Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Leather By Lisa

Choosing Colors

Miyuki Delica beads are the perfect beads for loom and off loom beadweaving projects.  Their precise cylindrical shape makes them the perfect "bricks" of color for beadweaving. There are thousands of 11/0 Miyuki Delica colors available, but choosing the perfect colors for your next project can be daunting, especially if you can only review online images.

Leather By Lisa owner, Lisa Hansen reached out to me to help her select the perfect colors for a belt she was commissioned to create.  The color palette requested by the client was submitted in the photo above.  Lisa shared the photo with me and requested the suggested Delica colors to match the sample.  Below are the colors that I suggested she use to replicate the sample pattern/colorway.

The selected Delica colors were chosen not only for their color, but also each bead shared the same opaque finish.  Mixing bead finishes can be an interesting aspect of a beaded design, but a project like this works best if all the colors have the same finish.  The fine leather workmanship complements the beauty of the design.  The finished belt is a stunning piece and her client is very pleased!  Congratulations on a job well done Lisa!

Red Panda Beads is a small business and color suggestions, whether in the Gallery of Color Suggestions, or individually requested, are unique services we provide to make your bead shopping experience most satisfying and pleasant.

Don't hesitate to submit your color suggestion request to:


Happy Beading!


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Super Hero Cuffs

My grandson is 5 years old and I'm trying to get away from all the imported plastic toys for his Christmas present this year.  He is really into Super Heros and I thought I'd make something that not only will last longer than the plastic toys, but something that he will appreciate and know that his grandmother took the time to make especially for him. He likes to dress up as a Super Hero.

I do most of my own marketing on my website, www.redpandabeads.com and that means I bead A LOT.  I have a huge bin of leftover bracelets, etc that I bead up to add a design to my Gallery of Color Suggestions.  Once I take the photos, in the bin all the beadwork goes.

One Saturday he came across the bin and immediately started trying on bracelets and pretended they were Super Hero Cuffs.  So I decided to make him actual Super Hero Cuffs.  I found some examples on Pinterest, but they all look pretty lame, card board with triangle designs.  Some actually have Super Hero emblems on them, but that does not overcome the fact that they are card board and amateur looking.

So I started with Brass Bracelet Cuffs.

Them I embellished them with beads and crystals to make the Super Hero Cuffs.

I used 8lb FireLine bead together the Peyote strip of beads to wrap around the brass cuff and to bezel the crystal Rivoli and attach it to the Peyote strip.  I also used 8lb FireLine to decorate the center line cuffs with seed beads and bicone crystals.  The smaller center line cuffs are meant to go on top and below the wider cuff, but it will be fun to see how he wants to play with them.

These cuffs are durable and will provide many hours of make believe = the most satisfying and productive type of play.  And he will always know that Grandma made them especially for him.

Happy Beading

Monday, September 28, 2015

Managing Colors

I really like using Deb Roberti's patterns.  They are so easy to follow and very versatile.  Several of her patterns work for "any 4mm" bead.  These patterns will work with round beads and pearls, fire-polished, bicone crystals, etc.  I've recently beaded up several variations of Deb Roberti's Lilac Bracelet.

One of the reasons I like her patterns so much, is she diagrams the patterns and it is very easy to visually follow the steps in each pattern.  She uses various colors to represent each bead in a pattern.  Below is her legend for the Lilac Bracelet pattern.

When using "any 4mm" bead it can get confusing remembering which of the four different 4mm beads is Color1, Color2, etc.

I've found it helpful to "label" each bead with the color represented in the pattern.  It is much easier to bead up the pattern using the diagrams.

Happy Beading!


Sunday, July 19, 2015


My friend, Deb Roberti, from www.aroundthebeadingtable.com, recently coined a new term, "SuperDuped" to express her frustration with occasional plugged holes in SuperDuo beads.

Unfortunately the occasional plugged hole is a reality with not only the SuperDuo beads, but also the new MiniDuo beads, as I found out when I was beading up a blue version of Deb's new Infinity Bracelet.

