Tired enough not to mark grammatical subject

Up again at midnight. Up again at midnight online. Up again at midnight not doing homework. Up again at midnight with work to go to in the morning. Up again at midnight writing instead of trying to sleep.

After looking over my Czech bead collection, it made me want to get more. Still haven’t photographed what I have; by the time I thought of it, it was on the cusp of evening. Sun was going down. Again.

Decided to stick with tried-&-true. Realized “Russian Spiral” stitch looks familiar from looking and not having done it…reminds me of Herringbone. (Sorry about the double pingback, Sam! You don’t need to link me twice…) This and Chenille stitch, I want to try. Pretty badly, want to try.

Went for regular rocaille (round) and Delica beads instead of the shaped/pressed Czech ones, this time around. Mix of Japanese and Czech, multiple sizes.

Really should get to bed. Really really should get to bed.

So guess, you, what I would do if I could…


Misplaced beads: I need a system.

I think I’ll have to finally let go of the missing half-hank of mixed-purple size 8º seed beads. It’s got to be somewhere away from my main beading storage. That’s the only thing I can think of. And realistically, it can’t be worth that much. It’s just an unsolved mystery.

I did go out looking for other storage solutions, today. Right now what I have is plastic, and some of it is so old that it is literally biodegrading. There’s an issue I’m having now with a smell emanating from some of my housing tubes, and/or their lids, and with some lids cracking on attempted removal.

Today I was able to obtain some AMAC transparent boxes, which fit surprisingly well into the largest ArtBin I have. Small objects fall out of the lid when the lid is opened, even when the storage compartments in the lid are shut. The boxes, placed inside the compartments, prevent this. I’m not sure if the AMAC boxes will last better than the cheaper styrene ones.

Also, on that note: the tubes beads are sold in, can themselves biodegrade over years. I opened a pouch today to try and remove some tubes, and one of them — had cracked, so the lid fell out and little size 11º seed beads (around 2mm wide) scattered all over the table and floor. Making sure that there are as few of these beads left as possible is important, as if they crack, that’s broken glass.

This is just a constant annoyance with seed beads, though. We have a protocol when this happens, of shining a flashlight parallel to the floor in order to highlight the beads. Even so, after the first sweep, we must have found around 7 more tiny beads still lingering on the table and linoleum. And yes, they roll. And they look like bugs, when they roll.

So…there is an ongoing problem with bead storage, though it’s mitigated by having a couple of foldable fabric towers that can hold vials. I’ve decided to get some half-size vials so that I’m not taking up space with half-empty full-size vials. Today I was seeking a type of tiny container which is like a clear jar with a lid, but under 1″ tall: small enough to fit my small drawer sets.

The kind I was looking for (1.5″ diameter), I was unable to find. I’m uncertain if the ones I do have, were on closeout when I bought them. Their lids don’t attach securely, so it’s possible. I’ve grown to like them, now! And I’m not sure where I got them from or where to find more!

Anyhow…I am inspired to start beading again. And reading in my beadwork books, again. I have a storage box for practice samples, and was able to view and handle my past work. I was also looking in some of the books I’ve got.

Most of them, I haven’t really worked with too deeply, as I’ve been trying to teach myself and make original stuff more than follow patterns. However, it’s clear that I can learn a great deal from following patterns. I just likely shouldn’t sell so much that’s made from patterns, just as an ethical thing (or if I do use an innovative base pattern that I didn’t create, credit the designer).

I’ve got to get to bed. Today was more of a container run than a time spent creatively…

Though I should remind myself, before I forget, to look in the Samples box if I run short of a certain type of bead which I need to complete a pattern, and which aren’t being made anymore.

Finished Object: Scarab necklace.

So, a couple things have happened. I passed my written test for Driver’s Training (yay!), I did not fail Programming (yay!), I got a giant frikkin’ toolbox for my metals…which I’m wondering if I need, now (yay?), and I found some SuperDuos (? sadly, beads make me feel rich).

If you’re wondering why I didn’t post earlier, it’s because I spent 7 straight hours at the DMV, reapplying for an original license.


We got there at 7:30 AM and weren’t done until 2:30 PM.

But. I can practice driving, again.

