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Mark your calendars NOW for Fall 2012 Bead Shows!

July 16, 2012

Hi bloglandia! It is finally SUMMER. BEAUTIFUL SUMMER. And yet – what did I see at the store last night? That’s right: row after row of back to school supplies! While I found this to be a bit of  a bummer, it did serve as a good reminder that summer really will be over before we know it. That isn’t all bad news, though, for in September Rings & Things’ nationwide Bead Shows start up again!


Turquoise, labradorite and citrine are very popular gemstones at our shows. Plus, we sometimes have great deals on bracelets like the African bangles in the center pic.

The first show is September 9 in Minneapolis. For two months, the shows keep coming until November 7 in Missoula. So please take a moment to take a look at our Fall Schedule and see when the beads will be in a town near you! It is always so, so tragic when people post on Facebook about the bead show they just missed. Don’t let that happen to you! 🙂

Also, if you aren’t already familiar with her beautiful work, be sure to check out Heather Powers at HumbleBeads Blog – she did a great write up with photos about our 2012 spring show in Grand Rapids! ~ Cindy

Summer Road Trip part 3

June 29, 2012

Hi bloglandia! Today is the deadline for entering the Vintaj Summer Road Trip design challenge. Mollie was a little late in getting her inspiration piece completed…seems her idea of a summer road trip is wandering in the woods. There are no clocks or calendars in the wilderness! Her “Day in the Woods” necklace is well worth waiting for, however. She combined a number of sweet little elements together to make this piece. We’ll have to look closely to see them all, as the sunlight can be a bit distracting!


The vial hangs with a cluster of wire-wrapped bicones in shades of smoky blue and gray from olive green velvet ribbon.


Mollie painted a wee brass feather charm with Vintaj Patina in a muted blue-green color before hanging it inside a glass vial. The vial top is adorned with a Vintaj bead cap, Swarovski rhinestone wheel and a crystal bicone from our new Idewild Blue Crystal Jam mix.


A DecoEmbossed Vintaj leaf and a metal stamped and dapped round Vintaj charm complete the grouping.


And here is a view of how Mollie finished the ends – ribbon clamps (simply flatten with pliers -the teeth inside grip the ribbon securely) and a Vintaj clasp.

With jewelry this pretty, who wouldn’t want to wander in the woods? Hope you all have a lovely weekend! ~ Cindy

Vintaj Summer Road Trip Jewelry Inspirations part 2

June 26, 2012

Hi bloglandia! For me, a summer road trip means just one thing: camping. I’ve never met a national park I didn’t like, but I especially love Yellowstone. However, I never saw a bear the whole time I was there. Fortunately, the National Park Service has an amazing online archive of public domain images which includes vintage photos of bears in Yellowstone! I put the image in a bezel, covered it in resin and layered it over a stamped Vintaj natural brass disk to create my centerpiece.

Cindy's Bears bezel necklaceFor the tassel, I hung clusters and clusters of wire-wrapped crystals from our new Wild Flower Crystal Jam with a few imperial jasper rondelles. The way the dusky rose, green, tan and slate hues of this particular jasper coordinates with the crystal mix was what inspired this whole design! The cover for this craziness is a Vintaj bead cap.  I really like our drawn cable chain because the links open and close like jump rings – so the whole thing is connected by chain links!

tassel-closeupMulti-strand designs can become kind of high maintenance, so I like to layer coordinating pieces together instead. And since knotting is a jewelry technique that is super easy to do on a road trip (so long as you’re not the driver!) I made a long strand of jasper on 0.5mm natural hemp.

hempknottedjasperThere a few 6mm crystal metallic light gold rondelles randomly interspersed on the strand to add a bit of bling.

 You know what I am really terrible at?  Taking photos of myself. Hence the blurry headless photo above. But I wanted to show how the two pieces look together, and laying them on a table just wasn’t working. This probably isn’t much better, but I hope you get the idea…and that you are busy making your own Summer Road Trip jewelry ideas into reality! Only a few days left to enter… ~ Cindy

Vintaj Road Trip Design Challenge!

June 20, 2012

vintaj rings & things road trip design challengeHi bloglandia! We are really excited to be partnering with Vintaj for their Summer Road Trip design challenge this month. Visit their blog to see the great jewelry their designers created by pairing beads & components from Rings & Things with Vintaj products. The Vintaj blog also has all the details about how to enter the contest! Submissions are due by NOON (CST) Friday, June 29. But wait – don’t go yet!

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll share some of our own Summer Road Trip jewelry pieces, starting with Sondra’s “The Trail Less Traveled” bracelet:


This mixed metal bracelet contains all kinds of mementos!

She used so many fun techniques that I’m sure I’ll miss a few, but here are the highlights:

sondra barrington vintaj swarovski pressed penny

The Vintaj luggage tags were DecoEmbossed with the Sizzix BigKICK. Sondra punched holes to in the tags to link them with textured locking jump rings.

postcard-bracelet sondra barrington vintaj swarovski pressed penny

She curved the postcard charm and souvenir penny using bracelet bending pliers.

vintaj-bee-soldered-crystal sondra barrington vintaj swarovski pressed penny

The Vintaj bee and several other charms have the tips of rhinestone crystal head pins soldered onto them for extra bling.

vintaj-turtle-charm sondra barrington vintaj swarovski pressed penny

The memoir stamp bezel from Vintaj is filled with a scrap of map coated with SuperClear resin.

vintaj-leaf-crystal-clasp sondra barrington vintaj swarovski pressed penny

The rest of the sparklies are from our Karma Chameleon Crystal Jam. Check out our Crystal Jam color themed design boards on Pinterest!

