New Design – River Reed Beaded Cuff Bracelet

I had a class scheduled back in March that never happened for obvious COVID-19 reasons. The design was finished and I had the samples all made. I still needed to write the pattern, but that usually doesn’t take me too long with the impending class as a hard deadline.

But when the class got canceled, I lost my hard deadline and Every Last Drop of my motivation. And that’s why I’m just now getting around to sharing my River Reed Bracelet. It’s my first pattern since November, which is a little embarrassing, but this is a weird year. She’s late, but she’s here!

Pattern Available Here

This beaded cuff is mostly herringbone stitch but slightly modified to use Potomac’s Tubelet beads and little segments of Fire-Polished crystals and size 8/0 seed beads. I’ve been moving away from using two-hole and shaped beads, but these Tubelets are essentially just chubby bugles and I really like the look of them with the 8/0’s and crystals.

(If you can’t find Tubelets, Cathy has a bunch of colors available in the Beaded Bliss Etsy shop.)

I have included all the bead colors that I used in both samples in the pattern, since I’ve had folks requested that a lot. I also changed up the format of my pattern for the first time to be more column-oriented. I worked really hard on getting new bead drawings worked up and I do think this one looks awful pretty, if I do say so myself.

As for the leather snap clasps, I did also include the info for those in the pattern. The avocado clasp on the lavender and spring green bracelet is one that Cathy made. She has bunches available in her shop. The patterned one on the blue and gold bracelet was from Melinda Orr in her Etsy shop. I’ve been really enjoying the added pop that the leather clasps add, but you can definitely use a different style clasp on this bracelet and not have to tweak the pattern.

I think part of why I was so stuck with writing this pattern is because I’m not visiting my usual bead shop and getting feedback from other beaders. It’s really hard to cultivate your own internal motivation without that support, especially when things are so stressful already. But now that the pattern is done, I think it might be the best illustrated one I’ve ever written and I’m really proud of how my pattern writing has improved over the years.

I think I just need to give up on a strict idea of how productive I need to be right now and just let things happen when they happen. This one was supposed to happen in March, but I guess it’s ok that it’s happened in August instead. I’m still proud of it. <3

Posted in New Pattern Annoucements | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Free Bead Loom Pattern – Rainbow Chevron Ombre with Border

Hey, everybody! In my last post, I shared my adventures in learning how to use my Ricks Beading Loom and shared three bracelets that I had made with it. I really enjoyed the learning process and I got SO MANY kind comments about the pieces I’d made so far.

But, by far, it seems like this one was the run away favorite.


Between the comment sections of my Facebook and Instagram where I shared photos of this bracelet, I actually got quite a few questions about if I was planning on writing a pattern for this one. I was a little surprised, since I am SO new to bead looming, but I wanted to take a stab at making a loom pattern. I hopped over to Bead Pattern Maker and this is what I came up with!

Rainbow Chevron Palette

Rainbow Chevron Pic
Obviously this is just a tiny snippet of the pattern, but it repeats once you’ve completed these rows. If you decide to give it a try, just start at the top and work your way down and after the last row, start with first one again.

The colors in this graph look a little dull, but the ones I listed in the palette photo above are accurate with what I used – I made sure to double check. The palette also lists how many beads you need for one “section” before it loops. Each section is about an inch and a half, so you can plan out your bracelet with whatever clasp you want and whatever length you need.

Since this bracelet is 15 beads wide, you’ll need to start with 16 warp threads.

I used the Ricks Beading Loom with S-Lon Thread in Size D in a dark brown. You could use this pattern with a different style loom, though, and I’m sure there are lots of threads you could use. I used a bronze ribbon clamp for the ends and attached a lobster claw and extension chain. The dangle was a random bead I had in my stash, haha.


If you prefer a word chart, this version of the graph has the bead palette and chart with the corresponding letters sort of layered over top. The website I used auto-generated this, so I’m not sure why the beads appear slightly staggered – they should be in straight rows.

