Make us your home page

Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Adventures in making my own jewelry



Myearrings As a New Year's resolution, I vowed to learn how to make my own jewelry. So far, I've taken two classes at a pair of delightful mom-and-pop (okay, mostly mom) beading stores in northwest Tampa.

I've made two bracelets, one necklace and one set of earrings -- and have the photos to prove it! But I've learned some things the hard way on the road to making masterpieces: 

Lesson 1: It's EXPENSIVE

I expected an initial investment, because I started with nothing. Still, I was shocked by how quickly a few beads, chains and clasps can add up. Add in your basic tools, and whew!

I started using cheap, little beads, because I didn't want to break the bank. But I ended up making things that I don't really love. Now I want to be more thoughtful.  Walking into a bead store is overwhelming -- so much shine and sparkle. I'm trying to think in advance about colors and styles.

Lesson 2: Know where to go for classes, supplies, laughs

Mynecklace My favorite store for overall atmosphere is Tampa Bead Cafe, which is a lot cuter than it looks from the outside of ratty strip mall on Gunn Hwy, just off N Dale Mabry Hwy. They have a real community feel -- ladies come in to gab and bead. They offer a free class in basic stringing, plus many fee-based classes.

Thanks to Tampa Bead Cafe, I knew a thing or two by the time I made it to the beginner's class at Twitter Beads, which cost $25. I reinforced what I had learned (hello, crimp beads) and learned how to make earrings, which involves some looping tricks that would be hard for me to pick up from a book.

My biggest mistake so far was buying a wire cutter from JoAnn Fabrics, where the classes are a lot more expensive and probably not better. I thought I would save money on tools, because I had a coupon from the newspaper flyer. But what I bought was lousy and needs to be returned.

Since then, I did manage to hit up a 50 percent off sale at Michael's, which helped me to build some inexpensive inventory to play with. I plan to pay close attention to the weekly circular in the newspaper for future sales.

Any other DIY Divas out there with suggestions for getting started on a crafty hobby?

Deal Diva Letitia

(Photos: My first creations!)

[Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:24pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours