Berry Lemonade Bead Soup

BeadSoup-Title3Have you every tried your hand at making bead soup?  Now, this isn’t the kind of soup you eat.  No!  Rather, bead soup is a collection of beads usually consisting of a focal bead, a nice clasp and several other coordinating elements.  The term was made popular by Lori Anderson, who wrote the book Bead Soup: 32 Projects Show What Happens When 26 Beaders Swap Their Stash For several years she hosted a Bead Soup Blog Party where participants would receive a random mixture of beads and then have to create something wonderful.  While there will be no swapping supplies here today, you can still get down on a little bead soup action.

First and foremost, when putting together a delicious bead soup, is choosing the right focal bead.  The focal bead is the most important ingredient in your soup.  All of the other beads and components are built around this one little bead.  I chose to use a Swarovski BeCharmed Medley Pave bead in Pink Dream.   The BeCharmed Medley Pave beads are a great choice because they contain many different colors and textures and make it really easy to coordinate your different elements.  Since my focal had both pinks and yellows, I decided to use those as the base of my palate.  Mixing the pastels with the dark pearls gives it an unexpected edge.Soup-ColorBlock1After selecting a variety of crystal and pearl beads in my chosen color palate, hot pink, burgundy, pastel pink, pastel yellow, butter yellow, and rose pink, I tossed them all into a small dish together.  I used similar shades in both the crystals and the pearls for more variation and texture.  I then included some hammered silver-finish components by TierraCast and threw in some of the skull beads and charms for a little something fun.  I love adding skulls to feminine jewelry for the contrast of sweet and tough, though the flowers on the skulls make them a little more delicate.

Swarovski BeCharmed Medley Pave Bead
TierraCast Floral Toggle Clasp
TierraCast Skull Rose, Horizontal Hole
TierraCast Skull Rose, Vertical Hole
TierraCast Skull Charm
TierraCast 13mm Hammered Ring
TierraCast 19mm Hammered Ring
TierraCast Rivoli Setting
TierraCast Turkish Heishi 
TierraCast Daisy Spacer
TierraCast Jump Rings
TierraCast Crimp Beads
TierraCast Crimp Covers
Softflex Original Silver .019 49-strand
Silver Ball End Headpins
E-6000 Multi-Purpose Adhesive
Swarovski Hot Pink Crystal Pearls
Swarovski Pastel Rose Crystal Pearls
Swarovski Pastel Yellow Crystal Pearls
Swarovski Blackberry Crystal Pearl
Swarovski Crystal Jonquil
Swarovski Crystal Light Topaz
Swarovski Crystal Rose
Swarovski Crystal Fuchsia 
Swarovski Diamond Mix Pink Passion
Swarovski Powder Finish Rivoli 
1) Cut 12 inches of beading wire and string on a crimp bead.  String thorough the 19mm hammered ring and back through your crimp bead.  Use a pair of crimp bead pliers to secure the crimp bead in place.  Repeat 3-5 times depending on how many strands you want your finished bracelet to have.  (Images 1-3)
2) String the BeCharmed Medley Pave bead onto all of the strands, hiding the crimp beads inside.  (Image 4)
3) String beads randomly or in patterns.  The beaded section should be 7 inches in length when finished.  (Image 5)
4) After adding the desired amount of beads to the string, finish by stringing a crimp bead.  Pass through the 13mm hammered ring and back through the crimp bead.  Secure with crimp bead pliers and cover with a crimp cover.  (Images 5-7)
5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the remaining strands of beading wire.
6) Use two jump rings to attach the toggle clasp to the hammered rings.  Attach the bar end to the 13mm ring and the loop end to the 19mm ring.  (Images 8-9)
7) To create dangles, stack beads onto headpins and create a wrapped loop.  Connect charms to the 19mm hammered ring with jump rings.  If using a rivoli crystal charm, affix the crystal into the setting with adhesive 24 hours prior to use.  (Images 10-12)BookSoupThe larger hammered ring can accommodate quite a few charms and beaded dangles, so use as many or as few as you like.  I tried to incorporate an element from each color used in the bracelet to create my little baubles.  I love the powder-finish rivoli crystals by Swarovski and had to use both the pink and yellow styles on this bracelet.  Adding different sizes and textures of dangles can add interest to the finished piece.  Also, try layering the dangling elements to create a waterfall effect.  Soup-Book1
I used the leftover beads to create a single strand bracelet but did not use a focal bead.  I still like the color palate but it feels much more random without that focal to tie everything together.  Single strand designs are easily worn together with other bracelets for a fun and flirty stack.  Try pairing a beaded bracelet with some made of chain, leather or fiber for a stylish combination.  
Another great way to use bead soup is to combine everything into a charm bracelet.  For this design, I started off using a BeCharmed Medley Pave bead as my main focal.  I used orange and yellow freshwater pearls combined with some crystals and cute NEW TierraCast charms.  Simply stack the beads onto headpins and create wrapped loops.  Then, add the beaded dangles and charms to chain with jump rings.  Connect a clasp to the chain with jump rings and your bracelet is finished.  The best thing about charm bracelets like this is how few elements are needed to create a stunning piece of jewelry.  You can find the supply list to create your own charm bracelet HERE.
BookSoup2Have you ever tried making bead soup before?  Stop by our website today and you can save 20% on your web order with our Red Hot Summer Sale.  This is the perfect opportunity to pick up all the ingredients for your very own tasty bead soup! But don’t wait long because the sale ends today!

