Lists and more lists…..

I’ve been absent from blogging for too long. I got out of the habit and had a hard time getting back into it.  So here goes I’m going to try again and promise to post regularly!

listing-clipart-shopping-listI LOVE lists!  I love organizing and one of my favorite tools is list making.  I have a bad reputation with my family for making “piles” – I like to help others clean up their clutter whether they like it or not, its an impulse!  I see posts of jewelry makers with very messy desks that they love to work in and helps their creative energy flow and I want to come over to their house and organize it for them so they have some space to work in! As  I work best in a tidy environment I probably spend too much time organizing and not enough creating.

jewelryI’ve begun to make lists of links that have helped me learn the art of jewelry making.  I have a list for every category:  sites with great jewelry patterns, references to help buy the right supplies, inspiring jewelry designers etc.  I suggest using Pinterest, Google Keep, and Evernote to keep track of bookmarks, projects lists, creative ideas, inspirations. I share these lists with you so that you can easily reference and learn from these sites as well.    I hope they will help beginning beaders get started and experienced beaders find more sources of inspiration!

These are just my favorites sites for jewelry making resources and bead patterns- there are lots and lots of beading websites out there and it would be impossible to include them all. I’ll be adding more blog posts with good resource lists too. So if your favorite isn’t on the list please comment and let me know  why its your favorite!

Jewelry Making Resources

All Free Jewelry Making
Jewel Info
Gano Skin Project 
Beading Times 
About Jewelry Making 
Jewelry Lessons

Bead Patterns

ACL Patterns & More 
Arleen Hardin 
Czech Beads Exclusive 
Lisa Yang Jewelry
Magpie Gemstones
Mirrix Looms
Deb Roberti’s Around The Beading Table
Bead Jewelry Making
3D Beading Patterns
Jaycee Patterns
The Heart Beading
Linda’s Crafty Inspirations
Off The Beading Path 
Turn the Bead Around 
The Bead Book
Sova Enterprises
Silver Hill Design 

Jewelry Making Magazines

Bead Style
Rock and Gem 
Laura Zeiner 
Simply Beads Kit Club 
Beading Daily
Bead And Button


A Can’t Miss Local Event for Bead Lovers!

Highland Park Art CenterSo glad that Bodacious Beads informed me of the upcoming Ayla’s Originals Bead Show and that it was a can’t miss event for bead lovers in the area. So this Sunday my husband and I got in the car and braved the traffic despite carmaggedon construction work on the Jane Byrne Interchange and headed north to the Highland Park Art Center.

Ayla's Originals Bead ShowAyla’s Wonderful World of Beads Show  is similar to the Bead & Button Show but with mostly local vendors coming together for a bead bazaar.  There were 18 vendors offering a wide selection of supplies including buttons, gemstones, pearls, findings, crystals, chain, kits, leather etc.  The Show is a great size as you could thoroughly admire and look over everything without being too overwhelmed or pressured by time constraint.

The fair also included  gorgeous lamp work glass artists offering handmade glass art beads and jewelry.  Jewelry designers were in attendance selling jewelry including wire work, chainmaille, soldered glass art, casting, and lampwork glass pieces.

Ayla’s Originals
Cynthia McEwen Design
Dakota Stones Enterprises
Diane Tarullo
Elka Designs
Hobo Glass
Ken’s Tribal
Kina Denton
Maike’s Marvels
Medusa’s Stones
Midwest Maille
Mostly Buttons
Nina’s Gem
Ovington Glass Studio
Silk Road Treasures
String-a-Strand on Wells
The Reith collection
Two Charming Chix

I happily found some great supplies I was looking for.  I got some gorgeous Aquamarine which is my birthstone, crystals, and findings.  I wish the fair had offered more seed beads. But, I did find a wonderful vendor offering some seed beads from her large stash for a low price. Can’t wait for the next show!

BeadStashBead Stash 2

Do It Yourself Bead Board

BeadSmith Flocked Bead Board
BeadSmith Flocked Bead Board

A Beading Board or Beading Mat is essential for any beader and especially for bead weavers.  For bead stringers I suggest picking up a floced bead board which can be found in  any craft store. They allow you to lay out your designs in measured ridges.  These Bead Boards are also great for sorting beads which many of us are guilty of spending  way too much time on – instead of actually making something with our precious beads.

