Cats, Beads, and Kitchen Tables

Nov 1, 2007

Results of the Kitchen Table Poll, or The Very Strange Domestic Habits of Beaders

This poll made me feel like I was channeling Margaret Mead! I learned so much about your your cats, your houses, your families, and, oh yeah, your beading habits . . . It all started with an innocent question:

Do you use your kitchen or dining room table for beading or jewelry making?

Zoe, Official Bead Inspector

While Beading Daily reader Wendy H. suggested this poll question, I definitely had a hidden agenda for asking it--I wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one! I love beading at my kitchen table. It's in a lovely, sunny nook with big windows--the best light in the house. I do bead other places like in front of the TV, but the kitchen is the best spot for me--at least for now. As my bead stash grows, it's getting hard to keep putting everything away. I'm starting to see a "bead studio"or at least a set of "bead drawers" on the horizon.

More than 1,200 readers responded to this poll and the results were:

Often - 41%
Never - 39%
Sometimes - 19%

Talk about close! I never imagined that "never" would be so high. I was expecting "often" and "sometimes" to be the two close answers.

I loved reading the 750+ comments to this poll. Here is a sampling:

Some people tried to explain why they used their kitchen or dining room:

"Easiest to clean up if an accidental spill happens. (I don't have to try and dig beads out of the carpet.)"

"Not being domestic, I have no other use for the table."

"It's the only place in the house with enough room!"

"I have 3 small children and at the kitchen table I can keep and eye on them."

"I have been booted from every other area of my home. But THEY CAN'T TAKE THIS ONE FROM ME!!! LOL"

Other favorite places to bead: in bed, in front of the computer, recliner, on the sofa with a lap desk, on a tray, coffee table, spare bedroom, playhouse, garage, basement . . .

"So far have never beaded in the bath, but I wouldn't rule it out - I do read bead magazines and catalogues in the bath!"

Other beaders felt that the concept of "kitchen table" was far too limiting.

"My whole house is fair game."

"I've been known to use any flat surface available, even the cardboard fast food trays at my son's basketball game!"

"Actually, now that I look around, I see that most horizontal surfaces in my space have various stages of beadwork projects!"

Cats seemed to be a universal problem.

"I use the dining room table when the cat isn't napping on it."

"My large dining room table is perfect for both myself and my friendly helping cats!"

"I used to, but my cats would always come and lay in the middle of my work space, So I moved another table into my office and now I do beading from there."

"My cats would knock everything over! They think the kitchen table is their lookout to the birdfeeder."

"The cats would adore it if I worked on the dining room table. They'd redesign everything from the piece I'm working on to the bead board!"

Sparrow enjoys life among the beads

Some beaders mentioned (mostly) supportive husbands and children. (Some of the children were supportive in that they grew up, moved out of the house, and left behind the perfect beading room.)

"Sometimes my husband has to eat his dinner on a TV tray table because I don't want to disturb my work space!"

"Can I say thank goodness for small children who love to search for the bead Mommy dropped?"

"My husband has the patience of Job, too. I sometimes wonder if he thinks I feed him beads for roughage."

"I have 3 year old twins and when I ask them what they want for dinner their reply is: 'I don't want beads.' Sad but true!"

Many women wrote in to say they moved their beading (to the sofa, for example) to spend time with their husbands in the evenings. Others described the wonderful spaces their sweethearts designed for them. In fact, I heard about so many supportive husbands/boyfriends/partners that Kat, our graphic designer, made this tattoo-inspired graphic just for them:


I heard from quite a few lucky beaders who answered "never" because they have their own beading or crafting desk/room/studio. Many realized how fortunate they were, using words like "lucky" or "heaven" in their descriptions:

"With my husband's help, I recently finished making a bedroom into an art studio. Everything is organized and I am in heaven!"

Some of them seemed to like their studios so much, I worried about their health:

"I have an art studio and when I'm not painting or making cards, tatting or sewing, then I'm probably beading on my art studio table."

Or maybe eating or sleeping? And then there was the person who commented: "No, but we usually eat our dinner on my beading table. Does that count?"

