I’ve done a quick update on my Christmas Tree Brooch tutorial to show you how to adapt it and use the same techniques to make a bauble. Both of these look great as a brooch (very useful for those of us who don’t really ‘do’ Christmas jumpers) but both also look great hanging on the tree. I’m thinking in one in every colour of the rainbow for next year’s tree – I’ll add a large jump ring to the back about a centimetre down from the top for hanging, plus the usual brooch back, so I can grab one off the tree and have a bit of sparkle for every outfit.
I may not do Black Friday or Cyber Monday but I do like to try to offer a discount in December as a seasonal gift to my lovely customers around the world. Please note that this only applies to Tutorials and Cabochons, but hopefully that will still keep most of you happy. All happening in my Etsy & PayHip shops, links below and no codes needed.
This year’s International Beading Week runs from 23rd – 31st July. I’ll be doing my usual duty as Beadworker’s Guild social media helper as an admin on the IBW page and group, and also doing my bit for beaders everywhere by offering a massive 20% off all of the tutorials in my Etsy shop, including my brand new ‘Ice and a Slice’. No code needed, they’re all reduced and ready to go right here!
As an IBW Ambassador I’ve also donated a free fringe earring chart which you can download from my website here, or from the Beadworker’s Guild site where there are lots more free patterns from a whole range of lovely designers here.
I know it’s been a long while, but I’ve finally had time to finish writing up a new tutorial which is now available in my Etsy shop. Ice and a Slice celebrates our love of Gin and Tonic with a variety of fruit adornments, each altering the flavour. It’s a bead embroidered component in three sizes which can be used separately or together to make a Pendant, Necklace, Brooch, Earrings or Ornament.
It uses a variety of bead embroidery embroidery techniques with optional goldwork, and will suit intermediate bead weavers, bead embroiderers, or embroiderers looking to learn some bead embroidery techniques.
The twenty six page tutorial contains a full materials list, with suggestions for suppliers, and as usual every step is fully illustrated with a detailed diagram showing thread paths etc, photos to show you what you are aiming for and every step is also written out clearly (in English). A detailed variations section covers a range of colour and final formations for a range of pieces, and the motif can be beaded in three different sizes, all covered. All of the different techniques used are covered in full, with tips as well as stepped out instructions, and you should finish this piece ready to use the techniques in your own designs.
Did you know that I actually sell some of my finished beadwork and embroideries?
I have a little shop on the UK site Folksy with earrings, a couple of necklaces and some of my embroidered mini hoops – you can view it here. The range is deliberately small to keep it fresh and current, but I also run commissioned work through Folksy, so if you see something you like there or on my social media do feel free to contact me and request custom colours etc.
Folksy is a bit like Etsy but much smaller. They’re deliberately fussier about handmade only and it’s a sensible, easy to browse size as it is just for UK makers (although I can of course still ship worldwide from there). Best of all it has a small, caring, supportive and innovative management team and has a wonderful community of friendly makers which I love. That community take an active interest in promoting the site, spotting non-handmade shops and supporting other sellers with advice and help through the forums and Facebook group. The management team support makers with advice and help, and consult about improvements – Doug the IT guy is legend, and Camilla and her colleagues are experienced makers themselves who constantly feed us useful advice about selling and running our handmade businesses. They actively curate really lovely gift guides, themes of the day and highlight interesting pieces, and run a fascinating blog with ‘makers of the week’ (I was one back in 2014 – read the posts here – very out of date but fun to look back at where I came from).
I’ve been selling there for more years than I care to mention and it’s a lovely place to sell and shop for beautiful handmade items. I’ll probably always have my Etsy shop for supplies and tutorials but it’s very hard to be seen as a maker rather than a supplier there as it’s simply so huge and geographically diverse, so I find Folksy suits me really well for finished items.
Pop over and have a look at my works there using the link below, and do take time to browse some of the other lovely shops too. I’ve listed a few of my favourites below:
Susie West – stunning ‘travel posters’ – we have three of these already and are trying to collect one for everywhere we have lived (we have a little way to go!).
Claire Gent – amazing aluminium and silver jewellery. I’ve lusted after Claire’s work for years!
Holme & Moss – I’ve got one of their classic hairbands in my basket at the moment.
