Category Archives: Creativity Tips

Design Tip: Use Bead Caps!

If you’ve you are designing jewelry and want to make your design really pop: use bead caps! If you peruse
our necklace design ideas, bracelet design ideas, and earring design ideas, you will notice a lot of bead caps and spacers. My favorite designs use a lot of bead caps. Below are some samples of some jewelry designs
using bead caps.


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Filed under Creativity Tips, Jewelry Design Ideas, Tips, Tips, techniques & tools for jewelry making

Do what you love….

There are always going to be the things we have to do or “should” do gnawing at us.  Let’s be vigilant in protecting the time that we spend doing what we love to do so that the demands of life don’t suck the life out of us.  Even if we’ve forgotten to tend to what we love, we can always start now.  I say this because I need to hear it, and imagine that I may be speaking for others as well.  Do you relate?

My most recent necklace design is now on our website.  Pretty in Prehnite uses Vintaj natural brass chain and findings, Tierracast brass oxide components, glazed clay, and natural prehnite.  Prehnite is a stone that is associated with unconditional love, perfect for when we need to treat ourselves with more love!
Pretty in Prehnite Necklace Kit

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Create a Happy New Year!

Consider the possibility that we are always creating. Our thoughts our constantly creating images in our heads and gathering evidence to support our beliefs. This is a new year. And this is a new moment. In every moment there is newness… a new moment that has never been before, a new start, a fresh, brilliant space to generate a new possibility for your life. Join me in creating a happy new year, embracing our creative minds and directing them to generate the thoughts and images to build a life we love, one moment at a time!

Save 15% on Vintaj!
Start Shopping Now! In our webstore or retail store only thru Sunday, January 6, 2013.
Sale good for in-stock components only. Kits not included. No backorders.

Start your year with Rainbows!
The Swarovski Crystal Cuff is now available with Sterling, Gold Vermeil, and Copper findings! Rainbow Rondelle kit (shown right) is on sale for $26.99 thru 1/6/2013!

New Natural Beads
Leather, bone & horn. Click to see all the styles!

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Filed under Bead Jewelry Kits, Creativity Tips, Sale & Event Announcements

Grant me the Serenity…

Autumn Gingko Earring Kit

Autumn Gingko Earring Kit

to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

By now, you’ve seen this verse/ prayer around.  But did you know that this thinking will also free your mind to enhance your creativity?

It’s always a little heartbreaking to have someone come into the shop looking for a bead of a specific color, shape, size, and material, and not have to offer exactly what they are looking for.  These people are on a mission for one specific thing, and for some, nothing else will satisfy them.  It seems that there is nothing I can do about it except to offer my regret that I cannot help them more.

I will always show them what is similar to what they are looking for, and other options that  they have for completing their project without that specific thing.  Some people are receptive to this and some are not.  Some people get quite upset that we don’t have what they want.  I suffer a little bit with them.

Circles of control and influenceIn a past career as a corporate trainer, I took away a valuable visual model for freeing the mind of unnecessary distress.  We can put all the things we can put our attention on into one of three categories: what we can control, what we can influence, and what we have no control or influence over.

What we have no control or influence over: the past, the economy, terrorism, the weather, the seasons, the price of silver, what we find when we are looking for something, what other people want and need.

What we can control: our own behavior, our choices, our willingness to learn something new, our actions in educating ourselves, our flexibility in opening our view, whether we seek help or go it on our own, whether we focus on what is available to us or what is not available to us, the requests that we make, whether we make requests or demands, whether we are open to receiving.

What we can influence: other people’s behavior in responding to us, our health, our community and society, our satisfaction.


We have just introduced our next session of classes, including more from Marilyn. Check them out!

The more we put attention on what we have no control or influence over, the more we increase our stress, and the smaller our circle of influence becomes.  Putting our attention on what we can control, reduces our stress, and as a nice side effect, increases what we have influence over.   We can influence how people respond to us by whether we are focusing on things we have no control over or things that we do.

We had Marilyn Peters teach a class at Bead Inspirations last weekend.  She helped people design their multi-dimensional bracelets, using the materials we had in the shop, including Swarovski pearls, crystals, and seed beads.  What was delightful for me to witness is how she helped people focus on what products we had that they could make their projects with.  There was never a comment about what we didn’t have.  I was heartened because I knew that this focus would help the students’ creativity flourish.  I loved seeing the pallets they chose and can’t wait to see the finished bracelets!

Autumn Love Necklace Kit

Autumn Love Necklace Kit

For those who live outside of the area, take heart! We are in the process of putting instructions for our kits on our website.  It will take time, so please have patience, and stay tuned.  Those on our email list will be notified as they come online. The first one done is our popular Autumn Love necklace.  Thanks to Carol Bernau, Bead Inspirations instructor and staff member for writing these up and putting them online.

It is a good reminder for me to remember to be open to receiving the blessings of the universe.  I’m choosing to be open to where my blessings will come from, rather than try to control this.  I will also choose to be grateful for what I do receive, and free up my creative spirit to do its thing.

Vicki Lapp


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The Joy of Co-creating

Jean Wolslegel

Jean making her own Sundance-inspired bracelet

We have a regular gang for Bead Night at our shop in Alameda, and I love the sense of comfort and belonging that we share.  What I’m really delighted by is the opportunities that arise for co-creating.  There is an excitement and synergy that are present when someone adds their contribution to another person’s design.

