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9 New Things to Try This Summer

  • Jun 17 2014

While summer should be relaxing, there is no reason for it to get boring. Between the long days and the warm weather, it's the perfect time to explore, reach out, and try new things. Here's a quick list to get you started:

1. Travel somewhere new.

Even if it's a city within your own state you've never been to, or even a part of your own city you've just never thought to explore. Nothing bring new adventure like wanderlust. Pick a date, pack those bags, and go!

2. Ditch the shoes for a pair of barefoot sandals.

A pair of these beauties will allow you feel the sand or grass beneath your toes.

Bridal Barefoot Sandals

3. Pick up a new hobby.

Head to the craft store and buy supplies for that thing you've always been wanting to try, be it knitting, photography, or taking a cooking class. Summer is the perfect time to learn a new skill and enhance your life with an enriching hobby.

4. Go to more local events.

Chances are there have always been a lot of local events in your city that you don't think to go to until you read about them, after the fact, in your local paper. Try being more proactive this summer, and watch for upcoming stress fairs, music festivals, and art gallery openings in your area.

5. Catch up with an old friend.

it's easy to let the hustle and bustle of everyday life get in the way of our well-meaning relationships. Chances are, you can think of more than one long-time friend you haven't seen or spoken to in far too long. Instead of feeling bad or embarrassed about it, set up a lunch date, a phone call, or a night out with these people. There's always a good chance your friendship can be rekindled for the future.

6. Read.

Summer reading lists aren't just for school children. Come up with your own, or stay tuned for ours to be posted on the blog next week. Nothing beats a summer evening where you get to relax with a mojito and a good read!

7. Pull an all-nighter.

Preferably make it an all-nighter where you are doing something totally wild and fun. Like sneaking out to go skinny-dipping, or having deep conversations and love-making on the beach until the sun rises.

8. Spend an entire day at the movies.

Summer is block-buster season, why not load up on popcorn and hit 'em all in one go?

9. Hit up the amusement park.

Because roller coasters are terrifying no matter how old you are.

Summer Tribal Trends

  • Jun 10 2014

No doubt about it, summer is starting to heat itself up. As June climbs up and in, people are pulling out their swim suits, beach towels, and sun hats for the occasion. Comfortable is in (horray!), and tribal designs are clinging to and sticking with us for yet another season.

It's no wonder, really.

The easy and causal designs make any outfit feel "cool" and relaxed. They set just the right mood for summer. The cross-hatching lines, modern shapes, and chevron designs feel confidently understated in a way that even the most sparkling of rhinestones cannot achieve. Something about the simple, native inspired pieces speak "calm" in a "despite everything that's going on" sort of way.

The above style board above features our vintage leather barrette and firework burst necklace designs. Both of which feature hand-woven Native American style beadwork on vintage deerskin leather, accompanied by wooden cylindrical beads for a layer of natural feel. (The barrette is made and ready-to-ship today, while the necklace is offered on a made-to-order basis.)

Tribal Leather Barrette
Buy here for $19.
Beaded Tribal Leather Necklace
Order here for $129.

Also included is our bead-loom created Blue Chevron Bracelet. It's multicolored shades of blue and brown wave along the length of your wrist to offer a design of calming serenity, while the glass beads feel cool to the touch of your skin. You'll be sure to get compliments the moment you step out with this accessory paired with your favorite indie attire.

Blue Chevron Bracelet
Buy here for $26.

Father's Day Gift Guide

  • May 28 2014

No doubt about it: dudes are hard to shop for. Dads? Even worse. How do you tell the guy who's raised you up and taught you well while always being there for you that you appreciate all of his efforts? With a #1 Dad mug? Puh-leeze.

How about something a little more meaningful this year? Or at least, something that he'll actually enjoy a little bit more than the container for a pittance of decaf.

Here's a quick gift guide to get your ideas going. Of course, I had to include our new line of Men's Leather Bracelets, but can you blame me? Finally having a collection to offer the dudes of the world is exciting and cool. Anyway... find the links to each featured product at the bottom of the guide. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

1. Turkish Cotton Bath and Beach Towel

2. Men's Leather Bracelets from Megan's Beaded Designs

3. Gear Book Ends

4. Mens Flip Flops

5. Whiskey Cooling Stones

What to Wear on Your Graduation Day

  • May 20 2014

It's nearing the end of spring and we all know what that means: time to congratulate the graduates in your life (which may or may not also include giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.)

