Bead Therapy We’ve all been there; the post-break up craft project, the piece we’ve been working on for months that suddenly has to be completed behind closed doors once the in-laws arrive. Good news everyone! We’re not just avoiding and dodging the less fun parts of life, we are effectively self-medicating. When...

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Hello, 2015. Another year is coming to a close and it is, once again, time we look to the future and set goals for ourselves. I love the New Year because it feels fresh; it feels like a blank slate. Exercising more, reading & writing more, spending more time with friends & family and seeing new places are...

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Notes From a Bookworm I just completed the book ‘Wanderlust: A Love Affair with 5 Continents’ by Elizabeth Eaves. Happy Mango was essentially created because of Dan & Rudi’s love for travel. They have traveled far and wide to bring back some of the coolest beads, pendants & amulets from all over the world. The...

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Beads, Candles & Smells In the fall and winter I really go crazy for candles that smell like baking, sweets and all other warm, 'hibernating-like' good smells. As I walked around my house last night lighting all of my candles I passed by my favorite candle holder and realized, 'Hey! Those are beads on there!". I have had this...

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Happy (beaded) Slipper Day!’s one of “those” days...a slipper day. Yes, I brought my house-slippers to the Happy Mango Beads warehouse, making it a warehouse-slipper-day. I’m not sure you all realize how wonderful it is to work for this company. We have all heard the phrase, “no shirt, no shoes, no service,”...

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50 Shades of Gary – Part 3


Gary, one of the warehouse dogs here at Happy Mango Beads, has become quite the fashionista.  With a growing wardrobe of bandanas, Gary loves to surprise all the Mangoes with his favorite color of the day.  I knew he was on to something when I would pull orders that matched his “outfit” and I have taken inspiration from Gary’s choices. Enjoy!

Part 3
Cerulean Blue:

Cerulean blue falls somewhere between true blue and cyan.  The Latin root of the word means heaven or sky, which is fitting as this is what it was used for in classical paintings.  In 1999, Pantone nominated cerulean blue as the “color of the millennium”.  Also, Meryl Streep references it in “The Devil Wears Prada” when mentioning a high-fashion sweater.

Tell us what you think about cerulean blue…
I love it! My favorite ball is this color! Hey…where did I put that thing? You’re hiding it, aren’t you…?


What do YOU think about cerulean blue?
Do you associate it with anything in particular?

Stay tuned for more shades of Gary! And if you missed the last one, check it out here!

Beads and materials pictured include a faceted glass pendant, a large focal glass bead, paper beads, bone beads, blue silk ribbon and cord, tabular wood beads, apatite nugget beads, glass rondelle beads, and recycled glass beads.

Category : Beads, Beads, Beads, Jewelry Inspiration

Comments (1)

Cerulean blue, what a wonderful colour. It makes me think of my sister. Whenever I make her jewelry, it has to be blue. I know she would love something in cerulean blue.

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Punny Pendants

We’ve all heard a joke or two about someone getting a Chinese symbol tattoo on Spring Break that means something completely different than their intention, and since we’ve just listed some pretty amazing jade pendants with rich symbolism, Sarah and I deciphered some of them for our fellow Mangoes. We’d hate for you to make yourself a lovely piece of jewelry, intended to help find your soul mate, and all you get is a major promotion at work. False advertising is the worst.

Some of the symbolism is pretty straight-forward and consistent, like the dragon. Dragons symbolize benevolence, prosperity, longevity and the renewal of life. Ancient Chinese believed the dragon brought rain, good harvests and fertility. Seems simple, right? But put a phoenix and a dragon next to each other and you symbolize the union of man and woman. If the dragon has five claws it represents the emperor. If the dragon’s mouth is closed, it is keeping in good spirits, but if the mouth of the dragon is opened, it is warding off evil spirits. If the dragon is in a circle swallowing its own tail it is a variation of the Ouroboros or Yin Yang, symbolizing balance and harmony. Chinese symbolism can be quite the rabbit hole of details and nuances!

Not only do the characters and animals have specific meanings in combination with one another, the positioning is also important since many create puns and rebuses. One that Sarah found has the depiction of a bat, but the important part is the bat is upside down. The word ‘bat’, fu, in Chinese is a homophone for ‘blessings’, while ‘upside down’, dao, is a pun on the word ‘arrived'; therefore, an upside-down bat is a rebus for ‘the arrival of blessings’.

