Archive for January, 2008

Stone Shape Beads Per Inch

It’s easy to find a list of number of beads per 16″ strand for ROUND beads – but not for shape beads! I’ve had this list a long time, and I think it came from South Pacific Beads. It does start out with round beads, but includes all the great shapes, too – lentils, stars, twists.

Round: 2mm = 203 / 3mm = 136 / 4mm = 100 / 6mm = 67 / 8mm = 50

10mm = 41 / 12 mm = 34

Hearts: 6mm = 90

Thick Hearts: 12 mm = 36 / 20mm = 20

Stars: 6mm = 70

Twists: 8 x 20mm = 20

Lentils: 12mm = 40 / 20mm = 22

Leaves: 14 x 18mm = 20

Shells: 18 x 20mm = 20

Triangles: 16mm = 24

Rice: 5 x 12mm = 36

Melons: 4 x 6mm = 64

Rondelles: 3 x 5mm = 175

Cubes: 4 x 4mm = 102

Tubes: 3 x 5 = 80 / 4 x 13 = 30

Rectangles: 4 x 13mm = 30

Teardrops: 6 x16mm = 25 / 9 x 22mm = 19 (strung lengthwise)

Donuts: 20mm = 20 / 25mm = 15 / 30mm = 13 / 40mm = 10 / 45mm = 8

Discs: 3 x 5mm = 25

Cylinders: 13 x 4mm = 16

Pears: 16 x 7mm = 24



January 30, 2008 at 5:19 pm 2 comments

What is CERF?

CERF stands for Craft Emergency Relief Fund. It is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization which is dedicated to providing immediate support to professional craftspeople facing career-threatening emergencies such as fire, theft, illness and natural disaster. CERF was created in 1985 and is the only organization of its kind in the United States.

CERF’s programs include: Interest free loans with flexible pay back dates; booth fee waivers at craft shows; discounts on materials and equipment from craft suppliers; assistance with marketing and promotion; special loan funds available for certain guilds, state-wide craft and media-based organizations; and special loan funds for craftspeople facing particular emergencies such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, homelessness, natural disasters and heart ailments.

CERF is a small fund. Loans are modest and range from $200 to $2,000. Additional funds are available to those who are members of various organizations such as The Glass Art Society, The Society of American Silversmiths, etc. Funds to support CERF come from craftspeople, craft show producers, craft organizations, store and gallery owners, suppliers, collectors, foundations and from the National Endowment for the Arts. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

You can make your donations to CERF by writing to: Craft Emergency Relief Fund, P.O. Box 838, Montepelier, VT 05601-0838. Voice mail 802-229-2306, fax 802-223-6484, or going to their website at


January 30, 2008 at 5:04 pm 1 comment

I’m just warning you…

If you are a new beader…


January 29, 2008 at 10:37 pm 2 comments

A Little About Silk Thread, and a Handy Chart

Gudebrod silk is one of my favorite stringing media – it comes in sizes as fine as Nymo, or thick enough to use with a large-holed gemstone bead. It is the ONLY thing to use for knotting! Silk is strong and supple, and comes in lovely colors from Plum to Chestnut. You can use the larger sizes (F to FFF) to crochet with beads, or for micro-macrame. And you can make a self-needle out of silk thread (I will cover that in a later post.) And did you know that fishermen use silk thread to tie decorative flies?


Here is a handy chart to know how many yards are on a spool of Gudebrod silk beading thread.

sizeOO = 695 yards

size O = 600 yards

size A = 475 yards

size B = 390 yards

size C = 310 yards

size D = 260 yards

size E = 200 yards = 1/2 ounce

size F = 140 yards

size FF = 115 yards

size FFF = 101 yards

January 29, 2008 at 10:28 pm 5 comments

Straightening Headpins and Wire

When you order headpins in bulk, they can arrive looking like a bird’s nest.  To straighten them out, you can roll them between two surfaces.  The Wire Whacker is a good tool for this, as it is made of a heavy plastic which will not mar the headpins.  Another great tool to straight headpins (or any wire for that matter) is the nylon-jawed pliers that I call “Mr. Smoothie.”  For light headpins, a nylon-jawed chain-nose plier would be fine.


January 27, 2008 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

Gem Lore: Sodalite

Sodalite – properties and history

Sodalite is a mineral component of lapis lazuli. It is commonly mistaken for lapis because of its similar look. Unlike lapis, however, this rich blue gemstone rarely contains pyrite inclusions, and is a less expensive alternative to lapis. The name “sodalite” alludes to the sodium content of this stone. It comes in a massive form, translucent to opaque with a dark blue color, often streaked with white veins.

Sodalite was discovered in 1806 in Greenland. In 1891 large deposits of sodalite was found in Ontario, Canada. At that time, Princess Patricia of Connaught (1886-1974) used it as an interior decoration for Marlbourough House in England, setting the stage for sodalite to become used as an ornamental stone. Also due to her use of the sodalite, the stone became commonly known as “Princess Blue.” Today, the largest deposit of sodalite is in Brazil.

New Age Attributes:

Sodalite is thought to bring inner peace. It is also considered to be the stone of athletics, as it stimulates endurance. It is said sodalite will harmonize the inner being or the conscious and subconscious mind. Sodalite promotes peace and harmony. Sodalite is extra lucky for writers.

Sodalite is associated with the thyroid. Some believe that if you wear it in a necklace, it will help you lose weight and will give you confidence for public speaking.


Designing with Sodalite

Sodalite is a softer blue with more white inclusions than lapis. It looks lovely combined with white stones such as white marble, white agate, or white howlite.  Sodalite looks nice with gold or silver findings, and is especially pretty with the soft, bright gold of vermeil Bali beads.  Sodalite works well with a lapis lazuli pendant or focal bead(s).  For contrast, try sodalite with red cinnabar -it’s stunning!


January 25, 2008 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

Toddler Beading

In my store, I often have customers who are young mothers. They need to bead, but they have a small child who needs to be entertained, and who is also fascinated by mommy’s beading. Here are some ideas for those of you who have the same problem.

Cut yarn into 2 foot long strips. Give the children a big bowl of cheerios and fruit loops and tell them “these are YOUR beads!” Let them string their “beads” onto the yarn, and when they are happy with their beadwork (be sure to lavish the praise along the way), tie their yarn into a knot, let them put on their beautiful creation, and then let them eat the necklace while they watch TV or play.

Use this opportunity to teach your child to respect your beads and know the difference between their beads and yours. VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure they understand that your beads do not go in the mouth! Some of our beads are delicious looking. And…tying something around your child’s neck can be a strangulation hazard as well. Be sure your child is well-supervised while wearing his or her necklace, and throw away or cut open the yarn when the “beads” have been consumed.

Even more fun, use licorice ropes to string the cereal on. This will eliminate the concerns about choking on the yarn…and it will make your dentist very happy. 🙂

Another idea is to use those big wooden macramé beads. For small children, though, make sure the beads do not present a choking hazard. Square beads are really great for this. Plastic pony beads, large animal-shaped beads and so forth can be added to the mix. Along with this, give them long shoe-strings in bright colors (check the closeout section of your local variety stores.) Children can make necklaces, pull-toys and so forth with their creations.

For older children, try making beads from dryer lint, potatoes and other materials. There are lots of “recipes” for these available. If any of you are interested in more recipes for hand-crafted beads, please let me know and I will include some of these recipes in a future blog entry.




January 24, 2008 at 7:50 pm 1 comment

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