So this week THIS Happened…
Yeah…I bought a peyote-stitch bracelet pattern on Etsy I fell MADLY in love with without checking if I had the colors in stock. Guess what?
Sound familiar? It happens to all of us…Pattern Makers/Masters and their customers alike. And I have done a few new pen wrap patterns in the past month (6 to be exact) and expanded my already extensive collection of Miyuki 11/0 Delica colors to make them, so I was taken completely aback when out of needing a dozen colors for this beautiful peacock bracelet, I had only ONE COLOR in stock.
We always have options when running across a situation like this. It’s why when I started listing pen wrap patterns in my Etsy Shop, KC Dragonfly, I always include a visual of the colors used, like this:
(Well, for that reason and because I want to seduce buyers with the pretty, shiny & colorful side of the pattern XD) But is also for the convenience of letting a customer know what kind of expense they are getting into ahead of their purchase, so they can avoid going broke buying all new bead stock.
So even if you can afford 11 new colors, there are other considerations to uh, consider when doing a purchased pattern and getting it so you are happy with the final result. And those are:
- Color Scheme
- Pattern Accuracy
- Your Personal Skill Set
So let’s take these points one at a time in the case of the peacock bracelet design I am currently working on and you’ll get the idea – and hopefully some ways to troubleshoot any future problems you run across in your own pattern-making/purchasing.
As mentioned above, this is on the top of the totem pole for a lot of beaders – especially serial beaders like me. After all, what good is having that shiny new bracelet if every time you look at it, all you see is you sacrificed food money for a week to buy the beads to make it?
In this new pattern’s case for me, it was eye-opening to shop online as opposed to running out immediately to my local bead store. And I actually hate saying this because there is only one bead store with a large, dedicated section of Delica beads within 50 miles of me, so I go there all the time to feed my bead obsession and ensure they stay in business. I knew I would be spending more money than I had budgeted to make this particular piece, so I checked out the prices online and found them everywhere from 40 to 90 cents cheaper than my local source!
So why didn’t I buy them online? The problem came with the next consideration and that is…
Are you sure you will like the colors in that shiny new pattern you just acquired? I was happy with mine and ready to buy the Delicas online, but since I wanted to make it now (heh, don’t we all?), I called and spoke to the owner of my local Delica supply store. In going over my list, she said it wasn’t the colors she would use. In the case of the peacock feather bracelet, I grabbed an actual peacock feather and compared them and to my horror, she was right!
In a lot of cases, you don’t have to worry about this if it is an “I ♥ Cats” or a geometric/subjective design – unless of course there is a glaring error in the pattern itself. In the case of the peacock bracelet, I wanted to modify and add colors I thought were missing that were both more accurate and would make the bracelet pop. The original suggested colors of orange and yellow did do this, but I wanted a chance to play with some beautiful, inside-dyed, pearl-lined copper colors! I also discovered in comparing the pattern to an actual peacock feather, the interior surrounding the eye itself is an amazing shade of coppery bronze. And guess what? Have you ever looked at a peacock feather? Believe it or not, some of them have a lining of hot pink at the top of each eye!
Here it’s oversaturated to emphasize the color and where it is, but even on an untouched photo, if it has it, it’s visible:
So in the end, I took a trip to my local Delica bead shop, pattern, notes and a peacock feather in hand and continued our phone conversation whilst perusing her hundreds and hundreds of vials of colors for that perfect look.
Your Personal Skill Set
Another thing I ran across that made me pause before hitting the “Buy” button for this pattern was that it was a “two-drop” peyote pattern. I have never done two-drop before, but knew I could master the stitch with video tutorials and advice from my favorite local Facebook Peyote Stitch Patterns group. And expanding your beadwork skills can only lead to bigger, better and more beautiful projects to tackle, like this one:
This amazing beauty took the photographer 12 hours to complete, being a combination of peyote stitch, herringbone and embroidery. And one day, when I have the time, I’m going to buy that pattern and make this!
So the takeaway on this point is if you want instant gratification from your pattern purchase, don’t get something you don’t currently have the skillset to make. Buy it if you have to, but for maximum satisfaction out of the purchase – and the “build” – make the goal of developing the skill to do it and do it right.
