The Talented Artists of our Second Annual Jewelry Collective

We wanted to give you a taste of the amazing creations that will be featured in our Second Annual Jewelry Collective, which begins Thursday, December 18th, 2014 from 6pm-9pm during the Piedmont Avenue Stroll and will continue through Monday, December 22nd!

Local artists, many of whom are Blue Door Beads customers, will be featuring their work for sale throughout the five-day span, and will be available for schmoozing during The Piedmont Avenue Stroll happening Thursday, December 18th, from 6pm-9pm. They will be presenting a wide range of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings made of gemstones, crystals, glass, and more. Although the 18th will be the night to meet the artists, their work will be at the shop for sale through the 22nd. Enjoy a selection of handcrafted artisan jewelry that you will find nowhere else around, and finish up your holiday gift shopping!

We are so excited to be featuring such incredibly gorgeous jewelry by so many talented artists!

Necklace by Sabrina Hom of Ophelia's Jewels.

Bracelet by Sabrina Hom of Ophelia’s Jewels

Necklace by Benita Ranbdle of Nita Carol Designs

Necklace by Benita Ranbdle of Nita Carol Designs

Necklace by Cheryl Hayward of Olivia Hayward Designs.

Necklace by Cheryl Hayward of Olivia Hayward Designs

Necklace by Anne Marie Foley

Necklace by Anne Marie Foley

Hand-cut wood and brass necklace by Kelli McGiven

Hand-cut wood and brass necklace by Kelli McGiven

Mosaic pendants by Karen Maestas

Mosaic pendants by Karen Maestas

Necklace by Susan Dray

Necklace by Susan Dray

Knotted leather and pearl bracelet by Jill Marsh

Knotted leather and pearl bracelet by Jill Marsh

Multi-strand bracelet by Shelley Barnhill

Multi-strand bracelet by Shelley Barnhill

Necklace by Karen McRobie

Necklace by Karen McRobie

Bracelet by Erin Garcia of Fish The Fish Co.

Bracelet by Erin Garcia of Fish The Fish Co.

Necklace by Michele Harris

Necklace by Michele Harris

Earrings by Celia Goetz.

Earrings by Celia Goetz.

Necklace by Lisa Howell

Necklace by Lisa Howell

Earrings and bracelets  by Vida Vazquez

Earrings and bracelets by Vida Vazquez

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Holiday Gifts With a Personal Touch

During the holiday season, there are times when we get so caught up in obsessing over getting someone the perfect gift that we forget the real joy of gift-giving. (We refuse to call it “gifting.” So there.) Giving someone a gift is a gesture of your appreciation for what they contribute to your life, and it should be a pleasurable experience! That’s why we’ve compiled this short list of truly personal gifts you can give this holiday season — not only are they fun to make, but they’re fun to give, as well! They sure beat fruitcake, anyway.

Hand-Stamped Pendant(s)
Ingredients: metal blanks in a metal of your choice, letter punch set, hammer, bench block, liver of sulfur (for adding a patina), jump ring(s), and cord or chain.

These cute little necklaces are all the rage right now, and we can see why! Sweet and delicate, initial pendants/charms can be worn alone as a statement of the wearer’s initial, or clustered together to represent kids, grandkids, etc. Although we don’t recommend using sterling silver charms for your first project, after a bit of practice, you can easily graduate to high-quality metal blanks and create elegant gifts in no time! Add charms in different shapes for some variety, or create an interchangeable necklace like Wendy Mullane’s pregnancy count-down necklace (at right). Create the same type of necklace for a graduation or wedding count-down (“7 months left!”), or another momentous occasion. This necklace is wonderfully personal and shows you are sharing in the wearer’s excitement!

Custom Key Chain
Ingredients: key chain blank with bezel, Diamond Glaze, photo or scrapbook paper.

We feel that key chains are under-rated. We here at Blue Door Beads love our key chains, and we love the daily smile we get from taking them our of our pockets. Lydia made the key chain pictured at left as a way to commemorate her semester in France during college, and one of her students recently created a custom key chain using a photo of her first grandbaby. Simply trim your image to fit the bezel, tack it down with a bit of Diamond Glaze, coat the entire image with glaze, then wait for it to dry. Voilà! Instant memento.

Birthstone Necklaces
Ingredients: gemstone(s), wire, chain or cord, and a decorative charm if desired.

It’s hard to go wrong with birthstones, as long as you know the recipient’s birthday. (That’s what the Birthday Reminder app on Facebook is for!) If you do a quick search online, you will find there are different birthstone charts you can use as references, varying from classic, to modern, to zodiac-sign-related. This style of necklace can also be modified to include birthstones of spouses, children, or maybe just yours and theirs — the perfect BFF necklace!


