Never Second-Guess Inspiration

“Never second-guess inspiration.” Flannery O’Connor, American writer and essayist, said these wise words, and we couldn’t agree with her more. In fact, her words were the inspiration for this blog post. Funny enough, when we first started to write it, we thought, “Can we write an entire post about this concept?” And then we thought, “Why are we second-guessing ourselves? Of course we can!”

We have had many conversations with friends, family, and customers about what inspires them to create their fabulous jewelry, and, as with any large group of people, the answers they gave were wonderfully diverse:

Bead Boy & Bead Baby, a.k.a. husband and daughter of Sara, owner of Blue Door Beads

Whether their families were big or small, near or far, many beaders said members of their family either inspired them to start beading, are very appreciative of their beaded creations, or enjoy beading with them — or all three! And, of course, family often extends to pets as well, and many customers and students expressed their love for their furry friends through their jewelry. We personally love to create jewelry as gifts, and who better to receive tokens of our love than those nearest and dearest to us? Necklaces, earrings, pet collars — everything folks created for their loved ones definitely came from their hearts.

Bollywood-inspired earrings. The bright turquoise and shimmering gold reminded us of India!

Trips & Vacations
Several of our staff members have been fortunate enough to travel to far-off lands, including New Zealand, England, France, and India. Their experiences in these various countries have had lasting impressions on their design styles, and they are always looking for ways to add a little foreign flavor to their jewelry pieces. Sometimes their voyages directly influence their designs (an Eiffel Tower pendant, for example), while other times the exotic influence is more subtle, like in the Bollywood-style earrings pictured below right. From Maori tribal earthiness to Parisian glamor, a little foreign flair can go a long way.

Sea glass earrings, inspired by Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA.

Of course, you don’t have to travel very far to find inspiration. A few years ago, one staff member took a road trip with her sweetie to Fort Bragg, CA and had a blast scouring the local beach for bits of ocean-tumbled beach glass. It wasn’t until she was flipping through her photo album recently that she was inspired to commemorate that fun & relaxing trip with some beach glass earrings, pictured at left. She hadn’t even been looking for inspiration — it just came on its own!

A customer recently told us that she was inspired to create a really wildly-colored pair of earrings after getting out her bead stash and laying some bags of beads on her bed. She had always loved her vibrantly-colored bedspread, but had never thought to look at it as a design possibility! After picking out her favorite hues in the fabric, she blended blues, purples, and teals to crate an amazing pair of earrings (We didn’t have our camera that day. Dang it!). After that, she couldn’t wait to start looking around her own home for more inspiration!
Although the necklace pictured at right was created using a color palette found on, one can easily find similar color combos in a neighborhood garden or local nursery. Other places to find great color combinations: farmer’s markets (gotta love those fruits & veggies), home decor stores (look for eclectic throw pillows, fun table linens, etc.), and hardware stores (you’ll never look at the paint chip aisle the same way again!)

This color palette inspired the necklace pictured above, even though we decided to go just a few shades lighter.

Still looking for great places to find inspiration? Here are just a few sites we enjoy perusing: – Go to their Idea Gallery to look through photos of dozens of necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Even if you’d rather create a piece with more gold or silver than nickel-free brass, this site has great ideas for mixing metals, textures, colors, and more. – As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, as well as above, this site is an AWESOME resource for the color-challenged. Like blue? Click on any blue square in the website and you will be taken to numerous color combinations using that color. OR, adjust the blue to be more blue-green or blue-violet, and then surf again. The possibilities are endless.

Just four simple ingredients: leather, waxed linen, ball chain & a bead. Ta da! Stay tuned for more info on how to make this fab bracelet! – Amazing jewelry designs, but many pieces are a wee bit out of our price range. However, many of their designs are pretty easy to replicate, if you have a little time to play around with your beads & pieces. Two pearls and a gemstone wire-wrapped onto a leather strand? We can help you make something very similar for way less than $75. And those Chan Luu leather wrap bracelets for $200 and up? We created our own version for — get this — less than $9.00.

We hope this blog post has helped inspire you to do some beading, or has at least reminded you to never second-guess inspiration. Memories, people, and objects inspire us for a reason, so embrace those moments and be empowered by the inspiration, no matter how random it may seem. We would love to hear about where you have found inspiration in your life, so feel free to share. And remember to bead boldly!