JigUFacturer Certification

June was such a whirlwind. Fresh off the Hermosa ArtShow and the EvanstonMade openings I quickly refreshed my Pop Up Gallery inventory to make sure Northwestern Grads would have purple mementos. I also worked on the June 2018: #RadJewelryNTaJChallenge! for Brenda’s monthly Now That’s a Challenge!

Then I headed for Milwaukee, to attend the Bead & Button Show.

This year I actually taught at the show, which was a brand-new experience. I had one student on Friday morning and two on Saturday. It was fun to design on the Now That’s a Jig! and have my own template developed.

I was thrilled by the response to my garden stake and seeing others who wanted to learn even though they couldn’t make the class time. Other JigUFacturers also taught during the weekend, and I took a few classes with them.

On Friday I worked the booth with Brenda and other JigUFacturers. The variety of classes drew a crowd and toward 4 pm we had a full house of ladies needing to sit down from all their shopping.

At lunch I had my first (and last) Mac and Cheese Pizza. It was fun to try.

During my perusal of the bead show I bumped into Ayla’s Originals owners Ayla and Joe.

After a long day I checked into a hotel and found dinner at a local mall. Like years before, the seagulls gave me a Milwaukee welcome.

The next day I taught the 11:30 session. Then my friend came and I introduced her to the joys of bead show shopping. We had a blast walking the floor and making quick decisions on truly unique items. 

We also tested our Swarovski Angel Wings.

I gave up my spot for a pendant class that had been demonstrated before, but I still got the template for home.


That evening we dined in the hotel and toasted each other with rose.

Then sat in the hotel room with the maps to determine our plan for the next day.

This worked out really well as it can get overwhelming and you can get caught up in the moment of so many different things to get.

We took a SpringyBling earring class with fellow JigUFacturer Araceli Macias and then worked off our list booth by booth.

Learning about new tools was very helpful.

Brenda and Co. taught more classes that day. Time passed quickly and it came down to the last half hour before I got to the booth that had haunted me since Friday. Those special beads inspired me to get some Lapis, which I got at a discount since it was the last few minutes of the show.


At 4 pm it was time to say farewell to Bead & Button.

We spotted some lovely buildings along the way back to retrieve my car.

My friend left after we treated ourselves to a Culver’s shake, and then I checked into a new hotel.

This one was much nicer than the other location I had visited for my Friday stay, which was a relief. Sometimes hotels can ooze bad vibes, and for a multi-night stay I needed pleasantness. With all the walking I didn’t use the gym or pool, but it was good to know that they were there.

I had to run an errand and found mall-heaven for crafters in the New Berlin area.

I chuckled that I was living next to the Texas Roadhouse, and realized that while I recognize the Texas state flag anywhere, I had no idea what Wisconsin’s flag is.

I tallied up my purchases and reflected on the busy days.

Monday morning I drove to Waukesha where Brenda Schweder gave us our first certification class in her gorgeous home, with fresh carpeting! On day one we were six: star assistant Sara, Kathryn Tetzlaff, Araceli Macias, Joellen Fritchen, Judy Menting, and me.

Our challenge was to use the template for various techniques, first following the instructions, and then adding our own interpretation of the technique by changing the Now That’s a Jig! Setup into our own design. We finished just as our stomachs started rumbling, and were treated to a lovely lunch in downtown Waukesha.

I was charmed by the surroundings and look forward to making a day trip here later this summer or in the fall. There were selfies galore during the pause in wirewrangling.

In the afternoon we got to ask about some special templates, and I made the fun cat-eye glasses I had missed out on during the show. We were also taught how to properly hold the tools we were using.

Still full from lunch, I picked up a salad from Panera Bread and then took my daily 20-minute walk in the parking lot. I was serenaded by the creatures in the tall grass and trees of undeveloped land, and enjoyed the juxtaposition of nature vs. Suburbia.

It was funny to stare at myself from the bed.

I slept soundly, and soon it was time to head back to day 2 of our certification. This followed an advance template where again we had to follow the pattern’s layout first, and then interpret that technique in our own way.

I really enjoyed learning new terminology and techniques, and know I will use some of the links in my own way in the future. The triangle was the most challenging, partially because I was also taking advantage of different gauges and types of wire Brenda had available, so some of the softer wires didn’t respond like steel would.

I was happy for that practice though, and we discovered some colors and gauges of ParaWire I might have to order in the future.

Lunch was brought in this time, and it was lovely to converse with everyone leisurely while mulling over all the learning. Touring Brenda’s studio is so joyful.

We completed the afternoon portion by 4 p.m., and took 30 minutes to say goodbye and leave the lovely inspirational home Brenda has created for her family.

These were two super-productive days!

My 2-hour commute was short compared to Araceli’s cross-country flight to California and Kathryn’s drive back to Ohio.

However, my car’s a/c compressor had just given out, which made for a sweaty homecoming. I did my groceries, settled back in, and tallied up my loot.

All in all, it was a lovely week spent on beading and JigUFacturing, and I am glad I made the investment in myself and my business to step away from my cocoon and enjoy learning from others.

We are officially JigUFacturer Certified!

I finally ordered the Xuron Plier set I had enjoyed using during Brenda’s workshops last year and this year.

You can see Brenda live on Mondays and Thursdays on Facebook, and you will see our JigUFacturer creations every month during the Now That’s a Challenge! Reveals. I am looking forward to seeing her and Sara again next year, if not sooner.

4 thoughts on “JigUFacturer Certification

  1. Joellen says:

    Nice recap. Couldn’t have said it better myself. It was fun to spend time with you at Brenda’s.

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