But lest we kitchen-table-dwellers become overwrought with envy, remember that even a studio doesn't make things perfect. One beader commented that she does bead on the kitchen table because "my studio table is covered with beady stuff!" Others said:

"I have a studio, but sometimes I just like to be in the middle of things rather than off on my own!"

"I actually have a studio off from the house, but it gets so lonely out there. (Boo hoo!)"

 And finally, a warning to those who bead on their kitchen tables:

Do not leave your beads unattended!

Coming Next Week: Beaded beads! I'll share the instructions for a beaded bead bracelet that I made, plus I'll have bead quilts by Beading Daily members, a new poll, and more.

Thanks to Sandi Wiseheart for letting me use the photos of her cats. (And for not looking at me strangely when I asked, "Do you have photos of your cats playing with beads?") 

Michelle Mach is the editor of Beading Daily. She has a feeling that even if she had the perfect studio, she might still end up beading in the kitchen!

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+ Add a comment


Zaz wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 11:15 AM
thank you michele, this post was the most interesting of all by far, lively and all. the little details like the tatoo of the sweetie beading daily is charming, keep going like this bravo!
Zaz, paris
Sgknight wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 11:25 AM
I, too, wrestle with cats and beads, since we have 6 loving, attentive housecats. Really. I've a warning, however, learned the hard way. Do keep needles and thread securely covered when they are not actually in your hands. Our goofy Balinese, Fannie Foxtail, once consumed a size 11 needle and several yards of attached Fireline. $1,400, one failed surgery, and one (finally!) successful endoscopy later, the cat was good as new. (She really enjoyed the effects of anesthesia and pain killers; even better than catnip.) But, the event scared me and my husband half to death, and took quite a dent out of my beading budget. Cheers, Sally K. in Los Osos, California
OrielJ wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 12:02 PM
I can relate to the comments about cats and beads mine adores the big focal beads I sometimes use. If I leave the storage box I keep them in open she will steal them and chase them all over the house. She's very funny but it's so frustrating when you want a certain bead and you can't find it because the cat has stolen it and it's lodged under the furniture somewhere.
RitaR@11 wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 1:37 PM
I loved this post. It was the best I have read yet. Made me feel very connected. I wrestle for my space and my beads with my 10 YO cat Baby, and my two granddaughters. My 8 YO granddaughter wants to learn to bead, so mommy and I have started her out with some simple beading items, and inexpensive beads. The 3-1/2 year old wants to wear all of them. She loves "Grandma's Pretties." Keep up the great work!!
MaryR@138 wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 3:01 PM
I am disabled, use wheel chair, so I do most of my beading in my hospital bed, where my cat likes to kep my feet warm, but sometimes trys' to crawl Under my beading box! I try to diswade him of that as he's put on too many pounds! Plus,, he won't allow me to try on the jewelry I made on him!LOL! My husband is very helpful-he moved into our oldest sons'room so I could bead when I can't sleep. Good GUY!
Coley J wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 3:08 PM
Great post! I really enjoyed hearing about where everyone enjoys beading (or not). I can relate to the cat comments! They are such curious creatures. :) Thank you so much for this post! I haven't had a laugh like that in a long time. Keep up the wonderful work!! Oh - and have a fun weekend everyone!
JanisF@5 wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 3:33 PM
There is nothing like a really good laugh first thing in the morning and this subject did that for me. I work mainly with polymer clay and it's in a studio but when my dog wants my attention and I ignore him he has a tendency to eat objects that fall on the floor, usually polymer clay.
Jan (Australia)
Mrswtownsend wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 7:40 PM
I always look forward to reading the next issue of Beading Daily, and have found that this newsletter is by far the best of any I have ever subscribed to. The latest issue is a real treat; the subscriber polls and comments really helps me feel better connected to the rest of the beading world and makes for an even more enjoyable read! Thanks everyone! Gina, Az, USA
absolutfeli wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 8:27 PM
I have 2 kitties and they are always curious to see what I am making and see if they could help.