The Berry Lemonade Bead Soup Bracelet will be featured in the Shipwreck Beads print ads in the September BeadStyle and the October Bead & Button magazines.  

Wire Wrapped Arrowhead Necklace

Arrowhead-TitleWhen it comes to summer jewelry, I love a long boho-style necklace.  They are perfect for layering with other pieces and so easy to throw on to complete an outfit.  This tutorial combines basic wire wrapping with simple bead stringing for a quick and easy project.  I used some of my favorite spacer beads, aren’t these cornerless cubes so cute?  I love the little bit of sparkle they provide and they provide a great contrast to the irregular stone beads.

1mm Cornerless Cubes
5-6mm Stone Beads
6pc – 5mm Bone Beads
4pc - 8mm Carved Bone Beads
2pc – Bone Skull Beads
1pc – Toggle Clasp
2pc – Crimp Beads
Beading Wire
24ga Craft Wire
8/0 Seed Beads (optional)


Wire Wrapped Arrowhead – Steps:
1) Cut two 6 inch pieces of 24 gauge craft wire.  (Image 1)
2) Fold a piece of wire in half around the arrowhead.  Twist ends together once to secure.  Repeat in the opposite direction with the second piece of wire. (Images 2-5)
3) Fold up a piece of wire from the front right and the back left of the arrowhead. Twist the wires together and position them straight up in the middle of the arrowhead.  (Images 6-8)
4) Bend up one of the two remaining tails of wire and twist it around the first set of wires.  Trim the excess wire.  (Images 9-11)
5) Repeat step 4 with the last remaining piece of wire. Trim excess and tuck ends under with a pair of pliers. (Images 12-14)
6) Make a bail with the remaining wire using a pair of round nose plier. The loop should be about 6 inches in diameter.  (Images 15-16)

Stringing the Necklace – Steps:
1) Cut about 40 inches of beading wire from the spool.  Secure the clasp to the end of the necklace with a crimp bead.
2) String on about 8 inches of beads, alternating a cornerless cube bead between each stone bead.  Substitute the stone/cube beads in this section of the pattern for size 8/0 seed beads for lighter weight necklace.
3) Next, string on one 5mm bone bead, a cornerless cube bead, 8mm carved bone bead, cornerless cube, 5mm bone bead.  Followed by 7 stone beads (with alternating cornerless cubes.)
5) Add a bone skull and 5 more stone beads, with alternating cornerless cubes.  Then add a carved bone bead, 2 stone beads, a 5mm bone beads, 2 stone beads, again alternating with cornerless cubes.  Finish the pattern by stringing on three cornerless cubes and the arrowhead pendant before duplicating the pattern on the other side of the necklace.
6) Secure the other end of the clasp to the beading wire and trim excess wire with cutters.

Oasis Arrowhead Necklace – Supply List HERE

Sahara Arrowhead Necklace – Supply List HERE

Instead of using all stone beads, trying ending your necklace with a couple of inches of size 8/0 seed beads.  This will make your jewelry a little more budget friendly since seed beads are much cheaper than the stone and it will be lighter around your neck!  I like to do this, especially with more expensive beads because it can stretch those supplies a little longer.


I absolutely love these little agate beads and how irregular they are.  I think they look amazing when paired with the cornerless cube beads. The combination of the rustic beads with the sparkling metal looks fabulous together and I have been using those little cube beads with all of my designs lately.  I’m also on a necklace kick and I have made a couple of similar long necklaces like this one.  All you have to do is throw some pretty beads on a string with a fabulous pendant and you are pretty much done!

If you’d like to see some of my personal jewelry projects, follow me on Instagram HERE!  Get sneak peeks of blog projects and see what I make when I’m not kicking it at the bead store!

Also, RIGHT NOW, all of the bead you see in the post are on sale 20-30% off (excluding seed beads) until Monday the 22nd!


Eternity Design Frames by Amoracast

Amoracast-Title1Amoracast recently released their new Eternity Design Frames and as soon as we got them in store, I couldn’t wait to play with them!  Like the rest of the Amoracast line of sterling silver components, these pieces are impeccably designed and well thought out.  Each of the seven styles feature a fluted edge and evenly spaced, 1mm holes, along the entire outer edge.  They are all weight balanced and centered to hang properly.  In additional to releasing these beautiful new components, they also released videos to help inspire your designs.  Check out their video introducing the new Eternity Design Frames!

Blue+PlateFollowing the video tutorial for the Compass Necklace, I created the above pendant using the 30mm Wheel.  4mm beads are the ideal size to nestle perfectly into the fluted outer edge.  These aqua dyed quartz rondelles, strung on 24 gauge sterling silver wire and hung from a long chain, make the perfect breezy, summer necklace.

Black-PlateUsing the techniques from the above tutorial, I created these delicate earrings with black spinel rondelles.  With a little extra wire I created beaded links, then I finished them off with a pair of angled ear wires by TierraCast.

Bracelet-Plate1Using the small 17mm wheel, I created my own version of the Dreamcatcher, as a bracelet.  I used our exclusive Swarovski Bicone Mix in Reflected Beauty to make this piece.  Word to the wise; while these frames are very sturdy, be careful when pulling the wire through the holes.  I was not as careful as I should have been and managed to mangle and scratch up the frame.  This could have been avoided by using nylon jaw pliers or applying Tool Magic to your tools before you get to work!

LeatherPearl-cupI followed the Leather Elk Necklace tutorial to ream out the two center holes of the Zen frame to fit my 2mm leather cord.  I then strung on several large hole pearls and finished up the necklace with leather ending crimps.

Ombre-PlateThe Zen frame, also used above, is a versatile component.  I liked the look of the Tranquility Pendant, but I wanted to really show off all of the colors of the multi-shade apatite rondells.  Using two head pins, I strung on the stones, graduating the colors from darkest to lightest.  Then I completed the pendent by making loops and bending them into the center to create a bail.  I hung it from a dainty chain, so the pendant would really take center stage.

TriplePearl-PlateThis dainty pearl necklace is so easy to make.  Simply take a small piece (about 4in) of 24 gauge sterling silver wire and create a wrapped loop on one end.  Then string the wire through the components, three 7mm pearls, and complete with a wrapped loop on the opposite side. Connect chain to either side of the link you just created and finish it up by adding your clasp with jump rings.

LInks-Plate2There is something about this necklace that reminds me of stars reflecting off of water in the middle of the night.  Inspired also by the Minimalist Pearls design, I wanted to connect several of the frames together for a minimalist, yet multi-dimentional design.  Using head pins to connect everything together, I strung them through the frames and added beads from our exclusive Swarovski Bicone Mix in Mythical Appeal.  I finished off the head pins by clipping the ends close and folding the ends of the wire as close to the bead as I could.

I love projects that come together easily.  Each one of these pieces pretty much designed themselves, thats how easy the new Eternity Design Frames are to use.  For the quality, they are very reasonably priced as well.  When using Amoracast, all of you designs will look like high-end, artisan quality pieces.  Tell me what you think of Amoracast‘s new line of Eternity Design Frames.  I would love to see what you create!



Fireworks Bracelet featuring Swarovski Crystals

Fireworks-TitleIn a few days school will be out and summer vacation is right around the corner.  Not long after that, our nation will be celebrating its 239th birthday!  The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays (after Halloween and Christmas, of course!)  I love getting together with family, eating great food and of course, fireworks!  Here is a bracelet tutorial for some patriotic jewelry to help you celebrate.  This bracelet is a beginner design featuring basic bead stringing techniques so anyone can make one with very little trouble.  Using Swarovski Crystals and TierraCast components, you can make one for yourself and one for a friend for under $50!

5pc – 8mm Swarovski Crystal Pearls – Red Coral
5pc – 8mm Swarovski Crystal Pearls – Ivory
3pc – 8mm Swarovski Crystal Pearls - Dark Lapis
2pc – 8mm Swarovski Crystal – Crystal Moonlight
3pc – TierraCast Open Star Charm, Gold
1pc – TierraCast Love Link, Silver
1pc – TierraCast 9×15 Lobster Clasp, Silver
2pc - TierraCast Crimp Tube 2x2mm Bright Silver
3pc - TierraCast Jump Ring 16 Gauge 5mm, Rhodium
3pc - TierraCast Jump Ring 20 Gauge 4x5mm, Rhodium
10in - Softflex Beading Wire Silver .019 49-strand
Supply List found HERE


1) Trim 10 inches of beading wire.  String on a crimp bead, thread through a 5mm jump ring and bring the wire back through the crimp bead.  Crimp using crimp bead pliers.  Trim excess.  (Images 1-2)
2) String on the beads in the following order: blue, crystal, blue, crystal, blue and then alternate the red and white beads.  (Images 3-4)
3) String on a crimp bead, thread through a 5mm jump ring and bring the wire back through the crimp bead.  Secure the crimp beads using crimp bead pliers.  Trim excess.  (Images 5-8)
4) Open the jump ring next to the last white bead and connect it to the hole on the left side of the Love link.  Connect a 5mm jump ring into the hole on the right side of the link.  (Images 9, 11)
5) Open the jump ring next to the last blue bead and connect it to the lobster clasp. (Image 10)
6) Connect an oval jump ring to each of the gold stars and link them together.  Attach them to the jump ring on the left side of the Love link.  (Images 13-16)

Love3The pattern of the beads mimics our flag, with alternating red and white beads and sparkling crystals between the rich blue.  The contrast of the gold stars with the rest of the silver components really make the design pop.  In a matter of minutes you can create your own festive, patriotic jewelry.  Will you be making any patriotic jewelry for this 4th of July?  We would love to see your work! Please share your designs on our Facebook page HERE.  Need some more inspiration?  Check out this post from the archives HERE.  Hope you have a Happy Friday, folks!


Braided Chain Necklace

Chain-Title2I’m not sure who came up with the saying “Less is more,” but they were wrong, very, very wrong! At least when it comes to a necklace like this.  While it may be simple to create, there is nothing simple about it.  Made with 10 different styles of chain, everything about this piece feels indulgent.  It makes a statement worthy of a Real Housewife.  Maybe drinking copious amounts of wine, big mansions, fancy cars, and scandalous love lives aren’t your thing (or maybe they are, who am I to judge?) but that doesn’t mean you can’t rock a big statement necklace of your own!

Large Chain – 2 feet of each color (Gunmetal, Silver, Antique Silver, Gold, Antique Copper, Antique Brass)
Small Chain – 2 feet of each color (Antique Silver, Antique Copper, Gold, Antique Brass)
Silver Jump Ring (TC0020-SP)
Antique Brass Jump Ring (TC0026-AB)
Toggle Clasp (TC6214)

1) Trim the chain into 2 foot sections. Because this chain is not soldered, the links can be opened with chain nose pliers as you would with a jump ring.  Use as many or as few pieces of chain as you wish.  I ended up with 14 two foot sections.  (Image 1)
2) Connect the chains together using the large brass jump rings to make four sections of chain.  Then connect the four sections together with an additional brass jump ring.  (Images 2-3)
3) Attach your chain bundle to something secure.  I used a piece of scrap cord and a macrame board.  You could tape the chain to your worktable or attach it to a clip board as well.  (Image 4) 
4) Separate the chain into the 4 sections and braid them together as shown. (Images 5-11) 
5) Trim excess chain if necessary and connect the ends together with jump rings as done in step 2, above.  (Images 12-13) 
6) Add additional lengths of chain as necessary to make the necklace your desired size and connect the toggle clasp with the silver jump rings.  (Images 14-15)
Note: The more strands of chain used, the bulkier the necklace will be and therefore the finished necklace will be shorter.  The finished necklace shown above measures 22 inches while the necklace shown below measures almost 25 inches.  So, while they both started with 2 foot strands, the extra bulk decreases the final length.  

This monstrosity of a necklace weighs a good 5 pounds and to be honest, I couldn’t wear it for more than a few minutes before getting a crick in my neck.  But don’t dispare! This technique can be used to make a smaller necklace of a similar style.  Just decrease the amount of chain used (and/or use chain with smaller links), add in some strands of ribbon or even a few strands of beads.  Braid them all together, and bam, a necklace that won’t break your neck!

