Grab Bag Project Inspiration    Saturday, August 9, 2014

Happy Saturday!!! My weekend is going to be filled with three things: beads, blueberries and birthdays. 
Beads because every spare minute is now crunch time for Bead Fest. (Booth 559A) Oh my, oh my, do I have some amazing things for this show. I'll be posting tons of picks next week. Follow me on Instagram for a behind the scene peak at prepping for a national bead show. (@humblebeads)
The other two B's - it's Blueberry Festival in my hometown and I love playing tourist. Checking out the craft show in the park, sidewalk sales, eatin' some berries, etc, etc. And birthdays, well for my nephew and my bday is on Monday and I like to celebrate it for a good 2-3 days!!! 
Back to beads - that's why you are here right? I'm having a huge clearance sale making way for all my new goodies. 
You can find 40% off grab bags in my Etsy shop. They are bright and cheerful and start at $25!!! 
It's a great way to stock up on focals and find some rare Humblebeads. 
Here is a free project as an example of what to do with those round focals: 
Check out all the grab bags in my Etsy shop
Have an awesome weekend!!!

New Online Workshop    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's time for another polymer clay bootcamp! This bootcamp is all about focusing on learning to make and design canes. Each week you'll learn new canes and clever ways to use them to make beads. 
There are two parts to this workshop:
  • Beadmaking - with step by step videos and instructions to make all the beads pictured here.


  • Designing Canes and Finding Your Voice - this part of the workshop is optional. It's full of creative exercises to help you discover your own unique voice in polymer clay and help you design original canes. 

The class will cover four weeks of skill-building cane classes.
  • Learn 10 new canes with step-by-step videos and tutorials
  • Learn how to design your own canes
  • Delve into my creative process for finding inspiration and making beads
  • Advanced optional skill builders to discover your voice in polymer clay
  • Start to develop your own designs and styles for beads
  • Tips for creating bead series/collection
There will be a dedicated Facebook group for this class, a private classroom with downloads, videos and worksheets. And don't forget lifetime access to all class materials. Beginners are welcome! 
Early Bird Registration is open until August 20th.  Only 30 spaces are available for this class.

Click here for all the details and registration!

Bead Table Wednesday: Trendy Pineapples    Friday, August 1, 2014

I'm taking a workshop on pattern design and every two weeks we get a trend report. This week's report included tropical inspirations and I have to say pineapples struck my fancy! At first I was like, pineapples? Really? But then I did a little pinning and I was like, heck yeah - what else BUT pineapples? So I will get to the watercolors this weekend but the clay was begging to be transformed into pineapples. So of course, I listened to my crazy, sometimes off-her rocker muse and made some pineapple beads. And then I made this bracelet for myself because I seriously am in love with pineapples now! 

See, you were scared weren't you? Pineapples. Yep, pineapples. Love the artsy hand-drawn on on the t-shirt. And pineapples paired up with stripes - yeah, that's the ticket for me! I love it. (Click on the little icons above for links to each item.)

You can find the instructions for the bracelet here. For the accent beads I used one of my wobbles, bead caps from Gardanne, Green Girl Studios and Vintaj along with Czech glass. 

I only made two extras of these, so if the pineapples grabbed your attention too head on over to my Etsy shop and start singing, 
"If you love pina coladas and gettin' caught in the rain..."
I made a few tiny charms for earrings, thinking I need to a pendant now too. These would be so stinkin' cute with my beach house bead. Am I right? In case you are wondering that's my pineapple sketch in the background.
And of course, I had to make matching disk beads! These can all be found in my Etsy shop.

So what's on your bead table? Leave a link in the comments below to your blog or use #BeadTableWednesday on Instagram.  Follow me on Instagram @humblebeads.

Inspired by Nature Retreat 2014    Friday, August 1, 2014

Join author and designer Heather Powers for a weekend retreat inspired by nature.  This year's theme is "Wings & Feathers".  We are exploring the delicate and precious things of nature, butterfly wings and bird feathers. Symbols of hope and renewal presented in earthy fall inspired hues, you'll create an entire collection of jewelry during the weekend.

