susanstarsPortland, OR, US
I'm the author of Button It Up and Bead Simple, and the co-author of Super Crafty with Cathy Pitters, Torie Nguyen, and Rachel O’Rourke. I also write a daily craft blog, westcoastcrafty.com, and you can find more of my crafty projects and writing at susanbeal.com.
craft interests: embroidery, fashion, gifts, home decorating, jewelry making, paper crafts, quilting, restyle, sewing, buttons
my etsy page:
Member Since: 03/24/2008
A handmade cookbook full of treasured family recipes is a thoughtful gift for Mother's Day or for a newly married couple. You can make it as simple and homemade or as sleek and professional as you like!
I made up sets of felt fortune cookies and mini matching rings for my valentines this year! This is an easy and fun little project that you can customize with your favorite colors or a personalized fortune just for the lucky recipient.
Create this simple, pretty beaded Valentine in just a few minutes with two colors of cardstock and a few seed beads.
My New Year's resolution is to keep my beads and charms organized so my craft room doesn't turn into a sparkly, shiny mess and a half. Here's how I redid my bead boxes for an easy and pretty storage system!
Rework a forgotten piece of vintage costume jewelry into this striking earrings and necklace set, perfect for a gift or a summer wedding! This project is very flexible—just choose an old necklace you haven’t worn for a while and salvage the beads for an all-new configuration.
Create a colorful embellished art piece for your altar to celebrate Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) on November 1 and 2. Here's a simple how-to for making your own version!
Rework a broken piece of costume jewelry, or a handful of stash beads, into a sewn-on floral brooch design that brings new life to an old coat!
Add some sparkle to a set of old glass ornaments with this quick, easy series of crafty makeovers! This week's version adds a geometric pattern of rhinestones for extra shine.
I wanted to make some pretty button-themed treats for my book party this weekend, so I baked some button shortbread cookies and whipped up these fun button cupcake toppers, too. Here's how to make your own version any time you have something crafty to celebrate!
I love wearing kneesocks, so I thought I'd embellish a couple of my favorite pairs for fall. Here are a few ideas for fancying them up with button rosettes.
Whip up these easy, swingy earrings for your New Year's Eve or any other fun night out!
Make these simple, festive napkin rings with a few twists of wire and a favorite button and leaf embellishment, perfect for your holiday table!
Longtime CraftStylish contributor Diane Gilleland has a gorgeous new collection out, an e-book filled with stylish off-loom weaving projects to try!
Since I had so much fun making shrink-art buttons a few months ago, and I adore rhinestones and vintage beads, I thought I'd make a piece of jewelry using some favorite bits and pieces for my last tutorial here at CraftStylish. Thank you to everyone in the community for your great comments and helpful feedback, and I hope you have enjoyed my posts!
Transform a few wooden discs into fun, sparkly jewelry that's just right for summer! I used some of my favorite Crafty Chica imagery and added a few rhinestones for extra pop, but this project is ultra-customizable, so you can mix in the colors or style you like best.
Make simple, inexpensive, and cheerful hanging flower "baskets" out of recycled metal cans! These would be perfect to decorate a backyard or patio for a spring party, an informal wedding, or just for fun.
Revive a plain vintage or secondhand purse with a handful of rhinestones for a pretty new look—just in time for spring!
Save a few empty baby food jars (or any other small glass containers) and turn them into sweet little presents for friends! I made a chai-tea kit and a teeny-tiny terrarium with mine, but the possibilities are endless.
Babies seem to find things that make noise irresistible...so I recycled two empty plastic wipes packages into a secret crackler inside a simple felt owl toy for my daughter! She loves grabbing it and hearing that satisfying crispy, crinkly sound.
I'm starting a garden with some little seedlings and thought I'd transplant them into bright, pretty cans for their first few weeks. This is a super easy project, perfect for beginners like me!
If you have a plain pair of shoes that need a little pick-me-up, how about adding a button rosette for a sweet and spring-y makeover? Choose two favorite buttons in coordinating colors for a super-personalized update.
Our month of craft-book giveaways continues with Jenny Ryan's beautiful new collection of sewing and craft projects, Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet & Simple Projects to Sew & Embellish!
Use your favorite small prints for this easy fabric jewelry project! You can use the same one for each link as I did, or mix it up with all different patterns—it's up to you.
Kathy Cano-Murillo's colorful new sewing book is fun, glittery, and exuberant—just like its author!
This simple necklace links the buttons of your choice in a pretty row across the center. I've made three versions here to show how easy it is to customize it with your own favorites!
Make up a set of custom buttons using shrink plastic! You can create any size, style, color, or design you like for these buttons, perfect for your next embellishment or jewelry project.
Use your favorite pet snapshots to make a fun set of glass-topped magnets for yourself or your friends!
Make your dog or cat a fun little shrink-art tag—just the thing to fancy up a plain collar. Decorate it with any design, initial, or word you like for a super-personalized pet charm!
I picked up a few pieces from the new Orla Kiely household line at Target—perfect for storing my favorite craft supplies in style! Of course, you can use any organizing pieces like these, but I love her prints and thought it was fun to mix and match them with my own stuff.
Like everyone else in the craft world, we were so glad to hear that the CSPS granted a one-year stay on the CPSIA legislation last week! Here's a bit more on the updates we've gotten, and what you can do to help the effort.
Sew Darn Cute author Jenny Ryan has teamed up with handmade shop ReForm School for an amazing new series of crafty classes: Home Ec!
Etsy is organizing a lovely handmade Valentines drive—send in your crafty cards and they'll deliver them to seniors in New York City!
I decorated some plain aluminum cans from the recycling bin with strands of my favorite beads for a quick and easy storage idea—this one holds all my scissors in one handy place!
I thought this post about the history and meaning of different metals was a nice mix of the romantic and the pragmatic!
I heard about this fantastic studio sale on all things jewelry-making and wanted to pass the word on to Bay Area crafters!
I got to go to Faythe Levine's Handmade Nation event at Powell's in Portland this week. Here are some of my photos and a quick recap!
January is the perfect month for a low-key dinner party for friends, and what could be better than a quick, easy crafty project to decorate the table? Make this set of wineglass charms for yourself or your hostess in just a few minutes!
Here's another look at how I've reorganized my beading stuff on a set of shelves—dividing things up into different areas has helped keep it all really easy to access and use.
Use this simple 89¢ paint palette to wrangle the random loose beads that inevitably end up in every corner of your craft room -- making it easy to put them all away when you have a few minutes!
Pam Harris has put together an amazing collection of holiday crafts and posts at her lovely new blog, Gingerbread Snowflakes!
This is the simplest ornament makeover of all: Just add some graphic glitter stripes for a quick and easy embellishment!
Check out this easy, gorgeous flower brooch project from designer Claudine Hellmuth—it coordinates with a pretty handmade card for two gifts in one!
We made it through a rare Portland snowstorm to visit the fabulous Crafty Wonderland on Sunday! Here are some of my favorite crafty treasures from the sale.
I made this simple embellished pillowcase for my nephew, who's seven and just starting to head out to sleepovers with his buddies! Adapt this easy technique to personalize a gift for a guy of any age.
CraftStylish's own Lee Meredith has posted a fantastic ornament round-up over at Threadbanger, with pictures and tutorial links galore!
If you are looking for a glamorous project to use up shiny, sparkly jewelry and beading bits, try Jennifer's fantastical 3D collage! As a bonus, she gives instructions for making a costume-jewelry Christmas tree project, too.
Here's another idea for embellishing a plain glass ornament that's seen better days... make it a quick little beaded "necklace" featuring a favorite charm!
If you're lucky enough to live in Seattle or Southern California, don't miss Urban Craft Uprising or the first-ever LA Craftacular! Along with great handmade jewelry and craft shopping, there are lots of cool extras like DIY projects and craft book signings, too.
This new livejournal community offers a great collection of handmade holiday crafts—browse for ideas, ask for advice, or add your own!
Jennifer Perkins of Naughty Secretary Club has curated a whole collection of inventive, gorgeous ways to display and organize your jewelry.
Curious about which type or size of bail might work well for your next pendant project? Here's a helpful guide to different styles to check out.
Allison of One Pearl Button posted this fun project recently, and shared some photos to inspire your own take on these gorgeously embellished bangle bracelets!
The Fiskars website offers up some fun daily craft projects to try, including a nice set of jewelry how-tos!
Turn a big, eye-catching charm into the centerpiece of your new favorite necklace. I chose a magnificent octopus to adorn mine, but the sky is the limit with this design!
Here are a few sales on beads, tools, findings, and other bits and pieces you might want to take a look at!
These fun little bead stitch markers are the perfect holiday gift for your favorite knitters. Make up a set and slip them onto a ribbon or chain for wearing as a necklace, too!
I love finding secondhand and vintage bits and pieces for crafting, and thought I'd share a few of my favorite ways to hunt for treasures.
