May Pattern Review 2019

Hey, everybody! I have been a busy bee this month and you guys should be getting a new pattern next weekend. But in the meantime, I’ve checked in on three more of my old patterns and did some major updates on one!

So, I REALLY wanted to make a bunch more of my Bejeweled Collar Bracelet because I desperately needed better photos for the pattern and the Etsy listing. What do you think?

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Three of the five are new. The mustard yellow and stone/bronze one are a little older, but the crystal, turquoise, and melon bead one are new.

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Which one is your favorite? I’m partial to the melon beads on the end, but the Swarovski crystals are just too sparkly to ignore. I’m really happy with how the photos turned out and I’ve updated to pattern with new thumbnails and a better description. It’s a pretty basic tennis bracelet design, but if you need to brush up your RAW, it’s a quick way to refresh your memory!

After that, I wanted to check out my Godet necklace and make sure it’s diagrams still looked good. I like the original photos I had on that one, but drawing the Crescents and the Dagger beads was tricky!

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This is kind of a weird color combination for me – matte gold, dark silver/chrome, and a dark saturated blue. I like how it turned out though! And check out this cool chain I re-purposed!

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After that, I went ahead and made a Toying with Tiles bracelet. I just redid this pattern in the last year or so, so I knew it didn’t need any updates. But! My local bead shop just started carrying these super cool tile beads and I desperately needed to make something with them.

I mean, look at them! They’re so cool!

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It’s been a busy month! Like, I mentioned, there’ll be a new pattern next weekend AND I’m working on a fun secret project you’ll hear about later. In the meantime, happy beading!

 

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Clasp Wars : Hook & Eye Clasps

Hey, guys! So, I haven’t done a Clasp Wars post since… October. Oops! I am so sorry for dropping that series right as we were nearing the end. But, I am officially picking it back up and today, we’re gonna talk about Hook and Eye clasps!

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Let me start this with a confession – I had to dig deeeeeep into my photo archives to find examples of jewelry I’ve made with this style of clasp and I could only find three. Three examples in over 7 years worth of jewelry photos! Clearly, I do not use these clasps often.

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A Hook and Eye clasp is pretty self-explanatory – one side is a hook, which can be made in all sorts of sizes and shapes, and the other is either an individual eye or an extension chain. They rely on tension to keep them closed, so they work best on a necklace that has enough weight to keep the clasp hooked, like the beaded kumihimo necklace in the photos below.

I would never recommend using a hook & eye clasp on a bracelet. They just aren’t secure enough. With the constant swiveling, there’s no center of gravity to keep the eye from sliding right off the hook and I just don’t have any confidence in them. If a necklace is heavy enough, you can usually trust it not to come undone, but a necklace faces much less abuse and constant movement than a bracelet.

With that caveat in mind, there are definitely come advantages to using these clasps. First, they are fairly simple to use, even with arthritic hands. You can still use an extension chain, like with a lobster claw, but you don’t have to be able to maneuver that little catch. They also look really elegant and come in plenty of beautiful styles. I’ve seen some handmade wire ones that are just stunning.

What do you guys think? Am I being too harsh on hook and eye clasps? Do you use them?
Let me know in the comments below!

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May Sale 2019!

Hey, guys! Just wanted to pop in and share my sale info for this spring. Mother’s Day is coming up and I bet you know a bride-to-be or a graduate you might want to get a little something for. I offer gift wrapping and always ship things out same or next day. 🙂

Spring sale ad - 2019

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April Pattern Review 2019

So, this months I was supposed to check in and review at least three of my patterns, but I only had time to revisit two of them. Oops! It’s been a very busy month for me in my non-beading life. Family stuff was a big one – my grandma celebrated her 80th birthday (!) and we had Easter shenanigans. I also took a long weekend to celebrate my 6th wedding anniversary. It was all really great, but boy, I did not get as much beading done as I would usually like!

First off, I did check in on my Vistella earrings pattern. I had almost worked through my stash of Ava beads, so I used the last of them making a pendant and a pair of earrings.

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The pendant is a combo of copper, chestnut, and gold. I kept it very warm-toned and put it on a looooooong chain so in slips over the head and sits mid-bust. For the earrings, I did a classic turquoise, black and silver.

