Your Whims Wednesday #152 {And Features}

Time for another Your Whims Wednesday Party!

Your Whims Wednesday

In case you haven't been around the blog this week yet, I've been sharing about my recent visit down to the Florida to the headquarters of Cousin Corporation, the bead manufacturer! You can read my first two recaps here and here. Spoiler alert: posts involve lots of BEADS :)

And just as a quick personal side note, today is my two year wedding anniversary! It's crazy to think that I'm 23 and have been married for two years already. We are so happy together though so I'm glad we got started young :) I was blogging when we got married so I did post a recap if you're interested!

But anyway, enough about me: here are some of my favorites from last week!

DIY Wood Love Sign Burlap and Bananas

Paint Dipped Upcycle Craft Organizers by The Concrete Cottage

Chevron Bag by Gina's Craft Corner
Chevron Bag by Gina's Craft Corner

Icicle Wrapped Bracelet by Undeniable Glitter

Thanks to all who linked up! Grab a button if you were featured :)
Featured on My Girlish Whims
Now... onto this weeks party!

I show off my girlish whims weekly on my blog, and now I want to see yours with 
Your Whims Wednesday!

1. Link up as many projects as you would like: as long as it is one of your girly ways, you can link it! I'd love to see crafts, recipes, style posts, etc. Anything and everything feminine :)
2.Please add my button (code at the top of this post) to either your blog post or somewhere on your blog. 
3. Take a quick moment to comment on at least one other entry. We we all love comments!! 
4.I'd love if you would follow me as well :)

Trip to Cousin Corporation Day 2

I’m back to talk about the second day of my trip to Cousin Corporation. If you missed the first part, you can find it here!

The second day of our trip was LONG. We were picked up at our hotel at 7AM which definitely came earlllly after staying up late enjoying myself the day before. This morning ocean view did help to make up for it though for sure :)

We all loaded back up onto the “Cuz Bus” and headed out to visit the company headquarters.

One of the things I really took away from this trip is how…approachable and relatable the Cousin company and brand is. Cousin is a MULTI-million dollar enterprise but it is run with a family background and realistic principles.

The president, Jeff Cousin is a business man and very successful but he doesn’t have a crazy huge office or ego. Liz Heggy the sales manager really carries a lot responsibility and has a lot of power within the company but talked and related to all of us ambassadors as just another girlfriend.

We took a tour of the facilities and got to see where all the beading magic happens. I loved how the office d├ęcor was all about beads and jewelry!!! There were pictures displayed everywhere and lots of handmade jewelry displayed throughout the building. I mean, they even had handmade jewelry displayed in the bathroom. Talk about inspiration EVERYWHERE!!! 

The best part about the tour was seeing all of the masses of BEADS!!! I was basically salivating. I mean, I think I could have just moved in and lived amongst the bead displays and forever be happy.

We got to see the different collections they have set up for different stores and how they arrange to have all of these beads displayed on different planograms. There is so much science and process behind getting those pretty little beads onto the shelf and into the consumer’s basket.

Another part of the tour was to visit the warehouse where all the orders are packaged and shipped out. Walmart is a HUGE customer for Cousin. Cousin basically stocks about 75% of the jewelry section for Walmart in America and Canada. That’s a lot of beads! They have an entire assembly system and entire team of workers dedicated just to Walmart orders.

The warehouse might not be as pretty as the office section, but still just the thought of the amount of beads in that place makes me drool. This looooong aisle is just filled with boxes upon boxes of beads. And there were a lot of aisles!!!

After our tour we headed out with Liz Heggy to do store visits at Walmart, Michaels and Joanns. We learned a lot about how Cousin has to stay on top of trends and styles and present new lines to the store buyers months before the trend actually hits to get the real estate space in the store. Also, each store has a different type of target customer and as such not all of the same beads are stocked at each store. It was fun watching Liz check out all the competitor products, she even had a store employee come over and scan one empty section to see who's stuff was going to be moved in there next.

After our store visits we had a product development and trend lunch to share what we thought Cousin could be doing better with, and then after that it was time to craft!!! I was so excited to get to bead since we had just toured the facilities AND went to three different craft stores, my fingers were itching to get at some beads and make something.

All of us ambassadors were paired with a Cousin designer and we each had to create a necklace, bracelet, and earring set that will be used in inspiration marketing at AC Moore stores! We were each assigned a color story (I had pink/red, go figure why haha) and given a bunch of strands to work with. We could supplement our strands with extra findings and accent beads from the AC Moore section of beads at Cousin. Man it was fun to be able to go pick a bunch of beads off the shelf to craft with and not have to buy them first haha! We were given two hours to craft and the in-house designers were there to help us, but man it was intense! I managed to get my necklace and earrings done and my lovely designer Theresa executed my bracelet idea. I pretty much felt like I was on project runway for beading haha. We were all set up around a big conference table that was just COVERED with beads and random supplies when we were done.

