Friday, December 6, 2013

Val's Beady Gift Ideas

What gifts do you buy for a beader?  For non-beaders, it's a mystery!  What is it about those tiny orbs that fascinates us so?  How does one little project explode  into an all-consuming obsession with tiny bits of glass and crystal?

It would appear to the casual eye that most beaders have all they could ever need and want where beads are concerned but it's an insidious obsession.  We don't just need beads!  We need beady supplies!  Gear!  Inspiration!  If you ask a beader what they really want for the Holidays, he or she will almost always answer that they want more beads or this new beady accessory or this cool tool or something bead related.

I've compiled a dream wish list of things I'd like to have, from the extravagant to something simple.  Here are a few traditional and also a few unconventional gift suggestions if you're stuck for ideas:

Gift certificates!  I love, love to receive gift certificates!  Free beads, here I come!  I'm not just talking bead stores, neither!  There are so many possibilities.  Here are a few places I wouldn't mind having gift certificates for:   Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and  

Books!  I love books to the umpteenth degree!  Other beaders love books, too!  There are so many fabu books full of beady inspiration and a gift certificate to a book store lets your favorite beader choose the books they'd like!  You can also gift magazines!  Who wouldn't love a subscription to Bead and Button or Beadwork?  

What book is on my wish list?  Well, there are so many books out there but I'd like to have Jill Wiseman's Beautiful Beaded Ropes .  I so love the rope on the cover!  I'd wear this one for sure!

Beads!  Well, that's a given.  Even with a whole room full of beads, we never have enough!  Gift certificates to bead stores are among my favorite gifts.  This is a great chance to shop local!  I've received and happily spent gift certificates to my local bead store and I tell you, it's a thrill!  I get so excited over those shiny orbs of perfection!  

If you can't shop local, hey!  That's ok!  One of my favorite places to buy square hole seed beads and Swarovski crystals is Fire Mountain Gems.  My favorite place to buy druks, seed beads and glass pearls is Shipwreck Beads.  They sell gift cards!  I'll bet most retailers offer some sort of gift card/certificate option.  There are also smaller, independently owned retail sites like - so many to choose from!  

Patterns!  Many beaders love to purchase tutorials, patterns and kits.  Some great resources for patterns are, of course, Etsy and ArtFire.  Among my personal favorite shops are, of course, the shops of my fellow Mavens.  (our links are in the blog sidebars, hint hint).  :)  A few of my personal favorite independent sites are Good Quill Hunting and The Beading Butterfly.  There are so many wonderful sites by my beady friends and colleagues but I can't list them all.  :)  

Kits!  This is what I'm gifting to my beady ladies this year.  I've designed a project, I'm writing the tutorial, and I bought Christmas themed tins.  I'm putting the beads and supplies they'll need for the project, along with a printed tutorial, in the tins and we will work on them together during our annual gathering.  Another idea for kit containers are those plastic pencil boxes.  They're the perfect size!  Trim a  bead mat to fit et voila!

If you're working with a more generous budget, here are some dreamy items:

Bead On It Boards!  I have yet to try one of these very popular little beading boards but some of my friends have them.  Some of the Mavens use them and they look pretty neat!  You can find them here.  They have little padded bumpers so your beads don't escape and a soft liner that keeps beads from rolling all around.  One day I'd like to try one!

Mirrix Looms!  Ah, if you've ever dreamed of a fantasy loom, Mirrix is the loom for you!  I personally have one of these (I have the 12" Little Guy loom) and I want another one already!  Seriously, these are the Cadillac of looms.  I've tried many styles of looms in my day and these are phenomenal.  They have ultra adjustable tension and that's so hard to find with other looms.  They have a shedding device available with most models and oh, I love it! They also have an accessory kit for no-warp-ends weaving.  They work double duty as tapestry looms and beading looms, they're made in the USA and they have all sorts of accessories and sizes to choose from!  When you buy a loom, you become part of their community and can participate in weave-alongs and group forums and you have access to classes and videos.  Seriously, love!  You can find them here

This is the one I have:  12" Little Guy with Shedding Device

A Tablet!  For those with a healthy budget:  This is the information age and tablets and e-readers are wonderful tools for beaders!  One of my students brings her Ipad to my classes with my tutorials on it.  

I have a Nook tablet and I love it!  It holds my .pdf tutorials so if I wanted to take one to a class I'm saving paper.  I have several years worth of beading magazines that were converted to digital format on my Nook.  

Interweave sells whole year compendium volumes of magazines like Beadwork and they work wonderfully on my Nook.  You can also buy digital subscriptions to Bead and Button (at a lower price than print, too!) from Barnes & Noble's website.   Remember those aforementioned gift certificates?  You can buy beady Nook books, too!  Amazon offers many of the same books and magazines for their Kindle.  I'm seeing a lot of lower cost tablets and many look really nice!  You can download Nook formatting software so your Nook books will work on laptops.  I'm theorizing it would work on these other tablets, too.  

A Book Stand!  Yes, I seriously want a great book stand, preferably one in wood.  It's a great prop for my Nook or for a beading magazine, too!  Some stands have page holders so your books don't close up.  It's something you don't think about but think how much of a help this could be while beading!  It's definitely a "want" for me.  Look at the variety I found on an Amazon search for book stands!

This post is getting very wordy so I think I'll leave with one final suggestion, something that all beaders want and need and love:

Storage!  Bead storage is something that we all inevitably get obsessed with.  I get so excited when I stumble upon a new storage system!  My fellow Maven, Mikki recently purchased a new system and she loves it!  She found her bead storage system from Bead Storage Solutions here.  There are more accessories that go with this system, too!  Whichever system you find, I'm sure you will make your beader very happy. 

If all else fails, cash is always widely appreciated, hah!  :)  I hope I've given you some great ideas here.  

If you have any gift ideas I'd love to hear them!  I wish you and yours the very happiest of Holiday seasons!  ~Val

I've not been compensated in any way by any company or product that I've listed here.  This post represents my own personal opinions.  :)