2020 New Years Resolutions

 

Happy New Years to my darling beading friends! Every year I pop by list my new Beady Resolutions for the year. If you wanna check out past years, you can select “Yearly Resolutions” in the Categories drop down menu over on the right. I’ve been doing this every year since 2016, if you can believe it!


First, how did I do on my 2019 hopes and dreams?

  1. Read and Review 125 Books on Goodreads – A+

    I went above and beyond for this one. I actually had to up my goal to 135 books because I was blazing through them so quickly. And even then, I surpassed my goal and ended up at 142. My page count was actually quite a bit lower than the last few years, though. It’s definitely because I read a WHOLE LOT of children’s lit and comics this year. I decided to re-read a bunch of books that I loved as a kid and those short, but satisfying reads really gave my reading an energy boost this year.

    As always, you can see what I’m currently reading by checking out my little Goodreads widget in the bottom right of my blog. And if you wanna see some cool stats on what I read this year, you can see all that here!2020books 

     

     

  2. Write 2 Blog Posts Every Month (and Finish Clasp Wars Series) – A

    I also feel like I completed this resolution. Two blog posts a month feels like a pretty good pace for me. I don’t think I’d be able to muster the content or motivation to post more frequently, but twice a month helps me feel like the blog is still active and a good place to jot down my beady thoughts. And! I did finish my Clasp Wars series! You can find all of those posts by selecting “Clasp Wars Info Series” in the Categories drop down menu over on the right side of my blog.

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  3. Remake and Evaluate Each of my Original Patterns – C

    So, I definitely did this one all year, but I ran out of time before finishing them all. Turns out that 37 patterns and counting is a bit much to review in detail in one year. I think I have about six left and my plan is to finish that process up this year. Mostly, the ones I have left need new cover photos, which means making multiple samples, which did slow me down. But I’m mostly done!

  1. Actually Do my Expense Reports EVERY MONTH – A+

    I finally did this! I still have to do December’s data entry, but December only ended two days ago, so I’m not worried about it. It’s going to be such a gift to myself come tax time in April. All my paperwork will already be filled out with every receipt logged. I’m so pleased with myself.

  2. Engage More in Bead-Related Social Media – B

    I did pretty well on this! I’ve been really active on my Wescott Jewelry Instagram and my Wescott Jewelry Facebook hasn’t been toooooo neglected. I should have posted more in the various beading Facebook groups I’m in, but I still feel like I engaged more this year than in years previous and that’s what I wanted!


2020 Goals

  1. Read and Review 135 Books on Goodreads

  2. Write Two Blog Posts a Month

  3. Finish Remaking and Evaluating Each of my Original Patterns

  4. Actually Do Your Expense Reports EVERY Month

  5. Don’t Procrastinate on Etsy Listings!

  6. Make at Least One Kumihimo, Embroidery, and Macrame Piece

  7. Do at Least Two Challenges, Swaps, or Collabs of Some Kind


 

For 2020, I mostly want to continue the good habits I’ve developed. My first four goals are basically just keeping up with my routines. I still want to read and review lots of books. I want to write on my blog regularly, keep up with my paperwork, and finish up the pattern review I started this past year.

Beyond that, I want to experiment more with my beading. I’ve been SO focused on my own patterns this year that I didn’t get to do a lot of playing. I want to make sure beading stays fun and fresh and inspiring, so this year I want to make sure I participate in challenges or swaps and that I don’t forget to use techniques other than off-loom beadweaving.

And I have been procrastinating SO much on actually listing my finished jewelry on Etsy. I need to be better about that. It’s piling up around my ears.

What about y’all? Any big dreams for 2020? Whether it’s specific resolutions or general vibes you want to carry into this new year, I’d love to hear about them in the comments! ❤

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December Pattern Review – 2019

Hi, folks!

So, you may have noticed that my last pattern review was back in September. Where did October and November go, you may ask? Well, I wish I knew! The end of the year really got away from me. One of my goals for 2019 was to review and update each of my beadweaving patterns, but I have 37 patterns available right now and that was just too much to ask. I’m not giving up on it, though! I’m going carry right on into 2020 and continue reviewing my patterns.

But for now, here are the ones I have done since September!

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The first one I wanted to revisit was my Daybreak Pattern! It’s actually one of my favorites, even though it’s not one of my best sellers. This one uses some pretty soft plums with light pink, bronze, and matte navy seed beads. The pearls are leftovers from my Cordelia Necklace pattern, so you may notice the similar color scheme, haha.

