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Showing posts from July, 2012

Got My Order

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Yay! I received my order from Fusion Beads in the mail yesterday. I now have plenty of size D thread, some beads in pink hues for my children's bracelets, some blue beads and some size 15 black beads (far right) for a fringe on a bracelet I have in mind. I also got a notice that the Fusion Beads website (should debut tomorrow) was being revamped and a coupon code for 10 percent off my next order from the new site. I'm curious to see what changes will be made.

I haven't had much time for beading over the past couple of days, but I should be able to make some headway on the herringbone bracelet during my lunch break at work today.

Tophatter Site

I saw an ad for a site called Tophatter while I was online yesterday. It caught my attention because it mentioned auctions for craft supplies. So I followed the link and registered to see what it's about. I expected something similar to eBay, but it isn't because the auctions are live.

It has more than just supplies, too. It has some finished work, such as knitted headbands, bracelets, earrings, handbags, rings, etc. I'm not sure everything on the site is handmade, like on Etsy, but I do think it's kind of interesting. It might be a better place for winnowing down some of my bead stash.

Time to Winnow the Stash?

When I first became a beader, all of my supplies fit in a shoe box. Since then, it's grown to fill 10 drawers of varying sizes.

My husband and I have been considering the space available within our tiny home lately as our daughter grows. He's been selling off some of his collection of comic books, and following his example, I've been thinking lately about selling some of my extra beads, too. Now that I've spent a little time working on my Etsy shop, I've been thinking some about listing some of the extra beads, findings and other stuff there, but I'm just not sure how I'd like to package them for sale. By color? By style?

It would be nice to be able to compact my beading supplies into fewer drawers; I'm just not sure if I can part with enough to make a difference.

Bead Books on a Budget

For any beaders, myself included, who love to look at bead books but can't afford to buy them, here is a little tip. Many public libraries participate in interlibrary loan, a program through which patrons have access to books that their local library might not carry.

I'm not sure how many people are aware of that service; until I worked in libraries myself in my 20s, I had no idea the program existed. My husband didn't know it existed until he met me and I told him about it, and it's really come in handy for both of us because our local library is small, has a rather dated selection of craft books and doesn't get new books in very often.
If there's a bead book (or a book on any other topic in which you have an interest) that your local library doesn't have, it's worth the time to ask the staff if you can get it through interlibrary loan. I've worked in three different libraries, all of which offered the service and none of them charged for it.

Give Me a D

When I first started beading, I used wider needles than I do now. Quite often, the string I had would work just fine until I had to pass the string through a bead a second time or third time. The thick string I had in combination with the thickness of the needle would just kind of get the bead stuck right at the eye.

Since then, I've become a big fan of wide-eye needles (example here) and have amassed quite a pile of thin string in sizes 00, 0 and B.

Well, since the time I bought all of that string, I've found that yes, it passes through the thinnest of barrels quite nicely, but it isn't very strong. I started to notice that most seed-bead projects in Bead & Button and other magazines I've purchased recommend D-size thread. I have a few spools of that, but the 00, 0 and B sizes far outnumber the D.

Just last night, I got a little tired of making several extra passes through a bead with the thin threads to make up for their lack of strength and I put in an order at

Decisions, Decisions

As I mentioned in Friday's post, quite a few ideas for future projects have come to me lately. I think it's because I've been working on things a lot more often lately. It's almost like a dam breaks sometimes.

The hard thing now is figuring out what I work on next. Because I was in the middle of my green bracelet when I started thinking of other projects, it's been hard to stay on course. I've started a second green bracelet already to try out one of the ideas I have, and I've been fighting the urge to start on a black one to see if my idea will work.

I know I better enjoy the flood of ideas while it lasts. All too quickly, it passes and I'm left scrounging for ideas again.

"Designer Beadwork: Beaded Crochet Designs"

"Designer Beadwork: Beaded Crochet Designs"
by Ann Benson

The baby sitter my siblings and I had when I was about 8 years old spent a lot of time watching prime time soap operas such as "Dallas" (the original) while she crocheted blanket after blanket. Sometimes, she'd switch it up and work on a doily instead, but for the most part, she made blankets. I don't know where she put them all.

To keep my older sister and I occupied, they gave each of us about half a skein of yarn and showed us how to crochet, too. We'd make mini-blankets and unravel them only to start all over again.

