Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Who Does She Think She Is?

I thought I'd share this inspirational trailer for the new film "Who Does She Think She Is?" - A film about women, their art, and the struggles they face. Click on the title above to see the video (I had to remove it because it was slowing down site access).

May your journey into the New Year be blessed with opportunities and successes.
Sue Mandel

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thread Basics for Weaving Seed Beads

I hope you're having a wonderful holiday! I've added a link to Kalmbach's 2010 Beading Calendar (left & right). It's a beautiful calendar - the images are inspiring. It features the top winners of Bead Dreams 2008 and is a perfect gift for your favorite beader!

And now for the second post in my series of four on Seed Bead Basics: Beading Thread! (Please click on the images for larger type).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winners of the Lark Book December Giveaway!

On behalf of Lark Books and Jamie Cloud Eakin, Beadweaver is pleased to announce the winners of the latest beading-book-giveaway-and-other-great-prizes. And the winners are (drum roll please!):

#3. lux.lumina! lux.lumina wins a lovely hank of wisteria charlottes!

#2. joannl! joannl wins the Versailles Rose Champagne bracelet pattern (plus a few other beady goodies)!

And the Grand Prize winner of a beautiful signed edition of Jamie Cloud Eakin's Bugle Bead Bonanza is.....

whisperingtears! (yay!!!)

Congratulations to everyone for signing up and Many, Many Thanks to the kind generosity of Lark Books which makes these wonderful bead weaving book giveaways a possibility. This is a great book, sure to inspire bead weavers everywhere!

Your friend in beading-bliss,
Suzy-Q @ the Beadweaver blog

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jamie Cloud Eakin's Bugle Bead Bonanza GiveAway!

bugle bead book free!!! HAPPY HOLIDAYS !!!

On behalf of Ray Hemachandra, Jamie Cloud Eakin, and Lark Books, Beadweaver has another wonderful book to give away! Written by Jamie Cloud Eakin, "Bugle Bead Bonanza" explores the use of bugle beads in a variety of seed beading projects. The projects in this book are absolutely gorgeous and I'm very excited to be able to offer it to you!

If you're like me, over the years we've collected a wide variety of bugles ranging from the teeny tiny macos to those long, elegant twisted bugles. Now there's a book that will put our stash to use! Among my favorite projects are the Victorian Fringed Choker, the Twist Bracelet, the Tassle Key Ring, and the Long Bugle Pouch. It's a beautiful book and a "must" for every beader's library. And, it's a SIGNED EDITION :)

For those of you familiar with the quality of books published by Lark, you've come to expect the very best. And "Bugle Bead Bonanza" is just that. It starts with the basics of bead weaving, including beads and supplies, and covers a variety of techniques in well illustrated, well written instructions. What makes this book great is it has projects for every skill level - from the beginner to advance bead weaver. It's sure to inspire the beader in all of us.

On to the nitty-gritty - How to Enter to Win:
1. If you're on my mailing list, you're automatically entered to win (yay!).
2. To enter, you must sign up for my mailing list. Follow this link to sign up and enter: Beadweaver Mailing List
3. Be sure to check your email to confirm that you've signed up.
4. Deadline to enter is midnight, December 12th.

And as with all of Beadweaver's drawings and giveaways, there will be some surprises too :) A very BIG Thank you to Ray Hemachandra, Jamie Cloud Eakin, and Lark books for making this opportunity possible. Good luck & Stay Tuned!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Basics of Seed Bead Finishes, Sizes, Types & Manufacturers

I was reading a post today on the Beading Daily blog when I came across this Handy Guide to Jewelry Making Terms posted by Jean Campbell. I thought "Wouldn't it be nice to have something similar on seed bead weaving?" So I sat down and wrote a few pages on seed beads - from seed bead finishes to needles & threads to stitches - and included a list of links on the web. (Thank you for the inspiration Jean!) So, without further a-do, here is my first post of four: Basics of Seed Bead Finishes, Sizes, Types, and Manufacturers.

