Stash Busting Bead Stringing Projects
The other day, my 7-year-old son and I were shopping at a local craft shop, and my eye fell to a tray of absolutely beautiful gemstone bracelets and necklaces. My son, sensing that I was about to add a handful of new bracelets to my collection of beaded jewelry, stepped right in front of me, wrapped his arms around my waist, and said to me, “NO, Mommy. You have ENOUGH jewelry!”
Well, I could hardly argue with that. But it certainly got me thinking: while I love to buy handmade jewelry from other artists, I have an incredible stash of beads sitting in drawers and boxes and bags, so when we got home, we decided to sit down and do some bead stringing and make some new jewelry for ourselves. I dug deep into the bottom of my gemstone and crystal stash and re-discovered some great finds from years past. What was the use of hoarding all these beads? It was a lot more fun to actually use them so I could start wearing them and showing them off!
My first bead stringing project was to take a couple of strands of these modern African trade beads and string them all on stretchy cord. I was inspired after watching a yoga video of one of my favorite instructors, Doug Swenson. He wore a simple necklace of these striped seed beads, and I so admired it (and was so inspired by his yoga practice!) that I decided to make my own earthy ethnic stretchy cord bracelet.
The crystal-encrusted freshwater pearls were a find from the old Beadin’ Path. I knew I wanted to make a bracelet with them, since I only had five of them, so I mixed them with some larger round Swarovski crystal beads that were a gift from my friend Stephanie Dixon, aka, The Dixon Chick, and made a blingy little number for my wrist.
Next, I went digging through my stash of vintage beads and Czech glass fire polished beads. By this time, I realized that I was running out clasps, but a quick look in my stash uncovered this fancy gold druzy clasp from A Grain of Sand. Mixed with four strands of vintage and new beads, it made a lovely retro-looking multi-strand beaded bracelet.
Oh, and then came my gemstones! I’ve been hoarding my gemstone beads for much longer than I should admit, but there they are. I found a couple of strands of these tourmaline beads, and four strands of luscious green peridot heishi beads. Mixed together, they made a refreshing gemstone bracelet for spring and summer.
Finally, I found a few strands of these wonderfully bright blue impression Jasper beads in diamond and barrel shapes. Still seeing stars after working with the crystal beads and the shiny druzy clasp, I used a blue druzy clasp and some Chinese crystal rounds from my last bead shopping trip down in New York City. The necklace was so much fun, I had to make a bracelet to match!
The best part of clearing out some of these beads from my stash? Brand-new beaded jewelry for me to wear through the summer and beyond, and more room for more beads and jewelry-making findings! (But don’t tell my husband about that part.) Another way to clear some space for more beads and findings is to go digital with your magazine subscriptions. If you haven’t done it yet, think about getting a digital subscription to Jewelry Stringing magazine. You get all the same great content as the print magazine, but in a convenient digital format that you can take with you anywhere on your favorite tablet or mobile device. You’ll never find yourself without your favorite beading magazine when you go digital!