Rainbow Chevron PDF – Here’s the Link to Download the PDF


And if you need a traditional word chart, here’s my best attempt at one:

Rainbow Chevron Palette

Row 1: (3)A, (3)B, (3) C, (3)B, (3)A
Row 2: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)E, (3)B, (1)C, (3)B, (1)E, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 3: (3)A, (2)E, (5)B, (2)E, (3)A
Row 4: (3)A, (3)E, (3) B, (3)E, (3)A
Row 5: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)F, (3)E, (1)B, (3)E, (1)F, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 6: (3)A, (2)F, (5)E, (2)F, (3)A
Row 7: (3)A, (3)F, (3) E, (3)F, (3)A
Row 8: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)G, (3)F, (1)E, (3)F, (1)G, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 9: (3)A, (2)G, (5)F, (2)G, (3)A
Row 10: (3)A, (3)G, (3) F, (3)G, (3)A
Row 11: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)H, (3)G, (1)F, (3)G, (1)H, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 12: (3)A, (2)H, (5)G, (2)H, (3)A
Row 13: (3)A, (3)H, (3) G, (3)H, (3)A
Row 14: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)I, (3)H, (1)G, (3)H, (1)I, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 15: (3)A, (2)I, (5)H, (2)I, (3)A
Row 16: (3)A, (3)I, (3) H, (3)I, (3)A
Row 17: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)J, (3)I, (1)H, (3)I, (1)J, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 18: (3)A, (2)J, (5)I, (2)J, (3)A
Row 19: (3)A, (3)J, (3) I, (3)J, (3)A
Row 20: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)K, (3)J, (1)I, (3)J, (1)K, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 21: (3)A, (2)K, (5)J, (2)K, (3)A
Row 22: (3)A, (3)K, (3)J, (3)K, (3)A
Row 23: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)C, (3)K, (1)J, (3)K, (1)C, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 24: (3)A, (2)C, (5)K, (2)C, (3)A
Row 25: (3)A, (3)C, (3)K, (3)C, (3)A
Row 26: (1)A, (1)D, (1)A, (1)B, (3)C, (1)K, (3)C, (1)B, (1)A, (1)D, (1)A
Row 27: (3)A, (2)B, (5)C, (2)B, (3)A
and start back at Row 1!

I’m not really sure what I’m doing, since I’ve never made a bead loom graph or written a word chart before, but hopefully this will be enough for those of you who wanted a pattern to be able to get by. :)


Thanks so much for all the kind words and support! Happy Beading!



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Adventures in Bead Looming!

Unlike my last post, this one is NOT about my feelings – this post is about BEADS because omg, I learned something new, you guys. I taught myself how to use a Rick’s Beading Loom!

So, here’s an embarrassing story – I think I’ve had this loom for at least four years. And I just opened in this month. Oops! Beadsmith sent us a free one at work (Beads Direct USA) to see if it was something we wanted to sell and we ultimately decided against it because shipping something that big can be a big pain – but my boss said I could keep the free one that they had sent! I was super excited and then put it in my bead room and forgot about it for YEARS.

But my sister-in-law recently got into bead looming (the ONLY other beader in my family!) and I was inspired to pull this one out and finally give it a try.

I wasn’t super excited at the prospect of using beading thread instead of my beloved Fireline, but my recent obsession with fringe earrings has helped me get over that a bit. For these projects, I think I used S-Lon thread in size D for everything.

I haven’t tried a traditional loom setup, but it seems like the way you set up the Rick’s Beading loom is a little different and one of the bonuses is that you only end up with two warp threads. I haven’t tried the other method, but that sounded good to me. I learned how to set it up from this super helpful video.

Not too complicated, huh? For my first piece, I had a Beadslide clasp that I wanted to use, so I decided to use 8/0’s and do a super simple striping pattern so that I could focus on getting the technique right. It was really easy and worked up super quickly.

I did end up measuring the clasp wrong, though, so my Beadslide clasp didn’t fit until I added narrower rows to each side using regular old square stitch. Apparently, I needed to make the bracelet nine beads wide, instead of ten. It didn’t end up quite as neat on the ends as I would have liked, but it’s not bad for a first try.

I did really fall in love with the color combination. It’s just a repeating pattern of matte gray, pale yellow, light green, and matte silver, but I think it’s really pretty. I’ve got to remember to pair pale yellow with cool tones more often.

