Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blueberry Cove Beads: Beads by Subscription!

I have a distant memory of seeing something on Facebook (probably in one of the many jewelry making groups I'm in) about a bead subscription service.  I was a little intrigued but, like with so many other things, it just slid off my radar and was forgotten.  Then I read Lorelei Eurto's blog post reviewing the first installment of Blueberry Cove's bead subscription... and, after seeing the fun assortment of goodies, I had to try it out!  You can see her review (and find out what was in the first box for comparison) HERE.  I immediately rushed to the Blueberry Cove Beads website and got enrolled as a late Christmas present to myself to ensure that I didn't miss the next box.

The premise is simple:  each month Isobel, the creator and founder of Blueberry Cove Beads, curates and sends out a special box of beads and findings centered around a theme to each member.  Members get a shipment of beads each month for the cost of $22 plus $5 shipping.  Once you've enrolled, your credit card will be automatically billed on the third of each month and they aim to ship packages out soon after.

After signing up I eagerly awaited my first shipment... Box 2.  Once it arrived in my mailbox I couldn't wait to rip into the package to see what was inside!  I opened it up to reveal a black satin drawstring bag with a cute wooden tag with their logo engraved onto it and a post card announcing the Art Deco theme and providing some additional information including details for the monthly challenge (more on that below).

 Here's what I found inside that mysterious bag:

Overall, I think that Box 2 was a nice selection of items.  The black glass cubes might be my favorite items and there were a generous amount included!  I'm also pretty smitten with the cool green glass triangles with gold edging... I think they are going to pair nicely with the Vintaj natural brass I work with so often.  Some of the items aren't quite to my normal taste, but with a mystery collection I think that's to be expected and not a problem for me.  Whenever I end up with something a little random I tend to see it as a challenge... a make it work moment if you will!  I find the idea of getting a totally unexpected grab bag of beady goodness exciting.  

Isobel provides a more detailed, descriptive list of the exact contents and materials for each box on her website.  You can see the list for Box 2 HERE.  A minor quibble for me is that I'd really like to know exactly what I'm working with so I can share that information with my customers.  For instance the two pendants in the second picture are listed as "diamond-shaped silver pendants, 24 mm" but that doesn't tell me what they are made of... are they pewter? silver plated? something else?  This might not matter to a lot of folks, and it isn't even a deal breaker for me, but it could be for some folks.  I appreciate that she's also put up some information on the Art Deco style on her blog for those who are interested in learning more about the inspiration for the month's collection.

Each month, along with the collection of beads and findings, Blueberry Cove also issues a challenge to its subscribers.  This month's challenge was right up my alley... make some earrings using the bead frames from the package.  I ended up making two pairs (for now).  For the first I pulled some of the black glass cubes (I still think they look more like crystal) along with some square silver plated spacers inside the bead frames.  I had a heck of a time trying to find a combination of beads that would fill the space precisely, and I still ended up with a little bit of give, but it was close.

For my second pair, I decided to break out the waxed Irish linen and see if I could make something work.  My thought process was that I assumed, correctly, that it would be a little more forgiving of a technique than what I tried for my first attempt.  I had some random red Czech glass beads already out on my bead table from another project and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, the red just made sense.

If you love the idea of beads and findings coming straight to your door every month and are ok with the mystery of not knowing the theme or contents of the boxes then I would recommend you give Blueberry Cove Beads a try.  I think that this could be really fun (and affordable!) for jewelry makers who are new to beading or who don't have easy access to a local bead store.  It's also a great way to shake yourself out of your comfort zone and try new materials, shapes, colors, etc.  If you are interested in subscribing, or want to give a subscription as a gift, you can do that HERE.

I already have some ideas for future projects using the contents of my first Blueberry Cove Beads subscription box and am looking forward to finding out what Box 3 will contain soon!

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