Gift Ideas for Beaders: Jean's Wish List and a New Reader Poll

This Beader’s Gift List

When my birthday or the holidays roll around and people ask me what I’m wishing for, I give the rote, “Oh, just good kids, health, and a nice dinner with loved ones.” But it’s all a sham. I secretly LOVE receiving gifts! The big fancy ones are nice, but the gifts I get really excited about are those that the giver really puts some thought into. Something tailored just for me. This type of gift—whether made or purchased—comes with a card saying, “This really reminded me of you” or “I knew you needed this.”

Problem is—being the frugal “all I want is nice children and to avoid the flu” puritan that I am, I realize that most of those around me don’t really know what I want or need. So, now that I’m at an age where the red hat and purple dress are right around the corner, I’ve decided I’m going to make my needs clear. And when my birthday approaches this fall, I’m going to give out a list. This list. It’s a jumbly list, filled with somewhat obscure beading products. But as you can probably imagine, my stash is already obnoxious and it’s the whipped-cream-with-sprinkles additions I now crave.

1.  Metal/rock tumbler
This has been on my list for a long time. I need a tumbler for polishing my metal clay pieces, but I’d also like it for tumbling rocks, sea glass, and other found objects.

2. True-color floor lamp
There are all kinds of true-color task lights, but the one I have my eye on is big–meant to sit by the couch as a beautiful piece of furniture. If I had something like that, I’d be able to see well as I bead in comfort.

3. Gold metal clay paste
I’ve got an itch to experiment with adding gold accents on my silver metal clay pieces, and this paste looks like the easiest way to achieve the look.

4. Bead pattern design software
There are quite a few programs out there that help you chart patterns, something I’d like to revive in my own work.

5. Milagros
I have such an affinity for these stamped metal “miracles” charms from Latin America that I find my stash constantly short. It’s fun when other people pick these out for you because they symbolize a prayer or need. A perfect, thoughtful gift!

What’s on your wish list? Take this quick poll and we’ll share the results in a future newsletter.

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!

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Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  You can also follow me on Twitter at: Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

13 thoughts on “Gift Ideas for Beaders: Jean's Wish List and a New Reader Poll

  1. Hi Jean
    I just got done reading your wish list article, I love milagros also. Do you have a favorite source for these little beauties that you would be willing to share?

    Thanks, Nann :~D

  2. Jean, I have found the greatest bead program. It is called BeadTool. website: This program has a free download so you can play with it. It has all styles of beadwork, peyote, square stitch, and loom. It is only $35. It is hard to believe. They have wonderful tutorials and absolutely great support. You can assimulate your pictures into beads with it. Try it! You will be amazed! Linda

  3. jean,i never wrote before, but read you every wed.—thank you so much for sharing of yourself—i love all that you post, also i think you are a beautiful lady even if you are close to the RED HAT—-. haydee.

  4. This is a great idea, I’ll need to think about a wishlist too, as my bday is coming in October.

    I am sure you can find many sources for milagros online. My mom sells them on her website and on ebay and I am sure she’s only one of many. I am fortunate to have more milagros than I know what to do with in my materials stash. I should really look for some inspiration in this area!

  5. Jean:
    My three girls were given a rock tumbler for Christmas this past year. I have found out that when planning on tumbling you need at least one full month to tumble your beauties. Each of the four weeks requires a separate polishing powder and the machine needs to run 24/7. It was great to see the outcome and have decided to keep the tumbler in the garage while running next time ;o)
    Schodack, NY

  6. Jean:
    I love your article regarding birthday gifts. I am already a Red Hat person and the only things I ever want for gifts are related to my beading and/or quilting. I have wanted a rock tumbler for years and have been saving up my gift cards to get a great tumbler. I usually give my family a list of items such as tools, books etc. I love the new beading books and now I too would love the beading software. I have an embroidery machine and would love to move some of my designs to the peyote charts in order to bead them out.

