Birthday Sale!

Good morning, everyone! It’s my birthday! I am turning 29 today and wanted to celebrate with an impromptu Etsy sale. For today and tomorrow (July 4th and 5th, 2021) all of my patterns are 20% off and all my finished jewelry is 25% off. All the jewelry will ship out when the Post Office reopens on Tuesday, but the patterns will be available as an instant download, as always.

I think this is one of the longest gaps in my blog since I first started posting on it. Honestly, early May was the two-week mark after my second Pfizer shot, so I’ve been really enjoying getting to hang out with family and friends and being social again after a year and change of isolation and just working everyday. And time socializing is usually not beading time (although some of the ladies from Beaded Bliss have started meeting up and I’ve finally been able to join them, which has been so much fun).

I did finally get to go to my first bead show since before the pandemic! It was actually a Gem & Mineral Show, so I mostly bought finished jewelry. I got an amber ring and earrings for myself, plus some black onyx earrings for my mom and a unakite “jade” roller, just for fun. But I did get these gorgeous matched cabochons. They’re Petrified Wood Opalite and I am absolutely in love with them and so intimidated by the idea of actually doing anything with them.

So, even though I haven’t been posting much, I might be able to get back into the swing of things after the euphoria of vaccinated life settles down a bit. Finding a new normal is going to be a slow process, I think. But it’s a much better situation than this time last year.

If you want to see more of me, I’m definitely posting on Instagram quite a bit these days. You can find my Wescott Jewelry Instagram here. I’ve also taken over the Beads Direct USA Instagram account and have been having a good time trying to learn to make reels, haha.

So, I am hoping to post more soon – I have a new pattern in my head that needs writing up and bead nights with the ladies should help keep me focuses, I think. In the meantime, Happy Birthday to Me and enjoy the discounts! I love you guys. Have a great holiday weekend!

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Spring Collection 2021

Hi, everybody!

So, I wanted to try something different and do a big themed collection drop of the jewelry I’ve been making lately. I was inspired by these beads that we sell at BeadsDirectUSA.com. It’s a mix that we make in house using the PermaFinish Toho 11/0’s to make this lovely metallic rainbow. I think it’s currently out of stock, but when we do have it available, you can find it at BeadsDirectUSA.com by typing “TR-11-PFMIX01” into the search bar.

I loved the bright, happy colors and was really inspired to combine it with white to make a bunch of coordinated pieces. And I ended up making A LOT.

I’m going to be dropping all of these pieces at once in my Etsy shop at 7pm EDT tonight and you’ll be able to find them in their own little section called the Spring Collection.

Shall we take a closer look at some of the pieces?

First, earrings! I have four styles of earrings in this drop. The first are my beaded fan hoops, which use brick stitch directly on a hoop with a white round edging. They flare out from the ears when worn and I’m in love with this shape. I also have tubular peyote hoops for those who want all that color, but a slimmer profile hoop. Then I used more brick stitch on large gold rings to make beaded round circle earrings and a combination of brick stitch and long fringe to make long curtain fringe earrings with a rainbow splatter effect.

For necklaces, I have one beaded flower pendant with an aqua rivoli center and rainbow petals on a dainty gold chain and a long beaded lariat based on a Kelly Weise pattern in her book, Beaded Allure.

I also have a matching bracelet and necklace design available based on delicate beaded tubes and gold links. The bracelet uses a slinky gold chain extension that makes in very adjustable and has cute dangles.

And you know I have a bit of a bracelet obsession, so there’s a lot on offer here. There are two russian spirals (one with a single white stripe, and one with a double), a spiral stitch bracelet, and flat herringbone ribbon bracelet, a St Petersburg stitch bracelet, a Stash Worm bracelet, and a Ruched Tila bracelet, oh my!

All in all, I think it was really helpful for my creativity to limit my color palette to something so narrow and really go wild with it. I had to get creative a few times and was often challenged by the nature of the Toho beads (I usually use Miyuki rounds, which are far more regular, and the Toho PermaFinish in particular tend to have blocked holes). But I had a lot of fun with this challenge and am hoping the collection is as pleasing to you all as it has been for me!

