Monthly Archives: December 2011

BEAD IN THE NEW YEAR

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by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer, Instructor and SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Resolution is a dirty word. Like a new diet, it always sounds like a great idea in that moment of deep clarity (ha! right after the good luck pork dinner or that extra glass of champagne) then in the light of day, the brilliance fades, you fall off the wagon and you’re left feeling like a failure … AGAIN. Why do we set ourselves up every New Year’s Eve for this reoccurring nightmarish ritual? One word: Hope. Hope that this year will be different, hope that we’ll find the time to clean our studios more often, hope that all beads are half price (don’t hold your breath), hope that our ugly bead stash (we all have one) magically turns into Swarovski crystals overnight, hope that this new year will be the year they make a chocolate with zero calories AND zero carbs! You get it…Hope.So with a dose of Hope infused, I invite you to join my “Team Hope” and make some new resolutions with me. There’s power in numbers gang so let’s get going!

  1. Resolve to pick up a stitching project BEFORE opening the pint of Ben and Jerry’s. ‘Nuff said.
  2. Resolve to give back more. This does not necessarily mean ka-ching. Whether it’s volunteering with your fave charity or teaching the kids down the street how to bead, the importance of giving back and paying it forward drastically changes lives. Here are some ideas:
    • Donate finished jewelry/art to your local humane society. Many of them have gift shops, events and auction fundraisers and would be happy to accept your donations. And not only will you feel good you really will be helping them raise money and awareness for their 4-legged angels.
    • Volunteer at your local children’s hospital making jewelry for the kids. Use your old beads andstretchy cord to create simple stretch bracelets. This has been one of my most rewarding experiences. I’d go from room to room and sing Winnie-the-Pooh songs making bracelets with these sweeties. Just being a small part of their joy and relieving their pain with a few minutes of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” was life transforming, for both of us.
    • Teach your cube-mates how to make jewelry. Easy earrings or charm bracelets are a fun brown-bag lunch activity you can do once a month in your company cafeteria or a conference room. Send out a supply list for each participant to purchase ahead of time or use your own supplies and charge a materials fee.
  3. Resolve to organize the studio 1/2 hour a day 3 days a week. Notice, it’s not open ended (we all know how that plays out), Set a reasonable goal with an achievable plan. As I’ve previously confessed, this cell is missing in my brain and I’m hoping the 1/2-hour turns into blissful hours once I dive into that productive mode and hit the organizing “zone.” Perhaps seeing more than 6 inches of cleared space on my worktable will inspire me to keep going (fingers crossed)! Here are some great organizers to get you going:
  4. Resolve to declutter jewelry making/crafting magazines and books. Have a craft-swap with your bead/jewelry guild. Everyone brings in their old crafting books, magazines and beads, and you all swap. The goal is to go home with FEWER items than you arrived with (tough to do). It’s a win-win for everyone and makes room on our shelves for new goodies!
  5. Resolve to hook up with peeps regularly. Yes, we’re all too busy to fit this one in which is why it’s so important! Keeping our creative flow going means not only creating but also sharing the experience. All too often hubbies and kids are not the most receptive in this area but our beady peeps are! So organize a Meet and Bead playtime (weekly, monthly or quarterly) at a local coffee shop or bookstore (so no one has the stress of cleaning the house) and bead/stitch/embellish your own projects for a couple of hours. Amazing how this fuels your creative fire.
  6. Resolve to multi-task when sitting in front of the TV. Now, many of us have been doing this for years, but there are a few who actually sit and WATCH TV! What, waste precious beading time you ask? This needs to halt with the New Year; all it takes is a little practice and set up. Lighting is key. Make sure you have a task lamp set up so you don’t go even blinder than you already are. Here are a few of my faves:

    Use a TV tray or some flat surface to place on your lap. Keep all your supplies in an old cigar box or shallow plastic container on top of the flat surface so tipping is kept at a minimum, and stray beads stay out of your couch cushions! Travel mats are great for this too:

  7. Resolve to take care of UFOs (Un Finished Objects). Pick a day or evening a month to specifically work on an unfinished project–NOT start a new one! It’s always good to do this with one of your beady peeps for support. It’s no secret, no need to feel shame, we ALL have unfinished projects, some have a few, some have a roomful (that would be me). Just dive in and go for it.
  8. Resolve to explore a new color pallete this year. Your BFF’s fave color scheme is sunflower yellow; make her a birthday present in HER colors (not yours). It’s an interesting process from a design standpoint when you step outside your comfort zone of colors. Once the resistance from your brain quiets down and you fall into the groove of creativity, your eye sees things differently forever more. Try it …
  9. Learn a new technique. This is like a breath of fresh air in a musty granny’s closet. We all get into beading ruts from time to time and there’s nothing more inspiring than taking a class, reading a new jewelry making book, kit or a free tutorial. First on my list is “How to Make a Spiral Hook”:
  10. Resolve to remember NO is a complete sentence. Learn how to say it and not feel guilty or offer rambling justifications. You are important and deserve some YES time. Taking care of everyone else can eat up all your time until there’s nothing left for your creativity which is the stuff that feeds your soul. Seriously commit to this for the New Year and I bet we’ll see a new YOU!
Go to Fire Mountain Gems for more info:
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