About that necklace I mentioned, last time: I was able to finish it, and it wasn’t a lot of work at all. One thing I need to keep in mind, though, is that when I’m closing the crimp endings, it’s to my advantage to close one half at a time, instead of immediately squashing the thing flat from one side. If I do the latter, I may end up with a slippery connection, as happened this time. I was able to mitigate it somewhat by tying an overhand knot directly after the crimp, so it will have a harder time moving…but crushing it halfway across, results in an inward-biting fold in the center of the crimp which may be more secure.

As it was, I tried using G-S Hypo Fabric Cement on this, and…I think the tube is mostly dried out. Like, there’s air in there and some vapor, but not much else. Normally, I’d use clear nail polish, but I kind of feel tacky using that, at this point. 😉

I should replace my cements, though. Not fun trying to coax anything (anything at all!) out of a needle applicator when you know the tube could bust at any second.

I took a number of photos earlier. Bathroom time! (I was using the viewfinder through the mirror, not taking a picture of the mirror itself…)

Photo of green beaded macrame choker with scarab

In the process, I saw where my design could be improved. In particular, I’m looking at the fine pinkish stripe. Because it’s on the bottom and borders the green size 6º beads, the pink is sandwiched between two bright greens…and because of my skin tone (which is closer to pink than to green, thankfully), it begins to get lost. I am wondering what would happen if I either made it broader and/or put it on the upper edge of the choker. I could broaden it by interlacing another one or two rows of lark’s head hitch (the knotting pattern I used), which I’m fairly curious about, now.

I was concerned that the second choker would be too short, as I made the length of the knotted area the same length as the cord on the original version, which can be seen below.

Initial trial choker

However, it’s plenty long enough. I don’t know why, except maybe the drape could be messing with me. I’m strongly considering getting rid of the extension chain I put in the back of the green one for safekeeping, as the chain tends to tangle with the hook-and-eye clasp I’m using. The only reason I’m using that, in turn, is that I can’t find my narrow-gauge silver wires or jump rings (wire rings). I thought I had found some, but no — that was (more) extension chain!

I didn’t want to cut apart a soldered chain just to get a jump ring. (Chains are pretty expensive.)

All of the silver clasps I have that are right now unused (except for the sterling filigree box clasp, which I would prefer not to use, as box clasps aren’t known for being secure), have piercings that are too small for the rings I’d be inserting into them. (The rings are at least 20 gauge, if not thicker.)

I do have sterling wire in some finer gauges, but that’s going kind of expensive for a connector. I’m unsure where all my silvertone brass wire, went. While it is possible that I was wholly using sterling, before, that seems kind of wasteful. And I know I had some “non-tarnish” craft wire that tarnished (surprise), and I must have gotten rid of that. I’d had it since high school, so what do I expect, right? 🙂

But when that stuff goes bad, it’s pretty terrible. I mean, it turns crusty.

If you’re wondering about Lark’s Head Hitch, I’ve got a close-up for you below. It’s not too hard. If you look in basically any beginner book on macrame, it will probably be in there (just not this version).

Close-up of Lark's Head Hitch chain

One thing that I did find out about my working process: I was unsure nearly the whole time I was making this thing, if I’d have enough cord to finish it cleanly. I used a bit more than two arm-spans each, of the green and pink cord. One of the reasons I added the beads is to space out the knots, which then extends the reach of the tying cord.

I really toward the end, wished I had left more cord at the beginning of the necklace, in case I wanted to extend the other side of it. It would have been easy. But I left myself only about 3″ of working space — just enough to insert into the crimp ending and secure it. It would have given me options, if I had more.

As stated before, I’m thinking of where I can take this, next. In addition to a wider band, I’m thinking about fringe. Short fringe, at this point, but enough to give an impression of feathers.

I really don’t know what that will do; and if I’ve learned anything over the past 48 hours, it’s that I won’t know, until I try it.

WIP: Scarab necklace

Apologies for not having any photos, tonight. I have a work-in-progress (WIP) which will very much be worth sharing when it’s done, but unfortunately I threw my back out today, and haven’t gotten to finish the last 2″ of knotting on the WIP.

Luckily, I’m pretty sure the back thing is just a muscle spasm (don’t twist while carrying heavy loads and descending stairs at the same time), but it’s meant I haven’t been able to do much. On top of that, this and taking medication around 1:30 AM this morning (from staying up late knotting and not noticing the time), kind of wrecked my motivation for today.

