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Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Friday

It's absolutely gorgeous here today. I've got so much work to do, and the outdoors is calling me. Sigh - it will have to wait. This weekend, it's gardening, and of course you won't want to miss the bead fair!

Yesterday, was one of my few days in the shop. I usually come in about once a week to help out, and of course I end up spending way too much money :-) This weeks haul was 2 books, and the fabulous new dapping set Marg just brought in:

s24384 Tools -  Dapping Set - Basic (1)s24384 Tools - Dapping Set - Basic (1) $47.95
The essential starter set - 8 dapping tools, with matching block - covers most needs. Cavity sizes are 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 20, 28, 28 mm, with corresponding punches. Block is smooth on the reverse - so use it as a bench block. Nice wood stand that you will actually use. Polished steel.

I was also planning next weeks inspiration.  I haven't got it made yet, but It's going to be a no holds barred, glittery Swarovski, and sterling concoction. Rosemary and I had fun picking out the components :-)  I usually try to keep the projects within a reasonable price frame, but sometimes it's fun to go all out. Although, any of you familiar with some of Dwyn's creations, it's not quite that bad. I did not empty the store of Swarovski's :-) In fact, I kept it to one pack of 4mm bicones. You'll see :-)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Craft Show Displays Do's and Don'ts

Jen Wallace of Indiefixx, and Buzz Blog, has written a great post on how to set up your display (and what not to do), while preparing for craft show season. Yes, it's upon us again. Are you prepared?

Craft Show Display Do's

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Are you going to the bead show?

We'll be there - with our sparkly bells on (well, we'll have sparkly beads anyway) :-)

I'm referring to the Toronto Bead Societies Spring Fair.  If you have a chance, come on down. It's always a huge amount of fun. Lot's of vendors, reasonable parking and entrance fees.

For more details on the show - please visit the Toronto Bead Society website. We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Heather Bell-Denison

Heather is our resident metal clay instructor. Heather loves the flexibility of Art Clay Silver and passionately shares her love of creating and building with this medium. In her previous role as an occupational therapist, Heather loved teaching others ways of doing things differently and helping them achieve their goals. Now as an Art Clay instructor, she uses these teaching skills to help her students create their pieces and to problem solve any design challenges. She creates and teaches in Toronto where she lives with her enthusiastic boys and supportive husband.

Heather is a Senior Certified Art Clay Instructor.

Heather has a number of classes coming up over the next couple of months.

Saturday May 1st, Charmed I'm Sure from 10 to 5pm

Sunday May 9th, Let's Do it Together--Parent and Child Metal Clay Class! Please note that children must 10 years or older.

Sunday May 23rd Textured Rings Copper Bracelet, 10 to 5pm

Friday June 4th, An Introduction to Art Clay Copper, 10:30 to 5:30pm

Heather is currently working on some brand new classes as well, keep checking the site for details!

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Swarovski Musings, cool products, and etc.

I'm going to take you for a little wander through some of my Swarovski trip photos. Wrap yourself around a mug of coffee and let's go!

We all arrive at the Swarovski headquarters in Rhode Island. Even though this is primarily an admin building, they have still taken pains to ensure that it reflects (no pun intended - but fully appreciated) the essence of the business. The entrance has a crystal-like shape.

Near the entrance - there are tributes to the founder ...

and samples of the raw material.

Pictures of celebs adorned with Crystallized by Swarovski fashions and fashion accessories are on the walls everywhere.

Everywhere inside, you know you are somewhere special. On the way to the washroom - there is a niche with this crystal pyramid in it.

There is art hanging on the walls everywhere. Like these hot-fix on fabric pieces, which are framed under glass and hanging on the wall.

This blue one - the background is velvet - is my personal favorite. I'm really tickled by something that evokes traditional heraldic themes, much like a embroidery sampler, but in modern materials. Very cool. Here's a few more below.

This one above, with the red matt, is also cool for it's naive or folk art style. Another cool blending of disparate style and material.

And this one too is reminiscent of traditional folk embroidery. I don't know anything about the history of these pieces - whether they are in-house samplers, or winners in a competition. But they are way cool.

Also, everywhere you go, there are crystal chandeliers. This one graces the presentation room, where they do workshops, display mock-ups, etc. Those are the large, industrial ceiling tiles around it - to give you a sense of scale.

Interestingly, while we were looking at this particular lighting fixture in person - none of us could figure out what the light source was, how many bulbs, (how you would change them!). But in this next photo, the answer to that is obvious. The camera is less dazzled than the eye.

