Bead it!

I think I’ve discovered a new hobby. A few months ago at a bridal shower (for the girl who married the firefighting salsa dancer – see 8/13 entry) I met one of the bride’s good friends who had offered to make necklaces for all of the bridesmaids. She was wearing the prototype with a cute sundress and explaining that she had seen the design and merely copied it. I easily appraised the piece that she was wearing at $150.00 plus if you were to buy it from any trendy San Francisco boutique. When she told me it probably only cost about $25.00 to make, a light went on in my head. I would never have to splurge on jewelry again!

So I immediately got online and ordered some basic beading equipment and dove right into my first project. After my first necklace was completed without a hitch, I felt confident enough to take on a bigger project.making necklaces for the seven girls who will be bridesmaids in another friend’s wedding coming up in October.

I think this is such a great idea. So many brides gift jewelry for the day of to their attendants. But the challenge is always the budget and finding something that isn’t too wedding-ish. Making the jewelry that you give to your bridesmaids allows you to pick a style you love, save money and give something that is more meaningful because it is hand-made. You can also tailor the jewelry to fit the look of dresses. For instance, the bridesmaids’ dresses in my friend’s wedding have a square neck and a low dipping V in the back. So we’re making a necklace with a simple double strand in the front and a long chain hanging down the back with a small cluster of beads attached to the end. It’s not as difficult as it seems. A lot of people seem to think that you have to be born with creative genes or be very artsy-crafty to make jewelry. That’s not entirely true. You don’t have to know anything about design. You can just look at samples, find something you like and apply the same ideas to your piece. As for actually putting it together, all it takes is a steady hand and lots of patience. There are many resources available for ideas, materials as well as technique and instruction. You can buy things online, look at books or visit local beading stores. I checked out a store in San Francisco’s Mission district today called Beadissimo (they all have cute names, like “Off the Beadin’ Path” and “the Beading Frenzy” ). Beadissimo is well organized, spacious and comfortable. They also have a work table where anyone can come in to work on projects using their tools and their expertise. A woman named Stephanie works there and is supremely friendly and helpful. She spent much time showing me some basic techniques and even let me practice alongside. And when I didn’t find what I was looking for at their store she kindly wrote down a list of other stores that I might try. If you’re in the San Francisco area and want to attempt jewelry making, I highly recommend Beadissimo as a place to start.

I can’t wait to start. We’re still looking for the beads we want, but we’ve got chains, clasps and pliers so we’re almost there. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.