December 22, 2014

New Year Muffin Tin Jewelry Challenge

I ran this challenge a few years ago on the Art Bead Scene and I have had several folks ask if I would do it again. What better time than to start the new year with a bang! Join me for this fun challenge that will get you making new jewelry and using up some of your bead stash. 

The challenge is simple:
Fill the cup of a muffin tin with everything you need for one project - so the focal bead, accents, chain, findings - whatever you would need to complete one project and put that in one cup.  Repeat with the other 11 cups.  You now have 12 projects in a portable container ready for you to put together.  Grab your pliers/tools and sit somewhere comfy with your muffin tin and put each piece together knowing all your choices have already been made - your mission is to simply arrange those beads in a sassy design and complete those 12 projects as quickly as possible!

So let's play!  

Grab a muffin tin and put together 6-12 projects by January 4th (Midnight EST).  This will be the perfect way to beat those post-holiday blues and jump start your New Year! 

Take a photo of your muffin tin and one photo of all finished projects (at least 6) - blog, facebook or add it to a free album like Flickr and share the link below with the Inlinkz tool.  

On the 5th, I will pick one random winner to receive a $75 gift certificate from and two runner-up winners for a bead stash gift of $30 worth of beads from my studio, it will include Humblebeads and a few surprises that I've picked up from the big bead shows this year.  

When you leave your comment make sure it has your email or connects to your profile with easy to find contact info, so I can reach the winners. 

Pictured above are treasures from Bead & Button and include art beads from: Golem Beads, Vintage Meadows, Lisa Peters and Humblebeads.

December 18, 2014

Micheals Beading Challenge with a Twist Blog Hop Reveal

Welcome to the Micheals Beading Challenge with a Twist! The twist was to support your local bead shop, small bead business or beadmaker with your creations using the above beads from Micheals. I know it's a crazy busy time, so I hope a few of you have decided to join me and play along! I teamed up with my friend Lorelei again for this challenge so head over to her blog and see what she has created! 

So without further ado here are my creations for the challenge. 

First up I created a necklace with one of my bezel pendants of willow branches. It has such a wintry feel and matched the colors of the challenge beads perfectly. I wanted to keep my techniques simple for these projects and what could be simpler than stringing - it's always fun to puzzle out a pleasing design. 

I used a component from Green Girl Studios as my clasp for my twist piece for the necklace. I borrowed a little branch toggle from another GG clasp. One tip: attach your toggle bar with chain or 2-3 jump rings so that your clasp will lay flat and not bunch up on top of your beads. 

At first I thought it was a waste to use such a great clasp in the back, but then I thought "um J-Lo would agree that having some assets in the back can be the best thing in the world!" So I went with the fancy clasp that maybe only the wearer will see, but it makes the necklace! (Does that date me that I thought of J-Lo instead of Kim Kardashian? Perhaps!)

I went with two stands of beading wire to have the double stand of round beads to beef up the design and mimic the roundness of the pendant. I also added a little etched jump ring to the pendant, I thought it needed just a touch of texture there. 

My next design is a bracelet that uses just a few of the beads from the challenge and my "Twist" beads are a lovely set of ceramic beads from White Clover Kiln and a two of my polymer clay beads. 

I love how the crackle effect of both of the Michaels beads add an icy feel. If you saw my wintry inspiration that inspired the challenge, I think you'd agree that this piece best captures the feeling of that inspiration photo. Again, super easy design with simple loops of steel wire to link the beads together. 

And my last piece, doesn't really fit with the challenge since I just used one bead, but what the hey. It's my party so I will break the rules. The earrings feature lampwork beads from Gardanne and my polymer clay disks. I made some tiny tassels from brass chain. 

So that's what I created, I can't wait to see what other bloggers have created. Add you link with the InLinkz tool below. 

December 16, 2014

10 Last Minute Jewelry Gifts to Make

Short on time and inspiration and need to get some gifts made in a hurry? Here are 10 quick and easy, each one can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less. Click on the links below for a PDF instructions for each project. 

1. Memory Wire Cuff Bracelet - My most popular project, use a bead spinner to whip these bracelets out like a pro.  Use charms and beads you have in your bead stash to make a fun and eclectic assortment. 

2. Woodland Pendant - Perfect project for orphan beads that you may have amassed over the year.  Grab whatever charms and art beads you can find to make these fun and simple pendants. 

3. Candy Cane Earrings - A little sterling silver wire and art beads can create holiday magic with a few twists of the wire and pliers. A project that takes minutes but delivers a big wow factor! 

4. Frosted Leaf Earrings - Gilded leaves and faceted cubes add some sparkle and shine to this wintry pair of earrings. 

5. Favorite Things Pendant - Change up the charms and colors to reflect the interests of the recipient and you could make this style of pendant in a variety of themes for a handful of girls on your gift list! 

6. Smarty Pants Pendant - Personalize a copper blank with a name, date or word to create a pendant that reflects the wearer. Or use wintry charms with sayings like "Let It Snow", "Merry" or "Noel" for pendants that are in the holiday spirit. 

7. Birds & Blooms Knotted Necklace - Knot beads on leather cord to make a trendy gift for your fashion forward friend or teen on your list. The adjustable knot makes this a great gift because it can be worn long or shorter depending on the wearer's mood. This is a video tutorial. 

8. Growing Garden Earrings - Whimsical matchstick beads and Czech glass make an adorable pair of earrings in minutes, just add a little wire. 

9. Little Village House Pendant - My tiny house beads are irresistible and make the cutest pendants you've ever seen. 

10. Peacock Garden Bracelet - Have someone on your gift list that loves bohemian fashions? This trendy bracelet will be a hit with it's feather focal and mix of black metal and golden brass. 

So pull out those Humblebeads that you've been hoarding and start checking off the folks on your "nice" list!

Need a bead in a hurry? There is still time to shop from my Etsy shop and get items before Christmas Eve. Order before Friday for delivery by the 24th.    

December 13, 2014

Inspiring Bead Shops: Perfectly Paired

I thought I would try something fun today and feature a few online bead shops that are worth a visit. These are friends of mine, but this is just me saying "oh, look here at what they've got" because these three hardworking beady women sure do inspire me! I've paired up their beads with a few of my Humblebeads Bead Mixes. Enjoy!

Ornamentea + Humblebeads
Ornamentea is a brick and mortar bead shop located in Raleigh, North Carolina run by Cynthia Deis. Ornametea has a super inspiring website with lots of free projects from trendy designers. They offer an eclectic array of mixed media and jewelry making supplies.Cynthia works with several different bead artists to round out her collection, which I love to see!

Humblebeads: Wild Bird Bead Mix

Ornamentea: Chexx Beads, Beveled Bayong Wood Beads, Green Girl Shibuichi Bird, Antique Brass Metal SpacersHarvest Gold Dupioni Silk
Stinky Dog Beads + Humblebeads
Kitty Bozzini has carved out quite the bead inspiring beauty of a website at Stinky Dog Beads. This is an online only bead shop that offers a beautifully curated collection of beads with photographs that just make you want to shop! Stinky Dog Beads offers lots of unique items that have my nature-lovin' heart going pitter-patter. Must shop the clasps.

Humblebeads: Woodland Bead Mix

Stinky Dog Beads: Central cut Picasso Czech glass beads, Double link chain, antique brass, Mykonos Peace dove, twig connector, Halo Heavens English cut Czech beads

The Curious Bead Shop + Humblebeads
Rebecca Anderson is the curious bead propieter behind The Curious Bead Shop. Rebecca's popular Etsy shop is run from home in Scotland! You may have seen Rebecca's jewelry featured here on my blog, she has a way with Humblebeads.  Rebecca's shop offers mainly Czech glass in so many yummy colors and styles but she is also branching out with findings, metal spacers, waxed linen and leather.

Humblebeads: Tribal Pattern Bead Mix

The Curious Bead Shop: Copper faceted cornerless cube, Orange Evening Ember Faceted Rondelles, Royal Blue Faceted Glass Bicones, Violet Opal Petals, Burnished Pink Leaves

December 11, 2014

Pinning You a Merry Christmas

Do you sell jewelry online? Have you created a Christmas or holiday pin board featuring inspiring images and your your jewelry? You should. Like today! 

Here are a few different holiday pin board ideas

  • Pin holiday outfits and your jewelry. You can find outfits on Pinterest or create some on Polyvore. You can name your board Holiday Style or Holiday Outfits. 

  • Create different types of holiday gift guides and include your jewelry. Like a Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide or a Gift Guide for Nature Lovers or a Gift Guide for Sisters, etc. Include items that compliment your brand that would fit in the gift guide. These are fun to make! 

  • Create an all handmade gift guide featuring your favorite makers and your jewelry. Or create a holiday gift group gift board with several different types of makers. 

  • Niche holiday boards - have jewelry that fits a certain niche? Create a board just for it. I did this with my pet holiday ornaments and we created a cute board that mixes the ornaments with adorable holiday pets in the Paw-fect Holiday board (warning: cute overload!). 

Once you have your boards created, share them on Facebook, Twitter, and in your emails that go out to your customers. You can also create contests and encourage your social network to pin your images to win a gift certificate or prize. 

Keep a good ratio of other pins mixed in with your jewelry and try to capture a feeling or mood in your boards instead of just going to town pinning whatever - be a good curator and give your followers high quality images and content. 

Know your audience and get creative with your boards. This board is more crafty than ones that feature my jewelry because it's more geared towards makers and those who would be interested in my beads.

Increase Your Views: 
You can use #hashtags to help increase your chances of being picked up by Pinterest's search. Make sure they are relavenat and only use 2-3 hashtags. If you include the price on your items they will show up in the Pinterest Gift Category.

Best time of day to pin? 9pm -1am. We all must lay in bed and scroll through Pinterest trying to fall asleep. I thought that was just me!

Images that are vertical get repinned more often. As always, make sure your jewelry photos are top-notch and pin-worthy!

So your assignment - create a holiday pin board with your jewelry. Go on, promote your work in clever and fun ways - it's good for you.

December 6, 2014

Creating to Battle Holiday Stress

There has been a flurry of activity in the studio this week. Jess and I have been working away filling orders. I've been busy behind the scenes working on my second book and other deadlines. 

Life is crazy busy right now. And while adding one more thing to my to-do list may seem crazy, it is actually the one thing that keeps me sane.

Finding time to explore and create something new gives my spirit wings, brings me joy and instills some sense of peace that only creating can fulfill in me.

So while I juggle my vida loca, as long as my hands stay busy and new ideas are being brought to life all is well with my soul. 

Does creating help you relax and dust away the stress of the holidays? 

Share with me something you've made recently in the comments, anything at all! I want to see what you've been up to lately. 

Peace and joy sweet souls! 

December 3, 2014

Online Classes and Tutorials Sale!

You know what I love the most about this time of year? Making gifts and decorations or elfing as we refer to it around here. We spent Saturday having our annual crafting party with my family. Always so much!

I'm offering a new online tutorial. This Winter Wonderland Felted Ornament class was going to be a webinar but has since become an downloadable PDF filled with lots of step-by-step photos as I walk you through the process of needle felting and some basic bead embroidery techniques to embellish them.

Right now I'm offering a sale on all of my classes. So this was $19.99 and now you can get it on my website for $15!

My Holiday Bonbon class has been going so much fun. I love seeing what everyone has been creating. This class features how to make the beads, 5 color palettes and includes a bonus booklet with 13 holiday jewelry and ornament projects. The class is presented in video format with a Facebook group to share your work with and connect with others who are taking the class. 

Here is an amazing batch of beads by my student and friend, Heather French. Aren't those gorgeous?

This class is on sale for the rest of the week for $25. The deal is good until Sunday night, so jump on over and get started today!

And finally, I'm offering another round of my popular Color bootcamp that will run in January. Wouldn't you love to start the new year with a fun class and finally crack the code on how to confidently use color in your beadmaking? The early bird rate for this class saves you $25 and runs until December 18th. Ask Santa to get you this for Christmas!

 Yes, this is the class where you get to learn how to make my Van Gogh Sunflower beads. Yum-o!

November 25, 2014

Polyvore App Tutorial For Jewelry Designers

If you caught my webinar last week on Visually Branding Your Jewelry Business, I mentioned Polyvore quite a bit. I hope you've had a chance to explore the site.

If not, Polyvore is a fashion collage website. It's a super fun and easy way to share your jewelry matched up with an outfit. 

And today I'm going to show you how to use the Polyvore app to use on your mobile device. Do you have to wait for an appointment this week or stuck in the car for a holiday road trip - give the app a try and do a little creative promoting during those spare minutes. Each rectangle below is a screen shot on my Ipod. 
First - clipping your jewelry. Your jewelry has to be for sale in your shop or website first.

1. Open the app and and go to create > add items > clip items from web
2. Type in your shop URL. 
3. Click on your items and press the clip button in the too right corner.
4. Press the like button on the window that pops up to save your item. 
5. Your item is now saved in the "my Items" category on the app and your profile on the Polyvore website too. 
6. On the create page on the app, click on the "my items" to find your jewelry and add it to your collage. 

Create a Collage
1. Go to create
2. Add your jewelry and search for items to create your outfit. You can search by category, brand or website. I started out searching for Modcloth for this example.
3. After you add your items you can arrange your collage. Add text or look up images to spruce up your collage. 

I looked up 'Christmas' to find the Noel graphic, which turned out to be a card on Etsy. To add text, click add item and scroll down to Text. 

4. When you are ready, click the lines on the upper right corner and click publish.

5. Add your title, description. You can add # hashtags, click on the hashtag on the bottom of the app and scroll through the list to find a few relevant tags. If you used a brand @ or # them. 

6. Press publish and start to share!

After your item is published, click on the share button on the lower right. You can share it on social media and even blog your outfit. 

Your jewelry is now catalogued on Polyvore and on the collage with a link to your item.

You can follow and connect with others on Polyvore. But it's not necessary. 

Woodland Holiday Party

Another way to get this fancy image and product link listing underneath log into your account on the Polyvore website, go to your sets, click the blog button at the top. You can choose your layout, if you want to post directly to your blog or grab the code to embed into your blog post. You can use the blogger button on the app to share, but if you have more than one blog I get a little nervous which one it's going to post too and you can't pick which layout you'd like. But it is fast and easy if those two items aren't an issue for you.

November 23, 2014

Micheals Beading Challenge Blog Hop with a Twist

Are you ready for a big dose of color and bead inspiration? I'm so exited to announce that Lorelei Eurto and I are co-hosting another Michael's Beading Challenge Blog Hop.

And we want you to play along!

Go to your Michael's craft store and buy these beads. This week, for an extra incentive to play along, the Bead Gallery beads are 40% off! There is an extra 25% coupon off even sale items today. Check the coupon page for details.

The bead details:

So here are the rules: 

You must have a blog to participate. It's a blog hop! 

Don't have one but want to start one? Lorelei has a nice ecourse on setting up a blogger blog from start to finish. Get it here. 

Use the beads shown here, and you can add in up to 2 additional bead types to your design. 

And the twist? Let's also support small businesses. 

If you are able, have your +2 types of beads from a beadmaker, local bead store or indie bead seller online. Your +2 beads can be ones you pick up for the challenge or ones in your stash. Make sure you include a shout out to the small business that you are supporting in your blog post.

Create any piece of jewelry you like, with the beads, using your own choice of focal.  If you want to make a necklace, and some matching bracelet and earrings... the sky is the limit.

Choose any design you like, using any technique - that'll be the fun part of the whole thing- to see what different things you can do with these same beads.

Not to worry! If you find similar beads somewhere like Hobby Lobby, go ahead and use 'em.  Seeing what everyone does with similar beads, is half the fun. If you can't find a particular bead strand at Michael's you can substitute a similar one. 

Reveal Date: December 18th

If you want to participate -  Come to my blog the morning of December 18th (reveal Day) and use the Link Up tool to add your blog links. I find this to be the easiest way to keep track of all the participants. So mark your calendars, buy the beads, create beautiful things, and get your blog posts ready for December 18th for a great hop. 

We know it's a crazy busy time of year - use the challenge to make a gift or two. You'll have an interesting blog post and an item checked off your holiday gift list - get two things done at once! 

Please feel free to leave comments on this post, or questions too. that color palette above? Check out the new issue of Step by Step Wire to see my contribution to as the new Color Canvas guru! 

(In case you are wondering, this isn't a sponsored post by Michael's or Halcraft Beads. Just two creative girls looking for a way to connect with our beady friends and share some inspiration!)

November 20, 2014

Black Friday Dilemma

Okay, so I have been thinking, pondering, mulling it over and I'm pretty sure I'm 100% anti-Black Friday. And super anti-Black Friday for those poor folks that have to work on Thanksgiving. I mean I like deals and bargains and a good hunt, but at what price is the deal costing other people?

I like to live in a world where stores are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm an old-fashioned mid-west girl. I live in a town where the stores downtown close at 7 pm on weeknights and you have to drive to the next town to see a mall.

I want small events in artist's studios and shopping at local artists markets. I want to shop downtown and support all those hard-working mom-and-pop shops that make up the landscape of my beloved home town. I want to shop online with my friends and artists that I have been admiring all year.

But I'm also a business owner and have a family to take care of and know that everyone is getting ready to buy gifts and make gifts and start the whole shopping frenzy. I love that that my business helps those who want to buy handmade and honor small businesses. I love that I have a business that encourages creative folks to make gifts for the holidays. It's all great stuff and I'm a holiday nut and love celebrating the holiday season.

So my dilemma, I've decided to not offer a Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale. I've decided to offer my big holiday special early and have came up with a plan for December that makes me happy and ready to pull out a candy cane and hot cocoa!

Humblebeads Holiday Specials:

The Big Sale! 
My big pre-holiday sale is the return of the biggest deal I offer. This is super limited, only 8 are in stock. Like the image says, it's a 1/2 off voucher that you can use right away! Grab yours right here, right now!

Item of the Week:
Starting Monday every week until January, I will send out an Item of the Week email with a special item that will be on sale. There will limited quantities for the item of the week. Email subscribers may find exclusive bonus coupon codes throughout the holidays. Don't miss out!

Subscribe to the Humblebeads email list - the bead emails will include free projects, biz tips and all the good stuff I have always offered.

Subscribe to the Humblebeads Jewelry email list - look for gift guides, gift-wrapping ideas and fun ways to celebrate the season.

Rewards for Repeat Customers
If you are a repeat customer, you'll find little coupon codes to use for December included in your orders.

December 6th - Humblebeads Holiday Trunk Show - This will be a private invitation only event in South Haven. If you live near me, know me and want to attend, send me a quick email for details.

December 10th & 11th - Humblebeads Online Trunk Show - This will be a one-of-a-kind, sample and overstock sale in a private Facebook group. You'll find jewelry, bead grab bags and more during the event. Details will be posted later this weekend.

I am going to pick a random email subscriber from both my bead and jewelry email lists for a $50 holiday shopping spree. You have until Sunday at midnight to subscribe.  You may subscribe to both lists to double your chances of winning. Winners may redeem their gift certificates at either my bead or jewelry website.

Okay - candy canes ready - let's enjoy a less crazed, much happier holiday season this year!!!

November 18, 2014

Visually Branding Your Jewelry Business

I'm super excited to be hosting my first webinar for Interweave today. Just like the title says I'll be sharing all my tips and tricks for visually branding and promoting your business. 

The live webinar starts at 1PM EST today, so there is still time to sign up and join us. During the live webinar you get to ask questions and then after the webinar the recording version is sent out. So even if you can't make it today you can sign up and listen in later this week.  

