Bead Counting

Last week I shopped for some birthstones at Dave’s Down to Earth Rock Shop and at Ayla’s Originals. Ayla’s had a wonderful vintage bead sale and I couldn’t resist picking up a  sparkly iridescent strand.

Then I made a pact with myself to inventory what I have at home. I always gravitate toward the same colors, so I had to ensure that what I have is sufficient rather than giving in to temptation.

I also need to update my spreadsheets with what is still on hand after a few years, so much counting ensued.

When I went to the Bead & Button Show I had a list of colors and types of beads I could buy. I also had a current photo of my bead rack in the camera for reference. Over two days I made my way through my stash and identified beads that I had not yet learned names of in 2011.

Clearly I have plenty in my stash to keep me busy, but it is still wonderful to peruse bead stores, fondle the strands, and learn more about unique gemstones and bead artisans.

Right now my mission is to make a dent in the beads I have and post those creations onto the shop.

I also need to get the birthstone bangle completed that started this inventory session in the first place.

What are your favorite gems?

Jigging at the Bead & Button Show

Two years ago I visited the Bead & Button Show for the first time and was overwhelmed.

BeadFrosty

It is amazing how a convention center can have a block worth of bead booths with all of them offering different wares.

moreisles

The plethora of colors and sparkles resulted in me only buying a few strands, since I couldn’t remember what I had at home.

rowsofbeads

This year I checked my color inventory ahead of time.

BeadInventoryBefore

Two friends had gifted me a lot of beads, so I had quite some notes to take.

BeadNotes

I also wanted to learn how to operate my jig better, so I signed up for a few of Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s A Jig! Sessions.

JigStarterKit

I use the jig for my frosties, which morphed into the dot show pieces. I also started experimenting with butterflies and dragonflies for the Swarm Show.

JIggingDotsBfly

I knew I could learn more tricks by getting some hands-on demos from the Jig designer herself.

NtaJcomponents

On June 8 I learned how to make stick figure necklaces with lovely beads by Diane Hawkey.

facebeads

It was so hard to pick out faces. I’m glad we got to choose three.

MaikesStickmanJig

Brenda introduced us to the gadget that helps make collars.

collarbenders

I finished putting my people together at home.

stickmanHomework

I reviewed my swag bag and started plotting the map.

swagbag

Bead & Button has various calls for art prior to the show, and the beaded artistry was amazing.

beaddreamsbouquets

The display of buttons was amazing also, and I coveted these museum pieces.

ButtonExpo

Crowns of beads and wirework and lots of whimsy.

beaddreams

I drove back to Milwaukee on Saturday morning and tried to be methodical in going aisle by aisle.

beadbooths

I did get distracted here and there, but since I had marked my must-see booths in advance, I was able to focus my purchases for day 1.

crystals

These handcrafted Peruvian critters were impossible to resist.

critterbeadsfromPeru

There were tassels that reminded me of See Jane Sparkle.

sparkletassels

Crystals everywhere.

ssilversparkle

Beads in all sizes and shapes.

bargainskulls

What’s better than beads? Beaded beads!

beadedbeads

Smartly, the convention center kept the snackbar open on the shopping floor, and had a cocktail bar to boot.

lunchbreak

Fortified, I continued to browse and note what was where.

BeadShowBooth

I compared prices on pearls and druzy agate and had lovely conversations with vendors.

TAPearls

Although I had not planned to shop on day 1, some beads were impossible to resist and I brought some treasure into the hotel with me.

Day1Loot

I took a lovely stroll of the riverwalk and enjoyed a restful night before the workshop the next day.

roundsgalore

On Sunday I participated in the Jig StartrWorkshop-Xpress to learn what all my pegs and rounds could do.

sundayxpress

Now That’s A Jig! Was designed by Brenda Schweder as a collaboration with Swanstrom in 2012.

StickManClassKit

I had met Brenda in 2011 and took a bangle class with her then.

