2019 New Years Resolutions

 

Happy New Years, everybody! I LOVE New Years. I have the kind of organized, box-ticking soul that really enjoys arbitrary dates of significance, so starting a fresh calendar always feels amazing to me. The year is clean and new and shiny and I am so excited!

The past few years, I’ve been making my resolutions public on this blog, which has been really fun. If you wanna check out my past years, you can find them here: 2016, 2017, 2018.


But for now – join me in shaming myself on last years resolutions!

  1. Read and Review 125 Books (44,000 pages) on Goodreads – A-

    So, I almost did this one. I read 136 books (which was only two books shy of my personal record!). I reviewed every single one on my Goodreads and I feel like my passion for reading was really re-kindled this year. I read more non-fiction and discovered some really great graphic novels in addition to my usual fantasy/fairytale fiction. I didn’t quite make the page count (41,000), but I’m not sure if I want to push myself that far on length, since I’ve been really enjoying graphic novels and they tend to be shorter. I am more than content with my progress.

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  2. Write 2 Quality Blog Posts Every Month – B

    So, I know the spirit of this resolution was to keep up my pace of two blogs a month without relying on short last minute sale announcements or wimpy blog posts to meet my goal. While there were a few months where I definitely slid under the wire, I feel pretty good about this year. I started my Clasp Wars series that I have felt really good about. I like doing those informational-style posts a lot. It makes me feel more like a community member than just a self-promoter, if that makes sense.

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    These are the ones I’ve done so far – I wanna finish this series in 2019, for sure

  3. Learn Two New Crafts or Beading Techniques – B+

    You know, I thought I had tanked this one, but I just ran a quick glance back over this year’s posts and I actually did do quite a bit of new-to-me stuff this year! I learned Peytwist and tried Freeform Peyote for the first time. I also finally figured out why I was ruining all my rivoli bezels and completed a bead embroidery piece for the first time in a few years!

    Now, did I already know how to do peyote and bead embroidery? Yes. But I took the time to expand my repertoire of techniques and get better at types of beading that might not necessarily translate into sell-able patterns. I increased my skills and I am happy with that!

  4. Do Business Paperwork Regularly, Instead of Procrastinating – D

    The only part of this that I did was that I was very good about keeping my receipts. I still have to log all of them and fill out all my spreadsheets and oh, boy, do I regret not following through on this one. I have so much tax work to do in this next month. Phew boy.

  5. Do an Overhaul of My Beading Room – Declutter and Organize! – F

    I legitimately FORGOT that I had made this goal and I didn’t do it at all. Usually, I’m a pretty organized person, but my bead room is shameful. Look upon my shame! I wanna do some stash-busting this year, so maaaaaybe that will help?

  6. Reach My Goal Weight (whatever that ends up being…) – B

    So, I started dieting in May of 2017 and I lost about 65 pounds in the next year after that. That left me around 135 and I knew I wanted to lose a little more, but I wasn’t sure how much and if I could do it without restricting my calories any further. I did manage to get down to 131 (my lowest), but I was pretty happy bouncing around 130-135 depending on my cycle and my week-to-week diet. I’m at the point where I’m trying to learn to maintain my new weight while being a little less strict on my calories. I want to eat better instinctively.


    But December was full of holidays and family meals, so I am currently at about 140ish. And I’m not crazy worried about it. I think I’m happy with where I am and am looking forward to finishing off the Christmas sweets and then having a damn salad. 🙂

    With that in mind – here are my 2019 goals!

2019 Goals

  1. Read and Review 125 Books on Goodreads

  2. Write Two Blog Posts a Month (and finish Clasp Wars series)

  3. Remake and Evaluate Each of my Original Patterns

  4. Actually Do Your Expense Reports EVERY Month

  5. Engage More in Beading-Related Social Media


 

I think a lot of these are pretty self-explanatory. I need to do better with my paperwork and I want to maintain my reading and blogging goals. One of the fun ones for this year is that I want to bead up every single one of my patterns this year (including any new ones that I make!) and evaluate them a bit. I think some of the old ones could use either some spruced up photos or maybe even a price drop on some of the simpler ones. My work and skill level has evolved and I want to check in on that!

