Friday Review: Tiger Eye Beads


Tiger Eye Beads
Cuba Mall, Wellington

What it is:
Wellington’s only specialist bead and jewellery making store. Stockists of all sorts of beads, findings, as well as ready made jewellery and a few other pretty items.


The Good
Tiger Eye Beads stocks a wide variety of beading pogey bait in almost every colour of the rainbow, and all the material to put the pogey bait together into something yummy. And, if you are like me and are just no good at putting beads together in an assortment that results in gorgeous jewellery, they also have a selection of ready-made jewellery to tempt you.


Pretty pogey bait  

In order to support your jewellery making endeavours, they have necklace trays and jewellery tools and tables so for you to work on, so you could easily spend an afternoon shopping and crafting in the store.


Helpful staff and welcoming work-stations.  

The staff are cheerful and friendly and helpful, and will suggest things and help you look for just the right colour of something.

Not only can you craft in store, but they are child friendly, so you can take your personal dibbuns in to create a necklace as a special treat – there was a little girl their making a birthday necklace with her uncle when I went in (so cute! so envious! All my uncles did was show me their collections of frozen roadkill!). Or, if watching a kid make a necklace is too exhausting for you, just sign the dibbuns up for beading classes at the school holidays.

And, just in case you are like me and only like kids as long as they are well behaved, rest assured that I have never seen an ill-behaved out-of-control kid in TEB. The rotten ones probably get told to go outside and play in the bucket fountain.

Finally, TEB has a great website, which is always nice and helpful.  

The Bad
TEB has a rather poor selection of some surprisingly basic jewellery and beading essentials. I found when doing my Luna Moth dress that their selection of seed beads in all shades of purple is very sparse, and that they have almost no clear seed beads, which seems a terrible oversight.


ROY G BI…..???? Where are the violets?  

I also wanted to buy a beading needle the last time I was in, and all they had were 4 inch long necklace needles, which are great if you want to string a lot of beads together, but hopeless for sewing tiny seed beads to dresses, or for making elaborate bead patterns. How can a shop be out of all but one kind of needles?!?


Pre-made necklaces and bangles, and strings of semi-precious stones.  

Finally, they don’t have much in the way of sterling silver fixings, and have no sterling silver chain at all. Poor planning on their fault – I spent a small fortune on sterling silver chain the last time I was in the jewellery district in NYC

The Ugly
TEB is fully aware that it is Wellingtons only specialist beading and jewellery making store, and charges you a premium for the privilege of being able to walk into a store, look at a lot of beads in person, and buy only a small amount of the kind of beads you want.

On the bright side, I couldn’t find a single actual thing in the store that qualified as ugly (though that seems to be an apt description for every piece of jewellery I put together from the store!).

The Verdict
If you plan on doing huge amounts of beading or jewellery making (or are just a serial embellisher like Madame Ornata), you are probably going to need to find an online source for your beading needs. If you are like me, and only use beads occasionally, or just want to make one fun piece of jewellery, than Tigers Eye Beads is a great resource, and it is well worth your while to suck up the premium cost for the privilege of buying a small amount right when you need it.

It would be good if they beefed up their supply of beading basics though!


Wires, strings and other bead accessories.

Pachyderm paradise

I recently finished a super-cute retro inspired skirt that I thought you might enjoy

I used this utterly adorable retro fabric that Nana gave me for the skirt:


Look at the elephants! How could you not love it?

I didn’t use a pattern: just drafted a quick waistband and then box pleated the fabric too it, and fussed with the pleat widths until it the fabric fit right.


Box pleats

I indulged my taste for quirky finishes with bright pink binding around the inside edge of the waistband, and my taste for pedantically perfect and historical finishes with a hand-sewn in zipper (which is often easier than machine sewing, unless you use invisible zippers).


Hand sewn-zipper 

And then I realised that to give the correct vintage silhouette the skirt was going to have to sit quite a bit higher on my waist, so I got to unpick my beautifully sewn in zipper and a bunch of the pleating, take in the waistband, and re-pleat the skirt and sew in the zipper again.

It’s all about the vintage silhouette!

But now the skirt looks perfect, and it was clearly meant to be, because I went shopping on Saturday and found the perfect blouse, shoes, and belt to go with my skirt, all in the same vintage clothing store! 


Those shoes! Just looking at them makes me happy! 

And, to make it even better, after four days of waiting I finally got weather good enough to wear it, and discovered that my friend Madame Ornata is a great photographer, and was willing to do a full on photo shoot with me (I was just hoping for a few snaps from someone who wouldn’t complain!), so we spend a lovely evening rambling along the waterfront and taking pictures.

We ended up getting so many gorgeous pictures that I can hardly decide which ones to show you! Here is a slideshow of my favourites:

Skirt: by me, retro fabric from Nana’s stash
Blouse: retro from Missy’s Room
Shoes: ‘Heather’ by Sojo
Belt: retro from Missy’s Room
Cuff: from Thailand
Sunglasses: DG


5 things I love about New Zealand (this week)

1) Waterfront swims


Teachers on field trips to Te Papa let their students jump off the wharf into the harbour after their visit. How awesome is that? 

When I was in school we weren’t even allowed to dip our toes in the water for fear of lawsuits and injury, and in NZ 10 year olds get to leap off bridges into the ocean (in their undies if they forgot to bring togs!) on field trips.

2) Cold water swims


Students jump off the wharf into the bay even on days when it is so cold that I am wearing a wool coat. Those Kiwis are hard cases!

3) Pohutukawas in full blossom.


4) Wonderfully wacky competitions


Wellington is holding the Unicycle World Championships. That is 1,000,000 times cooler than the Olympics, and no huge crowds, litter, congestion and national debt to deal with!

5) Free museums!


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Meet the Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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