BrendaSchwederDesignsManquin

We reconnected at Ayla’s Highland Park Bead Bazaar in 2014 and I ordered a jig shortly after.

ChainlinkDemo

We were given a lovely template to learn different connecting pieces that could form a bracelet and help kickstart a variety of ideas.

LinkPatternPak

You can also make jumprings on the jig.

jumpringcoiling

Brenda’s technique is different from mine, so it was good to see how she works and learn how to maximize the Swivelok.

SchwederDemonstrates

I was too busy admiring all her beautiful pieces and learning more tips and tricks to really focus on finishing the bracelet links, but we got take the template home so I can finish making links later.

BrendaSchwederDesigns

Later this summer I’ll do a studio visit to learn how to operate Now That’s a Pliers!

NtaP

This year Brenda launched PatternPaks to help people set up the jig with a published design.

LinkPatternPak

After class I went up to the booth to check out additional PatternPaks, and settled on the RainChain template for which I already have all the rounds.

NtAJBooth

Then I reviewed my shopping list to determine what beads I needed to take home.

czechbeadpiles

Of course my self-imposed ban on blue beads didn’t last, but they are all unique finds I know I wouldn’t be able to source as easily here.

SandySchorFtWorth

I decided to indulge in cheese fries before the ride home.

cheesefries

It was a lovely day of sifting through colors and sparkles, and being inspired by the wide variety of beads that exist.

BeadsGalore

The gulls decorated my car as it stood overnight.

seagullgrafitti

I am already at work designing beads for people who made special requests, and look forward to sharing additional designs at the upcoming Evanston Sidewalk Sale.

BeadsfromtheShow

But first, the beads had to be inventoried.

BBLoot

I can see how malas and rosaries can help quiet the mind, because there is something zen about counting beads on a string.

countingpearlsMore photos to come soon!

Inspirational Women at Blue Buddha Boutique

At last week’s pop-up opening we had a lovely tour of the Blue Buddha Boutique facility and got to meet some fabulous entrepreneurial ladies.

EAIMmeetsBBB

Rebeca Mojica started making chain maille jewelry 12 years ago when she saw a cool belt that she wanted to recreate. She purchased 1000 jump rings that turned out to be 16 gauge galvanized steel, but she persevered and made a belt.

ChainMailleKitBBB

Then she started playing with her remaining rings. At Caravan Beads she learned how to make clasps, and when that teacher left she began teaching classes. On her first day she sold $300 of supplies and felt she was on to something.

chainmaillekits

She started a web site to let students place orders in February 2003 with the values of creativity, empowerment, community, kindness and chocolate. In 2007 she opened her first storefront, which in 2013 moved to the Granville location.

BBBAwards

The storefront now houses 73 artists and ships 30 to 80 chainmaille packages a day from the warehouse in the back to 50 states and 40 countries. We were given a tour of the vast back area of the boutique, where a variety of colors, metals and sizes of jump rings are stored for shipping. Employees gather supplies from pick lists, ranging from bulk orders to project kits that are then shipped.

ChainMailleGalore

In the back is also where niobium is colored. The precious metal is placed in a bath that is linked up to cathodes.

Niobium bath

As the voltage increases, the color of the niobium changes, creating a rainbow of colored rings.

niobiumRainbow

During our tour we were introduced to Kathmandu Yogi, which sources meditation cushions, malas and clothing from Nepal. Natasha Casanova’s vision was to bring meditation cushions to retail stores for people to try in person rather than ordering them online.

KathmanduYogiR

Natasha’s suppliers who hand brocade the fabrics used in the products didn’t lose their homes in the recent earthquakes but their neighbors did, and the purchase made from Kathmandu Yogi directly support the residents in the disaster area.

KathmanduYogi

Next to Blue Buddha Boutique is AVP Beads, founded by Ana Pizarro. Ana worked at Caravan Beads for more than a decade until they closed.