The endlessly inventive Jennifer Perkins offers this great tutorial for turning an original painted collage into an eye-catching pair of earrings.
Whip up some fun, sparkly ornaments for holiday decorating or to adorn a handmade gift for a friend. This is a perfect little instant-gratification project: Cut it, glue it, let it dry overnight, and there you go.
This fun and quick little project from Martha Stewart is a perfect way to celebrate Halloween with fellow crafters or your kids!
I love this pretty, inventive idea from Bridget Benton—create a three-dimensional jewelry embellishment with your favorite patterned fabric.
Regina of Creative Kismet shares this fantastic tutorial for making your own skull beads out of polymer clay without a mold—perfect for earrings, necklaces or a spooky, pretty bracelet like hers!
Michelle at Scribbit made these charming little pumpkin earrings out of polymer clay -- check out her fantastic tutorial and whip up a pair yourself!
Make yourself a sleek little choker with 24-gauge wire and your favorite beads! This video shows you how to loop right through beads to spotlight them in a row around your neck.
If you're planning to adorn yourself with spooky jewelry this Halloween, here are some fun pieces to design with!
Jessica Wilson, aka Jekbot, has a lovely idea for keeping her ribbon organized in a flurry of beautiful colors. Fill a suitcase or another box with your spools of ribbons and trims facing upwards, and you'll never have to hunt around for just the right one again!
Whip up a pink sparkly cocktail ring to wear out and about—this is a fun instant-gratification project and a perfect little gift for a friend.
If you're planning to make jewelry or accessories for the Make It Pink Challenge this month, here are some pretty pink beads and supplies—plus some free project ideas—to consider using!
A simple smallest-to-biggest collection of beads on a strand of flexible wire is an indispensable tool for planning your next jewelry project!
I love mixing up different sizes and colors of vintage and new beads in the same design. This pink beaded charm bracelet was a lot of fun to make!
I love visiting Metalliferous to find beads and jewelry findings and supplies when I'm in New York, but they have an online shop and catalogs if you're not in the city.
When you're planning which beads to use for a new piece, how about using an inexpensive paint palette to help isolate colors, compare shapes and sizes, and choose your elements?
If you have some extra-special favorites in your one-inch button collection, how about turning them into pendants to wear on a ribbon?
I made this set of kitchen curtains with some cheerful tea towels and a few fun embellishments. Update your windows in less than an hour with this easy project!
Barbe St. John writes up all kinds of jewelry coolness at the Craft Gossip site. Check out her regular column and her other crafty endeavors, too!
This simple little beading project is very customizable—make your flowers in any colors you like!
If you're wondering which size of seed beads to use for a project, check out this helpful online conversion table.
This outstanding Raleigh, North Carolina, bead shop has an amazing website to browse and order from—and here are some of my favorite picks from my visit last week!
You can easily turn ordinary cotton fabric into a durable piece of jewelry or an appliqué for your crafting. Just finish the surface with decoupage medium and add some rhinestones for sparkle!
I love Kayte Terry's crafts and designs, and her new embellishment book is amazing, too!
Donate the old jewelry you never wear anymore to become part of a new art exhibition by the Ethical Metalsmiths—a "responsible jewelry movement."
I made this simple, streamlined necklace to spotlight a single pink pearl and finished it with coordinating chain on both sides. You can make your own version to show off any favorite bead!
Get inspired or just marvel at the more than 26,000 photos of beaded jewelry in the Beadaholics flickr pool.
Crafter extraordinaire Lee Meredith of Leethal.net recently posted this quick project idea: a jewelry rack made with fishnet stockings stretched over an old frame! Don't miss her recycled knitting-needle jewelry, too.
I found an old picture frame at a thrift store and covered it with an assortment of buttons, plus a flower charm, for a quick, easy project.
Jamie Marie Chan of Mary Jane's Attic has a new crafty endeavor: the Urban Fauna Studio. She's throwing a party to celebrate with all kinds of cool giveaways!
I asked Jenny Ryan of Felt Club and Torie Nguyen of Crafty Wonderland for their advice on applying for a craft fair—especially a big event like a holiday show! Here are their tips for helping your work shine through an endless sea of applications.
Finishing your jewelry with a unique, gorgeous clasp or set of earring wires is such a nice touch. I spotted these beautifully detailed handmade findings on Etsy—so inspiring!