I never learned to do anything more than a basic stitch, but that's all I need to know how to do to make the beautiful necklaces, bracelets, etc., in this book. I like that author Benson explains how to incorporate patterns into what you're creating, too.

This book is well worth the money for anyone who has an interest in both crocheting and beading.

Beading Backlog

While trying to decide how to best make the green bracelet work, I had yet another idea -- this one for a black bracelet, also in the herringbone stitch. The design kind of springboarded off the idea for the green.

I'd like to make something that's multi-colored, too, but I'm not sure what yet or what type of stitch.

Trial and Error

The ideas for the green bracelet I started the other day are still swimming in my mind. I fell asleep Monday night with a thought about why the original plan might not work -- there might not be enough support in the middle for it to keep its shape. However, I'm not ready to just scrap the plan yet. I want to know if it will work. If it does and it looks good, great. If it doesn't or it does but it looks bad, that will be good to know when I'm working on other projects.

Etsy Shop Under Construction

I have no listings yet, but I've been working on my Etsy shop. For readers who are interested, please click here. If you have any feedback on my policies or the "About Me" page, feel free to send them along.

Starting the Ladder

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I've started the ladder on my next project -- the dark green bracelet. I'm not sure how it will turn out; in my mind, it looks pretty good, but whether that translates well to a finished project remains to be seen. Hopefully, it will.

Birthday presentI just thought this was cute, so I thought I'd share. My 11-year-old nephew loves to make things and experiment, and he made this sailboat for me for my birthday using craft sticks. A few years ago, he made me a SpongeBob out of some blocks of wood he found. That's the type of things he does. A few years ago, I went to visit my parents and found him in the front yard with a turtle. He wanted to turn the turtle loose and see if he could catch it again later. To make sure he'd know he had the same turtle, he was painting an OU for the University of Oklahoma (he's a big fan of the football team) on the turtle's back in Sooner red. I think the paint must've washed off in the rain, but I still thought it was pr…

Going Green

With the rose-colored bracelet out of the way, I'm now ready to move on to the green bracelet I had in mind. My initial plan was to make the green as a right-angle weave, too, but I think I'll go in another direction with it. Over the past couple of nights, I've fallen asleep thinking about ways to vary the right-angle stitch, and eventually started thinking about using the herringbone stitch instead.

Just a Few Snips With Flush Cutters ...

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then this baby is done. I finally completed it during my lunch Friday. I'm not entirely happy with how it turned out; I might like it better once the stray strings are clipped, so I'm not yet certain whether this will be my first listing on Etsy or not. But here it is .. finally.

Kindle Books

My mother-in-law got me an Amazon gift card for my birthday, and I had decided to use it to get a subscription to Bead & Button for my Kindle. My Kindle has a black-and-white screen, so I wasn't too sure how the images would reproduce. Then I noticed that Amazon lets customers try out magazine subscription for two weeks, so I figured I had nothing to lose. However, I won't even be able to try it because this particular magazine subscription won't work with my Kindle. Bummer. It will work only with a Kindle Fire.

I got the Kindle as a gift from my husband last Christmas, and one of the first things I did was buy a digital bead book. It's called, "Simple Seed Bead Rings You Can Make" by Janis Websdale. The book itself was fine. The pictures were pretty sharp considering they weren't in color, which is probably how they were intended to be viewed. But, it was pretty basic stuff. I have been making seed bead rings like the ones featured for about a decade…

On To The Next Phase

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I finally got the right-angle weave bracelet I've been working on as wide as I'd like for it to be, and I've started on the clasp. Here's the work in progress.

I'm a little nervous about clipping the strings from the places where I've had to add thread. Once before, when I was working on this bracelet:

I wound up clipping an edge thread, too, causing the bracelet to pull apart in the middle. I was able to stitch it back together, of course, but it didn't seem as smooth. I guess if I were smart, I wouldn't wait until the whole thing is complete to clip my spare strings. That way, it would be easier to fix as I go if I do accidentally get too much or clip a string that's holding the piece together. However, I always feel like the transition is stronger if I get a row or so away from the work.

Bead Shop Shuttered

I intended to make today's post about another bead store I had visited while on vacation a few years ago. I thought the selection was good and the woman running the cash register (I assumed she was the owner) was very friendly, chatty and helpful as I browsed for beads I hadn't seen at home to add to my stash.

