Making A Memory

My daughter and I made a necklace the other day…

She’s all grown up now and currently lives in Europe, but last week she popped in for a surprise visit.

She and I have always shared a love of sparkly baubles, and I’ve designed several pieces of jewelry for her over the years. But after breakfast on Thursday morning, while we were perusing my collection of vintage beads, she decided that she would like to make a little something herself.

During that afternoon, we giggled as we spilled bags of beads all over the kitchen table in a myriad of glittering piles.

“A loooong necklace”, she declared, while experimenting with various colors, shapes, and sizes.

I should mention that this girl of mine was born a fashion maven, and although she hasn’t had much opportunity to make jewelry in the past, on this day it was immediately apparent that she was about to create something gorgeous!!!

Her Dad would have to dine later than usual that evening. At dusk, the table was still blanketed in beads! He said he didn’t mind though, as he shot us a tolerant smile.

When all was said and done, the necklace was breathtaking – a unique treasure, much like the young woman who created it!

Later, I realized that the thrill of viewing the finished piece and the fun we had during the process was only part of the experience.

In the end, the most important thing that my daughter and I made that day was a memory . . .


Captivating Cameos and Cabochons

Because I love all things vintage, these magnificent little treasures really caught my eye.

Aren’t they breathtaking?

Vintage Cameos and Cabs

Vintage Cameos and Cabs

We’re so excited to currently have them in stock in our online bead shop! Depending on their style/shape, they’re called cabochons, cameos, or intaglios.

This collection showcases designs that were used in the costume jewelry of yesteryear. What you see in the photo is called “old/new stock”, which means it was made years ago but has never been used. Technically, these are not beads, as they have no holes for stringing, but they look gorgeous when you incorporate them into your beaded jewelry designs!

To use them as pendants you can carefully drill a small hole at the top, or you can wire-wrap them, or mount them in vintage metal pendant frames, or my favorite – you can create a beaded bezel around them using delicate seed beads! The beaded bezel gives them an elegant old world look. You’ll find an excellent tutorial on beading around a cabochon, here.

In the photo, there are both glass and resin pieces. Some have smooth rounded surfaces, some are particularly three-dimensional, and some have beautiful beveled edges. All of them have flat backs. The colors are soft and the details exquisite. In addition to making a bold focal point for your jewelry, these pretty cabochons would definitely lend themselves to other uses, including sewing/embroidery projects, home décor, altered art, greeting cards, and scrapbooking.

Of course, there’s always the option of simply “collecting” vintage jewelry components just because they’re beautiful!

Whether you use them in jewelry, put them on display, or keep them in a box to pull out and admire from time to time, there’s a bonus when you collect tiny treasures . . . storage space is not an issue.  J

Thinking outside the (jewelry) box

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but we “bead-lovers” know that you don’t need a king’s ransom to have a collection of breath-taking treasures!!! Whether we favor glittering crystals, lampwork glass, semi-precious gemstones, freshwater pearls, vintage lucite, Czech glass, or tiny seed beads – we usually use our bead stash to create fabulous jewelry . . .

But, besides filling that jewelry box, how about using your collection to add an artful touch to your home or wardrobe!?! Doing so will add a whole new perspective to your design process and, more importantly, will give you lots more opportunities to enjoy your beads on a daily basis.

So many of the beads we collect are truly miniature works of art! The vintage beads of yesteryear were made with painstaking processes that required great skill. They’re precious little pieces of a bygone era that we cherish now – not only for their beauty, but also for their history and the fact that many of them will never be produced again.

Today, lampworkers and polymer clay artisans are the new generation of bead artists. Their talent is utterly amazing and has evolved in such a short span of time that we can only imagine the heights to which they’ll soar in the future.

Incorporating the artistry of beads into our everyday surroundings is a recipe for a smile. There are so many wonderful ways to use and enjoy them!

To name just a few . . .

~ Embellishments for handbags
~ Fringe for shawls & scarves
~ Appliques for clothing
~ Sun catchers
~ Elegant napkin rings
~ Christmas Ornaments
~ Zipper pulls for clothing or purses
~ Bling for your cell phone
~ Beaded bookmarks
~ Eyeglass chains

For a very simple yet beautiful way to think outside the (jewelry) box, why not gather a selection of your favorite beads in a pretty crystal dish. Be sure to display the arrangement in a prominent spot in your home or office. It will make a great conversation piece, but more than that, it will brighten your world!