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Gold Award Celebration!

It’s been a big week for us at Beads Direct and we owe you a massive THANK YOU! We’re celebrating our gold award wins from the International Craft Awards, during our fantastic week of achievements.

The International Craft Awards are hosted every year by Crafts Beautiful where public vote for their favourites suppliers, demonstrators, websites and a whole range of crafting categories. Not only did we win the Gold award for ‘Best Bead Range’ but also ‘Best Jewellery Making Accessory’ for our hugely popular bead board. In this category, we also won a runner-up prize for our professional set of jewellery pliers!

You would think that was an enormous achievement enough right? Well, just yesterday I was informed that the Beads Direct blog has been awarded one of the ‘Top 25 Jewellery Making Blogs’ on the web! The guys at Feedspot voted us 8th place, which is a huge deal for us to be recognised!

This brings us to thank you all for your votes in the International Craft Awards, your continued support to Beads Direct and your direct participation in the jewellery making community. I would personally like to thank all the blog readers, contributors and the design team who help drive the Beads Direct blog. Since I gave it a makeover in Spring 2015, I’ve enjoyed working with some wonderful people who come up with incredibly beautiful designs and even challenged myself and the team to come up with a new Mini-Make Monday project each week. Thank you for all your lovely feedback and for sharing the jewellery that you’ve made, we absolutely love to see your designs! You can share your photos across our social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram @beadsdirect.

Thank you again, from the whole team at Beads Direct, we hope you have a wonderful year of creative beading!

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Goodbye For Now

Hi everyone,

On Thursday 2nd February I will be leaving the lovely bunch of people at Beads Direct to start my maternity leave! I have worked for BD for over 8 years and everyone here is like family to me. My role as Customer Service Manager means that if you have ever phoned BD, you have no doubt spoken to me!

When I joined BD I didn’t know anything about jewellery making but soon got into making Shamballa Fashion bracelets and I was addicted to Kumihimo (I still am). Below are some of my favourite makes:

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3Here are some photos that highlight some of my favourite moments during my time at Beads Direct, some of which you may remember!

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I really have had the most amazing time here at BD, I want to thank everyone for all their support and making my time here so enjoyable (both beady customers and BD colleagues).

I’m sure I will be visiting the office throughout the year so I will say goodbye for now.

Take care,

Love Leah Xx

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Farewell Message from Sarah

As many of you know, I have been guest presenting on Create & Craft for 6 years now and have had the privilege of bringing Beads Direct kits to you since 2014. My role here has consisted of designing, sourcing, making and selling hundreds (if not thousands) of kits, beaded jewellery and filming weekly Take a Make Break tutorials for the Beads Direct YouTube channel as well as guesting our TV shows. I have enjoyed all of these aspects, but it has left little time for much else as you can imagine. I have always had a long-term goal of making my own jewellery to sell, returning back to workshop teaching and finally getting around to publishing my jewellery making book. I have decided that 2017 is the year to act upon those dreams.

So it is with a really heavy heart, that the 12th of December will be my last show on Create & Craft, BUT I do hope to return occasionally throughout the year to guest for Beads Direct and assist in a few designing projects.

On a personal note, I am giving myself a lovely little Christmas break for the rest of the month to concentrate on my family and time with loved ones. I’m off to Iceland on the 16th for my partners birthday (that’s something to tick off the bucket list), we have just booked our Wedding for next year so LOTS to sort out  and I have 2 dogs, one of which is an 11-week old puppy, running me ragged. So it’s probably not a break at all! I hope to launch my a little website (definitely a work in progress), I will be running small beading groups from February onwards and will be selling jewellery & crafty makes at little local markets and fairs. So I will be busy, busy but with more time to concentrate on my designs and loves.

I really have had the most amazing 6 years and would like to thank you all for the support along my journey. I have had so many messages and pictures from you over the years sharing your creations and journeys and it has honestly been the reason I do what I do! So thank you. I also had the absolute honour this year to be nominated for two awards in the International Craft Awards 2016 (still blown away by this!) and it has been the highlight of my career. It’s given me the drive to work on my book and I hope to publish next year. That’s if I can ever condense down what I want to put in it! At this rate, it’s going to look like the yellow pages!
pics2The office won’t have too much of a chance to miss me I’m sure, I’ll still be making a regular journey to raid new deliveries, ransack the warehouse and top up on sparkles….I’ve seen what’s coming…..and I don’t want to miss out! I would also like to thank everyone at Beads Direct for all their support and help through the years too. The shows take a huge amount of work, from administration to picking and packing your orders and, I think we would all agree they do an amazing job.

As you may know, the fabulous Debbie Bulford joined our team recently so you will not be left on your own! Debbie has some amazing designs, ideas, techniques and classes to share with you all next year, as well as regular Create & Craft Shows and I couldn’t be passing my beading baton over to a nicer lady!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas & that you chase your dreams in 2017.

All my love

Sarah

See you soon! xxx

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NEW French Doll Pendants | Tips & Tricks

To celebrate the launch of the NEW french doll pendant range, we’re offering you a few tips, tricks and ideas to get you started with making your own design! If designing isn’t quite your thing, you can purchase our ready-to-wear French doll pendants, but it’s so much fun to make your own. French doll pendants are a major trend around Europe this winter, so don’t miss out! To make your own, all you’ll need is the doll frame and any crafty bits you have already to customise her look.


 

How to Design Your Doll Pendant

The Basics

It’s really easy to design your own doll and you should already have all the crafty bits in your stash. Your doll frame comes with a long head pin which you insert through the middle of the frame, then through the beaded head and make a loop at the top. You might like to purchase some fabric glue if you do not have some already.

The Head

Choose your bead! It could be a faceted round, an elegant pearl, a wooden bead or a Swarovski coin pearl! It’s entirely up to you, but we would recommend using a bead around 10-14mm wide. You don’t have to leave it there. Why not make a hat or sparkly crown for extra bling!

The Skirt

This is where you can really let your creativity run wild! Experiment using different fabrics, ribbons, organza material or any fabric scraps you have at home. You could use multiple layers for a petticoat look to make the skirt poof out a little.

TIP To make a ruffled skirt, take a wide piece of ribbon and sew a simple running stitch along the the edge. Pull the thread to bunch up the ribbon and make the ruffled skirt!

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Accessorise your Doll

Give your doll pendant her own accessory! Use a jumpring to attach a charm or sparkly bead to her hand.

The Finish

Is your doll pendant going to be bag charm, a key ring or necklace? You will need to pick out a suitable chain, and key ring clasp if required.

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Beads Direct’s Doll Design Inspiration

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Designed by Debbie Bulford, this beautiful angel with mesh wings is the perfect decoration for Christmas! Would you believe it’s made from an organza bag! Genius idea Debbie!

debbieDebbie wears a gorgeous velvet shawl! The mix of seed beads, bicones and sequins give a real glamorous look!amyAmy has her own seed bead necklace and wears a long pencil dress. So elegant!

witchyDid you spot this little witch over Halloween? She has a hat made from a cone bead!
princess-lauraPrincess Little Laura loves all things cute and pink!

pamelaThe gold and black gives Pamela a regal, Christmassy feel. How cute is the crown handbag?

vickiVicki has a layered ribbon dress and a Swarovski handbag!


Feeling inspired?
Let us know your favourite doll in the comments below.
We look forward to seeing your entry!

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Debbie Bulford joins Beads Direct!

Here at Beads Direct we are already making exciting plans for 2017 and are really pleased to announce that Debbie Bulford has recently joined us as the newest member of our sales, marketing and design team! Debbie is well known in the jewellery making world especially for her bestselling book, “Polymer Clay Jewellery Projects”.  She also has a wealth of experience across a broad spectrum of crafts and techniques, actually starting her career as a fabric designer. We are already lining up some exciting projects to start in the New Year, so watch this space!

Being creative is a way of life for me! There is nothing I like more than a parcel arriving with a new project inside to challenge my design skills, whether it be a simple, elegant selection of beads or a fabulous mixed media bundle. As many of you will know, I have one rule –  never make anything you wouldn’t wear yourself,  you then put your heart and soul into the creative process. I am really excited to be joining the Beads Direct team to explore their comprehensive range of jewellery making products and hope to be on your screens in the not too distant future. – Debbie

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Check out some of Debbie’s designs!

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VOTE FOR US | International Craft Awards

Thank you SO much for nominating Beads Direct for a whopping 11 awards for the International Craft Awards 2016! I’m especially grateful to see the Beads Direct blog recognised as ‘Best Craft Blog’ – eek! Thank you for reading & commenting on the blog, sharing your designs and supporting our independent bead shop. Now that the nominations are in please spare a minute to cast your votes and help us win the awards.

