Friday, April 29, 2016

Wire Wrangling DVD Review & Giveaway

It's Ms. Brenda Schweder, everybody! I'm so proud of my talented friend. She invented and manufactures Now That's a Jig and markets it like nobody's business. Her new DVD is essential for anybody who wants to wrangle wire for the first time, but it also provides lots of ideas and insights for people like me who have tried it but haven't spent enough time experimenting with it yet. It has lots of tips and tricks for more experienced wire wranglers, too. 

Brenda sweetly gave me a copy of the DVD and one of the jig templates to give away to one lucky US reader. To enter, leave a comment on this blog. You can say anything you want, but I'd love to hear something funny that's happened while you're making jewelry. For example: One time, I spun my bead spinner way too fast, dipped the needle into the bowl, and all of the beads went flying. On camera. During Beads, Baubles & Jewels. At least it wasn't live! Wish we'd kept a blooper reel back then, though.

The ABC's of Wire Wrangling is almost two hours of ideas and inspiration, with tips and for setting up the jig along with working with wire to make repeated shapes and motifs. I especially love Brenda's secrets for making coils and findings. These are ideas you'll use again and again in your jewelry designs. And, although I love the look of steel wire, I'm glad you can use these tricks with other types of wire. 

I'll collect comments here for one week from today, then we'll do a random drawing to choose the winner. The DVD/template prize (shown below) will be sent via USPS media mail to one US winner. Happy Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pretty Palettes Challenge: Rule of Odds

I've missed the Pretty Palettes Challenge for the last few months! I loved the images, bought the beads and just couldn't seem to get my act together. Yesterday, I burned a little midnight oil to get this one done and posted here today. It's definitely of the quick and easy variety, but sometimes you just need something to complete an outfit or give as a last-minute gift. So, I thought: "why not?" 

The Rule of Odds is one of my go-to starting points for jewelry design. When in doubt, make it 3, 5 or 7. This applies in all kinds of jewelry situations, from number of beads on an eye pin or in a unit, to number of strands in a multiple strand design to number of dangles on an earring. 

This layered necklace design is simple and super quick to make. Each eye pin has an odd-numbered set of like beads with a basic loop at the end to connect to the chain. Use jump rings to attach a clasp to each necklace so you can wear them separately or fasten all three chains to a single clasp for an almost effortless layered look. (This has the added benefit of preventing the chains from shifting around.)

Click on over to Halcraft's inspiration blog to see what everybody else is cooking up in this color scheme. Thanks for the playdate, Erin Prais Hintz!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hello from the other side

Hello, friends! It has been much too long since I've blogged here. My website is undergoing a complete overhaul and there have been a million other things going on, but it's no excuse for leaving this blog on the burner for so long. If you're checking in and checking things out, thank you! I'm glad you're here.

Here's a quick update and where you can find me when I'm MIA: 

Beads, Baubles & Jewels: We film our program twice a year (13 episodes all at once x2!). This year, our new Spring series starts airing in late April/early May and we film the Fall series at that same time. Talk about confusing! Luckily, the producers keep everything straight. The Spring series is super inspiring. We kick it off with Samantha Skelton showing us how to do enameling in a kiln. Did you know you can draw on enamel with a pencil and it becomes a permanent part of the design? Very cool. Today, you can watch episode #2305 with Kristal Wick and Cynthia Kimura. Love those girls. They have great ideas and are fun to watch.

Halstead: I've been guest blogging over at the Halstead Jewelry Blog. It's a different home for me, with an emphasis on sterling silver and gold-filled DIY jewelry. Lots of Etsians buy their goods from Halstead. I've known the president of the company for a few years and we have a common background growing up in hobby-turned-profession industries. While she was playing under the table as a kid at jewelry/bead shows, I was doing the same thing at miniatures/dollhouse shows. This week, I wrote a profile of Alexandra Lozier, one of the 2015 Halstead Grant Top 10 Finalists

Bead Gallery: I've totally fallen off the Pretty Palettes train, but it's not for lack of trying. I have three months' worth of bead palettes on my workbench that I bought but never turned into jewelry. You know how it is. This month, I vow to get it going. Really! Big reveal on February 24th.

So, that's the big stuff right now. I went to the Tucson Gem Shows the week before last and it was awesome. Saw lots of cool things for making jewelry, caught up with friends and didn't catch the desert crud that I usually get there. Oh! And, I almost forgot a big one. I helped host a fundraising workshop/party at the Beads of Courage HQ. If you haven't learned about this organization, please take a minute and check it out. It's amazing and they need our help. 

See you again soon! 

Email: KatieATKatieHackerDOTcom
Instagram: katiehacker
Twitter: @KatieBeads

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Beads, Baubles & Jewels 2300

We filmed this Beads, Baubles & Jewels series last spring. It's fun to go back and look through the photos now that these episodes are airing on PBS. We talked a lot about color and did everything from leather to bead stringing, metal working and more.

I think it shows that we all feel very lucky to get to share our jewelry making ideas on TV. Most of our guests make, sell and market their jewelry and love teaching classes, writing books and spreading the word about DIY jewelry making.

What you don't see in any of these photos is the amazing crew and production staff that makes sure everything goes smoothly and looks good. You also don't see the countless hours that everyone spends getting ready for the shoot. It truly takes a village.

When I was first on the program as a guest, I spent the whole night before the shoot laying awake, running through my demonstrations in my head. I was so worried that I'd forget to say something important or mess up my steps that I pretty much made myself a nervous wreck.

At the studio when we were filming those early segments, I had to go in the bathroom and give myself a pep talk between takes. By the time I moved over to the host's seat in 2007, I was a lot more comfortable filming short Beading Lessons. We've come a long way!

Series 2300 marks our 12th year on the air. KS Productions, Inc. is owned by Kathie Stull, who is being honored this year with the Craft & Hobby Association's Industry Achievement Award. She's an industry pro with nine shows currently on PBS. She's taught me more things than I can count and I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to work together with Kathie and her team.

Watch Beads, Baubles & Jewels on PBS, CREATE, subscribe to our preview on YouTube or get a full episode every Friday at noon EST online at And, please connect with us on social media. We're love seeing what you make!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What's Your Color Story?

Our brand-new series is airing on PBS stations nationwide and features whole episodes with some of your favorite jewelry making instructors, authors and DIY experts:

Tamara Honaman, Molly Schaller, Jill Wiseman, Ashley Bunting, Kristal Wick & Cynthia Kimura, Sandra Lupo, Jill Mackay, Diane Whiting, Candie Cooper, Vicki O'Dell, Hilary Halstead Scott, and Sandra Younger. 

You're going to love it! Preview all of the new projects and techniques, check out some clips on  our YouTube playlist or grab a copy of the DVD for your stocking. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Classes & Bargains

Come and join me, Candie Cooper, Sandra Lupo, Wyatt White, Sara Ellis and the rest of the Beadalon gang at the Beadalon Tent Sale on Sept. 19-20 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. 

We'll be demonstrating jewelry making techniques and teaching classes while you shop for the ultimate Beadalon bargains! Plus, bring your hubs so he can browse the AFW/Hi-Seas Fishing Sale while you learn and shop. Besides, you might need some help carrying your bags!

Check out our video from last year's Tent Sale. We had fun goofing around in-between conversations...we even did a little line dancing! Don't miss out on the fun this year :)