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I also really like using single units from that bracelet pattern to make earrings, so the pair above were made in olive and light yellow to match these gorgeous ceramic leaves by Fire and Fibers. I’m so in love with her components. They are always consistently beautiful, lightweight, and glossy. I’m so lucky that she comes to bead shows in my city.

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After that, I made these earrings using my Diadem Bracelet pattern with some of my favorite reflective dagger beads. I really love Silky beads, which is why so many of my patterns use them, so these are always fun to make.

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Lastly, I worked up a new sample for my Sextet Bracelet pattern. This one is a chocolate/cherry/wine kind of color combo that I super love. It just looks and feels induglent, doesn’t it? My stash of 6mm Fire-Polished crystals seems eeeeendless, so I’m always happy to make more of these.

Stay tuned in the next day or two and I’ll do my big yearly round up of my New Years Resolutions from last year and my new ones for 2020.

Happy New Years, my lovelies!

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“Do You Sell Kits?”

Hello, friends! I recently realized that one of the questions I get asked most frequently after I share a photo of a new piece or pattern somewhere is “Do you sell kits?”. And while the simple answer is “No, I don’t, but thanks for asking!”, I wanted to explain a little more about why I don’t and offer a few alternatives that I have.

First off, I don’t sell kits because I can’t sell beads. I sell finished jewelry and PDF’s of my beading patterns, but selling beads would actually be against my work contract. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I work for Beads Direct USA as my day job and if I sold beads, I would be in direct competition with my employer, which is a big no-no.

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I adore my job at Beads Direct USA. A large part of my day is packaging beads and keeping these shelves organized and inventory updated. I pull orders for shipping and add new stock as we expand. It’s a great set of tasks for someone who enjoys organizing like me!

Beyond that, though, I really don’t want to sell beads. It’s what I do all day at the office and it’s a LOT of work. I wouldn’t be able to offer competitive pricing and it would take so much extra work (I already have a full time job and running my Etsy functions as a part-time job beyond that already). I don’t use kits myself and the idea of spending my evenings counting out beads and putting together little bundles that I would then have to keep in stock and ship is just not something I’m interested in.

But! That does not mean that you’re completely on your own if you’re looking for kits of my patterns. I don’t make them or sell them myself, but there are still some options!

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Here’s a printed version of my Princess Cordelia pattern at Beaded Bliss

If you’re local to the Cincinnati/Dayton area, a great option would be to visit Beaded Bliss or Bead Stash. I don’t allow anyone else to sell the digital versions of my patterns, but both Cathy and Carole sell printed versions in their shops. If you want to get the pattern and the beads in one place, that’s probably the easiest way to do it! Cathy and Carole both have amazing tastes in color, so even if they don’t have the exact beads that I used, they should be able to help you select something pretty. Cathy even has a few kits made up for a few of my patterns (mainly the St Petersburg Ombre and Tiptoe Chain).

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This is the kit display at Beaded Bliss – you can see my St Petersburg Ombre cuff on the right!

If you don’t live locally, you still have some options online! Cathy has recently taken parts of Beaded Bliss online through her Etsy shop and she now has the St Petersburg Ombre bead pack available. It’s not a full kit because you still need to get the pattern from me (she links to my Etsy listing for the pattern in the descriptions box), but it’s the perfect way to get the same colors I used without having to buy 8 or  9 separate tubes of seed beads. It’s not really a “kit”, since it doesn’t include the clasp, fireline, or my pattern, but if you need the seed beads, it’s really a super great bargain.

I have a similar deal worked out with Claire Lee of Supply Emporium. Again, I don’t allow anyone to sell my patterns digitally, but Claire has gorgeous color sense and a huge selection of beads available, so she makes bead packs that you can buy to go with some of my patterns. You can see a bunch of the options here. You can grab the pattern from me and then have Claire select your beads for you!

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These are 11/0 Miyuki combo packs from Beads Direct USA. MI-11-CMD13 (left) was made after my Sunset Ombre Ruched Tila bracelet became popular. And MI-11-CMD9 (right) is a gorgeous gradient of metallic iris colors.

One more option to consider is the gorgeous selection of Miyuki combo packs that we offer at Beads Direct USA. Liz (the owner) and I work really hard to come up with interesting combinations of Miyuki beads that look lovely together and that we can package up and offer at a discount. We offer all sorts of bulk packs, assorted mixes, and coordinated combinations, but my favorite section in the whole shop is our section of Miyuki 11/0 combo packs.

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MI-11-CMD4 (left) is a soft mix of matte pastel shades and MI-11-CMD18 (right) is a gradient of silver-lined AB beads in shades of blue and green.