Ok. Now you can go get started on your own Summer Road Trip design challenge piece! We can’t wait to see what you create! ~ Cindy

Copper and brass bracelet design challenge results

August 8, 2011

So simple, yet so fun! 6″ long, 1/4 and 1/2″ wide strips to make all kinds of jewelry with.

In July, we sent ten of our blog partners sample packs of our new 24-gauge metal bracelet strips. With summer in full swing, it isn’t surprising that not everyone completed projects (at least not yet) … but the WOW, those who did really brought their A-game!

Textured, layered and beaded cuff bracelets by Helena.

Helena Fritz hammered, riveted and even bead-weaved her way to an armful of gorgeous bangle bracelets – her lovely blog has more photos. Helena specializes in beadwork, which makes her first attempt at metalwork even more impressive.

Carole shows her polymer prowess.

Carole Carlson stepped out of her comfort zone and into the world of polymer clay with these fun bracelets. She found that the copper was easier to work with than the brass, which makes sense since it is a softer metal. Check out her blog for more info.

Just one of the bright and bold bracelets Carolyn created.

Carolyn Fiene also used polymer clay, but she preferred the brass as a base. Even though it is harder to form, she felt is held its shape better. Link to her blog showing other designs that combine chain and bezel cups with polymer coming soon.

Layers of “ruffled” metal dress up Jan’s brass cuff.

Jan O’Banion made several great designs by layering different elements onto the bracelets. She used recycled tins to make flowers on the “Trashy Tinsel” bracelet above. Visit her blog to get a peek inside her creative world.

1/2″ wide copper forms the base of this lampwork glass ring by Lubica.

Lubica Vinicenko used the strips as the base of some truly elaborate rings. You can see more pictures at her blog.

As you can see, these metal “bracelet” strips are extremely versatile and fun to experiment with. Am I the only one surprised to see polymer clay and seed beads combined with sheet metal?

The back of my layered stamped bracelet. I curved short strips with my wood dapping set to make the matching earrings.

I’ve been having a blast stamping and texturing them. You can see the front of – and how I made – the “Earth Laughs in Flowers” bracelet in our design gallery. Texturing metal with
brass texture sheets is great stress relief, I must say!

Although July is already behind us, we’re always happy to see and share what you create. Be sure to send us some photos of what you make with these metal strips! ~ Cindy

PS – Molly Alexander posted her etching and mixed metal results to a photostream on Flickr – be sure to check them out!

Halloween tree by Carolyn Fiene

October 31, 2010

“Halloween Tree”

…a little seasonal treat made with R&T items:

Halloween tree by Carolyn Fiene

What a nice, original design idea!

Can you spot which components were used in this? 🙂

Thanks to our Blog Partner, Carolyn Fiene, for taking a moment from her busy travel schedule to send this along!

10 lucky people

September 3, 2010

10 lucky people!  The August winners in our Blog Partners drawing. (Have you joined yet?)

They’re a good cross-section of our Blog Partners.   Professionals and amateurs, they come from around the world.  Check out their blogs!

Belinda in Australia (Handcrafted Artisan Jewellery blog)

Sheryl (The Babbling Beader blog)

Donna (CellChic blog)

Elaine in Canada (Too Aquarius blog) (coincidentally, Elaine also won last month!)

Gillian in Scotland (Gillian’s Mixed Media Musings blog)

Heather Powers (Humblebeads blog)

Heather G (Heather’s Haven blog)

Jenn (Jae’s Design blog)

Kirsten (Gardenvibe blog)

Karla (Thyme2Dream blog)

Here at Rings & Things, every month we do a drawing of 10 names from our Blog Partners program.  The winners receive “goodie packs” of our products.  They get to do whatever they want with the goodies!  (Make jewelry.  Review the products.  Etc. etc.!)

Eleanor asked…

July 19, 2010

..and so did some others… “How do I add the Blog Partners logo to my Blogspot sidebar?” Well, Eleanor, I got some help from trusty Twitter friends this time. @thebeadgirl advised, “click on design…then click on ADD A GADGET. then click on add a picture…that’s it!” @lillyella chimed in, “through your template design page, you add a gadget on the sidebar you want it, then select picture as the gadget type” @GeneaBeads specified (helpfully for me ’cause I’ve only used WordPress), “you go into the dashboard” to do this. And voilĂ , Eleanor was able to the logo to her blog.  Thanks, everyone! Have a question for Rings & Things?  You can get it answered here.  Ask via social media, or, put it in a comment below!]]>

Bead soup/bead show party: best idea this week

February 21, 2010

Rings & Things’ blog partner, Heather Powers, is hosting a “Bead Soup” beading party before the next R&T bead trunk show in San Antonio.

Fiesta in old San Antone!

Fiesta in old San Antone!

Why not organize a Rings & Things bead show party with your beady friends when R&T rolls into your town?  Gather together before or after Rings & Things’ next trunk show for a bead soup party.

What is it? A bead soup party consists of everyone bringing a 16” strand of beads in a set color scheme along with one clasp, focal bead and stringing materials.  The strands of beads get tossed into a bowl, mixed together and scooped out evenly among the party goers.  Everyone then creates a bracelet or necklace with their bead soup while visiting with each other.  Serve chocolate for best results!

If you have your bead soup party after the trunk show, everyone can pick up something at the show to contribute!  Shopping with a group of bead enthusiasts is the best — discovering and sharing a good find with friends is half the fun.

Learn more about hosting your own bead soup party…And feel free to use the graphic above for your bead party invitations!

PS: See Heather’s stash from last year’s Rings & Things trunk show at her blog.  We look forward to seeing yours!