Friday, 18 April 2014

Daffodils for easter

It's easter and the daffodils are in full bloom. I'll keep the text short and just let the pics speak today.

Of cause the cats were nearby, but it was only Jinja who wanted to pose:

I won't wish happy easter yet as I planned on doing that with a post tomorrow. But until then, hope you're having a lovely spring weekend!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Should I destash?

It's that time again -- a day when I go window shopping for beads and it ends up with the should-I-destash-or-not dallying that I do every now and then. As a hobbyist, I can't just buy beads all the time. Not selling anything, destashing it one of the ways I finance my bead addiction.

I've thought about doing something drastic and sell beads I've kept for some time and never used, mainly as a way to focus on the type of beads I love the most and build up a stash of beads that work well together, not just look pretty on their own. Out with the aqua fired agate rounds and rosequartz, in with the stone picasso beads and aged seeds.

It can feel so good to destash. Out with the old, in with the new. It's both a physical and mental spring cleaning. While keeping most of the stash (it's big), it's still a bit like creating a clean slate, a new start.

So why don't I destash? It's often a matter of doubting there's an interest and buying and a matter of time as it means you have to take photos, set prices, consider making bead soups or not, posting it online -- and then once the orders come you have all the administration around that. Putting the order together, letting the person know if someone else just bought that bead, wait for payment, buy stamps (which isn't that easy when living in the countryside with no bus lines and no driver's licence) and package everything. Last time I did a big destash I made a whole set of blog posts, as you can still see as I haven't taken the blog down.

I mean, it's fun too as you get money and more space for new beads. It's just that I want to feel certain it's worth all the work.

The one side I don't like about destashing is calculating the price -- and, yes, I know that with my education it should be super easy. I just hate the idea of overpricing and feel worried no one is going to buy unless I sell it cheap. Now you might say "well, why don't you go the auction route and let the buyers set the price"? But I don't feel confident that I'd get enough bidders interested -- or indeed that there'd be more than one or two finding my auctions.

One thing I've thought about is making lots -- everything from cheap bead lots to "premium style" with more expensive beads and supplies -- as it keeps the amount of work down a bit. But then I run into the problem of combining lots and making interesting mixes that'll attract buyers. I don't want to end up with people not buying because they just want one piece or two in a lot.

Unfortunately, the last three or four times I've thought about destashing I've gotten stuck in those kind of thoughts and never got around to destash. Now I feel like I can't let that happen again. I should take a day to just sit down a cull beads. Go through every box, jar and bag. Really ask myself if I should hang on to that or that bead/finding/cord. Yes, you might find that it was a good thing to save one day, but some beads will just work their way to the bottom of the stash and stay there forever unless you sell them or give them away.

Fingers crossed I get further than this old verbal rehash this time...

Friday, 11 April 2014

The yellow garden

It's the season of yellow flowers, at least in our garden. Of cause there's been yellow flowers earlier this spring too as well as there are a few flowers in other colour than yellow (scilla, violets etc), but right now it's the yellow colour that dominated against the green grass and budding leaves. Daffodils, lesser celadines (svalört), forsythia and the last few yellow stars-of-bethlehem (vårlök). The yellow crocus are, on the other hand, wilted by now. Not sure about the tussilagos as we don't have them right hear, but I'm adding a pic I took a little over two weeks ago.

Not all daffodils are in full bloom just yet, but they still fill much of the northern lawn as usual.

Even indoors, the yellow flowers are present, brightening the rooms.

What I'm working on

I'm playing with leather cords again. Hopefully I'll be showing some pics of the finished bracelets by the end of next week. The first one's ready, but I'm saving them for one post of all three pieces.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

An old bead mix

I was taking some bead photos today so I thought I might as well also snap a few pics of a bead mix from my stash. Bought it ages ago and unlike some mixes I haven't used it not because it isn't good, but because it was, at least at the time, too good. I.e. I wanted to save it for something special as it was both pretty and not very cheap. Also, at the time I was a seedbeading newbie who couldn't combine these various shapes and sizes into a piece the way I an today -- though I'm also considering using them for stringing.

Unlike many mixes, the base of this mix is matte beads. Very matte metallics in bronze and chocolate brown. Then there's matte metallic iris, copper-lined, and shiny colours adding  touches of black, bronze, purple, russet etc. The drops feel a tad malplaced, but other than that it's a good mix of shapes and sizes with a focus on the slightly chunkier (what with cubes and big seeds) -- and best of all, no bugle beads. There are mixes where bugles fit in, yes, but most of the time they're not adding anything to the mix.

(Yes, you may ask where I got it, but it was years ago and the shop no longer sell bead mixes so...)

