Beading bonanza

At String Bead, you can make your own gifts this holiday season

A few years ago, I caught the crafting bug and while it’s subsided a bit these past few months, there never seems to be a better time than the holidays to break out the sewing machine and glue gun. No, I’m not talking about making ugly sweaters (though that does give me a fun idea!). Actually, my sights are set more on jewelry this year. I stopped by String Bead earlier this week to see what they had going on (there’s always something going on there) and was happy to find fliers about the shop’s upcoming Santa’s Workshop this Saturday (Dec. 6), 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

“It’s really geared toward families,” said Atalla Molaro, an employee at String Bead, aka jewelry-making heaven. “We wanted to get parents and kids involved in making family members’ Christmas gifts. And they end up good quality because they have someone helping them.”

This is the fourth year String Bead has held Santa’s Workshop, and Molaro says every year has been a success. The business regularly offers classes on everything from beginning beading and basic macramé to manipulating metal and soldering. What’s cool about Santa’s Workshop is the fact that the actual teaching is free—you just have to pay for your materials.

“We want people to be able to come in and learn a new skill and then make one thing after another after another,” Molaro said. In the past, customers have brought in their entire Christmas list and started checking people off as their gifts were finished. Some of the most popular designs this year, she predicts, are beaded snowflake necklaces, tree of life necklaces (pictured), leather bracelets and bezel pendants.

“You can bring in a picture of your family, set it in the bezel and put resin on top,” she explained. The end result looks similar to a glass pendant. She showed examples of other designs, incorporating beads and other trinkets, and it was enough to make me want to go be an elf in Santa’s Workshop on Saturday. String Bead is located at 2201 Pillsbury Road, in the Almond Orchard shopping center.

String Bead isn’t the only place offering a DIY Christmas experience. Here are a few other places where you can craft your way through the holidays:

Chico Scrapbooks (2033 Forest Ave., Ste. 104) offers free make-and-take events every Wednesday, as well as classes on Saturdays. This weekend (Dec. 6), go learn how to make crafty Christmas cards. Cost is $25 for 10 cards, and the class starts at noon.

Magnolia Gift & Garden (1367 East Ave.) is holding a Handmade for the Holidays event, where participants can learn to make everything from living wreaths to centerpieces. Saturday, Dec. 6, 11 a.m.