Many graduates harbor the feeling of Finally! It's about time! while others will be wistfully looking back over their shoulders, pining for the chance to stay just one more year. For most graduates, however, it's a bittersweet mix of both. They are proud of their accomplishments (as they should be), hopeful for the future, but know they are going to miss their time spent behind a desk, studying in the Hub, and (maybe not as much) cramming all night for a final exam.

However, now that the big day is finally approaching, it's time to lay out what outfit to place underneath that cap and gown. Your ensemble will show up in a plethora of photographs, so you want to wear something stylish and photogenically flattering, but at the same time you want it to be weather-flexible and comfortable enough to accommodate lots of standing/walking/and hugging.

A loose skirt or dress will keep you cool, while also emitting a flair of "dressy" at the same time. Likewise, wedge style shoes give you all of the tall confidence of a pair of pumps or stilettos, while providing you with the necessary comfort you'll need throughout the day.

Graduation Pretty

Keeping a pair of shades handy will prevent a batch of squinty outdoor pictures, and a fun pair of post earrings won't weigh you down or get caught in the hair of all of the loved ones and classmates you'll be hugging following the processional.

Finally, don't forget to wear your smile. Those gleaming pearly white should be shining with everything you've got going for you and the pride in what you've already accomplished. you deserve this day and everything that it celebrates.

Getting Around the Blogosphere

  • May 8 2014

Megan's Beaded Designs has been making it's way around popular fashion blogs all over the internet. And what are these lovely fashionistas and beauty experts saying about my artisan jewelry and hair accessories? They love 'em! But don't just take my word for it, see for yourselves...

Sunflower Hair Clip

The adorable and sweet Kelly B. reviewed my Sunflower Hair Clip on her blog, A Thing of Beauty. She writes in her post: "I love to put bows and flower in my hair and this beaded sunflower from Megan's Beaded Designs is absolutely beautiful!"

You can check out the rest of the post here.

Beaded Artisan bracelet

Then we have sharp fashion blogger and self-described fashionista NOOSH, who featured my Bold Metallic Bracelet in her latest lookbook shoot, entitled Shadows.

Beaded Artisan bracelet

Noosh is offering a special 10% discount code to readers of her blog who purchase from Megan's Beaded Designs. You can check it out and the rest of the style post here.

Finally, the lovely Megan Cawe, stylist of Instagram, showed off her new pair of rhinestone post earrings. It was only moments after she opened up her package when she had to start wearing these beauties.

Rhinestone

Wanna get your hands on your own pair? Snag 'em here.

Can we talk about budget bragging?

  • May 6 2014

I'd like to take a moment to discuss budget-bragging, and why it increasingly makes me feel icky and uncomfortable.

Budget bragging is when we tell all our friends and everyone we see out on the street about how little we paid for something. The more fabulous that something is, the more impressive the brag.

Now don't get me wrong. I get it. I've participated in budget bragging my entire life.

So let me explain to you why it's starting to make me feel icky every time I hear it.

Just to clarify: not all budget-bragging makes me uncomfortable, only certain kinds.

Bragging about the fantastically-priced vintage find at the local consignment or thrift shop? That's an awesome steal, and totally worth bragging about. Ditto for garage sale finds or antique shop treasures.

But going on about the handmade scarf you were able to talk a craft fair vendor down to only having to pay half price for? This is the kind of thing that makes me feel sad inside.

That craft fair vendor probably lost money from her sale of the scarf. Because you made her feel her work wasn't worth her original price, you planted the seed of doubt concerning her entire creative career. She may begin to think that all of her prices need to be lowered, and in doing so, she will eventually price herself out of business and stop making her creations altogether.

Beading Looming

The more I'm learning about how to take my jewelry business seriously, the more I'm being faced with the harsh reality that my current prices are far too low and will eventually force me out of business if I leave them as-is. If I want to keep creating my pieces and offering them to the world, I need to get serious and start asking for a fair value exchange of what they are really worth.