So the project itself is a knotted micromacrame choker-length necklace with a central crystal drop and seed bead embellishments. After 1 AM, I was reminded of the need for sleep, and my pinkies were about to blister, so I called it a night. (They’re still a tiny bit sore, today.) Given what was on TV, I think I was working at least 3-4 hours — though this was on two projects.

I made a first project that led directly into the second, as it looked more like a prototype than finished work (although it’s wearable) — but I wasn’t about to cut it apart, right after making it. I had used a set of silver-plated crimp endings; crimps don’t come undone. I would have had to just throw them away, and they still look fine. It’s the cord and the lack of embellishment, that I don’t like.

The craft table looks like a disaster area…but maybe it’s supposed to? I really did want to finish that necklace last night, but I’m already viewing it as a prototype for something more. For instance, working off of the cord loops with thread, to attach finer beads: the center drop bead is a Swarovski scarab, and I’m thinking of placing falcon wings on either side with fringe. The major issue is how to secure the thread ends, but if I worked the thread in from the beginning, it would be well-anchored at both ends of the necklace like everything else (and hidden).

But yeah…it feels really good to be working on (and with) this stuff, again. There’s something about looking at beads that lets me know that something awesome can be made out of them with the right amount of applied skill and creativity.

Hopefully, I’ll be up to finishing it, tomorrow.

Balancing business and personal life

Last night, I realized something: I was using a lot of jargon. That is, the problem I was describing in my last post is directly related to my using jargon in regard to beadwork which I’ve grown up with, but which is unfamiliar to most.

The word for it didn’t come to me until early this morning when I was trying to get to sleep, though.

And…once again, I find myself considering the impact of having my online life linked with my physical one. If I did start selling again, for example, do I link my online presence here, or start a new blog (or new website)? The latter will be easy enough to set up…but there are also some drawbacks, primarily related to the possibility of using a database.

I think Etsy is a better first option.

And…the person I am now, at core, isn’t going to change. I have been talking here about things such as gender identity and presentation, and mental health. This is because this is a personal blog — not a professional one — and this stuff isn’t talked about enough in regular life. Also, if I’m going to do creative writing, that stuff’s going to come out, or I won’t be able to write. It’s just that a business presence would likely not have those things, kind of like how I try not to bother you all with my politics.

If I started selling online, it would make sense to start an actual website for a business presence (aside from the one I’ve had to start for school).

Then I could post about beadwork, there! 🙂

I have noticed that there are alternate venues to talk about this stuff, largely going off of what other bloggers have linked. There are also the more obvious routes…going by offline word-of-mouth to find both places to sell and places to talk to other beaders.

Yeah. I’ve had that information for a while, and just haven’t followed up on it. Sounds good. I would need to network.

In other affairs…I’m leaning about 70% towards not taking a third class in my last semester. This is both because I might have a 20-hour job then, and because I like having actual time for myself. If I have extra time, I can put it into a side business.

Sounds good.

Getting back to beading.

Today was interesting. I’ve begun to get back into (and recover) my beading stock. The major problem — which I have gone a long way toward ameliorating, today, is the fact that at various points in time, I’ve separated out tubes of beads as an attempt to notate color schemes for potential projects.

Because of that, what I have isn’t all in one place.

In particular, my size 11/0 (also alternately notated 11º and pronounced “eleven-ought”) seed beads are so scattered that my main storage areas look somewhat…well, pink and purple. But a lot of materials are still stashed away for one single project. That project includes a lot of greens and bronzes, which balance out the mix. And I haven’t yet decided what to do with what I have separated out.

That, in turn, probably isn’t going to be figured out until I just sit down and play with what I have.

Until I finish that project — or alternately, give up on it and put things back where they’re supposed to be — it’s going to be hard to figure out the sum total of what I’ve actually got. I was, however, able to recover some of the stuff I loaned M, which…is a very good thing.

She went on a discarding spree and threw out a bunch of stuff that she assumed was hers. (A lot of it appeared to be inexpensive stock gotten at flea markets by friends. Having started out with cheap Darice beads, I know not to use these for anything to wear or sell — to practice with, is another thing.) Luckily, my stuff (that she thought was hers [I was trying to be polite and not mention the error]) was nice enough not to be tossed. What I’m talking about are the materials for a certain bracelet project.

