DIY Ombre Bead Necklace

If you know me, you know that I’m much more likely to pin a great craft project than I am to actually try it out. These days, between the kid, work, freelance and, you know, running my own craft biz, the opportunities to bust out a just-for-fun craft project are somewhat few and far between. That said, I totally acknowledge that it’s those opportunities to break out of my comfort zone and try something new that keep the creative juices flowing. So I decided to not only give a new project a try, I’m doing a tutorial, too. Because what good is a project if you can’t share it with the internet, right? ; )

So this project was inspired by the lovely painted bead necklaces I’ve seen around, including one that I purchase from Oceanne at the Indieana Handicraft Exchange over the summer. This Loves That and Totinette make examples that I’ve been drooling over for months, too.


- Unfinished wooden beads

- Cord/string/chain/ribbon to make the necklace

- Acrylic craft paint – white plus one color of your choice

- Small paintbrush

- Skewers or extra paintbrushes

- Water cup

- Palette or other surface to mix paint

- Spray sealer (optional)

Select the beads you’d like to use. I like the look of a little size contrast so I used three 20mm and one 25mm beads for my necklace. Keep in mind that the number of beads you use will determine how many shades of paint you’ll need to mix— more beads equal more subtle gradation in color.

Mix paint for each of your beads using a ratio of white to your selected color (in my case aqua). For the darkest color, I used four drops aqua to on drop white. The next shade was three drops aqua to two drops white, then two drops aqua to three drops white and finally one drop qua to four drops white for the lightest shade. Since the beads are small, you really won’t need to mix more than those five drops unless you plan on painting multiple coats.

The secret to making the beads easy to paint is to thread them onto a skewer or even another paintbrush so you don’t have to hold them with your fingers to paint all sides. Test ahead of time to make sure the skewer you use has a snug fit.

Paint all sides of the bead and let dry. The beads tend to soak the paint up, so dry time will be 1-5 minutes depending on how thickly you applied the paint.

Optional—if you like a less matte look, seal the dry beads with a product like Modge Podge or a glossy finish acrylic spray sealer to add shine.

Thread your dry beads onto a chord and determine the length you like best. Tie in back and voila!, a fun ombre necklace.

Top 6 New Baby Cards for Designers and Weirdos

Everyone’s having babies. Am I the only one having this experience? Every time I turn around, it seems like someone else is announcing their upcoming bundle of joy on Facebook. Good for them, but seriously, what’s a gal to do to find an appropriately cool baby card? Please no Hallmark sentiments about gifts from above. I mean, I did just say “bundle of joy” in the previous sentence, but that was with a sense of irony.

Never fear, gentle reader! Here are my top picks for new baby cards for designers, weirdos and those who, like me, appreciate a sense of irony. Cute, sure, but never cutesy.

Love this Preggers Card from Fugufugu Press. It’s a  little creepy, but look how how awesome the baby is doing that yoga move!

This pennant card from A. Favorite Design is cute, but in a vintage way, for your more middle of the road friends.

Perfect for the type nerd you know – Pram card from 1Canoe2

This Mama Sloth card from Laura Berger would be great for Mother’s Day or a new baby.


When “congratulations” just isn’t enough, this card from Brain Surgeons and Rocket Scientists gets the job done.


From one BFF to another, this Things I Almost Got You card from Able and Game.

Travel + Leisure Mention

So this is pretty cool– in the midst of holiday craziness back in December, I failed to notice (as in I only Google my business name for press late a night when I can’t sleep every couple months) that I was name checked in an article in Travel + Leisure magazine. Pretty cool!

Schmancy Toys in Seattle was featured in an article on “World’s Greatest Toy Stores” and my Johnny Cash and Steve Marting puppets are mentioned among the other super cool things Kristen carries over there. Nothing like a little press feature to make a gal smile in the middle of her mindless internet searching!

Mixing Patterns

Mixing patterns is one of the things that magazines are always telling you to do. There aren’t very many of us that actually give it a try– for myself it usually happens when I’ve picked my outfit out in the dark before the sun came up, or when a crazy thrifted blanket gets forgotten in the living room. Oh yeah, I totally meant to make that perfectly mismatched statement. Sure I did. New Year’s Resolution: more mixing, less matching. Here’s my inspiration:

Vintage Matchbooks

We drove out to Uncle Mikey’s in West Chicago the other weekend after seeing the delightful assortment of vintage odds and ends they’re always posting to Facebook. It was definitely worth the trip, and left to my own devices I probably would’ve come home with a lot more furniture than our car could actually hold (okay, so I wouldn’t necessarily actually made it home, with that the case, but would’ve tried in vain), we did find a number of other, smaller, vintage treasures.

The one I had to share was this collection of mid-century matchbooks. They were part of a much larger collection that I took a long time sifting through. I tried to keep my take-home reasonable, but it was so tough to narrow down the field with so many amazing designs to choose from. I settled on the classic Vegas casino books, and also ones from my homestate of Indiana. There are so many typefaces and decorative elements to discover in the designs, it’s amazing to think about how much effort went into designing these simple little giveaway items.

Kristina Micotti

I’ve written about pattern and texture a few times this month recently, so keeping with that theme I present the work of illustrator Kristina Micotti. Her work is full of sketchy energy and intricate details ranging from sketchy pencils to bright, flat colors dropped in with Photoshop and wavering, hand-drawn lines. And red– she seems to like a lot of red. See for yourself:

See more of her work here.

Omar on The Onion

One of my Omar bibs made a cameo in a video on The Onion recently. A customer, Kyle, let me know the other day that his daughter wears her Omar bib (bought back in 2012 and still looking great!) in her appearance in the video “Rising Number of Weak, Emasculated Men Working as Stay-at-Home Dads.” The clip is part of The Onion’s series of fake news spots and Kyle appears as a “Pansy” dad along with his daughter. I dunno, though, any dad putting his kid in Omar can’t be too much of a wuss, right?

Thanks to Kyle for the shout out to Omar, and to me!