AVP Beads

In need of a livelihood, she and her sister used a tax refund and credit cards to start a bead store on Elston and Irving Park (3960 N Elston Ave). In July, the second location next to Blue Buddha Boutique was opened. AVP beads is a family business supporting a niece and brother-in-law, who each have roots in Ecuador.

woven beads

AVP offers project tables where you can get help on a beading project you are working on. Ana loves bead weaving but does a variety of beading projects.

AVPBeadShop

Ana’s Wonderwoman Cuff was featured in Creative Beading.

AVPbeadsWonderWomanCuff

The beads come from all over the world, including nuts and seeds from the Amazon, African glass, precious stones and more.

BeadsgaloreAVP

Blue Buddha Boutique was hosting another pop-up on opening night: Tulia’s Artisan Gallery. Karen Torres named her business after her grandmother. Her mission is to bring Colombian art to the Chicago area.

TuliasArtisanGallery

She sources her statement pieces for the home from a Wounaan family forced out of the Darien rainforest into Bogota 13 years ago (due to territorial conflicts). That family has since built a larger home to support additional migrants and help them get started in a new city.

TuliasHairclips

The refugee community comprises an extended family of weavers, carpenters, and silversmiths.  The family creates baskets and bracelets from palm leaves. They do the hand dye-ing and thread making themselves and it takes one day to do one turn of a basket.

TuliasBangles

Another women’s artisan group preserves ancestral techniques of the Guane indians of central Colombia. Growing cotton, cleaning, dyeing and handspinning are all done according to tradition and a museum has been established by this group to ensure this art form isn’t lost. Scarves are available via Tulia’s Artisan Gallery.

CottonScarvesTulias

I couldn’t resist picking up a butterfly clip made from “fique,” a relative of the agave plant.  These are hand made by women in central Colombia who work from home.

TuliasButterfly

We also met the founder of LiftUpLift, an online marketplace for women. Corielle Heath crowd funded her business after realizing there was no marketplace for women owned by a woman. She carefully selects the businesses reflected on the online shopping site to ensure that the work is authentic and matches her mission and vision. We had a lovely time chatting and I am exploring the online shopping interface.

LiftUPlift

I did a little make and take during the evening and made this lovely keychain pull in 20 minutes.

MakeAndTakeZipperPull

It looks nice on my purse from the Geneva Swedish Days.

pepped up bag

Pop in to Blue Buddha Boutique and view our Edgewater Artists In Motion pop-up through December. A variety of artists are on display with gift items the whole family will love.

Carpe Diem Mini Poster2 11x17

Sparkles at Ayla’s Bead Bazaar

September closed out with a pop-up at Ayla’s Fall Bead Bazaar.

AylasBeadBazaar

I had perused the bazaar last year and was thrilled to be one of the vendors this year.

BeadRoom

What’s not to like about being surrounded by sparkles and beauty?

PaintedBeads

Last year’s Pyrite strand made it into a set.

PyritePendantMaikesmarvels

I paired it with my Desigual dress for the day.

fair outfit

I also combined it with the ring I bought from Ayla’s booth last year, which matched the sparkly Noktivo nails nicely.

NoktivoManicure

The set also marked a tagging milestone (when I hadn’t properly identified the beads).

501

Before the fair, I had to tally up my cash and business cards to make sure I was set.

FairPrep

My satin necklace cords had dwindled as well, so I spent one afternoon tediously cutting and crimping.

cordmaking

It is always fun to see the bare bones of a fair.

baretables

My table was set up with time to spare.

AylasBeadBazaarBooth

So I perused the other booths before the public came in.

ElkaDesignsBoothtable

Elka’s Designs has so many treasures.

ElkasDesigns

I had picked up strands from her trunk show recently at Ayla’s Originals Evanston store.

ElkasStrands

Elka hand-picked the colors for this Hematite bangle.

