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Day 4 – 2014 So. Cal Bead Shop Hop – Store #7 – Brea Bead Works, Brea

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WHO LET THE DOGS OUT!!!

After leaving Chino to go West, our second stop was at Brea Bead Works in Brea. This was another store completely new to me and that is the worst possible thing you can do to a Bead Whore’s pocketbook, believe me!

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Tucked in a largish strip mall right off the 57 freeway, you can’t beat it for convenience. Fairly certain nothing could beat seeing a pony today in Chino, I was still taken aback when the greeter said we were going to do some trivia to start with, opened a book and it started yelling, “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT!!!” at me. I had to laugh at the song, being completely unfamiliar with their theme book being “Marley and Me”. So this place is about canines today. Okay, I get it now.

I really like this little store – it is well laid out and has a nice variety of anything a bead whore like me would want. The first thing I saw were the tools and remembered my need for a hammer for tempering jump rings – something I want to experiment with. Plastic vs. rubber mallets…they had only plastic and the store greeter was very helpful with advice on what to use and if it would work with what I wanted to do.

The wall of seed beads called me next, as they always do. Frosted autumn colors and Halloween orange caught my eye, as well as some smaller tubes of purple iridescent drops and super duos. Heaven knows I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with all these duos yet – I have an inkling, but until I sit down to do it, I seem determined to collect all the shiny colors I can get my hands on as well as check out what is available locally. I NEVER buy seed beads online and wouldn’t unless I had an exact item number. Do not trust the colors as interpreted on your computer monitor – they are NEVER completely accurate!

Oh and one more thing before the stats – even though their theme is dogs, I HAD to buy a cat bead bracelet #1 because it is so cute and #2 because it is for a good cause. Oh, and it’s in Halloween colors, too.

Stat time!

Theme – Dogs (of course)

Charm – Guess what? Another dog! (a really tiny one, too)

Goodies – Spacer beads YEAH!, a funny-looking black dog bookmark, a portable measuring tape and 20% off any purchase from Oct. 1 – Dec 31st and these:

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Homemade sugar cookies that morning by the owner. They were very good and I am liking this store more and more now!

The Haul:

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Left, clockwise starting from top left: Size 8 Gold Luster Raspberry seed beads, Size 8 Opaque Frost Sunset Orange seed beads (you should see the color in person – GORGEOUS!), 4 vials of Super Duo and Teardrop purple iridescent beads, 3 tubes of frosted greed seed beads in Sizes 8 and 11 S/L Frosted Peridot and Size 11 Matte S/L green. (“S/L” stands for “silver lined”, by the way). Unpictured – the plastic head hammer I picked up. (A hammer’s a hammer, right? You don’t have it see it to picture it!)

Right panel: the giveaway goodies for coming in and handing them my credit card: a fuzzy, black dog bookmark, portable measuring tape, a coupon for 20% off the next purchase in the next two months and 3 packs of metal spacer beads.

Of the two stores way out here in the sticks (as far as my house is concerned), I would definitely make an effort to come back to Brea Bead Works if I started a project with their beads. Then I would take the half hour and go back East to Bead It! to have a slice of pizza and chat with the locals – even if the pony isn’t still there.

Thank you Brea for a great experience in miserable, triple digit conditions!

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Next – either Beadahs in Santa Monica or a progress report on my beading – better get to it so I have something to report!

How to Organize Your Crafting Space

Having only done three stores on the So. Cal. Bead Shop Hop this past weekend, I am taking today and Thursday to delve into slightly different directions, but ones that sprang from my mad dashing from store to store these past two weeks. Today I am going to explore how the heck I am going to get all these new beads and tools into my workspace!

I started out with a plea across Internet for ideas on how my fellow designers organize their workspaces. Just because I’ve been doing this since 1995 doesn’t mean I know everything about how to wrangle a bead or corral tools.

