new Bead Simple projects – plus a sale on books and kits!

August 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Posted in beading and jewelrymaking, book news, vintage bits and pieces | 2 Comments

Last month I taught a Bead + Button Jewelry class at PNCA, which was fantastic. My seven students made such beautiful things and I was really honored to be part of the Summer of Making! I wanted to share photos of some of the Bead Simple-inspired projects from the class, which were especially fun for me to see.

Sandra made some really lovely pieces, including Duo Earrings,

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

a Duo Pendant,

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

and a Beadweaving Bracelet.

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

And Marty made her own exuberant version of a Sparkle Cocktail Brooch!

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

Here it is (in progress) with its cousins from the book.

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

If you make anything from Bead Simple, please add photos to the flickr pool or email me, I’d love to see your projects!

In other book news, Taunton is having a 25% off end-of summer sale — including signed copies of Bead Simple, which are now $14.96 instead of $19.95. Snap up a copy of my book or one of their other craft titles — over 600 of them are on sale, including Button It Up!

600 signed pages for Bead Simple

And CRAFT: is running a fantastic sale on all their craft kits in the Maker Shed, too, with at least 15% off everything in stock. Vintagesque Necklace kits are marked down to $5 (usually $12)

Vintagesque Necklace kit - smoky blue Lucite beads

and Solo Earrings kits are $2.50 (usually $6). So cool!

Solo Earrings kit - wine-red, lavender, and hot pink Lucite beads

mending broken jewelry + a brand-new video!

March 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Posted in book news, resources and info | Leave a comment

I just published a tutorial over at the CRAFT: blog on how to mend broken jewelry, from re-attaching clasps to linking a snapped chain back together with a bead or charm!

mending jewelry: tools and materials
tools + materials photo from Button It Up by Burcu Avsar + Zach DeSart

I hope it’s helpful if you’re wrestling with a jewelry repair — it includes written instructions, some detail photos, and two videos I’ve made. And one of them, which shows how to open and close jump rings to securely attach a clasp or turn a charm into a pendant, is brand-new!

I’ve been swamped this year with a new book, a new baby, and my usual freelance jobs, so it’s been slow going uploading the handful of videos I filmed for Bead Simple last spring… I’m much more of a crafter than a filmmaker, to say the least, and wrangling file sizes and formatting are kind of an obstacle course to an amateur like me. I’m sure any 14-year-old would whip them up in a flash but it’s taken me awhile! I hope you like the new one, though — I put it on the technique videos + patterns page and it is on YouTube right here too. More to come one of these days, I promise.

button it up + artful sewing

March 16, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Posted in book events, book news, guest designers | Leave a comment

I have a new craft book out this month, Button It Up, and I’m planning some crafty events to celebrate!

Button It Up - cover!

It has 80 projects to make with vintage (and new) buttons — plenty of jewelry, plus housewares, gifts, accessories, and embellishments — along with a techniques and materials section, a resources guide, and a short history of buttons. I’ve made a book website for it with lots more information and some bonus patterns and tutorials.

And starting this week, I’ll be doing a few crafty book events — if you are local, I’d love to see you at one of them!

Button Crafts at Powell's + Bolt!

Friday, 3/20: make button hairclips at Powell’s Books, 1005 W. Burnside St. in downtown Portland, 503-228-4651

Saturday, 3/28: make button magnets at Bolt Fabric Boutique, 2136 NE Alberta St in Portland, 503-287-BOLT

Here’s a little Bead Simple news, too: first, the Bolt event will have some crafty prizes up for grabs, including a store gift certificate, a button collection, fabric, and a signed copy of Bead Simple. Everyone who comes to the party will be entered in the drawing!

And I’ve made all my Bead Simple kits in my Etsy shop part of the fundraiser to benefit Baby Ike and the Roy family in Austin, Texas.

Solo Earrings kit - wine-red, lavender, and hot pink Lucite beads

If you are interested, you can find out lots more information at the Ikeasaurus website. Thanks to everyone who is part of this effort.

