Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bead Collections Challenge - The Opinions Are In!

A couple weeks ago I asked for five challengers to be sent one of our $11.95 Bead Collections. They could choose the Bead Collection they wanted or I would send them one of my choice. Only 3 people asked for specific Bead Collections. They were to make something with the beads, write up a paragraph about what they thought of the collections and then send me the picture and paragraph. The results of this challenge are below.

To see what the challengers created, click on the picture of the Bead Collection they got.

Peacock Collection:
Jill Liles, Fuqua-Varnia, North Carolina
Here are a few of the pieces I made with the peacock collection. The only thing I added was gold craft wire. :I found the beads to be a good value for the price - there were certainly a lot of them. Two bracelets, a necklace, and a pair of earrings, and there are still some left. I wouldn't have bought this pack myself because I tend to go for silver not gold, but this set gave me a chance to play out of my zone. A few of the beads - especially the top drilled - had broken, but not too many to make the whole set unusable. I think some of the problem selling them online is that you can't "see" what's in it - and $11.95 is a good-size gamble for something that may not work for you at all.

Zebra Collection:
Katherine Scott, Hooksett, New Hampshire
I was willing to take any collection but I really hoped I wouldn't get the zebra one. When it arrived I wasn't sure what to do but then I started making aliens. I teach jewelry making in an after school program and Bead People (aliens) are one of the most popular projects. Once I made the pendant and the people earrings I decided to try to make as many projects as I could. I only added the little white glass sticks and findings, the rest was all in the collection. I ended up with 2 necklaces, 2 bracelets and 3 pairs of earrings. I loved the variety of shapes and materials in the collection and was able to make the pieces so easily because everything was so well matched up. I took the finished pieces to work and they were popular. I gave one bracelet to a volunteer who works in my classroom she wanted to buy it. Sometimes looking in my own bead stash gives me too many choices, this collection was the perfect size with the right amount of variety. Thanks so much for the beads and the challenge, I enjoyed them both and will look into some of the other collections.

Sherbet Collection:
Danielle Hurt, Martin, Oregon
Once I was "in" the challenge I started building my creation in my head. When I got the beads in my hands, that changed......After I stared at the package of beads for 3 days wondering what on earth I was going to make, I finally got brave and unloaded the package on my beading table. I was determined to use all the beads provided but in the end I did leave out 22(actually 26 as one of 4 matching beads was not drilled so all four of those didn't make the cut). The other beads left out were small silver and gold spacer types.

After laying it out 4 times and stringing it twice I finally liked what I came up with. I started this one unusual for me, from the center out. The only thing I added was the Mother of Pearl focal bead with the green leaf and the clasp. I think this is a casual "jeans and t-shirt" necklace, multi-colored to go with anything.

The possibilities are endless with these collection packages. The price is right too. You certainly can't go out and buy ONE decent pair of earrings for under $12.00. I will definitely be purchasing another collection or two! This challenge was fun.

Mother Earth Collection:
Elizabeth Trask, Wollaston, Massachusetts
The Mother Earth collection is exactly as the photo shows. Coming up with a design wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I believe that more beads of the same kind would be more useful to me rather than only 4 to 6 each of many kinds. I finally came up with an idea for an 18” necklace, and then I had fun with it ? I even gave it a name!

“Springtime in Wyoming” contains 6 beads from the collection. I added an earthy colored glass leaf as a focal bead, red and green crystals to brighten up all the browns and tans, and enough small gold beads to make up the 18”. The tan beads in the middle remind me of the plains in Wyoming, then as you move toward the mountains (where my dear friends live) you pass through meadows of bright flowers. The beads that look like smoky quartz are the mountains separated by clear little bubbles from all the spring waterfalls! Silly? Maybe, but I had a good time. Time ran out for me before I could make the earrings using two more of the larger bicones, tiny gold beads, and more green crystals.

The more I look at the rest of the beads, the more ideas come to use them with other beads. There are several other nice little sets of beads that can be mixed and matched.

Arctic Ice Collection:
Dawn Sickerott, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

these are the pictures of all the things i made out of the bead challenge beads. i did add 4 flower beads to the necklace, which were from one of the mystery bags. these beads reminded me of the seashore especially the swirls ones. they had a good variety of shapes and sizes. also a nice array of color. i would get these again for someone that requested them or something like them or color array, request. but as for using them to make jewelry to resell, they would be kinda pricey for the market i sell too. i enjoyed working with them though.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Bead Collections Challenge. I hope their projects and honest reviews of these collections will inspire you to try them yourself! If you do and you'd like me to post your comments here, just email me your review to blog@eebeads.com All the collections are now on sale at 15% Off until Tuesday, May 27th! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Silver Core Lampwork Beads

Every once in a while I get really excited about new beads going up on the site and this week is one of those times. Don't get me wrong, if I don't love it, I don't sell it...period. But these little beauties are something to behold.

About 6 months ago, one of my main suppliers sent out a flyer about silver core beads. Looked somewhat promising until I inspected them closely. They were pretty simple lampwork beads from China with a silver or gold plated core. Fun idea and I know they're the "in thing" now, but the lampwork was just ordinary and I couldn't see selling ordinary.

Last week, one of my favorite sales folks, Peter, came to see me and said he had silver and gold core beads made by Sassoon Beads of China. I was not ready to be impressed until he showed me another site that's selling similar beads for $25.00 each. Yep...EACH! Are you kidding me? So he pulled out his samples. Unbeadlievable! Gorgeous even! And the price...well, let me just get your juices flowing that these beads are not going to cost you anywhere NEAR $25.00 each.
The best part is the colors...they're just stunning. Swirls and bold colors that make your brain just spin with ideas. The solid colors with dots have air bubbles in the dots (see the cobalt bead in the center above). Air bubbles!!! I have to say I fell in love and bought a bunch.

If you'd like to see these beauties, click here. And wait till you see the price! Don't think they're "cheap"...trust me, they're not...they're high quality beads at incredibly low prices. One of our competitors is selling the exact same beads, from the exact same supplier, for a lot more than me. Once you get these little beauties, send me an email at blog@eebeads.com and let me know what you think of them. Am I nuts? Or are these beads as remarkable as I think they are?