While I was waiting for replies, I did a search to see what I could come up with that I could pass on as nifty ideas. Now, just because I use these ideas in my jewelry design business does not mean it only works for jewelry designers. If you are crafty and have to squeeze your obsession/hobby/business into a small space, it is my hope that you can gain something from this post.

Before I give you what I discovered and what was recommended by my beading buddies, here is a quick little tour of my crafting space in my studio at KC Dragonfly.

My friend Anna made this out of a box and toilet paper rolls:

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(Look! She hangs her tools off the side of the box just like I do!)

Another friend, Alison, uses a tool chest, which I have also done in the past. I got rid of mine because I wanted my tools more accessible and always available once we got settled into our new place last year.

This is a great video (which is actually for short parts) by a scrapbooker who took a room that was a DISASTER AREA and transformed it into something beautiful, organized and functional. It’s definitely worth a look through!

One more tip, in fact, 6 handy tips:

1. Label everything or you’ll find nothing.
2. Bag silver so it doesn’t tarnish.
3. If you work with seed beads, GET A FUZZY MAT!
4. Store away beads and projects you won’t get to for a while so they’re out of the way.
5. Stick with one particular type of storage container for each project, i.e., put all your delica or seed beads in the same style of container so they stack and pack neatly and more efficiently.
6. Stack vertically – reach towareds that ceiling! Utilize every centimeter of space if space is at a premium.

If you are a crafter, how do you organize your space? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment before you go and let us know, or let us know if we helped you.

Tomorrow: 2014 So. Cal. Bead Shop Hop Day #4, Store #6 – Brea Bead Works, Brea.

Day 4 – 2014 So. Cal Bead Shop Hop – Store #6 – Bead It!, Chino

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With 100+ temperatures running rampant in Southern California, the day I dreaded had finally come – the day I HAD to tackle the Inland Empire stores in Region 1. If you glance at the map above, you can see what I mean when you look at stores #6 & #7. They creep Eastward, towards the desert. And when I say desert, I mean DESERT. See that little lone #12 store out in Palm DESERT? The place of nearly eternal 100+ temps? Yeah, that’s the direction.

I was headed towards HELL with a water bottle in one hand and my Shop Hop map in the other.

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Store #6 (or #7 on the map), has the monopoly on the cute little town of Chino off the 60 and 71 out near Pomona. I had zoomed past this area a dozen times on the way to my favorite dried herb and pagan-friendly store Dragonmarsh, but had never venture into this area. I like the small town vibe and the very friendly local beadwhores (like me) who were gathered inside at the make-and-take table, beading, chatting, eating pizza. I would fit in here perfectly and would be there every Saturday night if it weren’t an 80 mile drive there from Chatsworth.

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This store takes the prize for best themed mascot. I could literally say I drove 80 miles into the deserts of California to see a ladybug because the ADORABLE little black pony just outside the front door in the parking lot was named Ladybug. Inside were horseshoes on the walls and store mavens with black horse t-shirts – they were all over this theme like flies around, well, a horse. But Ladybug, to her handler’s credit, had no flies and was being pampered under her own tent with lots of water on her back and much love from everyone store hopping.

The wall of seed bead tubes is very reasonably priced – so much so that I again lost my mind (I do that a lot in bead stores) and bought wayyyyy too many vials. The czech pearls also got me, but I stocked up on something I had been eyeing at every store so far and kept in the back of my mind – tools! Tools I need and tools to craft jewelry a little more expertly than what I’ve been doing in the past. Yes, it is time to step up my game!

Their theme and goodie stats went something like this:

Theme – the book “Black Beauty”, hence everything horse.

Charm – a black stallion (very pretty!)

Goodies – a choice of beads or tools – I took a triangular bead scoop – been wanting that for a LONG TIME. A 20% off coupon good in October, a fuzzy mat to keep beads from escaping onto the floor and a strand of free czech pearl-like beads.