After that, I immediately dialed the difficulty level way up and decided to make a freeform piece incorporating leftover two-hole beads from old projects. It was MUCH trickier! I had to fit in three beads per warp thread, which made things a bit more complicated, without taking into account the extra work of keeping track of the two-hole beads.

The different sized beads made things a little lumpier than I generally like and I feel like I maybe should have used a thicker thread for the warp threads to give it a bit more spine. Also! Keeping patterns freeform is really hard for me. But I like how it turned out AND since it was three 8/0’s wide I was able to use my second Beadslide clasp properly.

She’s a little uneven, but it adds character, right?

After that, I decided I didn’t love working with 8/0’s (especially on such thin thread) and decided to try something with Delicas. I was hoping that more precise beads with a lower profile would make those edges a little neater. I arranged a little rainbow with the Delica beads in my stash and used some square stitch graph paper I got online to draw out a simple chevron pattern with a black border.

It was SO much fun, omg. I really enjoyed working with the Delica beads. It was slower than the 8/0’s obviously, but the neat way they stacked up together was incredibly satisfying. Watching it grow row by row was soothing to my soul.

I incorporated the little bronze dots into the black border because I knew the hardware was going to be antiqued bronze in color – that’s the only ribbon clamp that I had. I think it works nicely with the piece!

I’m not completely in love with the Rick’s Beading Loom. You have to know the exact length of your piece before you start and can’t adjust as you go, which can be annoying. And the method of stringing that allows you to end with only two warp threads leaves these tiny little thread loops on the edges. They get covered very easily if you use a ribbon clamp like in the center bracelet, but it kinda got in the way of the BeadSlide clasp on the other two.

But I’m also not super excited by the idea of weaving in a million warp threads after a project and this seems to be the best compromise, so I’m willing to work with it. I’m definitely interested in making more of these loom bracelets – especially now that I’ve discovered how much more I enjoy using the 11/0’s instead of the 8/0’s. I’m also curious about using a thicker cord for the warp thread. Stay tuned for more experiments!

Have you guys ever tried beadwork using a loom? What was your experience like?

Posted in Bead and Product Chatter, Beading Techniques and Experiments | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

A Few Farewells, in Which Sam Gets in Her Feelings

I’m a person who is very deeply sunk into the beading community. My day job is working for an online bead store that used to be brick and mortar. I’ve been working there for over 10 years now, since I started as a shop girl right out of high school. Beading retail is the only industry I know.

I’ve been selling beadweaving patterns and running my little Etsy shop since 2013. I’ve been teaching classes on and off at my local bead stores for about as long. In normal circumstances, I spend every Wednesday night beading at Beaded Bliss with my friends. When the owner is out of town, I run the shop for her.

I’ve never tried any other type of art or craft, except for that one week I bought a bunch of watercolor supplies, painted three bookmarks, and then never tried again. My only other hobbies are reading (often while beading) and painting my nails. Beading takes up a lot of my time and a lot of my brain, and every aspect of my working life is related to it somehow.

And I have known that entire time that the beading industry is incredibly fragile.

And HOO BOY, this has not been a great year for fragile things.

One of my local bead shops has closed. I’m sure you all know Carole Ohl’s work from her amazing Trendsetter designs and her gorgeous patterns and kits available on her Etsy shop Open Seed. But I mostly knew her as the owner of the Bead Stash, which I discovered was just down the street from my in-laws house. She did consignment, as well as traditional bead retail, so there was always a pile of unique treasures to be found there. I loved chatting with Carole when I could get myself up to Dayton to visit and I taught classes there on and off for a few years. It was a wonderful clubhouse and Carole’s artistic flair made the whole place welcoming and inspiring.

It wasn’t just beaded art either – Carole is a prolific artist of all kinds and every inch of her shop was filled with doodles, fabric art, beaded art, beaded dolls, and Zentangle designs. I mean, just look at the bathroom!

The shop has closed and I’ll miss popping in to catch up with Carole. But I’m also excited for her to have more free time to develop designs and fill her Etsy shop with kits and patterns and beautiful ideas. I’m happy for her to have more time to spend with her grandkids and for the freedom from the grueling retail schedule inherent in owning a shop. All good things come to an end and Carole is so full of good things that I know the internet will allow them to keep overflowing onto us.