All these pieces will be added to my Etsy shop on April 9th 2021 at 7pm EDT. Hope to see you there!

Posted in Bead and Product Chatter, Beading Techniques and Experiments, Blog and Shop Announcements, Thoughts on Color | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

New Design – Basilica Bracelet and Earrings with Cathedral Beads!

Hello, my darling beady friends! I finally have something new for you!

That cathedral bead pattern that I previewed in my last post is finally ready! I was not expecting to make you wait almost another two months after I posted that, but you all know I’ve been struggling with motivation this year. My last new design was my River Reed Bracelet back in August and the last one before that was my Princess Cordelia Necklace waaaaay back in November of 2019! I know I’ve been sluggish, but getting this one finished was incredibly satisfying and I’m so excited to share it with you.

The start of this design was this pumpkin bracelet. I remember fiddling around with it while listening to a fantastic fantasy horror book (The Twisted Ones by T Kingfisher) and being super excited when the pattern started taking shape in my hands. It was so exciting!

These earrings were my next attempt. I’ve had these metal spikes for awhile now and I think they were really interesting in proportion with the beaded bit. The shop where I got them has since closed, so let me know if you know where I can get more online – I LOVE this length and can see myself making a bunch of earrings with this style drop.

 

Because the term “cathedral beads” apparently isn’t very specific, I wanted to make sure that these more traditionally shaped, highly faceted beads would work in the design. As long as you still get 6mm, you should be good! I also really wanted to try the partially finished ends on this one. I think it looks really cool and it makes the bracelet super adjustable for pretty much any size wrist, but it was very tricky to photograph, since the bracelet can’t really lie flat.

And then I had to try earrings with just plain pearls, since cathedral beads can be so hard to find. It’s not my favorite version of the pattern, but it still works! And even if I don’t find the shape quite as exciting, I do really love these colors together.

 

The pattern includes instructions for the bracelet and the earrings and I have included the color names and number (if I had them) for all the samples in this post and in the cover photo. I’m so pleased to finally have this one out in the world! Please let me know if you give it a try! :)

You can get the pattern here in my Etsy shop!

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Cathedral Bead Conundrum!

Alright, my beady friends. I need your help with a bead identification conundrum! I have a pattern that I’m ready to start writing, but it uses a shape of faceted Czech crystal that I have always called Cathedral beads.

I know I rarely share sneak peeks of upcoming patterns, but this one is on the way!

The ones I’m using are 6mm, have faceted sides and those distinct sloping caps, like these ones I found in Blackrock Bead’s Etsy shop. I was fairly certain that they were called Cathedral beads and that’s how they seem to be listed in most shops. Perfect, right?

But then I did some googling and when I punch “cathedral beads” into any search, this more elaborate shape comes up as well. The faceted sides are more triangular and sharp and each bead features these intricate stair-step caps on each end. These 8mm-10mm beads and photos are from GR8BEADS on Etsy.

I wasn’t sure how such a different bead could go by the same name and was worried that would cause confusion when I go to write my pattern. But! I did find a 6mm version of this more elaborate cathedral bead in my bead stash, so I decided to test the pattern with this version of the bead. And luckily, it does work! Although, it seems a little harder to find this shape in a 6mm.

To make matters even more confusing, my searches ALSO turned up this shape as a Cathedral bead (although this one seems to sometimes be listed as a “Turbine” bead?). It’s lovely, but I’ve pretty positive that those more cone-like ends and wide middle means that it would definitely not work with my pattern. Thank you to ReductionNation on Etsy for the use of these photos. You can get these turbine/cathedral beads here.

To cover my bases, I did also try my pattern with plain 6mm rounds and it worked out alright, although I still think the original simplified cathedral beads with the faceted and softer caps suit the design the best.

Yes, the pattern will include earrings!