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A puff stitch flower

I've tried a new crochet stitch again. This time it was one of those puff stitches that look so pretty you just have to give it a go. I followed a video tutorial, which in my case means watching it three times or so, then go find some yarn, sit down in bed and try to remember how to do it. Now, I had some written instructions for a similar flower by my side so I could consult that as the basic idea is the same. Considering my method of learning, I think it looks rather nice. Have problem making the loops a consistent size, but it doesn't look too lopsided, does it? At least not for a first try. Next time I'll use fewer chain stitches to move them more to the back where they're hidden

My original idea was to make brooches, but they were kind of addictive so now I'm thinking of making something bigger, stitching them together. Making a cushion, bag or something. Like this gorgeous bag.

After finishing it, I thought a mushroom button drop might be just the right bead to put in the centre. It was. And now I have a reason to buy mushrooms. You see, I've seen some pretty colours of button drops, but always thought it wasn't worth buying as I don't really use them. Well, now I do -- and having an excuse to "have" to buy a certain bead always feels good.

(If you want a reason to buy mushroom drops, you should check out this necklace and this bracelet, by the way. There are many other designs using them too, some probably more impressing that these, but these two are ones I spotted the other day and which whispered "you should get some mushroom drops to play with".)

PS! Looking for tutorials? I've got a handful of puff flower patterns pinner on this pinboard. When writing this, the pins are close to the top of the board so they should be easy to find. Some of them are also on my DIY flower board. (Or... I might just repin them all there too so they're easy to find. Just noticed I had some crochet flower there that are pobably buried far down on my crochet/knit board.)

New seed bead storage (finally I have structure!)

Seeed beads -- I love them, but they do cause me headaches sometimes. Like with my bead mix issues last week and the one neverending story that is bead storage. I know I'm not the only one with more beads than storage!

When it comes to seeds, about a third of my stash has been crammed into a plastic cookie jar the last six months or so. The rest was sorted into a storage unit, but being comprised of little partions and being opaque black, it was hard to get a good grasp of what I really had. You can just see what ever happened to be placed on top. A couple of months ago, I sorted out all 2-hole beads and shapes (drops, bugles, triangles, cubes etc) and put in another container -- which overflowed immediately...

The problem with this is that a) the beads have been spread out and b) they're stored in a way that never give me a good overview of the colours and sizes. After realising this wasn't working, especially after thinking about bead mixes and not being able to find good colour combos despite the size of my stash, I decided that enough is enough! I can't just keep dallying, trying to find the perfect solution (fit different kinds of tubes/jars/zip-locks or buy flip-top boxes for all beads, be portable, showcase each colour). It'll be too expensive to buy a specially designed storage system and I'll never do it. But I needed to tackle the poblem and suddenly I had the answer: keep it simple -- and cheap. So I bought a plastic box and a package of plastic bags with zippers.

The pics aren't great as I took them indoors on a rainy day (missed the one hour of sunshine as I was trying to cure an unpleasant -- and unlike above not figurative -- headache), but I was just so pleased with having all beads sorted once and for all that I just had to do a show and tell today.

There was the usual issue of sorting by type (shape, size) or colour, but I just did what I've always done: sort seeds and cylinders by colour [one bag for mixes and one for multi-coloured beads without one dominating colour] and then sort other shapes by themselves. In this case, restricted by the number of plastic bags, I sorted all sorts of cuts (charlottes, hex etc) in one bag, 2-hole beads in one, bugles in one and all the rest (drops, triangles etc) in the last bag. The baroque seeds are in that last bag too.

It took longer to work out where some shades should go than deciding to sort by colour. Some bead colours are just inbetween the major colour groups I sorted by: pink-orange, yellow-beige-brown, purple-pink, brown-pink, green-blue. With some beads, I simply ended up choosing the bag with the least beads in.

As you can see below, purple could need a second bag... The system works best when the bags aren't full. And it could also be useful to sort red-purples separately from blue-purples now that there are so many different shades of purple  in the stash.

But all in all, it's a good feeling today, looking at the sorted beads. Not the perfect solution, but way better than before. It might not be the most elegant storage system, but now I feel like I have -- for the first time in ages -- got better control over my stash. I can see what I have and don't have -- and finally sorting all beads by colour, I can see what colours I should ease up on buying and what colours I need to have more of. If I need a bead of a certain colour, all I have to do now is find the right bag, pull it up and have a look. If you haven't been in this situation yourself, you probably won't understand how it can feel so good to finally have structure, have a system. If you have been in my situation on the other hand, I'm sure you know exactly what I feel right now.

The only thing I don't like is the slight embarrassment of seeing -- and feeling, it's heavy to lift! -- how much seeds I own. Don't tell anyone how much you think I've spent to amass so much seeds! It's not all expensive shades of Delicas and exclusive metal-plated 15/0 charlottes. There's many basic japanese and czech seeds and even some cheap indian and chinese ones for embroidery. Still... I don't even want to guess how much money that box represents!

One last pic: this is the loose beads I found on the bottom of my old storage. Considering how many zip-lock bags have burst over the years, it wasn't too bad at all. And it's just cheaper beads, not any of the ones I barely dare touch as they're so exclusive or just plain expensive.
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