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After than, I wanted to check in on my Joystone pattern – which is still my longest pattern I’ve ever written! Both of the rings I had made have sold and I don’t have any available in my shop, so I definitely wanted to make a ring. For this one, I used a bronze rivoli with black and gunmetal beading and pale, pale, pale turquoise.

After that, I was a little paralyzed with choosing what colors to make into earrings – my rivoli stash is a little embarrassing at this point. But a friend of mine messaged me and instructed me to use the coral, so I did. Thanks for help, Leah!

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I used seed beads in matter gunmetal and fire-polished crystals in a soft peachy pink. They’re super girly and I love them.

Both of these patterns were written fairly recently, so I didn’t need to change or update the patterns. Next month, though, I’ve planning to investigate some of my older patterns that need more of a makeover.

The other reason I didn’t do much beading was because I was finishing this monster!

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If you’ve been following me on Instagram (which you should! It’s great!), you’ve definitely seen me posting progress photos on this one. It’s part of a series of brick stitch workshops that Wanda Pitzele has been teaching at my local bead shop, Beaded Bliss. I’ve gotten to take two of her classes so far and I feel like I’m finally showing brick stitch who’s boss!

It’s so round and crisp and it took forever, but I’m so proud of it! If you’re interested in the pattern, you can go to Wanda’s website and use the contact form to send her a message. It’s really well written and I feel so much more confident with brick stitch now.

Hopefully, I’ll be much more productive in May and will come back and swamp you with pattern updates and beady adventures. Until then, Happy Beading, guys!

 

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Free Tutorial – Jumbo Filled Netting with 6x8mm Rondelle Beads

Recently I realized that I have an embarrassingly large stash of 6x8mm faceted rondelle beads. Since I can only make so many Double Split Ring Bracelets, I really wanted to try to find another way to use them. I couldn’t find many tutorials or ideas online, but then I had a thought.

I used to use 3x4mm rondelles in “Diamond Net Weave” (filled tubular netting) all the time. Especially doing a partial segment and then putting it on a memory wire bracelet.

So… These rondelles are double the size, I thought… But the basic technique should still work, yeah? And ooh, boy. It did work, but it was CHUNKY.

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Look at those big boys! First, I used my turquoise 6x8mm Rondelles with matte gold 11/0’s and Chalk Lazure Blue 8/0’s to make a long tube. Then I fed 16 gauge wire through the beaded tube, made some (very messy) wrapped loops, and then softly mushed it into a curve. Then I attached ribbon to finish the necklace.

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Sorry for the weird lighting. Taking photos in direct sunlight wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had.

After than, I used these mottled olive stone rondelles with matte pewter 11/0’s and limestone 8/0’s. Then I used the same 16 gauge wire and made a curved beaded bead, essentially. This one got long aluminum chain for a long necklace that isn’t too heavy.

 

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It was really fun and I wanted to share my method with you guys! It’s just filled tubular netting, so you might be able to figure it out just by looking at the photo, but here’s the basics if you need them!

First, string one 11/0, one 8/0, one 11/0, and a 6x8mm faceted rondelle. Repeat this three times and then tie the beads in a circle. Reinforce it a few times until it feels secure.

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After that, make sure you’re exiting one of the 8/0’s. Then pick up four 11/0’s, one 8/0, and four 11/0’s. The skip over and go through the next 8/0. Repeat this three times so you have a curve of seed beads over each rondelle.

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To step up, go through the next set of four 11/0’s and the 8/0 at the top. From there, pick up one 11/0, one 6x8mm rondelle, and one 11/0 and then go through the 8/0 at the center of the next curve. So this three times until you have completed the circle and then reinforce several times until it feels secure.

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Cool beans! From there, just repeat the second and third step until you get the length you want. I don’t think this size of beading will curve into a usable bracelet, but it would work as a necklace or a necklace segment like I made with the wire. Or you could make shorter pieces and use them as beaded beads!

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I’ve been having a lot of fun with these beaded tubes and working through my stash of 6x8mm Rondelle beads. But I still have so many! Do you guys know of any beadweaving patterns that use them? I have a serious itch to whittle down this stash.