SquareBangleMakingMaikesmarvelssm

I felt the need for some orange and she had this Hollowite Turquoise on hand. The coppery acrylic beads are lightweight in spite of their size.

OrangeBangleElkasbeads

This Pink Agate set lights up my life and wardrobe.

PinkAgateBangleMaikesMarvels

I played with Fall notes for the round hematite beaded bangle (and I have plenty of beads for monochromatic versions as well).

ROundHematiteBangle

Ayla’s had a variety of tables to peruse, including pearls and silver strands of gorgeousness:

SilverStrands

Leather:

AylasLeatherTable

Two Charming Chicx’ Trunk Show pendants:

2CharmincgChix

Glass beads I will eventually work into a design:

FurnaceBeads

There were gorgeous handmade beads and pendants:

Diane Turrillo

Organic jewelry and jewelry components:

OrganicBeads

The Pastels Chicago show at the Art Center – Highland Park was not as pastell-y as anticipated. I was surprised by the earth tones in many pieces.

PastelsChicago

My neighbor sold chainmaille kits:

MidwestMaille

So much sparkle!

Sparkle

I was worried I might not be able to find the strands of this chunky bead bangle that has been requested by two customers already.

DakotaStonesChunkyBangle

Thankfully Dakota Stones was right in front of me.

DakotaStonesbooth

Hooray, two strands for me (and more goodies)!

DakotaStonesLoot

I wasn’t the only one browsing the $5 and $10 strands.

5dollarbeads

I was tempted by so many other beads, but had to restrain myself.

ButtonsBooth

After all, one has to turn a profit first!

AylasCustomers

My pen-person from the last NEW meeting did its job.

SquareMan

All these embellishments spark so many ideas!

Bellydancegoodies

The ornaments drew admiration, so I hope some holiday orders come my way.

Ornaments

It was a lovely day filled with inspiration, and I look forward to showing the new creations from my new stash.

Embellishments

Playing with beads

The Bead and Button Show is on May 27 through June 8, but this year I won’t be able to attend.

BangleBeads

I would love to take Brenda Schweder’s Jig workshops, but time- and money-wise it’s not feasible to travel to Milwaukee this year.

AgatePrep

Instead, I am perusing the beads I picked up last year for new projects.  The Yellow Agate chunky beads from Ayla’s Fall Bead Bazaar inspired a new set.

AgatesPicked

I love the uneven shapes and the marbled patterns. Playing with the shapes and wrapping steel wire around them to create earrings and two pendants was fun.

ModelingAgateSet

Two other strands caught my eye, the chunky glass beads I also obtained at Ayla’s Fall Bead Bazaar and the purple coral from A Bella Bead in Glen Ellyn.

ChunkyGlassbefore

The purple coral became a pair of earrings, and I’ll likely add a pendant and a bracelet to match.

purplecoralearrings

The glass beads have such cheerful colors that were fun to sort.

sortingcolors

I liked playing with different designs based on how the beads coordinated themselves. First I just strung some beads on a wire the traditional way.

stringingbeadsforoval

These asked for the classic oval cage design.

ovalcage

Then I kept wrapping around it until the wire was up.

OvalCagewithBeads

The angular beads asked for a triangular shape.

TriangleWrapping

Then I wrapped around them more.

TriangleWrappingAround

Fiddling with wire gauges and bending the beads into clusters is very organic.

wrappingglassbeads

This cluster wrapped itself into a rectangular shape.

SquareWrapping

It is fun to watch the pieces catch the light.

catchinglight

Dirty hands make me feel accomplished.

dirtyhands

Being a matchy-matchy person, I added earrings to the mix as well.

earringMakingChunkybeads1

I still have plenty of beads to make a bangle bracelet.

ChunkyBanglePoll

I also made Amazonite earrings to go with the collar and bangle set I have up on Etsy.

AmazoniteEarrings

These newbies will be loaded onto Etsy after my pop-up shop on May 30 at Creative Coworking.

beadedPieces

‘Heart’ your favorites on Etsy!