Eynonymous – I have a beautiful yellow silk hairband from Eddie which I wear a lot – she designs and prints beautiful textiles.
Clare Lloyd – modern polymer clay and silver jewellery.
Tanith Rouse – eye-catching contemporary coloured aluminium jewellery.
Jenny Newall – gorgeous stained glass birds and super cute egg earrings.
Sue Trevor – contemporary machine embroidery and fabric sculptures – I’ve bought lots of Sue’s work as gifts for the textile lovers in my family.
The Whimsical Marbler – lovely marbled papers, some in great bright colours for a more modern take.
Clare Buchanan – really eye-catching bright wovens.
I don’t really do Black Friday. I think that comes from my main job being in IT with a major retailer, and the impact that needing to match discounting elsewhere has on us as a business both financially and operationally. Here at the Indecisive Beader I relish having the freedom to make my own decisions about when and why I might chose to run sales, and this year once again that means offering my lovely customers 10% off Tutorials and Cabochons for the whole of December as a thank you for all of your support this year. No code needed, just pop over to my Etsy shop and the prices are already discounted for you. Thank you.
I’m often told ‘your colours are marvellous’ or words to that effect, and that’s lovely to hear as colour is incredibly important to me and I do work hard at it! I do have some specific methods I use to really get my colours to work whilst focussing on my designs, and I thought you’d like to hear a bit about my main one.
I’m sure many of you will have noticed that over the last few years you’ll see a run of pieces working through a similar colour theme being posted in sequence and may have wondered what I’m up to. This is a deliberate working method for me now – I focus on a set of colours for several months at a time, work them out, play with different combinations of finish, different juxtapositions, and get really comfortable with them. This saves time pulling and tidying beads, and allows me to focus on new designs without the endless distraction of playing with new colours and rooting around in drawers and drawers of beads.
This has become a standard working method for me of late and it started a while back when I used to pull sets of beads to take on holiday or for a large creative project. I pull a range of beads, threads, sequins, crystals, focals and basic supplies such as threads, findings and backing/foundation in a new set of colours. So for the seed beads that means a set of anything from three to many more colours in as many sizes as I have, plus corresponding delicas, then as standard I usually dig out whatever I have in 3mm and 4mm rounds, fire polisheds and bicones which gives me a really versatile working base. I’ll always add a complimentary metallic colour with matching findings, and then it’s time to rifle through my crystals, feature beads and growing collection of sequins. I’ll add drops (very useful) and then chuck in whatever I have in the right colours in shaped beads. If I have shrinkets or cabochons already made I’ll pull those out too or I’ll make more as I need them.
I’ll usually do some bead embroidery in one of these runs, but will grab foundation and backing as I need it, but I’ll get out the right shades of beading thread so I’m never tempted to use something less than ideal. These days I usually work with purls as well, so I’ll add smooth, pearl and textured purls, and if I’m also thinking of a hand embroidered piece, some linen, silk, tulle or organza and of course, stranded cottons, perles and treasured texture packs and hand dyed threads.
I can end up with anything from a small A5 box or bag to a big stack of A4 boxes, depending on how deep I want to go and how indecisive I’m feeling. So right now, I’ve deliberately picked a smaller set to work with, just beads, purls to complement a set of rainbow coated steel findings I want to work with. So far that’s just turned up one piece using a cab and set of shrink pieces I forgot I had made, but I’ve only been at it for a week. I’m already slightly off track as I didn’t use the rainbow findings yet but I’m quite happy nonetheless as can amble along trying out some ideas I have floating around without needing to root around for beads constantly. And when this is worked through, I’ll tidy them away and pull a new set.
My previous set was a box of beads the same size (A5) plus a similar size box of purls, findings and sequins and a bag of threads and fabrics – that lasted several months and resulted in these beaded pieces:
That set was inspired by a lovely yarn pack from Wild Floss Embroidery – ‘Sherbert Pastel’ colours on a dark teal base. I did an embroidered piece first, adding hand dyed threads from Hope Jacare and beads in similar colours, so once I’d completed the embroidery hoop I had a set of beads ready to go and had got the hang of how to use these colours – which aren’t my usual combo at all. As well as some pieces for myself (including the big embroidery hoop) some of the earrings are now available for sale in my Folksy Shop.