For the necklace shown above, I used the large silver chain, three colors of the smaller chain (antique copper, antique brass and antique silver),  silver cup chain in turquoise and coral, and some navy and cream silk ribbons.  Simply use an end connector to attach the ribbon and a cup chain connector to attach the rhinestone cup chain.  Connect it all together with jump rings and braid together as shown in the tutorial.  The result is a nautical-inspired necklace that is much more wearable and light weight.  I love the different textures the crystal cup chain and ribbons add to the finished piece.

I also whipped up a bracelet using all of the extra chain that was leftover from making the necklaces.  I connected lengths of chain together with jump rings so that all of the pieces were seven inches in length.  Then, I connected all of the chain together with jump rings and attached the toggle clasp to finish it up.  A bracelet like this is a great way to use up leftover bits of chain.  You know, all those pieces that are too small to use but too large to throw away? If you’re like me, then you have an ever growing collection of them.

I’m a big fan of the mixed metals trend that has been so popular in jewelry recently.  I love mixing colors and sizes and textures for a completely unexpected and beautiful result!  What do you think about mixed metals and statement necklaces?  I would love to hear from you in the comments!


Palm Beach Pearl Necklace


We recently got in the fun new Tropical Punch line of lucite chain by Dazzle It!  The chain comes in 10 colors in two different sizes.  This line is bright and fun and perfect for your summer creations.  The necklace I made using the chunky chain reminds me of those fruity alcoholic drinks that come in the fishbowls, completely unnecessary and always a good time!  Sometimes it pays to be totally and utterly ridiculous and over the top and this is a necklace for all those times.  Or for kicking back on the beach with a fishbowl full of something cold to drink. You know, whenever!

1pkg – Lucite Chain (LX985-40)
20pc – Large Plastic Pearls or Round Beads (14mm, 16mm, or 18mm)
4pc – 8mm Plastic Pearls
1pc – Pearl & Crystal Rhinestone Brooch
1pc – Toggle Clasp (TC6067-AS)
8pc – 10mm Silver Jump Rings (10FI222-S)
3pc – 8mm Silver Jump Ring (8FI222-S)
24in – Beading Wire
4pc – Crimp Beads
Glue – E6000


1) Fold the lucite chain in half.  Every other link in the chain will have a seam.  Gently bend the plastic at the seam to separate the links.  You should end up with two pieces and one should be one link longer than the other.  Apply a small bit of glue to the seam with a toothpick to close it up.  (Images 1-2)
2) Use flat nose pliers to connect two 10mm jump rings to each end of the lucite chains.  (Images 3-4)
3) Flip the pearl brooch piece over and connect each lucite chain to the outer loops with 8mm jump rings.  (Images 5-6)
4) On the other end of the chains, connect them both together by attaching an 8mm jump ring to the 10mm jump rings added in step 2. (Images 7-8)
5) Cut a 12 inch piece of beading wire.  Connect the wire to the center loop in the top set of holes on the back of the brooch. (Images 9-10)
6) String on one 8mm pearl followed by 10pc of large pearls and finishing with another 8mm pearl.  Attach the clasp to the end of the beading wire with a crimp bead.  (Images 11-12)
7) On the opposite end of the chain, attach a 12 inch piece of beading wire to the 8mm jump ring.  String beads on in the same pattern as above and complete the necklace by attaching the other end of the clasp with a crimp bead.  (Images 13-15) GO-1

I love the way the orange and the minty green both pair with pearls.  When I showed this necklace to a co-worker, she proclaimed that it was the perfect piece to wear to a wedding she is planning on attending this summer.  I agree!  These colors are both on-trend right now and, while they may be plastic, the pearl and crystal brooch elevates this piece to a level of elegance pretty enough to wear to a sunny, garden wedding.   



This piece combines the smaller lucite chain with a 14mm plastic round bead for a monochromatic look.  The pinks match perfect creating a fun tone-on-tone necklace that will add a pop of color to any outfit.  I could see myself wearing this piece with a pair of dark wash jeans, a white t-shirt and crystal sandals for a flirty summer look.


Football season may still be months away, but I couldn’t help myself when I came across my teams colors.  This would be such a fun piece to wear on game day, probably with the same jeans and t-shirt combo mentioned above.  I mean, what doesn’t go with jeans and a t-shirt, right?


Wear this necklace, made with complimentary icy blue tones, with navy stripes for a nautical outfit with a punch of color or make a statement by pairing it with a flirty, floral sundress.  Lightweight and colorful, these necklaces are as easy to wear as they are to make.  Make one for yourself and one for a friend in no time flat!

What do you think of Dazzle It‘s new Tropical Punch lucite chain?  Love or hate, I want to know!



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