Friday

CJS SALES



CJS Sales is a place of dreams.


In short, it is a wholesale bead/chain/jewelry/everything supplier.


I first discovered CJS probably a year ago through For The Makers, a now defunct subscription box that had great tutorials. Their site seems to be down, but this was the link to their blog post. I didn't have a tax ID then (which you need to shop there), so I squirreled away the post for when I decided to bite the bullet and get one.


I finally got a tax ID a couple months ago in November--and the first thing I did was look up CJS, but only to discover they lost their lease and are going out of business.


So, everyone out there, you have until the end of this month to visit.






The elevator doors will open to 5,000 square feet of pure treasure-hunting fun. The first time I visited, adrenaline kicked in and I was so excited I was sweating. You're handed an empty box, told you can sling your coat over a chair, and are basically given free reign to dig and roam. There isn't much in terms of 'customer service', everyone is friendly, but there is no hand-holding. It's just you, and the beads.








There is some method in the madness: a room dedicated to metals, to chains, to plastic beads, etc. I personally kept mostly to the glass beads, which is what I mostly work with.







I could probably spend hours here.


Unfortunately, they're only open M-F 9AM-5PM, which are the hours I work. They are only a few blocks down from my job so I've been able to sneak away during lunch breaks or if I happen to leave work early I've been able to pop in.


I've definitely heard stories of people flying in from around the country just to shop and source. If your haul is too heavy, CJS will ship it to you. I've witnessed people spending thousands.


You pay by the pound--so far my visits have ranged from $100-$160 (there is a $100 minimum). Because they are closing their doors soon, they've been running huge discounts--not sure of specifics. The owner, Carl, has discretion and the final say.


This definitely isn't a place where you go hunting for a specific thing--it's for inspiration.


PROS
  • Prices are currently very, very fair.
  • Will definitely find things you won't have been able to find otherwise.

CONS:
  • Not open on weekends, limited store hours.
  • If you find something you love, will be very hard to find it again.



MY LATEST HAUL

Carl took $20 off my order & didn't charge me for a bag his son threw in for me. (By chance you're reading, I love you both.) I paid $100 bucks total. I mostly get glass beads, and the prices per pound vary for plastic and for metal.






For the glass beads, a lot of the beads in the baggies are still strung. This was a bundle of about 13 strands. Whenever I empty the bags I'm always astounded at how many there are!







While you won't know what you'll find, there are definitely things I look out for.

  • Certain colors: mostly pinks/blues
  • Smaller sized beads for earrings
  • Gemstones
  • Faceted beads in oval/drop shapes
  • Center drilled beads

Each time I go I get a little more picky--on my first trip I went a little bananas. I have since settled down and have been more critical.








This was a very pink-heavy haul. 







You pay by weight, these stars were definitely heavy but I couldn't resist.








Not all bags are heavy and full. Sometimes you'll find these small ones with only one strand. Which are great because they weigh very little.








I have no idea the final worth of what I purchased, but I definitely think I got a great deal.








MY FAVORITE BEADS I HAVE FOUND AT CJS SO FAR:






You will see that I love center-drilled drops. These are a creamy blue and different sizes.






This is a bag of clear, center-drilled drops. This is a small bag, I wish there were more!





This is a bag I combined two different finds with. The first time I visited, I found a bag of the pink, white and tan beads. Then I subsequently found the blue. They're the same bead, just different colors.


I absolutely love the pink drops and I'd cry with happiness if I am able to find more.







I found a small bag of these leaves and thought they were beautiful. (Plus very very light.)





These round rose quartz beads have been very fun to work with.




I have no idea what these are, but they're gorgeous and heavy.






I had a woman look into my box and I almost had to fight her off for these.






I'm hoping to visit one last time before their doors close, but I'm going to have to carve out the time somehow with my schedule.

If you live in/near/can get to  NYC and have a tax ID number, I highly recommend you visit CJS. It's worth it.

Best,
Alyssa

TUTORIAL: TUBE EARRINGS




I picked up these fantastic tube beads mostly to make necklaces, but I think they also make a terrific statement earring.





I used wire because I don't have headpins long enough to run through the length of the bead. (Hence the charm at the end also.) If you have headpins that are long enough, you can easily do this anthropolgie styled earring.





First, I slid a bead onto the wire, leaving room on each side for loops. I snipped the wire.





I made my loops on either side. Here is my design. Attach your charms and your hooks and then you're done!





Wednesday

JEWELRY BASICS: TOOLS AND MATERIALS

Years ago I wrote a Jewelry Basics Tutorial. I wanted to put together another basics tutorial--but on materials and tools.

It doesn't take much to start making your own jewelry (or more specifically, earrings). It's the options afterward that are endless. I started with a little kit which slowly over years expanded into a collection that is in no way portable.

These are the bare bones basics. Even if you don't want to start making your own earrings, these will be nice to have if you want to do any repairs.


TOOLS

There are many, I only use two.




I've found for my style of jewelry, these two are the only ones I need. 
  • Round nose pliers so that I can make my loops and close my jump rings
  • Cutters to snip wire & too long pins

Of course, there are specialty tools such as crimp pliers, etc. But for what I do, these are all I need.




MATERIALS

  • I prefer ball headpins in different lengths.
  • I use wire to wrap: make my own eye pins.
  • Earring hooks: I love this shape, I also have studs I use frequently.



  • If you work strictly with beads, you won't need chain. I use chain frequently, so I'm adding it as a basics must.
  • Again, if you work strictly with beads then you might not need jump rings. I use them all the time, especially to add on charms and to connect other pieces together.


BEADS. BEADS AND MORE BEADS.

My favorite part. This is where I go a little crazy, this is where the options are endless. Of course, it took me years to get to where I am 'collection' wise in terms of beads.

But that's about it. If you're trying jewelry-making out, it doesn't have to hurt your wallet. 

You can always take apart jewelry you already have and then run to the craft store for anything you're missing. Use Michael's coupons for the tools/headpins/jumprings. I'm an avid thrifter in general, and I always peruse the jewelry to see if there are any chains/beads I like. 

Creating gives me great joy, I hope this helps you find the same.

Good luck.

- Alyssa

UPDATES

Hi everyone!

I have a couple updates in my little jewelry world I wanted to share.
  1. I'm vending for the first time ever! This Saturday, December 17 at Porta Jersey City , 11AM-4PM at their holiday pop-up market. I'm both excited and terrified. Does anyone have any booth or fair tips to share?
  2. In preparation for the pop-up, I finally got a taxID number, which granted me access to the most fabulous supply warehouse in NYC. I'm going to dedicate a whole post to the place, because it's just that fantastic. So far, I've bought 19lbs of supplies. Nine, freaking, teen.
  3. Many, many hours are being spent making new earrings! I work full-time, so I've been dedicating my evenings under a lamp. Tutorials to come!




- Alyssa

An Open Invitation...

I don't get too personal on this blog. It's usually all earrings, all the time. My tutorial posts rarely have introductions. I'm quite terrible at this.

But I wanted to propose something, to gauge a bit of interest. 

I've recently returned to America from spending three months traveling in Korea. I left for a perfect storm of reasons--and while I was there, I discovered a community of amazing women that I am hungry to discover again.

None of my friends craft. I would love to find/create/carve a space for crafty ladies to meet up & shop for beads and bounce ideas and foster creativity and gush over instagram craft crushes.

If you're in the NYC area, and are interested, let me know. You can email me at hellowhimsyblog@gmail.com 

xo Alyssa
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