The haul:

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Left to right – chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, Thread Burner, ShowOff Pen, Bead size and quantity wallet reference card, containment “fuzzy” pad for those runaway seed beads.

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Left to right – Burgundy Czech Glass Pearls, Dark Blue Czech Glass Pearls, 2-holed Czech Glass “Brick” beads in Iris Blue and Matt Iris Blue. The rest – thank you for visiting goodies – charm, bead scoop, textured pearl beads.

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Top – Left to right – Size 8 seed beads, a whole slew of seed beads in various shades of purple…8’s, 11’s and teardrop shaped, silver beads.

Bottom – Left to right – more 8’s in beautiful blues, super duos, small dagger beads.

None of these had color names, just numbers.

They also included FULL SIZED water bottles in the thank you bags. No, THANK YOU! Just what the travelling bead whore ordered.

Since I only tackled THREE stores this weekend, I will intersperse the posts with plans for all this treasure. Stay tuned for tomorrow as I reorganize my workspace and introduce the new beads to the old residents. Will they get along? Who the hell knows!!!

Enter our Free Jewelry Raffle for September

Hi all. After I recovered from Bead Shop Hopping in the Inland Empire of Southern California yesterday, I somehow found the energy to create our first giveaway to celebrate our 100th Facebook Fan at The Ears Have It Fan Page. I hope this will be the first of many more to come – probably at the rate of no more than once or twice a month right now. There’s so much going on with the Bead Shop Hop hopping, posting and creating from my hauls, it was a miracle I got to this project, but I promised my peeps and they come first.

If you have a Facebook, Pinterest and/or Twitter account, you can enter by joining one or all three. The more you connect to us, the more entries you get in the raffle. Cool, huh? Let us show you what it takes to have beautiful ears.

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We hit 100 Facebook Likes on The Ears Have It Fan Pages and to celebrate, we are running our first Giveaway! Get details and enter here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The History of the Bead Shop Hop in Southern California

Okay, so now that you know how these crazy Bead Shop Hops work, want to know a bit of history about it? How did all this insanity get started?

So did I. I wasn’t actively looking, but found the answer on, of all social media platforms, Pinterest. A Pin there led me to Wild Things Beads website where they chronicled the adventure. I like Wild Things – I’ve bought many of their beads in the past at Santa Monica Gem & Jewelry shows and probably other local So. Cal. shows too many and for too long to mention.

According to them, it began with the team at Brea Bead Works and a customer who brought them the idea of a Yarn Hop and said why doesn’t someone do this with bead stores? It was at a time in the late 2000’s when the economy was depressed and in flux with the increased interest in the Internet. Times like these are fertile ground for new and innovative ideas and thanks to their perseverance through a rough start, it took off once the proper organization was formed to run it.

To read the whole story and how much fun even bead store owners can have Bead Shop Hopping on their days off, read the whole thing here.

Day 3 – 2014 So. Cal Bead Shop Hop – Store #5 – Beadtopia, El Segundo

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Sunday was the day of a local meeting for the convention we run our annual blood drive with, so there was only time to run to a single store – Beadtopia in El Segundo.

I was in such a rush I forgot to take a pic of the outside of the store, but it is easy to find, nestled in among older storefronts on a quaint side street downtown.

Beadtopia is one of the smaller stores on the Hop so far, but no less packed with goodies – a few of which I had been kicking around needing, such as Tool Magic tool dip and some dragonfly charms of a higher quality than the ones I had tried in the past from a store just down the street from my house. Note to self – closer is NOT always better.

I was charmed – pardon the pun – by a Make and Take bracelet at the counter. The hard decision was what finish to get it in – gold, silver or copper. I always go for silver, so this time I got the gold one, just to be different and because it was shinier!

Their selection of charms, as I have mentioned earlier, is of a much better quality than a certain local store who shall remain nameless. It’s just a shame that Beadtopia is a freakin’ 50 minutes away through the worst traffic corridor in Southern California – the San Diego 405 freeway. Future forays here will have to be well-planned and thought out, but they could potentially be worth it.

Their stats go something like:

Theme – The Poems of Emily Dickinson

Charm – a beautiful, filigree, silver heart

Gifts – a large, beautiful silver feather charm on a carded poem and a punch card for 25% off five strands of beads on my next visit, good until March 31, 2015.

Being wretchedly ignorant of all things Dickinson, the store owner’s attempts to get me to enter their poetry contest failed, but it didn’t put a dent in my enthusiasm to check out a new store. Something on the back wall I really liked (and wished they had more of) were LARGE TUBES of Miyuki Delica Beads. I mean, I’ve only seen them in tiny vials before. Who would have thought they came in bigger quantities?!? Nice! I gave a vial of silver-lined and oil-slicked seeds a new home.

To say they are friendly here is an understatement. There were cookies out and we got into at least 30 minutes of discussion on Doctor Who, James Bond and family stuff with them and the other customers. No one was in a hurry on this quiet Sunday and that was worth the trip in of itself. I gave out business cards and may have gained a new peyote stitch student if she calls me.

Here’s what I gave a home to:

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Top, left to right – acrylic roses, key charms, silver filigree toggles.

Middle – left to right – Silver dragonfly charms, Miyuki Japanese Seed Beads in oil-slicked and silver lined colors, more dragonfly charms.

Below Middle – left to right – silver feather charms.

Bottom – Make and Take “Heart Strings” bracelet, 22 gauge silver bead wire.

That’s it for this first weekend of the Shop Hop. Store posts will resume on Monday, but in the meantime, check back tomorrow for The History of the Southern California Bead Shop Hop.

Day 2 – 2014 So. Cal Bead Shop Hop – Store #4 – Beadology, Huntington Beach

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After the long drive from the San Fernando Valley, it actually seemed like a short hop from Bead Stop to Beadology in Huntington Beach.

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My pocketbook was quivering in fear. This was a store I hit two years ago, saw the AMAZING variety of lucite leaves and flowers and lost my marbles, leaving with a selection of nearly everything they offered. As fearful as that was, I was really looking forward to going back as I remembered the owners were some of the nicest people I have ever met as far as bead store owners go.

Here’s what’s going on at Beadology the next two weekends:

Theme – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Charm – a chocolate candy bar

Gifts – a candy necklace made from REAL CANDIES with a $25.00 or more purchase

I am happy to report this store has only gotten more AWESOME as far as their friendliness and variety of beads and findings. From the gorgeous, faceted cabochons in summer and autumn iridescence, to their new stashes of O beads and Super Duos, I nearly squeed when I found a Neon Cherry color and a mixed, dark neon AND bright neon mixes of duos! WHEE!!!

Maybe it was the candy theme, but as I reviewed their stash of delicas beads, I was completely taken by some bright, luscious candy-colored Miyuki delicas in shades of purples and pinks! THEY HAD TO COME HOME WITH ME!!!

(*hyperventilating…okay….calm down…BREATHE!*)

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Top – left to right – spring faceted lucite cabochons, Lava Red Czech O Beads, Neon Cherry Super Duo 2-Hole Beads.

Middle – left to right – Autumn Glow faceted lucite cabochons, Miyuki Delica size 11 Seed Beads, Miyuki Delica size 15 Seed Beads, Bright Neon Mix  Super Duo 2-Hole Beads.

Bottom right – Dark Neon Mix Super Duo 2-Hole Beads.

Oh man, is it going to be a BUSY beading day when I get to all these beads. I think I need to start BEFORE the end of the Bead Shop Hop.

Tomorrow – Store #5 – Beadtopia

A Necklace Fit for a Princess

I was contacted by a mother in England back in June of this year to do a necklace for her daughter. She wanted something special for her to wear to her prom. It gave me the opportunity to craft a matching necklace and earring set to an earcuff she was also purchasing from me. It was a great opportunity to experiment with weaving silk ribbon in through chain. The ribbon used here is actually two pieces – one plum and one caribbean blue. The pictures don’t do it justice.

