Beads and beading are the IN things to do

Malachite and ceramic bead necklaces.
Last month, I went to a Bead Night event at my local Michaels Store and find it both beneficial and fun.  The night is designed for beaders to get together and share tips and laughter.  It is also educational because a store employee is on hand to teach you techniques you may not know and introduce you to different tools and accessories to make the item you are designing even more spectacular.  You only have to come to the event with the materials you want to use or you can get there a little early and purchase items at a discount using a coupon they give you when you sign-up to attend the event. 

I went to the event primarily to learn to re-string beads onto wire as I had a set that I got from 1 of my wonderful aunts recently break near the clasp.  The cotton string was old and the beads were ceramic.  Fortunately only the teal-colored beads were damaged in the dropping.  I was able to catch the necklace before all the beads fell off so I had an example of the original pattern to repeat.  I also had a long strand of malachite nuggets that I wanted to make into a necklace and bracelet set. 

When I signed-up for the session, they gave me an idea of what to bring.  I already had most of the tools since I had bought them in a set a year before to repair broken metal jewelry.  Since I had the beads, all I needed was wire, clasps for the malachite items (I could reuse the one on ceramic strand), and crimp beads with a crimper tool (shown in earlier video post).  Since I only wanted to repair items rather than make lots of new jewelry, the sales associate who was helping me find what I needed suggested I save money and buy a new Beadalon Scrimp Screwdriver and Finding Kit they had instead of getting all the crimping stuff.  The new item had bigger, fancier crimpers that screwed the wire in place and it came with the screwdriver as a storage device too.  She also suggested toggle clasps for the malachite since the stones were so heavy.  She said this would be more comfortable on the neck and much easier to hook on the wrist.  I choose a leave and flower toggle from Blue Moon so it could be worn in back or on the side, plus I thought it would be cuter on the bracelet.  Check out the Blue Moon website for more “how-to” videos and scroll down to see various tools and find written step-by-step instructions.

I then attended the beading event a few days after gathering all my materials.  Since I was a newbie, the person who was monitoring the event helped me learn to make loops at both the start and close ends by suggesting I not make them so tight.  If the loops are bigger and looser, the beads can move and it should be easier to close the clasp without help.  People at the event were excited to get the opportunity to check-out my old-fashioned ceramic beads as well.  During the event, I was able to complete both necklaces while listening to interesting conversations about different topics (including blogging!)  I learned enough to feel comfortable making the bracelet on my own at home.

I found both the shopping and beading experiences quite pleasant.  Kudos to the Michaels people for great customer service and an excellent event!

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