Friday, April 25, 2014

Beads, Beads, Beads

Well good morning to all.  Next up in my thought process for seed beaders is the beads of course.

Many people, in fact most people skip this step.  They simply don't think it is necessary or can be done "on the fly" (as they are working their design).  However, I am a firm believer of this step, even though it is very time consuming.  For me it is well worth the time because once I have created the design I want to work, I want to get on with it and I want it to work up as quickly as I can move my needle and I don't want to see any distortion in the design.  This will happen to you if you miss this step or if you are not extremely vigilant while your are beading.

Culling your beads.  I typically like to do this when my bead order arrives on my doorstep.  This is not always possible, since my deliveries are usually fairly early in the day and I have my grandson's school work to manage.  He takes priority you see. So most of my beading and blogging and creative work is done very late at night when the little man and his mother are asleep and the house is totally quiet.  That is another reason for the full spectrum lighting that I mentioned in part one of this series.

In order to cull your beads, you do need the lighting or daylight, pour your beads onto your work surface and take a close look at all the beads, move them about, My tool of choice for this is either tweezers or a retired needle.  In doing this you will find beads that are not the same size, shape or with the same hole diameter.  This is very important because when you work with seed beads, especially delica beads, you want them to fit together nicely and if they are not the same size, this will be impossible and enough of these little mistakes will ruin the look of your piece.

I know, I know, you all say well buy better quality beads,  Yep, I do that.  I use only Myuki beads whenever possible, especially with delicas and 15/0 seed beads.  With larger sizes it is not quite as important to cull but still I do it because I want my beading to be uniform in appearance.  Do I miss some?  Absolutely, all the time. None of us are perfect and for me, even with great lighting, my eyesight plays tricks on me sometimes.

Also not only does the size matter, some beads are larger or shorter or whatever, but the diameter of the hole is not always the same.  For instance I just did a bracelet that I found even though my sizes were very nearly perfect, the hole was not, there were some I simply could not get onto my needle at all and then there were some I realized would break if I had to go through them more than once or twice.

So remember, that in every single bead, you are taking a needle and two threads through initially and some of those beads are going to have that happen at least one more time and sometimes twice more, so even though only a single strand of thread remains initially once you have it in place, you are always taking a needle and two threads through to begin with.     SOOOOOOO Please check the beads, cull them when you get them and then you are done.  Because once you are creating your piece is not the time to find that you can't get your needle through it or go back through it again and you will have to undo your work or at worst, remove work because you have a bead you can get through when you need to or you break it trying to get through.

So for me spending the tine culling and checking my beads is more than worth the effort because then I can bead away without worry and frustration.

Remember to stay tuned for the next part in this series, Needles and more.

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Next Up for Seed Beaders

Ok, so now you have the correct lighting, let's move on.  Unless you are simply a recreational beader, then most everything else sort of assumes that you have some specific room or area of your home that this lighting has been placed for you to work. 

Get the proper seating.  This does not seem like such a big deal right, just sit back in your easy chair and bead away.  Well like I said in my last post, these tips and ideas are from my own experience. 

My personal experience in seating is 1) I just absolutely must be comfortable and 2) I must have the ability to have my feet flat on the floor. So my options of seating were, couch, recliner, dining chair, secretary chair.  I opted for the secretary chair.

It was nearly impossible for me to use the couch for several reasons the least of which was that it is the place that everyone else in the house wants to sit, therefore, no stability for my beading.  The recliner, though comfortable for sitting, not so for beading as I found myself sitting on the edge of the recliner, leaned forward all the time which caused my back and shoulders to scream out.  So since I had the space in my bedroom for a craft area and now that we have moved, I have a specific room in the house which is used for all crafts and homeschooling, I use this room.  So I have a secretary's chair (rollers and all). I can place my feet flat on the floor (as all secretary's and typists are taught to do in the first place for comfort) or I can simply place feet flat on the base of the chair.  Similar to this one.
The one I use has no arms.  You can adjust the back to suit your personal needs as well as the height of the chair to suit your work table.  On my tile floors this is optimal because I can roll back and forth to reach what I need from one end of my 6 foot table to the other, which brings me to my next item, workspace.

I have one of those 6 feet work tables, you know the ones, like you use when you take your work to shows or that is provided for you. Yep, that's the one. It give me room for working, storing bead boxes, having my laptop up and running all the time as well as room for my printer.  Under the table I use two of those 3-drawer rolling carts like you can get at WalMart for cheap to store the odds and ends, you know, tools, tape, graph paper, specific peyote graph paper, post it notes to make myself reminders, all that type of stuff.

Now you have the chair, the workspace, the storage of non-essential items basically.  Now comes the storage for the beads.  This can come in many forms and they don't have to be expensive.Here are a few of the ones that I use.

The Craftmates Snappon books were my favorite for seed beads.  They come in various sizes with up to 12 individual boxes that typically has 7 separated, lockable storage spots.  I like them because once they click shut, they will not come open.  Of course, they will if they take a fall from say the top of the table to the tile floor beneath as my daughter has recently realized, when she had to pick up and resort all of one of my containers, however, only 1 of the individual boxes came open.  I guess it took the hardest hit.  They hold typically about 8 grams of 11/0 beads and of course it would be less than that for 6/0 and 8/0 beads. 

Another wonderful item I use for seed beads is a seasoning carousel.  Like the one below.

When we moved, I gained a craft/homeschool room but I lost counter space in my kitchen so I could no longer use this for spices, so it became one of my seed bead holders.  I have not actually tried it yet, but I am certain that these will hold 10 to 15 grams of 11/0 seed beads and of course more than that for 15/0's.  Once I started using this for seed bead storage, I loved it and will be reorganizing my seed beads and purchasing another of these little carousel's for use.  They make life sooooooo much easier.

So now we have covered lighting, seating, workspace and storage.  Bet you can't wait til next time.  Stay tuned, cause once this is all set up in your space, we will be ready to tackle the real problems or issues with seed beading and how I handle them.

Thanks for stopping by and please leave comments to let me know if you like this series and what you might be interested in learning next.

God Bless

Blogging for Beaders

This will be a series of separate blogs for beaders, probably more specifically seed beaders.  What I want to do is share some insight of my own for other beginner beaders.  I don't consider myself a beginner anymore, well at least not technically.  However, I think to some extent we are always somewhat of a beginner as our inspiration for design is continually changing then so must our techniques which means we are always learning, therefore - yep a beginner.

We can all view tutorials on YouTube and most of us learn to read a beading pattern and even some of us begin to create our own patters either on paper or in some type of beading software.  Me, I use both the graph paper and the software, but only after the inspiration has taken on somewhat of a final form in my mind, so that I have a very specific picture in my head of what I want, then I use the paper to try to figure out all the angles and directions that I will need to use to get to the finally product.

But, I digress, more to the point, this series is about the things that I have learned through my own experience that one should or should not do when beading.  Bear with me because I do ten to ramble a bit.

First of all and I think the absolute most important thing is lighting.  Now suffice it to say that I am about half-blind.  My vision is very poor and the lighting in my house is really sub-standard especially for any type of art work including beading. So what are the choices, a good overhead light, lamps, lots of windows.  Well yes, all of the above.  However, you need to decide what time of day you do most of your work.  For me that means in the middle of the night, when everyone else is asleep and the house is completely quiet.  This also means that I am totally dependent on artificial lighting.

I have a fairly bright overhead light at the ceiling so that helps, however, most of the time I find that it is generally either blocked by my head  because it is behind me or not direct enough because of where I sit.  So I procured a desk lamp, you know the kind, round base, little adjustable pole with light bent over where you work.  Typical light.  However, I have found that it does not help me.  If I happen to be working during the day, I still use it but find myself turning to the window so that I can see better.  So here is what I did.

I went to my local hardware store which for me happens to be Home Depot because that is where my daughter is employed, so I like to be loyal you know.  Anyway, I bought some of the ecolights, you know the kind, well here is a photo of one
See I knew you would know what I meant if you saw it.  The one I use is a 60 watt. There are higher wattage bulbs available.  But be careful that when you purchase, you make sure you are getting a "full spectrum" light bulb.  It may as this one does say "daylight"  This gives the best lighting and when you are beading you will notice a difference in how you see the colors of your beads, the colors are much truer than with regular light bulbs.  

If you work during the day and you live in the norther part of the country, you could simply use a north facing room for your work with lots of windows.  Here in the south though, we have what I am told is a more yellowish light from the sun, so even though light from my window is better, it is still not the best.

Just a word of warning with the above light bulbs.  They get pretty hot, so I don't recommend them for lamps with plastic coverings.  Mine is metal and I am very very careful not to touch the covering of the light because it gets pretty hot. but the light I get is well worth the effort to be careful.

I hope this helps and please stay tuned for more tips and insight into what I have learned that helps me to be a better beader.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello There, I'M BACK

Hello to everyone and yes I'm back finally.  It has taken me a very long time to get to this point.  For those of you who don't know what happened and why I have been away, well I had a car accident, a hit and run and though I was not what one would consider seriously injured, thank God, the accident did nearly destroy my left arm, elbow crushed and the upper portion about 5 or more inches above the elbow broken into over a dozen piece.  The inserted metal pins and a metal plate to hold it together but it is still not completely healed and from what they tell me, I will forever be in pain.  Oh well, that's what they know, but I have a greater doctor who can take that away.  God is good and most days there is very very little pain. Usually because I have done something stupid like pick up the dinner plates or pick up a pot full of something.  Yep, that is a no-no.  Not supposed to ever lift with that arm again, of course, I do anyway, but I do try very hard to only use my right arm.  But now the doc says I can type again and I can do my bead work again and I have been on a roll for the last week or so.  I'll post pics at the bottom.

I want to say thank you to all those who have stayed with me and promise to be much better about blogging from here out.

Other news in my house is that we finally have a car, I love it, though I don't drive much, amazing how much you need both hands to do that. LOL.  That is okay however, I hit 62 a couple of days ago so it is just fine to let someone chauffeur me around for awhile.

"Little man" my grandson is doing great (most days) the ADHD is almost under control with medication.  I am not sure I like the medication but it helps and we get most of the school work done.  No rules or schedules, since we home school and he loves his math on the computer so that helps.

My daughter is up for a new position at the Depot which will give her full time work.  It will also mean she gets a lot more contact with the customers which is what she is really really good at, problem solving for unhappy customers so that they leave happy and will be returning customers.

Ok like I said I been beading like a crazy woman.

So here are a few of the things I have done in the last couple of weeks.  Please let me know what you think.

Triangle Seed Bead Earrings
Spring Apache Leaf Bracelet

Simply Supple Seed Beads
Pretty in Pink Apache Leaf Bracelet

There are earrings to match the Apache leaf bracelets.

Let me know if you like them.