For those who love tiny seed beads and bead weaving you will need a different kind of Bead Board that is flat surface that will not allow your beads to roll off of.  There are many choices out there,  however if you are crafty you probably like the idea of making one yourself.  And my Bead Board cost under $10 to make!  All you need is a frame, fabric, and some tape or glue.  There are some key things to think of when choosing your supplies to make your own bead board. 1)  The frame you choose should have rounded corners so the thread does not catch.  2) The mat should be made out of a soft fabric that provides friction for beads but does not pill. I chose a Beadalon Bead Mat others suggest finding velux at a fabric store.  3) The frame size should be big enough for your projects but keep it portable.  4) The frame should have enough of a ridge to keep the beads from rolling off the mat.

Kullsta Ikea Frame
Kullsta Ikea Frame

For my Bead Board, I found the Kullsta Frame at Ikea. Its a perfect find since it has round corners and the frame itself is rounded as well.   It was on clearance at the time and unfortunately is no longer available at Ikea. But it is selling on Amazon & Ebay.  If Ikea only knew the market they are missing out on selling to with those frames!!

I then purchased a Beadalon Bead Mat from my a craft store, will have them in stock in the jewelry making section. I placed  the “glass” of the Kullsta Frame (actually a plastic sheet) on the center of the Beadalon Bead Mat and traced around it with a pencil.  Then I cut the Beadalon Bead Mat but an inch bigger than the trace.  Next using masking tape to secure it I wrapped the bead mat around the the plastic sheet – making sure it is as tight as possible.   Alternatively, you could use glue to affix the mat to the plastic sheet.  Snap it back into the frame and you are done!

DIY Bead Board
DIY Bead Board

I really enjoy my DIY Bead Board, it is the perfect size for the  projects I work on. I have enough room to lay out my beads while also having enough room to lay the piece out as I work.  The inside length of the frame is 7 inches which is the size of most bracelets. I have thought of marking one side with ruler markings. It is also very portable and can be taken anywhere – even Jury Duty! I love it so much I made two!

I do not remember exactly where I saw the specific idea for my bead board however I do know it was in one of the fantastic Facebook beading groups I am a  member of. I wish I could give credit to the person who originally came up with the idea.

Chicago Area Glass Art Studios

Chicago Proper

Ignite Glass Studios
401 N Armour St
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 465-2389

Chicago Hot Glass Inc
1250 N Central Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60651
(773) 394-3252

Fredrick Stained Glass
4308 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 725-2218

4401 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-4226

Talisman Glass
469 N Racine Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 455-9555

Chicago Mosaic School
1806 W Cuyler Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 975-8966

Chicago Glass Collective
1770 W Berteau Ave #203-B
Chicago, IL 60613
(216) 543-2329

Shatter Glass Group,Inc.
3400 N Knox Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(312) 860-5454

Glass Art Designs
1807 W Sunnyside Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 297-5975

Everlasting Fire Studio
5036 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 728-2071

Chicago Suburbs

Affinity Studios
1665 Quincy Ave #171
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 587-2700

Brickton Gallery & Art Center
306 Busse Hwy
Park Ridge, IL 60068
(847) 823-6611

Gallery’s Choice Art and Stained Glass
926 Warren Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 969-5660

Prodigy Glassworks
1117 Clarence Ave
Oak Park, IL 60304
(708) 445-8000

TLD Design Center & Gallery
26 E Quincy St
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 963-9573

Wildfire Productions: Glass Art Studio
4907 Western Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 272-2108

If I have left any off this list please add it in the comments section! Thx!

Chicago Area Bead Stores

I have compiled a directory of Bead Stores in the Chicago Area  hat includes the city, suburbs and northwest Indiana.  I wish to help support these local bead stores as many bead lovers agree its more fun to buy beads they can see rather than order online viewing just pictures – color and finish are so important to beaded creations!   My goal is to eventually visit each bead store and write a short review so local bead lovers will have a quick reference of where to find the supplies they are looking for!

485 Main St
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137


1649 Montgomery Rd # 9
Aurora, IL 60504

3960 N Elston Avenue
Chicago, IL

1127 W Granville Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660

AVP Jewelry has 2  locations on Chicago’s North West & East sides in the neighborhoods of Irving Park and Rogers Park.  The stores carry a selection of seed beads, czech glass strands, gemstones, tools. They also offer classes and jewelry repair. Their goal is to “keep our shops feeling like a paradise of jewelry and beads for all of our amazing customers.” I visited their Irving Park location the store is organized and clean and the staff  were very friendly and helpful!

1511 Sherman Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

Ayla’s Originals is located in the Northeast suburb of Chicago of Evanston which is also the home of Northwestern University. I have yet to visit the store but visited their booth at the Bead & Button Show.  Ayla’s had a nice selection of pearls and seed beads.  I am anxious to make my trip up their soon.


1127 W Granville Avenue
Chicago, IL

Sad news for the beginning of the year. Blue Buddha Boutique has announced it is closing its doors.  Go to their website for sale announcements to help ease the pain of closing. Not sure about AVP Jewelry #2 which shares this location with Blue Buddha Boutique.

145 Harrison St
Oak Park, IL 60304

1937 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

Beadniks is located on the west side of Chicago in the trendy neighborhood of Wicker Park.  Beadniks’ focus is on stringing and carries expensive gemstones, pearls, crystal strands, metallic beads, and unique fun items. It has a definite Asian & African theme and decor.   They have a very limited section for beadweavers and their small seed bead offering is not labeled.

8 S Brockway St
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 776-2323

Bead World is located near downtown Palatine which  is a Northwest Suburb of Chicago about an hour away from downtown.  The store is packed full of dust covered semi precious stones, Swarovski Crystal, freshwater pearls, wood, bone, and other natural material beads, Czech glass beads , Vintage German Beads,  and fiber optic beads. Other services  offered include  body piercing, jewelry repair, and watch repair.  The store is cluttered so go in with a good idea of what you are looking for or be prepared to be overwhelmed.  I caution against using your cell phone while in the store or be prepared for a discussion about it.

7220 W Benton Dr
Frankfort, IL 60423

Naperville, IL 60540

This store has unfortunately closed/moved and only offers online sales now.

134.5 E Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115

1942 S River Rd
Des Plaines, IL 60018

Bodacious Beads lives up to its name in that it has a fantastic selection of all kinds of beads  The small  is located near O’hare Airport off of I-90 in a strip mall with tight parking, but it makes great use of the space it has but is very organized and not cluttered.  The store  is packed with seed beads, Swarovski crystals, czech glass, findings, strands of gemstones, pearls, daggers, African trade beads etc.  The staff was very helpful and friendly and most importantly shares a love of beads. I can’t wait to go back!

491 Roosevelt Rd
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

3928 North Rockwell Street
Chicago Illinois 60619

I have yet to visit City Beads but I have been told they have an open beading on Tuesday’s Afternoons and plan to go soon.  Make sure to call ahead as their hours vary.

1799 St Johns Ave
Highland Park, IL 60035

700 W Burlington Ave
La Grange, IL 60525

1098 S Milwaukee Ave
Wheeling, IL 60090

Found out about this under-advertised store when I saw Elka Design at the Ayla’s Wonderful World of Beads Show.  At the show she had tables and tables of irresistible gemstones, crystals, findings, leather etc.  I look forward to visiting the show room soon.

225 West Northwest Highway
Palatine, IL 60067

Facets of Isis is located in a cozy cottage style store front in the Northwest Suburb of Palatine.  As you walk in you feel like you are walking into you neighbors living room to enjoy some coffee and chat.  The store is FULL of everything a beadweaver dreams of: Swarovski crystals; Delica beads; Seed beads including Miyuki; Firepolished glass; Czech glass; Venetian glass foil beads; Natural stone and semi-precious beads; Lampwork glass,  Sterling silver, Gold filled, and Base metal beads and findings; and Fresh water pearls.  Everything is in pristine condition – organized, neat, and clean.   They also offer fabulous classes.

515 South La Grange Road
La Grange, IL 60525

103 E Morthland Dr #1
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Sadly the owner has announced that this lovely store will be closing soon. SO hurry in for sales and classes in the next couple of months before its closed for good. Imagine Beads is located in Northwest Indiana a good hour trip from the city.  However the store is very friendly and offers a great selection of beadweaving supplies.

1035 Havens Ct
Downers Grove, IL 60515

JBC Beads is located in the basement of an old office building just behind the busy corner of Main Street & Ogden Avenue in Downers Grove.  JBC Beads focus is on wholesale but the store is open to the public.  They offer 50% off of a $200 order or more that extends 60 days.  The store is very well lit to let all the Swarovski crystals, pearls, and gemstones sparkle and shine.  They also have a very good selection of findings.  The store offers classes as well.

123 N Waukegan Rd
Lake Bluff, IL 60044

4632 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

1361 N Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60610

String A Strand is located in Chicago’s historic Old Town Neighborhood.  Its focus is semi-precious gems, 14 karat gold filled and sterling silver findings, chains, natural coral, vintage beads, crystal for stringing jewelry.  They offer jewelry making classes and parties.

28566 N Ballard Dr # C
Lake Forest, IL 60045

816 Waukegan Rd
Deerfield, IL 60015

141 Center St
Grayslake, IL 60030

112 W Main St
Griffith, IN 46319


7519 Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60130

*Please let me know in the comments if I am missing any stores, any stores are closed, or if I have listed any at home businesses not open to the public. Thank you.