Basic Seed Bead Finishes
· Opaque: Solid colored glass
· Transparent: Clear glass in colors
· Matte: Etched glass
· Luster: High shine surface often with a silver or gold hue
· AB: Aurora Borealis - A rainbow effect on the surface of the glass
· Rainbow: Same as “AB”
· Iris: A mixture of glass beads, often opaque, metallic, or AB
· Metallic: A metal surface coating over an opaque or transparent bead
· Dyed: Glass that has been dyed a secondary color
· Galvanized: A colored surface coating with a metallic appearance
· Ceylon: A high shine surface coating
· Pearl: Opaque glass bead with a pearlized surface
· Lined: Color that has been applied to the interior surface
· Satin: A translucent glass with low luster
· Opal: A translucent surface lined with silver or gold
· Stripe: A bead made with a variety of glass colors

Seed Bead Sizing (listed largest to smallest currently used)*
Seed beads used for weaving are sized from the largest (~6/o) to the smallest (~22/o). The most frequently used sizes in bead weaving are 8/o, 10/o, 11/o, 13/o, 15/o. Below I've listed what's commonly available from the different manufacturers.
· Japanese Beads: 5/o, 6/o, 8/o, 11/o, 15/o
· Czech Beads: 6/o, 8/o, 10/o, 11/o, 13/o, 16/o
· French Beads: 10/o, 11/o, 14/o
· Venetian Beads: (sizes variable from specialty suppliers)
· Chinese Beads: 11/o (some larger, smaller)
· India Beads: 6/0, 11/o (some larger, smaller)

· Note: There are no sizing standards between bead manufacturers. Ex. A Czech 11/o is not the same size as a Japanese 11/o.

Seed Bead Types
· Rocailles: Beads with rounded edges and round or square holes.
· Cut: One or more flattened surfaces
· Charlotte: One cut in size 13/o
· True cut: One cut in sizes other than 13/o
· Hex cut: Six sided bead
· Drop: Shaped like a teardrop
· Farfalle: Double teardrop shape
· Triangle: Triangular in shape
· Bugle: Long, thin tube shape – twisted or straight
· Maco: Super thin, short bugles
· Cylinder: Cylindrical (can) in shape: Delicas, Treasures, Aikos
· Square: Shaped like a square

Seed Bead Manufacturers (past and present):
· Czech Beads: Jablonex - Ornela
· Japanese Beads: Miyuki, Toho, and Matsuno
· French Beads: Bovis Beads (past)
· Venetian Beads: The Society Veneziana Conterie
· Chinese Beads: Ming Tree
· India Beads: Onam International

Links to more information on the web:
· Beading Daily's Info Links
· Delica Finishes
· Fire Mountain Gem's Encyclobeadia
· 7beads Info
· Ask Anna
· Dancing Glass
· Bead & Button Info on Seed Beads
· Seed Bead Sizing
· Caravan Beads Images
· European Bead Sources

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Bead Knitting Links

I've been looking for more information on knitting with beads and came across the following webpages:

Deanna's Vintage Styles: Kits for purses, jewelry, and beaded buttons

Alice Korach's Bead Knitting video: from

Hook and Needles: Great links including pattern generators

Bead Merchant: Bead knitted kits and PDF patterns

Lacis Knitting Needles: Steel, wood, and bone

Arhyonel: Antique beaded purses, patterns, and frames

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Maricot Necklace

Nancy Peterson of NLP Bead Design was a recent winner in Beadweaver's Lark Book Giveaway. She received a few hanks of metallic charlottes and went to work creating! Check out her lovely Maricot Necklace by clicking on the title above. Be sure to check out her blog too - if you see something you like, Nancy also sells her patterns. Beautiful work Nancy - thank you for sharing!!!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Knitting with Beads

A few years ago my sister-in-law, an artist, gave me a kiln. It was an old, electric kiln that had been rarely used. Along with the kiln came instructions, scribbled upon with notes on use, in crooked handwriting from the original owner. I dusted it off and placed the kiln in my garage for future use. My plan: to merge my past with my present - ceramics with beads. Unfortunately, as so often happens, my plans never came to fruition and the kiln sat, alone, neglected in my garage.

Time passed. Then one day last spring I was chatting with a friend whose mom had recently moved to our town. Turns out her mom was a potter. She used to help run the Torpedo Factory on the East Coast and had given up her kiln as she moved across country to L.A. and then Redding. Ceramics were her calling but she'd gotten away from it..."Would your mom want my kiln?" I asked. "That would be so fabulous! How much do you want for it?" my friend asked. I replied "No price - free. A gift - it was a gift to me". A few days later I got a call from my friend's mom. "How much do you want for your kiln?" "It's free" I replied. She struggled getting her mind around it. "Really, it's free. A gift to you." "Allright" she said, "But I'll have to repay you somehow". The conversation then wandered to what I was working on. "I'm trying to teach myself to knit" I said. "Knit? Really? I knit! Can I teach you?" "Well, gosh, uh, yeah, actually that's a great idea, you wouldn't mind?" "No, I'd love to." And so began a new path for me.....I knitted and pearled, pearled and knitted, practicing until I got it right. I met with my teacher (and now friend) every few weeks to show her my progress and learn something new. I tried all different needle sizes and yarns, created little samples of stitches. And then one day.......I added beads....