Jade Pendants

The shapes of the pendants are also important as Chinese coins hold special meanings. Coins under two phoenix (like this one) that are round with a square hole in the middle reflect the Chinese view of the world as square and the heavens as a circle. A coin can also be a visual pun for “before your eyes” because the hole in the center is called an “eye” and the coin has the same pronunciation as the word “before”.

Even the color of the jade that these beautiful pendants are carved from holds spiritual meaning. Green jade has energy for healing mind and body, calmness and balance and love. Light green is more yin energy and darker green is more yang energy. White jade has the pure energy of the universe and is believed to help develop deep wisdom from within. It is very calming. Lavender jade is often reserved for older women in Chinese culture and has energy for inner peace, spiritual awareness and is often used for meditation. “Hong” jade, red/orange color, is used for protection, success, confidence, courage and happiness. Yellow jade is for happiness, prosperity, and spiritual growth. Black jade is very yang, and the carvers try to make each piece with only a small amount of black. Black jade is used by martial artists to build up the body’s energy and healing power.

So, between the combination of carvings, colors and shapes, you’re sure to find one that will help you focus on what you want to achieve and accomplish in the coming year! Here are a couple of links that are excellent resources for finding your perfect symbolism:
Rebus Key: Symbols in Chinese Art
Primal Trek – Hidden or Implied Meanings in Chinese Charm Symbols

Category : Beads, Beads, Beads

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Bead Therapy


We’ve all been there; the post-break up craft project, the piece we’ve been working on for months that suddenly has to be completed behind closed doors once the in-laws arrive. Good news everyone! We’re not just avoiding and dodging the less fun parts of life, we are effectively self-medicating.

Bead TherapyWhen we bead and string and sew and create we become so absorbed in our projects that we’re able to forget about worries, obligations, and even physical pains. It’s called “flow” – and it’s the reason crafting may be phenomenal for your mental and emotional health. This “flow,” according to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is the secret to happiness.

As he stated during a TED talk:
“When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life… You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”

Also think of how much of many crafts are like puzzle solving. Sewing patterns together and envisioning how they will all fit, meticulously beading piece by piece and engineering the most sturdy, wearable and aesthetically pleasing configuration to make our adornments hang just right and last for years to come. These are puzzles and problem solving skills that grow and expand as we learn and practice more. The benefits of crossword puzzles and sudoku have been well documented, and beading, crafting, and creating fall into exactly the same category with the added benefit of the pride and accomplishment we feel upon completion.

Whether I wear my own pieces and harvest the compliments or I give it to a friend or loved one, I know I’m adding to it’s beauty with the peace and healthful healing it brought me.


Sources and References
• TED 2004
• Craft & Hobby Association, 2010
• CNN March 27, 2014
• J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2011 Spring;23(2):149-54.
• Psychol Sci. 2014 Jan;25(1):103-12.
• Occup Ther Int. 2007;14(2):71-85.
• The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Volume 76, Number 2, February 2013 , pp. 50-57(8)

Category : Meanderings

Comments (2)

Great post! Creativity has so many positive affects on a person’s well being. I know it definitely is my happy place!

(*Applauds*) Good post!

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50 Shades of Gary – Part 2


Gary, one of the warehouse dogs here at Happy Mango Beads, has become quite the fashionista.  With a growing wardrobe of bandanas, Gary loves to surprise all the Mangoes with his favorite color of the day.  I knew he was on to something when I would pull orders that matched his “outfit” and I have taken inspiration from Gary’s choices. Enjoy!

Part 2

Maroon is a dark brownish red color which takes its name from the French word marron, or chestnut.  On a computer screen, it is created by turning down the brightness of pure red by half.  It is frequently associated with Ron Weasley, a character from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and is used by many universities and high schools as a “school color”.

How do you feel about maroon, Gary?
I always get lots of compliments when I wear it, so it makes me feel good.  It also makes me feel warm and cozy, like when I’m in my den.


How does maroon make YOU feel?
Do you tend to make jewelry with your favorite color(s), or do you follow trends and/or seasons?

Stay tuned for more shades of Gary! And if you missed the last one, check it out here!

Beads pictured include a ceramic pendant, a focal glass bead, rectangular leather beads, kankanmba trade beads, old copper tube beads, carved bone beads, red tiger eye beads, fiesta glass beads, and red glass beads.

Category : Beads, Beads, Beads, Jewelry Inspiration

Comments (2)

Maroon, is a wonderful colour. It is is warm, happy, comfortable and sexy all at the same time. Multiple long strings with a party dress would look great.
Although that would probably be very heavy.

