Beads for Backpacks – Charity Drive 2017

Purchase any of our select alphabet beads or charms and we will donate 25% of the proceeds to Treehouse, a charity that provides underprivileged foster children with much-needed school supplies. It’s our hope that, working together, we can help deserving youth get the education they need for a bright future!

Due to a number of challenges, less than half of youth in foster care graduate high school on time. Treehouse has a plan to ensure that foster youth graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers.

Treehouse invests in the lives of young people who have faced the deep wounds from a crisis of parenting. In helping them to secure the essential education, basic material needs, and social experiences they equally deserve, they help kids in foster care discover their own resilience and strength. Treehouse is committed to leveling the playing field for youth in foster care, so that each is included, may prosper in, and contribute to society.

Thank you all for your continued generosity and support! – Fusion Beads

Tuesday Tips & Tricks

One of my favorite techniques for covering the inside of a component is using Brick Stitch! The finished look is delightfully boho chic as well as an awesome statement piece. A great way to successfully create a design using brick stitch is to guesstimate the amount of beads you will need to fill your component. While Brick Stitch is more commonly used to make a circular design of beads around a component, we used the same technique to fill the inside. To give you a better idea of how to use this neat trick I will be using this exciting new Inspiration Project piece, the Modern Mandala Necklace!

Before you get started on your design you will want to choose your component and find its diameter. For the Modern Mandala Necklace we have picked a component with a 49 mm diameter. Luckily, no math is required just yet! To find the circumference for your component you can find the measurements on our website in our Product Details section shown below.

Once you have your diameter you will need to divide the measurement in half to give you the radius of your component. For our project, our component will have a radius of 24.5 mm.

Now that you have your radius you can start choosing the beads you would like to use to fill your component! I recommend laying out your beads on a beading mat and placing them inside the component. By doing this before you start stitching it will give you a clear idea of what your final piece will look like.

Once you have decided on your pattern, you will want to measure the length of the design to make sure that it is equal to or less than the measurement of your radius. The length of your design will be the measurements of each bead used added together. Keep in mind that for designs that have an empty space in the center you will need the total length of your design to be less than the radius. To fill the whole component you will want your design length to be equal to your radius.

For an example of how to add up your beads to fit your radius, I have a picture below showing how we used this trick to determine our design for the Modern Mandala Necklace.

Here at Fusion Beads we love using little tricks and sharing them with you when we make our pieces ! We find that a little preparation before you start beading can go a long way! The best part of using brick stitch inside a component is the ability to use all different kinds of beads. While some techniques have limitations on the variation of beads you can use in one design, brick stitching inside a component opens up an endless world of possibilities!

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s Tips & Tricks!

Happy beading!

-Zoe

Designer Spotlight – Meet Allie

My name is Allie and I have been with the Fusion Beads team since 2005! I started out at the Fusion Beads Seattle store location, but after a couple of years I made my way to our website where I now make jewelry to inspire people to create. It doesn’t get much better than that!  When I first started working for this great company I was in my early 20s with a little baby boy. Now that baby is a *gasp* teenager, and I have a little 7-year-old mini-me to keep me on my toes. I loved growing up in the Seattle area ..you just can’t beat the PNW! I have so many great childhood memories exploring this awesome state that has so much to offer. I now live a bit south of the city with my boyfriend, our combined 3 kids, 3 huskies and 2 hairless cats. We like to call it the animal kingdom.

 

Before working for Fusion Beads I was an artistic kid who loved to paint, sew and dabble in jewelry design. I owe a lot of my skills to my amazingly talented grandmas. One taught me how to sew, while the other was an incredible artist with a fun jewelry collection to play with. I remember taking her beads from broken necklaces and bracelets and making my own designs. Some of my fondest memories are designing jewelry, painting, making paper dolls and sewing with help from my two grandmas. Having so many creative outlets from a very young age has helped me tremendously throughout life.

When i’m not designing jewelry for work, I enjoy being creative with my kids. My son loves to draw and make funny comics (he cracks me up). He has also recently started to create fluid art paintings with me, which we are selling to raise money for pediatric brain tumor research at Seattle Children’s Hospital! Since June of this year my son is a 7 year brain tumor survivor, so this cause is very near and dear to our hearts.

 

My daughter loves to design jewelry, paint and sew stuffed animals, costumes and purses with me. If it’s creating something fun on her own, she’s down! Earlier this year, we started making jewelry and stuffed animals to raise money for our charity. The fact that my kids also love expressing themselves creatively makes me one happy mama!