I cannot think of anything more frustrating than having beaded to the point of going through the 2nd hole in a SuperDuo or MiniDuo only to find the hole plugged.  When faced with the only option of undoing all the beadwork, in desperation I've turned to my bead reamer.  I've found that more often than not, the tool can ream out the plugged hole and I'm quickly back to beading.

I originally purchased my bead reamer to ream out larger holes in fresh water pearls.  I found the tool so handy, I subsequently added it to my website.  For the purposes of reaming plugged holes in SuperDuos and MiniDuos, I keep one of the Diamond Replacement tips handy while beading.  The averted frustration has been such a relief!  I highly recommend that every bead stash include at least one bead reamer.

Happy Beading!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Pearl Coat vs. Pastel Finishes

Deb Roberti's newest FREE pattern is the Berry Band.

In the example above she uses deep rich purple CzechMates® Tiles and SuperDuos.  The product codes on the Red Panda Beads website are:

CZTWN06-25032 - CzechMates® Tiles Pearl Coat - Purple Velvet


DU0525032 - SuperDuo Pastel Bordeaux

While the names seem different, they are actually the same color.  These two items are sourced from two different wholesale suppliers.  Starman calls the colors in this series "Pearl Coat" and BeadSmith refers to the series as "Pastel".  The common factor is the 25032 color.  When comparing Czech and Japanese beads it's best to refer to the product code number and not the "name" so much - as many wholesale suppliers assign different names to items, but will have the color number embedded in the product code.  So while it may appear that the CzechMates® Tile beads are a different color than the SuperDuos, they are in fact identical in color - making Deb's Berry Band perfect!  :)

Happy Beading!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Czech 2-Hole Silky Beads

Silky beads come in various finishes.  There are opaque and transparent colors.

 There are several types of coatings too.

The beads I used in the Nexus bracelet (pattern by Deb Robertiare examples of the "vacuum" finish.  When applying a "vacuum" finish - beads are spread in a tray in a single layer and then the tray is inserted into a special machine to apply the "vacuum" finish.  Depending on the bead orientation in the tray, the finish will either be on the top of the bead or on the bottom.  The only way to get the finish consistently on the top or bottom of the beads would be to hand sort the beads in each tray - adding extra time and cost to the process. 

At first glance, beaders may prefer to have the coating all on the tops of the beads, but I rather like the contrast effect made when alternating the top finish vs. bottom finish beads, as shown above.  Bead colors with the word "Full" in the description have the finish on both the top and bottom of the bead.

Below are some examples of Deb Roberti's FREE Silky Stacker pattern, also highlighting the 1/2 coating on these beautiful Silky Stackers.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Pecans

For years now, it's been a Christmas tradition to make these yummy pecans.  I've modified the recipe over the years to this version.  I always make them in 4 lb batches - but you can modify the recipe if you don't want to make that many.  They make great gifts.  No matter how many you make, you'll wish you had made more.  This year I made 20 lbs!

  • 4 lbs Pecan halves
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

It is important to start with quality pecan halves

I always use a natural sugar.  The less processed the better.  The larger grains of sugar do not work as well as the finer ones.

I use a large bowl to prepare the pecans for roasting

I use large aluminum disposable pans - makes cleanup a cinch 

Start by putting 4 lbs of pecan halves in your bowl.  Make sure to cull out an bad pecans or shell fragments

Put 4 cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons each of salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.  I always use either kosher salt or sea salt for added flavor

Mix the sugar, salt and cinnamon together

Beat 4 egg whites and 4 tablespoons of water until frothy

Pour the egg white mixture over the pecans and toss them well to coat all the pecans so that they are all wet

Pour the sugar mixture over the pecans and toss well to evenly coat all the nuts

Pour the pecan/sugar mixture into the baking pan.  You can continue to toss the nuts to better coat them.

Place the pan in your preheated oven and bake

Set your timer for 30 minutes and turn the pecans every 30 minutes

After the first 1/2 hour, the pecans will appear very wet

As you continue to turn them, over time, they will not appear as wet

Be prepared to have a sugar coated spatula before you are done.  The nuts are usually done win 2 1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the humidity and variations in ovens.

Let the nuts cool in the pan.  When cool place in storage containers or gift bags/containers for gifts.

Warning these nuts are HIGHLY addictive!  Enjoy!