Let me know if you have any suggestions or if you try out this super-sized filled tubular netting tutorial!

 

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Update on Buta Bracelet Pattern!

Hey, guys!

Yes, I did just post yesterday. And in it I mentioned in passing that I should try the Buta Bracelet pattern with PaisleyDuo beads instead of ZoliDuo beads, to see if it still worked.

And I did take the time to try it last night!

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Turns out – it does work! You just need to replace the 4mm Fire-Polish beads with 4mm Round beads (true rounds – like a pearl or druk).

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The pattern has been updated with that tiny tid-bit of information and now you guys have it in case you already have the pattern. Feel free to substitute to your hearts content!

Oh, and as a little apology for cluttering up your inbox two days in a row, here are some pictures of my cat interrupting my photo shoot last weekend.

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Little tiny Bridget foot! She’s a sneaky intruder.

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Anyway, thanks for popping by again!

 

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March Pattern Review 2019

Hello, lovelies! How’s your March going? We’re starting get signs of spring and I feel like my creative juices are flowing! I’ve been brushing up on old techniques and sorting through my stash and it feels so good.

If you remember, one of my New Years resolutions this year was to go back and review all of the patterns I have available in my Etsy shop. I’ve been designing them for, gosh, at least 7 years now? And since my pattern-writing and diagram-creating skills are entirely self-taught, I worry that the quality of my patterns is a little inconsistent. I know for a fact that my photography has gotten better, specifically. So this has been a great opportunity to switch out photos and spruce up patterns, so even the oldest ones represent my “brand” the way I want them too.

So, first off is the easy one – I made another sample for my St Peterburg Ombre Cuff. 

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“But, Sam!” you might say, “That’s cheating! You literally put out that pattern two weeks ago. How on Earth could that pattern need checking?”

And you’d be completely right. I just published this pattern earlier this month and, being my newest pattern, it’s one of my most clear and well-illustrated. I’m not sure what I could have done to spruce it up. But! I needed to make another one because I was teaching a class and I can’t teach without beading along with everyone. Plus, this is my arbitrary year-long blog challenge and I get to both make and break the rules. 😛

This one is narrower than the examples in my pattern and it isn’t really “ombre” at all. It’s just some rose-gold and peachy colors that I liked together. I… obviously didn’t tweak the written pattern at all.

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In penance for taking the easy route with a pattern I’d so recently written, I decided to do my Buta Bracelet next. I used ZoliDuo’s in the “Chalk Alabaster” color, which is a weird mottled tan kinda color with dark browns, gray/blue crystals, and a hint of purple.

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It turned out fine. I realized after I made it, that I need to try this pattern with PaisleyDuo’s to see if there’s any chance that they are interchangeable with the Zoli’s. I really, really doubt that it will work, since the PaisleyDuo’s are significantly larger, but I need to give it a try just to make sure.

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Can I tell you a secret? I don’t really like this pattern. It sells alright and people seem to enjoy making it, but… I don’t know. It just doesn’t tickle my fancy and I don’t love working with the ZoliDuo beads. The Right and Left thing feels like a money-grab and I still think they’re drilled inconsistently. I double-checked the pattern and it seems to be legible and I think my photos hold up, but it… just doesn’t feel like me? Style-wise, it’s not my favorite work, I think.

But hey, I’m sure there are bakers out there who don’t like lemon and still make a great lemon meringue pie, so I guess I don’t have to personally love every single thing in my shop, right?

So, here’s the Big Thing that took up most of my month.

I re-did my Double Split Ring Pattern almost from scratch.

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This poor thing desperately needed new photos. This was the old cover photo and thumbnail. Yikes.

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Like, I still love that bracelet and those colors, but you can’t even see the beaded part because of my dumb info boxes. And the photo itself is so dingy and dark – this was before I knew anything about photo editing.

But, if I was going to take new photos, I needed to make new samples, since I sold the old ones years ago. I raided my rondelle stash and got stringing! What I really love about this pattern is that it’s my only non-beadweaving tutorial. It’s just strategic stringing and a few basic knots and probably my best pattern for beginners. It’s just on cord, so it goes So Much Faster than any of my other designs.