Looking back you’ll be able to see some other series of works which came about in a similar way – first some works which started with my big Egyptian piece for a Beadworker’s Guild Challenge a few years back and spawned several pieces:
And then my very long (over 6 month) pastel based marine inspired pieces – again coming from a winning Beadworker’s Guild Challenge piece ‘Where Corals Lie’.
International Beading Week starts tomorrow (24th July) and runs until August 1st, and as a Guest Ambassador, member of the Beadworker’s Guild Social Media Team and all around IBW fan I’ve been busy getting ready.
As you know I’ve donated a chart which you can find on the IBW site or in my Free Charts section, and from 25th July until 1st August I will be offering 20% off all tutorials in my Etsy shop (no code needed, tutorials only, please note that this doesn’t start until tomorrow – 24th July).
I should say now that we’ll be taking a much needed holiday though for bulk of the week, so I’ll be closing my shops for everything other than those digital download tutorials (which run happily without me needing to post stuff), but fret not, the beads, cabochons, crystals and goldwork wires will be back on August 9th. During that time I will still be beading, as it’s time for Jean Power’s Secret Beadalong, so watch my social media to see how I’m getting on.
Whilst you’re there, why not join the IBW Facebook group, or have a look at the IBW Facebook Page and the lovely Beadworker’s Guild Instagram account and see what we’ve been working so hard on behind the scenes. This year we have a theme for International Beading Week (IBW) to celebrate the positive mental health impacts that beading has with the tagline: ‘HANGING IN THERE’. We will have daily prompts to help you get involved on social media and throughout the week we will be sharing tips, ideas, free patterns and beaders’ stories on our channels – and we would love to read your stories too!
Please help us spread the word about beading by tagging the Beadworkers Guild in all of your social media posts and use the hashtag #beadingweek.
My Jelly Tutorial, which was published in a summary version in last year’s Beadworker’s Guild Journal (86) is now available in my Etsy shop as a full 18 page tutorial.
Jelly uses a variety of bead embroidery, and goldwork embroidery techniques, including seeding, stacking, goldwork (or optional backstitch) and beaded edging to make a statement pendant, brooch or even a beautiful ornament, and she’d best suit intermediate bead weavers or bead embroiderers, or experienced embroiderers looking to learn some bead embroidery techniques. If you’re a beginner with some success with bead embroidery looking to stretch yourself this is probably easier than Squidy (another member of my sea creature family below), but not as easy as Sunstar.
She’s a really fun make, I’ve made four so far with beads picked out for one more already, and I hope you really enjoy her. Full bead lists are available as usual here if you’d like to check what’s in your stash before committing to a pattern purchase, and the tutorial itself is available here for instant PDF download.
As part of the IBW social media team for several years it’s lovely to be able to show my support as a designer as well by becoming an IBW Ambassador. Beading along with others is such a pleasure, whether it’s done in person or remotely, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results all of the events and activities the IBW/Beadworker’s Guild team work so hard behind the scenes to prepare for you every year. This year’s International Beading Week runs from July 24th – August 1st, and as well as working away with my lovely colleagues on the Guild’s Social Media team I’ll of course be beading along with the wonderful annual Jean Power Summer Secret Beadalong.
As an Ambassador I’m proud to donate a design (or two or hopefully when I have time, three) to the event – here is the first one, a charted brick stitch and fringe piece which is available as a free PDF here. It’s also available via the IBW section of the Beadworker’s Guild website alongside many other wonderful free patterns from other Ambassadors and Beaders – have a look at the amazing selection.
This piece can be adapted to change the length, colours or overall use but at its’ core is the 12 colour spectrum of the IBW logo and a rainbow. The rainbow has come to mean a lot symbolically in the UK over the last year or so, so seemed an appropriate choice, although making curves out of things which want to run straight was a challenge – quite a few rejected versions here:
It’s also worth saying that this chart was created with Beadographer, which is a wonderful new chart/design tool. Prior to starting using this I’d never really got on with charted designs because I found the planning process inhibiting creatively. However I’m sure you can see from my recent work that Beadographer has allowed me to overcome that bias and I’m now embracing charting with the tool on my laptop (or even better on my iPad with an Apple Pencil) as an alternative way of creating with beads, so thank you to Leah and William for a super, very easy to use creative tool.