An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Taputi - the bead and where did November go?

It's hard to believe that November is over and December marching forward. November disappeared as I prepared for my studio's Open Days last weekend, prepared classes and competition entries for the the Bead Society of Victoria's (BSVs) Bead Expo (in Nov), prepared classes for Vitality Cafe and my studio, completed commissions, worked on the 2013 Festival of Glass and more. Its all been lovely amongst living my life but I do still wonder where November went.

One of my tangible outcomes was Taputi - the bead. She was my entry in the BSV's inaugural Single Bead competition themed 'Initiation'. I was thrilled she was acknowledged with a Highly Commended Award.

Here's her story:

Tapputi – the bead is named after and was inspired by Tapputi-Belatekallim a Mesopotamian woman who scholars believe initiated chemistry, particularly the chemistry of perfume making over 3,300 years ago. The shape of Tapputi – the bead evokes the bulbous, narrow necked perfume containers of her times and its colours are inspired by the earthy colours of myrrh and balsam two of the key ingredients in her first recorded perfume recipe. From Tapputi’s times onwards, perfumed oils and unguents have played a central role in initiation rituals and ceremonies in many cultures so its not surprising to find a contemporary perfume named ‘Initiation’. Perhaps it’s time for one to bear Tapputi’s name as a reminder of her legacy. In the meantime, Tapputi – the bead is my homage to all that she initiated. 

Now the Open Studio - that is another story - for another blog post. Hopefully, before December goes!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Anticipation and beading

A bead shop is never far away it seems. I have been working at things non-beady in Jogyakarta (Java, Indonesia) and staying in a hotel I didn’t choose. Yet, on Monday after a long flight, my first walk around the streets nearby my hotel to orient myself and stretch my legs led me to a bead shop. It was a small shop with ropes of gemstones and pearl beads on the wall behind a glass case counter full of made up necklaces of all shapes, colours and sizes. There was no time to stop and look carefully so I promised myself that treat when all my other work is finished. That anticipation felt a sweet treat amongst my non-beady workdays. However, ironically I never returned to the beadshop. Instead, I discovered from Ganis, a local woman I am working with here, that behind the hotel I was staying in is ‘the’ bead shop for Jogyakarta. Ganis’s mother is a beader and it her the favourite place for beads. It is apparently the best bead shop in town for serious beaders. New anticipation flowed as I waited for my day ‘off’ to be a bead tourist on my final day in Jogyakarta.

During delightful anticipatory walk through the tiny lane ways behind the hotel I passed by several gold jewelry shops and finally arrived at a local market with jewelry shops surrounding it. There amongst them was Petra – ‘the’ bead shop of Jogyakarta. A kilo of crystal beads later I had to agree it was quite a bead shop. It stocks in bulk every conceivable non-precious metal finding needed for bead making and a staggering array of local, Chinese and Czech crystals, gemstones and every plastic bead imaginable. Amongst the buzz of dozens of other beaders I had a wonderful time choosing my beads. The help of a very attentive shop assistant meant I was guided to special deals, sale beads and every question I had was answered. It was fantastic service but the highlight was joining a beading class that was in progress as I arrived.

Crammed into a small space in the corner of the shopfront several women in deep concentration worked with support from the teacher on making bags and jewelry. Beadweaving is clearly very popular in the area as there are classes three times a day, seven days a week and each class is full to overflowing. Whilst I couldn’t really talk with class participants because of my limited Bahasa the language of beads kept us ‘talking’ for some time as they showed me the intricacies of their beadweaving and looked at mine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A glistering beading UFO and handy words for beaders

To expand my vocabulary I often have a ‘word of the day’. It may be a word I don’t know, or a word I want to know better or just a word that intrigues me. I challenge myself to use my ‘word of the day’ at least ten times that day.  Most often I find my word of the day finds me – something someone says or something I read brings me it to me. Most of these words in what I hear or read and but sometimes I turn to dictionaries. Last week one of those words was ‘glister’. It is a synonym for sparkles and glitters.

Sat surrounded by beadwork UFOs I realised it was one of my easier ‘word of the day’ challenges that week. Most of my UFOs were glistering at me.  Here’s one of them full of glistering crystals.