Keeping your beads and crafty supplies organized and accessible is challenging enough, but once you've made yourself a handful of necklaces, earrings, and hair clips, how do you keep those neat and tangle-free? I've finally found the perfect jewelry organizer to display my collection, and here's a great idea on how to make your own, too.
I had a chance to catch up with Sonya Nimri, the author of Beadalicious, and ask about her favorite tips for beading and how she got started.
Beaducation has a whole array of cool online classes for making all kinds of jewelry projects... from (free!) basic tutorials to intricate, gorgeous chainmail, crochet, and wirework pieces, there's something for every skill level.
Once you've collected or made yourself a handful of brooches and buttons, how do you keep them organized and off your dresser or nightstand? I've come up with a simple solution to display my favorites.
Crafter extraordinaire Nancy Flynn has put together some really fun ideas for making jewelry and accessories in her book, Jeaneology... but the twist is that they're created with recycled denim! Here are a couple of my favorite projects from her collection.
Craft In America is a documentary, traveling museum exhibition, and gorgeous, vividly photographed book all in one. The collection features craft designers and artists in every medium, but of course some of my favorites are the jewelers and beaders...
If you are reading craft blogs regularly, it's super handy to keep your collection of favorites in one convenient place. I use Bloglines myself, but Google Reader has plenty of fans too. Here's a little how-to along with a list of 25 of my favorites you might like to browse through
CRAFT: magazine has a simply amazing daily blog, featuring an incredible array of projects to make, cool sites to check out, or handmade pieces to browse and buy. And best of all, they even have an entire category of posts on jewelry!
Starting up your own beading or crafty circle and sharing ideas, techniques, and supplies with friends can be a lot of fun! Craft maven Diane Gilleland was kind enough to share plenty of tips for getting a jewelry-making group off the ground.
This simple, gorgeous a-line skirt is a five-minute project... just whip up a pattern from your measurements and go!
New craft-design site Ponoko offers a very innovative service: submit your original ideas and the company will turn them into fabricated pieces for customers to snap up -- perfect for jewelry and beyond.
I love vintage and new buttons, but as I've accumulated more and more of them, my collection has been getting a bit out of control. So I came up with a few ideas for keeping them streamlined instead of letting them take over my whole craft room.
Annie Chau's Vintage Bead Boutique on Etsy showcases an array of charms, beads, and cabs from her enviable collection. Browse her shop to find just the thing for your next jewelry project!
I love these hand-illustrated underwater-scene necklace notecard sets from artist Jill Bliss -- the perfect intersection of jewelry and paper crafts!
I love craft books by Chronicle, and they're all on sale this week - 30% off plus free shipping!
If you're interested in making a simple handmade clasp for your jewelry, the S-clasp is a great one to get started with. Here's how to do it!
Indie Fixx offers a new craft tutorial every Tuesday, and the enameled imagery how-to contributed by Dreams and Jewelry is particularly outstanding. Don't miss it!
If you're looking for glass or Lucite vintage cabochons, or other fun jewelry bits to design with, don't miss Lulu's Etsy shop.
Here are a few ideas for keeping your beading and other crafty tools organized and easy to access while you're working.
If you're interested in selling your handmade work at craft fairs and events, check out these helpful resources from Sarah Neuberger of The Small Object.
Beading designer and writer Katie Hacker is offering a copy of her book, Hip to Bead, to one lucky CraftStylish reader! I interviewed her about jewelry-making, her tips for beginners, and lots more.
If you do much jewelry-making and beading, you probably have a million things to keep track of—jump rings, wire, clasps... Here's how I keep mine organized and easy to grab when I'm working on a project.
Check out these great how-tos at Etsy: screenprinting, glass etching, sewing, and of course some amazing jewelry-making and beading projects.
Flea markets are fantastic sources for crafty and jewelry-making supplies, and my favorite one of all is the magnificent Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California—don't miss it!
I love Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza's craft show, Creative Juice. They have a ton of great jewelry, beading, and embellishment projects online to check out, too!
Choose two of your favorite beads and turn them into a quick, simple pair of earrings or embellishments...all you'll need are pliers, wire or eyepins, and a few minutes!
I made this video to show my favorite technique for creating embellishments, earrings, or pendants using wire and beads.
I had the chance to check out the Bead Expo when it came to Portland—I highly recommend going when it visits your city! Here are a few of my favorite vendors and teachers from the event.
I have been using SoftFlex beading wire for years, but I spotted a few other cool products—not to mention some great free resources for beaders—while I was at the Bead Expo.
I saw these titles at the Beadwork Bead Expo recently and thought they looked amazing. These new jewelry-making books are fantastic, whether you're into glass beads, metalwork, or bead-stringing.