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Celtic Purple Earcuff and Matching Earring in Sterling Silver & Niobium

Both mother and daughter were very happy with the result. Her feedback was “They arrived today and they are lovely! Thank you so much! – Mary”

Autumn Leaf Candle Holder

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This is a beautiful idea for an easy project for Autumn and Mabon. The instructions are here http://www.sparkandchemistry.com/craft-it-blog/leaf-mason-jar-candle-holder . The Tinker Lab has a tutorial on how to make glycerin leaves that will keep their color all year long http://tinkerlab.com/fall-crafts-glycerin-leaves/ .

Day 2 – 2014 So. Cal. Bead Shop Hop – Store #3 – Bead Station, Laguna Niguel

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Due to a slow start where bank deposits, gas station & lunchtime drive-throughs put me behind, I would only be able to hit two of the four shops I had planned for the second day of the Bead Shop Hop. Ah, but what stops they were! After a quick visit to a New Age faire to see my harp instructor in concert in the South Bay, I travelled South a few more miles to hit Bead Station in Laguna Niguel.

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Be warned, they are not visible from the freeway, but the instructions on how to get there on the Shop Hop map are very good and will get you going in the right direction. The only trouble I had was how large the industrial-like retail strip was and it took a minute to locate their store front, but once there, I was very glad. Even out of the roasting heat of the San Fernando Valley, the entire Southern California coast has been cooking and in a hot car, the air conditioning can only do so much to mitigate the heat.

This was my third stop along The Hop where I was now eligible for the charm bracelet. Now I have a home for my “bugs” and “flowers” – i.e. the bee, hibiscus flower and dragonfly I had collected so far. So, what flora and fauna would I collect at Bead Station to add to their company? A beer stein? Hmmm…well, all I can say is those critters will be partying on my wrist tonight!

Theme – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Charm – the aforementioned beer stein.

Discounts – a coupon for 50% off one item October 15th – December 31st.

Gifts with purchase – Spending as much as I did (not telling!) gets you the gift bag which contained semi-precious stones of a respectable weight, a handmade keychain, water (which I gratefully devoured), cookies and fruit. The food and drink were a nice touch to keep me on the road for the long drive back, thank you.

The Haul began with something I first laid my eyes on directly across from the checkout counter. I saw them and must’ve blacked out, because when I came to tally what’d I’d spent so far, I had a veritable rainbow of tubes of GORGEOUS Super Duo-like beads in my basket! (For those that don’t know, Super Duos are oval-shaped beads with two holes punched through a rather flat top and bottom instead of the usual side drilled fashion. They are also slightly raised in between the punches, as if the process of drilling them pushed up the surrounding bead.) Eight of them were breathtaking neon colors, the rest were just as beautiful copper, silver and black. I have wanted to experiment with Super Duos ever since their coming on my radar last year at the Summer Pasadena Bead and Design Show. The colors weren’t all that exciting, though and while I had picked up a couple of tubes then, just wasn’t really inspired to do anything with them and stashed them away for more colors or inspiration to hit the scene.

The other thing of note I picked up at the Bead Station were two magazines, one being one I have never seen before called “Creative Beading” out of Australia. They have some AWESOME ideas for beadwork in there. The other was the July 2012 issue of Beadwork, snagged for their “Garden Windows Bracelet” on the cover that utilizes Tila beads – another bead I saw last year, bought two packs and stored away for a rainy day’s creating.

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Top – left to right – Metallic super duo beads, neons and black.

Bottom – left to right – Size 11 Triangle Seed Beads, “Teardrop” Beads the amazing color of soap bubbles, and Tila Beads in Rust and Green/Purple.

Tomorrow – Store #4 – Beadology