I love bead knitting. I love the fabric. I love that there is a whole world of design to explore using this lovely medium. And I love that it adds another technique to my repetoire. Until recently I've been bead knitting using size 0 (2mm) knitting needles. But last week a package arrived in the mail, completely unexpected. In it.....a set of size 0000 knitting needles to use with tiny beads a la my friend Louise. Wow! Oh, and a bar of chile chocolate - the best! Life doesn't get much better :)

What have I been bead knitting? Well....mostly simple straight knit stitch with beads. I've made some scarves and a few bracelets - "Sketches" as David Chatt calls this kind of work. My mind has been racing with ideas on what I can do with this technique. I'm still trying different yarns and threads to work out some of the issues I've come across - such as how to prevent the weave from stretching under the weight of the beads.

Yesterday, I opened the December edition of Bead and Button magazine to guessed it....two wonderful articles on knitting with beads! The first, by Ann Dee Allen, is an excellent step by step instruction of how to bead knit. The second explores the work of bead knitting artist Nancy VanDerPuy. Both are worth taking a look at if you're interested in exploring this medium.

I thought I'd add some other sources for bead knitting instruction. I've used Julia Pretl's Bead Knitting DVD and instructional booklet and found it to be very helpful. Julia's knit stitch is slightly different from the one illustrated in Bead and Button. Included in Julia's book is how to string on your beads according to a pattern.

Check out these links for more on Bead Knitting:
Bead Knitted Bags Julia Pretl
Knit One: Bead Too Judith Durant
Knitting Beaded Purses Nancy VanDerPuy
More Beaded Purses Nancy VanDerPuy
Nancy VanDerPuy's website Technique info
Bead & Beaded knitting Style differences
Bead Knitting with Wire
Contemporary Knitting Art Inspirational

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Lark Book Giveaway: And the Winner Is...

On behalf of Lark Books and Ray Hemachandra, Beadweaver is excited to announce the following winner of the book "Beading with World Beads". And the winner is... BarbElliott!!!

The winner was chosen by downloading the email list to an Excel spreadsheet and generating a random number using's random number generator. Congratulations Barb and thank you to all who entered to win this fabulous prize!

But wait....there's more!!!!

Second Place (Of course you knew there'd be a second place) goes to Violet Bead who wins a gorgeous selection of purple beads (purple was chosen just for her!) and a lovely vintage cab.

And Third Place....Yes, there's a third place!... goes to Hadas who wins one hank each of my gorgeous permanent finish metallic charlottes!!!

Thank you to Marcia DeCoster, Ray Hemachandra, and Lark Books whose kind generosity made this giveaway possible and thank you to all my readers for entering and reading the Beadweaver blog :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Win a Signed Copy of Beading with World Beads!

Have you ever walked into a bead store, mesmerized by the beautiful trinkets - particularly the old, used, and hauntingly beautiful ones? Venetian beads, African trade beads, hand painted bone beads, brass beads, old milagros...these beads are so precious it's impossible to pass them by without buying one or more. If this sounds familiar, then this book is for you.

Ray Hemachandra, editor of Beading with World Beads, explores everything from a brief history of beads to basics in bead design and jewelry construction. He's collaborated with 16 talented artists to bring you a wonderful mix of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and brooches. Beading with World Beads offers all the great things you've come to expect from Lark Books:

"This lavishly illustrated volume offers an introduction to scores of different beads, illustrates all the basic techniques, and presents both beginner and intermediate projects from a pool of talented designers. The one-of-a kind pieces range from Jean Campbell’s jangly "Milagros Charm Bracelet" to Elizabeth Glass Geltman and Rachel Geltman’s porcelain-beaded “A New Chinese Twist”—with stops in India, Africa, and many other countries along the way." Lark Books website

There are thirty nine projects in all designed by such well known artists as Jamie Cloud Eakin and Francie Broadie. This book is a feast for the eyes and inspiration for the soul for those of you who love world beads!

Let's get to the entry part! As before, here's how:

1. If you're on my mailing list, you'll be automatically entered to win.
2. If you're not on my mailing list, click HERE to sign up.
3. You must enter by midnight, October 22nd.
4. The winner will be announced on Friday, October 23rd.
5. Only one entry per person please. There is only one book available.
6. Don't forget to invite your friends to enter - and inspire me to add some goodies to the draw :)
7. Have questions? For FAQs, see the comments section! Good luck!!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And The Winner Is......