Ah, yes…Time. The friend and enemy of us all. It all depends on whether you have the skills to master it such as planning, organization, focus and discipline. And being a good juggler helps too. You don’t have to wait to be a master at one or all, just be aware you have to take all of them into consideration when embarking on pattern modifications. There will be trial-and-error periods where you might end up tearing out a row or rows because you don’t like the colors, but with these experiences comes wisdom which will win you time back in future projects.
So don’t be afraid to change up/throw out/add to those colors in the patterns you buy. Just remember to check with the seller if you plan on selling the finished piece – many sellers allow this, but not all of them. And if it’s for you or as a gift to a friend, the only rule of thumb then is to have fun and go nuts!
Resident Bead Whore
On our way
We are finally on our way to Gallifrey One 2019. It feels strange after over a month of doing beadwork on bracelets every day to not have a bead project in hand, beading and ignoring everything else around me.
I miss it already.
Is that weird? Not when you’re addicted to doing beadwork like I am and have been doing it for so many years. When you do something this intense and it’s something you don’t love, it’s easy to get burned out. Me, I’m already going over ideas for my next art show which hopefully will be for a My Little Pony convention up in Northern California. Of course I’ll stop once in awhile during the panels to pay attention to who’s on stage and hang out with my sister and brother-in-law. But there is always downtime when I’m hanging in the lobby and people watching. Those are the times it’s I sit and sketch out what I want my next project to be.
And now what you’ve all been waiting for
The 13th Doctor Bracelet
The 5th Doctor Bracelet
Tarot & Angel Deck Divination Bags
Table Display Signage
As I mentioned in a teaser earlier this month, I went shopping for lettering for a new name for my Doctor Who-themed creations in the Gallifrey One 2019 art show. Creating the new logo last week took more time than I had expected due to planning, measuring, gluing and painting. After the bulk of the painting and gluing was done, I went back to beadwork. Still, project pieces were slowed down because they were worked on in between touch-up coats of paint and lettering adjustments. Once the logo pieces were finished, I made a scrabble game out of the letters and posted it on Twitter. Alas, no one guessed the name I had done too good a job of mixing up the letters!
The final touch to the logo display was one my husband provided, creating a table riser to lift the lettering slightly above the level of the table so it would stand out better.
Beading on the Go
I keep my client company at my job while he watches t.v. – a lot of it. Luckily this allows me to sit and bead a few hours each day. Because I bead there and at home, my carrying case has gotten more and more portable. I hated this see-through, plastic carrying case at first. I didn’t want everyone to see what I was carting around, but later I grew to love it as I could easily see its contents as I packed it the evenings. In the pursuit of the life of a bead whore, it has become one of my new, best friends.
My second best friend is a wooden bead board that divides different colors of beads into organized sections. I was wary of using it at first since I have knocked over a seed bead tray or two. You only do that once, then learn to use cases with lids the rest of your days, believe me! After years of being very careful, I was now tempted to try this new sorting tray I discovered years ago at the Pasadena Bead & Design Show. It was just too cool to pass up, especially after the creator personalized it with a dragonfly on its cover.
Still, it sat for a couple of years until I decided to bead the 13th Doctor’s shirt stripe into a lariat scarf. The tray easily holds all 11 colors where I would have needed two of my usual, round plastic cases. Two cases would have been fine except the pattern for 13’s scarf requires I use one bead color at a time. Because of that, I needed all colors open at once, rendering the lidded cases useless.
Next time – a preview of our newest beaded designs to premiere in the art show.
Who knew Upland, CA was such a cute, quiet, sweet little town? That’s the impression we got rolling in off the 10 fwy and it was a welcome one. You can’t help but get antsy in that last stretch of the day – and the Hop – when you’re this close to finishing.
If I were in the middle of nowhere with the nearest other bead store 30 miles away, Garden of Beaden would fill my needs quite nicely. All the basics, and more to boot. There was an added bonus of some lovely vintage glass you don’t see in every store..kinda of like going to the sticks to find that one antique chair or table that’s the last of its kind. With a nice area in the back for classes, this is another one of those stores I can imaging the local secret society of Beadin’ Babes would hang out on Friday nights ordering pizza, trading tips and techniques and teaching those new to the craft their age-old rites.
It was a Jungle in there – no, literally a jungle, right out of the Jungle Book. The pineapple punch was particularly good and they were quite generous with the snacks. This store has a nice vibe, along with a steady, store-packed stream of Bead Shop Hoppers like us. When they showed us their Make n Take I was so tempted to stop and make it there, having gotten the Make n Take fever from the last store, but my stomach was growling and we had one last store stop before our victory dinner at Slater’s 50/50 in Pasadena. I could see my husband itching to get there as well.
Here’s what they offered –
Theme: The Jungle Book
Charm: a cute little monkey in silver or gold AND one that had moving parts and one that didn’t. I took a silver one that didn’t move and Dennis took one that did.
Goodies: A discount upon returning in the future. Not sure what they had as far as if you bought $25.00 or more as I was hanging on to those last dollars for dear life!
Not surprisingly low on funds set aside for this trip, the only item I picked up was their Make n Take Genie’s Lamp. It was just too darn cute to pass up!
After discussing the possibility of me teaching a class there, we jumped back in the car, enjoying what we could of the nice (and cooler) evening air settling in and headed for our Final Destination – Pasadena Bead & Design Company.
We interrupt this blog and store #10’s review to announce that the SCLBSA (Southern California Local Bead Store Association) announced the winners today of the So. Cal Bead Shop Hop.
I knew today was announcement day, but was still surprised when my husband called saying a store had called him to say HE had won the Participation Prize! How did he do it?!? He had only signed up to do the LAST THREE STORES!!!
I told him on the drive home Saturday night that this would happen. That HE would win something and I wouldn’t and that would be the funny part of all of this. I just didn’t think my joke would actually come true!
Now I know what I’m getting for Christmas.
The Eastern most store in Region 1 of the Southern California Bead Shop Hop is way out in Redlands – about an hour and 40 minutes from my studio in the San Fernando Valley. So close to the Autumn Equinox and the season change into Fall, we were blessed with slightly cooler temperatures both at home and this far out into the desert. My husband, Dennis, being the chivalrous soul that he is, was willing to accompany me into the deepest regions of San Bernardino County IF we hit the Spaghetti Factory for their legendary mizithra cheese AND finished the day off with a trip to his newest favorite restaurant in Pasadena – Slaters 50/50.
It was an equitable trade for dragging him all over the county bead hopping.
This was the first of virgin territory bead stores for today, and, it turns out, the most fun. Easy to get to off the dead-ended 210/10 freeway junctions, a HUGE Bead Shop Hop sign gave no doubt we were where we were supposed to be. (That was a tricky sentence to write!).
This year’s Hop has themes of books and there was no friggin’ doubt what their book was when we were stared down by this imposing greeter RIGHT INSIDE THE DOOR!
This couldn’t be much more perfect this close to Halloween!
The friendly staff checked us in, giving us goodie bags and explaining the prizes and Make n Take on the cute little white desk behind us.
The Make n Take was necklace centerpiece of a small photograph in a frame. There were pages of beautiful retro images featuring nature, bird’s nests, etc., but when I saw the page of Disney Frozen images, the one of Elsa somehow reached out, grabbed my hand and I was sitting down making not one but TWO necklaces! To see the video tutorial on how I did it, go here.
This store really gets the prize for best presentation of theme throughout the 11 stores so far. The store had converted their classroom into this:
So, here’s where the store fell as far as what every store was offering:
Theme: Little Red Riding Hood
Charm: The little girl from Little Red Riding Hood (complete with basket!).
Goodies: Wow, so many! A little cardboard basket stuffed FULL of beads (even the clasp was a button bead!), a bottle cap necklace pendant with Red Riding Hood on it for spending $25.00 or more, TWO spinners – one for what discount you got and one for an additional a charm like the one we made, but with a butterfly.
Now on to our haul:
There was no surprise after making the pendant and seeing how easy it was, that the haul is ALL pendant-oriented with complete supplies to make more. Top left, clockwise: 3D Crystal Lacquer, some BEAUTIFUL peacock pics for the centerpiece of the pendants, double-sided, sticky Jeweler’s Dots to hold the finished image firmly in the frame, crystal domes to protect the image and the frames to hold the whole thing together.
And here are the goodies we came out with:
What a great store! This, so far, as far as creativity and fun with their theme, was the crown jewel in Region 1.