Aha - this gives you a better sense of the scale. Now, don't you think you could make a chandelier too? Just string some crystals - loop them around a light? How hard can it be? ;-)

Speaking of hot-fix rhinestones. Here are some of the samplers - colour squares.

And this shows a product that comes on a roll like a decal, but in a tape - for making long designs, like trim.

More colour squares, showing shades and finishes.

Some of the more high-end decals. These are not applied stone by stone, but come as a preassembled decal, that you apply in one go. You could use as it, but I'm thinking that using one of these as a starting place, and then expanding from there. Say, the tiger on the back of a denim jacket, and then doing flowers and leaves and vines free-hand around him.

These are some of the smaller decals, that you can use as accents, or combine into various patterns by using more than one. Or by cutting apart to change them up a bit, if you feel adventurous.

Well - that's probably all you can take of that for one day. I have to admit - I'm getting pretty intrigued by the hot-fix possibilities.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Eye Candy: Crystal Evolution Jewelry

Crystal Evolution Jewelry - heavy on the Swarovski, and modern, edgy designs. Check it out - you'll see the crystals in a new way. Although, the choice of the word "Acne" for a design collection seems a bit odd to me ... maybe it's a translation thing?

(Someone just pointed out in a comment that ACNE seems to be short for AC necklace, as the bracelet is ACBR. Ok - that makes sense - but in the school of accidentally bad names ... ya gots to look for these things. You know, like the sisters, Ima and Sheesa, in the Hogg family. I mean - we spent years with Buttlet Pear beads on the website. Folks - that name wasn't an accident! ;-) )

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Stuff that is not online

Due to the limitations of our shopping cart - there are a few items that we do not offer online, as the cost of shipping them would kill us. ;-) As our silver smithing classes expand, we will be carrying more of these sorts of things. With the addition of the lost wax classes, expect to see more of the wax and carving tools too.

So - if you are in need of these, and you are going to be coming to the store - well - there you go! If you are coming only for these items, it's a good idea to call ahead and make sure we didn't sell the last ones to a busload of beady ladies who drove in from Sault Ste Marie just yesterday. We can order more for you, or put stuff aside. (Contact info at the end.)

s24373 Tools - 2.5 inch Bench Block - Steel (1)

s24373 Tools - 2.5 inch Bench Block - Steel (1) $13.25

Steel bench block (not stainless!) - for hammering wire, i.e. for flattening and hardening wrapped wire clasps, etc. 2.5 x 2.5 x 1 inch thick. Heavy. 1 lb, 6 oz - so we won't be mailing this one. Like many tools, comes with a layer of oil to prevent rusting - actually - this one came swimming in oil. Wipe off before use!

s24381 Mandrel -  Steel Ring Mandrel - Round - Sizes (1)s24381 Mandrel - Steel Ring Mandrel - Round - Sizes (1) $35.95

Steel ring mandrel. Case-hardened steel. Marked with half sizes from size 1 to 16. 13.5 inches long. Heavy!

s24384 Tools -  Dapping Set - Basic (1)s24384 Tools - Dapping Set - Basic (1) $47.95

The essential starter set - 8 dapping tools, with matching block - covers most needs. Cavity sizes are 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 20, 28, 28 mm, with corresponding punches. Block is smooth on the reverse - so use it as a bench block. Nice wood stand that you will actually use. Polished steel.

s24385 Tools - Small Disc Cutter - 7 Sizes (1)
s24385 Tools - Small Disc Cutter - 7 Sizes (1) $61.15

Small disc cutter - 7 sizes from 1/8 to .5 inches. Cut perfect circles every time without sawing. Holes have been drilled, reamed and honed for clean cuts. Great combined with dapping punches for domes, bead caps, etc. Oil-quenched tool steel - drawn - for hardness and durability. Bottom base is case-hardened and ground. Slip the sheet metal into the slot on the side, hammer the punch through. Cuts metal up to 14 gauge. Block is 2 inches square.

s24386 Tools - Large Disc Cutter - 5 Sizes (1)s24386 Tools - Large Disc Cutter - 5 Sizes (1) $68.35

Small disc cutter - 5 sizes from .5 to 1 inch. Cut perfect circles every time without sawing. Holes have been drilled, reamed and honed for clean cuts. Great combined with dapping punches for domes, bead caps, etc. Oil-quenched tool steel - drawn - for hardness and durability. Bottom base is case-hardened and ground. Slip the sheet metal into the slot on the side, hammer the punch through. Cuts metal up to 14 gauge. Block is 2 x 2.75 inches.

s24388 Tools -  Third Hand - Double with Clips (1) s24388 Tools - Third Hand - Double with Clips (1) $13.85

Handy work holder - featuring clips mounted on a weighted base to act as ... a third hand, or a second pair, if you will. Some assembly required.

s24402 Tools -  Anvil - Double Horn (1)s24402 Tools - Anvil - Double Horn (1) $23.85

Isn't this just the cutest little anvil you ever did see? Case hardened steel. All sorts of uses, from shaping, hammering, bending. 1 lb.