A glistering beading UFO
Like many of my UFO’s the word glister has a long history. One of it’s most famous uses was in William Shakespeare's play, The Merchant of Venice in a line that is often misquoted – ‘all the glisters is not gold’. The line is part of a stanza that explores the puzzle of Portia's boxes (Act II - Scene VII - Prince of Morocco):

All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgement old
Your answer had not been inscroll'd
Fare you well, your suit is cold.

I wonder if I can fare you well to any of my UFOs. Back to their glister after my blogging distractions.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Threatened species on the mind and in the beads - a special offer for this week

It's National Threatened Species day on Friday in Australia (

The day is intended to draw attention to the plight of Australia's threatened and endangered species and prevent the further loss our unique flora and fauna.

To help draw attention to this I have a special offer for all my Facebook Fans and Blog Followers - any two of my Endangered Series patterns online for the price of one. Just buy one and in the message to seller indicate the second one you would like. I'll then forward both to you.

PS: no-one guessed which is my best selling pattern in the range - its Giraffes at Sunset.

Link here to the online pattern shop:

Kangaroo Dreaming - celebrating Australia's unique fauna

Friday, August 31, 2012

Beaders and beads and predator-proof fences - what do they have in common?

At the end of each financial year (June) I review the sales of items (patterns and jewellery) in my Endangered collection items. These are items I have designed to create talk about the beauty of the world's endangered species and their struggles for survival. 10% of sales each tax year in the collection are donated to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (Australia).

This year beads and beaders have helped to purchase two metres of a five kilometre predator-proof fence for the Australian Black-flank rock wallaby is Dax's donation to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2011/2012. Thanks to everyone who supported this possibility.

To read about this and previous years - link here

In celebration of this year's donation here's some of the Endangered collection pieces. They can be made to order or you can make your own using one of my patterns.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wearability and the 'wow' factor - do your designs have it?

Wearable or not? From
You've just finished your latest beading design and you're delighted with it.  It might be wacky, fun, inspirational, avant garde, highly fashionable or just different but in your delight you're convinced it has a certain 'wow' factor. But, if you decide to enter it in a beading contest judges are likely to be concerned with another 'w' factor -  the 'wearablity' factor.  Could you wear it? Would you wear it? How will it feel to wear it?

 'Wearability' is the focus of this week's blog and it is the 7th blog in my series on criteria in beading competitions. If you are entering your beadwork in a jewelry competition you may want to 'wow' the judges but a key question they will ask is, 'Can you wear it?'. A deceptively simple question until I began to muse about it for this blog.

What makes jewelry wearable? I have a necklace I made some time ago that 'wowed' me when I made it. However, I've never managed to wear it for a whole day. The wonderful turquoise and vintage glass beads that 'wow' me are so heavy when strung together that wearing it for any length of time is just plain uncomfortable and it begins to irritate me. Musing further reminded me of the various non-wearable pieces of jewelry I owned or had made. The Cellini spiral necklace whose crystals scratched me, the assymetrical fringed amulet bag that always hung off-centre, the silver bracelet whose clasp pinched me because the bracelet was too tight, the necklace whose chain made my skin itch, etc, etc.

So, based on my experience of the non-wearable in my jewelry box here's some questions that might help you reflect on the extent that those 'wow' designs are also 'wearable' designs.
  • Weight - is it too heavy, too light or just right?
  • Fit - does it drape well or is it too stiff or rigid? Is it too tight or too loose or just right?
  • Movement - can you move in it or does it restrict your movement in some way? 
  • Safety - do any components scratch, prick, pinch or prode you or others?
  • Does anything irritate the skin or rub uncomfortably against it?
Perhaps at the end of the day these all boil down to the 'comfort' and irritation question that started my musings -  can you/could you wear your 'wow' design all day every day without irritation of any kind?

To help you muse further about wearablity you might enjoy following the fun links below to some jewelry that has the 'wow' but ? wearability factor.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Durability of construction – could my beadwork last longer than me?

6000 year old beadweaving (South Africa) with ostrich shell beads

Durability is on my mind this week as my lower back failed the durability test when I rather enthusiastically took to weeding our very weedy vegetable patch on Monday. It proved incapable of withstanding the wear and tear of my weeding efforts and a trip to the Physio confirmed that my back was probably less durable than my current beadwork!

With this in mind it seemed opportune this week to focus my series of blog muses on bead competition on the criteria of 'durability in construction'.