 

I’ve been extremely lucky to get to work with so many creative and talented people throughout the years; I’ve learned so much beading knowledge and skills from all of them! It’s so satisfying to have a job where I get to be creative every single day while inspiring others to create and make jewelry! I’m also the Social Media Content Creator, so you can thank me for all of those bad jokes on Mondays ;) .

A lot of the personal designs I create include metallics with unique color combinations. I really like mixing different sizes of gemstones, crystals and metal beads in my pieces. Recently I have become more and more obsessed with bead weaving, so I’ve been incorporating a lot of seed beads in my designs as well.

I’ve made a ton of jewelry for Fusion Beads throughout the 12 years I have been here.. it’s well over 300 at this point!

Our Wrapped in Style Bracelet is a favorite because I absolutely love the wrapped cord bracelet technique. I’ve made a ton of them in the past, but i really dig the color combo in this one.

Our Summer Fun Earrings ended up being super popular last year. My favorite part about creating this design was getting to see all of the fun and unique color combinations people used to recreate them. I love seeing people think outside the box and make things their own. 

I like to incorporate gemstones in most of my designs, so i had a blast making our Rustic River Necklace! This color combination is a favorite to use in a lot of my jewelry designs.

My latest design is the Modern Mandala earrings and necklace set. I made these pieces to show off my personal style. To create the necklace I used brick stitch on a component with fun pops of my favorite colors. The earrings are more subtle, but still match the necklace perfectly.

You can also check out my about us page to see some of my favorite products!

I look forward to seeing all of the fun jewelry you create from our website , as well as the unique jewelry you design yourself. Make sure you tag us in your posts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Thanks for taking the time to learn a little bit more about me. Happy Beading!

-Allie

Tuesday’s Tips and Tricks: Please Don’t Crimp My Style!

Today, I will be discussing the pesky but absolutely necessary little crimp bead! While neither my eyesight nor my clumsy fingers enjoy using crimp beads, I enthusiastically acknowledge the benefits of adding these findings to my strung pieces.

Crimp beads provide stability to your necklace or bracelet by securely fastening your flexible beading wire to a clasp. The most ideal bead to use is the 2x2mm sterling silver crimp bead.

Why you may ask? Well, let me count the ways my fellow beaders!

First, a 2x2mm size will work for most stringing projects! However, keep in mind the crimp bead size you need depends on the size of your beading wire or other stringing material. Second, there is no doubt that sterling silver or other precious metal crimp beads offer a higher quality than base metal. While sterling silver can be more costly, your sterling silver crimp beads are less likely to break when crimping.

For something so little, I know the kind of metal used can seem arbitrary, but I can’t help but recommend shelling out the few extra cents for the indisputable benefits of longevity and durability. Oh! And saving a little bit on time, and not to mention, less stress!

The catch of course, is that this tiny silver bead does not always go with the rest of your design!

The trick to fixing this problem lies in the very aesthetically useful cover bead! A cover bead is just what the name implies. A bead that looks like a concave C that will cover your crimp bead. Cover beads can come in a variety of colors and materials to better suit your design’s needs. These beads will make the ends of your necklace or bracelet look clean and professional.

 

So while crimp beads are not the prettiest of all beads they are incredibly useful, and with an addition of a cover bead your designs will no longer need to suffer!

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s Tips and Tricks – Zoe

A few helpful links!

To find our crimping technique page click here.

To find our cover bead technique page click here.

To find our selection of crimps and crimp covers click here.

To find our beading Q&A page click here.

Tuesday Tips & Tricks

Greetings fellow Beaders! Welcome to this week’s Tips & Tricks!

On this fine Tuesday, I will be discussing the much loved DiamonDuos and a brand new line of beads called GemDuos! Both product lines feature beads with similar aesthetics and are made of pressed glass with two parallel holes. While DiamonDuos have been on the market for some time, I am happy to announce that FusionBeads.com will now carry GemDuos! Like their cousin DiamonDuos, GemDuos come in a gorgeous variety of colors. These duo beads create endless possibilities to design something new and unique!

Although my fingers are itching to create exciting patterns with these new geometric beads, first I must share a few helpful tips that will make this transition and much anticipated process easier!

Tip #1 – How to know when to use DiamonDuos or GemDuos

On first glance, it may be hard to discern the subtle differences between the two beads, but don’t be fooled! The first thing to know about DiamonDuos is that they have a sharp peak in the middle of the front side of the bead. This peak or point, is created by the four ridges on the top of the bead. This peak will give your design an added dimension and texture. I like to think of DiamonDuos as the good looking “stud” between the two!

GemDuos have four sides on the front of the bead as well, but unlike DiamonDuos, they have only one distinct ridge. This ridge runs along from the longest pointed end to the other. The bead’s slight beveled edge reflects light beautifully, and creates a softer more organic faceted surface. GemDuos have their holes closer to the bottom side of the bead. The placement of the holes is one of the most obvious differences from DiamonDuos, where their holes sits squarely in the middle on the sides of the bead.

