I am involved in arts and culture in a number of different ways. I am involved in singing, designing, beading, drumming, directing, and teaching. In addition I also have a hobby farm, oilfield business with my significant other, house to keep and two teenagers. When I turn out a piece of beading the first question I get asked is “how long did that take?” If it is a large piece of beading like a guitar strap it can take a whole summer, and the beaded cuffs I make take about 10 hours. The second question is “where do you find the time?”

     I don’t find time, I make time. I schedule in the things that need to be done, and then I fill in the things I want to be done. Sometimes I don’t have time for beading and my projects have to wait. That’s when I stash my ideas into my inspiration folder for later. Sometimes my housekeeping waits (shhh) I’m not a crazy multi tasker either; although if I watch TV I am usually beading at the same time. I keep my beading mobile, that way if we are heading off on a trip and my husband is driving, that gives me time to bead. I also don’t get distracted. If I have set time aside for a task I try to maintain that even if I get an unexpected phone call or visitor. I came across a saying I love: “The important things get done” I guess at the end of the day if I have a beautiful piece of beading I feel more accomplished than an immaculate house. That is my where I choose to spend my time.

 

  

     I am going to show the beaded cuffs I am making right from the beginning. I’ll explain every step along the process. The first step I start with is a focal bead. Right now the focal bead I am using isn’t even a bead. I purchased it at Pier 1 Imports and it is a glass frog. “Ferdinand” the frog is my inspiration and I developed a bead palette of medium beads based on his color.

He has spots so I dug in my stash and used glass beads with the same viscosity with some funky dots that are similar. I also had 2 big blue beads, one that fit perfectly under his chin, and one that I will use as a clasp. I bought some vintage earrings in a jar and a couple of pair will work perfectly. I cut the backs off and have a layout that I am pleased with. This doesn’t mean I will sew the beads on exactly as I have laid them out. First of all, the beads look and lay differently once they are sewn on. Also this layout is a little more aligned than I normally go for.

 

I always use the same pattern and cut away part from the edge as I go along. My pattern is just an oval from cardboard.

 

I make sure I have all the materials I need.

Material list:

  • Needles – I usually need 2-3 per project
  • Bead thread, I use Nymo AA, I am going to use green thread.
  • Goop glue, because my focal  bead isn’t a bead I want to make sure it is adhered (I’ll also sew it down)
  • Focal bead, medium beads, seed beads
  • Leather for backing
  • Stiff felt for beading on
  • Fluff for the middle

 

I start by gluing the focal bead down and sewing it on. I have lost items from cuffs that I haven’t also sewn on. My advice do not rely on glue to keep your beads on. Always, always sew them on too. I like to frame my focal bead with seed beads. So that is where I venture to next.

Then sew on the medium beads and start framing them with seed beads as well. I use a variety of stitches depending on the look that I want.

I usually start cutting away the felt that I don’t need.  I have a good idea by this time

Fill the gaps with seed beads. I sew them on using a variety of stitches

 I'm almost done, except the edging and backing. I'll keep you posted!

     

 

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