Last night, Jean Wolslegel mentioned how much she liked the new necklace that I made during the week.   It started off with my decision to experiment with Gilders Paste.  I had put Gilders Paste on a Vintaj brass filigree and then polished up.

Gilded Lace Necklace

Gilded Lace Necklace

Our customer Amy Allen was in the shop and had inspired me to use the particular combination of Swarovski crystals and faceted glass rondelles.  Another customer helped me decide on the combination of bead caps from Nunn Design and Tierracast.  Lydia Chapman helped with the finishing touch of the dangle hanging from the filigree. I was proud of what “I” had made, and until I began writing this, I had forgotten how many people had helped me co-create  it.

Annie Rutter

Annie Rutter at Bead Night

So last night, after Jean commented on the new necklace, Annie Rutter got curious about the gilders paste.  So we got it out and started playing with it on some other components.  I loved how Annie used it on the Mythical Wings from Vintaj.  Even more, I loved her input on a new necklace that I was putting together. I used a Vintaj princess filigree around a blue hemimorphite focal bead. This got wired to another filigree. I strung up some harlequin beads, Swarovski crystals, and Swarovski pearls with little spacers.  I stayed up late to finish it, but relished in the creative flow.

Gilded Luna-Sea

Gilded Luna-Sea

It’s so much fun when it is a group effort!

Vicki Lapp

P.S. It was great to see Evan and Holly at bead night too!

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Filed under Creativity Tips, New Products, Times like these...

What are you letting go of?

Silver Key Necklace KitIn order to make room for the emergence or birth of something new, we may need to let go of something first.

When I traveled to Nepal many years ago, I was fascinated to find that one of the most popular of the Hindu deities there was Shiva, the god of destruction.  It made sense that sometimes something has to be destroyed before you can build something new.  However, I never felt comfortable that on the dashboards of some of the busses I rode were statues of Shiva.

Last month we opened up our staff meeting by having each person name something that they were letting go of and a quality that they were bringing forth.  I declared that I was letting go of a sense of hurry and bringing forth presence.  Another said that she was letting go of frustration and bringing forth calmness.  As each person named what they were letting go of, a spirit of light-heartedness came forward as we laughed at ourselves for what we have been hanging on to.

Passion Necklace Kit - Vintaj Bead Jewelry KitSome of my happiest dreams are of flying, though they don’t happen often.  When I have those dreams it is after I have let go of some type of emotional baggage that I had been habitually carrying.

Recently we were selling at a local bead show and after finishing our set up we were waiting for customers to arrive.  When I am in the shop and there are no customers, there is an endless amount of computer work and inventory work to do.  This was an odd sensation: without my computer I had no work that I could do!  So having let go of work, and surrounded by beautiful beads and a few beading tools and jewelry findings, I made jewelry. What fun! The creativity poured through me as I made three new necklaces.   It helped to have beautiful lampwork beads from Unicorne, Vintaj filigree, and Nunn Design chains.  But more importantly  it helped to let go of the computer.  By the way, the new necklaces have become jewelry kits: Mystical Ocean, Passion, and Silver Key necklaces.Mystical Ocean Necklace Kit - Vintaj filigree bead jewelry kit

What are you willing to let go of in order to create something new?  If nothing immediately comes to mind, consider letting go of one of these: thinking you aren’t good enough, telling yourself you are not creative, comparing yourself to others, or trying to please someone else.

Letting go doesn’t have to be an event, like you have to get divorced before you can marry again.  It can be a daily practice to enrich your creativity.  Everyday you can ask yourself: what am I letting go of and what do I want to being forth?

Vicki Lapp

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Choose to go to your happy place

Shimmering LIghts Earring KitWhen I got started beading, I was in a stressful job with a long commute (tiring and stressful).  At a friend’s suggestion, I took a class at a nearby bead store.  After work I came home and started making jewelry.  I would feel the tension leave my body with each bead I would put on the wire.  I felt better at midnight after hours of beading than I had all day long.  Beading became my “happy place.”

Soon I started teaching beading classes out of my house in the East Bay, which led to opening a bead shop, Bead Inspirations.  In the past 6+ years, I have heard so many customers tell me how fun, relaxing and therapeutic beading has been for them.

But even in a fun business like beads, I can get focused on stressful things:  surviving a difficult economy, dealing with employee issues, making sure we have products on time for classes, etc.  So what I’ve learned I have to do is to keep choosing to go to my happy place.  It is a mental habit to spend so much of my time focusing on the stressful aspects of my life.  But, I’ve got a choice!

Neptune Beach Earring KitSometimes it is enough to interrupt the stressful thinking and think about a time when I was relaxed and happy.  I can remember how it feels to be in the creative flow and dwell in that memory for a while, taking the time to feel into the joyful serenity of it.  Other times I need to actually disengage completely from all the other activities in my life and physically go to my favorite happy place for a time.  Either way, I can choose.

In one of my spiritual reference books we affirm: I can choose peace instead of this.  We don’t have to live with stress all the time because we can choose to go to the happy place, either in our mind our in the physical world.  I hope to see you there.

Vicki Lapp

P.S. If you’re in the SF Bay Area, come to our shop in Alameda for Bead Night on Fridays from 6-9pm.  Check our calendar to make sure it is happening, as sometimes we don’t have Bead Night because of other events in the store.  You’ll usually find me there in my happy place!


Filed under Creativity Tips