We Cherish Our Community!

Owner Sara Mancini shares her customers' excitement about their jewelry!

Owner Sara Mancini shares her customers’ excitement about their jewelry!

We like to think there are certain places in your neighborhood you like to go where you enjoy warm feelings of familiarity and community: the local grocery store, your favorite restaurant, the park on the corner. Chances are, whenever you go, you see people you know and chat with them about recent vacations, how your families are doing, or even just about the lovely weather. The conversations you have are probably nothing major, but you enjoy connecting with these people and look forward to visiting these places because of the friendly interactions you know you will experience.

These gals had a blast at their first BDB Wine, Pizza & Beads social!

These gals had a blast at their first BDB Wine, Pizza & Beads social. 🙂

Here at Blue Door Beads, we feel that building a community within the shop is one of the most important aspects of our business. We are proud to foster an environment where folks can not only enjoy all of the sparkly beads we have to offer (although, we must admit, that’s one of the best parts!), but also enjoy an oasis in which to be creative and converse with other people who share a passion for artistic endeavors.

Busy beaders hard at work. They're so focused!

Busy beaders hard at work. They’re so focused!

A customer recently told us that she had been looking high and low for a place where she could really connect with people. She thanked us for our cheery, colorful space, and also for our genuine appreciation of our customers, no matter how regularly they come in, how long they stay, or whether or not they make anything. She had been looking for a place like Blue Door Beads for a long time, and she feels that she has found her ideal creative community environment!

Artist Grace Harwood talks about her oil on canvas pieces during her art talk.

Artist Grace Harwood talks about her oil on canvas pieces during her art talk.

Our customers’ words of gratitude mean a lot to us, and it feels wonderful to know that our efforts to be a welcoming store within the Piedmont Avenue community have not gone unnoticed. If you have not yet had the chance, we highly encourage you to join us for one of our fun & fabulous events, including Wine & Pizza Topped with Beads, our monthly bead social where beaders of all levels gather on the last Friday of the month to chat, have a nosh, and bead the night away! We are also proud to participate in the monthly Piedmont Art Walk, a community event that happens every third Thursday, giving artists of all media the opportunity to display & sell their work in to a wide range of fellow community members. We feature photography, paintings, textiles, and more by amazingly talented local artists, many of whom are our awesome customers!

Both of these events are terrific ways to meet new people, visit with folks you may already know, and be a part of the Blue Door Beads community. You are always welcome, and we can’t wait for you to come hang out with us soon!

Treasures from Tucson

Tucson_showIf you have ever been to any kind of convention, you know that there are some things you should never be without: comfortable shoes, something to drink/eat, and some idea of the territory you want to cover while you’re there. For the most part, this isn’t too hard to do when the convention is in a single building. Perhaps you’ll do a quick once-around to get the lay of the land, collect some business cards, and make some mental notes of places you’d like to stop at again when you start Round 2. But can you imagine a convention that has not one, not two, but over 40 different locations to visit? Does such a mind-boggling event exist?! You betcha!

The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase has been happening every year in Tucson, Arizona since 1955, and it is spread out over the entire city. There are essentially 40-49 different conventions happening all at once, including raw (uncut) gem shows, fossil shows, glass shows, pearl shows, finished jewelry shows…the list goes on and on! Every space in the city that can be converted into a “mini-convention” is reserved from late January through the beginning of February: hotel bedrooms, lobbies, parking lots, tents, and lawns. Due to the sheer volume of vendors and customers present during this season, it is considered one of the premier gem & mineral shows in the world. And guess what? Blue Door Beads got to go this year! Check out some of the incredible new merchandise we just brought back:

Lovely lucite filigree components.

Lovely lucite filigree components.

Delicious gemstones from all over the world!

Delicious gemstones from all over the world!

Carved wooden beads, made to look like cinnabar.

Carved wooden beads, made to look like cinnabar.

A delightful mix of lampwork glass from Unicorne Beads and lightweight lucite beads.

A delightful mix of lampwork glass from Unicorne Beads and lightweight lucite beads.

Colorful tagua nut beads, aluminum discs from Lilly Pilly, and more!

Colorful tagua nut beads, aluminum discs from Lilly Pilly, and more!

Those Beads Are Made of WHAT?!

As anybody who has been in a bead store can tell you, there are millions of different styles of beads in the world. Considering variety is the spice of life, we are always excited to discover new & unusual types of beads!

A customer recently donated a copy of The History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin to the shop, and we have had a great time perusing its glossy pages. It was interesting to find out more about the different types of beads typically found in specific countries or regions:

  • The first beads in the world (made from animal teeth and bones) were discovered in France and date back to 38,000 B.C.
  • Afghanistan, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries are known for their lapis lazuli, carnelian, and agate beads.
  • Over 6,000,000 lbs of glass beads were made in Venice in 1880 (more specifically, a mosaic glass style of bead known as millefiore.)
  • China, Japan, and other countries in the Far East have specialized in elaborately carved jade & coral beads, as well as detailed enamel beads, for centuries.
  • Native tribes from North America and Mexico have long created beads from such materials as turquoise and amber, but also horn, antler, bone, and other natural materials

Finding out more about ancient beads got us curious: what types of unusual beads exist today? Although some of the following bead styles have been a round for a long, long. time, some are distinctly more modern, and some even made us say, “They made beads out of WHAT?” Enjoy!

Learn to make beads out of paper here at Blue Door Beads! Clcik the photo to see our full list of classes.

Learn to make beads out of paper here at Blue Door Beads! Click the photo to see our full list of classes.

Rose petal beads, which retain their scent after drying.  Photo courtesy of TheAbbeyStillRoom through Etsy.

Rose petal beads, which retain their scent after drying. HGTV has a quick tutorial on how you can create your own! Click photo for more. Photo courtesy of TheAbbeyStillRoom through Etsy.

Electroplated leaf pendants. eHow.com has a short tutorial on how to create your own metal leaves! Clcik photo for more.Photo courtesy of graciousgood.wordpress.com.

Electroplated leaf pendants. eHow.com has a short tutorial on how to create your own metal leaves! Click photo for more.
Photo courtesy of http://www.graciousgood.wordpress.com.

Fish vertabrae. Another animal whose vertabrae has been made into beads: a snake! Who knew? Photo courtesy of happymangobeads.com

Fish vertabrae. Another animal whose vertabrae has been made into beads: the snake! Who knew? Photo courtesy of http://www.happymangobeads.com

Sea urchin spines add cool texture to jewelry. Photo courtesy of DesertRoseTaxidermy through Etsy.

Sea urchin spines add cool texture to jewelry! Photo courtesy of DesertRoseTaxidermy through Etsy.

Porcupine quills add a dramatic flair this pair of hoop earrings. Photo courtesy of shopbop.com

Porcupine quills add a dramatic flair to this pair of hoop earrings. Photo courtesy of http://www.shopbop.com

Pay homage to your favorite soda or beer with bottle cap beads. A great way to upcycle! Photo courtesy of www.http-design.com.

Pay homage to your favorite soda or beer with bottle cap beads. A great way to upcycle! Photo courtesy of http://www.http-design.com.

The type of beads we voted "most unusual": felted beads made of cat fur! Visit www.carollew.com for more photos and instructions on how to make 'em!

The type of beads we voted “most unusual”: felted beads made of cat fur! Visit www.instructables.com (click the photo above) for more photos and instructions on how to make ’em! Photo courtesy of http://www.carollew.com.