1200 year old glass bead
Put simply, durable beadwork lasts a long time even. And beads and beadwork can be very durable. For instance, archaeologists have found handmade glass beads that are now thousands of years old and still intact and I was luck enough to see 6000 old beadweaving still intact on a visit to the South African museum in Cape Town this time last year.  So, how do you make your beadwork last 6000 years?

Again, its simple.  For beadwork to outlast its maker beadwork needs not only to be well-made technically (see my last post on this - but it also needs to be made from durable components that are resistant to moisture, microbes, light, heat, cold and impact (e.g. being pulled, dropped or dropped on). That may seem quite an ask but here are some questions I've put together so that you can use to test the durability of your components. Perhaps I need a similiar list for my next visit to the Physio on Monday!

You might also find a previous posts on durability issues in seed bead finishes worth popping by and reading (

As always, I'd welcome thoughts and suggestions you have. Now, back to my back exercises so its durability can improve!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The new studio

I'll let photos speak for me today - here is my new studio (formerly known in our home as the garage!) all moved into. The table will be for classes once my destash finishes at the end of the month. If you live local to Drysdale just email if you'd like to pop in and see what treasures are left from my stash for sale.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Technical execution– towards workwomanship in beadwork

This week is the fourth in my series about criteria used to judge beadwork in competitions. My musings this week are about how technical execution, often referred to as workmanship, or given the number of women beaders, how workwomanship is judged? With Google at my side I searched through the criteria for various craft competitions where workwomanship is an active criteria of excellence for inspiration.

Quilters and embroiderers seemed to have some of the most specific guidelines on how to technically execute a competition piece. So, with thanks to those craftswomen my musings workwomanship in beadwork suggest that neatness and sound engineering are key. More specifically:

Neatness – is the beadwork precise and tidy?
  • even tension as appropriate to the stitch
  • invisible starting and finishing threads
  • no threads showing or crossing beads - no missed or broken beads. 
Sound engineering – does it work and is it hardy?
Cabella bracelet by Glenda of Dax DesignsIs it neat? Does it work and is it hardy?
  • strong joins, components, closures and/or clasps that work as they should
  • form suits its function – e.g. wearable beadwork sits or drapes well
  • durability – the beadwork will survive its use. 
Mind you, reflecting on these criteria of workman/womanship I think that the world might be a happier place if all that we made in the world met these critieria. I know my beading world would have been over the past couple of weeks. In the conversion of my garage to my studio several workmen seriously failed the neatness test – piles of plaster dust and sawdust seemed to appear just as they disappeared. Perhaps, that’s a good reminder to me that workwomanship in beadwork needs to be both neat and soundly engineered. One, without the other, is only half way there.

I’d love any thoughts you have on what makes for sound and neat beadwork and what we can do to work towards excellence in the technical execution of our beadwork.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sophistication in beadwork – how do we create it and judge it?

Sophistication in beadwork is the third of my posts reflecting on criteria used to judge beadwork in competition. Like all things socially and culturally created sophistication is a tricky thing to define and therefore to create and judge.

The concept of sophistication has it roots in Ancient Greece where a "sophist," was a master of knowledge or learning and it is derived from the Greek word "sophia" meaning wisdom. For beaders in contemporary times mastering sophistication in beadwork is linked to mastering broader contemporary cultural ideas of sophistication in fashion. These centre on ideas of good taste, classiness, refinement and elegance. They privilege subtlety rather than ‘bling’ and flashiness in the materials, shapes, colours and patterns of a design.

Sophisticated or not? What do you think? Hedron Rising by Glenda
Many writers suggest that these ideas of sophistication in fashion derive from European and Anglo-American middle and upper class definitions of good design, luxury and style associated with ‘old-money’ families and the traditional elite of a given society, such as royals and aristocrats (see for example, Cameron, 2010).

So, if you are not an aristocrat or royal whose sense of fashion and design defines what is sophisticated what do you do? How do the non-royal and non-elite beaders amongst us pursue sophistication in our beadwork? How we gain this allusive knowledge and master it? How we become masters of elegance, elite taste, refinement and elegance? How do we pursue subtlety?

