Inspiration Found in Nature

We like the idea of finding inspiration in everyday objects. Although we can always appreciate gorgeous architecture or amazing artwork, it can be easy to overlook the small things all around us that are often equally beautiful. We highly encourage you to stop and smell the roses every once in a while — literally! There’s just something about taking the time to stroll around your neighborhood and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells that can be really relaxing and energizing at the same time.

We were recently inspired by a couple of everyday “hidden treasures” found in nature: bird’s nests and pea pods.

We love the idea of tiny somethings being nestled in a protective shell or nest. They can symbolize many things, including growth, vulnerability, and temporary beauty. We say “temporary” because eventually eggs will hatch, and (chances are) the pea pods will be eaten….maybe with a little bit of ranch dressing. 🙂

The pieces pictured, however, are a more permanent way to enjoy these small samples of nature! We will be offering classes for you to learn how to create woven wire pea pods and bird’s nests to wear as pendants, earrings or charms. Trade out the freshwater pearls in the nest for small blue beads to create a robin’s nest, or find some speckled gems for a quail’s nest. As for the pea pods, why not create orange or pink pea pods? Pink peas may not be the norm, but there’s nothing that says nature can’t be open to a bit of creative interpretation!

That’s a Wrap

We are huge fans of one of the newest trends in the jewelry world: wrap bracelets! We’re currently working on some samples that include a combo of leather cord and gemstone beads that we hope to unveil soon. (We’re sure the suspense is killing you…muah ha ha ha!)

In the meantime, we created a few styles of bracelets that are perfect for the instant gratification kind of person — and who isn’t? Try these bracelets on for size:

You can make each of these bracelets (which can pull double duty as necklaces) in literally less than 5 minutes. Here’s how:
1.) Take a super long piece of suede (3.5 yards or longer, depending on your wrist size & the number of wraps you’d like), create a loop at one end & knot it.
2. Take a large-hole bead and slide it onto the other end.
3. Tie a knot next to the bead & trim any excess cord from the knot.
4. Wrap your fab creation around your wrist, slide the bead through the loop, and enjoy the compliments!

The Story of A Thousand Flowers

Now that it has started to be sunny on a daily basis, we are having a blast creating colorful, vibrant summer jewelry! Although we have tons of beads to choose from here at Blue Door Beads — we’re disgustingly lucky, we know — we feel a certain style of bead truly captures the vibrancy of summer: millefiori beads.

Many people have probably at least heard of the millefiori style of glass work, but what intrigued us was the story behind this unique style of mosaic glass. Although the term “millefiori” is Italian for “thousand flowers,” referring to the dozens of tiny flowers within the glasswork, the Italians were not the first artists to create this style.

No one culture can lay claim to being the only one that produces millefiori glass. The Egyptians first produced it around 1400 B.C.E., followed by the Persians, Roman Empire, Islamic world, then the Italians. The millefiori technique involves the production of glass canes or rods, known as murrine, with multicolored patterns which are viewable only from the cut ends of the cane. A murrine rod is heated in a furnace, pulled until thin while still maintaining the cross section’s design, and then cut into beads or discs when cooled. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

So, there’s your fun bead factoid for the day. Next time you’ve got a summer BBQ to attend, whip up a pair of millefiori earrings or a whimsical necklace, and when you’re flooded with compliments on your jewelry (as we know you will be), you can tell your admirers the history behind your “thousand flowers.”

Speaking of flowers, check out our “Chaise des Fleurs”, or flower chair. (It just sounds better en français). Our cheerful chair greets Blue Door Beads customers every day. Thanks to Thomsen’s Garden Center in Alameda for their generous donation of the lovely flowers!

Purdy Patinas

Although we love bright & shiny things as much as anyone, we also enjoy vintage-style jewelry. When metal jewelry has a patina, we feel it gives a jewelry piece character and hints at the fact that the item may have a history. Even if the piece is brand new, a patina can lend the piece a bit of an antique touch!

Vintaj “Nouveau Roses” Earrings

When patina happens naturally, it is technically a tarnish that forms on the surface of brass, copper, bronze, and other metals. Patina results when the surface of a metal is altered by the effects of the atmosphere, causing gradual changes resulting in an uneven coloring, typically green. Sometimes referred to as natural toning, a patina was once only achieved with the passing of time.

However, today jewelry-makers can apply their own ready-made patinas to metal beads, metal blanks and other components. Vintaj patinas are opaque inks specially formulated to adhere to metal, and they look gorgeous on Vintaj’s nickel-free brass and Arte Metal components!

Come to Blue Door Beads tonight between 6pm-9pm to learn how to apply Vintaj patinas and create amazing embellishments to your next bracelet, necklace, or pair of earrings. We’ll also be serving wine & cheese, so enjoy a nosh, some vino & good beading company! Can’t make it tonight? Come in any time and we’ll show you the tools you need to get started on your patina adventure.

Door photo courtesy of http://www.ralphegrant.com.

P.S. We just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to feature a great photo of a gorgeous blue door. Gotta love the natural patina on this bronze door!