I can't share what I made until summer time when all the new Cousin strands will hit AC Moore stores. I will be sure to share after that though :) After the mad dash to design, we headed back to our hotel to get fancied up for dinner. We were supposed to wear another handmade jewelry design so I sported my DIY Silver Sparkle Necklace

We were treated to dinner at the schwanky Middle Grounds Grill. Since we were right by the ocean I made sure to try some seafood like this fish spread and my entree was a shrimp pasta. I even tried a mussel for my first time! I was a littllleee scared but I ate it anyway. It wasn't bad either!

We all had a great time and then when it was time to head out I saved the last of the wine from the table haha (no one was taking it!) In Florida they give you little goodie bags to take home your wine bottles if you don't finish them! They also sell wine and liquor in Walmart which this PA girl can't understand since our state has such weird alcohol laws and you have to go to three different store to by wine, a six pack and a case of beer (and none of those places are a grocery store).

After dinner some of the ambassadors went to bed and few of us others enjoyed a little more time enjoying the Florida weather outside the hotel and walking along the beach. This was a picture from earlier in the evening- it was just SUCH a pretty area to be in! Can I move to the beach now??

This was our only full day in Florida so it was packed full but it was a good type of busy! Friday was our last day in Florida (*cries*) and I will be back to talk about that soon!

Trip to Cousin Corporation: Day 1

Wow. I just recently got back from an awesome trip visiting the headquarters of Cousin Corporation in Largo, Florida.  Cousin was nice enough to fly all of their brand ambassadors down for the second annual ambassador retreat! I had an absolute blast on the trip so I wanted to share a recap with you all!

It was a whirl-wind of a trip. I got up on Wednesday morning at 4AM to be able to high-tail it to the Philly airport. It was an early morning but completely worth it for the fun ahead 


Killing time at the airport taking selfies after getting up at 4AM. Oy vay.

I landed in Florida and was greeted by Jessica from Cousin who works with all of us ambassadors online as well as some of the other ambassadors who had already gotten in. It's so fun to be able to see and talk to people in person that you have only ever met online! I knew so much about everyone's life before I had even said one word to them. I sound like such a creepy stalker but that's just how blogging works I suppose :) We had lunch together at the airport and had a bunch of fun getting to know each other "in real life."

 After lunch we loaded up in the "Cuz Bus" and were whisked off to our hotel by Chris, our amazing chauffeur for the trip. We were all SO HAPPY in this bus. Most of us come from places that are cold and snowy this time of year, so just riding in the bus with the windows down feeling fresh air and sunshine and great company around was amazing.

We stayed at the Double Tree Hilton right on the beach. The view from my room was AMAZING. Palm trees and the ocean right outside the door. At night you could hear the sound of the ocean from bed. SO relaxing. I felt very spoiled.

We had about an hour and a half from checking into the hotel until we needed to be fancied up and ready for the next event, so being a beach lover I threw down my suitcase, called my hubby super quick so let him know I was settled, then threw on my swimsuit, some sunnies and flip flops and went out to the beach!!!

 I got a Malibu Bay Breeze from the hotel bar and went out the beach and stuck my toes in the water.  SUCH a welcome feeling after all the cold and snow I've been dealing with in PA. I soaked in some sun and it was such a nice way to recharge super quick. At this point I was highly considering convincing hubby that we NEEDED to move to Florida STAT.

My time on the beach was short-lived so I could have a chance to get all girlied up for a welcome reception with a bunch of the Cousin team. We were supposed to wear one of our handmade jewelry creations so I wore my DIY Beaded Dangle Necklace and a cute floral dress.

We took a nice group photo by the beach and then had a lovely reception with a bunch of the Cousin team! Wine, appetizers a beautiful sunset, tons of handmade jewelry and beaders all around me. I was a happy girl.

I was a happy girl....who may have gotten a littttle too happy with all the wine flowing around haha.  I had a blast though staying out late and talking and drinking and even swimming with the Cousin jewelry designers, ambassadors, and other members of the team. It was great to talk with the other ambassadors: we all come from different stages of life and work with different mediums and have unique styles, but at the end of the day we are just a bunch of girls who like to make jewelry and love to talk about it and learn from each other. It was also fun to meet and talk with the Cousin team in a social setting.  When I picture a regular day for an in-house jewelry designer for Cousin I see them getting to sit and make jewelry all day long (HEAVEN!) but really they have so much more to do like stay on top of trends and design new products that they really don't get to just make jewelry all day long (how sad!)
Myself with designer Theresa, in the middle Chris from sales (and our chauffeur!), and assistant Bryan.