Great idea, Heather! We have some lightweight resin beads that might do the trick.

I’ll let Gary know so he can plan for his next party. :P

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Featured Designer ~ Toni Brundage


Creations by Toni on EtsyFeatured designer, Toni Brundage of CreationsbyToni on Etsy, gets much of her inspiration and motivation from nature and experimenting with colors!  She first learned about jewelry making when she was 19 while working in a jewelry store, and has since been making her own awesome pieces to share!

1) How long have you been creating jewelry?

When I was 19, I worked for a couple that owned a jewelry store called The Goldsmith Shop. They had a carefree, hippie-style spirit. Although I was hired as a cashier, Rina taught me the basics of jewelry making.  She would call me to the back of the store and let me watch her string a necklace, showing me the steps and explaining how it was done. I was amazed at how they could take a string of beads and turn them into a lovely necklace or a pair of earrings.  One thing she told me that really stuck with me was, “If everyone else is doing it, do the opposite.” In early May of 2005, I was a stay at home mom and for Mother’s Day I asked my husband for money to buy beads. I began beading as a hobby and the first piece of jewelry I made was a pair of earrings. It was fun! I began making more jewelry to give as gifts to family and friends and then I began receiving custom orders. The positive feedback I received encouraged me to learn more about jewelry making so that I could start selling my jewelry.

2) Where do you find your inspiration?Creations by Toni on Etsy

I am inspired by nature, especially sunsets – it is a constant source of inspiration. I love photography so I spend a lot of time photographing birds, flowers, etc. and I like how everything in nature has its own unique identity. There is always going to be that one thing that is different, making no two trees the same, no two birds the same.

However, ICreations by Toni on Etsy would give most of my inspiration credit to my dad. He was always making something and had no shame in grabbing something from a dumpster, cleaning it up and turning it into a beautiful piece of art.  When I was little, he brought home a pair of old fire extinguishers and turned them into lamps! Every year we would go to the beach and he would collect seashells and driftwood for various creative projects. He was not one to sit back and do nothing; I have many fond memories of his creativity.

3) What are your favorite beads to work with?

I love working with gemstones. Before choosing my beads, I check the gemstone information to see the meaning behind the beads and I like thinking about the meaning behind the bead chosen when I design. I also like working with natural and organic beads because it helps me feel closer to nature. Every weekend growing up, my dad would take the family to Ocmulgee National Monument, also known as The Indian Mounds, and instead of driving to the Big Mound, we would hike through the woods. The long walk gave me a chance to see nature at its most raw. I believe adding a natural or organic bead to gemstones gives that piece character.Creations by Toni on Etsy

4) What is your work space like?

My workspace is neat; I do not like clutter! I will put my main focal beads in the center of a paper plate and then I will add beads of different colors around those beads to see how the colors will blend. I call it my bead soup palette. I like to have background noise while beading, too. I will put on a playlist of upbeat music, but the television causes me to want to watch if the show is exciting!

5) What are you working on now?

I am currently working on creating new spring and summer designs. I follow the Pantone color guide and the Spring 2015 colors are described as…”cooler and softer color choices with subtle warm tones that follow a minimalistic en plein air theme, taking a cue from nature.” There are two colors on the list that I will be using, Treetop and Woodbine which are both shades of green. In addition, a local boutique has asked me to create a line of tassel necklaces for their shop. I’m very excited about the opportunity and I will also be adding tassel necklaces to my online Etsy shop!Creations by Toni on Etsy

6) If you were a bead, what would you be?

That’s a good question. I would definitely be Garnet because it is also my birthstone. From Egyptian times, garnet has been associated with passion, love and loyalty. Some people believe that garnets help to purify the body and enhance imagination and creativity.

Creations by Toni on Etsy7) Do you have a favorite quote?

“Dare to be different.” My dad said that a lot to us kids. He would say to us, “Dare to be different. I don’t care if everyone is doing it, you better not do it. Be a leader and not a follower.” With that in mind, in a world of mass production, I enjoy making a piece of jewelry that will be uniquely its own.

Thank you for sharing your work, creativity and motivations with us, Toni! Remember to head on over to her Etsy site and give her some love at CreationsbyToni!



Category : Featured Designers

Comments (2)

I can attest to the fact that my sister is an amazing artist in so many different forms! Toni this article is amazing and I’m so very proud of you! I can’t wait to see your spring and Summer line! You’re so deserving of everything coming you way! I love you!

Jewelry pieces are just beyond beautiful . I can’t wait to see the new lines.You are so talented.

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