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Confessions of a Bead Hoarder

Back to the Future

Posted by Elizabeth Hamilton on

I’m going to brag for a bit before getting down to business.

While I was down home for the holidays, I had the opportunity to coach two people through a beading project. These were two people I’d often beaded around, but had never beaded with them. My Mom, and my youngest brother. My brother picked up peyote stitch like a seasoned pro, whipping out a bangle in a couple of hours on Christmas Eve while my Mom was at work.

Let me tell you, I had done everything possible to make it harder than it should have been! We were originally going to do kumihimo with beads. Fail! Not, his failure...mine. I couldn’t make the beads sit nicely. (I see some remedial kumi in my future.) Then we resorted to peyote stitch with the supplies we had on hand. With kumihimo cord. And big eye needles. We broke every one in the pack. I HATE big eye needles. (I’m also not a fan of those big eye paintings or Precious Moments, so maybe it’s a thing.)

And yet, my brother came back for more! HE chose the project the three of us made the Saturday after Christmas. If the two of us had been racing, it would have been a close race. This time we used fireline and tulip needles. If he really takes up this obsession, he’ll be replacing me on the blog before I know it. Both my brother and my mother made their own color bead selections, and both of their bracelets came out great. I finished mine after taking the photo. The pattern is by Carole Ohl.

Being in the local bead shop and explaining how bead sizes work, and looking with fresh eyes at all the beads may have been the best Christmas present I could have gotten. It inspired me to come back to North Carolina and just have fun with beading. No challenges, no stress, just playing around.

Or playing in the round as the case may be. I was really feeling ladder stitch/brickstitch again.

I started with the amber colored glass teardrops, wrapping them with a few strands of Nymo before I began adding firepolished beads from my collection. I had gathered up quite a collection of 4mm odds and ends, so this project allowed me to use all of them. The borders are supergalvanized Toho 11/0s.


Next I decided to make some fun earrings out of green plastic faceted beads with fringe of the tiny loops from the box. This pair uses something between brickstitch and herringbone to make the graduated border. Since the bulk of each earring is plastic, they are still nice and light.

Then I went rounds crazy. Perhaps you could say I’d gone ‘round the bend. I got ambitious with the vintage faux pearls in the box. It was time to get out some of the many choices from my growing superduo collection and make some flowers. I started by making eight identical blossoms of pearls plus picasso finish (can you tell that it’s my favorite?) and gold seed beads with really long thread tails. The earrings are this basic unit.

The next step was to make larger blossoms with additional rows of superduos and seed beads. Three units got one additional round of superduos. One of those got a tiny row of 15s as an accent. The last blossom got two additional rounds of superduos and the accent band. I fastenened this largest flower to one of my mid-sized units, and from there it was on to bail making. I really enjoyed making this set.

Because I’d felt so satisfied by the process, I opted to make two more pendants using the same principles. I’ve dubbed them “the sisters”. The little sister is the same thread pattern as my mid-sized units from the necklace. Why does it look so different? The larger center bead and reduced contrast takes the emphasis off of the petals, so that the first round stands out. The outer ring consists of lentils instead of superduos.

The big sister uses brickstitched delicas and multiple rows of two-holed triangles for the front. But it was built on the same foundation. It’s easier to see the similarity from the back side.

And this combo of old and new brings me to our big blog news...If you get our email blasts, you may have noticed that the monthly club boxes are leaving...but the Hoard is going nowhere! Well, that’s sort of a half-truth, the goodies will be moving to New Finds, and I will still be here to play with them.

You knew I couldn’t go Hoard-less; withdrawl would be too difficult!

Time, what time?

tried something new this month, a speed challenge! I made every project on this month’s blog in one Saturday morning. And in case you’re wondering no, I did not start my morning at 12 am. I am guilty of putting extreme pressure on myself to always go bigger, be better! There are times when this leads [...]

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In a Seedy Place

Hooray, a box of seed beads. This month’s gonna be a breeze! Sometimes what seems like a breeze is really the beginning of a gale. SO many ways I could take this...should it be vintage beads with new bead shapes? Should I stay true to the kinds of designs the Hoard was meant for? Quick [...]

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I Did The Mash

Before I get going, I have to gush about the new magnetic clasps. So far I've only gotten the long clasps, but the rose gold is most certainly on my list. It is perfect (of course) with the rose gold Swarovski crystal cup chain. made these two bracelets with the sleek clasps. Please excuse the photo [...]

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I'm Stuck On Glue

Somewhere along my beading journey, I picked up the habit of scoffing at glued projects. I suspect this had a lot to do with “Oh, you bead? I do too! I made this necklace!”So I joined the ranks of bead snobs who disdained glue….until I sat back and thought about it. Glue isn't evil. Glue [...]

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Around We Go

This month I wanted to beadweave. I looked upon the contents of the treasure box and saw my opportunity to brush up on my basic skills. But I also didn’t want to get bogged down. So how do a lot of weaving without a lot of waiting? Earrings!My first idea was to weave bands around my [...]

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Why be little?

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." -Ralph Waldo Emerson 1841 This may make some people cringe, and others may nod in agreement… But I don’t like every bead. In fact, I’m pretty particular, if a bit erratic, in what beads I truly love. Shell and horn=ick. Purple=blrgh. Huge beads= squirm. Baby pink=meh. Every [...]

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Conjunction Junction

What’s your function? Hooking up strands and chain and designs. Thank you, Schoolhouse Rock, for reminding me that just like the English language, jewelry has a type of component that brings multiple parts together. This month our club boxes contained a selection of mutli-strand findings. I wanted to try to use them, yes, as they are [...]

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RAW and Uncensored

I bought a terrific costume jewelry book this month: Coppola e Toppo by Deanna Farneti Cera. Coppola e Toppo was an Italian costume jewelry manufacturer who produced designs for top couture fashion houses in Paris and Italy. I’d been stalking C e T’s jewelry on the web since a lovely necklace first popped up in my [...]

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Finding Closure

I am a findings fiend...and yet, even with my stockpiles, sometimes I have to search for the right clasp. Lately I've been lucky indeed, because I have my new springtime love...fold-over clasps. Yes, I've often trod down the path of the lobster clasp when I haven’t wanted a “fancy” clasp. But they are nearly impossible to [...]

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