It's worth the trip to come in - we're open 7 days a week, there are restaurants close by (including our fave - Cajun Bajan), free parking, and other shopping in the area (including a Canadian Tire and a Rona, if you need to send your husband away to amuse himself. Actually, there's a movie theatre and a pub too if you really want to shop).

We're not hard to get to - and we're not downtown so the traffic isn't so freaky for those of you who are from outside the greater Toronto area and just can't take the downtown traffic conditions and swear you'll never drive there again. (I was downtown earlier this week, the only roads that weren't under construction had movies being shot on them.)

Hope to see you soon! (Wear some of your jewelry when you come - we LOVE to see what you make!)

Contacting us By Phone

416.701.1373 (local Toronto calling area)

+1.877.473.BEAD (2323) Toll free, Canada and the U.S.

By Email

and if you haven't heard from us within a business day (not weekends!), phone us, as there may have been a problem with the email. The weekend gals don't answer emails.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Exciting things happening @ beadFX

Two exciting things, in fact.

First of all, the shipment of silver-plated beads that I had ordered while I was in Tucson finally arrived, after being hung up for a week by the Icelandic volcano with the unpronounceable name. FedEx finally ended up routing it through Dubai.

There's over a hundred pounds of restock and new shapes and sizes of beads, toggles, S-clasps and tubes.

The other thing is happening right now. Two guys are here (it's almost midnight!) cutting and bending sheet metal for the ductwork to bring air-conditioning from our existing unit to our new office space next door to the shop. They arrived promptly to the minute at 8PM when the store closed so they could do their work in the store part without disrupting our customers.

After three weeks of un-returned phone calls, unreasonable quotations and other nonsense from other contractors, I can't tell you how much I appreciate having a contractor who is timely, and works tidily, cleaning up after themselves as they work.

Once that is completed, we can move the office, renovate that space, move the classroom to the old office location, install slotwall and counterspace in the old classroom and finally, finally(!) I'll have room for more goodies in the store. At least for a month or so, until we run out of space again

Happy Friday

Friday - thank goodness. I've been looking forward to the weekend all week - no time for beading unfortunately, but I'm about to tackle the huge job of the garden clean up. Front and back, and I think it may take a team effort to get it all done.

And this is definitely on the list for after all  the hard work:


I can't decide which one to make, I might just have to make both ;-)

I love the smitten kitchen blog. If you haven't checked it out yet, be prepared for a drool fest. She is an awesome photographer, and everything looks mouthwatering. Yumm!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


It has come to my attention today that incorrectly quoted the new HST rules. All classes beginning after July 1, 2010 or that straddle the July 1st deadline, are subject to the HST if booked and paid for after May 1st 2010.

To put another way, in order to avoid paying the HST on classes like Suzanne Crudden's Production Line or her Metal Working for Beaders(scheduled for September) and/or any of Marcia DeCoster's classes in July you must book and pay in full by April 30th.

This is a great way to save a bit of money--8% on each class actually!

Marilyn Gardiner Returns

After the winter away, Marilyn Gardiner is back and ready to go! She has two classes coming up this weekend, Basic Bead Stringing Level 2 and the Vertebrae Watch.

Basic Bead Stringing Level 2: Multi-Strand Necklace, Saturday April 24th from 10 to 12:30pm. Create a multi-strand necklace! Learn several techniques to use in future projects. You will have access to a large stash of findings (such as clasps, crimps, chain, cones, jump rings, and split rings), wire, and beads to design an interesting piece of jewellery. The focus will be on design and techniques. This is a beginner class, however students should have some experience making loops and crimping.

The Vertebrae Watch, Saturday April 24th from 2pm to 5pm. Create an elegant, flat, slinky bracelet with a special toggle. This sleek, modern design is available in Argentium™ sterling or in copper. This is a beginner level chain mail class.

Marilyn also has classes coming up in May and June as well. Check out the links below for more information.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Suzanne Crudden

As many of you know, we have a fantastic metal smithing instructor here at Beadfx, Suzanne Crudden. Aside from the Metal Smithing 101 classes, she has also created some really fabulous metal working classes for beaders.

Her upcoming Metal Working for Beaders: Creating Your Own Production Line begins in June and runs for 8 weeks. Students will learn how to design and create their own limited production line of silver jewellery. Basic wax sculpting techniques are introduced and metal finishing skills are refined. Students will have the opportunity to complete three projects incorporating a consistent design element within each. And as an added bonus there will be a field trip to a jewellery casting house to get an insiders view on the process!

You should have taken Metal Working for Beaders or Metal Smithing 101 before taking this class.

Suzanne has another new class coming up this Saturday April 24th from 10 to 4pm, The Basics of Soldering.

Over the course of a one day class we will explore the soldering of precious metals in different scenarios. An introduction to the torch and the principles behind soldering will be provided before moving on to hands-on practice.

Topics covered will include: soldering a butt joint, soldering a long seam, soldering a small item to a large item and how to solder a jump ring. This is a beginner course.

Marcia DeCoster is coming to BeadFX!!!

This July Marcia DeCoster will be joining us for 3 classes--the Queen Anne's Lace, Bellisimo and The Falling Leaves Lariat!

Marcia's love for beautiful jewelry and the desire to create her own designs brought Marcia to beads in the early 1990's. Marcia designs colorful and fun to wear jewelry and shares her designs through teaching and writing. Remembering her own early attempts, Marcia recognizes that everyone learns differently and so takes great care to provide clear, concise and comprehensive instructions, graphics and text.

Her work has been published Carol Wilcox Wells’s The Art and Elegance of Bead Weaving and Margie Deeb’s The Beaders Color Pallette.

In 2008 her work was featured in Masters Beadweaving and her urchin lariat graces the cover.

In 2009 her own book 'Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence' was published by Lark.

Marcia is one of the featured 'Designers of the Year' in Beadwork magazine.

Queen Anne's Lace Bracelet, July 19th from 10 to 6pm. Queen Anne’s Lace is a fun lacy bracelet with plenty of sparkle. Over 200 crystals make it shine. The modified right angle weave units are connected to one another and accented down the center with a pretty firepolished bead. A large Swarovski button forms the clasp for a lovely focal. Students should have some experience with right angle weave.

Bellisimo, July 20th from 10 to 6pm. Have fun using tubular right angle weave to create a unique beaded bead. The properties of right angle weave allow for endless variation of surface embellishment, which reinforces the structure. Beaded beads are created by varying the size and type of beads used in the right angle weave base. There are endless varieties of ways this bead can be executed and all are fabulous.

Make one to wear on a chain or give as a gift. Make several, with variations of the same color palette and string together for the funky but fashionable look. Make one in an afternoon for instant gratification. Experience with Right Angle Weave is suggested.

Freeform leaves cascade gracefully from each end of an ndbele lariat. The leaves are gradated in color from dark to light and created using freeform peyote techniques. The three sided nedbele neckchain is then made incorporating accent beads along the length. The lariat can be worn short to add interest to any neckline or worn long as your fashion sense dictates. This is open to all levels.

Register for all three classes and pay the discounted rate of $350.00 plus gst.

Please note that registrations after June 30th will be subject to the HST, so early registration is highly recommended!

Birdsnest repost

My internet is so painfully slow today for some reason. It took me 5 whole very long minutes just to log in to blogger. Reminds me of the old days of 1200 baud modems - shudder.

I thought I'd do a repost of a tutorial I wrote back in 2007 on the birdsnest rings. These are timely, as they would be perfect as a donation to the corsage project! Quick and easy too!

Every now and again I teach a basic wire wrapped ring class called "Birdsnest Rings". This is a fairly simple project, and once you get the hang of it, you'll be whipping these out like crazy. Trust me, all of your friends will want one!