  • How to create a mood board to help tell your story visually
  • Use the power of branding to grow your jewelry business
  • Learn what formats and sizes to create your images for the different social media platforms
  • Explore unexpected ways to visually promote your jewelry
  • Discover how to stand out with your printed materials
  • Jewelry designers just starting to sell their jewelry.
  • Seasoned designers who want to improve their online marketing skills.
  • Designers who feel lost at promoting their work online and could use a few guidelines.
  • Jewelry designers who want to stand out at shows.
  • Designers who are ready to get more attention online without feeling pushy or invasive.
  • Jewelry makers who want to wow their customers with creative yet affordable packaging.
  • Designers who aren't sure if they are a brand but would certainly like to sell more jewelry online and off!

In the webinar I'm going to talk about defining your dream client and thought I'd share my blog post on who my dream client is that I wrote a few years ago and now use as my guide for creating jewelry and marketing my business. Read Thoughts on My Target Market here

November 16, 2014

I Took the Art Bead Scene Challenge

So it's time for another round of the Art Bead Scene editors taking a turn at creating jewelry the monthly challenge and sharing our work in a blog hop. This month's painting is by Martin Johnson Heade.

For the challenge, I dug into my bead boxes to see what I already had and started my projects from there. I would say I was inspired by the challenge but not in a literal way. My pieces have hints of the inspiration painting, but I found the beads led this way this time around!

I started this necklace with my Orchid pendant. I made this pendant early this year in honor of Pantone's color of the year: Radiant Orchid.

To accent the pendant I paired up lampwork from Sea of Glass, ceramic round from White Clover Kiln. The purple ceramic charm from Marsha Neal reminded me of the shape of the nest in the painting. I thought the butterfly charm from Gardanne pulled in some of the darker colors from the painting, the Green Girl Pewter nest seemed an easy pick, and then the copper leaf charm from Vintaj added a little tropical charm along with a tiny glass teardrop. The design has a toggle clasp above the pendant with a copper branch and a fine brass chain.

I tried to capture that lush feel that the painting has with lots of layered elements.

The next piece is further removed from the subject matter and pulled the inspiration from the colors of the painting.

I started out with a pink ceramic owl pendant in the same shade as the orchid - the pendant is from Andrew Thornton. A Diane Hawkey Inspire bead brings a little message to the necklace - always good to encourage random inspiration! A tiny orchid bird that I made is paired up with a green ceramic bead from White Clover Kiln. I added a few wrapped beads that has sari silk ribbon and seed beads. 

This necklace just makes me all kinds of crazy happy, must be those fun and playful colors! 

Earrings with enamel leaves from Gardanne, speckled wobbles from me and Czech glass from a little punch of color. 

For the next set, I pulled the color palette back and focused on the purples with a neutrals of grey and my metals. The lampwork headpin is from Pumpkin Hill Beads, the pewter nest is a Green Girl Studio creation and then I paired them up with my speckled wobble and tiny bird in shades of orchid and lilac. 

Matching earrings with enamel oak leaves from Gardanne, my wobbles and Czech glass.

And then I felt like I only make pendants for these challenges so I wanted to work up a bracelet. I don't make enough bracelets - what's up with that? I started with my tiny bird in emerald and few wobbles, added in a great ceramic bead from Starry Road Studio that looked very nest-ish. The toggle is from my friend and fellow ABS editor, Mary Harding and then I used a Vintaj leaf that I textured for the other side of the bracelet. The leaf is from Pumpkin Hill Beads.

 I really love how this turned out!

I have mixed my metals using copper, brass, and steel/arte metal to play with the darker colors found in the painting. 

And to finish today I have a pair of earrings that fit the tropical theme with enameled leaves from Gardanne and my speckled wobbles (can you tell they are a fav!).

Head on over to the Art Bead Scene today to check out what everyone else has done. And you should definately pull out your beads today or later this week and play along with us!

Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge

The ABS Editors Take the Challenge Blog Hop - see what everyone made for this month's challenge!

Humblebeads Jewelry  - these will be available in my jewelry shop later this afternoon.