So, what is the truth? Are all three of these distinct shapes really all called “cathedral beads” or do they each have a more specific name that I don’t know about? Are they coming from different manufacturer’s all using the same name differently? I’m pretty sure all three are Czech, but that’s the most info I’ve been able to find.

I’m really stumped on what name or description to use in my pattern supply list. I want the people who purchase my pattern to feel confident when they order supplies to make my design and I’m just really stumped on what terminology to use. It feels unprofessional to just pop in photos of the beads I used and be like, “good luck finding beads that look like this!”, so I really want to avoid that. Any ideas? You guys are so knowledgeable and I’m hoping you have the info I need. Can you help a girl out?

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2021 New Years Resolutions

Happy New Years, everyone! I have to admit, I have been procrastinating on writing this blog post for a few days because I know I did not do well on my goals for this year. This is understandable, right? I was busy surviving a pandemic and my beading schedule and routines were disrupted. Not going to my weekly bead night was a huge blow to my productivity and increased workload at my day job and increase of general stress didn’t do great things for my creative drive. I’m certain a lot of you felt the same way this year.

So, owning up to my goals from last January might be a little painful here, but we’re gonna do it anyway!

Read and Review 135 Books on Goodreads – A+

I’m happy to start with the easy one here. I pretty much always make my reading goals because I have the privilege of working at Beads Direct USA in a type of job where I can have my headphones in almost all day. While the long list of podcasts I listen to definitely bit into my audiobook time this year, I still managed to read and review 137 books and discovered a whole bunch of new favorites.

Here’s a cool infographic that Goodreads generated showing all the books I read along with fun stats, like the longest and shortest books, and which ones were more common.

Write Two Blog Posts a Month – C

I make this same goal every year and this was the first year that I really wasn’t able to cope with it. There were four months when I only managed to make one blog post and I know there were a few others where the only posts were either very small updates or brief announcements.

I think the main struggle was that I just didn’t have anything to write about because I wasn’t beading as much. That’s going to be something that I have to think about for next year, since my beading schedule is going to continue to be different now that Beaded Bliss is closed. 

Finish Remaking and Evaluating Each of my Original Patterns – F

Ugh, this would have been so easy since I only had four patterns left to review! I did one of them in February and then just forgot about this completely. I might just do a quick look at the patterns and if the photos and diagrams are up to snuff, they might just not get a makeover. I think it’s time to move on from this project.

This is the pattern that I did review and update, which was very satisfying, since it did really need new samples and a better pattern photo.

Actually Do Your Expense Reports EVERY Month – A

I did this one! It was actually a little bit less work than usual since I wasn’t visiting bead stores as often. I had one or two private appointments and it is much easier to log a few very big receipts instead of weekly smallish ones. I still need to do December, but that only ended three days ago, so I think I still earned an A!

Don’t Procrastinate on Etsy Listings! – D

Oh, boy.

This was no good. I still have SOOOOOO many unlisted pieces. I need to figure out some sort of system to keep myself motivated.

Make at Least One Kumihimo, Embroidery, & Macrame Piece – C

So, I actually forgot about this challenge. I did do an embroidery piece and it was actually one of my favorite projects of the year! I did do one kumihimo braid (although I haven’t listed it), but it was completing an abandoned project from 2019, so I’m not sure it counts?

I liked the spirit of this goal though and I really enjoyed learning to bead loom this year, which fits the idea to continue my beady education with new techniques and styles.

Do at Least Two Challenges, Swaps, or Collabs of Some Kind – B

I was going to give myself a big, fat F for this one because I barely even saw other beaders this year, let alone setting up a swap like the one I did with Danielle Wickes in the summer of 2019, but I actually did this one too??

At the beginning of the first lockdown, I decided to issue my own challenge, which I had never done before, and the Isolation Beading Challenge was born! I was feeling lonely without my weekly beading group and wanted to make a set of challenges that other people could play along with at home. It was fun and even though not very many people picked it up, I had a good time completing it and the updates gave me something to post about.

And before that, I was approached by Gina of Orchid and Opal –  a super fun beading YouTube channel about featuring a tutorial on one of my patterns. I’d almost hesitate to call it a collab, since Gina did ALL of the work and I just gave my permission for her to share my design. But it was really cool to see one of my patterns come to life in a video.


2021 Goals

  1. Read and Review 125 Books on Goodreads
  2. Find a New Blogging Schedule that Feels Comfortable
  3. Stop Procrastinating on Etsy Listings
  4. Continue Keeping on Top of Etsy Expense Reports

You might notice that I am reeeeally paring back on my goals for the upcoming year and that is on purpose. I am under no illusions that the things that have stifled my beading energy this year are going to magically evaporate now that 2020 is over. I’m still not going to be able to resume bead night and even if the bead ladies from the shop decide to keep meeting, it will be months of continuing vaccine rollout before I’m comfortable spending times in other people’s homes. Work is going to continue to be stressful as online shopping stays high and I know that not visiting bead shops or bead shows will probably not help with inspiration.

So, I want to give myself this upcoming year to find a new rhythm and create a new normal. My beading pace may change now that I mostly do it at home and alone. I want to keep this blog active, but holding myself to a strict two-post-a-month schedule isn’t going to help me feel fresh and inspired. This is going to be a year of healing and re-adjustment, so I want to take a very light touch to my personal expectations this year. I want to be gentle with myself.


So, what about you? Did you make goals for 2020? Got any new ones for 2021?

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Farewell, Beaded Bliss

Today was the last day of normal shopping hours for my local bead shop, Beaded Bliss.

We’ve had a lot of losses in the beading community this year. Personally, I’ve blogged before about losing Bead Stash (a local bead shop about an hour from me, owned by Carole Ohl) and in the wider community we’ve lost the entire Bead & Button empire and seem to be in the process of losing Swarovski. And while that’s nothing in comparison to the human lives that have been lost and I’m thankful to have survived this year with my health, my employment, and my loved ones intact, knowing that Beaded Bliss was going to close has been weighing on my heart so heavily these past few months.


For those of you who don’t know my history, I started working at a bead shop called Beads Direct USA fresh out of high school in 2010. After three years, that shop moved from a retail location to an office space an became an online-only beading website that I still work for. I adore that job and the inventory management and shipping type of job that it has morphed into is a much better fit for me than customer-facing retail and service. But there were parts of the brick and mortar experience that I really missed. I missed teaching classes and having a place to sell my beadweaving patterns. I missed getting to bead with friends and having a place to hang out.

Then my dear friend Terri (and former customer from the brick and mortar shop) asked me if I had talked to Cathy at Beaded Bliss about doing guest instruction for my patterns. And did I know that she had open bead nights on Wednesdays where she was open late and I could work on projects with other beaders?

a selfie with Cathy from my birthday party at Beaded Bliss in July of 2018, complete with kitty cat filter

That’s how I met Cathy, who would become another dear friend and fixture in my life. For the past six or seven years, I have left work an hour early on Wednesdays, grabbed some Starbucks or cheap Kroger sushi and driven the half hour out to Beaded Bliss, where I would stay until she closed at eight. This is legitimately where I got most of my beading done. Every time I came up with a new beadweaving pattern, I would pick a Saturday morning and teach it at Bliss and have my lovely bead ladies proofread it for me (sometimes brutally teasing me for my little mistakes) before I would post it on Etsy. My first posts on this very blog are about scheduling classes at Bliss and sharing what I made at bead night one of those Wednesdays.

Since 2014, I’ve been in that shop almost weekly. I watched Joyce make incredible heirloom necklaces for her daughter, agonizing over every rose gold finding and crystal. I continued my friendship with Terri and watched her become a grandmother. I met the indominable Rose who makes the best Dill dip on earth and her husband Charlie, who takes wildlife photography and gave me some gorgeous photos of a bald eagle who lives near the Ohio river. I took classes from Wanda and watched her make beaded kippahs. I heard about Kathy’s marathons and stories about her early life as a nun. Carole took my classes and always made my patterns in the most delicate and beautiful shades of pink. I heard stories about the time Linda taught a Kumihimo class in the dark and laughed at Tresa’s jokes. I met Maggie, who works with me now and makes my life easier every week. I cried with Annette and gossiped with Lynn and laughed and laughed and laughed with Mur. We drank and had birthday parties compared projects and told stories. I met so many wonderful women at that table (and Charlie and Jim, of course). They enriched my life.