A good place to start is Google images – try putting in some search words that take you to images others define as sophisticated. Look at the colours, shapes and patterns that emerge. Use these as inspiration for your designs. Mock up some colour palettes and keep them for your next design. Some word combinations that I found worked were:
  • sophisticated plus - royal fashion; women; colours; patterns
  • elegant plus: colours; jewellery; beadwork. 
You can also set up a special folder where you place images of colours, shapes and designs that others label sophisticated. Grow this over time and then try to generate some common themes/ideas that seem to emerge. When you design something have someone seen as sophisticated and elegant in mind, and ask, would they wear this? For instance, Mary – Crown Princess of Denmark, is often referred to in the Australian media as having an elegant and sophisticated sense of fashion. Choose an outfit she has worn and design something you think she would wear with it. Check with others to see if you have 'got it right'.

Often you will find the motto, ‘less is more’ summarizes sophistication. So, try reducing the number of colours you use, reduce the amount of bling (sparkle), pull back on complex patterns and reduce the diversity of shapes that you use.

On the other hand, if you just love bling and flashiness you might enjoy this quote:
 "[...] sophistication is a form of snobbery - it's based above all on knowing something another person does not." (Holleran, Andrew (January 2001). "Staying a Step Ahead". Out (Here Publishing) 9 (7): 38–80. ISSN 1062-7928. Retrieved 2011-03-06.) 
To explore the allusive nature of sophistication more you might enjoy these texts:
  • Faye Hammill (2010), Sophistication: A Literary and Cultural History.
  • DeJean, Joan (2003). The essence of style: how the French invented high fashion, fine food, chic cafes, style, sophistication, and glamour. New York: Free Press. 
  • Douglas Cameron (2010). Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands. Oxford University Press.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Treasures of Toho 2012 contest news and thanks Cranberry Beads

I was thrilled to learn at the weekend that my necklace Hedron Rising was awarded 2nd prize in the Advanced Beader, Wearable Art in the 2012 Treasures of Toho contest.

I wish I had been able to attend the judging in the US at the Bead and Button Show but another time maybe....

I am waiting on my necklace to arrive back from the US and then I can post some photos - in the meantime my thanks to a photo from Jo Ivy from Cranberry Beads for the one above that she took before Hedron Rising headed to the US for judging earlier this year.

A second thanks to Jo for supporting the Toho contest and selling a great range of their beads in her online shop Cranberry Beads.

One of the requirements of the Toho contest is that the piece must use 90% Toho beads - so my third thanks to Jo who stocks a great range of Toho beads that was possible. A couple of urgent orders were needed as the deadline approached and Hedron Rising grew and as always my order was quickly dispatched and arrived in time. Hedron Rising uses several of Toho' permanent finish beads and I loved using them. They are not only wonderful colours but they are wonderfully uniform beads. Here's a taster of the key colours I used - click on them and you'll be at Cranberry Beads online store. If you use seed beads its a great online shop to know about. Jo is also President of the Bead Society of Victoria - another great organisation to know about, if you don't know it already.

 11 - Pumpkin11 - Purple11 - Dark Cranberry

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beading novelty: are you strong enough?

Amongst the chaos of creating a studio I am treating myself to further time musing on the criteria used for judging beadwork competitions. This week my musings are focused on ‘novelty’. What is it, how do we create it in beadwork and do we always want it?

Novelty is from the Latin word for "new" – novas. Hence, most dictionary definitions of novelty emphasise ‘newness’ and ‘freshness’. In the world of design a novel design differs from all previous designs so it cannot replicate or simulate a natural object or prior art and design – such as a specific building, logo or object that already exists. It must have a specific and seeable "point of departure from prior art." It must have a ‘point of novelty’ that is identifiable.

Extending on that, the novel is often surprising and within this it may be striking, unusual or amusing. It may please or displease. It may make us smile with ecstasy or squirm in agony. Novelty may be nice, but it may nasty.

For instance, as a beader you may create novelty by putting two or more things together in new ways – combining beading stitches, bead colours or types of beads together in new ways.  Your ‘point of departure from prior beadwork’ may be your stitch combinations, your colour combinations or your bead combinations, or all three. You may bead a blue cat or a green sun using beads made from colour pencils or something equally unusual.

Your specific combination of stitches, colours or beads may surprise, amuse or jar. It may be pleasing or not. It may make others smile or squirm. So, as you aim to create novelty in your beadwork you may need to take a moment to muse on how others may respond to its newness. Will it be with agony or ecstasy or somewhere in between? Is there a good reason why those specific colours have never been put together in that way before or why nobody has tried combining those specific stitches?