And today is the last day to enter to win a copy of my guest designer Kathy Cano Murillo’s new book, The Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing, over at CraftStylish! You can enter here and read a review I wrote here. Congratulations, Kathy!!

Kathy Cano-Murillo's Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing!

earrings + necklaces for holiday gifts – thank you, Sunset!

November 25, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Posted in beading and jewelrymaking, book news, magazines, vintage bits and pieces | Leave a comment

If you’re looking for some easy, crafty holiday gifts to make this year, some of my favorites are beaded drop Solo Earrings and the star of my book cover, the Vintagesque Necklace! Both projects are very beginner-friendly and a lot of fun to make.

necklace and earrings kits!

You can find the video tutorials for each of them right here on my site, and I’m excited to announce that I have just added some new kits for making them to my Etsy shop, too… they come with vintage beads, wire, findings and complete instructions all in one little package. The necklace kit ($10) comes with smoky blue vintage Lucite beads, and you can choose from wine red, lavender or hot pink for the earrings ($5).

beads for kits!

To celebrate the kits arriving in the world, I’m offering free shipping on any kit for the next week, and a free Solo Earrings kit if you order a signed copy of Bead Simple, too — both offers are good through December 2. You can also find my earrings and necklace kits in blue, brown and orange over in the Maker Shed, thanks to CRAFT: magazine. And I’ll be adding new colors of both kits to my Etsy shop for the holidays next month — I’m thinking black, silver, gold and sparkly!


A huge thank-you to Ivy Manning and Sunset magazine for featuring me and Bead Simple this month, and spotlighting some of my favorite craft classes, shops, and resources, too! I got to talk about some of my favorite local-and-everywhere resources for holiday crafting ideas, including DIY Lounge, Cool Cottons, Crafty Wonderland, and CRAFT: magazine. I’m on page 30 of the Northwest edition, and the interview is also right here on their site. Hooray!

I'm in Sunset this month!

And an extra thank-you to their fantastic photographer, John Clark, who was kind enough to include some of my favorite things in the picture with me and my Solo Earrings: our prized Justin “Scrappers” Morrison painting, my modern heirloom quilt, and my Cathy of California flower brooch and pincushion.

Beading tips and a crafty party!

May 28, 2008 at 7:16 am | Posted in beading and jewelrymaking, book events, book news, crafty events | Leave a comment

Hi, just wanted to check back in after a few weeks… I had my adorable baby girl, Pearl, on May 6 and have had such a great time getting to hang out with her! So I’ve been a bit distracted lately, but wanted to mention a few cool things going on in the jewelry-making realm:

I was recently interviewed about beading for Seventeen magazine and the article (with lots of tips and resources) is up on their site if you want to check it out. I started making jewelry in high school so I was really pleased to pass on some ideas for getting started beading and re-styling your own stuff. Thank you to Neha Gandhi for the great piece!

I’m doing a short segment on AM Northwest this morning (on KATU 2) showing how to make jewelry from Bead Simple! If you are in Portland or anywhere nearby and want to tune in, I’ll be on at 9:40 am making the Pink Floral Ribbon Choker and showing some other projects and techniques from the book, too. Hope to have a video segment to share soon — I’ll keep you posted!

Pink Floral Ribbon Choker
photo by Burcu Avsar and Zach DeSart

And I’m also looking forward to the CRAFT: magazine release party Diane and I are hosting this upcoming Sunday, June 1 for my official re-entry into the crafty world! If you are in Portland, I hope you can make it by to say hello and make a jewelry project with us. It is at the marvelous Twisted again (like last time), and we’ll have some fun door prizes, a fully stocked project table, discounted magazine subscriptions, snacks, and free crafty giveaways, too.

magazine release party - June 1!