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I loved playing around with the color combinations and trying to get different effects with cord color and which tone of metals to use. The copper and beige one is definitely the most me, but the white and light blue was a real color adventure and I love how the turquoise, silver, and bronze one came out.

I went into the pattern and swapped out the cover photo. I also re-wrote the materials list to match the current style I use in my newer patterns. I also put in a bunch of tips that I’ve learned doing this bracelet over the years – like using Fray Check to keep the S-Lon cord from unfurling.

I re-listed the pattern just before I typed this up and I also decided to bring the price down just a tad, because it is so much simpler than my bead weaving patterns. If I’m going to charge more for longer, more complicated patterns, than the reverse should also hold true, I think.

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It was really, really fun to revisit a pattern I wrote over 5 years ago and remember how much fun it was to develop. And now when people buy the pattern, I don’t have to worry about them not knowing how long ago I wrote it and thinking the pattern looked messy or unprofessional. It can be hard to justify going back and prettifying old patterns when I could be writing new ones, but I’m really pleased to challenge myself this year to go back to my old babies and make sure they look their best.

Thanks for accompanying me on this journey and putting up with seeing old things reborn. I’ll try not to let it keep me from designing new things as well. ❤

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New Design! – St Petersburg Ombre Cuff Bracelet

My lovely friends, hello!

I have been so excited to share this bracelet design with you guys, omg. My newest pattern has been posted for about a week now and the reception has been pretty damn good!

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Click the photo to get to the pattern! ❤

 

So, cards on the table, I was NOT originally planning to make this bracelet into a written pattern. I made the Picasso version one weekend because I realized that I hadn’t done any St Petersburg stitch in a LONG time and I wanted to make sure I remembered it. I poured out all the Picasso 11/0’s I had and made them into a rough rainbow gradient and went to town!

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I had an absolute blast and took it to my LBS (Beaded Bliss) at our weekly beading night and my beady friends kinda lost their minds? I told them all that it was just three rows of double St Petersburg stitch, but they insisted that I write a pattern and teach a class. I was more than happy to oblige, though I will admit a bit of hesitation. I thought it was maybe a bit simple for a pattern – because it really is just one stitch.

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So, let me say this – if you already know St Petersburg stitch, just skip this one. I don’t own the stitch by any means and there are SO many free tutorials online. In fact, I think there was even a three-row Double St Petersburg bracelet in a Bead and Button book a few years back (I wasn’t able to find it, but I’m fairly sure it was called “What’s the Buzz?” or something like that).

This is just my version of a common stitch. If you want to know exactly how I do it, from beginning to end, including how I do the clasp ends and how I prefer to manage things so I don’t need to add thread – this pattern is for you. If you already know St Petersburg, skip this one! You’re already good! 🙂

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Anyway, back to the fun stuff. Since I wasn’t planning on making it into a pattern, I wasn’t very careful to use materials that everyone could easily get. The clasp was no longer listed when I first put out the pattern, but I managed to get a hold of Melinda Orr (Bandana Girl) from Orrtec on Etsy and she has relisted them just for us! You can get yours here! Mine was a 27mm with three holes in Pattern #5 with the wine-colored dye, but she has SO MANY beautiful options. Go nuts!

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For this second version that I made in sunset colors (these colors may look a little familiar, eh?), I used three sets of snap clasps, which you can find just about anywhere, and which you already know I LOVE.

The colors are listed in the pattern. The Picasso one has ten colors and the Sunset Ombre has nine, so they are both pretty extensive lists – just a fair warning. I have gotten lots of people asking about where to get the beads and, to be honest, there’s a lot of beads, so you’re odds of finding every color in one place is a little low. Don’t be afraid to make some substitutions!

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I mostly get my beads at Beads Direct USA, because I work there. We do carry all the 11/0’s that I used in the two samples and there’s actually some combo packs that have a fair portion of the beads I used (Combo 3 and Combo 13, specifically). Neither of them have ALL the colors I used, but they’re a good deal and will get most of the colors you need.