The 11/0 combo packs are great for patterns that require several colors of beads or look particularly pretty with an ombre gradient (like my Ruched Tila, St Petersburg Ombre, Stash Worm, or Tiptoe Chain bracelets). Sometimes you need the color inspiration for a project more than you need a “kit” and these combo packs are PERFECT for that. Liz and I carefully curate each mix ourselves and we’re so proud to offer them up as little sample color palettes for you to experiment with.

So, even though I don’t sell kits, I do my very best to work with my local bead shops and some trusted friends and colleagues online to make the beads I use easy to find and obtain. Personally, picking out new colors is my absolute favorite part of beading and I don’t quite understand the impulse to copy someone else’s. But I am so flattered when people love the colors I chose and now every pattern I put out has the colors I used listed at the end. Some of my old ones are available here on this blog and if you can’t find the bead info anywhere, you can always email me and I’ll do my best to get that color info for you.

I hope you all can forgive me for not making kits and check out some of these fabulous bead shops that sell kits, packs, and combos and give their shelves a little love. I’m so lucky to have the cooperation of so many small business that serve our beading community. Happy beading and happy bead shopping!

 

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Holiday Sale Time!

Happy almost-Turkey-Day to my celebrating friends!

My big holiday sale begins today and will run until Dec 3rd!

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20% off Patterns!

25% off Jewelry!

30% off Clearance!

All orders over $35 ship for free!

No coupon code needed – all sales are already applied.

I hope you guess enjoy some good shopping this week and even better family time. The holidays can get a bit commercialized and crass, but it’s also a great time of year to support small business and makers of all sorts. ❤

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New Design – Princess Cordelia Necklace and Earrings!

Hi, friends!

Sorry I’ve been a little absent – life has been hectic! We went to Florida last week for the wedding of a dear friend and I just started panicking about making Christmas gifts. But I did manage to get this new pattern finished!

May I present *drumroll* my Princess Cordelia necklace and earring set!

I’m so happy with it! It’s a little more formal and dainty than my designs tend to go, but I had such a good time picking out the colors and fussing around with the pearl placement.

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The pattern includes instructions for two styles of earrings based on the two units that get repeated through the necklace. Personally, I think I like the version with just pearls better than the one with the Silky beads, but both are in there so you can choose your favorite.

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I included the colors of both the Elderberry/Gold necklace and the Black/Picasso necklace in the pattern itself, since folks tend to ask me for those. The colors I used for both earrings are in there too!

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I really like the way the necklace looks as a shorter segment, but I did make a full length one so I could tell you how many beads you need to make a full 16 inch necklace. It was time-consuming, but it does look pretty!

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I just made this short piece when I was teaching the class this morning, so these colors aren’t in the pattern. If you want them, the 11/0’s are Miyuki Dark Bronze (457), the 4mm are Swarovski Tahitian Pearl, the 6mm are Chalk Lazure Green Druks, the Silky Beads are Chalk Light Green Luster (03000-14457) and the daggers are an un-named reflective blue over bronze from my stash. I think my plan is too finish it off with a dainty bronze chain.

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I named it after Princess Cordelia – the favorite alter ego of Anne of Green Gables. I love the book series and have been watching Anne with an E (it’s on Netflix and I highly recommend it!) lately, so the name popped into my head right away. ❤

What do you think? I’m really enjoying playing with something a little more feminine and dainty than usual. I hope it paid off!

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Clasp Wars : Partially Finished Bracelet Ends

Well, I thought I was done with my Clasp Wars series, but then these guys came out!

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The idea is that you can make a partial bracelet and then use these endings to finish off the bracelet, a major bonus being that it is adjustable!

Here’s the Beadsmith demonstration of how you can use them-

There’s not a lot of photos of completed projects available, but I’ll post some as soon as I make something. We’ve started selling them at Beads Direct USA (you can find them here) and I’m pretty excited to play with them.

Partially Finished Adjustable Bracelet Ends Gold Plated 3 Sets

My initial thoughts are these. I love that they make a project so adjustable, but personally I’m not a huge fan of having lots of dangling things around my wrist? But being able to hang something cute from each end is really nice too and I love how easily the smart bead glides up and down. It seems secure, but easy enough for arthritic hands to use. I really, really, really wish they came in more colors though. I almost never use bright gold or silver – I’m much more into antiqued (matte) bronzes and coppers.

Also, “Partially Finished Bracelet Ends” is a super clunky and forgettable name. The marketing team really needs a do-over on that one, geez. That name is incredible hard to search for and that’s SEO 101, guys. No good.