Materials required:
  • 22 gauge Artistic Wire, or 22 gauge dead soft sterling silver wire, 
  • Fabulous assortment of Swarovski, or semi precious beads
  • Wire cutters, and flat, or chain nose pliers
  • Ring Mandrel
  • Ring Sizer
  • Needle File
  • Coated flat nose pliers (optimal)
Cut a length of wire to 2.5 feet long, and gently straighten your wire with your fingers, or by using a coated pair of flat nose pliers.
Find the centre point of the wire and bend slightly to mark the spot (do not kink the wire!). Thread on your focal bead, and centre on the wire.
Place the bead on the centre of the wire face up on the ring mandrel and hold it down. Wrap each end of the wire around the mandrel once or twice. These wraps will determine how many strands of wire form your ring shank.
While still holding onto your bead firmly, wrap each end of wire to bend around the bead in the centre. This will now hold your ring in place and you can loosen your grip somewhat. Keep wrapping each end one at a time until you have built up your “nest”. How many wraps is completely up to you. Generally, your chosen focal bead will dictate how many wraps you need to make.
Once your “birdnest” is complete, slide the ring off the ring mandrel. You should still have a good 6 + inches of wire left on each end.
Starting on one side, wrap the end of the wire around the shank wires tightly being careful to wrap evenly. The wraps should fit snugly next to each other with no gaps. Complete 5 to 7 wraps.
Repeat the above for the other side of the wire. Once you have your wraps lying evenly, cut off the extra wire. Using your flat or chain nose pliers, press the wire into the shank.
If you have any sharp burrs on your wire, use a needle file to file down and clean the end of the wire.
©beadFX Inc. 2007

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Corsage Project: What Jewellery To Make

The Corsage Project - in case you haven't been paying attention - is a project to provide graduating high-school girls, who are unable to afford the expense, with prom attire and accoutrements so that they need not miss that special night.

Bennett McCardle - tireless volunteer from the Toronto Bead Society - crafted this excellent insight into what type of jewellery prom-going gals want.

I'm personally intrigued by the idea of making the purse fobs too. And knowing that really long, dangly earrings are hot, hot, hot! That's like waving a red flag to a bull! Charge!


Corsage Project – What Jewellery do we Need the Most?

By Bennett McCardle
Jewellery alterationist for the Corsage Project’s Boutique Ball
April 2010

Here’s a handy list of the jewellery the Corsage Project usually needs most.

The Project Committee is very good at getting donations of commercial jewellery from stores around Toronto, and used jewellery from individuals, but often don’t get enough really decorative prom jewellery, or a wide enough range of colours.

Toronto Bead Society member-made (and other hand-made) donations are very valuable. They’re almost always the first pieces to get fitted and taken away. The girls look special in them.

The list below is based on six years of experience (and hair-tearing at 2 pm the day of the event, when there are three hours to go and no more crystal bracelets or long, slinky, dangling earrings!)

It also answers the question: What colour should I make it? and What size should I make it?

Want to know more about the Corsage Project and what it does?
Go to both the Project's own website and the Children's Aid Foundation page on the project

First Priority
(Things all the girls need)

Necklaces – the most useful kinds are:

  • Simple single-strand necklace of pearls, crystals and/or good quality beads
    - Both delicate necklaces and ones with honking big pearls!
  • Multi-strand necklace (ditto)
  • Dressy pendant on gold or silver chain
    - anything from a large cab to a pair of small, attractive crystal or glass drops, or a single graceful lampwork bead with dressy bead cap
  • "Waterfall" necklace (a short 13 to 15” chain with a “bib” of chain-and-crystal/pearl dangles in graduated lengths hanging from it, longest in the centre).
  • Dressy beadwoven necklace (youthful style and colour)
    - Example: a choker in gold/silver seed beads and small crystals, backed with velvet or ultrasuede, tied with ribbon in back
Any decorative chain with clasp is welcome (we often need them for loose pendants).

  • Clasps must be secure.
  • Use good quality crimp beads, or multiple crimps for heavy necklaces, so it doesn’t come apart during a dance…
  • Prom dresses usually don’t hide the clasp, so it should be sightly.
  • Consider making clasps out of fancy ribbons, light chain, or even Velcro (for chokers).

Bracelets – the most useful kinds:
  • Simple one-strand bracelet of pearls and crystals, or crystals and neutral seed beads or gold/ silver spacers.
  • Multistrand crystal or pearl bracelet.
  • Simple chain bracelet with dangles - crystal or dressy bead dangles on headpins, or just one or two attractive dangles of crystals or fine glass, hanging from the clasp.
  • Cuff bracelet of woven crystals - dressy colours
  • Memory wire bracelet with dressy combination of metal and crystal beads
  • Wirework bangle or bracelet (bright silver or gold wire) with pearls, crystals, etc.

  • Avoid donating bracelets on elastic unless very light and very secure.
  • Heavy(ish) cuff bracelets are OK, but make sure heavy dangle/charm bracelets aren’t so cumbersome they interfere with dancing.