On behalf of Lark Books and Marcia DeCoster, Beadweaver is excited to announce the following winner of Marcia's gorgeous book "Beaded Opulence". And the winner is... Susan509!!!

The winner was chosen by downloading the email list to an Excel spreadsheet and generating a random number using Random.Org's random number generator. Congratulations Susan and thank you to all who entered to win this fabulous prize!

But wait....there's more!!!!

Second Place (You didn't know there was a second place?!) goes to who wins one hank each of my gorgeous permanent finish metallic charlottes in meadow green and wisteria purple!!!

And if that's not enough....

Stay tuned for tomorrow when Beadweaver, on behalf of Lark books, will be offering another enter-to-win gorgeous book for the creative spirit in you!!!

Thank you to all my readers for entering and reading the Beadweaver blog :)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Win a Signed Edition of Beaded Opulence!

What do you get when you cross the fabulous publishing house, Lark Books, with the charming creativity of Marcia DeCoster? Beaded Opulence!

Want to win your own copy? You've come to the right place! I recently received a signed edition of this gorgeous book from Lark Books. The projects are beautiful, the step by step instructions are wonderful, and the book lives up to the high standards Lark is known for. And if that's not enough, the pieces displayed in the gallery section are absolutely gorgeous. If you've always wanted to master right angle weave, this book is for you. Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence is the second title in Lark Books' Beadweaver Master Class series.

Ray Hemachandra, the senior editor of Lark Books, recently interviewed Marcia about her beadweaving passion. You can read the interview at Lark Books' website. You'll also find a few of the projects featured in her book as she talks about what inspires her. Marcia also has her own Mad Designs Bead blog where you can follow along with her through her creative journey.

Now let's get to the entry part!
Here's how: If you're on my email mailing list, you'll be automatically entered to win. If you're not on my mailing list, click on the title above to sign up (or click HERE) . It's that easy.

You must enter by midnight October 14th.

On October 15th, I will draw a winner from the list and announce it here on Beadweaver.

Only one entry per person, please (There is only one book, so there will be only one winner).

Please read the comments section below for FAQs and answers....

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Little Humor Goes a Long Way

Today is a good day. I got a notice from our Postal-Person that my new old used Power Mac G4 that I swiped off eBay has arrived and that I need to reclaim it by bringing a dolly (I think they mean the metal kind) to the local post office. Woohoo! I'll be back in action soon!!!

On another note, I have a BIG SURPRISE for you. You'll have to check back tomorrow though because that's when it all begins......

In the meantime, I thought I'd add a little humor to your day. First, I'd like to announce that I've taken up knitting. And more recently I've started adding beads (How can I not add beads?!) When I have a creation worthy of public profiling, I'll post it. For now, though, you'll have to click on the title above to see what fabulous creations are being produced by these "Knit Wits". You can click on the website's annoying ads (upper right corner) to remove them.

Enjoy and I'll be back tomorrow!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Computer Crashed

The power supply crumped. And it took out the motherboard. Fortunately, my hard drive was spared...I've been without a computer for about a month now. I hope to be back online soon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

View The Bead Dreams Finalists

The finalists in Bead & Button's annual Bead Dreams competition are now online. You can view the winning entries or download a special edition of the Bead Dreams event (subscribers). If you don't have a subscription to the magazine, Kalmbach has made this available for a low price of $5.95. Click on the title above to view the images or click HERE to get your copy of the publication. Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Emiko Oye: My First Royal Jewels

I came across this wonderful artist on the Revere Academy's mailing list & thought I'd pass her work along....

From Emiko Oye: "My First Royal Jewels” Collection is a modern-day reinterpretation of European jewelry created by some of the great design houses of the early 20th century—Louis Boucheron, Cartier (Paris), and Harry Winston—much sought after names by the royal and social elite. A time when platinum and emeralds were the materials of choice and a woman’s jewelry was seen as emblems of her “lord’s” rank in the world. Now we might ask the question: who are today’s jewelry collectors and what does one consider valuable and precious in the 21st century?

To view the collection made from Lego's, click on the title above. To learn more about Emiko Oye click here. Or simply follow her blog! Enjoy!
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Friday, July 17, 2009

In The Bead News: Summer '09

It's starting to heat up around here - summer has officially arrived! I love summer and surprisingly, it's the one time of year I get a lot of beadwork done. So, on that note, I thought I'd post some brief news to inspire you to take on a new bead venture....

