James Taylor inspired necklace

Here’s my latest Color Inspiration – JT in Concert and FREE DIY from so you can make your own beauty inspired by James Taylor!

James Taylor in concert this summer

I’m a HUGE James Taylor fan!

I’ve lost track of how many live concerts I’ve been to AND how many t-shirts I have. Each concert is like a treasure that I anticipate from the moment I buy the ticket! Don’t we all have a love affair with music? We can relive a past event with just the first few notes of a song. And many of our faves helped us get through some pretty rough times. That’s James Taylor for me in a nutshell.

I was so fortunate to recently go to JT’s outdoor concert in Colorado and it was magical. I took this picture and wanted to use it as an inspiration for a piece of jewelry. I loved the dramatic color pallet and of course the memory of that event will linger each time I wear the necklace.

I used a combo of gemstones, Czech glass and crystals for this piece. It’s a lot of wrapped loops so even if you’re not good at them in the beginning-you will be by the end of the project! Of course I had to use an actual guitar pick for the focal and a little musical charm for an accent.





Tropical Breeze

Here’s my latest Color Inspiration – Tropical Breeze and FREE DIY from so you can make your own Tropical Breeze crystal chain!

Tropical Breeze Color Inspiration

One look at this beachy delight and all problems disappear! If you take a few moments to really experience this image, I invite you to breathe in the seashore smells, feel the warm sunny breeze on your body and dip those toes into the ocean – take a deep breath and release with a loud sigh. Now, don’t you feel better? That’s what powerful images can do for you and your jewelry making!

I made this focal piece using traditional stained glass techniques of soldering with bevels and encasing a piece of my hand painted silk fabric. I considered using a simple commercial chain but I wanted to really pop the focal and pull in more depth with the complementary wire and texture using the lovely crystal links. When you need something simple and functional, consider making your own chain. Then see where it takes you! To add a focal piece or not – that is the question (sorry Shakespeare)!

Here’s the link for Tropical Breeze crystal chain FREE DIY!


Hello Strangers!


It’s been eons since I’ve blogged for all my creative peeps and I miss YOU!

So, here goes and it’s VERY good to be back!

Misty Mountain Bracelet

I LOVE creating jewelry projects with an interesting Color Inspiration, don’t you? I write articles about Color Inspiration where I take an image, create a color pallet using that image. Then I make a piece of jewelry using that color pallet. It’s a great way to broaden your artistic horizons and helps get out of any color rut you may be in. It’s a delightful exercise for any type of designer and I enjoy sharing with my artistic peeps!

Here’s my latest Color Inspiration – Misty Mountains Bracelet and FREE DIY link from so you can make it yourself!

Misty Mountains Color Inspiration

Living in the stunning state of Colorado, I am forever in awe of the beauty and nature’s everchanging color pallet. Usually, I am drawn to brighter tones for my jewelry inspiration so this one is out of my “normal” comfort zone. I tuned into the monochromatic mountain feeling of this image and this bracelet was born! It was a really satisfying experience to jump into an unfamiliar color pallet and see where that path led me artistically.

I also experimented with a “new to me wire”-aluminum. Recently, I’ve had many customers request more lighter weight jewelry so I gave it a try. I love the results! Light weight and very easy to work with so double the fun. I usually gravitate to large links for bracelets as I did in this one, but you could make this same design using the smaller oval mandrel pliers for a more delicate look. Join me and step out of your color comfort zone!

Here’s the link for Misty Mountain Bracelet FREE DIY:



Feed a Funk, Starve the Blues

Here’s an article I wrote for Fire Mountain Gems awhile back and they sent it out again today. I thought my new beady peeps might like it as well. Enjoy!
by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and Swarovski Instructor,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

I don’t know about you all but there are moments I fall into a funk, feel like I’m battling the blues and simply cannot tap into my creativity for one reason or another. Maybe it’s too many hot summer days in a row, or running out of my frozen Girl Scout Thin Mint stash in the fridge, maybe it’s the tube of spilled seed beads in the carpet thanks to my puppy racing through my studio chasing a fly. I simply lose my ”mojo,” my inspiration, the jewelry-making juice that keeps my spark ignited. It happens to all of us at some point….