There is evidence from psychological studies of creativity that many people are biased against the novel – they find it scary, agonising and unpleasant. So, the more novel your beadwork the more others may agonise when they see it. Try taking your own novelty bias test by visiting The Ugly Necklace Contest website. How do you respond to the novelty – with agony or with ecstasy?
As you muse on this you may want to reflect on the opening verse from a poem by Samuel Nze, titled, ‘Novelty requires strength’:
Novelty requires strength;
We need to be strong
To break those fetters
That cage us in,

Monday, April 23, 2012

A beading studio in the making: stories of clutter, chaos and Cinderellas

Beading is totally on my mind but doing any rather in the background. The reason is simple. I've decided to convert the garage into a beading studio. Its an idea that has been brewing for some time but my lampwork class with Leah Fairbanks has spurred me on to create a better and safer place for lampworking.

Just a glimpse of the garage chaos
This time last week it seemed a great idea but just one week later amongst paint pots, sanders and sorting all the chaos that is our garage the idea is feeling a little strained.

My beading buddy Janet suggested some before and after photos - its a great idea because I can already see some progress.  The old TV unit in the photo has had its first two coats of paint and it is nearly a gleaming white bead storage unit. Today should see it's garage Cinderella status change. The light in the photo is long due a new globe and that too might find a new and happier life in my studio.  Today I tackle the rest of the clutter in the photo - who knows how many Cinderellas might emerge?

Back to blogging about beading competitions once the paint is all dry and the beads are in place. Hopefully next week!!!!!! In the meantime I'd love to hear your ideas for what should be in my beading studio - what is a must have for you? There's two free Dax Designs beading patterns for the person with most helpful idea for me over the next week.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Musings on a matrix of originality in beadwork – was it done this way before I did it?

As promised I’m musing in my blogs over the next few weeks on the criteria used to judge beadwork in contemporary beading competitions and challenges. This week I’m musing on ‘originality’. What is it, how do we create it in beadwork and why is it valued so much?

Dictionaries tell me that an original object is something that is a new, one-of-a-kind object. It is not a copy, imitation, facsimile, clone or forgery. It begins (originates) with an individual who independently of others uses their own ideas and skills to create something unique.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, like many things in our social world, the simple is often more complex, than it is simple.

To claim that we have created something truly original in any creative endeavour, such as beadwork, (unique) is tricky business. Our ideas shape and reshape as we talk with others, read, look and listen to what others think and say and learn from others how to do new things. Our own ideas and skills are enmeshed with the ideas and skills of those we learn from. Where does one person’s idea start and another’s end? Where are the boundaries that make it possible to say, ‘This is my original idea, design or creation? I did this? This is new.’. How can we claim originality in our beadwork when all beadwork shares a common heritage of ‘how to’ weave, string and shape little objects with holes in them together. Some beaders learn these techniques by reading books, looking at patterns, attending classes and/or having beading buddies that show us ‘ how to’. Amongst this learning and sharing where are the boundaries of originality?

Blue beaded beads by Glenda of Dax Designs Bead Art: an original or not?
Originality can never be found in what others have done before us – the dictionary tells us that. So, if someone did it before you did it – then your beadwork is not original. This means that much of what we create as beaders isn't original. For instance, many of the beadweaving stitches (e.g. Ndebele, Peyote, Netting, etc.) and techniques (e.g. stringing, embroidery) we use in our beadwork have been done before us. However, what we can do differently is use those stitches and techniques to create something that others have not done in the way that we have done it. We can do this by using design elements of colour, shape, space, texture, size, line and direction in imaginative and daring new ways. In our designs originality lies in how we balance each of these elements. For instance, how we use the repetitions or gradations of colour tones or shapes to create harmony, what we choose to have as the dominant design element and how we balance that with the lines in the piece.

A key question to ask if we are musing on the originality of our work is, ‘Was it done this way, before I did it?’. From this, you can form more specific questions such as: 'Have others used colour in this way in their bead embroidery? Have others combined shapes and colours in the way I have in making a beaded bead? Have others created texture in the ways I am doing it in this peyote cuff?'. Your originality will be judged by how these questions are answered.

Play with doing what has not been done before using my Originality musings matrix below. Take a design you think is original and see what words best describe it - some words that invoke originality you could use are: bold, daring, fresh, unusual, inventive, non-conforming, unorthodox, novel …. . Phrases like, 'This reminds me of...', 'I've seen something like this in...' and 'Been there, done that...' suggest a piece lacks originality.
Originality musings matrix by Glenda of Dax Designs Bead Art
Amongst the quest for originality, you might muse on the idea that originality is a relativity new quest in Western European cultures. Prior to the 18th century, to imitate was to show that you understood and appreciated what went before you. Artists, writers and musicians sought to emulate what went before them as a way of bringing excellence into their own work. For instance, Shakespeare is attributed with saying he valued "unnecessary invention". For more on this, see Koen de Winter – Thoughts on originality (link here).

I'd love to hear what you think? What musings do you have that are original about originality?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Judging bead competitions: what makes winning beadwork for you?

The Bead Society of Victoria has recently launched its annual beading challenge. As usual I have not found myself instantly inspired by this year’s challenge beads but I’m keen to enter. Entering competitions is a great way to challenge yourself to ‘bead big’ and ‘bead different’. I learn something new about beading and myself as a beader each time I enter a competition. Winning is lovely but it really isn’t the point for me. It’s the challenge of creating outside of my comfort zone that I love and learning through that. It’s from that sentiment that a great new beaders Facebook page has started – it’s for posting images of the entries that didn’t win the Bead Dreams competition. Pop by and see some wonderful work that didn’t win. 

The Didn’t Make page made me reflect on how beadwork is judged to be a ‘winner’.   What caught the judge’s eye and why, what could be improved and what should never be done again and why would be terrific to learn more about. Even, if you don’t agree with the judge’s it’s a great point of reflection to push creativity.

Cleopatra's Vial - a nearly winner
. Finalist in the 2009 Fire Mountain Gems Seed Beading Contest
With that in mind I’ve been scanning the web to see if there discernable patterns in how beading is judged. Here’s some of what I’ve learnt about what makes for winning beadwork:
·      originality
·      novelty
·      creativity
·      cleverness
·      sophistication
·      beauty
·      overall impression
·      use of colour
·      attention to scale and other design elements
·      technical execution – no loose threads, etc.
·      degree of technical difficulty
·      durability of construction
·      clear information about a designer's inspiration for a design
·      wearablity
·      adherence to any specific criteria or contest theme

Many of these criteria are so subjective that I’ve decided to explore each in turn over the coming weeks as part of helping all of us who bead to judge when we think we have a ‘winning’ design.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Beading wallpapers: another way to bring beads into your life

In the process of paying some bills online today I was distracted by an advert for computer desktop wallpapers. Computer desktop wallpaper, for those who don’t know, is the image that fills the background of your computer screen.

You can choose to leave the computer desktop blank or use the default backgrounds provided by the operating system of your computer. Often this is stock photograph or an abstract design that comes with your computer. As I learnt today, you can also get images (many free) online to use as your desktop wallpaper.

As part of my distraction from paying bills, I’ve also learnt today that I can custom make my desktop wallpaper from images on my computer. My first attempt used a photo I had of some beautiful cabochons (Dendritic opals) that I keep meaning to bead around. Here’s the result. I really love it.

It was so easy to do I’ve decided to try a new one each week using images of beads and beading to inspire my beading for the week.

By the way: re-instituting my Friday FB Fans, Friends and Blog Followers freebies -  if you’d like to use my Cabachons for your Desktop wallpaper, just email me and I'll happily send you the image.

There are several ways that you can create your own beady desktop wallpaper. It depends on your computer and the software you have which will be easiest for you. 

I’ve tried  the three below and each worked brilliantly for me as a MAC user.
  1. Follow the simple advice on this site: NB: For MAC users you find your screen resolution in System Preferences, then Displays.
  2. Visit this site where you upload an image and it converts it for free to Desktop wallpaper:
  3. If you use Picasa to organise photos you can also use to to create Desktop wallpaper. Choose your image from your Picasa files, go to Create and then choose Create as Desktop wallpaper.
You can also download free beady wallpapers from several sites. Here some I found:
Enjoy - its a great way to have beautiful beady things in your computer life!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sample Cards and beading organised - a free DIY tool to try

Organising beads seems an inevitable part of my life as a beader and ideas to ‘bead organised’ persistently pop into my mind. The latest idea to arrive was to create my own sample cards so that I could keep track of my stash. I felt more than a little daunted by this ‘popping by’ idea until I found a couple of beading sites that help you do just that. You can download templates to print on stock card that you can then add samples from your stash to.