And as I was compiling these photos yesterday and thinking about what I wanted to say about Bead Stash and how to write about its loss, I found out that Bead & Button is completely shutting down.

Personally, I rarely buy the magazines because of the density of ad material and focus on shaped and two-hole beads. And I never had the time or the funds to make it out to the Bead & Button shows. But it would be insane not to recognize the intense blow to the beading community this is. The shows, the classes, the magazines… a lot of beadweaving designers got their start working with Bead & Button in some capacity. It’s hard to see it go and scary to think of what it means for the community.

So, I don’t really know what to do right now besides mourning what we’ve lost and holding tight with both hands to what we still have. Shopping small and supporting the small bead businesses left in our lives and hoping that the industry can course correct enough to survive the pandemic. But as someone who’s been watching it from the inside and seeing the struggle every bead retailer goes through, I’m very worried.

Beading and crafting and self-adornment have been a part of human culture since we were barely humans, so the craft itself is not going to go away. But I suspect that the beading industry and social landscape is going to look a little different after the pandemic. It might be time to start emotionally wrestling with that so that we’re ready when the dust settles.

Posted in Blog and Shop Announcements, Storytime | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Fringe Binge!

You guys are so going to make fun of me for this, but I have fallen in love with my “unloved” beading technique from the Isolation Beading Challenge. I cannot stop making fringe earrings!

So, I’m sure you guys remember my original post about experimenting with fringe earrings last month for the Isolation Beading Challenge. I had made these two pairs of earrings and decided that, even if you can’t use Fireline, fringe isn’t so bad after all.

I knew I wanted to add some sort of little dangle in the gold hoops, and I was lucky enough to find these dainty little leafs for their centers.

After that, I REALLY wanted to use my stash of art beads, so I made the pair on the left to match these gorgeous lampwork beads I’ve been hoarding forever. They sold pretty much immediately, so I don’t have them any more. But I was really happy with how the colors turned out. I did the swamp-witchy ones on the right to use up the rest of the green drops. I really LOVE how the drops add some visual weight to the bottom and you know I’m all about these earth tones.

I also got my mitts on some gorgeous Tierracast frames and I wanted to experiment with a different silhouette, so I made these purple monsters this weekend. They are big and bold and the purple is way outside my comfort zone, but I really loved making them. And I got to use some Swarovski crystals, which always feels indulgent in a lovely way. I also used some magic copper Union seed beads, so there’s some added dimension to the seed bead bits.

I have been having a lot of fun getting to compose pieces purely based on complimentary shapes and colors. It’s kind of a nice break not to have to worry about specific beads types or sizes to fit a specific pattern. And these work up so FAST. I’m definitely hooked for now. <3

So you guys have any specific thread recommendations for doing fringe? I’ve tried One-G thread and S-Lon so far. I love having the color options that I usually don’t get with Fireline and I’m willing to experiment a bit!

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Isolation Beading Challenge Completed!

Blow the trumpets and fling your confetti, guys! I finished the Isolation Beading Challenge!

The last one on my list was actually the first one – finishing off a project. I mean, I made and completed many projects since I first issued the Isolation Beading Challenge in March, but not one that met the spirit of the challenge – something that I had been procrastinating or that had been left behind and forgotten.

Then I found my kumihimo disk in the very bottom of my beading cart and realized that it had a project on it! Half of a necklace. That I’m pretty sure had been there for many, many, many months. OOPS.

So, I finished it, realized it was way too long, and made TWO (2!) necklaces out of it!

The first was a full length necklace with Long Magatamas as far as the eye can see.

I love making these. I used a bunch of different colors and picked up the magatama beads in random directions, so they don’t lay in that smooth dragon scale way. It’s random and ruffled and puts me in mind of a pile of autumn leaves.

For the caps, I used my favorite oversized floral caps and a simple toggle. It’s a bit heavy, but I love the drama of this big fluffy necklace. <3

For the second one, I only did a partial length of beaded Kumihimo and then made the rest of the the necklace with segments of beads on S-Lon cord in a warm burgundy color.

