger and less susceptable to damage.
s44126 Stone - 65 mm Tall Shield Cabochon - Red Creek Jasper (1)And then, there are the stone cabochons ... oh myyyyy. If you dream of interesting, beautiful stone cabochons, dream of these ... Red Creek Jasper, in interesting shapes, Shattuckite - originally from the Shattuck mine in Arizona, now mined out, but a small deposit has been found in Congo. s44140 Stone -  Pear Drop Cabochon - Shattuckite (1)

Perhaps you are a little baffled by cabochons - maybe you need an actual hole in your stones? Come on over to our Stone Donut and Pendants page! How about your s44136 Stone -  Inlay Rectangle Pendant - Red Creek Jasper / Amazonite (1)Red Creek Jasper as an Inlay pendant? Beautiful pieces of Red Creek Jasper inlaid with a white stone border and s44129 Stone - 12 x 45 mm Long Drop Pendant - Brown Leaf Jasper (Pair)set into a frame of amazonite or onyx, and with a large, horizontally drilled hole.
Or what about this Brown Leaf Jasper - sold in matched pairs, no less! 

Or this lovely Amethyst Sage Chalcedony - which is s44141 Stone -  Rectangle Pendant - Amethyst Sage Chalcedony (1)earthy and ethereal at the same time.
s44092 Stone -  Druzy Pendant - Cassiopeia Ocean Druzy (1)And, if you are looking for Inspiration on using the druzies - you can look at the very limited selection of pendants we got - mostly just for their inspirational qualities - although, if you must (wink, wink) have one - they are for sale! 

Also, you need to look at these - Arizona Blue Lightning s44084 Stone -  Horse Eye Pendant - Arizona Blue Lightning Chrysocolla (1)Chrysocolla. Yum. Yummity Yum Yum. s44087 Stone -  Sterling Pendant with WT / Onyx - Arizona Blue Lightning Chrysocolla (1)

OK - there is soooo much more - how do I tell you about it all? s36938 Stone Beads - 4 mm Faceted Round - Amazonite (strand)

s36940 Stone Beads - 8 mm Round - Amazonite (strand)Amazonite! The price of this was insane this year at Tucson, but we found a stash of it that we bought a while back, so the price is - well - it ain't cheap - but it's not as crazy.

s43804 Stone Beads - 30 x 40 mm Oval - Tree Agate (1)Tree Agate - next to some of the flashy stuff we have this week, this might get lost, but, you know, graphic scribbles of sagey green on a white background is a pretty classy look!

s43815 Stone Beads -  Faceted Rondelle - Light Sky Blue - Plated Pyrite (strand)
Metallic plated pyrite. s43823 Stone Beads -  Faceted Rondelle - Shaded Smokey Quartz (strand)Faceted pyrite stones plated with a metallic coating. Or just gemstones. Green Quartz, Labradorite, Turquoise, or graduated colour strands like Smokey Quartz or Amethyst.

s44081 Stone Beads -  Faceted Navette - Pyrite (strand)s44074 Stone Beads -  Faceted Briolette Drops - Smokey Quartz (strand)s44071 Stone Beads -  Faceted Cubes - Moss Agate (strand)s44061 Stone Beads -  Faceted Donut Rondelles - Amethyst (strand)s43937 Stone Beads - 8 mm Faceted Rondelle Donuts - Labradorite (1)s43828 Stone Beads -  Faceted Rondelle - Lapis (strand)s40277 Stone Beads - 3.5-4 mm Faceted Rondelle Donuts - Labradorite (strand)
s44063 Stone Beads -  Faceted Pear Drops - Lemon Chrysoprase (strand)And some limited quantity strands of some fancy gemstones - in case you feel the need!

s43934 Stone Beads - 40 mm Faceted Olive - Dzi Bead (1)And still - there is more! Modern Dzi beads, s44053 Components -  Tassels - Mermaid Tresses (1)new Tassels!

I am so excited about all the wonderful new stuff we have this week! Hope you can drop in and fondle it in person, or failing that - snag it online before it gets snapped up! Happy shopping - try not to drool on the keyboard, eh? ;-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Secret of Shooting Earrings

Here's a tip for those of you who want to take pictures of earrings.

Heavy cardstock or matt board, centre cut out. Attach a stand or something to hold upright.

Nylon line stretched across, held with clips or tape in TWO places. One to hang the earring off, the other to stabilized the earring, stop them from swinging for 15 minutes, twisting, or turning to an awkward angle. The earrings hang from the top line, and rest against the bottom one.

So you get this ...  retouch out the lines, or increase the lightness to get them to disappear.
 Instead of this.

Nice drusies, eh?