Tomorrow – Garden of Beadin’, Upland.
Ahhhh….the store I have been waiting to do ever since the heat wave struck Southern California! We are finally within sight of the Pacific Ocean, walking distance from Santa Monica Boardwalk. Beadahs, you are a welcome sight for this heat-stroked bead hopper!
A block West of the fabled (at least the signs say it’s world-renowned) outdoor Third Street Promenade, Beadahs is tucked away amongst clothing stores and vegan restaurants. Steering VERY clear of the vegans (hard-core carnivore here, thank you), the husband and I have an easy time of finding our target. Yes, the heat has gotten to the significant other so much, he decided to follow me to cooler climes.
I love what they have done with their chosen book theme – The Great Gatsby. The greeter and staff are decked out in lovely 20’s dress. As we check in, we are given our charm and the chance to play a boardwalk game of tossing olive ping pong balls into champagne glasses. My aim only started to get better with the last couple of throws – which I bet happens to everyone. They still gave us a beady gift for trying and turned us loose to shop.
The store interior is a pleasant mix of touristy and African trade style with wooden trays, bamboo legged tables and ethnic decor. As usual, I hit the seed bead wall, then looked for unusual items.
With a budget wearing thin and three more stores left after this in order to complete Region 1, I was very picky about what I procured. Sometimes, yes, a girl can have too many beads – and definitely not enough time to do anything with them. I stuck with some beautiful, antique raspberry satin seed beads, an unusual, oval copper spacer bead tube and some STUNNING, iridescent insect wing beads I have been longing to get but have not seen in all seven stores until now.
Theme: The Great Gatsby
Charm: I believe it was an olive glass. I can’t locate the charm to confirm this, but that’s what I recall.
Goodies: a welcome bag of candy and a $5.00 off coupon with a $30 purchase in between October 31st – November 26th.
Clockwise, starting top left: iridescent insect wing beads, TierraCast Charm samples, oval Copper Spacer bead tube and Size 11 and 8 Raspberry Satin Seed Beads.
Beadahs was a fun store and a pleasure to visit. Thanks for the olive toss. Can I bring one home?
Next – A Rolling Stone, Redlands.
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT!!!
After leaving Chino to go West, our second stop was at Brea Bead Works in Brea. This was another store completely new to me and that is the worst possible thing you can do to a Bead Whore’s pocketbook, believe me!
Tucked in a largish strip mall right off the 57 freeway, you can’t beat it for convenience. Fairly certain nothing could beat seeing a pony today in Chino, I was still taken aback when the greeter said we were going to do some trivia to start with, opened a book and it started yelling, “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT!!!” at me. I had to laugh at the song, being completely unfamiliar with their theme book being “Marley and Me”. So this place is about canines today. Okay, I get it now.
I really like this little store – it is well laid out and has a nice variety of anything a bead whore like me would want. The first thing I saw were the tools and remembered my need for a hammer for tempering jump rings – something I want to experiment with. Plastic vs. rubber mallets…they had only plastic and the store greeter was very helpful with advice on what to use and if it would work with what I wanted to do.
The wall of seed beads called me next, as they always do. Frosted autumn colors and Halloween orange caught my eye, as well as some smaller tubes of purple iridescent drops and super duos. Heaven knows I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with all these duos yet – I have an inkling, but until I sit down to do it, I seem determined to collect all the shiny colors I can get my hands on as well as check out what is available locally. I NEVER buy seed beads online and wouldn’t unless I had an exact item number. Do not trust the colors as interpreted on your computer monitor – they are NEVER completely accurate!
Oh and one more thing before the stats – even though their theme is dogs, I HAD to buy a cat bead bracelet #1 because it is so cute and #2 because it is for a good cause. Oh, and it’s in Halloween colors, too.
Theme – Dogs (of course)
Charm – Guess what? Another dog! (a really tiny one, too)
Goodies – Spacer beads YEAH!, a funny-looking black dog bookmark, a portable measuring tape and 20% off any purchase from Oct. 1 – Dec 31st and these:
Homemade sugar cookies that morning by the owner. They were very good and I am liking this store more and more now!
