Gorgeous Glass Beads with Penny Dixon

There’s no question in my mind that the recent introduction of such an amazing variety of shaped glass beads has forever changed the way we make beaded jewelry with seed beads.  Browsing through a local bead shop or online at my favorite bead supply company makes me feel grateful to have such an array of colors, shapes, and sizes of glass beads available at my fingertips to use in my beaded jewelry designs.

Of course, there are always a few times when looking at hundreds of glass bead shapes and colors can make me feel positively overwhelmed, but that’s when I decide to give myself a break and instead start working from a seed bead pattern designed by someone else – it’s a wonderful way to relax and take some of the pressure off.

When I want to learn more about using shaped glass beads in my beaded jewelry designs, one of the bead artists I look to is Beadwork magazine Designer Of the Year, Penny Dixon. Penny’s designs incorporate many of the popular shaped glass beads that you see at bead shows and online, and many of them work up in just an evening or a weekend, so you can start wearing them right away. Check out a few of my favorite Penny Dixon beading projects from the Beading Daily Shop:

Fan Flower Earrings

Penny’s Fan Flower Earrings are one of my favorite beaded earring projects, both to stitch and to wear. I was thrilled at how quickly they work up, and even happier when I realized that the purple colorway matched perfectly with my favorite yoga top.

Yafa Petal Earrings

The Yafa Petal Earrings were the first project of Penny’s that I tried, using one of her bead kits. They were so much fun to stitch that I made several pairs to give away as gifts for my friends!

Secret Garden Bracelet

Since I’m of the mindset that smaller is usually better, I was excited to start working on the Secret Graden Bracelet, using two-hole lentil beads and mini-daggers. (Itty bitty daggers! Who wouldn’t love those?) Unfortunately, this has become a UFO, waiting patiently on my beading board for me to finish it. Maybe the long holiday weekend would be a good time for me to settle in and finish beading!

Just in case I run out of bead-weaving projects, I can always take things in a different direction and learn how to combine wire jewelry-making techniques with glass beads! I was excited to see Penny Dixon’s new DVD, Combining Wire and Beads with Penny Dixon, part of the Beadwork magazine Designer Of the Year series. In this great DVD, Penny takes you step-by-step through creating an interchangeable wire cuff, and a gorgeous wire jewelry earring and necklace set. If you’re new to working with wire, this is the perfect way to find out how you can combine wire jewelry techniques with your favorite shaped glass beads to create stunning jewelry.

Pre-order your copy of Combining Wire and Beads with Penny Dixon, or you can download each project individually in the Beading Daily Shop. Start with the Wire Lace Ensemble, and then move on to the Interchangeable Wire Cuff. Pretty soon, you’ll be finding new ways to use those gorgeous shaped glass beads in all kinds of jewelry-making projects!

Bead Happy,




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