Also, did you guys know that I started a Wescott Jewelry Instagram? I’ve been having SO MUCH fun posting on there – especially the Story feature. I feel like I can play around with more in-progress shots and little videos. It’s been crazy fun and I want that energy to spill over into my Facebook page and this blog. Keep the momentum going and engage with my beady internet friends even more in the coming year! 😀

Tell me about your resolutions! Do you make them? What do you want YOUR 2019 to look like? Let me know in the comments and let’s DO IT! ❤

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Last Big Projects of 2018

Evening, folks! I wanted to share the last few projects I’ve been working on this month that I’m pretty proud of. They’re both techniques that I’m not super comfortable, so it was a great set of challenges.

First off, I wanted to try Freeform Peyote for the first time and I made this bracelet.

Here’s the front and the back! It’s got a ton of different beads in it in tons of blue, grey, and tiny bit of green and silver. The center is a little round Druzy and there’s a small scattering of Czech crystals and bicones.

It definitely curves a bit when laid out flat, but sits just fine on the wrist. It isn’t super wide and I wanted to keep the colors pretty neutral since it was my first try. Here’s some close ups of the various sections!

I’m really happy with the curling SuperDuo bridges and the spots where I fit in some Right Angle Weave. And the Druzy is just so pretty. It was really, really hard to keep it random and organic, but I think I let myself enjoy the project without getting to control freak-out about it.

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It’s only sort of a new stitch for me – since I’m familiar with peyote stitch (and the right angle weave I snuck in there), but I had never tried freeform before. It was such a challenge, but so fun. And a GREAT way to use up stash leftovers.

After that, I made this elephant pin for my Mom’s Christmas present!

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I haven’t done any bead embroidery for a few years now, so this was a nervy project to start. But I took my time with in and even re-read my favorite Jamie Cloud Eakin book to refresh my memory on the stitches I used. Here’s the back-

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There’s a few stray cat hairs in there, but the edging is pretty neat!

It did end up kinda… huge. But I still like it and my mom seemed to appreciate it. ❤

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So that was my December! Stay tuned for my 2018 Resolution report and my Resolutions for next year. Until then, Happy Beading and Happy New Year from me and my elephant friend!

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Christmas Ornaments 2018!

Hey, everybody! Is anyone else absolutely drowning in holiday prep and activities? I’ve been at a slight loss lately because, even though I’ve been beading plenty, it’s all be been for gifts, so I can’t post photos anywhere!

But! We did already have one of my family events where we had a gift swap, so I CAN share these ornaments I made with you.

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So, you may remember the ornament challenge I participated in last year where I made three versions of the same ornament to try out different combinations of Christmas-adjacent colors. That was really fun and I do have a history of getting a little nutty with Christmas colors, but this time I wanted to focus more on shapes and less on the actual colors.

The leftmost ornament is one of my SuperDuo Star 2.0 Earrings. Earring patterns make fantastic ornaments, because you just get to follow the pattern exactly and then slap a ribbon or string on it instead of an ear wire. I used the same idea for the far right ornament – it’s just one of my Vistella Earrings! What I really like about this one is that, even though the actually earring pattern is a little big for some folk, it’s the perfect size for an ornament!

The center ornament isn’t one of my patterns – it’s actually just a Russian spiral! I used 4mm glass pearls and 11/0 seed beads with six different colors total. I’ve actually written up a free photo tutorial on how to wrangle a six-color Russian spiral before and you can find it here. The only difference with using 4mm pearls instead of 8/0’s is the number if 11/0’s you use between each pearl (three instead of two).

Anyway, that’s the only thing I’ve been working on this month that I can share yet!

I’m thinking about trying to squeeze in another Clasp Wars post before the end of the year. If you want to vote on which clasp to do next, check out my Facebook page and let me know!

 

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Art Elements Blog Hop – Stars!

Hey, everybody! So, at the beginning of the month I signed up to participate in the Art Elements blog’s monthly theme challenge – this round it was STARS.

What I didn’t realize then was that the reveal date was only a few days after my huge Black Friday sale and with all the hustle and shipping and social media posting…

I only got one pair of earrings done.

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The colors were inspired by a Christmas dress I saw online and desperately wanted to buy, but unfortunately my size is out of stock. 😦 It combined mint and bright coral as the Christmas red and green and I wanted to play around with that. I think it’s a fun combo!

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Check the links below to see what everyone else made. I’m sure they were more productive than me, haha.

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Black Friday Sale 2018 – It’s TIME!!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeeeear!

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You guys, this is the biggest sale I’ve ever had! I really wanna clean out my shop and make room for some new designs and pieces.

Oh, and I forgot to mention in the pic – FREE shipping for the rest of 2018!

Everything in my shop is on sale, from 20% up to 40% and I’m so excited to see what else on Etsy is getting deep discounts. It’s gonna be a huge event, so get ready to get your shopping on!!!

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New Design! – Glamour Garland with SuperDuos and Seed Beads

Hey, my beady friends! I’ve got a new pattern to share with you.

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This is my Glamour Garland bracelet! It uses just SuperDuos and seed beads and makes a pretty little set of leaves in a loose chevron shape and I’m really, really excited about it.

All of the colors that I used in each of the three samples is included in the pattern, on the last page. I’m going to start putting the colors in every pattern, since I get so many requests for them. ❤ When I was figuring out the thread path, I stuck with this simple purple and silver combo.

But after that…

I discovered Christmas!!! So, it turns out that if you use red and green, the bracelet ends up looking like a garland of holly berries and leaves. I’m absolutely in love. I get so excited when a design can be seasonal or not, depending on color selection. The versatility is addictive!

Then last weekend, I taught a class at Beaded Bliss (my LBS) to proofread the pattern, and I decided to get a little more playful with my color options. This one is monochromatic as far as the seed beads go, but the SuperDuos alternate between seven different colors! I really like how it kinda highlights the chevron shape.

Just a heads up – because tension and snug-fitting seed beads give this pattern its tight leaf shapes, you need to use Miyuki brand seed beads. Toho beads are just a bit too big.

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So, what do you think? Christmas garland or leafy chevrons? Multi-colored or mono-chromatic? I’m excited to play around with it some more.

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20lb Fireline Update

Hey, guys! Just got a quick post today. Remember back in 2014 when I accidentally bought a huge spool of 20lb Fireline (haha, jk. Nobody read my blog back then!)

I had a bit of brainstorming and made a pretty cuff out of 4mm cubes in a simple peyote cuff. Then a few months later I did some herringbone with 8/0 hex beads.

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Aaaaaaand then I didn’t touch the giant spool of 20lb Fireline for four years. Oops.

But here I am again and I wanted to fill you in on a few more things that I’ve recently managed to use that super stiff thread to make.

First off! I have discovered that after making a bunch of beaded carrier beads, 20lb Fireline is a great way to string them into a necklace! It’s a thread, so I don’t have to worry about all that crimping nonsense, but it has virtually no slack and lends itself to the stiffer beaded needed to get that nice curve.

You guys already saw my Rainbow Ombre necklace…

But just recently I made a long-chain version with some Delica bead soup I whipped up!

The 20lb Fireline kept that curve nice and tight, which I appreciated.

A few months before that, I fell in love with this Czech glass button and decided to make a turquoise and gold version of my Stash Worm Bracelet to match. I needed to use normal 6lb thread for the embellishments, but for the square stitch base, I used this crazy thick thread and ended up needing to make fewer passes.

My next project is to take all the leftover DiscDuos and Honeycomb beads that have been left extra after my assorted Demoiselle bracelets. I’ve been saving them up and now I’m gonna string them on my monster Fireline with Toho Demi beads and drop beads to make a wrap bracelet. I haven’t finished it, but I’m excited to use up these extras and make something pretty!

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Slowly, but surely, I am finding ways to use up this crazy stiff, annoyingly thick, can-only-be-used-with-a-Big-Eye-Needle gosh-darned thread. Do you guys have any more ideas for me? Someday, I will defeat this spool!

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Clasp Wars: Buttons

Hey, everybody!

We’re back at it with our clasp war series, where I talk about the pros and cons of different types of clasps and my suggestions for using them. Today we are talking about a real classic – buttons!