(While I’m logging unfinished projects, I should leave a link here to this one…I finally got the appropriate interfacing for embroidering a bezel for the cabochon [the big shiny thing], but the materials were sitting uncovered so long that I may have to wash the beads.)

Anyhow, I also was able to make it out to a beading supply place, today, so I have no lack of 3mm or 4mm fire-polished rounds, anymore. (5mm rounds…are comparatively rare. I’ve found them at one bead store relatively distant from me. 6mms, however, are common.) What’s weird is that I have a collection going back decades, and so they aren’t all the same size, even if I have a bunch which look like they were all supposed to be the same diameter. I also have samples of early versions of the Preciosa Twin bead…which aren’t the same as the current ones (which are closer in shape to SuperDuos).

I’ve realized that beadwork is relatively niche (much moreso than watercolor — it’s also possible that beaders just largely either aren’t on WordPress or don’t talk on WordPress, as they’re too busy beading and designing), and so readers here may not immediately know what I mean by words like, “fire-polished round,” or, “rondelle,” or, “druk,” or, “vitrail,” or, “Twin,” or, “SuperDuo.” While this is easily researched, I’ve found people (including myself) aren’t apt to do extra work in order to understand something — especially if they’re not invested in it, aren’t that interested, or it’s just way too much information that they don’t know at the same time.

Because of that (it’s a communication barrier), I’m thinking of setting up a Page or series of Pages that I can direct people to, as a kind of Glossary. I wouldn’t be surprised if a project like that brings in a lot of traffic, either. Though I’m not really all that social, I do see certain of my posts showing up over and over again in searches. If I wanted to monetize the beading, as well, higher traffic would be OK.

As for other labors of love — I’m told to produce my jewelry as art objects and then if they sell, that’s just a happy consequence. One of the drawbacks of beadwork is that it can get expensive, for a hobby. The reason I started to sell is that I was getting prolific, and had a bunch of backstocked, finished items that I wasn’t wearing. (I was also putting a lot into materials — though ironically, most of the cost of those pieces tended to be metals.) That’s no longer the case — a lot has been either sold, donated, or given away to family and friends.

Oh — but! I did restart macramé practice today. I have a pattern using 6 cords, which I’m thinking of expanding into a wider form. I came across a version of a knotting pattern I can’t altogether remember seeing before; it’s kind of lacy, and I’m hoping I can use it as a diagonal lace. It seems like a possible beginning of a zigzag pattern as well, but I’ve got to play with it more, to confirm.

Sorry no new pictures, today; though I do have to start cataloging these things…

Beading may actually be *my* true joy.

I was actually up making jewelry prototypes, late last night. I’ve decided not to pursue any particular form of expression because of its gender status (anymore), but because I like it. Beading is one of those things I got into, early on. I was 11 when I started learning off-loom beadweaving (I think this was even-count Peyote Stitch, during the Summer before 6th grade).

I had been trying to get away from it — craft jewelers don’t really have a high amount of esteem regarded to them (except, at times, by their clients), and they don’t make a lot of money. But one thing I’ve learned: when I’m choosing things to do to make myself happy, don’t use popular opinion or projected monetary return to guide myself as to the best possible use of time. This isn’t Economics class.

If there are people who can make (or at least recoup) money doing quilts, there are people who can make (or at least, recoup) money, beading.

Last night, when I was working through finding everything, I found a vial of glass beads which smelled (stank) strongly of Parmesan, when I opened the lid. There were two different types of beads in there. Below is an image of one type of bead (these are glass rondelles), which I washed in Dawn and warm water (swishing in a little cup does wonders), and let dry overnight. These ones remind me of the little “gems” one would get in the Pirate LEGO sets for the treasure chest…I don’t care if they’re glass, they’re pretty!

newly washed rondelle beads

I think it was the other set that was in the same vial (glass leaves with colors similar to these, but with a brightly colored metallic coating on one side) which really stank, though. I remember having used those beads in a sculpture for my Color Dynamics class, which dates them back to at least 2007. That means they’re 11 years old at the youngest!

I had been storing them in a clear polystyrene vial with some sort of soft plastic lid (see the smaller vials with white lids, below). I’m not sure if there was a chemical reaction that had gone on, or if some moisture had been trapped in there with them, but washing them got rid of the smell.

I guess if I’m lucky, it was just mold.

Vials full of different colored beads.
Brainstorming a color scheme.

The above image, I just took in order to remind myself of the color scheme I had planned for a necklace. I had imagined or envisioned making small micromacrame or beadwoven components, and chaining them together to fit around a neck. However, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do this.

(And I should note, the bronze Tohos and the cube beads next to them, I got out of another project bin. They need to go back there, eventually.)

I started out with those ceramic beads in the upper left corner (they can take two passes of 1mm twine), and a lampwork glass rondelle that I didn’t photograph, which is black with blue metallic stonelike markings around its center. Both of them had a “warm blue” thing going on (the glaze on the ceramic reaches blue around the equator of some beads). The blue in the centerpiece had a vitrail-looking element to it, which meant that some of those iridescent beads (like the ones in the lower right corner of the above photo) worked.

The thing is, the more I worked on it, the more options I had: but most of my beads won’t accommodate macramé cord, at least without alteration (meaning grinding glass). I’d have to find another way to assemble the chain.

Right now I’m looking at brass wire…but I haven’t set anything in stone, yet.

Speaking of stone, there’s a purple dyed stone bead that I tried as a pendant (I think it will go well with the earthiness of the ceramic), which enabled me to more fully bring in the purple iris beads at the top right of the above photo. I’ll have to use them sparingly so they don’t overpower the piece, but it could be a nice “pop” of color.

Aqua beadwoven components, utilizing Twin beads.

So, the other thing that I was working on:

I realized that the way forward into a design wasn’t through intellectualization. With that in mind, I started playing around with some Twin beads I got a while ago. I had noticed that they would make a “V” if attached at one end, so I decided to see what I could do with this.

Apparently, I have skills?

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone before me has run across exactly this same design solution, but it was fun to puzzle through how to make the first one of these, and then how to grow the second off of the first. I had to use 3mm fire-polished rounds for the vertical portions, while the Teal Luster drop beads in the center of the right component are, I believe, 3mm × 4mm. Those fill the space better than the 3mm Magatama drops (the tan ones on the left component), which are a little looser.

I’m feeling a lot better about experimenting with multi-hole beads, now. They offer a lot of design possibilities that just were not on the table, before. The major issue for me is which ones to get, and where to get them from. I’m thinking that having a foundation of fire-polished, druk, and glass pearl beads between 2mm and 4mm, plus 15°, 11°, 8°, and 6° seed beads, and an assortment of tiny crystal beads (round and bicone) between 2mm and 4mm will really help if I want to get back into beadweaving. My major gap here is with the small glass non-seed beads, and the size 15° seeds. The multihole beads are then just like the stars that I can build everything else around.

Sometimes Czech size 13° Charlotte beads show up (they have one facet ground into a side), but I wonder how different they are in size from Japanese 11°s. I have some, in copper; I can check.

And having a little bit of randomness as to what color goes where, may actually be a blessing. In constructing the above, the size of each bead was more important a design specification, than the color. That is: I didn’t totally plan out that color scheme.

I had some trepidation about getting back into work with glass beads, as working with them is different than working with precious or semiprecious stone or pearl/shell/horn, etc. Depending on what you get, they can be cheaper (for example, Cobalt Blue) or considerably expensive (for example, Gold Luster). But there are a lot of design possibilities with glass that are just fun to play around with.

I’ve found nowhere near the diversity of shapes and styles of bead, in semiprecious stone; and non-glass/non-crystal items tend to be drilled to keep as much mass as possible. This means tiny drill holes, which means I can’t use them for micromacramé (without alteration).

My major problem — if I have one — is that I haven’t been doing this for so long, that I need to consult my library for technique advice and demonstration (and I’m no longer intimately familiar with the contents of that library). A long time ago, someone convinced me that doing this (looking for help) and then selling was unethical (a reason I diverted my energies into Art), but at this time, I’m considering that person, themselves, to be unethical.

It’s like, how much time did I waste training in Art when I could have been beading (though I know it wasn’t a waste, it was just a decision based on partial information, which left me vulnerable to being affected by bad information). I have since found material (as an assigned reading in my grad program) which guts this person’s argument.

And what’s wrong with not calling it Art, right? 😉