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Perl’Art App Launch | Jewellery Design Made Easy

We’ve partnered with an exciting, innovative app called Perl’Art that makes a jewellery makers life a breeze! The iPad app helps you design your jewellery, selecting individual components to help envision and plan your finished piece. For a limited time only Perl’Art is at a SPECIAL PRICE of just £17.99!  It’s so easy to get to grips with! We’ll show you just how easy it is in the step by step walk through below.

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About Perl’Art

It has been ten years in the making – the first version was available in 2006. Since then, it has been perfecting its features and ease of use to deliver a top of the range tool, for anyone looking at alternative way to divulge their designs. What makes this a must-have is that it has been created by a jewellery maker – Lysann Lamontagne, who understands the thoughts and ideas that go into creating a piece of wearable jewellery, she is also eager to share her creativity with others. When teaching, Lysann had to use pen and paper to show her examples, but wanting to be able to do this quicker and more efficiently, she started to develop software that would allow her to be able to achieve this. This tool allowed her to produce designs using beads, strings and chains.

Early on major jewellery brands Swarovski and Preciosa were on board with the project, now, as the app has progressed, many more familiar faces have joined, including Starman and Miyuki. Now Beads Direct has had the pleasure of joining too, developing a partnership with Perl’Art to enable even more creative possibilities for its users. Whether you are a professional jewellery maker or just someone who wants a place to allow their creativity to flow, this app is for you. You can use for hours of enjoyment, experimenting with shapes and colours and developing unique patterns. Like what you create? Why not then develop your idea into something you can wear.

Perl’Art for iPad has massively progressed from its beginnings (it has had over 40,000 downloads) and continues to regularly update its features. Users are able to use the app to create grids for various seed beading techniques (e.g. peyote, RAW) as well as many other styles of jewellery. You can change the colour of the beads, add on charms and accessories (such as tags and clasps), draw stringing and chain lines, plus add in text around the designs to include information such as your thought processes behind the piece and the materials used.

An exciting part of the App is the shop. Here you can purchase add on packs such as beads, charms and accessories to give you even more options for your creations. As part of our partnership with Perl’Art we have developed our very own item for the shop – a pack of Sterling Silver charms. These charms can be worked into your pieces to add lovely finishing touches or heartfelt personalisation. Fallen in love with what you have come up with? Just head over to the Beads Direct website where you can purchase the charms.

For more information on Perl’Art check out their website.

Getting Started

First you will need to download the app onto your iPad (currently Perl’Art is only available for iPad).   

Open up the app, here you will see the home page; the main part of this page is where all your saved designs are kept.

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The top part of the app has small icons with various functions.

In the top right hand corner of the home page there is a ‘help’ tab. This is really useful and can help you if you are struggling with how to use certain parts of the app.welcome

The ‘shop’ tab is where you can purchase extra items. Some of the packs in the shop are free and some you will have to pay a small fee for.beads

To create a design you will need to touch the ‘New’ icon in the top left hand corner. Before you do this you may wish to view the example on the home page. This takes you through the different features you can use to design with.

When you open a new page you are presented with a blank white page, this is your canvas for creating your design.

There are icons at the top of this page; the ones on the left hand side are your materials, one for beads (the menu is used alongside the beads option), one for stringing and one for adding text. The icons on this side are shown as picture symbols.

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The icons on the top right hand side allow you to ‘save’ what you have made, ‘share’ your design via a wide variety of platforms, return to the ‘home’ page, and select other options.

When designing you will use the icons on the top left hand side, touch which material you want to start with, it will highlight in  colour the option you have chosen. Try adding beads and/or accessories onto the page, you can search for beads by their shape or brand, you may need to scroll to see all that’s available. Touch the bead that you want to use.3

Depending on the type of bead you have chosen you may be able to choose from different sizes and colours. The bead can be rotated, so you can pick which angle to use it. Hold and drag the bead to place it down. You can add as many of the chosen bead as you like.


Whilst you have selected one of the top left hand sections a menu bar will appear at the bottom of the page. Use these to edit what you have put down on the page. You change the colour of the beads, add more of the same bead and also put them into a grid to create a seed bead design.

Add some stringing into your piece by using the stringing icon. Touch the line you have drawn to edit it; here you can turn it into chain if you wish, whilst also changing its colour.
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Once you are happy with what you have made why not add in text to describe what you have done. Be sure to save it, you can still go back in and edit the design. You can then rename the piece from the homepage.

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