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Pros

So, first off, the obvious bit – buttons are freaking gorgeous and there are so many kinds! Below this paragraph, I have photos of two of my Stash Worm bracelets. The one on the left has a fancy Czech Glass button that I purchased at my local bead shop and the the one on the right is a random button I found in an old sewing kit. The color-matching and style possibilities are endless and the variety of aesthetic options means that you can always find the perfect button to add something special to your piece. Buttons never just look like hardware – they’re always a design element.

 

Another great thing about button is that you can find them anywhere. You can pick up unique vintage pieces at garage sale or find hand-carved wooden ones on Etsy. You can pick something loud to build a piece around or something simple to blend in. Because so many different crafts use buttons, you aren’t limited to what bead manufacturers put out. Buttons are everywhere and you’ll never hurt for options.

Cons

For me, this is the big issue I have with buttons – they can be hard to attach. For one thing, you gotta figure out what size to make the loop so that it fits over the button easily, but isn’t so loose that you risk the bracelet falling off. You basically have to use trial and error and that can be annoying – and all the stitching, un-stitching, and re-stitching can even start to fray your thread. It can be frustrating.

You also need to take into account that your loop can make your bracelet look lopsided if your button on the opposite side is snug up against your beading. In my SuperDuo Rosette bracelets below, I left some space between the button and beading so that when the bracelet is clasped, the button looks centered. It seems to solve the problem, but it takes a little more forethought than you would usually need for your clasp.

The other issue with buttons is that they can be hard to fasten if the loop is tight. The orientation of the button can make for some weird wrist maneuvering when trying to fasten by yourself. Personally, I don’t think it’s a huge challenge, but if you usually use, say, magnetic clasps, the inconvenience will be noticeable.

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So, generally I use buttons for bracelet clasps because it’s a bit less secure than I prefer for a necklace. It can be a bit fussy to make sure the loop is the exact perfect size for the button, but if you manage it, the added element of style and seamless blend between clasp and beading can be really hard to beat. I love it when a clasp doesn’t look like hardware.

What do you guts think? Do you use buttons? Have any tricks for figuring out the loop size for each one? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so pop a comment below if you have anything to add!

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Autumnal Bead Soup!

Hi, everybody!

In my last post, I revealed my SuperDuo Rosette Bracelet update. Since I’ll be teaching it at my LBS next month (Beaded Bliss on October 13th, if you’re in the Cincinnati area!), I wanted to make a new bracelet to leave as a sample.

So, I made a big mix of autumnal colors (I think there’s at least 12 different colors in this mix – it’s absurd) and made this bracelet.

Fun, huh? I really liked the color mix – which is good, because I had SO much left, you guys. Like, more than 20 grams. So, I started stitching up a peyote band. I figured that would use up most of the pile and I ended up with this simple beauty.

The plain peyote really let the color mix shine! BUT I still had so many beads left. I decided this time to do my SuperDuo Fishtail bracelet which is basically a single column of never-ending herringbone. I thought I could probably get a double or triple wrap bracelet out of the pile I had left.

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It was so long that I had to make it into a necklace, haha. When I make bead mixes, I make TOO MUCH. Everytime.

The gorgeous glass circle is by Thornburg Bead Studios and the leaf dangle is by Leslie Watt. I was so lucky to have them waiting in my stash to match my necklace chain.

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So, what do you guys think? Have you ever gotten stuck with an accidental overly-ambitious bead soup? Do you have go-to patterns for eating up excess beads? Let me know in the comments!

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New Pattern Re-Release! : SuperDuo Rosette 2.0

Hello, my lovely beady friends!

So, I think I promised this post back in June… of 2017.

Don’t judge me. I get distracted sometimes.

*ahem* But anyway! Now we are here and it is time to overhaul this old beauty!

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This pattern is my baby, you guys. It’s by far my best seller and I originally made the design and taught it back when Beads Direct was still a brick and mortar store back in  2012. It was the first design I put in my Etsy shop and I consider it my star pattern.

But here’s the thing – I didn’t write the pattern myself. When I first made the design (right after SuperDuos first came out) I showed my boss (Lizelle Hards, who is still my boss and one of my favorite people) and she wanted me to teach it at the shop. I agreed, but confessed that I had no idea how to write a pattern. She graciously offered to do it for me and whipped up a pattern for me to teach with based on the hand-written instructions and terribly-drawn doodles I gave her.