Hand-Stamped Garden Markers

Ingredients: old cutlery (spoons & forks work best), letter punch set, hammer, bench block, liver of sulfur (for adding a patina).

Since not everyone wears jewelry, the garden marker is a great unisex, any-occasion gift that can be romantic, humorous, or helpful. (Was that basil you planted, or parsley?) Don’t worry about getting letters perfectly straight — a little wonkiness adds to the charm and the organic feel of the markers. Be sure to do your stamping in an area where it’s OK to make lots of noise. Unlike metal charms, cutlery is typically a lot thicker, and you will need to be more forceful with your hammering to achieve good results. Once you’ve stamped your markers with the names of various herbs/flowers/etc., or a fun phrase or two (Lydia has a marker at home that says “Watch Me Grow,” but you could easily stamp “Grow, Darn It!”), put them in a gift box with a few packets of corresponding seed packets, and you have an easy gift for the holidays!

We hope this list of personalized gift ideas inspires you to make some heartfelt gifts this holiday season. We’re willing to bet that you’ll have so much fun making these cute creations that you’ll want to make a few pieces to keep for yourself. We promise not to tell. 🙂

Key chain photo courtesy of Lydia Chapman for Blue Door Beads.
Hand-stamped pendant photo courtesy of www.vintaj.com

Birthstone necklace photo courtesy of Belleza Mia
Hand-stamped garden marker photos courtesy of The Faded Nest

Avoid the Mall & Shop Small!

We know some folks look forward to the Christmas shopping season because of all the great deals to be had on big-ticket items at big-name stores. Don’t get us wrong: an LG Blu-ray Player for only $38 is a pretty darn good deal. However, if it means we have to spend an hour finding parking, 20 minutes being jostled around by fellow shoppers also eager to get their little hands on the latest gadget, and then God-knows-how-long in the checkout line,…well, we can think of quite a few other ways we’d rather spend our time  — and money! — this holiday season.

We have a few recommendations for how you can enjoy shopping this Thanksgiving weekend and avoid having to curse at that guy in the sedan who just took the last $@#%&^! parking spot.

Plaid Friday – Friday, November 23rd
The name Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of independent businesses. Plaid Friday is the fun and enjoyable alternative to the big box store “Black Friday,” and it is designed to promote both local and independently owned businesses during the holidays. The movement was conceptualized in Oakland, CA, a city known for strong “shop local” campaigns. Plaid Friday brings back the nostalgic times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable, leisurely activity. We hope that you choose to shop at your favorite new, local, independent bead store this holiday season (*hint hint*)! Or, if you don’t happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, we hope you will spend some time at your favorite small, local shops, and that you choose to wear plaid while doing so to show your support of the movement!

Small Business Saturday – Saturday, November 24th
Small Business Saturday is a day for everyone — from the business owners who create jobs to the customers who buy locally — to support small businesses that invigorate the economy and keep communities thriving. When you shop at a local, small business, not only are you supporting that particular establishment, but you are also supporting the other establishments within that community! Think about it: the gals at Blue Door Beads get their coffee at Gaylord’s Caffe Espresso, buy their lunch at The Posh Bagel, Baja Taqueria and Sparky’s, and go to see a movie after work at Piedmont Cinema. By supporting BDB, you’re allowing us to support the other small businesses in our neighborhood. The beautiful cycle continues! Small Business Saturday is now in its third year, so please help this year be the most successful one yet!

One of the many gorgeous beaded creations from Blue Door Beads’ very own Martha Preble featured in her Etsy store, ArtfulHummingbird.

Etsy Sunday (we just made this one up!) – Sunday, November 25th
Didn’t find what you were looking for on Friday or Saturday? You will be hard pressed NOT to find something perfect for that impossible-to-please someone on your list if you visit www.etsy.com. For example: Blue Door Beads’ manager, Lydia, has a good friend who loves all things hippo-related.  All Lydia had to do when searching for a gift for her was type in “hippo” in the “Search” box, and up popped hippo greeting cards, hippo-printed fabric, stuffed plush hippos, hippo t-shirts, and even a crocheted hippo baby hat! There are oodles of finished gifts on Etsy, but crafty folks like us can also find unique supplies perfect for jewelry-making, such as teeny tiny glass bottles perfect for filling with beads or beach glass and using as pendants! Etsy even features gift cards, which they have dubbed the ideal “choose-your-own-adventure gift.” By shopping through Etsy, you are supporting a wide range of independent, multi-media artists, many of whom are just starting to sell their handmade wares. Not only will you be doing your part to support DIY artists, but you may very well get to be someone’s first sale! You can also choose to shop local by entering a city and shopping through Etsy stores located in your hometown. Searching for shops based out of Oakland, CA yielded 21,443 results alone. Talk about a wide selection!

We hope you enjoy shopping small this Thanksgiving weekend — and throughout the holiday season!