What do you guys think? Interested in giving them a try? Are they for lazy beaders or an ingenious bracelet revolution? Or both?

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Acrylic Pour Class for Pendants!

Hi, friends! So, I got to take a really fun class at Beaded Bliss last month and I wanted to share some photos with you.

The class was on using acrylic paint pouring techniques to make jewelry – now I’ve been watching acrylic paint pouring videos on Youtube for awhile now, so I was immediately intrigued. The instructor, Barbara Horton, promised to teach us two techniques in one morning – dipping into acrylic pours and using pour skins to make pendants. Check out these two samples she brought us.

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She gave us a really thorough run down on mixing paint and using different flow mediums, where to find the supplies, how to reuse and recycle parts of it, and all sorts of fantastic tips and tricks. She was a really clear and helpful teacher – and it was her first class! I was super impressed. I think my favorite part was mixing colors and getting our paint cups ready. Here’s mine right before we did any pouring.

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For the first pour, things were pretty straightforward. We poured about half our cup onto some plastic sheeting and then tilted our box/trays around so that the paint ran and puddled into some gorgeous different shapes. We even hit it with a blowtorch to encourage the cells to form. I am absolutely in love with mine.

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While it was still wet, we dipped a glass cabochon into the paint, so that we could later use that cab for jewelry making. You can see the white-ish spot where I dipped my pendant in the pour above if you look in the 2 o’clock region. I had to let my cab dry and cure fully before messing with it, but look at the photos I got of it today! I can’t wait to do something with it – I’m actually thinking about using it for embroidery!

Then, we did a flip-cup pour. We took the paint left in our cup and literally turned it upside down on our plastic sheeting. Then we dragged it a bit, and popped it up to start tilting our paint again. My second batch looks completely different! And it was still from the same cup! It was mesmerizing to watch.

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For the second technique, we couldn’t use our paint until it was completely dried and cured, so Barb had us set ours to the side and she let us use dried skins from her own past projects to show us how to fashion the dried paint into pendants. This is what I made with one of her leftover paint skins to learn the technique. I’m in love!

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My paint skins are finally completely dried and I even managed to keep the cat away from them while they were curing! Now, I just need to find the time to sit down, peel them up, and find the best spots to make into pendants. I am so excited to play around with this new technique.

Another fantastic class at Beaded Bliss! Thanks so much to Cathy for hosting and to Barbara Horton for her fantastic instructions. I had a blast.

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September Pattern Review 2019

You guys! We are getting seriously close to the end of the year! I’m still on track to make new samples of each of my patterns, but it is not leaving me much breathing room, let me tell ya. I was super productive this month, though!

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Firstly, I was really enjoying making new samples for my Stash Worm bracelet. When I originally wrote the pattern, I was really keen on making them with mixed bead soups, but lately I’ve been into doing individual strands, leaving the colors separated. Either way, it’s a great way to get through 11/0’s and I have quite a stash.

The gold one in the first photo is an old sample, but these three are all new. The green and blue/brown are the thin version, with the pink/copper at the full width.

After that, I made one of my Oculus Bezels for this crazy wolf cabochon I found at Beaded Bliss. It’s the tackiest thing I’ve ever seen and I’m absolutely in love.

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I had a really hard time getting a photo with out glare – the cab is super glossy. But it’s a black wolf with a pentagram and hellfire behind it. It’s so incredibly kitschy and I had so much fun with it. Since it’s an Oculus bezel, it is double-sided. The back is a glossy black.

After that, I unpacked my Silky collection. First, I used these super interesting table cut cross-patterned Silky beads in one of my Tracery Trinkets. I haven’t made one of these in quite some time, but I really enjoyed picking out the colors and finding these perfect fire-polished crystals for the edging.

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Aaaaaand, last but not least, I just finished this Backsplash bracelet earlier tonight. I was inspired by Carole Ohl’s habit of making bracelets where each unit is a different color scheme and used this opportunity to use up the dregs of my stash of Tangos. They’re all in the gray/black/green/teal family, but this sort of patchwork aesthetic was a really fun experiment for me.

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I really had a lot of fun with these this month. It’s been a long time since I’ve played with my Silky beads, but they really are a pleasure to bead with. I think I might leave them out for next month! Only three months left of the year and still so many patterns to revisit – I’m gonna be a busy, busy beader.

 

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Clasp Wars: Magnetic Clasps

Happy Sunday evening, my friends! It is finally time to finish up my Clasp Wars series!