Left, clockwise starting from top left: Size 8 Gold Luster Raspberry seed beads, Size 8 Opaque Frost Sunset Orange seed beads (you should see the color in person – GORGEOUS!), 4 vials of Super Duo and Teardrop purple iridescent beads, 3 tubes of frosted greed seed beads in Sizes 8 and 11 S/L Frosted Peridot and Size 11 Matte S/L green. (“S/L” stands for “silver lined”, by the way). Unpictured – the plastic head hammer I picked up. (A hammer’s a hammer, right? You don’t have it see it to picture it!)
Right panel: the giveaway goodies for coming in and handing them my credit card: a fuzzy, black dog bookmark, portable measuring tape, a coupon for 20% off the next purchase in the next two months and 3 packs of metal spacer beads.
Of the two stores way out here in the sticks (as far as my house is concerned), I would definitely make an effort to come back to Brea Bead Works if I started a project with their beads. Then I would take the half hour and go back East to Bead It! to have a slice of pizza and chat with the locals – even if the pony isn’t still there.
Thank you Brea for a great experience in miserable, triple digit conditions!
Next – either Beadahs in Santa Monica or a progress report on my beading – better get to it so I have something to report!
With 100+ temperatures running rampant in Southern California, the day I dreaded had finally come – the day I HAD to tackle the Inland Empire stores in Region 1. If you glance at the map above, you can see what I mean when you look at stores #6 & #7. They creep Eastward, towards the desert. And when I say desert, I mean DESERT. See that little lone #12 store out in Palm DESERT? The place of nearly eternal 100+ temps? Yeah, that’s the direction.
I was headed towards HELL with a water bottle in one hand and my Shop Hop map in the other.
Store #6 (or #7 on the map), has the monopoly on the cute little town of Chino off the 60 and 71 out near Pomona. I had zoomed past this area a dozen times on the way to my favorite dried herb and pagan-friendly store Dragonmarsh, but had never venture into this area. I like the small town vibe and the very friendly local beadwhores (like me) who were gathered inside at the make-and-take table, beading, chatting, eating pizza. I would fit in here perfectly and would be there every Saturday night if it weren’t an 80 mile drive there from Chatsworth.
This store takes the prize for best themed mascot. I could literally say I drove 80 miles into the deserts of California to see a ladybug because the ADORABLE little black pony just outside the front door in the parking lot was named Ladybug. Inside were horseshoes on the walls and store mavens with black horse t-shirts – they were all over this theme like flies around, well, a horse. But Ladybug, to her handler’s credit, had no flies and was being pampered under her own tent with lots of water on her back and much love from everyone store hopping.
The wall of seed bead tubes is very reasonably priced – so much so that I again lost my mind (I do that a lot in bead stores) and bought wayyyyy too many vials. The czech pearls also got me, but I stocked up on something I had been eyeing at every store so far and kept in the back of my mind – tools! Tools I need and tools to craft jewelry a little more expertly than what I’ve been doing in the past. Yes, it is time to step up my game!
Their theme and goodie stats went something like this:
Theme – the book “Black Beauty”, hence everything horse.
Charm – a black stallion (very pretty!)
Goodies – a choice of beads or tools – I took a triangular bead scoop – been wanting that for a LONG TIME. A 20% off coupon good in October, a fuzzy mat to keep beads from escaping onto the floor and a strand of free czech pearl-like beads.
Left to right – chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, Thread Burner, ShowOff Pen, Bead size and quantity wallet reference card, containment “fuzzy” pad for those runaway seed beads.
Left to right – Burgundy Czech Glass Pearls, Dark Blue Czech Glass Pearls, 2-holed Czech Glass “Brick” beads in Iris Blue and Matt Iris Blue. The rest – thank you for visiting goodies – charm, bead scoop, textured pearl beads.
Top – Left to right – Size 8 seed beads, a whole slew of seed beads in various shades of purple…8’s, 11’s and teardrop shaped, silver beads.
Bottom – Left to right – more 8’s in beautiful blues, super duos, small dagger beads.
None of these had color names, just numbers.
They also included FULL SIZED water bottles in the thank you bags. No, THANK YOU! Just what the travelling bead whore ordered.
Since I only tackled THREE stores this weekend, I will intersperse the posts with plans for all this treasure. Stay tuned for tomorrow as I reorganize my workspace and introduce the new beads to the old residents. Will they get along? Who the hell knows!!!