  • Long, dangly, dressy earrings – we never have enough.
    - Make them from two to 5 inches long – yes, many girls can wear them that long!
    - Not comfortable with long? OK, make them 2 ¼ inches long from bottom of earlobe.
    - All dressy colours welcome.
    - Want safe colours? When in doubt, use any combination of: clear crystal; cream or white pearl; bright silver; lavender; pink; black-with-silver or -crystal
    - We’re often short of unconventional colours (dressy gray, orange, yellow, clear dark blue, amethyst)
  • Medium-length fancy earrings of any type (at least 1 ½ inches) with bright crystals or a dressy cabochon, star or flower
  • Clip earrings of any dressy kind (we are usually short of these)

(Yes - we have these.)
23611072 Findings - Earring - Clip-on -  with Ring - Nickel (5 pairs)
Findings - Earring - Clip-on - with Ring - Nickel (5 pairs)

NOTE: Short and stud-type earrings are not needed (lots of them are donated and they are never all taken)

Make a set!
A matched set, or “parure” is the most useful thing you can give. It includes at least one each of:
  • a necklace,
  • a bracelet,
  • pair earrings,
  • and could have extras, like a brooch, ring or watch.

Second Priority
(Things some girls can wear -- always appreciated if you want to give it)

  • Hair decorations (hairbands, barrettes and hairsticks)
    - Very fashionable in 2010. Make them blingy!
  • Rings
    - Dressy rings of all kinds, decorated with beads or gemstones.
    - Base metal or wire band is fine as long as metal is attractive.
    - Bright silver is the most popular colour, but gold is also useful.
    - If making rings is what turns you on, do it!
    - Adjustable bands are ideal. If not possible, make it an average girl’s size (5 to 6).
    - Inexpensive adjustable ring findings with loops

26001014 Findings -  Loopy Finger Ring - Silvertone (1)
Findings - Loopy Finger Ring - Silvertone (1)

or sterling if you feel more generous

s14558 Sterling Findings - Size 6 Sterling Ring - Sized - w Inline Loops - Bright Sterling (1)
Sterling Findings - Size 6 Sterling Ring - Sized - w Inline Loops - Bright Sterling (1)

  • Watches:
If you have a working watch face (with battery) to donate, put a crystal strap and bracelet closure on it and give it to us! We’ll find a girl to look lovely in it.

If you don’t have time to make the strap, just give us the face (as long as it works) and we’ll run up a strap ourselves.

Handbag Fobs:
We always need these to dress up plain evening bags donated by others. They attach to the handle or zipper tag.

To make one:
  • Get an oversize lobster clasp (1” long) in silver or gold, or a smaller lobster clasp and a chain with links big enough for it to hook into.
  • Attach to the clasp a 2” length of decorative chain with links big enough to take dangles.
  • Hang three to eight blingy dangles from different links of the chain (made from light beads or recycled pendants on headpins – if too heavy, will overbalance purse).
  • Total length should be three to five inches.
22402000  Findings - 1 inch Swivel Flip Clip - Nickel (1)Do you have a single rhinestone earring without a mate? Give it to us! We can glue it to a dull handbag (or stab the post right into the bag and bend post to anchor it) and make a bright accessory!

Findings - 1 inch Swivel Flip Clip - Nickel (1)

As many girls get corsages, brooches are most useful if on the small side (suitable for cleavage position or middle of back of dress).

  • Make it blingy. Rhinestones or dressy cabs are ideal.
    - Lighter weights are best.

What colour should I make it?

The girls are young teenagers of all sizes and skin colours, and the dresses are in a huge range of colours. So don’t confine yourself to “conventional” girl palettes (white, pink, baby blue, pastels) or delicate “girly” pieces -- unless you want to. We can use ANY colours that are partyish and happy together. Here are some suggestions:

  • Silver: when in doubt, use bright silver (not nickel or dull silver).
  • Pair antiqued silver with bright colours -- e.g. amethyst, pink, leaf green.
  • Gold: light gold is most useful, but darker gold with bright, lush colours works too.
  • Bronze: pair this with bright, fresh colours, or very glittery black.
  • Gunmetal/black: looks great with dove grey, lilac, light amethyst and rich reds.
  • Avoid nickel beads and findings (dull-coloured and allergenic).