New Beading Books:
*Creative Beading Volume 4 is due to hit the stands soon. It's loaded with great projects from Bead and Button's magazine 2009. You can view a sampler here.
*Marcia Decoster's Beaded Opulence is available, signed, from Marcia! Order here.
*Sharon Bateman's Contemporary Loom Beading was released in May and is available from Lark Books.
*Wendy Ellsworth's Beading - The Creative Spirit will be released in August: Pre-order it from
*Rachel Nelson Smith has a new book which can be pre-ordered from Interweave Press: Seed Bead Fusion. It looks gorgeous!
*Jamie Cloud Eakin whose book Beading With Cabochons remains one of the all time best sellers has a new book in the works. Bugle Bead Bonanza is due out January 2010 and can be preordered through

Kits and Supplies:
*Beadweaver is offering gorgeous metallic charlottes in her Etsy: Beadweaver shop. Of note: she has only a few of the Vitrail Butterfly kits left. Be sure to check it out before they sell out.

*Louise Hill has the magnificent Dichroic Aikos in her new Etsy shop. They are available in limited quantities. I used them in my award winning necklace Journey and Louise has used them in a number of her award-winning works. They're perfect for a special accent and great to have on hand in your bead stash.

*Amy Loh Kupser has great kits to go with her new book Just Bead'n Around.
*Check out Valerie Hector's new website which offers finished jewelry and kits.
*Diane Hyde keeps expanding her list of supplies and kits: Designer Findings.
*Laura McCabe just released a new kit: Dragon's Claw necklace.
*Marcia deCoster has wonderful kits on her new website: Marcia's Kits

Online Galleries: If you're looking for some eye candy, check out:
Julie Powell
Sue Hammes-Knopf; #2
Kathleen Lamberti
Teri Greeves
Sarah Fox
The Beaded Book

And a few of my Etsy favorites:
Triz Designs & Coralia
elJan & The Bead Aerie
A Luscious Thing & Bijoux Odalisque
Melanie @ Earthenwood & Irregular Expressions
My Tiny Studio

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Beaded Ornaments

Kalmbach Publishing just released a new book called Beaded Ornaments. It's filled with some pretty projects for ornaments that can be used year round. You can view a sample from the book by clicking on the title above. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bead By Number Patterns

Louise Hill has a new website and Etsy shop! Her website is called Bead By Number Patterns and features gorgeous images of nature for the art lover in you. Her patterns are 5 x 5 inches and can be used as jewelry or for embellishment. Click on the image, left, to visit her new website.

Louise's Etsy shop is also called Bead By Number Patterns. At her Etsy Shop, Louise is featuring Dichroic Cylinder beads (Aikos). Dichroic cylinder beads have a special secondary surface coating of dichroic glass. The glass gives them a beautiful metallic surface effect with loads of color. These beads are available for a limited time (They're also the ones she uses in her exhibit pieces). Click on the image, right, or title above to visit her Etsy shop. Enjoy!

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beautiful Metallic Charlottes

Dear Friends of Beadweaver;
I've listed some lovely charlottes in my new shop over on Etsy. They include the "Terra" or permanent finish Charlottes in gorgeous metallic colors of Meadow, Wisteria, Peony, and Marcasite Silver. I've also listed a few precious metal charlottes - 24k Gold and Sterling Silver. These are all size 13o charlottes and are the true Czech charlottes with a gorgeous cut and lots of sparkle! Stop by when you get a chance - click on the title above or images below. I hope to see you there!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Color Theory: Memory, Tradition, & Inspiration

What is it that inspires you to choose the colors that you do? Is it a childhood memory of walking along a sandy shore, gathering seashells? Perhaps it's the memory of sleeping out under the stars on a midsummer's night. No matter what it is that inspires us, at one time or another we all struggle with finding the "perfect mix" of beads for a project. Join fiber artist Alice Starmore and journey along a path intertwined with memory, tradition, and inspiration as she discovers the source of beauty in her colors:

"This blend is the result of my wish to capture the effect of the tide coming in over rocks at mid-day in high summer. The sea at this time is full of bright and lively blues, peppered with the glint of pebbles underneath. My favourite place to watch this happening is a cove called Geodh a' Chuibhrig near the village of Swordale in Lewis. It has a shingle beach of marvellous pebbles; a mysterious cave, and various massive rocks of different sizes and colours. There is one particular smooth black rock about twenty feet high, and it is from the top of this rock that I like to watch the summertide coming in. What follows is a story of absolutely no relevance whatsoever, apart from the fact that it has its denouement on this very beach near this black rock, so if you have no interest in tales of mutiny, murder and Spanish silver dollars, you had better skip...." (or read on)...

As you meander ("stravaigin") through her Hebridean collection, pay careful attention to her sources. It reminds me of the old saying to wander close to home when looking for inspiration.... Click on the title above to begin the journey... Enjoy!

Monday, June 08, 2009

StrandsofBeads Reviews Bead Dreams Exhibit

Many, many thanks to Melissa Lee of Strand of Beads for taking the time on Sunday to snap a few photos of the Bead Dreams exhibit and to report on the PMC and Seed Bead category ribbon winners! To see the artist's works (including Melissa's gorgeous Natural History belt buckle made of PMC & found objects) click on the title above. She's also listed a few of her favorites (treats!). Congrats to all the finalists and thanks again Melissa :)

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Friday, June 05, 2009

SoftFlexGirl Reviews Bead Dreams

Sara from SoftFlexGirl has a wonderful sneak peak of the first place ribbon winners from the Bead Dreams exhibit. To see the video, click on the title above. Congratulations to the winners!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

SoftFlex Girl Reviews Convergence Exhibit

Sara from the SoftFlexGirl blog is at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. She's posted a lovely little video of the Convergence Exhibit. To learn more about this exhibit and to view her video, click on the title above or the image, right. Enjoy!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bead & Button Show Opens in Milwaukee!

WAUKESHA, Wis. — More than 370 vendors and designers from around the world will be on hand selling their handmade, authentic creations. The Bead&Button Show marketplace is a unique opportunity for jewelry buyers to talk with jewelry artists, purchase one-of-a-kind pieces, order a custom-made piece, or go the DIY route and learn how to make their own.

The USA Today recently highlighted the Bead&Button Show as one of the country's top 10 great places for a hands-on craft experience (March 24, 2009). More than 13,000 people attended the Show last year. The Bead and Jewelry Marketplace is open to the public:
Friday, June 5
10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 6
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 7 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The 120,000-square-foot Marketplace is located on the third floor of the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Admission is $10. Children under 12 get in free. A $2-off coupon is available at On Sunday, two people get in for $10 with COUPON!

***I am absolutely honored this year to have my entry "Fiesta" appear on the Editor's blog today at (BIG smiles!) Click on the title (or image, right) to see what's happening at this wonderful event. Bead Dreams finalists will be on display this week and subscribers to the magazine will be able to download a Special Issue of all the works coming in August. I can't wait to see all of the beautiful entries!!!
(Thank you Louise & Matt for sending the info along!)***

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Monday, May 04, 2009

New Bead Artists Featured

For those of you looking for inspirational beadwork from around the world, check out Louise Hill's blog. Louise has a knack for finding artists in every corner of the web. Amongst the artists recently featured are Ceasar Mkhize & Thafa Dlamini who create beaded sculptures and Diana Maus (whose work is shown left). Included in each post is a short bio of the artist and a bit about their work. I know that Louise will often write to the artists to learn more about them before posting so she can share with you the person behind the work.

If you are looking for inspiration, click on the title above. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

POP! Kerrie Slade's Champagne Treasury

My friend Kerrie Slade has an Etsy Treasury which features some pretty gorgeous stuff - including a few pieces of beadwork (big smiles). Check it out, it expires on Friday!
PS: The more of us that click on her treasury, the more likely it will make it to the front page of Etsy, so please click away!!
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ma Muse: Glorious

A friend just loaned me a first CD from Northern California Duet Ma Muse entitled "All The Way" (released February '09). Their music is so beautiful I thought I'd share some songs with you. My favorite is "Glorious"... To listen: Glorious

Oh what a day,
We've got good friends
to the left of us
And good friends to our right
We've got the old friend sky above us
And the earth beneath our feet
Never fear the birds are singin'...
Oh what a day...

To hear more sample songs, click on the title above and enjoy this glorious day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brilliant Crystal Jewelry

I recently received my copy of Brilliant Crystal Jewelry 2 from Bead and Button magazine and I was so excited to see it - it is absolutely beautiful!

This special edition has a variety of gorgeous, inspirational projects - bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings - each with very well written and illustrated step by step instructions. There are also three wonderful articles on crystals and designing with color. And it comes with a great little gift from Swarovski - a crystal color wheel :) (it's brilliant too!)

I can't say enough about how well done this edition is. (I also can't decide which project is my favorite because they are all so pretty). For readers who have been waiting for the step by step instructions for my crystal Noose necklace, it's in this edition too.

To see the magazine, click on the title above. You can view the table of contents and also order your copy online at the Bead & Button website. Thank you Bead & Button for such an inspiring edition.
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Jonell's Butterfly Masterpiece

susan mandel
susan mandel
My friend and fellow beadweaver Jonell created this masterpiece from following the Butterflies Galore pattern. Isn't it gorgeous?!! After creating the bracelet which appears in the April edition of Bead and Button (Butterflies Galore), she wanted to make a necklace using a rainbow of colors. She accented the center flower with leaves and chose clear crystals that shine like little diamonds. It is so beautiful in person!!! Thank you for sharing, Jonell - you are an inspiration!!!
If you're interested in the Butterflies Galore pattern, be sure to pick up the latest edition of Bead and Button magazine. Kits for the bracelet ("Vitrail Butterfly") are also available on my sister site: Beadweaver Studio.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

How Miyuki Seed Beads Are Made

I recently came across this article from Barry Kahn of Caravan Beads on the Harlequin Beads website. I thought I'd pass it along. Enjoy!

In April 2000 I (Barry Kahn of Caravan Beads) visited the Miyuki glass bead factory in Japan. My tour was fascinating and the information below is what I gleaned from touring the factory. I was not invited to photograph most of the process, sorry. -bk

How Miyuki Glass Seed Beads Are Made

Step One: Raw materials and recycled glass of the same color are mixed and melted in the furnaces. The Miyuki factory has both automatic and manual furnaces operating 24 hours per day. They are on the 2nd floor.

Step Two: When ready, molten glass from the furnaces falls through a hole. The shape of the hole determines the shape of the glass tubes. Compressed air hitting the center of the glass column turns it into a hollow tube of glass.

Step Three: After dropping to the first floor, the vertical tube of falling glass passes under a thick chunk of wood and turns at a right angle to become horizontal. Imagine a vertical length of rope passing under a pulley and then being pulled sideways. The scene in the glass factory is much more dramatic, however. For starters, the glass "rope" is still extremely hot so that it is slowly burning its way through the smoking piece of wood. In addition the tube of glass is actually being pulled over a series of metal troughs by a machine which not only pulls the glass but also cuts it into one meter lengths. The speed of the pulling determines the diameter of the glass tubes. A faster pull makes thinner tubes; a slower speed makes them thicker.

Step Four: The cooled tubes are sorted to make sure that they are the correct diameter for the size beads being produced. Any tubes which are not the correct size will be recycled and remelted to make new glass.

Step Five: The tubes are cut into beads. As the cutting room is not open to any outsiders, I can't offer further information. I did learn that one Delica cutting machine can only cut 4-5 kgs per day, which is one reason for their high cost. (And contrary to some rumors, Miyuki cannot run the Delica cutting machines faster to keep up with increased demand, with an accompanying decline in quality. Instead high demand just leads to longer waits for production). Delicas are not cut by lasers, by the way, another occasional rumor.

Step Six: Cut beads are mixed with carbon black and reheated to make them round. Delicas are only slightly heated; round beads are heated more.

Step Seven: The beads are washed. Miyuki has their own on-site water treatment equipment.

Step Eight: The beads are heated again to give them a surface polish. Basic opaque and transparent beads are now finished and ready to pack.

Step Nine: Fancier beads (AB colors, silver and color-lined, metallic, etc.) are based on the basic opaque and transparent colors. There are several different locations in the factory where dyes and other coatings are applied. Some beads require multiple treatments which directly influence their final cost. After dyeing or color-lining beads, Miyuki reheats them again to "set" the colors, a step skipped by some bead companies to reduce costs.


Caravan Beads and Barry Kahn

Copyright note: This information is copyright 1996-1999 by Caravan Beads, Inc. It may be freely printed, copied, and distributed electronically IN ITS ENTIRETY. Please--no quotes out of context. Any errors, typos, etc. are the fault of Caravan Beads, Inc. and should be brought to our attention--thanks! Feel free to post it on the appropriate bead sites on AOL, Prodigy, Compuserve, etc.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Japanese Seed Bead Conversion Charts

Have you ever wondered what a specific color in one brand of Japanese beads would be in a different brand? I recently found the conversion charts posted online at The Bead Cellar in the U.K. If you click on the title above, you can view the conversion chart for Delicas to Tohos. More charts are available by following the links in the right hand column of the page. I hope you find this useful!

bead cellar

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bead Dreams Due April 6th!

susan mandelThe Bead Dreams annual competition and exhibit entry deadline is Monday, April 6th. If you have a beautiful piece of beadwork you'd like to submit, click on the title above to learn more!

Classes are still open for the annual show too. If you've always wanted to go to this wonderful event, now is the time to register. You can learn more about the show here: Bead & Button Show.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Vitrail Butterfly Kit

susan mandelThe Vitrail Butterfly Kit has arrived! Featuring beautiful butterflies surrounding a rivoli centered flower, the bracelet is a gorgeous Spring mix of Iris, Hyacinth, Violet, and Pearl with elegant Lavender crystals.
The kit includes everything you'll need to weave one bracelet plus needles and thread. A lovely booklet with large diagrams and step by step instructions accompany the kit. This kit is a limited edition.

Please click on the title above to go to Beadweaver's Studio where you can purchase this kit!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Vitrail Butterflies!

susan mandelA new kit is on it's way! "Butterflies Galore" (aka Vitrail Butterflies) appears in the April edition of Bead & Button! It's a gorgeous Spring mix of Iris, Hyacinth, Violet, and Pearl with elegant Lavender crystals. The piece uses a unique approach for weaving a design and is based on my Bead Dreams piece, Journey, which placed third in the seed bead division last year :).

Stay tuned......I'm in the process of finishing the kits and taking photos.......Everyone at B&B did a great job with this pattern. If you don't subscribe, you'll want to pick up a copy - there are some wonderful projects in this edition!!!
Sue Mandel

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rain Beautiful Rain

I created my first listing on Etsy's Treasury! Click on the title above to view the list and enjoy the works of these special artists...(including one beader - can you guess who it is? Hint: Her work appears on the cover of the April issue of Bead & Button!)
susan mandel treasury

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SuperNova Hybrids

czech beadsStarman Inc has recently added a new line of seed beads to their stock. They're called "Supernova Hybrids" and are Toho beads with a secondary finish. The results are unusual and often beautiful. If you're looking for special beads to add to your OOAK (one-of-a-kind) products or kits, these might be what you're looking for. There are 90 colors/styles to choose from and all are limited editions. To read more about these beads, click on the title above or you can see the selection here: SuperNova Hybrid Beads.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

New Colors & Styles from Swarovski

swarovski beadsSwarovski has just announced it's Spring/Summer 2010 Innovations: a beautiful Air Blue Opal and stunning Crystal Red Magma color. In addition, they have created a 3 holed "Ring Bead" that would be gorgeous combined with their newest pearl color: Platinum. To see all of the new items, click on the title above.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Skinny Laminx

skinny laminx logo
I discovered Heather Moore's Etsy shop Skinny Laminx and immediately fell in love with her tea towels. Heather is a designer, illustrator, and writer who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. I love to find artists whose work is inspirational. Her designs have a beautiful, clean look to them and her colors are simple and lovely. If you are looking for a special gift for someone for Valentines Day, Skinny Laminx might just have what you're looking for. Click on the title above to see Heather's website. You'll find links there for her Etsy shop (Cushions too!) as well as images of her illustrations on Flickr. Enjoy!

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Use The Muse Contest

scarlett lanson
Scarlett Lanson of The Beader's Muse has launched a new beading contest called "Use the Muse". The grand prize is an assortment of crystal goodies from Rainbows of Light and Brass Bouquet. The kits are quite beautiful and reasonably priced and feature a secret component - worth trying your creative hand at! To read more about this fun contest and all the yummy prizes, click on the title above. Good Luck!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Knitting & Crochet in January

susan mandelHello and welcome to the New Year! For some of us it's toasty warm out (causing worries about a summer drought) while for others it's about as cold as cold can be...

I've been working on a few projects and surfing the web to find new and inspiring designs. Where have I landed? In the world of all things knitted & crocheted! If you're looking for a unique gift for someone you love (or just need something to feel warm and cozy) check out these sellers on Etsy: YokoO; Wool Felting Art; Ellita's Flying Snail. And here's a little something to go with your new scarf: Amber Sky

susan mandelMany thanks to Suzanne Cooper for mentioning Louise Hill and myself in her biweekly newsletter. She's included a link to our bead calendar: The Woven Bead. Thanks Suzanne! Suzanne's Newsletter

Beads on the Web: Check out Miss Bristling's beautiful beaded owl by Sarah's Beading Obsession on Pencio's blog: Les Perles de Pencio and Eva Schuster's bead crochet: Eva Schuster (courtesy of Smadar's Treasures). Congratulations to Smadar for her first publication in the February edition of Bead & Button! And be sure to click on the Bead & Button link to enter the Sweepstakes drawing...

Well, that's about all for now. I'm heading out today to trim back the perennials and get the garden ready for spring...Bye!