And Cathy and I became close. We commiserated as pattern designers and bead retailers. We gossiped about bead wholesalers and manufacturers and whined about the never-ending onslaught of weird two-holed beads. I watched the shop when she needed a vacation and got to remember what bead retail was like. I helped her set up the Beaded Bliss Etsy shop and Instagram and she helped me be less afraid of wire-wrapping, leather, and super glue. She saw all my new projects before anyone else and was a constant source of encouragement and welcome.

2020 was full of blows for a lot of businesses and the bead industry is not a particularly sturdy place to be to begin with. Cathy announced her retirement earlier this fall and I wasn’t super surprised. With bead shops, it’s always a matter of time and Cathy deserves her retirement. She has a grandbaby in Hawaii that needs visiting and deserves to have time to pursue her own hobbies and joys. To actually spend time in the beautiful house she and John have relentlessly renovated and improved. I am excited for her to have time to herself to enjoy, for the chance to sleep in when her insomnia is bad and to have an actual Saturday off.

I am going to really, really miss our beading clubhouse and the weekly nights with friends. Not having a place to teach is definitely messing with my pattern writing motivation, for sure. But I think what I’m feeling most right now is nostalgia and the root of that is gratitude. I am so grateful for the memories I made in this place and the chances for growth that Cathy fostered there. I’m grateful for my friends and the silliness they put up with for six years while I goofed off and used bad words and told stupid stories every Wednesday night.

Thank you for running such a magical place, Cathy. I am so grateful for having access to it for so many years. You made a very good thing and I benefitted from it, greedily. We all did. I love you and I miss you and I’m so excited for you to have more time and freedom. When it’s safe, I’m going to take you out for dinner sometime so we can whine about Etsy some more and I tell you Post Office horror stories and gossip about customers, just like old times.

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Black Friday 2020

Hey, everybody! So, a lot has changed this year and the holidays are all weird and scrambled, but one thing is still the same – I’m having my Black Friday Sale!

Discounts have been applied in my Wescott Jewelry Etsy shop, so you don’t have to remember any codes or coupons or anything. Patterns are discounted 20% and finished jewelry is 25% off with free shipping on all domestic orders over $35!

I’m also going to let it run for a full week so y’all don’t feel rushed. I always work on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and hate that hectic feeling of missing out on super limited sales. So this one is good all the way until next Friday, December 4th.

I am also making gift wrapping available, so if you have loved ones you won’t be seeing this year, just pop their address into your order and select gift wrapping during checkout. You can even include a gift message that I can print out and include in the order. I’ll wrap it up myself and send it straight to them with your message, while still supplying you with a tracking number so you know when it arrives safely.

Here’s wishing you and yours a happy set of holidays, however you manage to celebrate.

Here’s a few helpful links for holiday sales this year!

If you’re selling online this year, here’s my guide to describing jewelry online.

And if you’re buying jewelry this year, here’s my list of tips for jewelry gifting!

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Swarovski to Stop Selling Beads? What I Know So Far


So, first off – I am not a journalist. I haven’t been deeply investigating into this story and I don’t have direct info from Swarovski. The bead shop where I work doesn’t currently carry Swarovski crystal, so we don’t have a direct representative to ask.

But I am very plugged into the beading community on social media and there seems to be a bit of a Swarovski storm brewing and I wanted to put everything I know into one place and maybe hear from you guys if you have more info?

So, first of all. I run the Beads Direct USA Instagram page and follow a whole lot of beaders and bead shops from that account. A little over a week ago, I noticed a story from an Australian bead shop alerting their customers that they weren’t going to be able to sell Swarovski beads anymore because Swarovski was switching their focus to their fine jewelry and not selling beads or crafting supplies anymore.