Here’s a close up on the beaded section and the super cool toggle that I love!

And with that, my Isolation Beading Challenge is complete! Have any of you guys been playing along? What’s your progress look like? There’s no deadline! Feel free to jump in at any time! :)

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Flirting with Fringe

Hello, my dear beady friends!

Last week I posted about my struggles to learn Ogalala stitch and fulfill one of the last items on the Isolation Beading Challenge. I’ve been having a bit of a hard time finding an “Unknown/Unloved” stitch because I’ve tried so many of them and couldn’t think of any that I particularly disliked.

But then inspiration struck!

Fringe. I do not love making beaded fringe.

I almost always avoid using fringe because I hate using non-waxed thread so much. I really only use Fireline (6lb or 8lb in Black Satin, almost ALWAYS) and Fireline is just not good for fringe. It’s too stiff and instead of getting a nice, soft drape of beads, you get an awkward layer of legs all akimbo. But, in the interest of completing my own challenge, I went for it!

And you know what, it really wasn’t that bad. I did still dislike using the One-G thread that I had, but being able to pick between more colors and finding something that complimented my bead colors was actually really gratifying. I think I ended up using Beige One-G thread to match my color palette of Miyuki Duracoat Forest, Matte Opaque Cream, Matte Lt Tea Rose, and this unlabeled salmon that I’ve had in my stash for YEARS.

I used Brick stitch for the top and then added the fringe in a sort of soft ombre that got longer in the center, with tiny Fire-Polished crystals at the tips. I made the top all one color because I wasn’t confident I wouldn’t mess up anything more complicated, but in the end I decided that large green portion needed something. So, I added a tiny bit of chain with a little pearl drop. I’m about halfway done with the matching earring and I think I like it!

But, after seeing so much gorgeous fringe on Instagram, I wanted to go all out and make a pair of ombre shoulder-dusters with these gold frames I got at Beaded Bliss!

I used the same color palette that I had been wanting to use for my failed Ogalala project to make this warm-tone, kinda summery-fall ombre situation. I really love how the blend turned out. This time I used S-Lon in a shade of burgundy, which matched the bottom of the fringe, but added a neat contrast to the warm olive at the top.

I still think they might need something. Some sort of drop or dangle to fill the center of the gold hoop? I haven’t found anything in my stash that quite fits the bill, but I haven’t given up yet!

And even though using non-Fireline beading thread was a little unpleasant and I didn’t wax it like I should have (I know, I know, shame on me), I actually had a pretty good time making the fringe? Deciding on the colors was SUPER FUN and I was definitely impressed by how quickly it worked up in comparison to basically any other beadweaving technique.

I think I may even make more!

Technically, this does mean that I’m done with my Isolation Beading Challenge, but I am unable to share the first task (the completed project) because it’s a sample for an upcoming beading pattern. So maybe I should knock out one more before I feel like I’ve REALLY completed the challenge.

What do you guys think? What are your feelings on fringe? Do you have an unloved stitch you’d be interested in revisiting?

Posted in Beading Techniques and Experiments, Challenges and Blog Hops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ogalala (Oglala? Ogallala??) Blues

Hello, my wonderful beady friends. Last time I posted, I was giving an update on my Isolation Beading Challenge. I had almost everything done except for revisiting an unknown or unloved beading stitch.

I’m so close and I’ve been really motivated to find a stitch to revisit and bury the hatchet with. I wrote the challenge, so surely this part shouldn’t be too hard, right?


The issue that I’m running into is that I don’t really have any stitches that I hate?? I was unfamiliar with brick stitch, but I recently started taking some workshops from Wanda Pitzele and have become much more comfortable with it. I even made this full Brick Stitch Zigzag Cuff last year. So brick stitch is definitely not unloved or unknown any longer.

I used to also really struggle with peyote beaded bezels. I would do anything to avoid them, even developing my own Joystone bezel design that I could use instead. But back in 2018 I finally figured out what I was doing wrong (I was reinforcing the first loop, making it too tight for the rivoli) and went bonkers making bezels left and right. So, I think that one’s disqualified too.

