Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our mix table is busy...

stir, stir, stir, pluck
stir, stir, stir, pluck

stir, stir, stir...

That's the sound of our bead mix table. This is a large, custom-built table that holds our various bead mixes. It's in the back of the shop, but it's one of the most popular places in the shop. Regulars visit it every time they stop in the store. We fill the compartments with a variety of mixes; glass beads from the Czech Republic, or wooden beads of all shapes and sizes, or a mix of chevron beads from India. It's the most cosmopolitan part of our shop, and one of my favorites. 

Because the table can be accessed from both sides, quick friendships form. 'What are you looking for? Blue? How about this one?' and 'Can you see if you can find any of these brown flat ones for me?' Strangers spend long minutes happily helping others find the perfect match. It's a place of social connection, I'll help you find what you need while you help me find what I need. If I don't find it, well, it's just a bead...The search is so much fun. 

It's also addictive. Even for me, the quick glance at the table can lead to minutes, hours? spent stirring and plucking beads. See that one gold and green one in the picture above? When I was taking this picture, I saw it and thought 'oh, those would be perfect in earrings...' and then spent a few minutes stirring through the mix until I found a match. While doing that, I found a pretty red one that also needed a match...

You see how it goes. We do sell a few of the mixes on our website, like the glass beads right here, but the real fun in the mix table comes from joining the group crowded around the bins...

stir, stir, stir, pluck

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Birthday Parties at Ornamentea

Our shop hosts LOTS of birthday parties. We always get excited when we see the guests arrive to the decorated classroom. We know that they will have a great time creating hand-made crafts while celebrating a friend's milestone.

One of the things that sets our parties apart is the projects. Unlike some of the big-box craft stores, our jewelry projects are made with designer-quality ingredients. Time and again we hear the moms say 'I can't believe how nice this jewelry is!' after their daughters are finished. We can't help it; we aren't a junky craft supply store! That means you won't have to find a place to display yet another foam-sticker-coated picture frame or tacky glued-together pipe cleaner creation after the party. Since I'm a mom, I understand that once the kiddo MAKES the craft, they will want to KEEP the craft.

We do parties for all ages - from decoupage for the youngest ones to more involved beading or paper crafts for elementary-agers, to 'whoa, that's a blowtorch!' silver smithing parties for teens and adults.

Some party specifics:
we can accommodate up to 12 in our classroom
we only make you pay for the guests who show up!
our party fees include the room use, an instructor, use of all the tools and supplies for each project
we have a lovely parking lot right next to our building - no parking garage hassle!

Want more info? Check out our parties page here. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Newsletter Message; cats and dogs

Good morning. I'm a bit late today. My bed was too compelling, and every time I thought about getting up, one of my dogs would shoot me a look that clearly said 'Lie down, good girl!'

I've had a lot of pets throughout my life. My husband and I bonded during our first (blind) date by talking about how much we hated cats, how weirdly obsessive their owners were, how they shed everywhere and didn't come when you called them. We kept tropical fish in a giant aquarium that dwarfed our miniscule apartment. After we married (it was a good blind date) we moved to Texas and became the obsessive owners of a cat who came when she was called and had the ability to shed in places you were pretty sure she had never been. We liked to refer to our dating days as 'when we used to hate cats' as we built elaborate cat play structures out of empty cardboard boxes. Finally, we had to admit we are both just animal people. Over the years our family has included chickens, hermit crabs and bees, although I'm not sure I'd classify the last as pets. Now we have two dogs who take up more bed space than my husband or I are happy with. We amuse ourselves by talking in the dogs voices. 

I can't imagine not having a pet. 

If you have a vacancy in the pet department, we will have adoptable kitties at Pop-Up Sunday this weekend. The fine folks from Safe Haven for Cats, a very lovely group, will have some of their favorite cats here for you to meet. Even if your house zoo is full, you can come by and drink an Abita beer, eat a taco and help raise some money for the cats. Find out about our Pop-Up vendors here. 

This week at the shop we are putting out a collection of old trade beads and stones purchased from an estate. So far we've unboxed some very old Czech glass cabochons, odd rhinestones and a selection of glass eyes (the hand-worked kind on wires) and old rhinestone set beads. I'll post pictures on facebook and instagram as I get the items put out. 

If you haven't yet purchased your tickets to Redress Raleigh on May 29th, hurry up. They are on sale here. We are excited to see the work of Ornamentea staff member Maria Juri and customer Rock Kershaw in the fashion show...it will be good!

I'll see you soon-


  • we have new vintage crystals in the mix bowl, including larger sizes you want for setting in solder, beaded bezels and more
  • new shell strands are perfect for beachy earrings
  • we've restocked the U.S.A. made plated wire...hurry before it sells out again
  • there is still a nice selection of 50% off stone strands available; Peruvian opal, smokey quartz, amethyst, jade, hematite and more. Very pretty strands, very nicely priced.
  • rawhide mallets, fine jeweler's files, pumice-filled soldering pans and other bench tools have been restocked

The above text was excerpted from our weekly store Newsletter. There were also coupons and links to special prices on classes. Don't miss out, subscribe today. Use that handy link in the sidebar!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Trend alert: bracelets have been popular for at least 40,000 years!

I hear this every year:

'Wow, you really caught this beading/crafting/jewelry wearing trend!'


I don't think beading is a trend.
I don't think crafting is a trend.
I don't think jewelry wearing is a trend.

I think beading, adornment, jewelry wearing and crafting are all things that humans DO. We make things. We like making things. We like wearing the things we make.


That's why I love this article, about a bracelet made by a human(ish) person around 40,000 years ago.

Plus, cuff bracelets are totally on trend right now.

Read the full article in the Siberian Times (yes, that's a real publication) right here

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ready-to-finish wood beads...I like them!

This necklace has been on my mind a lot lately. I made it for a display at the shop and now keep wanting to wear it. Sadly, it's part of a pretty, chalkboard display created by Maya. That means I can't pilfer it for my daily adornment.


The necklace is made of wooden beads, with the center beads all individually finished in Decopatch papers. The sides are plain, unfinished beads, which I actually really like the look of. The back is a section of Bali batik, so it's super comfortable to wear.

I should post a pic of the display. I should also just make myself another one of these. Maybe with some Sankofa beads thrown in for good measure?

Monday, April 27, 2015