Then, in 2013, the shop went online and we closed the store front. I had two or three patterns that I had written by then and wanted to sell them on Etsy, since I no longer had a place to teach them (this was before I had ties with Cathy at Beaded Bliss and Carole at Bead Stash). I asked Liz if she wanted to me to re-write the pattern, since I was going to be selling it, but she sweetly allowed me to sell it as my pattern.

And it has served me well! Liz is a great pattern writer. But, I have 30+ designs now and it has bothered me lately that my best selling pattern isn’t written in my style and looks so different from my other patterns. Plus! I wanted to add in a tweak to pin the side embellishment down (very much like the Toying with Tiles Update) and, due to popular request, I ALSO wanted to add in instructions for how to make the double-wide version that I really enjoy.

So, with that back story explained, allow me to introduce my newest oldest favorite pattern!

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Tada!

So, exactly like the Toying with Tiles pattern, I have decided to do things this way. The pattern listing on Etsy, when purchased, will now include two patterns – the old one and the new one with the tweak. If you have already purchased the old pattern on Etsy and want the tweak without having to pay for the pattern twice, email me or send me a Convo through Etsy with the Order Number of our original purchase so that I can verify that you already bought the pattern. You can find your order number by going through your purchase history on Etsy. It’s a bit of a clunky system, but I think it’s the best way of making it fair.

Colors Used

I’ve been trying lately to provide the colors that I’ve used in my patterns in one spot for you guys, so here are the colors that I used in the cover photos. A quick caveat – I have made dozens of this bracelet and the photos are floating all over the internet. So if you see one with my logo and want to know what colors I used, you’ll need to send me the photo to ask if it isn’t listed here.

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This original prototype – literally the first one I made in 2012 (OMG You can see the black paperclip that I wore as my engagement ring <3). For this baby, I used Chalk Lazure Green SuperDuos (503000-65455), Miyuki 11/0’s in Matte Metallic Bronze (2006), Miyuki 15/0’s in Dark bronze (457) and 3mm round metal beads in an antiqued bronze finish.

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These are the three single versions.

The top bracelet used Jet Apricot SuperDuos (523980-29123), Miyuki 15/0’s in Steel (190), and Full Labrador Union beads for 11/0 (UB-11-131-27000), and Metallic Silver 2×3 Rondelle Crystals in place of the usual 3mm beads. I also used a really fancy Swarovski Elegant Elements box clasp.

The middle bracelet uses a bunch of different stuff. The SuperDuos were Chalk Red Luster (503000-14495), Chalk Orange Luster (503000-14413), and Chalk Light Green Luster (503000-14457). The 11/0’s were Miyuki Matte Duracoat Champagne (11-4204f) and the 15/0’s were Picasso Seafoam (15-4514). The 3mm pearls were Swarovski Pearls in Jade, Coral, and White.

The bottom bracelet used Opaque Olive Picasso SuperDuos (553410-43400) with Miyuki 15/0’s in Matte Brown AB (15-135fr) and Miyuki 11/0’s in Duracoat Opaque Eucalyptus (4481). The 3mm were one of the Saturated Metallic 3mm druks in a sort of plum color (I don’t have the number for that one – sorry!)

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For the doubles!

For the top one, I used Chalk Red Luster SuperDuos again (503000-14495) and 3mm round copper metal beads. The 11/0’s were Miyuki Metallic Chocolate (461) and the 15/0s were Duracoat Galvanized Dark Coral (4209). I got the button at a bead show somewhere, I think, but any shank button will work!

For the bottom one, I used Miyuki 11/0’s and 15/0’s in Montana Gold Blue Luster (305) and the 3mm were a Saturated Metallic Turquoise kinda color. The SuperDuos were a mix that I made myself and then gave away as a prize after my facebook page got its 1000th like. It used more than 10 different colors and unfortunately, I did not write them down, as they were scraps and leftovers from my stash. If you combine a bunch of blues, greens, turquoises, and silvers from your own stash, you should be able to make your own “mermaid mix.”

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Phew!

And that’s finally it, folks! I’ve been super nervous to tweak my superstar pattern, but it needed to be done and I’m really proud of the new pattern. Let me know what you guys think down below! Was it worth the re-write? Have you tried this pattern yet? I love hearing from you all. Thanks for checking in! ❤

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