So that was our first day in a nutshell: it was a low-key and exciting way to get acquainted and meet everyone before we got down to business more on the second day of our trip. Whew. And what a long day it was! This post is already long so I will cut it off here and be back to talk about the rest of the trip soon!

Your Whims Wednesday #151 {And Features}

Time for another Your Whims Wednesday Party!

Your Whims Wednesday

Here are some of my favorites from last week:

Beaded Hoop Earwires by the Jewelry Making Journal

Glitter Heart Candles by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Jewelry & Fashion Pariring Round-up by This Silly Girls Life

You are my Sunshine Wall Art by Let's Drink Coffee, Darling

Thanks to all who linked up! Grab a button if you were featured :)
Featured on My Girlish Whims
Now... onto this weeks party!

I show off my girlish whims weekly on my blog, and now I want to see yours with 
Your Whims Wednesday!

1. Link up as many projects as you would like: as long as it is one of your girly ways, you can link it! I'd love to see crafts, recipes, style posts, etc. Anything and everything feminine :)
2.Please add my button (code at the top of this post) to either your blog post or somewhere on your blog. 
3. Take a quick moment to comment on at least one other entry. We we all love comments!! 
4.I'd love if you would follow me as well :)

DIY Square Bead and Chain Necklace

I'm pretty excited about this week.  First of all, I'm starting it off with this cute new necklace I made and have to share with you all, and second because I'm taking a trip to Cousin Corporation on Wednesday! That's right, Cousin is flying all of us ambassador down to their headquarters in sunny Florida for three quick days. I'm so excited to get to warmer weather, tour their facilities and have a trip full of talk about beads and jewelry making!!

I love the crafting community but jewelry making has always been my true passion so I'm super excited to have a few days to meet other jewelry makers and learn lots about Cousin! I will be sharing updates on instagram as I'm there but will be sure to post about it when I get back :)

So lets get back to the jewelry making, shall we? This cute new necklace uses chain from Cousin and some stone beads that create a bold look!

To make your own you will need square gemstone beads, square 8mm round stone beads, chain, head pins, eye pins, needle nose pliers, round nose pliers and wire cutters. You will NOT need the wire or third set of beads pictured, but will also need jump rings and a clasp. 
 I was going to have a third layer of this necklace using the wire and smaller stick beads but it just did not work out. If only things would work as good as they do in my head in reality. I still love the necklace with only two different beads though :)

 Cut your chain into 4 equal lengths. String a square bead onto an eye pin and use needle nose pliers to attach the eye pin onto the center of one chain strand.

Use needle nose pliers to bend the eye pin 90 degrees directly above the bead. Trim off all but a small tail using wire cutters and then round the tail into a circle using round nose pliers.

Attach the new loop onto the center of another piece of chain and use needle nose pliers to squeeze shut.

Repeat these steps with more square beads

Next, grab a round stone bead and string it onto a head pin.  Use the same process listed above to create a loop with the other end of the wire like so:

Attach this loop onto the middle of one of the chain strands. 

Use needle nose pliers to squeeze shut.

Repeat until you have filled the chain to match the square beads

To turn this beaded bib into a complete necklace give it a slight rounded bend like so:

And you will see that to have the necklace lay straight while worn you will need to first use a jump ring to attach the lower chain to the upper chain about three links from the end on each side, and then attach the end of the upper chain onto another length of chain to create the necklace. This will give the lower chain level more slack and the upper chain level less slack so the necklace will lay properly.

Repeat on the other side as well

Lastly, use a jump ring and needle nose pliers to attach a clasp to the ends of the chain

After that, you're done!

I just love how this necklace turned out.  The square gem beads are just so lovely - they frame out the necklace perfectly and the purple round beads add a fun touch.

I think this big bib style necklace with large beads is also sooo in right now.

I certainly have enjoyed wearing it! So great necklace eye candy.

Maybe I'll bring this new puppy along on my Cousin trip - I'm supposed to wear some of my favorite handmade jewelry designs throughout the trip.  Sounds easy since I make tons of jewelry but it's hard to plan a cute outfit for a specific occasion and also plan it around one of my own jewelry pieces!  Maybe I'm just thinking too hard about it.  I hate packing for trips!! Oh well.  I'll have to plan SOMETHING so I don't show up naked :)