Happy Happy!

Happy Bracelets  combine beads with flexible tubes of polymer clay.  You can flex and bend the bracelets and the clay  doesn’t crack (Ok, OK,  it probably will crack if you go at it with a jackhammer or drive over it with a monster truck.  What I mean is that the clay in the bracelet won’t crack with normal wear.)

I made my very first Happy Bracelet at Clayathon   and was so excited to discover another side to the so-called flexibility of polymer clay that  I wrote a blog post about it.  People were curious about how I made them,  and I promised to write a tutorial.

And now I am happy to announce that a complete Happy Bracelet tutorial

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Is in the August 2013 issue of Polymer Cafe

Thank you Anne Huizenga and Polymer Cafe!

And last but not least,  the winner of  bead giveaway number three
(drum roll please . . . .)

is  ZanC! 

Giveaway Number Three Maruti Beads

I wrote about Kashmiri  beads in last week’s post  and the lucky winner  is Debbie Thomas!!   For this third and final giveaway post,  I  have four Maruti beads donated by the eponymous Maruti Beads , plus some Kashmiri beads I didn’t include in last week’s giveaway because they look so beautiful with the Maruti beads.  

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Maruti Beads

Maruti beads  combine  some of the characteristics of Kashmiri beads (polymer clay base)  with  design elements found in Maruti Bead’s copper and silver plated beads.  The addition of the fancy end caps gives these beads an a distinctive look.  Like the other offerings from Maruti beads, they are all hand made.  

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Kashmiri beads

I mentioned that I didn’t give away all the Kashmiri beads last week.  I am including them in this week’s giveaway because I absolutely love the way they look with the Maruti beads.

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Don’t they look awesome together?  Of course you don’t have to use them together  but I am already designing jewelry in my head.

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I have four each of the Maruti beads and round Kashmiri beads, and eight of the tube Kashmiri beads for one lucky person who wins this weeks’ giveaway.

Maruti Beads makes  Lac Beads,   Shamballa Bracelets  and other goodies.   You can reach them on any of the following social media links or at their website.

And now for the giveaway information.

One lucky winner will receive all the beads you see in this post 16  beads in all.

To enter,  leave a comment by June 26, 2013 telling me  what colors you like  most in jewelry you make or wear.

I will choose the winner at random  and send the beads off to their new home.

Giveaway Number Two: Kashmiri Beads

Last week’s post was about Lac Beads  from India.  Karin Martinez  won an assortment of these beauties  donated by Maruti Beads.

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This week, Maruti Beads has donated an assortment of Kashmiri beads for another lucky winner.  Maruti Beads employs artisans and crafts people  who fashion Kashmiri beads by hand from polymer clay, marble powder and resin.   The beads are  embellished with faceted glass, rhinestones,  seed beads, wire and various metal components and, because each one is made by hand, no two are exactly alike.  

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These are big-holed, durable beads.  I think they might be too small for a Pandora-style bracelet.  But if you like the way they look, Maruti Beads offers Pandora-style beads as well.

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Or how about mixing them with silver beads or lamp worked beads?  

Besides Kashmiri Bead,  Maruti Beads makes Lac Beads,  Shambala Bracelets  and a  new style bead they  call  the  Maruti Bead.    You can reach them on any of the following social media links or at their website.

And now for the giveaway information. 

One lucky winner will receive all the beads you see in this post plus a few more, approximately 25 beads in all.   

To enter,  leave a comment below by June 19, 2013 telling me what you would like to make if you win the  Kashmiri beads.   

I will choose the winner at random and send the beads off to their new home.

 Remember,  if you don’t win this week, I will be running  the final  Maruti Beads giveaway next week.  

Lac Bead Giveaway from Maruti Beads

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How would you like to win these beautiful hand-made beads from  India?  You will find details on how to enter the giveaway at the end of the post.

I received an email a few months ago from Maruti Beads, a bead company located in India asking if I would consider writing about their beads on my blog and hosting a giveaway.  I am new to this sort of thing having never engaged in any kind of blog promotion.  But I felt that as long as I didn’t take anything of value that could call my objectivity into question, it could be  fun and a learning experience.  Beads are a passion of mine after all.  So I agreed.

A few weeks later, a brown paper-wrapped parcel arrived in the mail filled with packets of very attractive beads.  I ripped one open  and examined the beads inside. They were glossy and  light weight.  I didn’t know what they were made from; it wasn’t  wood or ceramic. The label said “Lac.”   I’d never heard of Lac beads so  I decided to find out more about them.   I got obsessed with learning about Lac jewelry for a few days.   When I am learning about something, I tend to get obsessed, something my husband and friends know very well.

A Little Background . . .

No one knows how long people have been making things of Lac but archaeological excavations have uncovered Lac coated materials, possibly dating to 1600 BC.   Francesco Balducci Pegolotti was a Florentine merchant who lived in the 1300s and traveled the Silk Road in search of goods for the European market. Along with the exotic indigo dyes, spices, Brazil wood and amber, Pegolotti mentions that Lac was a valued commodity-so valued that it was made into beads and sometimes covered in gold.

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I found out more about Lac from Traditional Jewelry of India. by Oppi Untracht. Lac is a natural resin secreted from Kerria lacca -a species of tiny insect indigenous to the forests of northern India. The resin accumulates on the twigs of trees where the insects live in colonies. The twigs are harvested and the resin is refined into Lac. In ancient times Lac turned into lacquer, shellac, and jewelry.   Most varnish is  man-made  and mass market jewelry is made from plastic and refined metal.  But Lac jewelry is still made in India.     Jewelry has a tremendous cultural significance in India.   One article I read said  that if a woman got married without jewelry “it would be a sacrilege.” Read “The History of Indian Jewelry” here.   In India,  married women customarily wear bangles and while gold is the material of choice, not everyone can afford it.  So many of the bangles were made of Lac which gave  rise to the Lac jewelry industry. 

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Maruti Beads is putting a modern twist on the traditional Lac jewelry designs with their beautiful and unusual beads. Maruti employs artisans and craftspeople who make every bead by hand; each one is a little different so they are all truly one of a kind.  When you make a purchase from them, you really are buying from the artist!

L!Lac beads are eco-friendly because they are made from natural resin.   I have read  that  they might also be a good choice for people who are sensitive to metal and plastic jewelry, but you will have to try for yourself.  While Lac beads are not fragile, they should be treated with care because they are made from natural resin and crushed marble powder.   Maruti Beads does business internationally with everyone from hobbyists to bead stores.  You can find their ordering policies here.

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Besides Lac Beads,  Maruti Beads makes Kashmiri Beads, Shamballa Bracelets  and a  new style bead they  call  the  Maruti Bead.    You can reach them on any of the following social media links or at their website.

And now for the giveaway information. 

One lucky winner will receive all the beads you see in this post plus a few more, approximately 25 beads in all.   

To enter,  leave a comment below telling me which Lac bead you like best by June 12, 2013.

I will choose the winner at random  and send the beads off to their new home.

And now for the good news!  If you don’t win this week, I will be running TWO more giveaways thanks to Maruti Beads.  Next week’s post will showcase  their Kashmiri beads and the post of June 20 will be on their original creations: Maruti beads.  There will be giveaways each week.

Congratulations to Karin Martinez of Hippy Freak Beads You are the lucky winner of giveaway number one!

Leave me a comment with your address (it won’t be published) and I will send your beads to you.