Some good palettes -- combinations we can use easily:
  • Party-style neutrals:
    • clear or AB crystals;
    • black (faceted or glossy) with silver and/or pearl;
    • pearls of any colour;
    • champagne (light to dark beige, pink-toned) accented with gold or silver
    • dressy pearl grey offset with bright silver, gunmetal or bronze;
    • opal, iridescent, translucent or satin white paired with bright silver or pastels.
  • Reds – strong red crystals with bright gold
  • Pinks (any kind from pale rose to strong pink, fuchsia and magenta) with pearls and/or bright silver
  • Yellows -- soft satins, rose, topaz or Imperial yellow with silver or light gold
  • Orange – rich glassy flame or light orange with bright silver OR light gold OR gunmetal
  • Browns –rich, crystalline dark brown, or amber, with gold
  • Greens – youthful leaf or spring green with silver, light gold, or pastels
  • Purples – lavender, lilac or amethyst with bright silver
  • Blues – youthful light blue or rich dark glassy blue (e.g. Swarovski Montana crystals with lots of silver)
  • Turquoise with copper (blingy, not earthy, finish)
  • Spring flower mixture (soft or strong pastels, e.g. a multicoloured flowery necklace)

NOTE FOR FREE SPIRITS: Are you a funky designer? Like extravagant palettes? Hate little crystals and “tasteful” white pearls? Feel free to make and donate: there are always some grrrrls who like out-of-sight pieces, as long as they’re good quality and can be worn with a satin dress!

Avoid: wood, dull stone and plastic (unless dressy, e.g. Moonglow beads); matronly or excessively folksy combinations; any finish that will run if wet; any insecure findings; charms or pendants with writing on them; sharp edges on pieces worn next the skin.

What size should I make it?

  • Bracelets: Both delicate and heavy bracelets are needed.
    - When in doubt, make it 6” around.
    - Make it extendable if possible (with a chain or clasp allowing more than one length).
    - Make delicate bracelets shorter (5” to 6” wrists)
    - Make heavier bracelets for wrists up to 8 ½”
    - For a length chart, see here.

  • Necklaces: We need everything from collars/chokers (12” to 14” diameter) to full length ropes and opera chains (24” to way longer)
    - When in doubt, make it 14” around (delicate pieces) or 16” (heavier ones), and …
    - … include an extension (chain or clasp allowing more than one length) if you can
    - Dresses are mostly low-necked, so most necklaces are worn above, or dropping just below, the cleavage.
    - Here's a visual guide to necklace lengths. More suggestions here. And here. And a good piece at, when the site is up. Shows celebrity jewelry to illustrate styles and lengths.
So there you have it - every thing you wanted to know about Prom jewelry, but had no one to ask. Don't forget, we have a Corsage Project Play Day on Thursday April 22. 6:30 - 8:30 pm - hosted by the Dixon Chick.

Deadline to get stuff to us is April 29!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Beau Anderson...Freedom Through Flamework!!

May is fast approaching and we are really looking forward to the arrival of Beau Anderson. Beau's focus within glass art has explored beadmaking and its history, as well as integrative multi-media projects. He has demonstrated and instructed the art of glass beadmaking throughout the Americas, both at a grassroots level and at such prestigious institutions as Corning Museum of Glass, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pilchuck Glass School, Red Deer College and FDV Barcaloa. This is his first trip to Toronto--what better place than BeadFX!

For those of you who are thinking about taking this series of classes or have been waiting to register there are only 2 spaces left for students wishing to take both classes. We are filling up quickly and with the May 7th registration deadline quickly approaching early registration is highly recommended.

Beau will be offering two intensive classes, Freedom Through Flamework Part 1 and Part 2.
Freedom Through Flamework Part 1 runs on May 27th and 28th. This is an advanced beginner/intermediate level class. Students should have taken an introductory course before taking this class.

Freedom Through Flamework Part 2 runs from May 29th to the 31st. This an intermediate/advanced level course. This class can be taken on its own or in conjunction with Part 1. If students register for both Freedom Through Flamework--Part 1 and Freedom Through Flamework--Part 2 they received the discounted rate of $1000.00 +GST.

We do not know when Beau will come back again so don't miss your opportunity to take this class!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Higher Education

THE most educational site on the internet. Follow the advice here - do not do these things. Learn from my fail.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sneek Peek at Next Week

s24359 Tools -  Tweezers - Curved Copper Pickle (1)Tools. It will be Tool Time!

