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A Successful Collar!

Hello all! Today I'd thought I'd share with you one of my most recent large scale successes.

Available now in my Etsy shop. Here's the listing! This was last year's attempt to enter the Fashion Colorworks beading contest. I did not win, FYI. I didn't even submit pictures half as good as the one above. And this one even has some issues. The pictures I did submit were quite embarrassing, which is why I don't use my phone for product photography. But hey, I made the deadline! That counts for something.
What's more, I actually ENJOYED every single second of creating this piece! That is incredible rare for me when it comes to making large scale work. At least in recent years. Forcing myself into specific themes, materials, or color schemes simply does not work most of the time. I have learned to just give things up or set them aside if they don't come together easily. That doesn't mean every failed competition piece ends up being a waste of time; it just …
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Happy Accident? I Don't Think So

Hello! I made a thing.

I thought I'd take a break from my budget friendly tips to tell you about my latest Fashion Colorworks Contest fail. Have you ever entered? Do you know which contest I mean? It's this one, hosted by the lovely Zoya Gutina. It's one of my life goals to be a featured winner in one of her news letters, (and hey maybe get picked up by Perlen Poesie in the process!)

For some reason, there were four different Pantone color palettes to choose from this year. As usual, I only really liked one of them (chili oil, arcadia, and meadowlark), so set about dismantling my bead stash to find compatible colors. I had plenty of the teals and yellows, but am short on browns and coppers. I just chose what was closest. I even chose to use my prize rubberized leaf shaped beads that I'd been saving for an old sketch that I never got around to making.

Initially, I was hoping to make my sketched necklace with this modified color scheme. I can't for the life of me rem…

Tip #6: Go Google a Book

Okay, so this is amazing!

Google books acts like an in depth preview of certain books. Especially if you live in Podunk, Texas with limited selections of beading materials at your local book stores (what book stores?) and libraries. Okay, so my library is pretty great in it's selection of....everything.....beadwork included. But I can only check out the same books so many times before I want to look for inspiration elsewhere.

Go to All you have to do is type in whatever material you are looking for, and you will get multiple results of what the first sections of your favorite or soon to be favorite beading books look like. Not everything has a preview, but a fair amount do, and they give you an idea of the quality of projects and diagrams used in each book.

As you can see from the ones I selected, there's quite a variety of bead artists out there. I don't currently own any of the above mentioned books. Nor have I seen any of them in person. And boy, …

Tip #5: Indulge in Some Kandi

Kandi patterns website:

Are you too poor to afford bead tool software? Do you not trust things to do as promised? I bought......something.....ages ago that was quite fiddly and never quite did what I asked it to. Admittedly, it was many years ago, but the experience was unfortunate and I prefer to find more affordable options when I need digital graphing tools.

Thankfully, Kandi Patterns is there for you! This is a useful website for if you're feeling nerdy and want to find a loom or peyote pattern of cute things. Or just make your own. There are tons of nostalgia inducing images here for your perusal.

Additionally, there is a handy pattern tool for color block building your own pattern, like I did for my illusion blocks bracelet. I was having a hard time finding loomed patterns for (tumbling blocks, as they're actually called). Plenty of peyote patterns abound! But, alas, looming patterns that did exist a year or two ago were not to my liking. Here are attempts #1 and #2. :-)

Tip #4: Let the Stork Surprise You

Stork Emroidery Scissors:

Your beading projects are your babies, right? Mine too! See?

Most people own a pair or two of these awesome embroidery scissors. And if you don't, you should! They're perfect for snipping thread close to your beadwork and are super sharp. Bonus: your loved ones aren't likely to choose these blades to dull with paper projects. Hehehe.

Also pictured is my current WIP. It's a late night inspiration. Some sort of double sided beaded button pendant project. The other side will be a mossy kind of green, like the accents in the outer round here. It's a surprisingly pleasant color scheme!

Anyway, stork scissors also have a history of being used by midwives to clip umbilical cords. Nifty, eh?
Oh, and please enjoy this beautifully drawn digital image that JD made me. It's going to grace all of my tutorial materials pages from this point onwards!

Isn't he beautiful?! <3 <3 <3

Today's listening entertainment is Welcome to Night Va…

Tip #3: Stay Tightly Wound

Paper bobbins

You might have to go out and purchase this one, but it's worth it.

For years I struggled with keeping my leftover bits of thread labeled and available for use in future projects. Of course I want to use up everything that is over a foot long, but it got tangled a lot or I forgot what type of thread it was.

I feel kind of dumb for not realizing this storage solution earlier. I'm not much of a seamstress or embroider-ER. I never really owned much actual sewing thread or DMC floss until recently, so completely forgot paper thread bobbins were a thing.

Don't they just do a beautiful job of keeping my beading threads organized?

I hope this easy tip was useuful. Happy beading!!

Tamara Allison

Viewing recommendation: Go watch the Amazon Prime version of the Tick. Right now. You won't be disappointed (except maybe that Patrick Warburton had a slightly better physique for the part).

Tip #2: Keep it Sharp (and out of the way).

Pencil lead case: This one is pretty straightforward. It's an easy needle storage solution.

I don't sew much and never had need of a pin cushion. However, I've seen a few patterns that I'd like to make, like this adorable cactus! Side note: the sheer amount of succulent themed art out there makes my little gardening heart happy. <3

Pin cushions aside, students always have lead for mechanical pencils, or at least they do now. And I was a student for the normal amount of time during my earliest crafty years. This little bit of recycling is handy for keeping your needles all in one accessible location, like I do. Or you could even have several on hand if you're the type that's super into labeling and keeping your sizes in different containers.

Supplementary tip: I have a magnetic tool strip on my desk for keeping all my tools. My needle case conveniently is full of magnetic material, so it can easily hang out with the others. See?

Just hammer that strip right i…