I know. I was also shocked.

But, after some extensive googling, I wasn’t able to find any other source to back up that claim. It seemed doubtful that the Australian shop would lie about something like that, but maybe it was region specific? I didn’t know, but since I didn’t have any more info, I just waited.

Now, I’m in a couple different beading groups on Facebook, and one of them belongs to Jill Wiseman. I don’t post on there much, since she only allows posts of her designs and products, but it can be a really great source of news. When people in her group who must have also seen the rumors started asking about it, she promised to check with her Swarovski supplier and get back to us.

On October 30th, this is the email she got and shared with us.

“Dear Valued Customers,
E.H. Ashley continues to be your source for Swarovski crystal components. They have assured us that we can continue to place orders and they will be delivered. They do not plan to abruptly cut off supply on any products.
I know there are a lot of rumors out there, but we are in continuous contact with Swarovski’s management team and base our information on the facts they provide. They are reorganizing their business and “will continue to sell Swarovski crystals albeit in a more controlled environment with select branding partners.”
As more information becomes available, we will keep you informed. Meanwhile, please be assured that we are here to continue to supply you.
Regards,
E.H. Ashley & Company, INC”

Interesting. But, lo and behold, the next day on October 31st, Jill shared this with us.

“Can we stand one more Swarovski post? Well, I’m going to write one!
Here’s fact: Australia and New Zealand HAVE been told they will no longer receive beads (and fancy stones) from Swarovski by the end of the year. According to a MAJOR bead store owner in Perth, Swarovski then intends to look at other markets and decide. I trust what she says.
Swarovski IS going through a major reorganization with an eye to cutting areas so they are thought of as a luxury brand again. There have been many layoffs within the company under it’s new management, and it’s not over yet. It is unclear at this time where the beads and components line falls within this.
Here’s my personal speculation: I think it’s possible that they are closing down the beads and components market region-by-region. I hope I’m wrong. But it makes no business sense to keep making the product, but then exclude a large territory like Australia/New Zealand from purchasing it from them. It seems more like the first step in a process.
Here’s my personal plan: I will continue to stock Swarovski. Right now, there are no significant limitations on obtaining it here (other than Covid-related.) But I also will be looking to add Preciosa into our crystal lineup. It will take a while, as US distributers are terrible about carrying the full product line. Example: one distributer I looked at yesterday carries THREE 3mm bicone colors, and about 20 of the 4mm bicones. Preciosa has 42 base colors and an additional 17 color effects for reference. I’ll have to hunt and search, and then I’ll have to afford it too – so it will be a process.
I also plan to look for good quality Chinese bicones as another price level option for my customers.
What I think you should do: Carry on as usual for now. If there’s a Swarovski color you adore with all your heart, you might gradually lay in a little stock for just in case. As always, I will keep you posted with any new developments as soon as I know them.
What about prices: Some folks have asked if the price will go up. I don’t know right now, but probably. At Jill Wiseman Designs, I have not increased Swarovski prices in 5 years – I’ve absorbed 5 years of annual cost increases and currency adjustments. It’s something I’ll look at in 2021, or sooner if there indeed is another cost increase.
That’s everything I know, folks. Stay calm. We can do this.”

After that, I was pretty convinced that Swarovski had decided to stop production on their beads and crafting supplies and was just trying to only tell one region at a time. Jill’s right. It just wouldn’t make any sense to exclude Australia and New Zealand if every other region was going to continue as normal.

Then Stitchncraft, a UK bead store, shared this in their newsletter, which Jill shared today, November 7th.

As many of you may be aware there have been a number of rumours recently regarding the direction that Swarovski are moving with their business. As a Swarovski Authorized Retailer we had a meeting on Friday in order for them to share with us their future plans.
Unfortunately we have to report that they will cease, or have already ceased, production on virtually all of the Swarovski products we stock as part of the restructuring of their business. We felt that we had to alert our valued customers as many of you will have patterns, kits and unfinished projects that will require the now discontinued products ranges.
Their projected plan is that from January 2021 their current direct customers, like us, will only be able to purchase a certain amount of product each based on a previous purchase history. The sale of the products to direct customers will cease from June 2021.
Whilst this may seem like a long way away it is important to note that when there is no more production on these lines that their stocks may well run out well before this deadline. We do have access to their stock holding of all the lines we sell but of course we do not know how quickly these lines will diminish.