Seattle crafter and blogger Megan Reardon shares this gorgeous, simple project to make: a set of wineglass charms to give as a hostess gift or keep for yourself.
Whether you're looking for vintage Lucite, trade beads, or semiprecious beads, Dava Bead and Trade has a very cool selection of unusual pieces to browse online or in person at their shop in Portland, Oregon.
I love vintage beading pamphlets and magazines. Here is one of my favorites from 1972.
The Renegade Craft Fair is coming to Brooklyn on June 14th and 15th. If you're in New York, don't miss it -- there are great handmade treasures to shop for!
Here is an easy to follow video tutorial based on a wrapped loop technique from my book Bead Simple. I used this simple step for the Wedding Ring Pendant.
Here's how to turn a wedding ring (or any ring) into a pretty pendant. I've made an easy-to-follow video tutorial in the companion post so that you can learn how to make the center-bead dangle, using a wrapped-loop technique.
Once you've been collecting jewelry-making treasures for a while, storing and organizing them can become an overwhelming endeavor! I have a pretty huge collection at this point, so I've done my share of endlessly arranging and rearranging ... but here are a few things have worked well for me.
Toho Shoji is one of my favorite bead stores, and every time I’m in New York, I go there to browse everything and pick up new bits and pieces to work with. If you should ever find yourself in the Big Apple, be sure to stop in. Give yourself plenty of time because there is a lot to see.
If you're a jewelry maker, sooner or later, you're likely to end up with a dilemma: how to keep your work organized, i.e., untangled and nicely arranged, and how to store all of your finished pieces. Once I realized that I had a problem on my hands, I came up with some solutions that have worked out well.
Yes, my great passion is beading, and every time I visit Emma McCreary’s incredible Beadage.net, my passion is fueled, inspired, and ready to take on new things. The site also has a very fun blog.
I recently had a chance to catch up with DIY Bride author Khris Cochran to ask about the inspiration for her book and her current crafty idea favorites.
Selling your jewelry on Etsy is easy. What requires a bit of skill is learning how to draw attention to your shop on a site that has more than 400,000 listings. Here are some great tips on how to get your work the attention it deserves.
I love all things vintage, and some of my favorite sources for vintage jewelry-making inspiration come from the craft books and magazines of the past. You can find these treasures online and in thrift stores. Here are some great places to hunt for true vintage crafting magic.
Meet the inspired jewelry-making world of Laura Stokes. From her own line of unique jewelry creations to her amazing hand-crafted supplies available via her Web site, this California-based designer does it all. Here is a jewelry resource that you won’t want to miss.
If you’ve never been to Etsy, I highly recommend that you go to their site. It is an incredible resource for all things crafty: great supplies, handmade items, and of course brilliant inspiration. The site is super-easy to navigate and is one of my favorite places to go looking for awesome jewelry-making finds. Here are some tips to help you find what you’re looking for.
Finding a vintage trinket, charm, or bauble at a yard sale or a favorite thrift store can feel like you've struck jewelry-making gold! Here are some of my best tips for spotting treasures among castaways.
Craftypod is the blogging home of Portland crafter, Diane Gilleland, aka, Sister Diane, leader of the Portland Church of Craft. This extremely talented lady has a new project that I'd like to share with you.
Meet this talented group of jewelry designers. These ladies have banded together to share their favorite resources and links, and promote all kinds of exciting work, too! Super inspiring.
Here is one of my all-time favorite sources for beading basics and beyond, especially since they're so affordable.
If you've got just three minutes then Katie Hacker can change your whole approach to jewelry-making. Her beading tutorials are great!
Whether you’re a beginning beader or you’ve been making jewelry for quite awhile, you probably have plenty of favorites in terms of wire—both materials and gauges. But if you’re wondering what the best choice for a project might be, or whether craft wire or sterling is the better bet, here are my recommendations for what to use in your jewelry-making projects.
If you're in the Pacific Northwest, you have to check out this spectacular exhibition at Portland's Museum of Contemporary Craft, Framing: The Art of Jewelry.
If you're ever in L.A. and on the lookout for jewelry-making supplies, you must plan a trip to Berger Beads. And now that they have a Web site and expanded mail-order services, you can check them out no matter where you are!
I'm so excited to see the CraftStylish site come together and to share my favorite crafty resources and projects with everyone. Thanks so much for checking out my jewelry-making and beading posts, and I'd love to hear what you think of it all!