The last type of clasp I’ll be discussing is the magnetic clasp. This is the official end of this blog series, but I might do a bonus post if I realize that I’ve forgotten any types of clasp or if I encounter a new one. If you wanna go back and read my past clasp posts, they are all collected here.

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So, I used to be really crazy about magnetic clasps. I used them all the time. Nowadays, though, not so much.

There are some major pros to using magnetic clasps. The biggest one is accessibility. I couldn’t tell you how many folks have told me that they only buy pieces with magnetic clasps because arthritis has limited their mobility in their hands, or they live alone and struggle to put on bracelets single-handedly. Magnets are easy to fasten blindly behind your head for necklaces too. You really just can’t beat them for ease of use.

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If you’re trying to sell your jewelry, using a magnetic clasp is a great way to expand your possible customer base. That’s largely why I used to use them. But what goes one easily can also come off easily. Magnetic bracelets are very easily lost. Mine used to get scraped off my wrist every time I put my backpack on in college. I lost more than one to a shopping cart. I’ve found them in the bottom of my car and on my kitchen floor and many I have never found at all.

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There are two solutions to this. The obvious one is to get a stronger magnet. But it can be really hard to gauge the strength of a magnetic clasp if you’re purchasing online. And even if you get a super strong one, sometime a customer won’t realize that you need to slide the magnet to get it to release and end up tugging directly on the beadwork and weakening it.

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You can also use a safety chain, which will catch the bracelet if the magnet fails. These can be a great way to protect your piece. Unfortunately, I just don’t like the look of them. (I also find them very ticklish to wear – I don’t like dangly bits on my wrist). They can be a great solution if they fit the aesthetic of your piece, but I’m just not crazy about the look.

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Also, like many clasp options, magnets also make a bracelet unadjustable, so it’s gotta be the right length right out of the gate. And if you need an extra extension chain, that’s one more measurement to worry about.

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Generally, I’ve sacrificed the extended customer base I would be able to reach if I used magnetic clasps because I just don’t feel confident in their strength. Some clasps use a combination of magnet and another type of clasp (like a folding hinge or something) and theoretically, I wouldn’t be opposed to them. But when you get more complicated, you use that ease of access that folks usually choose magnets for.

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I definitely understand why folks like magnetic clasps and why some people need them. But I just don’t have the confidence to sell pieces that use them, so… I don’t!

And that is my rather lackluster conclusion to my Clasp Wars series! Did I miss anything you wanna talk about? Am I totally wrong about magnet clasps? Let me know in the comments!

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August Pattern Review 2019

Hello, friends! I’ve got a much more cheerful post this week. Thanks for all your support with the last post, but I am more than ready to move on and talk about the important stuff – beading!

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I have been busy! I’ve been helping out at Beaded Bliss this month and it’s given me a lot more beading time than I usually have. So, I revisited four of my old patterns this month.

First up, I REALLY wanted to make a new Ruched Tila bracelet. I think I made four of them when the pattern first came out, but I really hadn’t touched it since then. And since I only ever made the one sunset version with the ombre effect, I definitely wanted to try it again. This time, I did a Picasso ombre version. The seed beads cycle through Picasso Montana (4516), Seafoam (4514), Olivine (4506), Smoky Topaz (4505) and Red Brown (4503). The Tilas are the Matte Metallic Copper (2005) and the 11/0’s on the side are just some random unlabeled copper from my stash.

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After that, I wanted to keep with my Tila theme, so I decided to make a new Odessa sample. I mixed Beige Ceylon Tilas with Picasso Olivine Half-Tilas for the base and used matching seed beads in Picasso Olivine and Matte Bronze for the detailing. The crazy reflective GemDuos are Backlit Tequila (00030-28002).

And after that, I wanted to keep using those same Backlit Tequila GemDuos (they’re just SO shiny omg), so I paired them with Picasso Montana (4516) and gold seed beads for this dainty TipToe chain bracelet. I have a supply of defective “two-hole” lentil beads from work that only have one hole, and I used one of them as a cute dangle.

And finally, because I had one more evening of beading this past week, I made two pairs of my SuperDuo Star earrings! I really indulged some of my favorite colors for this one. The cream and Montana Rembrandt pair are possibly my favorite earrings I’ve ever made with this pattern, but the burnt copper and light rose pair is pretty high up there too.

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It’s been a really productive month for me and I’m really happy with how each of these pieces came out. Of course, now I have to list them, which you all know I am a HORRIBLE procrastinator about. But, I’ll get some more photos and add them to the queue!

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I think I might try to stay in this kind of earthy, Picasso and cream color palette for a bit longer. Clearly I find it inspirational, haha! Why mess with a good thing?

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