From pickle tweezers to soldering blocks - new tools, with a focus on silver-smithing. Technically - silver smithing is making teapots and candlebra and stuff like that, and gold-smithing refers to jewelry making - but to the distinction does not seem to be well known. So, while I mean these are gold-smithing tools - I'm referring to them as silver-smithing. ;-)
s24363 Tools -  Charcoal Soldering Block -  (1)

Friday, April 16, 2010

My heads a spinning with ideas

I know you're all like me somewhat and have a million ideas on the go. Here are some of the plans in my head and half on my workbench at the moment.

1) Resin (as in Ice Resin) - many different projects in planning for a super secret project - sssshh.

2) Coming up with some new projects for my metal fusing classes. The price of silver went up considerably with our last shipment. To keep the class even remotely affordable I need to come up with some new projects that use far less silver! ;-)

3) The bronze cork experiment.  This is the one I really want to work on as it poses the most challenge, but it really should be #3 on the list...

4) Still need to reapply the hearts and the resin for the metal clay hearts. Those hearts keep beckoning me to do something with them. I really need more hours in the day. Sigh.

What's on your workbench this weekend?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We have winners!

Sorry for the late post today. I'm actually at the shop oogling all of the new stuff in person ;-) I'm in the actual store so rarely, it's nice to see everything up close and personal...

We had some more great submissions, and our winner, by random drawing (courtesy of is:
for Dance at Dusk - Monika M.
for Nothing Gold Can Stay - Lori H.

 We're also working our tails to get you two new kits!  Coming soonish :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just Up... Corsage Project PlayDay with Stephanie Dixon!

Who doesn’t remember their prom? What did you wear? Who was your date? Where are they now? Hmmmm?

And, how would you feel today if you had not been able to afford to attend? It is one thing to be a rebellious teenager and refuse to go - know a few of those — but quite another to not go at all because of the financial burden it puts on your family.

Since 2005, beadFX has been a champion of the Corsage project. Once again - we are coordinating with the Corsage Project for donations.

The Corsage Project is a charitable organization that works to ensure that young women who are to graduate, but can not afford to attend their prom — can have the lovely dresses, shoes, and, most importantly, (in our humble opinion) the distinctive jewellery that will highlight the evening and provide a memento that they will have for the rest of their lives. ('Cause you might grow out of the dress - but the jewellery is forever!)

If you would like to donate jewellery, you can drop it off or mail it to us - by closing, April 29th. (It's a Thursday - we close at 8.) Alternately, you can make a cash donation online.

For those super fans of the Dixon Chick, she will be here hosting a Corsage Project Play Day from 6 to 8:30pm on Thursday April 22nd (that is next Thursday!). This is a great opportunity to hang with Stephanie, get a little help finishing off your donations or just pop by and drop off your donations.

This is such an important cause we hope to see many of you there!

More bronze experiments in the works

We had a question posted a few days ago, where someone was having difficulty firing bronze with cork clay.  I hadn't tried it yet, so that will be my experiment for this week. If they are dry in time, I'll post the results on Friday, but most likely I won't have any information to share until Wednesday next week.

I did a bit of research though, and it looks like you have to use an open air firing first to successfully burn out the core, and then fire again using the carbon.

More information about the open air firing schedule can be found on Margaret Schindel's bronze clay Squidoo lens

If you are in the area this weekend, I'll be hosting a rare Saturday metal clay playday from 10am to 5pm!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kate McKinnon Classes Cancelled

Kate McKinnon's May 2010 classes at Beadfx have been cancelled. She is really busy this spring and our enrollment was a bit low so we have decided, with Kate, to cancel them for this year.

We hope that she will make it up here next spring.

If you have registered for any of Kate's classes already we will be offering you a full refund. If you have not heard from us yet you will in the next day or so.

Hope to see you back here in 2011 Kate!

Squarely In Time for Spring!

It is a beautiful spring day! That of course gets you thinking about springy type things. Rae Huggins class Squarely in Time for Spring is coming up this Thursday evening! The class is open to all levels, focusing on the square stitch and runs from 6 to 9pm.

Rae also has another fabulous class coming up 0n May 4th, the Embellished Peyote Bracelet. This class is also open to all levels and the finished piece is really funky!

There is also a rare weekend Metal Clay Play Day this Saturday from 10 to 5pm. Please call and let us know you are coming.

Amy Waldman-Smith is here as well on April 17th and 18th with her Learn to Make Glass Beads Weekend.

Don't miss Heather Bell-Denison's Introduction to Art Clay Copper course on Sunday April 18th.

Happy Beading!