We'll once again gather together in a woodland lodge next to the scenic Black River in South Haven, Michigan.  Escape on October 17th to spend three days creating jewelry and exploring a variety of techniques.
We'll soak in the color and sights of autumn as we unwind. The rustic woodland surroundings will be our backdrop as we delve into our creative journey. Make plans to join us now!

The retreat includes three days of classes and supplies, a gift bag with nature themed treats, lodging, breakfast and snacks.
For more information visit

Bead Fest 2014    Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bead Fest is for beaders and jewelry makers of all skill levels! This jewelry making extravaganza brings the top jewelry trends, instructors and beading resources together under one roof! Be sure to visit Humblebeads at Booth #559A

  • Take a three-day vacation from life to do what you love at the country's best Bead Show
  • Hone your skills in jewelry making classes! Find 100+ jewelry making workshops on bead embroidery, metalsmithing, wire weaving, torch enameling and more
  • Learn the newest jewelry design techniques and explore the latest jewelry making tools with direction from top-notch instructors
  • Shop for beads and jewelry making supplies at the Bead Fest shopping Expo
  • Discover one-of-a-kind beads, components and finished jewelry in our Artisan's Alley


Visit for more information

Designing Dilemma    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

So without any grand plan last night I sat down to make some new memory wire bracelets. I threw some colors into the bead spinner and away I spun in some zen-like beading trance. I needed a mental distraction for the evening. I think it's called procraftinating (that's procrastinating crafting). 

40+ bracelets later and my peanut seed bead stash almost depleted I started to formulate what to do with these awesome stacks of bracelet-y goodness. 
At first I thought I would make some tiny willow headpins to coordinate with them, but as I looked at my mountain of bracelets I realized they were the colors of the butterfly wings I had been creating last week. And so I whipped up some headpins to go with them.
And doing some further contemplation on what to do with 40 bracelets had me thinking of where I would sell them which led to a momentary dilemma. I would like to take some of them to our local Center for Arts where I have a collection of jewelry. 
I live in a small, conservative farming community that enjoys a crazy summer tourist season thanks to the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. I've struggled with finding the right local venue and of course I could adjust what I make and throw on some tiny bead charms like the bracelet above, which would give me a lower price point and make them more sell-able. And it's a cute bracelet and all, but, meh...
It's hard to settle when I know adding these beauties to the bracelet will do some serious magic.
Wowzer, note to self: don't settle as a designer. Just don't! 

Look at what I could have missed out on making if I had settled to make something just to sell them quickly. These are little works of art, these stand out, these are unique. These make my heart sing.

I will take some down to the local art center and work on marketing them there. But I will also sell them on my website where I can connect to those who are looking for something beyond the ordinary.  I just can't make things to fit the local market. I need to make things I love and then go out and find my market. My time is too limited to make things that are ho-hum.

BTW: Bead & Button Loot    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What's on my bead table today? Why goodies from Bead & Button, of course!
My art bead stash includes: Marsha Neal, Julie Miller, Lisa Peters, Golem, Tesori Trovati, Pumpkin Hill Glass, Diane Hawkey, Andrew Thornton, Green Girl Studios, Firefly Design Studio, Gardanne, Thornberg Beads, Kim Fields and Julie Nordine. 
Add in some Humblebeads for maximum inspiration impact!
One of my new show favs - the very sweet and talented Anne from Gardanne Beads. Perfect Humblebeads color combo!   
I didn't pick up much beyond art beads. Of course, now I wish I had!
And I just jumped right in making stuff! I couldn't help myself - I was so inspired by all these goodies.
I'm addicted to stacking beads into these sweet totem style necklaces. 
Whipped these up Saturday morning before the show.
Bead & Button is always so much fun. I love hanging out with my beady tribe in person. And most of all I love spending the weekend with my two cheerleaders, booth assistants, personal shoppers and all around best bead bud on the planet Erin Prais-Hintz and my auntie Rosanne. Thank you to everyone that stopped by and said hello. I loved visiting with each of you!
The booth and new goodies from Humblebeads.
I hope to list the new beads before the end of the week. 

And up next? Oh let's all head to Philly for Bead Fest in a few months! I will be there in the artisan area and I can not wait!!!

So what's on your Bead Table today? #BeadTableWednesday on Instagram or include your link below. 