The project we’re teaching this time will be my Cute as a Button Bracelet from Bead Simple, which CRAFT: was kind enough to excerpt in this issue! We’ll have all the supplies for you to make your own bracelet to wear home, and Diane and I will be handing out prizes every hour on the hour, too. More on those later — but we’ll be giving away books from Chronicle and Taunton (including Bead Simple) and some of my new jewelry kits plus some fun surprises.

cute as a button bracelet - Bead Simple
photo by Burcu Avsar and Zach DeSart

Hope to see you!

my first two beading videos are up…

May 4, 2008 at 6:14 pm | Posted in beading and jewelrymaking, book news | 3 Comments

Just wanted to mention that my first two technique videos from Bead Simple are up if you’d like to check them out! I filmed one for making Solo Earrings (or any other simple bead embellishment like a pendant or bracelet dangle) and one for wire looping the Vintagesque Necklace (on the book cover). Thanks for posting about them, Diane and Jenny!

solo earrings:

vintagesque necklace:

They’re both posted on the on the technique videos + patterns page, and I’ll have another bunch of videos joining them there in the next little while after a short personal break — kind of a mini-maternity leave! See you in a few days…

Bead Simple in CRAFT: 07!

April 30, 2008 at 9:00 am | Posted in beading and jewelrymaking, book news, crafty events, magazines | 1 Comment

I was so excited to get my copy of CRAFT: 07, which is out this week… along with tons of great crafty tutorials and features, they were kind enough to spotlight my Cute as a Button Bracelet as a Quick Craft in the new issue!

07 - yay!

Arwen O’Reilly also wrote a super nice review of Bead Simple — I especially love the last line.

review of Bead Simple in issue 07

Don’t forget about Maker Faire this weekend, too! I wish I could go (teaching and running around last year was so much fun) — but at nine months and counting, I’m just going to have to look forward to 2009. But on a happier note, I am really pleased to announce that CRAFT: will be debuting my new Bead Simple kits at Maker Faire and in the Maker Store, though, so I will get to be part of it after all! More on that shortly…

You can grab the new issue at newsstands or subscribe online. Thanks so much, CRAFT:!


book release day!

March 25, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Posted in beading and jewelrymaking, book events, book news, crafty events | 1 Comment

I am so excited that Bead Simple is out in the world today! Yay!

Bead Simple is out today!

I’m so happy that after two years of designing, writing, obsessive Excel-sheet-updating, proofreading, and waiting, March 25 is finally here and the book is out. I hope that if you buy it, borrow it, or see it at your library or local bookstore you’ll enjoy it thoroughly, and I’d absolutely love to hear what you think!

I’m really looking forward to doing some fun events, starting next month when I dip into my crazy collection of vintage beads to start hosting a few free jewelry-making parties. Here’s a sneak peek at one of my favorite beginner-friendly projects — sparkly Solo Earrings, as modeled by one of Moxie‘s delightful monsters!

moxie earrings

I’m working on the details for my Powells event (Monday, April 7 at 7:30, more info to come very soon!), and really looking forward to doing book events at Twisted, Crafty Wonderland, and Church of Craft later in the year. I’m also planning some fun out-of-town stuff in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Raleigh, and I hope a few other places too!

Last, a couple of quick things… if you make anything inspired by the book, I would really love to see it — please add it to the Bead Simple flickr group I set up!

And if you are looking for a copy, you can find it at your local bookstore, any Michaels location, or on Amazon. You can find signed copies at the Taunton website or directly from me via my Etsy shop, too. And hopefully it will be on the shelf at your library branch!

Huge thanks for the support from my family, all my lovely friends and guest designers… and to everyone who reads my blog, thank you for putting up with my shameless self-promotion in between spotlighting other people’s cool crafty stuff.

ps: a special thank-you to my in-laws, Paul and Nancy, for surprising me with these beautiful flowers to celebrate the book release, and to Andrew for bringing me breakfast in bed today!

Celebratory flowers!

links and thank-yous

March 21, 2008 at 9:35 am | Posted in book news, guest designers | 3 Comments

I’m so excited that the book will be out this Tuesday! March 25 sounded so far away for so long and now it’s coming right up… so now that things are getting so close, I wanted to link over to a few lovely previews, and a very generous giveaway from one of my amazing guest designers, too.

Bead Simple Earrings

First, Nancy Flynn, designer of the Beachy Duo Earrings from Bead Simple, has made a gorgeous new pink-and-white variation of her own design and is offering them up to one of her readers to celebrate the book’s release on Tuesday! Just stop by her lovely blog and leave a comment on the post and you’re automatically entered to win them — she will draw a winner on the 25th.

The new ones are just gorgeous — and so spring-y, too… Thanks so much, Nancy! I can’t wait to see who wins next week.

Tricia Royal's Pop Organic Low + Swingy Earrings

Tricia Royal, who designed the Pop Organic Low and Swingy Earrings, wrote up a fantastic preview on her Bits and Bobbins blog… she picked some of her favorite designs, including Jennifer PerkinsBric-A-Brac Charming Bracelet and Vintage Button Brooches by me and by Laura Stokes.

And Jenny Ryan, creator of the Candy Shoppe One-Strand Bracelet, wrote up the book too with such nice things to say about the range of projects and their creators: “What’s especially cool is that Susan enlisted nearly 40 crafty pals (familiar names like Jennifer Perkins, Cathy of California, Faythe Levine and yep, yours truly) to put their own spin on her projects. It’s great seeing how different folks put their stamp on things and I’m so proud of Susan for putting together such an inventive and beautiful book.”

Linda Augsburg also let me know about this great review on the Make It Mine site this morning… after a really nice overview of the techniques and projects, Tea Benduhn finishes: “The choice quote from the introduction pretty much sums it all up: ‘Here’s to making jewelry that makes you feel gorgeous.’ And that’s really what it’s all about. So go ahead, gorgeous, and treat yourself to Bead Simple.”

Thank you so much to Nancy, Tricia, Jenny, Tea and Linda for the generous support! I really appreciate it.

p.s. If you make something inspired by the book, I’d love it if you’d add a photo of your project to the Bead Simple flickr pool! Seeing what everyone makes is definitely the most exciting part of the whole thing.

I also wanted to mention that I started an author blog over at Amazon, if you are into that kind of thing…

two weeks away!

March 13, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Posted in book events, book news, guest designers | 1 Comment

I just started a Bead Simple flickr pool for photos of any craft and jewelry projects inspired by the book, and I’m so pleased that there are already some fun things in the mix! Here are three of my favorites so far:

My creation

Left to right are Candy Shoppe Bracelets made by Jenny Ryan, Sarah Minshall‘s Circles in the Square Tote (made by Jessica Aframe), and the Triple Tier Filigree Necklace made by Linda Permann. If you’d like to join the group, or send me photos, I would love to see what you make!

I can hardly believe that the book release date is two weeks away (!) — March 25. So if you’ve pre-ordered it from Amazon or Taunton, it should be delivered by then, and it will be in bookstores (and Michaels) that week too.

And just a reminder if you are in (or near) Portland: I’m doing my first book event on Monday, April 7 at 7:30 at the downtown Powells location (1005 W. Burnside). I’ll have a bunch of the book projects to show, and my six Portland guest designers will be in attendance, too! I’m also bringing tools, findings, and vintage beads along, so everyone who stops by can make a pair of earrings. Hope to see you then!

I’ll be doing more free Bead Simple jewelry-making classes over the next few months at Church of Craft, Crafty Wonderland, and Twisted. More on those soon…

Andrew and I are also filming a little series of jewelry-making tutorials this weekend, which I’m excited about — everything from working with jump rings and forming loops to briolette wrapping and making clasps. I’ll be posting them here and on youtube and I hope they’re handy, especially if you’re just getting started. Meanwhile, my web designer is working on a new book site with lots more features — it will always live here at I’ll keep you posted!

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