Thanks for coming back! Here’s the tray I showed you on Friday:
The bead containers you see in the tray: beads come in all kinds of holders, from the tubes you see in the lower left corner to various kinds of bags and complicated little plastic contraptions that are almost impossible to open without beads shooting in every direction. So I keep empty tubes and the little plastic bags you see next to them to transfer beads into for storage. Above those you see two scoops–a handmade wooden coffee scoop and a tiny silver bead scoop. I don’t use these often, but sometimes–as in the case of a major spill–these come in really handy. (And on a side note: in the case of a spill, you can stretch pantyhose across the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner, vacuum up the beads, hold the nozzle over a container, and turn off the vacuum. Theoretically, the beads will drop nicely into the container. In practice, you’re probably going to have to chase some of them.)
There are scissors, of course–I have a bunch of these cheapo school scissors, purchased one year for 50 cents each, scattered all over the house. They work fine for cutting thread but aren’t really good for much else.
Then the important things: the containers that hold the beads while you’re working. I use two things. The first is the very smallest terra cotta saucers for plant pots. You can find these at your craft store and can buy them separately from the pots themselves. They’re inexpensive, and if you’re using various kinds of beads on one project, they’re great for having several saucers lined up on your tray, each with a different kind of bead. I use these most often, and they’re perfect for me. The matte surface makes it easier to pick up the beads with my needle, and the sloped sides are invaluable. The seashell was an ashtray my parents used all during my childhood, so I really love using it. If I’m using a lot of just one kind of bead, it’s the one I choose.
Thread–you see two kinds of beading thread stored in metal containers. The smaller one is an Altoid tin, and the larger one came from the checkout line at the craft store–I think they’re gift card holders, maybe. I bought four colors and store like-colored thread in each: so this pink container holds all the pinks and purples, for example. The grey thread you see is button and craft thread, and I use it, doubled, for sewing on bugle beads and heavier/larger seed beads. Rough-edged bugle beads can still cut through it if you don’t bracket them with seed beads, but it’s stronger and thicker that other thread, and I like to believe it will hold almost anything. So far, so good!
Having everything set up like this makes beading so much easier. I can get the beads up close to my work, and instead of hunting for what I need or wrestling with errant beads, everything is corralled and near at hand so I can concentrate on the beading itself.
Take some time and make some notes about what would make your art form easier. A more comfortable chair? Better light? A taller easel? A better surface for mixing paint? A better way of sorting brushes? Whatever it is, look around and see how you can make that work. It will make your creative life so much more productive you won’t believe you didn’t do it years ago.
In case you missed it Friday, here’s a link to Beading Basics, by Carole Rodgers, available in the North Light shop.
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