I use the dining table every time I want to bead because its the biggest table in the house and I can watch TV from there.
MadelynC3 wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 9:13 PM
SharonI@10 wrote
on Nov 2, 2007 10:13 PM
I am fortunate to have a permanet place to bead. My husband even altered the height of my beading table by 12" higher by adding spurce posts to it. Now my table looks like it has old time sleigh runners.
Sharon" Wanna Be Beader" Irwin
on Nov 2, 2007 11:52 PM
I'd be curious to know how many beaders have cats. Since all of my beady friends have cats, we suspect that there's some correlation between beads and cats.
MicheleP@13 wrote
on Nov 3, 2007 3:02 PM
How about birds being a problem. I can't let my cockatiel free in my bedroom because he thinks the tiny beads are seeds. I'm afraid he will get sick. So he has to stay in his cage when he's in my room. Funny, even birds can be a problem.
MichelleB@92 wrote
on Nov 3, 2007 11:09 PM
I just wanted to share a compromise I worked out to bead in the space where my family is and not have to clean up all the time. I converted a free-standing computer cabinet into my "bead station" in the corner of the breakfast noon. There's a good amount of shelf space for storage, and the pull-out keyboard drawer is the perfect place to work on projects and leave them out. The other beauty is being able to close the cabinet doors to hide my clutter (and to put my distraction out of sight when I need to get back to work!)
NitzaA wrote
on Nov 4, 2007 1:37 PM
I like to work in the kitchen room. My cat loves to sleep over the beads after "inspect" them with his paws... It's like he's saying: "Alright, I like your work. Please pay attention to me now..."
BillieS@4 wrote
on Nov 5, 2007 9:16 AM
My Kitchen Table is accually in my Living Room. So I use it all of the time to work at so that I can watch TV and bead.
J LH wrote
on Nov 5, 2007 11:45 AM
I loved the poll and love the responses and posts! How do beaders without pets manage to problem solve their design issues? LOL! With all the problems we face in the world today, beading is a constant source of peace and those who bead are the best! Many thanks for all the light and love you've taken the time to express!
Louisa wrote
on Nov 5, 2007 3:24 PM
Thanks for publishing my earlier comment, but I have another little item to add. We were babysitting the little grandkids yesterday and my old-lady-cat was inadvertently locked away from her catbox for a short while because we had to shut the door for the crawling baby's safety. This morning I discovered my beading magazines (including the latest issue of Beadwork) that were awaiting my attention beside the bed had served as a catbox! EWWW!! I can live with the wrinkled pages but does anyone know how to reduce the pee-ewww odour without adding a perfume since I'm allergic to most of them? I don't want to have to go buy another copy of each magazine since the pile cost over $25! Lesson learned.
Hugs, Louisa
tinakstep wrote
on Nov 6, 2007 6:57 AM
regarding the stinky magazines, try wiping them with vinegar on a rag....that always works for me...i have a cat who has to be locked away from anything he thinks is taking our time away from him...including my husband's golf bag :)
KellyY@4 wrote
on Nov 6, 2007 7:13 PM
Oh gosh, this article made me laugh! Rory, one of our cats is my Beady-Eyed friend. Anytime I get a large package in the mail...he comes running to explore. He always seems to know when I get beads! I cannot leave my desk unattended with beads because he will swat them off. When I use my bead board, he'll bat at the beads. And the funniest of all...if I leave bags of beads alone, he'll pick them up in his mouth and run off with them under the bed!!!
Any time I can't find beads, I know he's the culprit...and if I go crawling under the bed I am sure to find them in his hoarding spot.

P.S. to Damselfly...try removing the covers, and spray with something like the new Clorox Anywhere Sanitizer, but do a spot check first to make sure it won't make the ink run. OR, take some drier sheets and tuck them between the pages...but maybe stick a paper towel on both sides of it in case it makes the ink messed up as well. Drier sheets are a miracle worker! Try to use one that won't bother your allergies (also, if you open the pages, you'll most likely get a whiff of the drier please keep that in mind) if you know of any that won't...or maybe try the Free and Clear ones that All makes. I don't know how well those would work, but maybe it will absorb some of it? Good luck!
PamS@67 wrote
on Nov 6, 2007 7:49 PM
Sorry ladies, can't relate to the cats - dog lover here (love cats too, but am very allergic). Although, my dog thinks any good size bead is a treat worth investigating....
AlisonP@13 wrote
on Nov 7, 2007 10:08 AM
Funny, my goldfish are completely disinterested in my beads.