Some of my usual methods of blasting through this artistic funk are retail therapy (especially new beads or crystals), more chocolate, a puppy hug, cranking up the stereo channeling Donna Summer and singing along with my fave disco songs, or a good long walk in nature. But my absolute #1 sure-fire method is to hook up with one of my creative BFFs, dive into a new jewelry-making technique or craft, dump out all of our tools and goodies in the studio and play together! Whether it’s a few precious hours or a weekend marathon such as the one I recently had with my metal clay BFF Chris, it works every time! Through the laughs, camaraderie, and digging through each other’s stash, the funk melts away!
Friends are simply one of the main ingredients of this cake called life that absolutely cannot be ignore or omitted. The icing is the beautiful jewelry (or other artwork) you end up creating and the pleasure it gives you as your eyes gaze with proud wonder at your masterpieces; and whether you end up giving them as gifts, selling them, or wearing them yourself, the sense of complete satisfaction and creative flow is a wave you can ride until the next funk comes along.
I’d like to share a few Kristal Wick’s tips on beating the blues:
  • Bring all the vital supplies. Running out to the store for a missing component mid-technique is NOT advisable. Make sure to order and purchase everything you need before your ”play date.”
  • Plan ahead! Schedule a ”play date” with a buddy or a bunch of jewelry pals and block out that time in PEN on the calendar so it cannot be erased! Feeding your creative soul on a regular basis keeps the whole world in balance. As my buddy’s hubby says, ”Keep mama happy and the whole family is happy, go ahead, make another   necklace …”
  • Play Date Checklist:
    • Jewelry tools, components, and your jewelry-making stash
    • Munchies, libations, sustenance (grilling is good for this type of event, easy and not much prep work especially if your bud’s hubby likes to grill)
    • If it’s an AM event, COFFEE! PM event, vino, iced tea, or sparkling juice
    • Inspiring books, magazines and catalogs–fun to browse through each other’s books while you munch and sip. Guaranteed to get the creative pump primed!
    • No cell phone chatting, texting, or Facebooking during this time. The whole point is to be 100% totally present with your peeps and dive into YOUR creative inner child. Carve out this time for YOU! Nothing kills a creative flow more than a call from your husband asking when you’ll be home to make dinner … (Nothing wrong with leftovers honey!)
    • Home made rhubarb crisp can cure almost any type of blues
    • Don’t forget your cleanest jammies. That may be all you wear (like us)!
  • Wrap up your Play Date with scheduling another one. Get it on the books now, before another 3 months go by.

Even if you end up scrapping everything you created during that time (yes, it’s happened to me), you’ll have learned what NOT to do next time, had a fulfilling experience of remembering your buried creative spark, and had fun ”sparking” your peeps! The desired result is not really the piece of jewelry you end up with, it’s the feeling, the excitement of playing with a buddy (like we used to on the school yard play ground) who likes the same stuff we do (beading, knitting, crocheting, wire wrapping, claying, well you get the picture).

So dust off your tools, buy some new beads, call a friend and make a play date!

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, “Feed a Funk, Starve the Blues,” featured in an industry expert email. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

“Hello, Kristal! I can’t agree with you more! I have a jewelry friend who also likes to work in fibers. She thinks outside the box and her creations are innovative and provocative. We meet once per week, whenever possible, and work on our creations, coming up with solutions to problem areas, chatting; not only about jewelry-making, but about life and spirit and how the creative process starts to work in us, first in a fog, then ideas become clearer within the chat arena and our shared souls with each other. Food plays a big part in keeping our creative edge sharp; how can one be at their best if they are hungry? We are both disabled and have plenty of reasons to moan, but using our creative urges distracts, and sometimes makes our funk(s) completely disappear, for long enough to create something extraordinary. Wish you could meet her, she rocks, and also has the strength of a boulder. No matter how bad she feels, she perseveres in her creative endeavors, and, if physically able, uses her sense of discipline to continue her art, even if she has to stay in bed. It’s all good! I love her and take suggestions for new techniques and project ideas. I, too, have to claw my way out of deep, funky places. It is hard, but my craft and my art are what I hold onto to bring me back to the light in my soul. Sincerely, With Many Regards!”

