About bluedoorbeads

The newest bead store in the San Francisco Bay Area, Blue Door Beads is a retail store located on lively Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, CA. We offer an environment where folks can shop for beads, stay at the shop to make & create, then go home with finished jewelry!

Lucky Tree Studio Trunk Show

fullsizeoutput_1d57Lucky Tree Studio Trunk Show –  Laser-Cut Bamboo Jewelry Components
Sept. 7th through Sept. 16th

   In the world of beads, there are categories with which practically every jewelry-maker is familiar: Czech glass, gemstones, Hill Tribe silver, etc. Although Blue Door Beads has always enjoyed hosting trunk shows featuring “the classics,” we recently decided we wanted to take a bit of a risk and reach out to vendors whose work was unusual, and maybe even a little funky. After scouring the wide world of Etsy, we finally came across an innovative little company that absolutely fits the bill: Lucky Tree Studio.

Based in Western Colorado, Lucky Tree came to be after the company’s hip husband and wife team decided they wanted to create a business that would pull from their backgrounds in graphic design and illustration, as well as their love for cycling, nature, and contemporary design. Lucky Tree’s laser-cut pendants, charms, and components are not only beautiful and lightweight, but also strong and sustainable. Each piece is made from eco-friendly bamboo, which is fast-growing, needs little water, and has a minimal impact on the environment. Each piece starts as a sketch, and is then uploaded to a computer and converted into a design file. The design file is then imported into a laser-cutting machine, which then works its magic onto the bamboo! Each piece is then hand-sanded and finished with a food-grade mineral oil/beeswax mixture.  Designers can choose from a plethora of designs, including animals, spiritual symbols, geometric shapes, and tons more!

Blue Door Beads is excited to be hosting Lucky Tree Studios for TEN WHOLE DAYS, allowing customers the chance to pick up loads of new and unique pieces to be used in their upcoming jewelry projects. This is Lucky Tree’s first trunk show — and we’re positive it won’t be their last!
The trunk show starts at 11am sharp on Friday Sept. 7th and ends Sunday, Sept. 16th at closing. If you can’t make it to the trunk show at BDB, support Lucky Tree by buying something online! Check out their creations at www.luckytree.studio.com.

~ Follow Blue Door Beads at instagram.com/bluedoorbeads for more sneak peeks at the Lucky Tree Studio collection all week long ~
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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About SoftFlex

Although the jewelry-making “family tree” has dozens of branches (including soldering, fusing, and PMC, just to name a few), probably the most well-known jewelry-making branch would be the one of stringing beads into necklaces and bracelets. Bead stringing is relatively quick & easy — it’s the designing that can be tricky! — but what really makes it pleasurable is working with the right materials. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours designing and constructing a necklace or bracelet, only to have it break after a few wears due to inferior-quality stringing material. Luckily, there is a product whose quality we have relied not just since we opened Blue Door Beads, but since we started beading over 20 years ago: SoftFlex Beading Wire.

SoftFlex is one of those products that is ubiquitous in the beading industry, and for good reason. Their patented cord, comprised of woven stainless steel wires coated with heavy-duty nylon, is one of the most durable materials a beader can string with. However, there are so many variations that it can be hard for beaders to know which variety is best for each of their jewelry projects. We have always told our customers and students in our Basic Stringing class that the general rule of thumb is to use the thickest SoftFlex cord that can fit all of the beads in their jewelry piece. Although this is true, there are quite a few factors you may want to consider the next time you sit down to string up a beading design.

Fortunately for you — and us! — SoftFlex recently posted a series of incredibly helpful and informative YouTube videos to help beaders feel confident in their SoftFlex decision-making! Posted below are links to their videos; the first few are the ones we felt were the best “crash courses” in basic SoftFlex facts, with some additional design inspiration. The last link is the longest video; it bundles all of the shorter videos together, including a few not linked here, in case you’d like to absorb all of the SoftFlex info all at once!

Crash Courses & Inspiration:

Choosing The Right Diameter Of Soft Flex Beading Wire

Choosing The Right Brand Of Soft Flex Beading Wire

Various Ways To Use Soft Flex Beading Wire

The full-length video (approximately 40 minutes):

Beading Basics With Soft Flex Company

The SoftFlex Company is based in Sonoma, California, and we are proud to support a local business. SoftFlex helps our customers bead happily and boldly — thanks SoftFlex!