The store was called Bead Haven and it was located in the New Town section of Williamsburg, Va. However, in my search to find a link to it, I see the store has been closed after nine years of business.

I don't know that we'll ever vacation out that way again, but it was nice knowing there was a good store to stop in if we ever did.

Bead Haven, I only visited you once, but I still miss you.

"Beadwork Creates Bracelets"

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"Beadwork Creates Bracelets"edited by Jean Campbell
I have a lot of reasons for liking this book. I bought this book fairly early in my beading hobby, and it showed me that a clasp doesn't have to be a premade finding. Of course, I've seen tons of examples since then of people using beads and string to create their own clasps, but at the time, it was news to me.
On the subject of clasps, this book also showed me snap-lock clasps, something I'd love to try but I haven't found at any of the online bead stores I frequent. Perhaps I need to expand my search.
Every project in this book is something I would personally wear, so they all are my style. I don't think I can say that about any other book or magazine I've ever picked up. (Not that other projects aren't cool or stylish; they just don't match my own.)
This book has a mix of projects made with string and with wire, another bonus. I'd considered trying wire projects myself, but just haven&#…

100 Posts

Welcome! This is my 100th post on this blog! I wish I had something outstanding to post for this occasion, but I don't. All I have are just a handful of odds and ends.

I've finally reached the width I want on the rose-colored, right-angle weave bracelet I've been working on. Now, I just need to finish this last row and then it's on to the clasp. I've thought about weaving some Charlotte beads* into it, but I can't find the ones I want.In search for Charlottes, I came across a new online bead retailer. It's called Shipwreck Beads, and it seems to have quite an extensive selection of Charlottes. I've never ordered from them before, but once I do, I'll mention my experience with them here.A couple of my nephews are into crafts, too. One is an ace at making dream catchers. The other likes to work more with beads making bracelets and stuff. However, this past weekend, he gave me something he made with craft sticks: A sailboat. That's my birthday prese…

Storage

About a year ago, my husband and I were busy making room for our baby stuff and the impending arrival of our little bundle of joy. At the time, I had my beads tucked away in several places. I had several small containers tucked within a wheeled file cart, which worked well, until my bead stash outgrew it.

To get ready for the baby, I bought one of these  and a set of these, which is where I keep them all now. The upside: I have all beads in one place, including room to put my beading books. The downside: Everything's only marginally organized. I have a drawer for findings, two that hold my seed beads, which are in smaller, plastic bead organizers.
Today, I went hunting for a hank of gold-plated Charlotte beads I'm sure I have, but now I can't find them. I remember where I had them stashed before we started reorganizing for Baby, but I have no idea where they wound up afterward.
I've thought about getting one of these or a couple of these so that rather than just groupi…

Three Months Until Next Festival

The next arts & crafts festival I plan to attend will be held in October. That gives me about three months to get a decent stack of bracelets, necklaces and earrings -- and maybe even a basket or two. The baskets, if I make them, will be small, though.

I hope the next festival is a lot cooler than the last. Octobers can be kind of unpredictable where I live, but a nice cool breeze all day long would be great.

Good Day for Beading

Happy Independence Day to all! Hope you're having a great Fourth!

Eventually, I'll head off to work today. Holidays are typically kind of laid back at work, so it's tempting to take my beads with me to work on my bracelet during downtime. However, I think I'd feel pretty self-conscious working on it at my desk. Maybe it's because I work mostly with men.

Odds and Ends

Blogging Break
I took a break from blogging yesterday. My husband, my daughter and I all went on an hourlong drive, had lunch in another town, visited a comic book shop (my husband's hobby), then headed back home.

Not too long ago, the city we visited had a bead shop, but it has since gone out of business, which is too bad. I never had a chance to visit it while it was there because the only days I had off were days the store was closed. I really shouldn't spend money on beads right now anyway, but I still like to browse.

Speaking of Browsing
My favorite brick-and-mortar bead shops are ones that have finished work on display. I've been to a few that are just beads, that's it. In my favorite stores, I like to see work other people have done to be inspired by how they've put different colors and textures together.
Forgoing Tutorial Monday
I've changed my mind about doing a tutorial every Monday. I'll still do them, just not that often. Doing the graphi…