It’s selfie time!

Whenever I do my Etsy shoots, I try to also wear the pieces out and about for a photo record of how they look in real life, like this blue beaded pendant, ring and earring set.

BlueBeadedSet

Sweaterdress season is almost over, and this jade stone collar looks great with knits.

StoneCollarScribbleBalls

It’s fun to mix and match pieces and add my ring collection to the fun. You can view my combinations in real time on Instagram. Pairing my infinite earrings with a coil bangle and an exquisite purple pendant  brightened up the dreary days, and I gave my wool sweater a touch of spring with the caged butterfly pendant and matching scribble ball earrings.

PinkAndPurpleCombos600

I am also playing with my necklace collection, and wore my grandmother’s gift with New World Symphony when I won tickets to the Evanston Symphony Orchestra during a #weLoveEvanston campaign.

NewWorldSymphony

Pictured here: Musical wax and wire pendant, violin clef earrings,
a custom birthstone bangle bracelet, a butterfly ring from Ayla’s Originals.

The weather is warming but you can always make a fashion statement with a scarf pendant! This one is made with a piece of vintage coral.

CoralTriangleScarfPendant

I wore the freshly listed double helix wax and wire pendant to the Textual Encounters opening, along with pink scribble ball earrings and a butterfly scarf pendant.

ARCOpening600

A pop of red is always fun. This musical heart is one of my first and favorite pieces, and I combined it with the coil earrings that are quite popular. My triangle pendants have found a few new homes, and any color is available. The smashed earrings have a life or their own.

600Reds

When I did the Yacht walk-through for RAW, the long wire earrings got combined with a lime green mother’s day pendant, a bangle bracelet and rings from fellow Etsy vendors Jelene Britten Designs and alapop jewelry.

MothersDayLimeGreen6

Check out my Etsy shop for more pieces and always wear your seatbelts! They make pendants look awesome.

Fall Bead Bazaar

Ayla’s Beads held a Bazaar in Highland Park’s Art Center last weekend and I could not resist going.

TACBeadBazaar

Having learned from the Bead & Button Show, I took a visual inventory of what I had in stock.

Beadinventory

I sort of had a budget in mind, but made exceptions for exceptional beads in the 4 rooms of The Highland Park Art Center.

TACBeadShowMainRoom

They had a mother-daughter show in full swing, which had some lovely pieces.

TACMOthersDaughtersShow

Of course the butterfly by Matt Duvin caught my eye.

ButterflyArt

I turned a corner into a side room to discover Brenda Schweder’s That’s a Jig Booth.

BrendaSchwederJIgBooth

I’m planning on making that my Christmas splurge, and am so inspired by all the pieces Brenda’s friends have created with the jig and a variety of materials.

ThatsAJig

It was lovely to chat and reminisce about our first meeting at The Creative Connection Event in Minneapolis.

BrendaSchwederMaike

photo by Brenda Schweder’s assistant

I was in such a different place then, and I needed the reminder this particular week that you are never stuck in the present.

Butterflycage

I was reminded that people you meet and classes you take can lead you down paths you don’t anticipate at that moment, but do help you pursue what you are meant to do over time.

chunkystones

Silk Road Treasures had a wall of beads.

SilkRoadWallofBeads

I was thrilled with Dakota Stones, which was one of the busiest booths at the show due to its amazing array of gemstones. String a Strand had some awesome beads and findings as well.

DakotaStones

The handmade glass beads intrigue me, and I got a small starter set to play with from Diane Tarullo before delving into this.

CynthiaMcEwen

I had a lovely chat with glass artist Sheila Papaioannou and her husband.

MedusaStones

I am inspired by their designs as well.

handmadeglassbeads

I splurged on some ring bling from Ayla’s booth, which is so inspirational.

AylasBeadsBooth

I look forward to taking a steel soldering class there next month that might help me create a pink ring of my own.