So every time I hear someone brag about their latest, super cheap discount or clearance find, the harder it is to bring myself around to actually doing what needs to be done.

This is why I implore you to look deeper, and to consider the reasons why something might be selling for the low price it is. Was is made in safe working conditions? Does the factory it was created in pay their workers a fair, living wage? Does the seller not know the value of his or her goods and is allowing him or herself to be taken advantage of? Does this cheap product make it hard or impossible for artists, small local businesses, and trades-persons to making a living wage to support their families? Does this business treat their employees with dignity? Does this product give credit to the original designer, or does it knock off of someone else's work without giving the original artist credit or compensation?

Everything we spend our hard-earned money on says something about what we value and who we support. It is a key into who we are and how we contribute to the world we live in.

And let me just add: I'm right there with you on this journey... working to change how and where I decide to place my purchases. I grew up in poverty, and never had a lot of "stuff." So once I was on my own and had my own bank account... well, the idea of spending what felt like exuberant amounts on a single item felt foolish when I could buy dozens of that same item for a much, much lower price if I shopped at the big box stores or discount retailers.

But now that I'm the shop/the seller/the maker of the goods, I know and understand why some items are priced what they are, and why some are so cheap. I also see artists and makers undercharging themselves and pricing themselves out of business all around me (I'm even including myself here), and I feel the urgent need for change.

My hope is that I can help you understand the difference. To maybe make you think twice before you budget brag to a friend, and to maybe even consider placing your spending dollars they will make a greater contribution and reciprocal impact in the world.

Fresh Pink Pastel Style for Spring

  • May 1 2014

Spring is a softer season--perfect for light colors and bright pastels, lacy and flowy skirts and dresses, and placing flowers in our hair. Even if you still prefer your gray suit or white t-shirt and stone-washed jeans, I import you to add a touch of colored pearl earrings or a soft touch of pink via a barrette hair clip to reflect the hopeful mood of May.

Speaking of May - Mother's Day is just around the corner. If you haven't nabbed anything for Mom yet to show her how much your appreciate her (or at least to show her how well you preform your obligatory holiday duties as a daughter or son), you can get something from Megan's Beaded Designs for 20% off with coupon code MOMSDAY2014 until 5/11. Can't decide what she'll want? Opt for a gift card instead. Problem solved.

Pastel Pink for Spring

Spring Cleaning Jewelry Organization Tips

  • Apr 29 2014

For some reason the freshness and hopeful nature of the Spring season also brings an acute awareness of all the clutter we've gathered since last Spring, and the accompanying urge to get organized is a fever all its own. Your vast collection of fashion and fine jewelry included.

While it takes some time to get your jewelry collection organized, it will make up for it by allowing you plenty of saved time as a result. No longer will you have to untangle handfuls of necklaces or comb through drawers full of bracelets to find the right pieces to match your day's attire. Usually slipping on your jewelry is the final step to completing your outfit and look, and never something you want to be a stressful experience.

Jewelry Organization Tips to Make Your Feel Good About Your Collection Again:

Get rid of the pieces you never, ever wear.

If this includes some special or significant heirloom pieces, then you don't need to completely get rid of them if they have value to you, just store them somewhere out of sight and out of your way. Lumping them in your jewelry box with the pieces you really want to get to every morning only means more shoveling and aggravation on your part. As for the rest? Give it away, donate it, sell it, whatever suits you best. Just as you wouldn't save a sweater that hasn't fit you in 10 years, why hold onto jewelry that no longer suits your sense of style?

Consider separating by style.

If you've previously been organizing by necklaces / bracelets / earrings / etc., but find yourself pairing the same necklace with a particular bracelet or pair of earring every time you wear either member of the set, why not keep them together? Then you can easily cut your searching time in half (find one, find them all!)

Northern Regent Necklace Northern Regent Earrings

Hang your pieces.

There are lots of creative DIY ways in which you can hang up your necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more. Some of these include within a picture frame or from pins on a cork board, from hangers, coffee cup hangers, key racks, and so on.

