Fly Away Home

One of our favorite things about summertime is the cluster of birds that chirp and flutter in the bushes in our store parking lot, greeting us every morning when we come to work. We have a wonderful variety of birds here in Oakland, California, including finches, mourning doves, bluejays, hummingbirds, and (our personal favorite) chickadees!

Too cute!

Their happy chattering and boundless energy make them a pleasure to watch, to the point where we almost wish our back parking lot was the front of our store, so that we could watch them all day! But we don’t mind waiting for our lunch breaks to step outside to watch them build their nests, call to one another, and swoop around in the sky.

We wanted to pay homage to our feathered friends, as well as the other winged creatures that flutter around our neighborhood, by showing you all of the fun bird, dragonfly, and butterfly beads & pendants we have in the shop. We also have classes and workshops coming up where you can create your own piece of flying-creature-inspired jewelry!

Vintaj never ceases to disappoint us! It seems there are always coming out with darling new bird & butterfly pendants and components. Choose from warm, brown nickel-free brass elements (that can be polished up to be really shiny!), or the slightly darker iron-based charms, also nickel-free.

We created the necklace pictured below using one of Vintaj’s “Songbird” altered blanks and embossed it using the Sizzix DecoEmboss Die in Cherry Blossom Garden. Swing by the shop to have us show you how to use the special edition Vintaj Sizzix BigKick embossing & etching machine. Caution: this technique is highly addicitive! As for the bird’s nest: we will soon be featuring a workshop where folks can drop in to the shop to learn how to create this darling little nest. Mix & match beads for multi-colored eggs that are great for pendants, as well as earrings!

Also flying around the shop: this unique variety of winged pendants and charms! We love the organic look of the carved bone and jade pendants, the shimmer of the mother-of-pearl butterflies (the tan one and orange one), and the cutie-pie dragonfly connector & sterling bird charm!

Create your own adorable butterfly pendant like the one pictured below in our Faux Cloisonné class happening this Sunday, August 26th! Learn to make polymer clay look like classic cloisonné…super cool! Call the shop at 510.652.2583 for more details.

And for those who would like to wear a fabulous piece of jewelry right out the door, we also have necklaces featuring a feathered friend or two. The necklace below features a polymer clay focal bead created by local artist and instructor, Debbie Anderson. Debbie will be teaching the Faux Cloisonné class — learn all about polymer clay from a pro!

In closing, we would like to wish you happy beading and share with you this quote from Victor Hugo: “Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”


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!