I frequently use RAW, peyote, herringbone, square stitch, ladder stitch, St Petersburg, brick stitch, and netting. I’ve tried Peyote with a Twist and CRAW. I know spirals, (flat, Russian, double etc). I’ve played with chenille and chevron and Cellini and ropes of all kind. I was really, really stumped.

So I did a bunch of googling and remembered that I’ve never tried Ogalala (or butterfly) stitch! I mean, just look at these gorgeous necklaces for sale on Etsy! The depth of color and the ruffles – it’s SO outside my wheelhouse, but that’s what makes it fun and exciting. I love how they seem freeform, but actually have a specific netting structure and the ombre effect of the frills is just to die for.

But man, I struggled to find a tutorial! The only ones I could find that thoroughly explained the technique created finished products that weren’t as lovely as the photos above or were a slightly different technique all together. I found one tutorial in a foreign language that I tried to follow (after spending a LOOOONG time making a gradient that I liked), but I just wasn’t happy with how it was working up.

And I will mention that not knowing the proper spelling of the stitch does not help! Results pop up for “Oglala”, “Ogalala”, and even “Ogallala”, so I am just at a total loss. It’s hard to research a stitch when you don’t know how to spell it properly.

So, if any of you could point me in the direction of a book or a pattern that yields similar results as the finished pieces above, that would be lovely. But, for now, I think I might need to continue my search for an unknown/unloved stitch. There are so many stitches out there – I KNOW I haven’t tried them all. But most lists just list the basic ones and I’m pretty familiar with those.

Do you have any suggestions? Either for an Ogalala tutorial or for another stitch that might count as unknown? I’m stumped! Let me know if the comments if you can help save me from my own beading challenge, haha.

Posted in Beading Techniques and Experiments, Challenges and Blog Hops, Thoughts on Color | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Isolation Beading Challenge Progress

Hey, everybody! I hope you are all well and holding up. I just wanted to pop in and chat about my progress on the Isolation Beading Challenge that I issued last month.


I didn’t think i had made much progress, but this is actually pretty good! I definitely started with the easy ones at the bottom. I placed at order at Beaded Bliss to stock up on those leather clasps I love and get some needed beads. I also wrote brief, positive reviews for all my local bead stores using Google reviews (it only took five minutes – let me know if you need help finding where to do this!).

Posting photos to social media has been easy because that’s something that I do all the time anyway. You can check out the hashtag on Instagram to see my and other folks’ posts for the challenge! You can search for the hashtag on Facebook too!

The first one I’ve only partially marked. I did finish the bracelet (including the clasp), but it’s for a new pattern I want to write, so I’m not going to REALLY consider it done until the pattern is finished and posted.

But! The one that’s been taking up most of my time is #3 Finally Do that Pattern You’ve Been Saving! I really, really wanted to take this opportunity to dig through my pile of books and do a design from one of them. I ended picking this pattern from this Kelly Wiese book.

She chose this really soft iridescent lavender because Kelly Wiese always picks the prettiest and classiest colors. I loved the look of it, but decided to lean into my favorite palette of Picasso colors.

What do you think? I laid out all of my Picasso 11/0’s into rainbow order and tried to get a sort of tie-dye ombre effect. It’s a little louder than I anticipated – usually the Picasso finish leans a little more earth tone than rainbow, but I still like the overall color scheme a lot.

It was a really interesting technique that she used, almost like a blend of chevron stitch and daisy chain? I highly recommend this book of hers (and pretty much anything she writes). Her style is really different from mine, but it always inspires me and I think her patterns are easy to read and learn from.


I really never do lariats or fringe and this dainty style of chain was definitely outside my comfort zone. But that’s what made it so fun! The last thing on the list for me (besides finishing that pattern) is to revisit and unknown or unloved stitch and I just can’t figure out what to work on. I don’t really have a stitch that I hate and I’ve at least tried most of them. Maybe I could try Peyote with a Twist again or give Ogalala stitch or Dutch spirals a try… I haven’t made up my mind yet!

Have any of you made any progress on the Isolation Beading Challenge?


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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

Posted in Blog and Shop Announcements, Challenges and Blog Hops, Storytime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments