Friday, April 11, 2014

Bead Cruise 2014

Once again, I had a fabulous time on this year's Bead Cruise hosted by Heather Powers. Heather does an amazing job at making this thing the best it can be and so much fun. It's such a special event. If you like to bead and make jewelry, I highly recommend going on this cruise. Whether you are a beginner or advanced, there is something for everyone. Just go. Go on this cruise. It is so worth it! A bead retreat with friends and a tropical cruise vacation all rolled into one. I literally can't think of anything better than that! Check out all my photos from this year's Bead Cruise in my album on FaceBook.

Our 8 day Bahamas cruise left out of New Jersey. My friend and cabin-mate, Diana Ptaszynski of Suburnban Girl Studio lives about 45 minutes from the ship port. She graciously opened up her home and offered accommodations the night before the cruise to me and our friend, Terri. I'm so grateful for that!  
 Diana was a wonderful host, showing us around her home and her favorite local haunts the day before the cruise. After picking us up from the airport, she took us out to lunch at a real Jersey diner (It was Delicious), then took us to Ava's Cupcake Bakery for dessert. (Even more delicious!) After that, we swung by a little local bead shop called, That Bead Place where I snapped the above photo of her. Then, it was back to her place to settle in for the night chatting, talking beads, making jewelry and eating Jersey pizza for dinner. It was such a good time and one of my favorite parts of the whole trip before it even got started. I loved the extra time spent with my friend, Diana and Terri, too.

Day 1 - It's cruise day! We embarked from Cape Liberty, NJ. Once on board, we had a celebratory fruit smoothie drink. It was yummy. Cheers! Bon Voyage!

The first evening on the cruise was the Meet and Greet event. All the bead cruisers receive a goodie bag filled with beads, pendants and jewelry-making components made possible by generous independent artists and supply companies that sponsor the Bead Cruise. It was chalk full of treasures! There's also a little contest/challenge that goes along to make finished jewelry combining at least three items from the goodie bags. (The reveal for the contest happens during the farewell party the last night of the cruise.) Then, that same evening, there is a handmade pendant exchange. I made the pendant necklace above on the right to swap. Each pendant is shown off to the group after we exchange with a random partner. I'm always so amazed at the pendants the other cruisers create! They are all beautiful and the ladies that make them are incredibly talented.

Days 2 and 3 were spent in the class room while the ship sailed at sea. Day 2 was our day of full classes. I took Heather Powers' Petals and Leaves class. We hammered and textured metal shapes, experimented with painting techniques with the Vintaj metal patina paints and did some riveting with the Vintaj rivets. The third day, we had our half-day classes. I took Tracy Stanley's Earrings class. We shaped thick gauge wire, hammered, patina'd and wire-wrapped cute earrings. I love the pair I made.

Later that third evening, we had our Bead Bazaar event. I sold some of my favorite fibers and stringing materials along with my own project kits and tutorials and my book. Diana acted as my assistant, helping me set up and merchandise my table. Wow, she is really good at that stuff! I was so relieved and glad to have her help with that.

The second evening, was our first formal dining-room dinner and our 70's disco party night. I wore gold jewelry and did up my eyes in glitter eye makeup. We had a cocktail or two and some of us even danced a little. ;) That was a really fun time!

 Day 4 we are finally in the BAHAMAS. Whooo Hooo! Diana and I were so happy to see some SUN and blue-turquoise tropical waters. The two of us joined the official bead group excursion to go snorkeling at Rainbow Reef. Then, we had lunch in Nassau. I tried some conch fritters.  After lunch, we browsed around the straw market and a few shops downtown.

 Day 5 we missed our port on Coco Cay island due to a rain storm. Boo. Major bummer. Instead, we beaded and made jewelry all day long on the ship! Not a bad consolation, if you ask me. I made the set above for the designer contest. I wasn't eligible for a prize, but it was still fun to participate and I love what I made. The set includes a handmade pendant by Andrew Thornton, wing charms by Nina Designs, toggle clasp by TierraCast and a variety of accent beads donated by Rosanne Garvison.

Day 6 we were in Florida. Diana arranged for a group of us to spend the day with our friend, Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf, who lives close to the ship port. I'm so glad she thought to make plans with her. I was really excited for the chance to see Barbara, again. She is just a sweetheart. She even made up gorgeous little packages for each of us with some of her marvelous handmade beads and pendants. I love her and her work.
Barbara picked up a group of us (Kashmira, Me, Diana and Terri) from the port in Cape Canaveral and drove us over to Baker's Beads in Coco Beach, FL.What a great bead shop! Wonderful selection of Czech glass beads, seed beads, metal beads, gemstones and other natural materials. Awesome selection of chain and alternative stringing materials like leather and Irish waxed linen cord. The day we were there, they were having an African bead trunk show. I was in bead heaven. I purchased a nice selection of gemstone, wood, bone and African trade beads as well as some chain, leather and buttons to make a few gift bracelets for friends.

Day 7 we were back at sea and it was time to teach my class! I taught my Triple Row Macrame Bracelet. Again, I had Diana's help to set up for class. Thank goodness she was there to help me. I don't know what I would have done without her.  Diana also supplied me with some of her handmade ceramic buttons for my students to use in their bracelets. Her buttons are beautifully made and perfect for this project. Everyone loved them.
I had 7 students in class. These ladies can knot! I'm very impressed with the work that everyone did. I took pictures of all the bracelets I could. The above bracelets are all the work of my students. I'm a proud teacher mama. 

Day 8 was our last full day on the ship out at sea. It was a free day to spend just relaxing. Diana and I slept in that morning and packed our suitcases. We ate lunch at Johnny Rocket's on the ship and then went out on the deck to enjoy some sunshine and take pictures.

The company on the Bead Cruise just can't be beat. I especially enjoyed the company of these 4 ladies. Diana, Kashmira, Sarajo and Kathleen. I made a great connection to each girl. We were all instant friends. What a fun crew. I have to say I really appreciate being able to hang with like-minded, jewelry-making, creative ladies in my own age group. These ladies made this year's cruise special for me. I hope I see them again soon. Till next time, girls.


  1. Great blog. Looks like so much fun.

  2. Looks and sounds like you had an amazing time once again! Love all the photos and details about the fun filled week, your jewelry designs are stunning. I will be on this of these years!

  3. Sigh....every year I hope that it will be in the cards and sadly it is not. You have given me renewed fire to make this happen one of these years! Looks like a ton of fun! Thank you for sharing, Miss Erin! Enjoy the day. Erin

  4. You guys made great jewely. Looks lot lots of fun.

  5. I had the best time with you! This is one of the most wonderful trips I have ever taken and I"m glad I got to experience it with you!

  6. Sounds like you all had a wonderful time together!

  7. This cruise sounds like so much fun! My hubby wants to go on a cruise and I have already advised him that my first cruise will be this one. Now to save up the money. Oh and get a passport.

  8. Looks like so much fun! I love everything you made, especially the bracelet you taught.

  9. That looks like so much fun! someday I hope we get a chance to meet in person :)

  10. It made me smile just to read this. And I love the bracelets that you taught. The look awesome!


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