 

So, if the UK is also not going to have access to Swarovski crystal beads and stones after 2021, I am pretty certain that this is going to be worldwide. This kind of restructuring isn’t super surprising, since apparently they’ve had massive job cuts and store closures this year. I think the attempt to market themselves more exclusively by clinging to the fine jewelry angle and abandoning their craft marker is understandable, if disappointing.

First off, do you have any info that I don’t? Have you received contradictory information or heard from other retailers about this? If so, please let me know if the comments. I’m really interested in what’s going on and why they’ve taken this weird approach of only telling certain regions at a time when the internet makes news fly so quickly.

Secondly, how do you feel about this? Personally, I’m not very inconvenienced individually, I really don’t use bicone crystals very often and I don’t have any patterns that rely on specialty Swarovski shapes or stones. All of my patterns that use bicones and rivoli crystals will work just fine with, say, Preciosa bicones or Matubo rivolis. And as a beader, I tend to reach for Czech Fire-polished crystals before a sparkly bicone – it’s just not my style.

But it is still really shocking to see such a giant in the industry abandoning the craft market (and in such a weird, half-concealed way). And after losing my two beloved local bead shops this year and the Bead and Button closure, it is definitely a little emotional to see another pillar of the beading community crumble. Although, now would be a great time for Preciosa to step up production and worldwide availability and I do like some of their finishes and prefer their price point.

What do you think? Have any more info to share? Any feelings?

Posted in Bead and Product Chatter, Blog and Shop Announcements, Storytime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Oopsie – Beader’s Block and Blogging Blues

Hello, my beautiful beady friends. I guess it’s pretty obvious what happened after making a post about struggling to find motivation to bead and then disappearing for a month. Oops. I’m definitely still struggling with finding the motivation and sustained interest to work on my beading projects. I know that it’s a combination of seasonal depression and general pandemic stress (we are in a third wave where I live and it’s not safe or responsible to gather with my friends indoors and becoming to cold to see them outdoors). It’s totally reasonable to be feeling pretty blah right now. But it does make blogging kind of hard.

So, even though it’s been almost a full month AND I missed the second post of September, I’ve only made three things to show you.

First up, I had been messing around with my stash of 11/0’s and made some bead soup to empty out of the remnants of some mostly-empty tubes. I decided it would be fun to do some more herringbone and made this cuff bracelet.

I found these small, rounded Hematite cubes in my stash and thought they would be fun to include between chunks of herringbone and the deep metallic green coloring of them went really well with my seed bead mix.

(I have no idea how this matte, colorful bead can be hematite, but that’s what the tag said and they had the expected weight *shrug*)

I popped some copper Tierracast findings on the end and really like the finished look. After that, I still had quite a few of the cubes leftover and thought it would be a cool idea to try to use them all up in my next project. So I found some coordinating beads and made another simple spiral rope.

Each cube is framed by a tiny 1x2mm rondelle and seed beads in 11/0 round, 11/0 Delica, and 15/0 rounds. I had just enough cubes to get a decent sized bracelet.

But then after I put my seed beads away, I realized that I had a bunch of rondelle crystals left and… wouldn’t it be cool if I could use all of those up in my next project?

And, like some sort of miracle, I had exactly enough of the crystal rondelles to frame this Hummingbird tile that I have been wanting to embroider for the longest time. I got this tile from the secondhand consignment section of Bead Stash near Dayton, OH before it closed, so I have no way of getting more and no information on who made it or where it came from. But I was absolutely delighted to use up all my rondelles on this little pendant.