AylasRingBling

I look forward to creating pieces with all these new inspirational, healing and cheerful pieces, and cannot wait to show them to you.

BeadBazaarLoot

My Shopping quota has been reached for now too, unless I sell loads of pieces at Ravenswood Art Walk October 4 & 5!

Exploring Beads & Buttons

This year I attended the Bead & Button show for the first time, and it was a blast.

showsign

I laughed at Milwaukee’s interpretation of compact cars.

CompactCar

My intent was to systematically go down each isle, but there were too many sparklies and bargain tables distracting me.

Beadtable

So I meandered and enjoyed the colors, the inspiration, the plethora of tools.

Mermaid

I was told I would be overwhelmed and it was true.

beadsgalore

Fortified by beer and a burger I carried on (smart to have a mini-bar in a confined environment full of glitter!).

Beer&Burger

But for the first time I was glad I made just a day of it, a quick drive up, though I will ponder whether to stay overnight next time.

Bedbargains

You can see how a multi-day trip looks here, here 2, here 3, here 4.

collaboratecolors

Brenda Schweder’s collaborative exhibit was mesmerizing.

collaboratetitle

collaboratedisplay

I am trying to track down the book to go with it (a case of “should have bought it there”–update, got it for my birthday!).

collaboratenecklace

Just the display is inspiring.

collaborategeometric

I am intrigued by her Jig too, but need to compare it to wubbers to see which works best for me.

Collaborate1

Next year I may sign up for some classes and demos.

Collaborate3

So much to learn!

collaborate2

For now, my loot will keep me busy and inspired.

BBLoot

It complements my inventory nicely-which I will make better mental notes of next time since I wasn’t sure what I had in stock.

WhatIOwn

 

Inventorying some more

“The value in keeping anything is
in keeping it current and instantly accessible. … Refresh often.”
~ Don Aslett, Weekend Makeover

Upon my return from The Creative Connection I was inspired to organize my studio right away. I failed to do that last year and my Ruth Rae felt album project is still in a box ‘to be completed’.

It’s a messy process to get organized.

The table was cleared for my homework (though I ended up doing that on the floor) and my new goodies were inventoried right away. As I entered my new Mermaid Dowry items and looked for last year’s entries I found out that I never completed my beads drawer. I had counted all my buttons (746 of them) in one half of the drawer, but found few entries for bead-related materials in my spreadsheet.

Of course I dropped a box as I pulled everything out, sigh.

Could have been a bigger box, though…

 

It was kind of zen to count up all these teeny items.

“If someone asks me what makes me happiest,
it is never anything I can quantify
like a house or a possession or something I can touch.
It is the spirit of the human being,
which can fill me with more joy than anything in the world.” 

~ Goldie Hawn, A Lotus Grows in the Mud

126 spreadsheet lines later I can account for 10,100 beads!  They’re all in this drawer.

Counting paper was less fun because I didn’t record prices for the packs as early as 7 years ago. Guesstimating thousands of sheets can be tedious.

This pad is even older.

Here ironing the tissue paper was a soothing activity.

“If a thing or activity does not create passion or excitement
or they have waned, then it is time to dejunk.”

~Don Aslett, Weekend Makeover

My ribbons account for more than 9,000 inches and the embellishments drawer now contains 8,000+ pieces for those keeping track of the inventorying venture. Since July I’ve been good about entering new craft supplies as soon as I receive/acquire them. It is much easier to do this with a receipt in hand than weeks or months later.

Right now I am using a regular spreadsheet for documentation (Numbers in iWork-not as good as Excel), but over time I want to try out MYOB Account Edge  or Bento which were recommended by fellow crafters on the Where Women Create Facebook Forum.

Do you inventory at all?

“All of the work we do has a place in this world.
Our challenge is to sift through the opportunities and find our niche.”
~ Judy Wise in Taking Flight