Hide your pieces.

Your collection can be neatly hidden behind a special photo frame or mirror. No one would even know until you showed off this cool trick!

Catch your pieces.

Anything bowl-shaped makes for an easy target for smaller pieces of jewelry. You could toss rings into an old cupcake pan, or use a towering baked good tier for anklets and bracelets.

Decorate your walls with jewelry.

Being the stylish, creative type when it comes to your jewelry selection, you might as well show your collection off for the work of art it is. You can do so by simply adding a row of nails or hooks to your bedroom and living space walls, where you can elegantly drape each necklace, lanyard, or eyeglass chain.

Wearable Art Bracelet

Drape your jewelry as a decoration.

Using objects to wear your jewelry for you when you aren't around can be just as stylish as when you rock the pieces yourself. You can use classy glass bottles, leatherette mannequins, or upside-down wine glasses. Be as creative as you desire!

Upgrade to a dresser.

When your jewelry box, or even the larger amour you got for Christmas last year simply won't cut harboring your ever-growing collection, it might be time to upgrade to the dresser. In which case, lingerie dressers would fantastically as jewelry organizers for their narrower and numerous drawers.

Use jars.

Pearls can look rather lovely when encased in a vintage mason jar. Or your color-popping pastel pieces are sure to be complimented when encased in a clear cookie or flour jar. Many of these kinds of containers can also be neatly stacked, or their lids can be nailed to the bottom of a hanging wall shelf, so you can easily take the bottom off via twisting to gain access to your pieces.

Want to share your own jewelry organizing tips?

Tag me on Instagram with an image of your genius jewelry organizing solutions. I can't wait to see them!

Loads of New Earrings

  • Apr 23 2014

Loads of new and delightful pairs of earrings have been added to the current collection at Megan's Beaded Designs. If you can't decide on just one pair, then you might want to take advantage of the complimentary mystery pair you'll receive when you purchase 3 or more sets before May 1st.

Coffee Earrings
Coffee Earrings - $9

Pistol Earrings
Pistol Earrings - $5

Music note Earrings
Music Note Earrings - $5

Arrow Earrings
Arrow Earrings - $5

Owl Earrings
Owl Earrings - $5

Rose Earrings
Rose Earrings - $5

Sunglasses Earrings
Sunglasses Earrings - $7

Pirate Skull Earrings
Pirate Skull Earrings - $7

Green Earrings
Green Pearl Drop Earrings - $12

Cross Earrings
Cross Earrings - $5

Turtle Earrings
Turtle Earrings - $5

Swan Earrings
Swan Earrings - $5

Fried Egg Earrings
Fried Egg Earrings - $9

Skull Earrings
Skull Earrings - $5

Horse Earrings
Horse Earrings - $9

Bridal Flower Earrings
Flower Earrings - $9

Tree of Life Earrings
Tree of Life Earrings - $7

Microphone Earrings
Microphone Earrings - $5

Lizard Earrings
Lizard Earrings - $9

Fairy Earrings
Fairy Earrings - $6

Anchor Earrings
Anchor Earrings - $5

Shoe Earrings
Shoe Earrings - $5

Guitar Earrings
Guitar Earrings - $9

Owl Earrings
Owl Earrings - $7

Owl Earrings
Owl Earrings - $12

Wing Earrings
Wing Earrings - $9


Need more? Shop the entire earrings category here.

Wedding Collection Lookbook

  • Apr 16 2014

Finally! The 2014 Wedding Collection from Megan's Beaded Designs is finally here. You can view the official collection page here, or click the image below to explore the lookbook:

The 2014 Wedding Collection from Megan's Beaded Designs is designed and fully hand crafted to make you feel like a princess. From each individually added glass seed bead, down to the final sparkling details, each headband, bracelet, pair of earrings, or dress sash has been created to catch the attention of on-lookers while remaining simple enough to compliment your dress, hair style, and gleaming face.

Own your big day with unique accessories and wedding jewelry that fits your original taste. Down to the last detail, you will be provided with pieces that will bring out the best in your appearance, while celebrating your individuality.

View the official Wedding page at the website here.