– Meredith
“As a bead shop owner I loved Kristal Wick’s article “Feed a Funk, Starve the Blues”. It is inspiring! I have printed it out and will be making reference to it in my next newsletter. Thanks for a great article.”
– Geri
“Love it! Thanks so much. Krystal has excellent writing skills too. Was she an english teacher in her past life?”
– Christy
“I enjoyed it immensely as my girlfriend and I are planning one of these! Great fun tips, thanks.”
– Anonymous
“I loved this article especially when I’ve been in a slump for a while now. I love beading, machine embroidery and painting clothes but it seems I am always putting my family first and myself so last that by the time I get to me there’s nothing left–no energy–no spark. Thanks for writing this article.”
– Maria
“I always enjoyed reading her column on Beading Daily and missed her when she left. Hope you have more from her.”
– Mary
“Great article! I couldn’t agree more with Kristal! Thanx,”
– Shirley
“Feedback, not question. Too TRUE, too TRUE! A buddy of mine lives in Minnesota and she “challenges” me and our other Facebook buddies regularly to keep us going on creating! Thanks for the wonderful article. Nothing like cranking the music, threading the needle and weaving the beads to keep those blues at bay!”
– Dawn
“Loved the article! So many times we work in a vacuum and have only ourselves to bounce off ideas. What fun and inspiration is a “bead in!” I am inspired to plan such an event, perhaps to include some of my friends who do other art and craft such as scrapping or drawing and painting. How about adding music to the mix or a chick flick break.”
– Ellen
“These are great suggestions. I’m going to follow Kristal’s advice.”
– Kate
“This is a definite good article and it does work. We all need a chance to reach out and connect with our fellow artistic friends. It is one of the strongest rules that we have all learned from our mentor, teacher and friend, Dale “Cougar” Armstrong, that having a “Wild Wired Weekend” is a definite must for our creative souls. We reconnect during that time, exchange ideas, work out problem technique areas and enjoy the pure friendship surrounding us. Yes, we work and we play, and we whine and gripe and clear the air on so many topics while enjoying a hodgepodge of snacks and goodies and even re-watching old movies together. We have no egos running loose amongst our group. Our styles differ despite having learned the same techniques from Dale. We each express our creative side in ways by building on that solid technique foundation and by doing so, we can easily ooh and ahhh over what we are each doing. I love these Wild Wired Weekends!!!”
– Mary
“I have to try this. Great story…Welcome to Firemountain Beads”
– Sharon
Exactly what we all need to hear. Thank you! GREAT!!!!”
– Anonymous
“I loved the article. Kristal and I think alike. My one beading buddy moved; Kristal has inspired me to get busy and find a new buddy(s). Beading alone but not for long.”
– Sharon
“I did enjoy this article. She is so right. Actually I enjoy reading all of your articles.Thank You,”
– Jody
“I liked the article very much. It’s the first one I’ve commented on.”
– Anonymous
“Loved the article. Good ideas and written so it was fun to read.Thank you!!”
– Pam
“Excellent advice….my two friends and I do this all the time! It is inspiration to be sure.”
– Anonymous
“No questions just loved the article. Wish I had a BFF to funk out with. I live in the country and no one around to create with. We never know when to count our blessings. Thanks for the upbeat.”
– S. Martini
“Good advice! Slumber party! Girls night out! Girls weekend out! Whatever!”
– Valerie
“I was impressed that you take the time to help us. I just ordered my first order from you, so I could have stuff to work with. I ordered from other places also. I really liked the ideas that she gave. I’m on a very limited income, so I can’t buy so much. I think I went a little wild though. I really appreciate all the things that you do!! Kristal, you can tell’s very talented. I go over stuff more than one time. Something else will sink in each time. Keep up everything that you do for us on this end!!! I’d like to say Thank You, for a job well done!!! P.S. I hope my stuff will get here soon and its great!!!!”
– Joe Ann
“Excellent article. Looking forward to more from Kristal Wick.”
– Ashley
“Are you looking in my window?? Seeing me all confused with what to do next? lol..Thanks for the article..perfect timing.”
– Allison
“Love her style.”
– Susan
“Very stimulating and interesting article. She sounds so enthusiastic!”
– Wanda
“I absolutely loved Kristal Wick’s article on Beating the Blues! The funny thing is I had just texted my BFF Tammy today to say that I had the blues because my latest jewelry creations were at the boutique and I had nothing to work on. She texted back that we needed to set another “clay date” which is what we call our creative get togethers to experiment with polymer clay or beads while the kids are at school. My latest line of jewelry came out of these “clay dates”. There is nothing better than spending the day with your best friend, listening to our favorite music, chatting, and being creative with no interruptions! Thank you Kristal and Fire Mountain for reinforcing the importance of creative BFF’s! Kind regards,
– Leah
“I liked the article, it perfectly described how I and my friends are when we have a beading party–great! Live Long and Prosper”
– Dale
“Great advise, it was refreshing just to read it!!!”
– Jeanetta
“I loved the article, but none of my frinds make anything, so what do I do? I am disabled and am not able to get out to meet new people, but it sounds like fun.”
– Ronda
“Wonderful article! I loved it, thanks!”
– Susan
“I really LIKED Kristal’s article. It gave me good ideas for those funky days. Thank you,”
– Camille
“Great! Loved it………”
– Hinda
“This article was GREAT! Crystal Wick rocks the world! Thanks for the many interesting and fun articles and Q and A’s that you have in your newsletters and emails. Way to go Fire Mtn.!”
– Anonymous
“I LOVED this e-mail. It makes you realise that we all go through stages of feeling fed up/uninspired, but when you go through them on your own you sometimes feel you’re the only one. The practical tips were great and I LOVE the comment made by someone’s husband–If Mum’s happy everyone’s happy, so,go on, make another necklace! One of the nicest and most thoughtful things I’ve ever heard. Thanks so much”
– Rachel
“Kristal seems to have been peeping into a day in my life!! I get the funk now and then, when my mojo has gone AWOL and I have so much going on in my head that I can’t see the project that I so desperately want to do. But she has come up with the perfect solution, a play day, and I am going to make sure I schedule one real soon. I found her article so inspiring, and at least I know now I am not the only one who gets days like these.”
– Jacqui
“I am probably too old to start anything new but what is ”Krystal Wick?””
– Mary Lou
“This was one of the most helpful articles I’ve read so far. All I can say is a big thank you. Keep it coming.”
– April
Loved this article. I have just moved to new city and am missing my beading buddy Charlene. A play date is exactly what I need to cure the stress from long hours at the new job. I am looking forward to finding bead buddies in my new city and scheduling a play date soon!”
– Julie
“She is up beet and sounds fun.
– Christina
“Having suffered from the very same malady often enough, I loved the article. I don’t think I could have said it better. Guess what….I’m now inspired.”
– Carol
“I really liked this article. It came at a time when this advise was sorely needed! Thanks.”
– Leslie
“As a bead shop owner I loved Kristal Wick’s article “Feed a Funk , Starve the Blues”. It is inspiring! I have printed it out and will be making reference to it in my next newsletter. Thanks for a great article.”
– Geri