I’m curious to know if anyone out there has done this and if, and how, it has worked for you.

I also found some organising software designed just for beaders:

Has anyone out there used it?

As always, one thing led to another and I found myself also checking out the sample cards you can access online and/or purchase. I thought I’d share where that little diversion led me as a way of making sure I don’t loose the information too:

Sample cards for purchase: (just put sample cards into the online store's search facility)

  • Bobby Bead - TOHO sample cards 
  • About Beads - Delica sample cards
  • Bead Cats - Sample cards for all their stock
  • Fire Mountain Gems - Sample Cards for Delica and some other manufacturers
  • GardenofBeadin – Sample cards including Czech beads 
  • Caravan beads - Myuki beads including Delica beads
  • RingsnThings - Swarovski Crystals

Manufacturer’s sites – online cards

UFOs can turn into FOs - from UFO to Pink Arabesque

Great to start the week with another UFO finished - had a lovely time finishing it at my local Bead Society group in Geelong (VIC, Aus) yesterday. So satisfying to come home with it finished. Now to writing the pattern for what has become my Pink Arabesque bracelet.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tips for WIPS, UFOs and PhDs in beading Tips for reducing WIPS, UFOs and PHDs in your beading life

Whilst many beaders own UFOs not all do. Some have WIPs (Work in Progress) or PHDs (Pieces Half Done). Whether you own UFOs, WIPS or PHDs what to do with them when they start to multiply (as they often do) vexes many beaders.

Are you vexed by your UFOs, WIPS or PHDs?  Do you let them multiply or are you determined to reduce their presence in your beading life? If the latter, how do you do that? Would or could any of these ‘tips’ work for you or someone you know? What else works for you?

  • Carry your UFOs in a special ‘tote’ whenever you go out to places you might need to wait – for doctors, friends, etc. and take the opportunity to spend 5 minutes on completing your project.
  • Promise yourself 5 mins a day on a project until its finished.
  • Keep UFOs in their own separate container with all the beads, thread, etc needed to complete it. You can then more readily work on it when the desire takes you.
  • Pick four or five UFOs and work on them in a rotation system until one is finished. Then add another to the rotation group (if you need to). Rotating which UFOs you work can stop you getting bored or frustrated with one and never returning to it.
  • Take a good hard look at your UFOs be honest about those you will never finish. Put these in a ‘won’t ever do’ box and donate them to the local charity shop.
  • Swap them with a beading buddy.
  • Try learning a new technique for making findings or finishing a piece – this might just inspire you to use on an UFO.
  • Have a UFO ‘bead in’ with some beading buddies or your local beading group.
Some of my UFOs - a set of beaded beads I don't know what to do with, a half-finished rope and a bracelet I can't decide how to finish

Friday, January 27, 2012

A beader’s turn to Greige and testing your colour comfort zones

Amongst a mad time beading in preparation for my exhibition at the Drysdale Festival of Glass (19th Feb, 2012) I am also preparing for my 60th birthday. Lots of consultation with friends led to it being a themed party inspired by the letter ‘G’. Still not sure what ‘G’ word might inspire what I wear but in trying to decide I bumped up against Griege. In the way of these things I am seeing Griege every way I turn and I even discovered that I have several tones of Griege beads.

Griege is a neutral colour somewhere between grey and beige. It’s an earthy warm beige/gray that designers call elegant and sophisticated. Its not a colour I bead with much – I never seem to feel comfortable with neutral tones. So, having just discovered the word Grienge I decided last night to move beyond my colour comfort zone and to try a turn at beading with Griege. Here is the result – three pairs of earrings with varying tones of Griege in them.

We all seem to have our colour comfort zones – neutrals and pinks are well outside mine. What about you? What colours test your colour comfort zone? Maybe finding a new name for them might tempt you to go beyond your colour comfort zone.

A great link to see Griege in all its hues:

Dax Designs - now on Artisan Co-op