Conclusion? Except for slight variations in their shapes and their placement of holes, substituting GemDuos for DiamonDuos will mostly be an aesthetic choice. I still recommend placing all your beads on your beading mat in your design of choice to test it out before weaving!

Tip #2 – How to tell the difference between the front and the back

For most duo beads identifying the front and the back of a bead is not a crucial element for a design, however with GemDuos and DiamonDuos it can make or break the comfortability and design of your jewelry!

DiamonDuo: The best way to identify the front and the back of a DiamonDuo is the front side will have a sharp peak in the middle of the bead. The back side of the bead will be flat and smooth.

GemDuo: It can be a little more difficult to identify between the front and back sides of a GemDuo bead. Since the bottom of the bead may have a slight curve to it, the best way to tell the difference is to see where the holes on the side of the bead sit. The side where the holes sit closest is the back of the bead. The front side of the bead will have a much more distinct ridge, while the back will look more flat.

Tip# 3 – Remember to check the holes of your beads for any debris or material build up, and to lay your beads front side up before beading!

To find our new line of Gemduos click here:

Fusion Beads New Products!

Thanks for tuning in to Tuesday’s Tips & Tricks!  Happy Beading! – Zoe

Designer Spotlight – Meet Lindsay!

I’m so excited to share a little bit about me with you! My name is Lindsay Burke and I am a jewelry designer and the Chief Marketing Officer for Fusion Beads. I’m happy to have been part of this company since 2000, but even before that, I was an avid crafter and beader. I began beading when I was in grade school. I dabbled in seed beads on safety pins, friendship bracelets with embroidery thread and then I was taught to pearl knot on silk. Throughout the years, I have done it all – from hemp necklaces and bracelets to wire worked pieces. Other crafts and hobbies have included crocheting, drawing, painting, card making, pottery and photography. But jewelry making has been my strongest passion.

I am lucky to get to share my passion for jewelry making and beading with others. I currently teach classes at Fusion Beads Seattle store location and I have a book called Make It Sparkle. I love seeing the creativity and excitement people have when they create their first piece or their 200th piece.
I am a born and raised Northwesterner. I currently live just north of Seattle with my husband, two girls and my mom. I’m so happy to share my love of beading with my daughters! Lexi, my 10-year-old has made earrings for her friends and teachers and is currently working on peyote stitch! My 5-year-old, Livi is good at making stretch bracelets but wants to do more, like her sister. And after several years of watching me make jewelry, my mom began beading! She has made several bracelets using the flat spiral stitch!
When I’m not working or teaching, my days are filled with mom-stuff. My kids are active with guitar and drum lessons, swimming, soccer, drama, Chinese class, gymnastics, and of course, their friends. We recently moved to a new house where I am able to have a creative, studio space. But, being an active mom and working full-time means I haven’t had time to make it organized and cute (or that’s my excuse for now).
I have found some time to make jewelry while balancing work and home. I’m especially proud of the Make It Sparkle book. This book has 25 sparkling projects that are easy to make, designed by myself and a few talented jewelry designers. Plus, it showcases some of my favorite things…CRYSTALS! When I’m wearing jewelry, you can bet that 99% of the time it will have Swarovski crystals in it.
Of course, I love all of the pieces in the book, but I do have a few favorites.
Dance Till Dawn earrings – I love these because of the beautiful, bright color graduation. I’m a sucker for anything that has colors that fade into each other. I heart ombre!
Crossing Paths earrings – These use one of my favorite teardrop shaped components plus an edgy metallic colorway.
Joysha earrings – These are one of my favorites because I made in collaboration with Katie for one of our photographer’s wedding. So they have a special place in my heart.Stormy Weather bracelets – I have been wrapping crystals onto bracelets and other components for-ev-er. This is just one example of a set that I have made. I love the colorsMissoni-inspired Loom bracelet – I love this piece. The colors are gorgeous, especially with the pops of metallic in there. I’m so honored that this was published in Beadwork Magazine April/May 2016I have so many more pieces that I love (not all made by me) but here are just a few more:

Lotus and Koi NecklacFade Into You EarringGolden Noir EarringAnother Level EarringMidnight Rain EarringBlushing Beauty EarringBeachy Keen Bracelets

Delicate Blossom BraceletVintage Star Spangled Banner Bracelet

Check out my about us page to see some of my favorite products! You’ll find everything from charms to looms and, of course, Swarovski crystals…because this girl needs to sparkle!
Sparkle!
Lindsay