Isolation Beading: An Update and a Challenge

Hey, friends. I sincerely hope you are all doing well and that those of you who can are staying safe and staying home as much as possible. Everything is weird and stressful and confusing right now, especially in our crafting community where so many are extra vulnerable to COVID-19.

As for me and my family, we’re doing alright. My husband is able to work from home and has been lucky enough to maintain his day job doing IT for a non-profit. He just finished a tour with his band on March 13th (the day before Ohio announced restrictions on gatherings) and his office decided to go ahead and preemptively put him in self-isolation since he had been travelling. The whole office is working from home now, but he’s been isolated for two weeks now and hasn’t shown any symptoms, which is a huge relief since he has asthma. He’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future. I just wish his music room was bigger, especially now that it’s his office.


My work situation is a little more complicated. I work for an online bead shop called Beads Direct USA. Since we’re an online business that exclusively sells through shipping, we’ve been allowed to remain open under Ohio’s stay-in-place order. We’re a very small company (the owner, Lizelle, and I are the only full time workers and then we have two part-timers when we’re fully staffed), but Liz is a very caring and responsible boss who wants to keep us all safe. For right now, that looks like me getting up as early as I can (5am, most days) to get into the office and ship all your orders before the mailman arrives and then going home early. Liz is working from home as much as possible and then coming in in the afternoons when she needs to so that none of us are in the office at the same time. It’s a tricky balance between staying safe and socially responsible, while still getting everyone their beads while they’re stuck at home.


So that’s my life right now. Early mornings, a dark commute, an empty office, an exhausted husband, a confused cat, a quiet dinner, and an early bedtime.

Oh, and I did buzz my head! I was planning on waiting until summer, but I can get into the office earlier if I don’t have to worry about my hair. I like it. My sunglasses won’t stay on my head any more and my ears are cold, but you can finally see my conch piercing and I shaved (ha) a full hour off my morning routine. I can’t stop petting it.

So, that’s my life right now. Not as confined as many, but that low hum of anxiety makes the normal routine of work feel fraught and tense. I miss my coworkers and my friends. I miss my Wednesday nights at my local bead shop and my beloved beading ladies. I’m worried for all of them and for their livelihoods. I know that I’m so lucky to have my job and that my family is still healthy. But I do feel a deep mourning for my “normal” life and I’m sure you do too.

So, I want to issue a challenge. Something to do while all our lives are disrupted and a list we can check off to feel more in control (at least, that’s how my brain works). There’s no real deadline since it’s likely that all our different states and locations are going to come in and out of quarantine recommendations at different paces. There are no prizes or penalties. But I really love a checklist in a time of stress, so here we go!


I wanted to make a mix of beading motivation and community support for all our local bead shops that have been forced to either go online or close completely for an unpredictable amount of time. We can all do our best support them both with direct financial support (for those of us who can) and with recommendations, positive reviews, and a little free advertising wherever we can. My job at Beads Direct USA has been online only since 2013, but I’m also deeply connected to Beaded Bliss, where I go to bead on Wednesdays nights and often teach. She’s very newly on Etsy and orders from her Etsy shop increase the odds that she’ll be able to open her doors back up when she’s allowed to do so. I’m sure many brick and mortar bead shops are in similar positions. And even those of us who don’t have the extra funds right now could still take the time to recommend our favorite shop on Facebook or leave a positive Google review.

So, who wants to join me on this special little challenge? If you do, use #isolationbeadingchallenge on Facebook and Instagram so I can see what you make! Let’s reach out for a little connection with each while we’re separated.

I’ll be thinking of you all. Stay safe. <3

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8 Responses to Isolation Beading: An Update and a Challenge

  1. Liz Browning Fox says:

    What a wonderful & positive idea, Sam! I love it. Social Media to the rescue, when social distancing becomes necessary.


  2. Jennifer Rathbun says:

    I shaved my head about a month ago and loved it. It is starting to grow out now… I like your challenge. I look forward to trying it.


  3. cathy feist says:

    Oh Sammy, What a great post! So glad Beads Direct USA has been able to stay open; these times do require bead therapy to maintain one’s sanity! I too am mourning our Wednesday night beading time at Beaded Bliss; feeling very bereft without my group of regulars who are like family after all these years. I’m so used to going to work; haven’t had this much time off since 1997 when our youngest was born! Trying to maintain a schedule, stick to my list of goals but I’m very distractible & want to eat lots of chocolate! Your Isolation Beading Challenge is just the prescription! Sending bead love & happiness to everyone out there!


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