Organic Romantic


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I bought this fine silver Kelly Russell pendant from Allegory Gallery as a treat for myself. I really like this aged, ornate style, like a beautiful old villa you fall in love with. (I recently watched My Big Italian Adventure where Lorraine Bracco purchased a home in Italy for 1 euro and fixed it up – beautiful old tiles, wonderful lines, doorway arches…sigh.)

Necklace consisting of aged silver textured organic round pendant with small topaz stone set in the middle and organic freshwater pearl strand in shades of white, cream and grey with two small topaz stones on either size of a silver S clasp.

It had been living in the box it came in since I got it. In recent months, I had been eyeing some pearls in a favorite shop, Boss Jewelry Supply. I finally decided to get them, thinking in the back of my mind they might be perfect for this pendant. Initially, I tried some beads in that topaz color of the set stone in the middle of the pendant to go with the pearls, but they were just a distraction. Nothing else needed. (I did use two at the back to have smooth beads to put the crimps against.) I finished with a sterling clasp by Miss Fickle Media.

Even the back of this pendant is beautiful. Look at the texture!

Back of the aged silver pendant showing texture close up with the pearl strand partial visible in the background.

Thanks for reading.

Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery


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Calendar showing written prompts for each day of January.

The last couple of years, I have followed along with Allegory Gallery‘s fun prompts for Bead in the New Year. I have found it so creatively satisfying. It has helped me produce some of my very favorite pieces. Note to self: perhaps you overthink! I guess needing to make things quickly is actually good for my process. Although, there is no need to make things quickly or even follow along in order or in a specific time frame. You could use these prompts all year long. While in the past I have followed pretty closely, this year I have so much going on that I’ve just been doing a few things as I get to them, but I still find it really fun. So, I’ll share what I make here – this month or later in the year.

Day 1 – Make a pair of earrings

Earrings on a floral fabric bagkround Earrings have large off-white beads, small green crystals and yellow and brown sunshine charms.

I used some Joan Miller Porcelain charms with crystals and vintage beads.

Day 2 – Create a new bracelet.

Bangle bracelet in fibers, metal and beads. Colors are pink, black and cream.

I had a metal bangle form, wrapped it in sari silk and then used dark wire to over wrap it. Then I used yarn with a metallic thread wrapped on part of that. At the loops, I added a crystal, a glass bead with a floral motif and a Swarovski mesh bead. The last two beads I’ve had for eons, so using those made me happy. I love the rustic, romantic look of this a lot.

Day 16 – Use the 2021 Pantone colors of the year

Necklace with dramatic focal featuring vintage metal pieces with different designs and a strand of gray and yellow knotted beads.

The Pantone colors of the year for 2021 are Illuminating (yellow) and Ultimate Gray. I went subtle on color with some vintage metal, low-flash labradorite and vintage lemon luster glass beads.

I worked on the Day 17 prompt – focus on metal as the main element in a new creation – but wasn’t satisfied with how the piece turned out, so I put that aside. I’ll show you what else I make as time goes on. Stay well!

Vintaj VIP Subscription Box


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Vintaj VIP mailing box

I decided to get myself the Vintaj VIP monthly subscription box. I had thought about it for a while, but hadn’t done it. You can get a good look at what type of things you will be getting because Heather Powers does an unboxing video and project every month on her Humblebeads Facebook page. That is what finally convinced me to get the box. I really wanted the box shown in the most recent video. I love the components and especially the gorgeous Swarovski. Also, they had a deal for half price the first month, so I took advantage of that.

The kits include finished design ideas for inspiration. Heather Powers makes something different in her video, so that gives you additional inspiration if you’d like.

Pictures of sample jewelry designs on a card that came with the kit

Each box has beads, filigree, metal and special elements like something from Green Girl Studios and Swarovski.

Various jewelry components in baggies.

Here are pictures of each of the packages closer.

Beads and cabochons. I especially love the two pairs of set glass in the front. They will look wonderful in an Apoxie Sculpt project.

Various beads and cabochons in blue, clear, white and light pinkish colors

Metal components. Vintaj has all types of finishes, which I love. They show great mixed metal projects. I like all finishes. I’ve turned over one in a couple of the pairs to show the textured side and smoother side. You could use them either way.

Metal components: gold textured hoops, copper round charms, silver textured rings, filigree gold charms, filigree gold star pendant.

Green Girl Studios charm. It says Guardian Angel on the back.

Pewter charm with angel on front and the words "guardian angel" on back by Green Girl Studios

Vintaj filigree. I’ve always wanted to work more with filigree. I buy it, but I often don’t know what to do with it. I’ve purchased a couple of Vintaj technique books, so those will be helpful, as will the kit inspiration sheets.

Filigree components: frame, long and cross for wrapping, a charm pair and a bird and branch charm.

I don’t often make projects designed by other people, but I really loved the idea presented for the Swarovski piece on the Vintaj design ideas card, so I did make that with kit items and a vintage chain I had. Even the back is beautiful with the mirror finish on the crystal and the design on the filigree.

Large, rectangle Swarovski crystal wrapped in the long filigree on a chain to make a necklace. Picture shows front and on picture of painted floral background.

I think I will really enjoy these Vintaj boxes! There is still a lot of stuff to get through this year until there are more forms of support available (visiting family and friends in person, etc.) so I am continuing to find ways to engage in extra self-care.

Collaboration for Beads of Courage


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Brenda Schweder has been doing collaborations to collect items for an auction to raise funds for Beads of Courage, an organization that provides beads to kids with serious illnesses to give them a way to communicate about what they are experiencing, as well as other arts-in-medicine programs. This time, she offered up wonderful components from her collection. Those of us who chose to participate get those, make something with them and send those pieces back to be auctioned off (at a later date – details to come in an upcoming blog post.)

I haven’t been super inspired lately, but Brenda‘s collection got my wheels turning. She had so many pieces I could envision making into something. I got three things: a coin, a billy goat milagro, and an open metal work curved brass piece.

A silver billy goat pendant, an old silver Danish coin with black patina an R and a crown, and a large curved brass rectangle with an open work design on a gray handmade paper background.

I sketched out ideas for these in my mind while they were winging their way to me. I stuck pretty closely to those ideas for the milagro and the coin, but the brass piece proved a bit more problematic to bring my original vision to life. Brenda had really set my mind at ease by telling participants not to worry about making “a design for the ages” just something with our spin on it.

Necklace of an old Danish coin wire wrapped with a crystal above it hanging on three strands of different metal and different designs of chain on a brown and tan mottled paper background.

I made the coin necklace first because it was the most straightforward. I added a Swarovski cyrstal and put it on some mixed metal chain. I really love it. I wanted to make things that I would see and want to purchase in hopes that other people will too in order to raise money for Beads of Courage.

Next I worked with the brass piece. My original vision was to wire wrap tiny gemstones along each side, hang something fun off the bottom and then decide what to use as the necklace part. I got out so many things trying to decide what to dangle from the bottom because that would determine which little stone or bead I used to wire wrap along the side. Nothing I tried matched the vague idea I had in my head of rustic chic, so I decided to move on to something else. This Mary Harding pendant really looked great in color, shape and size, so I let that guide my design.

Necklace of open metal work brass rectangle with orange and yellow ceramic botanical diamond pendant hanging off the bottom with three orange bead dangles. More orange bead dangles are at the top where the metal work pendant connects with oval brass chain. This is on a background of grey handmade paper.

When I tried to wire wrap along the sides, it just wasn’t working. I think I needed a smaller gauge wire or it was the curve or thickness of the metal or some combination of the three. I didn’t have smaller wire (that I could find!) so I decided to move on to bead dangles. I paired the pendant with vintage chain. I love orange and yellow and have been under the impression that other people don’t. I think I’m wrong because so many people really love Pantone’s colors of 2021 (Illuminating – a yellow – and Ultimate Gray.) In addition, this necklace is right on trend since it would work well with other colors in the Pantone Spring/Summer color report such as Marigold, Rust, Buttercream and Willow.

Necklace of an aged silver billy goat milagro with smaller mixed metal milagros above it (most visibly a silver heart and a gold rose) on a necklace of mixed color, shape and pattern glass beads on a background of handmade white paper and a vintage wooden framed child's writing slate.

Last I made a colorful necklace in my favorite knotted style with the milagro billy goat. Milagro means miracle or surprise in Spanish, and these charms are common in Latin America and the southern US. They are used in prayers and religious ceremonies, as well as carried as good luck charms and reminders of gratitude. I like the idea of little tokens of good luck and gratitude, and in that way milagros remind me of the use of worry stones. This project was a bit of a construction challenge to get the small milagros to hang so they didn’t cover too much of the goat. I really love how it turned out. For the small milagros I used a rose, a heart, an ear of corn, a clover, and a car. The necklace is made of a variety of Czech glass knotted on waxed Irish linen.

I’ll be getting these in the mail as soon as I can get to the post office so they can make their end of January deadline. I hope Brenda has many things arriving to make the auction a success. Once I know details, I will post them on the blog. It is an online auction, so I’ll definitely be checking it out to see what people made.

The Rest of the Beads of Christmas


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If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful and safe celebration. I wanted to show the rest of my 25 Beads of Christmas from Candie Cooper, as well as a lovely crystal snowflake kit I made.

Day 19 – This is a large hole picture jasper bead. Jasper is always welcome!

Brown large hole stone bead sitting on handmade papers in gray and white.

Day 20 – This is a beautiful mother-of-pearl focal. It almost looks like an animal print! I’m showing both sides.

Two photos side by side of the front and back of a mother of pearl bead sitting on grey and white handmade papers.

Day 21 – A striped Indian lamp work bead in black, white and metallic. Black and white stripes are such a wonderful graphic.

A white, black and metallic striped large bicone glass bead sitting on dark grey handmade paper.

Day 22 – There were two beads on this day. A filigree bead cap (great for a tassel!) and a little butterfly.

A rose gold filigree bead cap and white butterfly bead sitting on dark grey hand made paper.

Day 23 – This bead from Tibet is right up my alley, an agate in a beautiful shade of blue with metal worked bead caps. I love it!

A blue agate faceted bead with silver metal work bead caps on each end sitting on grey and white handmade paper.

Day 24 – This is a beautiful lamp work bead by Rita Schneck.

A green lampwork bead with yellow, brown and gold accents sitting on white and green handmade paper.

Day 25 – This is a really big, soft blue Swarovski crystal pendant in a fun shape.

A large blue crystal bead sitting on grey handmade paper with a purple hand painted coin envelope behind it that has "Candie Cooper" and her heart logo as well as the number "25" stamped on it in black.

That is the end of the 25 days. I hope you had fun. I sure did. I plan to do it again next year.

I also bought a gorgeous Swarovski snowflake kit from The Bead Place. I am feeling so nostalgic for Swarovski beads. This snowflake is just gorgeous, and it worked up in minutes…for the most part.

Hand holding snowflake ornament made of different shapes and sizes of clear crystals with AB coating with grey handmade paper in the background.

I knew bending the ends of the form would be a problem for me. I don’t know if I have unnaturally weak hands or what, but I find bending hard metals really difficult. Maybe I need to do hand exercises! I tried, but my grip was terrible, and I kept nicking the end crystal on that spoke. I just stopped once I got any kind of a loop. I tied a piece of linen on that side to hang it, and I just left the stoppers on the ends of the other spokes. You can’t really even see them, and I prefer that to ruining the whole thing trying to make ends. I’m going to hang this on the art ornament tree in my studio so I can enjoy it year round.

I really loved this snowflake kit. This is the second kit I’ve purchased from The Bead Place, and the second time I’ve made something from their tutorials. I would highly recommend them!

18 Beads of Christmas – Sneak Peak


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On my last post about how much I am enjoying Candie Cooper‘s 25 Beads of Christmas advent calendar, loyal reader Divya (who has a great blog of her own) said it would be fun to follow along and see the beads, so I am going to post pictures.

Hand painted coin envelopes in different colors and patterns nestled together in a cardboard box. Each has a black number stamped in the corner.

Candie talks about them on her lives and posts extras in her shop, so I am not giving anything away as long as I don’t post beforehand. I’ll post photos through the bead for yesterday, and then do another post of the rest of the beads after the 25th.

Day 1 – This was a large blue ombre Swarovski mesh bead that I’ve already made into a necklace. See that in my previous post.

Day 2 – These are gorgeous vintage acrylic beads. The light shows through in a beautiful way. I love them!

Two acrylic dark red beads with a raised floral design with medium blue highlights. They are a sort of lantern shape and are shown on texture handmade paper in grey tones.

Day 3 – Old new stock mosaic shell large hole bead. Early on in my beading journey, I got some mosaic shell beads at a local bead store (now closed) that had more unusual things. I made a necklace I thought was gorgeous, but is no longer my style. I’ll find that and see if I can use those beads with this one.

Large hole beads with square shell pieces in an offset mosaic pattern with various colors showing featured on grey handmade paper.

Day 4 – Ceramic floral decal barrel bead. I have vintage versions similar to this as well as some art beads that remind me of these. I envision a necklace combining them all. We’ll see!

Thick white faceted barrel bead with red and pink floral decal with green leaves and tan branches features on white diamond textured handmade paper with bits of glitter.

Day 5 – Swarovski rhinestone spacers. I love these and never have enough. I love using these with more rustic beads and components for a beautiful combination of rustic and glam. Loralee Kolton is someone who does this especially well in her jewelry that mixes vintage, art bead, rustic and glam elements in surprising and beautiful ways.

Five rhinestone spacers in purple, topaz, blue, pink and white AB show strung on an unbent paperclip on top of white and grey layered handmade paper with glitter bits.

Day 6 – An African glass bead (from Ghana) with “candy cane” inclusions! (Candie’s fans are called “canes”. I thought this was clever.) I really love the color combination on this.

Blue African glass round bead with red, green and white pieces that looks like candy canes featured on two different colors of grey handmade paper.

Day 7 – Jeweled crown. So fun! It has a hole side to side, so it is possible to put a “head” bead in there.

A tiny gold crown bead with white rhinestones held by white fingers in front of a backdrop of handmade waffle texture paper in white.

Day 8 – Raku bead. I love the colors the raku process produces.

Bronze toned textured raku ceramic bead on white/glitter handmade paper next to a hand painted bronze piece of coin envelope.

Day 9 – Wooden lama bead. This one just makes me smile. These came in various colors, and I’m super happy with my color. It’s very me. I might make a pin out of this.

Salmon colored wooden lama bead with painted details on green handmade paper with cream handmade paper underneath.

Day 10 – This metal channel bead is especially exciting because I’ve been working with Apoxie Clay after a class I took with Erin Prais-Hintz, and this will come in handy for a project!

Silver metal channel barrel bead on waffle paper.

Day 11 – This was a Swarovski dragonfly bead that I also used already in a necklace that you can see here.

Day 12 – Lovely porcelain jasper pendant. I also wanted to feature a few of the little envelopes the beads came in. It is part of the thrill for me. I look forward to using them in some collage work in my art journal.

Cream and grey coin shaped stone bead on handmade grey/blue paper and hand painted coin envelop in gold with a black number 12 stamped in the corner.

Day 13 – Tiny, adorable, detailed TierraCast bunny charm with a little ceramic half circle that I like to think of as a rainbow, or maybe a grassy hill the bunny will sit on.

Tiny silver bunny charm and green half round ceramic bead on green handmade paper.

Day 14 – Jeweled cheetah. I love this! Part of the fun of this experience is getting beads I probably wouldn’t buy. But I will enjoy this; I love a bit of bling. I know it will be the perfect thing for some as yet un-imagined project.

Gold metal leopard bead with white rhinestone face and green rhinestone eyes on green handmade paper leaning against the wooden side of a vintage writing slate.

Day 15 – Large hole Swarovski crystal bead. Years ago when I first heard of Troll beads, I bought one (or more?) and it came with the bracelet. I think I’ll find it and add this bead to it. When I said that to my dad, he said, “Good luck.” Haha! He knows how much jewelry I have, but what he doesn’t know is that I’m pretty sure I know where it is.

Large hole silver rimmed topaz faceted crystal bead on handmade gray paper with a green hand painted coin envelope in background stamped with a number 15 in black.

Day 16 – Filigree curved metal bar. This is a beautiful piece. I can think of so many things to do with this!

Brass floral filigree slightly curved tube bead on green hand made paper.

Day 17 – This is a handsome cast pewter fellow. I think he is a bear or a fox. I like his rustic look, like he could be a cave drawing. He’s really heavy for the size, just nice and solid.

Silver animal bead (bear or fox) standing on wooden edge of old writing slate with green hand painted coin envelope in background stamped with a black number 17.

Day 18 – This large Czech glass flower is a fun one. I know these came out a little while ago, but I didn’t have any yet. It is quite a bit larger than any Czech flowers I have, and will make a nice addition to a pendant.

Large dark red glass flower bead with brown/silver details in the middle on stacked pieces of handmade paper in grey and cream.

Whew! That’s a lot of pictures. Thanks for sticking with me. I hope it was fun. I look forward to opening my bead every morning. I would definitely buy the bead advent calendar again. I especially needed it this year, but it would be fun any year. I’ll fill you in on the rest of the beads in a post after the 25th. Keep staying safe and happy holidays for whatever you celebrate!

25 Beads of Christmas


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Candie Cooper has a bead advent calendar, and I bought one this year. I thought it would be really cheerful during this time when many of the things I would normally do during the holidays aren’t available to me. It has been wonderful!

Shelf with books on it with a swag of yarn strung across it and little envelopes attached with tiny clothes pins.

I love how it works. She sent a little kit with yarn and tiny clothes pins to display each day. Each bead is in a hand painted envelope with the number stamped on it. The days all in a row are a rainbow. All so fun. I’ve been delighted by each bead, and I love the selection. It has been a real mix – crystal, wood, metal, stone, vintage lucite, ceramic, and glass. Interestingly (maybe only to me) the two I’ve used so far are both Swarovski.

The first bead I used was the day one bead, an ombre blue Swarovski mesh bead. So gorgeous! I just wanted it to hang on a chain because it didn’t need anything else. I like what Anna Pierson has described as “industrial glam” so I added a vintage black dash dot chain. I used a verdigris bronze handmade paddle headpin by Eden Art Glass.

Hand holding a large ombre blue round crystal bead on black chain.

The second bead I used was day eleven, a Swarovski dragonfly bead. I immediately thought of some vintage glass pearls in a similar color. I got that same rustic/fancy vibe by using a Crows Cache Supplies garnet hoop headpin with patina and some frayed waxed linen.

Old wooden framed slate with a necklace laying against it. Necklace is champagne color graduated pearls with a rustic metal headpin with set garnet and loop. Hanging from the loop is a light topaz crystal dragonfly.

I look forward to opening a bead each morning and seeing what treasure someone has picked out and packaged with such care. I hope your are finding things to make you smile. Stay safe!

Pine Ridge Treasures Happy Beads Blog Hop Reveal


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Pile of purple beads showing name of blog hop.
Picture by Lisa Lodge

Lisa Lodge from Pine Ridge Treasures has had many fun blog hops over the years, and here is another one! The Happy Beads Blog Hop reveal is today. Kits came in purple and blue themes, and I chose blue. Blue is a color I don’t use often, so I thought I would challenge myself (although I find I don’t use purple as much either). I’m so glad I did! My kit contains a beautiful array of beads and components.

Materials for this blog hop including a variety of blue beads, white beads and silver metal findings.

So many beads here to love in many shades of blue and a variety of shapes. Even those white beads, in a fun drop shape, have a slight coating that looks blueish in certain light.

The variety of shapes and colors brought to mind a necklace I have wanted to make inspired by the cover of the book Create Jewelry: Glass by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett. I’ve loved it ever since I got the book, and I thought this would be the perfect time and some excellent materials.

Long necklace made of a variety of color blocked beads in blue, red and green.

From the kit, I used cathedral beads, blue pearls, translucent twists, small turquoise crystals, little blue daggers, grey pearls and large turquoise blue crystals. I added the rest of the beads from my own stash. It was fun to decide which beads to use and in which order. Color makes me happy, so this necklace really fits in the with hop theme, and the little red heart charm that I found in one of the red bead bags to put at the clasp just rounded out that feeling.

I really loved the coated white drops. They look so elegant, and I love the way they fit together. I tried a few designs with those and settled on a bracelet.

Bracelet made of white beads with AB coating, crystals, fiber and pewter button with a crow design.

I used a Green Girl Studios fine pewter button for the focal/closure. I made a loop of some vintage Czech crystals, also with the AB coating. I didn’t like the look of the crimp, so I covered it with waxed linen and frayed the ends for boho flair. I love the finished product.

I had so many beads left, so I made more. First, a pair of earrings.

Earrings consisting of three links - blue cathedral beads, blue glass pearls and silver cat charms.

I used beads and ear wires from the kit and cat charms from my stash for the earrings.

Triple wrap memory wire bracelet with a variety of all of the beads from the kit above, along with one silver cat charm and one silver heart charm.

I had cut some memory wire for another project I didn’t make. I thought that would be a good way to use many of the beads I had left. I decided to use a cat charm on one end to make it coordinate with the earrings. I used a heart charm on the other end. Cat love!

Thanks for stopping by! Check out what everyone else made from their kits at the links below.

Your hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Kim Dworak Cianci Blue

Heather Canepa, Desert Jewelry Designs

Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool Jewelry

Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love (that’s me!)

Kari Asbury, Design Challenges

Therese Frank, Therese’s Treasures

Linda Anderson, From the Beadboard of…

Lisa Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs

Ellen Newcombe Gravante, TBD

Tiny Gemstone Magic


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I’ve had this gorgeous little charm by Andrew Thornton, a set gemstone, for a while waiting for the right project. I was cleaning and putting things away today when I decided to try a design. I recently got some tiny gemstones from Allegory Gallery – black tourmaline and multi tourmaline. I wanted to see how those looked with the charm. There is one of the multi tourmaline beads that has a beautiful pink spot, so I put that right next to the pendant.

Necklace laying on grey handmade paper. Necklace has tiny rose colored gemstone set in rustic silver bezel, multi tourmaline tiny drops separating black tourmaline drops. There is tiny black bead and copper rosary chain on one side and brass rectangular chain on the other. At each side where the chain connects, there are two dangles, a crystal and either a pearl or garnet chips

I also had mixed chain sections from Candie Cooper. I just used the gemstones in front so I could use the chain on either side. I wanted a little cover for the connection points, plus, I love the look of Cynthia Thornton‘s creations which often have lots of lovely wire wrapped gemstone, pearl and crystals and dangles. So I did a little bit of that on each side.

I really love necklaces that do more than look good; they have a good feeling imbued in them. Andrew often talks about this – working from head to heart to hands. I try to use materials that have that good feeling and also keep that feeling as I work on pieces. I was looking at my studio last night before bed and thinking, “It’s like magic in there.”

I hope you’ve been getting some magic in your life lately.

Bracelet Kit


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I always love the look of a bracelet stack. (Think Candie Cooper on just about any video.) They aren’t always easy for me to wear, although it obviously can be done. I used to work with a woman who was always wearing a cute dress, a bracelet stack (or two) and what I have come to know as a neckmess before the term even existed – and whenever possible, she had biked to the meeting. How cool is that?

When I make bracelets, they tend to be a bit chunky, so they don’t always lend themselves well to the stack. So when I was watching the presentation by Abbi Berta from The Bead Place during The Great Bead Extravaganza and saw the cute bracelet project and more on their website, I decided to place an order. I bought (among other things) the 3-strand seed bead bracelet kit.

Bracelet kit in a bag that says DIY and shows a YouTube link to the tutorial. It is a three strand seed bead bracelet with three different colors on each bracelet and silver in the middle. The YouTube link shown is

The kit contains all the materials you will need; you just need a few tools. You might have some of the materials already at home, but if you need to order some, I encourage you to order from The Bead Place. Abbi is a fantastic teacher, and she puts so many free tutorials on her YouTube page. It’s nice to support small businesses who give us so much!

Bracelet stack shown on an arm with purples and silvers being the dominant colors with a little blue and green.

There was no detail left to chance in this tutorial. I am usually an eyeball it sort of person, but because of Abbi’s directions, I averted disaster more than once. It’s not a difficult project (and, with her instructions, a beginner can be successful) but it is precise. I was patient enough to do it because it was like beading with encouragement from a friend. I really enjoyed Abbi’s teaching style.

I think my bracelet came out great, and looks fabulous with my stack! There is the three strand bracelet from the kit, two silver bangles I’ve had since I was a teenager, four fabulous polymer clay channel bangles by ArtSci Designs, and a design based on a Candie Cooper project with a Green Girl Studios flower connector.

I think this is a great stack, and the kit was a fun project.