  7. Hello Jean, I am a newbie here and this is the first article I have read…I think. Anyway….about tumblers….get one like a Lortone that can turn two or three barrells are a time (one or two for jewelry, one JUST FOR ROCKS – don’t use a barrel you have been cleaning rocks in to clean jewelry, pieces become inbedded and scratch your jewelry) Above wrote about it taking weeks to use a tumbler..but only to smooth, clean, prepolish and polish ROUGH rock or stones). I clean and polish all my chain maille pieces….buy some ‘mixed shot’ STAINLESS STEEL only..(it will last forever and never rust) Figure 2 lbs for each barrell and one pound of silver (jewelry) or less shot more jewelry but remember you have to account for the water weight also….this is for 3lb barrels…you can buy bigger tumblers with larger weight capacity but they will cost. Add your stainless mixed shot, a tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid (the best) or tide detergent, your items you are cleaning…and fill with water just until covered. Seal…and tumble for a few hours for a good shine (like new) or over night for deburring and excellent polish. Don’t be surprised if you dump out your stash and it is all black….its a mystery but it happens to everyone. It is the combination of tarnish on all metals you may not even see…..and it over whelms the dish cleaning agent….so rinse and reset it all and tumble it again….you will be amazed at the shine and smoothness you can acheive. You can tumble set stones on rings…beads….jewelry with glass or crystals….I have yet to have anything break or crack….even lampwork….but please be careful with sculptural lampwork pieces…like sea horses and such. Don’t tumble amber (it absorbs water), don’t tumble pearls, turquoise or malachite. Check and learn about the stones…don’t tumble stones that are (poures)? Sorry…you will find spelling errors and such in this…I have MS and can’t type worth snot lol…and I am too tired to spell check…Bead on Friends and I hope this was helpful even if long…GreenEyes

  8. hello jean!

    wonderful article about gifts and letting the world know what you want- specifically. most people know what i want, and where to get it. the one person, though, that you would THINK would know what i want has no idea whatsoever- my sweetheart!
    we are coming up on 23 years in five days, and he still doesn’t quite get it. i have given him lists, phone numbers, and maps with directions- to no avail.
    i will admit that he has gotten a bit better since i have been beading. i gave him a list this past christmas, and was very specific. one item was a class that i wanted to take. instead of registering me in the class (i had written the name of the class, the date, time, and cost), he gave me a copy of the schedule, and told me to pick which one i wanted, tell him, and he would pay for it. AARRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! i did!
    years ago, i had asked for a massage for a present. no luck, the next year, i gave him the name of the salon, and the number. no luck. the third year, i gave him the name, the number, the address, a map, and written directions. still no luck. the fourth year, i did the same, and circled it on the map. that year, i got a box with an envelope in it. i thought, “hey, this year he got it right!” no luck. what i got was a piece of paper with his hands xeroxed all over it, and a bunch of tens and twenties plastered on top of his hands, with a note that said, :go get your own d****d massage!” i was glad to finally get a massage, but disappointed that he did it that way. he thought it was funny. i thanked him, then went to a local massage school that has a student clinic, and got two massages for what one would have cost at the salon (not bad, although i did miss the ambiance of the salon, not to mention the expertise and techniques. ah well…)
    aside from beads and books, i have given up on asking for anything specific from anyone. as crass as it may seem, i ask for gift certs or cards from anyone that bothers to ask. that way, i can choose what i want, and yet be able to say that you sincerely.
    i, on the other hand, take great delight in taking time to choose just the right gifts for friends and family. i also enjoy wrapping my presents, and love to watch the reactions when they see the present, much less what’s in it.
    i also wrap for my clients, if they request it, especially the guys. they seem to appreciate it, as most of them are all tangled when it comes to choosing a present, much less wrapping one.
    as for what i want now: i would like to have a large beading loom; design software; a trip to beadfest philly for next year; a trip to the b&b show in milwaukee; a tabletop size true color light beading lamp (i have a floor sized one; i bought it in april when i went to wirefest in king of prussia, as it was a three way lamp- floor, clamp and flat base desk. the table in my classroom was half an inch too thick for the clamp, and i had left the base in my hotel room, which was not at the function hotel, but off-site. sigh….); a comfortable chair to sit in; and a nice, sturdy, just the right height table to work at. i have a list of other things that i want, and occasionally will pick something from there, if someone asks, but they are all small things, even if some of them are not cheap (tools all come to mind…) i’d also like to have a separate room for a studio, so that i can stop working on my lap, and having to put everything away whenever i am finished, so that my cats don’t get into it. remind me sometime to tell you the tale of the nine strand necklace i was making for a breast cancer auction…
    well, that’s my piece for the day. it’s been a pleasure seeing what everyone else wants. i’ve also learned a bit about tumblers, and am beginning to want one, too, even if i don’t quite have a use for it- yet. thank heavens my sweetheart is a motorhead and understands about the importance of having tools, the right ones.
    take care and God bless. keep your rubber side down and your smile side up!


  9. Thank you. Now I have a “great idea” for my next craft sale. with each item I sell, on the back of my business card,at the t op I will Print”My Gift Wish Lists”. On the bottom “all of the above”I will display a sample.Maybe add wrist & ring sizes. I love the idea of a list.