In this picture, I have one of those little orange-wood stick cuticle pushers that I use to do my nails to show you how big the bail is, haha. It’s about 4mm in diameter. I wanted to add the seedbeads on the border to pick up the colors in the tile, but I also wanted to keep it fairly clean and simple, so the bail is as simple as possible.

But that’s all I’ve done in the last four weeks. Most of the time, I get home from work and all I want to do is eat (a lot) and sleep. Nowadays, I go to bed at 8:30. But I think it’s okay to be feeling a little glum and a little sad. It’s hibernation season and I know my energy for beading will come back on its own, eventually. Thank you guys for being here to read about my projects when I finally get around to doing them.

How about you? How’s your motivation doing right now? Are you finding the energy and inspiration you need and if so, can I have some?

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Back to Basics

Hey, everybody! So, after the sudden flash of motivation that helped me finally write my River Reed pattern that I shared in my last post, I’ve been stuck feeling kinda unmotivated to do much beading again. I’ve been spending time with my stash, doing some soft reorganizing and donating extra stuff to make free gifts for work and I’ve been really enjoying flipping through my beading books, but I haven’t been making much.

And honestly, that’s fine because I have such a HUGE backstock of finished pieces that need to be listed and I’m sure you can guess that I haven’t been super motivated to do that either.

I did manage to finally finish my remake of my Two Years Cuff. This is an older pattern of mine from 2015. The name is actually a reference to my two year wedding anniversary (and a subtle joke about how long the bracelet takes to make, haha). Honestly, with all the embellishment, it feels a little more formal and fussy than a lot of my patterns, but I still like how the criss-crossing at the top looks and I love any excuse to cover something if Fire-Polished crystals.

The base is made with metallic copper Kheops Par Puca beads and Picasso Brown Czechmate Tiles. I kept the seed beads simple by using both sizes in Matte Metallic Khaki Iris (one of my favorites) because I really wanted the Fire-Polished crystals to pop against all that matte. I don’t have a name for them, unfortuantely, but they’re some sort of half-metallic gold over a reflective blue AB sort of situation.

True to its name, it did take awhile to finish and after something with so many layers and picots and doubling-back, I was really drawn to the idea of making something super simple. I was puttering around in my stash and I found these round lavender beads. Honestly, I have no idea what they’re made of – they seem too light to be stone and the texture feels weird for glass or wood. Regardless, they’re slightly irregular, which has been keeping me from using them, since I don’t use irregular beads very often. But I suddenly felt inspired to use them in a flat spiral.

I paired them with one of my favorite Picasso seed beads – the Picasso Montana Matte 11/0’s and some half-metallic olive fire-polished crystals. I really liked the color combination and the slight irregularity of the beads didn’t affect the flat spiral too much.

While I was stitching it up, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I made a flat spiral. How weird is that? It’s such a fun basic pattern and I used to be OBSESSED with them when I was first learning beadweaving. I was really taken with the way you could use almost any bead you wanted and that it didn’t require any special shaped or two-hole beads. Somehow, I’d forgotten how much I loved it. It felt really nice to rediscover an old favorite.

After I finished that bracelet, I really wanted to use up the rest of those half-metallic olive fire-polished crystals. Since rediscovering the flat spiral had been so satisfying, I was inspired to return to another old favorite – the classic spiral. Spiral stitch is another one of my favorites because, again, you can adjust it to include so many different types of beads and you don’t have to rely on any specialty shapes. That versatility is addictive.

The core of my spiral was this very soft, light cool-toned green and each loop had a repeating pattern of matte pewter 11/0’s, matte silver 8/0’s, 3mm Druks in a metallic olive, and the fire-polish from my last project. I just kept going until I ran out of druks and then had exactly on crystal left to dangle off the end of the extension chain. It was perfect. I really dig this monochromatic look and the light gray/green effect is right up my alley.

I’m trying not to beat myself up about this weird hit-or-miss motivation that I’ve been stuck in recently. It would be weird if six months of a pandemic DIDN’T mess with my emotions and creativity. But it was really nice to get these little bright spots this month. Going back to basics might be a good idea for me until inspiration decides to visit again.

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