Meet Our New Instructors!

After a short hiatus from classes for the holiday season, they’re now back & better than ever! Our Spring 2017 class season not only includes a wide range of new classes, but also a great group of new instructors! Allow us to introduce you to a few of our newest team members:

Carol Bernau 

Carol’s true love is weaving seed beads, because seed beads show endless possible permutations of color, shape, texture, and reflection of light. Join her in learning a new seed bead weaving technique in her Friday, April 21st class, Herringbone Weave Bracelet.

 

 

Jen Laursen

Inspired by the beautiful leatherwork from Mexico, 6 years ago Jen went on a quest to teach herself this time-honored tradition. She now teaches private lessons and group workshops to kids and adults, and loves every minute! Jen’s Leather Punched Jewelry class is coming up on Thursday, March 16th.

 

Elizabeth McKinley

Elizabeth is a Registered Yoga Teacher and teaches groups and individuals yoga and meditation, emphasizing the body-mind-spirit connection. Join Elizabeth for Malas & Meditations on Saturday, March 11th and explore mantras and methods of meditation using a mala you will create in class!

 

Rae Rodriguez

Rae has been designing jewelry for over 18 years, and she finds metal clay fascinating in many ways — and also very fun to teach! Join her Saturday, March 18th for her Intro to Metal Clay class, where students will explore molding, forming, and firing this amazing material.

 


Joe Silvera

A master jewelry with over 25 years of jewelry and teaching experience, Joe’s classes provide a great foundation in the fundamental skills of jewelry, mixed with laughter and creativity. On Saturday, March 11th, Joe will be hosting his Saw, Hammer, & Rivet class — a great introduction class that demonstrates how to use a jeweler’s saw, hammering techniques, riveting, and polishing by hand.

Click here to meet more of our instructors!

Gemstones Personified! Who Is YOUR Gemsona?

While enjoying one of our favorite pastimes (looking up fun gemstone facts, of course!) we randomly stumbled across a term we had never encountered before: “gemsona.” In classic internet fashion, we soon ended up clicking on links that led to other links, until we finally found out what the term was referring to: gemstone-inspired characters, more specifically from a cartoon called Steven Universe (Cartoon Network). We soon learned all about this adorable animated show, and the cast of awesome gemstone super heroes!

Illustration courtesy of zimbio.com

Illustration courtesy of zimbio.com

Wikipedia’s brief setting & synopsis of Steven Universe:

“The series is set in the fictional Beach City…on the American East Coast, where the Crystal Gems live in an ancient beachside temple, protecting the world from evil. Ageless alien warriors, they project feminine humanoid forms from magical gemstones that are the core of their being. …[Steven is] a young half-human, half-Gem boy who inherited his gemstone from his mother, the Crystal Gems’ past leader Rose Quartz. As Steven tries to figure out his gradually-expanding range of powers, he spends his days with his human father Greg, his friend Connie, the other people in Beach City, or the Gems.”

We decided to find out which “gemsonas” corresponded to each of the birthstones of each BDB staff member. Some are original characters from the Steven Universe TV show, while the others are creations by Dou Hong, a character designer at Nickelodeon, who has created an entire cast of characters and features them on his fan art blog. Click on any of the photos credited to him below to see his entire gemsona family!

Diamond
(Rachel & Jane’s birthstone)

Illustration by Dou Hong

Illustration by Dou Hong

Emerald
(pictured on left — Briana & Sara’s birthstone)

Illustration by Dou Hong

Illustration by Dou Hong

Alexandrite
(Patricia’s birthstone)

Illustration courtesy of Steven Universe Wiki

Original Cartoon Network Alexandrite character; illustration courtesy of Steven Universe Wiki

Peridot
(Lydia’s birthstone)

Illustration by Dou Hong

Illustration by Dou Hong

Illustration courtesy of Steven Universe Wiki.

Original Cartoon Network Peridot character; illustration courtesy of Steven Universe Wiki

Opal
(Sydney’s birthstone)

Illustration by Dou Hong

Illustration by Dou Hong

Illustration courtesy of Steven Universe Wiki

Original Cartoon Network Opal character; illustration courtesy of Steven Universe Wiki

Citrine
(Dara’s birthstone)

Illustration by Dou Hong

Illustration by Dou Hong