Mojo Challenge Week 12: Art Inspired    Monday, June 2, 2014

I have to give you this as a challenge - it's one of my go to places for inspiration! The art world has something that will fit every style and taste imaginable. I've been taking a class and one of the mantas the teacher repeats often is that clients buy your joy.  So this week, tap into that joy.

Your Assignment:
Pick your absolute, all time favorite piece of art work (painting, sculpture, photograph, illustration, fabric design, etc.) and create jewelry inspired by this piece.
My favorite painting - Van Gogh's Irises.

My favorite painting - Van Gogh's Irises.

Tips for Designing from Art:
Visit my Inspired by Art pin board for some of my favorites, you might find a new favorite too.

Start with the color and major motifs of the art work and find beads that relate to your inspiration piece.

Pick of piece of art work that makes you crazy happy every time you see it.  Ask yourself - what do you love about it? Is it the color, the mood, the story?  Try to capture that in your jewelry. 

Share your progress!
If you write a blog post about your Week 12 Challenge share the link by clicking on the blue button below.  If you don't have a blog leave a comment here to let me know you participated in the Facebook group this week.

What is the Jewelry Mojo Challenge? Click here to read all about it.  Can you still join? Yes! You can follow along at your own pace for 12 weeks of inspiration. 

Free Humblebeads!    Sunday, June 1, 2014

Aren't these just lovely! They are prototypes of a new line of beads that I will have at Bead & Button.  These were the ones I used to create my molds and played with different colors while I explored my way through polymer clay's endless options.  Now the ones for the show look completely different, they are smaller and in colors that match my latest wobbles and daggers - they all go together in a collection.
I decided to give these away. 
Yep, for free. 
Well, almost.  For any Etsy orders today that are $50 or more I will include one of these Zen Garden Pendants. This includes the sale items in my shop that are 40-50% off. It's like your lucky day or something! 
Zen Garden? Yes, I created this series after a workshop that encouraged us to create an anchor to remind us of a life changing goal that we are working towards.  The anchors are touch stones when you are tempted to fall back into old patterns.  For me, it's all about managing stress in healthy ways and these Zen Garden pendants are messages that I find encouraging.  I will actually be making a necklace with the Breathe pendant because just taking time to do some deep breathing totally changes my day.
And more free beads!


Uh, huh.

Sign up for my The Art of Color Polymer Clay Bootcamp today or tomorrow and I will send you a gift certificate for $15 from  I thought this would be a nice treat for those of you who really wanted to sign up but missed the early bird deadline.  I have 11 spaces left because I have decided to close the class at 40.  That seems like a nice managable size so I can give my students the attention and time they need in our Facebook group and for questions via email.  

Head on over to my website to sign up today!

Mojo Challenge Week 11: Characters Welcomed    Monday, May 26, 2014

This is going to be a fun challenge! I love seeing when designers show off their work that has made it on a TV show, movie or worn by a celeb. It fascinating to see how they capture the essence of a character with beads and metal.

Your Assignment: 
Create a piece of jewelry inspired by a celebrity or pop culture character.  The character can be from a TV show, movie or book.  Fun, right? Ask yourself - what would she wear and go to town making it. 

Earrings inspired by Katniss from the Hunger Games.

Tips for Designing for a Character:
Start by doing a little research.  What kind of clothing or jewelry did the character wear in the book or movie?  Create a pin board to gather images, outfits, photos or other inspiration of your heroine.  Was there something meaningful to the character - a symbol, a place, etc. that you can tie into a piece of jewelry?

If you are going for your favorite celeb gather together photos of her styled for the red carpet and candid shots.  Is this a piece of jewelry she would sport at an awards show or one she'd wear out to lunch while dodging the paparazzi?

Have you noticed throughout the Mojo Challenge what a great tool Pinterest can be for designers? Use it for research, to pull together mood/style boards and ultimately to reach out to women who will love your jewelry.  If you don't have an account and you sell jewelry online - take advantage of the best tool for online sellers.

Share your progress!
If you write a blog post about your Week 11 Challenge share the link by clicking on the blue button below.  If youdon't have a blog leave a comment here to let me know you participated in the Facebook group this week.

What is the Jewelry Mojo Challenge? Click here to read all about it.  Can you still join? Yes! You can follow along and do all 12 weeks or pick and choose the ones you find 

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