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Also, Cathy from Beaded Bliss has swooped in to save the day. I don’t make or sell kits, but she does and is planning on making seed bead packs for BOTH sample bracelets. And she’s willing to ship to the USA – so if you wanna skip the bead hunt and wanna get all your seed beads at once, give her a holler and she’ll help you out!

Overall, I am really happy with this bracelet and hope everyone enjoys the opportunity to experiment with St Petersburg stitch. It was really fun to teach and I hope the pattern is nice and clear. I think i wanna do one in an ocean ombre. What do you guys think?

 

 

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February Pattern Review 2019

Hello, my beady friends!

So, just as a reminder, for one of my New Years Resolutions, I decided to review each of my patterns this year. I’m making new samples so that I can check that the instructions are still good and update the photos when necessary.

This month, I checked out another one my bracelet patterns – my Norelle bracelet!

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I’ve had this tiger’s eye clasp forEVER and I have been dying to use it. I had some 6mm tiger’s eye beads and paired them up with some matte gold druks to lighten up the weight.

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As far as the pattern goes, I gave the diagrams and descriptions a good once-over and I think it looks pretty good!

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After that one, I decided to do a pendant pattern to spice thing up! I made up my Compass Star pattern in this vintage-y combo of green and burnt orange.

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This pattern is really, really simple, but I love how the twist beads frame the rivoli crystals. And the back is pretty too! I used some recycled sari silk to string it.

After that, I checked out my Demoiselle bracelet. The pattern looked good, but I have had a LOT of requests for the specific colors that I used for the original samples. So, I didn’t re-write the pattern at all, but I did add the colors that I used to the end for the folks that want it. And I made a new sample bracelet!

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I’d seen that Linda Genaw of Crafty Inspirations by Linda had done a few versions of my Demoiselle pattern with 6mm Two-Hole Cabochon beads and I wanted to try it myself.

I really liked how it turned out! You can follow the instructions just as if you were using Honeycomb beads.

So, not too many revisions this month – but part of the reason I picked easy ones to remake and check out is because I have a new pattern coming out soon and I need to get writing! Stay tuned for that by next week!

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Of Bricks and Boxes

Hey, everyone!

So, I haven’t posted in a bit, but I have been SO busy.  First off – I had the chance to take another class! I almost never get to take classes (I think the last time was several years ago), so this was very exciting.

Wanda Pitzele recently moved to my town and has started teaching classes at Beaded Bliss. She’s offering a series of brick stitch classes that lead you from the fundamentals into reading charted brick stitch patterns and all sorts of fancy stuff. I’d done some brick stitch before (mostly edging on embroidery pieces), but I wasn’t super confident with my increases and decreases, so a refresher course for the fundamentals was exactly what I needed. Look what I’ve made so far!

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I used 1.8mm Miyuki cubes in three colors (401FR, 2008, and 2035) and made a bead soup out of them for the diamond units. The accent beads are Czech Hawaiian Flower beads in Jet Picasso. It’s not quite done yet, but I’ll have more photos when the necklace is finished.

Wanda was a fantastic instructor and I feel so inspired to try some new things after working with her. If you’re in the Cincinnati area, I believe she is offering this beginners class again in March, followed by a more complicated series on reading brick stitch charts. If you’re interested, definitely call Beaded Bliss to sign up – she’s a great teacher!

Besides that, I had an extra special project to work on – my first beaded box!
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I’ve made a beaded teapot before, but this was my first beaded box! My little sister’s 20th birthday was earlier this month and, since she doesn’t wear much jewelry, I thought this would be the perfect present!

You can get the pattern here. It’s actually supposed to have a beaded bow on the top, but I ran out of time to make it before my sister’s birthday party. So instead I beaded a little topper to act as the handle.

At first, I found the peyote charts to be super intimidating, since I had never worked off one before… But as long as I was paying attention, it turned out to make a lot of sense and I was super impressed with how the design worked up!

My sister seemed to like it, so I’m happy as can be! I think I might play around more with sculptural peyote in the future. The way these things build up is SO satisfying.

Do you guys have any recommendations for experiments I can play around with using brick stitch or 3-D peyote? I am in the mood to PLAY!

 

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