“I loved the article about what to do when your inspiration got up and went away and you are going through a creative funk! I have been making jewelry for less than a year, and I think I am going through my first funk this week. I don’t know about other people, but I do get some inspiration from seeing jewelry on models in clothing catalogs, just walking through the jewelry area of a department store, or seeing jewelry on people while I am out shopping. Also, if I have the beads, etc. out where I can see them, sometimes they call to me and tell me what they want to be. Just a joke, but fairly near the truth. So at least I know there is life on the other side of the funk, so I will just try to take it easy until I get there!”
– Susan
“I loved the article, but why are you introducing her? Is she now on your staff? Yes, I have a question…I love working with Swarovski crystals and making matching earrings to go with my necklaces and bracelets, BUT I do NOT like dangle earrings. I guess my best bet is making an on the ear earring, surrounding a ravioli or cab, BUT again, I don’t usually use those in my pieces. Do you have some suggestions as to a design of earring I can make? I love big and small earrings, but not dangles. Thank you,”
– Janice
“Great Article! Over the last 3 years I took care of both my Sister (70 ) who died and then my mom had a stroke and I took care of her for 2 1/2 years here at home–she passed last year at the age of 101 and 1/2 years young. I used to do 40 shows a year and she quit when she was 98 so I did too! It’s taken a year for my to get back to my work. I had my first sale on Etsy last week and I’m back to working on my website I love all of your company’s exciting descriptions and catalogues and all of your smiling faces! I’m going to get coaching starting Monday with my web builder, Stores On Line. I know that one thing that I have to do is get links (preferably free) and I’m wondering if you link with jewelry designers? Your store inspires me and I haven’t purchased a lot from your company in the last few years because I had to pay for my Mom’s care but I have a huge inventory of beads and crystals that are screaming at me to start designing again! On Etsy my store name is JewelryJeanne! Thanks again for motivating me!!!!!”
– Jeanne
“I LOVED this article! It was funny, informative and a real pick-me-up for inspiration. Thank you so much! Kind regards,”
– Gwendolyn
“HI…Loved the ideas from Kristal….it is more fun doing beading with BFFs… and sharing ideas. At present am on the crocheted beaded bracelets…so much fun…and uses up lots of beads…I remember my Great Aunts and Grandmother making these and also have a book from the 50s with a pattern with grapes in it…now, if only I could find that book…thanks for your wonderful ideas and comments from very talented beaders….try to read everything, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time…thanx…”
– Sonja
“Have no idea where Kristal lives, but wish I was one of her friends. I loved every suggestion she made in preparing for and enjoying her play-dates. Thanks for sharing”
– Judy
“Kristal, you truly touched on the essence of being a women. From way back in the time women have worked together in community. Whether it was the embroidery of centuries past, quilting bees from churches to town halls in Anywhere, US that defines Americana, or a few girls gathering at their neighborhood coffee place to discuss the latest fad; meeting together and sharing life, sparks something anew in women. Each of us should have a support system, a group of women, albeit 2 or 20, that can help us share our joys, our sorrows, even our in-between-times, it can be from a variety of sources, the only demand is that women need women. Researchers have determined that we release oxytocin, the “love” hormone, when we share in an intimate experience, such as nursing a child, being with your lover, and t into our “sisterhood” mode. Social Security is not a Sanctioned Slush Fund–Researchers have determined that we release oxytocin, the “love” hormone, when we share in an intimate experience, such as nursing a child, being with a lover, and when we spend time with our BFFs. Thank goodness for Sisterhood, it’s the only intimacy that can be shared over a glass of wine In a restaurant for hours on end.”
– Anonymous
“Thank you! Loved the article!”
– Marlene
“I enjoyed the article very much. Kristal had some great ideas. I too have been in a funk lately.”
– Pat
Perfect thoughts for and of summer…I immediately dove into a project that I’ve been thinking about for a while and guess what? It is terrific and I’m so pleased that my tree was shaken and some good thoughts fell right into my shop!! Have a happy day.”
– Myrna
“I loved your article. Thanks for the suggestions. I will look forward to your next chapter.”
– Michael
“I liked the article a lot. I like to hear/read/learn ideas for sparking creativity.”
– Susan
“Thank you and one of these days i will get back into the beading. It has been a very busy summer with family and all. Thanks again.”
– Lois
Loved this! Great advice, sounds like fun, and I need to make some phone calls and get one of these play days on the books!”
– Michelle
I’m ready to go!!!!!!! What great ideas…and you’ve given me the list of how to go about it…keep up the good work Kristal…An old beading buddy,”
– Bon
Fantastic, just what I needed to read at this time. Keep it coming. Thanks”
– Kristie
Such a happy, uplifting article. I was glued to every word. Thanks for giving it to me.”
– Dona
Kristal is terrific–so upbeat and human! I loved her introductory article and look forward to more. Sincerely,”
– Nina
“Sounds like a very good TO DO List! Only problem we are always too busy.”
– Lewis and Nancy
“Thank you. This is exactly what I needed. My husband and I live in Oklahoma and have both moms living with us. I like to crochet baby blankets and have started making jewelry. Every once and awhile my creative juices freeze up. I’m in one of those funks now. I think I’ll give my crochet buddy in Texas a call. Maybe we could plan a skype PJ party or something. I could sure use some laugh time. Thanks for the ideas”
– Linda
I loved that article. I myself was experiencing a little case of the summer bummer and couldn’t get inspired and then my BFF flew in and we had a few days of making jewelry laughing and relaxing and now I am off and running again. It really helps to have that other person for inspiration. Even if you have completely different styles it really is nice to see what someone else is doing.”
– Anne
I’m totally committed to Kristal’s plan! My only question is, why wait for a “funk”? Three of my daughters, my granddaughter, a grandson, and I do, this about once a month. Great fun to see what everyone else is working on and/or has to trade. Thanks for validating our favorite excuse: “It’s good therapy!” Love Fire Mountain; and Thank You, Kristal!”
– Laurel
Hi Kristal, My name is Alison, and I have just gotten into beading, thanks to a friend. Unfortunately, she is about the only friend that I have who is intered in beading and she lives too far away from me and neither of us have a reliable means of transportation. I did enjoy your idea of using beading and other creative activities as a means to beat the blues. I suffer from clinical depression, and have found activity, especially creative activity helps me out enormously. Your fellow artist,”
– Alison
“Loved the Kristal Wick article! My BFF and I do the same thing! We’ve recruited a few more of our friends into the love of beading too.”
– Bonny
“I loved the article!! This will definitely take the blues away!! Thanks,”
– Anne
“Hi My BBB–best beading buddy–and i were very recently part of this funk. Kids, work, and loads of other things stopped us from completing anything we actually liked. We blocked out an entire weekend and between us finished several earrings and quite a few necklaces. Plus had heaps of time for gossip and laughs. I recommend this to everyone who has sat there and stared at somethingfor so long with out knowing what was wrong with it but just that you didn’t like it or it looked funny. And if your hubby asks you can simply tell him you are getting your moneys worth out of your beads and other various craft obsession s we are all on here for… How can he argue with that? Happy beading ladies. I shall drink a toast to you at my next bead a thon!!!!!”
– Rose
“Very upbeat. Can’t wait to try it. Sounds like very good advice from someone who has been there.”
– Sandy
“Just had chance to read this. Loved it!! Been in a funk lately. Thanks for great idea. Sending out invites today!”
– Jea

Bon Voyage Alaska!



Marjorie Glacier in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Debbie Macomber and I yarn shopping in Vancouver, BC

Debbie Macomber & I yarn shopping in Vancouver, BC

I am one lucky ducky! Just returned from teaching jewelry making on the 1st Debbie Macomber Alaskan Stitch & Sail cruise! There were 200 knitty buddies, food 24-7, icy blue glaciers and so much more. I knew Alaskan cruises rocked but I seriously had no idea those glaciers would literally take my breath away with their beauty. I was not prepared for the icy blue cast they contained and I’m chompin’ at the bit to make an entire jewelry line inspired by these quickly disappearing wonders!


Leaving the Seattle port with my knitty pal Pennee!


Nothing like soaking onboard with that background, huh?!

IMG_5259 IMG_5256

Had excellent food on one of our stops in Juneau, still makes my mouth water!

The stunning scenery 24-7 included whales (of course I didn’t get any good pics, those guys are sooooo fast), sea lions, eagles and my all time fave- porpoises!

IMG_5320 IMG_5639 IMG_5569 IMG_5680

Of course my fave part of the cruise was my classes. I had wonderful students from all over the country, most whom had never EVER made jewelry, but fearlessly dove into this new territory with me as their tour guide! Many converts were made on that ship and I’m happy to take full responsibility! Since most of the Debbie cruisers were fiberholics, I thought it best to show them how to make jewelry that would be useful for knitted and crochet pieces. So we made Kanzashi flowers and buttons!

Image 333 Epoxy buttons1

And the all time fave class was making a custom keepsake charm bracelet! I brought my bead bar and let them choose their own beads and baubles (the most fun part if you ask me). I had a lot of charms representing characters and special moments in many of Debbie’s books so it was delightful to watch everyone select pieces from their fave Debbie novels. Thanks to my fave sponsors, I had FAB gifts for the swag bags and got to introduce the fiber crowd to some rockin’ jewelry supply companies! YAY Swarovski,, TierraCast, Clover, Nunn Design! IMG_5693

We hit every yarn shop in each port along the way and even found some delightful beads at The Hive!

The Hive in Ketchican

The Hive in Ketchican

Alaska is a must on everyone’s bucket list in my opinion. Filled with breathtaking beauty, catch these glaciers before they all melt away. This was a spectacular trip and I am thankful to Debbie Macomber for inviting me!

The perfect day!

The perfect day!

Surviving Your First Bead Show


Surviving Your First Bead Show

by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Whether you’re attending The Bead and Button® Show in Wisconsin (the biggest retail bead show in the world) or one in your local scene, there are some survival tactics directly from bead veterans I’d like to share with you. Preparation is key to survival! Like kids in a candy store, the sensory overload of a bead show can traumatize even the best of the beadaholics. So, if you’re a holiday jewelry maker (making jewelry for gift giving), a die-hardseed beader, or you sell your jewelry as a business, you’re sure to find treasures and expand your jewelry-making knowledge at a show!


It’s a close run between comfy shoes and protein bars as to which one is the second most important thing to bring to a bead show. The first is the ker-ching my beady friends! Bring an empty credit card and lots of cash. Some vendors don’t take credit cards and some vendors will make you a better deal if you pay cash (be sure to ask as it can’t hurt!). As far as shoes go, I consider myself somewhat of an expert in this area having worked and walked many huge trade shows, and crocs are the best hands down! Of course they’re not the most fashionable so you’ll want to snazz them up a bit with a clip-on embellishment. Make your own with resincrystals and seed beads or convert old brooches and pendants into shoe clips by gluing them onto the pad of clip-on earrings. Embellishing your shoes, what could be beadier? Check out these great design ideas.

Haul It 

Collapsible purses and totes are a must for your shopping adventure. Keep one of these in your purse and you’ll be happy to pull it out when you’ve slipped so many bags of beadalicious goodies in your purse and the handles are moaning and groaning as much as your feet are! You can bring rolling totes into some shows and they’re a saving grace–be sure to check ahead of time so you aren’t stuck schlepping the tote back to the car.


Pain management is a popular topic although not commonly discussed among bead show attendees until it’s too late! And then, sadly, your feet prevent you from doing even more damage to your pocketbook. Prevent this global bead shopping malaise by popping an Advil® or aspirin before entering the bead show (or get roller skates). Either way, you can cover more ground comfortably.


Some shows offer the tastiest nibbles around but you can’t bet on it, so throw a few protein bars and a bottle of water in your purse, just in case. You can usually find chocolate and coffee readily available. They know you’ll need a jolt or two! Before opening any of your bring-along treats, be sure to check house rules–sometimes you need to enjoy your own fare outside or out of show limits.


Always be sure to check out the classes before you go. Many times they’re sold out and you don’t want to miss out on a great learning experience! Go to the show’s website and see the class line up. They may have demos going on as well, so take a peek at the schedule. If you want to get really organized for your bead show adventure, take a look at the vendor list (if posted) and make a list of all your “must see” vendors and boothsbefore stepping foot in the bead show zone. If you don’t, you will surely get sucked into the delightful frenzy only rows and rows of vials of beads can provoke and you might just forget what you were looking for.


Show programs are super important so don’t just buzz by them as another thing to carry. Circle all your “must see” booths then keep the map handy as a reminder. Write down the numbers of the booths you want to return to. Keep it handy as you’ll most likely fall in love with some beady goodies and want to return to that booth. You’ll think there’s no doubt you’ll remember this booth (especially if it’s early in your shopping day), then by the end of the day there will be dozens of booths to return to and you have NO idea where they are since your eyes are spinning in spirals like Wile E Coyote when the Road Runner bonks him on the head! You’ll also be glad to have this program two months later when that strand of beads that was the only blue you’ve ever seen in those shades haunts you and you wish you’d bought it at the show but can’t remember the booth name and you simply must have it … trust me on this one!


Don’t forget, once you leave the show these pretties need a happy home. Here’s a great article on organizing your seed beads. Nothing is more fun than sorting out your beloved purchases afterwards and fondling each and every beady delight, except buying more of course!



What bead shows will you be attending this year? Have any tips to share with us?

Crystal Jewelry Inspirations Blog Hop


What an honor to be one of the contributors to this FAB book that just came out! My fellow Swarovski Ambassadors and I designed some of the most wonderfully creative pieces I’ve ever seen. Karin Von Voohees was the “lucky” editor to corral this blingy bunch of talent and produce this book. One my fave parts is that each project comes with all the steps you need to make it yourself!

Below is a list of all the Ambassadors in the book so you can “hop” on over to their blogs.

LOVE this book and so will you!

Crystal Jewelry Inspirations Blog Hop

Monday, 1/14 June Beach Beach Haus Designs
Lilian Chen Gold Gatsby Design
Fernando daSilva Modern Expressions
Marcia DeCoster Mad Designs
Stephanie Dixon The Dixon Chick
Tuesday, 1/15
Katie Hacker Katie’s Beading Blog
Monica Han CYS Dreambeads
Diane Hertzler Diane Hertzler Beading Experiences
Val Hirata CBY Sparkle
Jamie Hogsett Jamie Hogsett
Tamara Honoman Artfully Inspired
Thursday, 1/17 Lisa Pavelka Lisa Pavelka’s Creative Musings
Margot Potter Margot Potter
Pat Riesenburger Urban Stitch Studio
Leslie Rogalski Sleepless Beader
Nadia Sanchez Ramos Fou Fou Chat by the Terror Sisters
Renata Sanchez Ramos Fou Fou Chat by the Terror Sisters
Debra Saucier Debra Saucier As The Crystal Turns
Friday, 1/18 Brenda Schweder Brenda Schweder
Debbi Simon Debbie Simon
Kim St. Jean Studio St. Jean
Laura Timmons Therabeading
Kristal Wick Kristal Wick
Diane Whiting Sparkles and Smiles



by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Everyone gets stuck in a creative rut from time to time. After avoiding ANY bead stitching for years (I seriously was hauled down that path kicking and screaming the whole way), I wound up falling in love with the almighty peyote stitch. And now I spend every moment (and penny) on those little-orbs-of-delight; seed beads. I simply could not stop making jewelry with that stitch for about a year straight. I loved being in the “zone,” feeling that same Utopian bliss runners claim with their “runners high” and knitters “zen out” with. Stitching was as soothing as chocolate (well, almost), and I saw no reason whatsoever to alter from the path and learn something new. I could be happy forevermore with this one simple stitch … until once again, hauled down another path only screaming this time (no kicking) to meet Mr. Tubular Herringbone. ARGGGGG! Another new addictive stitch my fingers now itch for!

Becoming a “newbie” and learning something new; anything out of our comfort zone, is an important part of our creative process. Sure it’s frustrating; heck I lost count as to how many times I tore out those stitches and started over again. Another thing … what’s up with the difficulty in starting ANY stitch? The first 3-5 rows are brutal! They never look right and are darn near impossible to get on the first try until you’ve stitched for millenniums! But I found perseverance to be the key to these stitches which leads to a long and deeply satisfying beady relationship.

As adults we get so accustomed to “knowing” things that become our comfort zone. We know our job, creative outlets, foods, etc. But that can lead to complacency and boredom. Also, possibly a false sense of self; we are what we know. I ask you, aren’t the best joys on this path called life the unknown surprises? The discovery of a new passion; the excitement of exploring the beginning of something precious and sacred. There’s only one way to do this, by letting go of our adult “knowing-ness,” sending our ego on a vacation, embracing our inner five-year old and diving in with wonder. This, my dear beady peeps, is what I call “newbie-itis.”

The Art of Being a Newbie 

Remember way back (way, waaaaaaay back for some of us) in grade school, how excited we were to learn something new? We weren’t old enough to be intimidated yet, to feel the self-doubt of “not-enoughness,” which is now part of our daily routine just like brushing. We didn’t compare ourselves to every kid in class and judge how good we were. We just dove in with thrilling abandon; failure was not a word in our vocabulary yet. Ahhhhh, how gratifying! I invite you to slow down, take a few deep breaths and tap into that thrilling feeling. Whether it’s a new bead stitch, incorporating mixed media into your artistic toolbox, or starting your own jewelry-making business; ask yourself, what do I want to learn? What gives me that spark of desire? What new path do I wish to travel at this moment in my life? Turn off the chatter in your mind and explore, dip a toe in the water …

Let go and dive deeply!

Memories out of Memory Wire

Design Idea C404
Memories Out of Memory Wire
Memory Wire
by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

My dear dad died of colon cancer a few years back. I adored him and still miss him every day. It was a slow painful battle and he charged into the next realm on that white horse quite bravely, with loved ones at his side to say good-bye. He had many friends and will be forever remembered for his sense of humor, never-give-up attitude and his nickname “The Whistler.” No, he didn’t whistle birdcalls but happy songs and little ditties. He whistled his whole life and you could hear his whistling coming before he turned the corner. When my dad entered a room, it quickly turned into a party and he sure knew how to enjoy life!

His passion, enthusiasm, perseverance and strength certainly shaped my character and the way I live my life. To pay tribute to him on Father’s Day, I wanted to design a piece that commemorates the love and admiration we all feel toward him. And since my favorite expression is through creativity (can you all relate?), I decided to design a token to wear and share with each of his loved ones. As I was rifling through my studio for that perfect starting point, I ran across some memory wire. Hmmmmmmmm, how appropriate–using memory wire to make a memorial piece of jewelry? Ahhhh, yes, how perfect! I wanted to create a piece filled with meaning, yet not so over the top that it couldn’t be worn frequently. I HAD to incorporate Swarovski crystals as they’re my fave and I wanted this piece to bring some light to the topic, so what better for that than a splash of bling? I love using the “awareness” colors in my jewelry designs supporting a cause. In this case, the color is blue to show support for colon cancer. The end result was a blue memory wire bracelet I was able to gift to each of his siblings and loved ones.

In addition to honoring him and his extraordinary life, the process of making these bracelets also turned out to be quite healing for me. You know we all have our personal paths to follow during our lifetimes and although we gratefully cross others’ paths for a while, we’re committed to our own path. And if you’ve ever watched a loved one go through a painful experience, you know the feeling of helplessness that just doesn’t seem to go away. In channeling that feeling through my jewelry creations and fondly remembering my dad, those bracelets hugged my heart and I was able to release that helpless feeling. I had actually “done” something meaningful and tangible to remember a beloved’s life, his impact on me, and more importantly was then able to share with others.

There were tears and laughter as I gifted my “Tom Wick” bracelets, and we are all filled with bittersweet memories every time we wrap that bracelet around our wrist; like a warm hug! So I’d like to share with all my beady peeps my simple recipe for a warm hug, around the wrist. Create these sweet bracelets to honor a loved one going through a tough battle at this time, or a beloved who has passed. Make them together as a group experience or for your own healing. Either way, your heart will feel that hug!

Tom Wick Memory Wire Bracelet

Design Idea C404, Design Idea C405 and Design Idea C406
  1. Select the awareness color from the”Awareness Ribbon Color and Cause Guide”you will be working with.
  2. Use memory wire cutters to cut the memory wire to fit your wrist. I like a wrap and a half for my bracelets.
  3. Use round-nose pliers to form a small loop on the end of the memory wire.
  4. Lay out your design.
  5. String all the beads onto your memory wire then form a simple loop on the 2nd end to finish.

Tip: You can use the smaller memory wire to make key chains or wine glass charms.

Design with …

Additional Resources …

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article “Memories Out of Memory Wire,” as featured in an email newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

“I only wish there was a color for thanking someone for knowing just the right thing to do. My brother passed away 3 years ago and now I can make memory bracelets for all of my family in memory of him. Tim suffered quite a bit and it took a toll on all of us, young and old. He is deeply missed.

If there were colors that referred to someone with the caring and thoughtfulness of Kristal Wick, rest assured I would be the first to make bracelets to honor her.

Please pass this message along to her that Her Dad along with her Mother, I assume, have raised one beautiful human being. Sincerely,”
– Susie

“What a wonderful story and creative idea to remember a loved one by. I also have recently lost a loved one, my son. He struggled through life with a disability, his journey wasn’t at all easy for him and all those around him, supporting him through his struggles. The idea of creating some jewellery from memory wire, a medium I haven’t worked with yet, is one I will follow up on. Thanks for the ideas. Keep them coming. Regards”
– Anne

“Thank you for the wonderful idea, of the memory bracelet, my father passed away a year ago very suddenly. I had been looking for something to make to remind me of dad. This is perfect. I plan to make one for each of my close relatives that have passed away in honor of them.”
– Barbara

“Wonderful information and ideas.”
– Anni

“What a wonderful article. You’ve given me food for thought. Love the design–and the way you honor your father in your work.

I lost a dear friend many years ago to colon cancer, and on my birthday, no less. I think I might make a bracelet for her and also for my friend Filomena who left half as long ago, succumbing to breast cancer. What a wonderful memorial! You rock!”
– Charlene

“K Wick’s story and idea touched my heart–the hug to wear around your wrist will accompany any such bracelet I may gift to my loved ones! Thank you!”
– Sheila

“Kristal Wick writes beautifully. She always speaks truth to which everyone can relate. I look forward to reading her articles, and seeing her beautiful beadwork.”
– Julie

I loved this! Not only was it nice to read about how Kristal shared her memories of her dad, but it showed me that I can make memory “treasures” for relatives and friends at certain times of their lives. What a nice way to remember someone.

Thank you very much for this and for the link to the list of Ribbon Colors along with their meanings. Just yesterday my husband was asking me what other colors there were besides pink and yellow. This will give him a much better explanation than mine. Thank you!”
– Ann

“I love this article, it brings back Memories of my Mother who has been gone 26yrs this month (seems like yesterday). I now have a way to take that sorrow and turn it in to joy. I will make for my Brother, my Cousins and myself something with Memory Wire/Beads to Rejoice in her Memory. Thank You so much for sharing your Memories and Ideas. In going through my treasures, I find I have almost everything I need. It gives me a reason to go Bead shopping … 😀 I get a lot of my Beads/Supplies from Fire Mountain Gems … Your Friend”
– Glenda

How did you like this resource? Your feedback helps us provide resources that matter to you most.

Angels Among Us


Angels Among Us: Design Idea 890H

by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Recently, I found out one of my friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted to express my sympathy, support and love by creating a symbolic piece of jewelry to bring a smile whenever she gazed upon it. I perused the Gallery of Designs looking for inspiration and fell in love with the Awareness Angel Earrings; so simple and pretty with a splash of pink bling, just like my friend. As I was pondering my friend’s situation and what symbol to use in her creation, I immediately envisioned angels as a sign of strength and hope. Just gazing upon one gives my heart a gentle hug and I wished that for her!The origin of angels began long ago and they’ve been depicted in great art work from Leonardo de Vinci in the 1400s and Raphael in the 1500s to the famous sculpture, David by Michelangelo who is quoted saying, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” There is even an Angel Academy of Art in Florence, Italy where you can learn to paint angels like the masters.Angel IntrigueWhat is behind this long-standing angel popularity? I wondered. Personally I have made charm bracelets that incorporate wings with other relevant items to symbolize pet angels, baby angels and adult angels. Each of us has our own interpretation and meaning of angels. Whether they’re of a religious nature, healing or otherwise, we’ve long enjoyed the thought of angels flitting about!Songs about angels are also part of our culture’s angel intrigue. From Sarah McLachlan’s famous song, Angel to Train’s mega hit Calling All Angels; they’re both perfect examples of modern interpretations of the meaning and importance of angels in our lives:

“I need a sign to let me know you’re here. All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere. I need to know that things are gonna look up. ‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup.

When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head. When you feel the world shake from the words that are said.

I need a sign to let me know you’re here, ‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear. I want a reason for the way things have to be. I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

And I’m calling all angels I’m calling all you angels.”

“Calling All Angels” by Train

I believe angels give us hope, bring comfort and instill faith in those things unseen, yet deeply believed in. Whether it’s a baby cherub angel or a guardian angel creating a physical symbol such as a piece of jewelry,bookmark or backpack dangle can be a meaningful reminder for a loved one experiencing a difficult path or for your little one getting on the school bus.

Fire Mountain Gems Celebrating 2012 as the Year of Angels

I invite you to start a “stitching bee.” The concept for a stitching bee is similar to “quilting bees” in which a gathering of friends come together to work on creating a quilt, usually to commemorate a special event with significant meaning. A stitching bee could be done to commemorate an event or for when a friend needs a little support, such as mine did. To start your own bee, gather some beady friends and all take turns working on a design. Each of you can surround those tiny beads with wishes of joy and well being, bringing comfort to a dear one as well as a host of angels to their side.