I've been thinking a lot about leftovers lately--and not the fuzzy kind in my refrigerator! I'm talking beads. My bead stash has grown conisderably in the last year and with each new project I complete, I have a new challenge--what should I do with the leftovers? Part of my problem is of my own making--like many of you, I buy at least a few extra beads for projects because I am afraid of running out (see "Beadholic Confessions"). Plus, I tend to buy beads without a specific project in mind--a guarantee that some beads might sit around for awhile. Some leftovers end up as earrings and others have helped fill out dangly bracelets like Gone Fishin' with Miro (pictured at right). But there are still many beads left.
Sometimes I think that part of the problem is that after I've used beads for a project, it's hard for me to see them fresh again. There's been some discussion on the Beading Daily forums about donating leftover beads to groups like senior citizen centers. This is a great idea. There are many deserving groups that might be able to bring new life to your old beads.
How do you use your leftovers? Anyone else getting pangs of guilt when you look at all the friendly beads waiting for their moment on stage?
New Free Project
Solstice by the Sea
Andrew Thornton is a talented designer whose inspiring pieces regularly grace the pages of Stringing magazine. Andrew's "Solstice by the Sea" presents two ideas for using leftovers:
- Mix and match. Save all those short bits of chain from your other projects and connect them together with simple beaded wrapped loops. You can either use chain that is all the same color (like the silver shown) or you can mix metals for a fresh look.
- Feature a single lampwork rondelle. This relatively small (18x15mm) lampwork bead is often sold in sets, but just because you buy beads as a set doesn't mean you need to use them that way! Follow Andrew's lead and feature any type of bead you love in a necklace, even if it isn't labeled as a "pendant" or "focal" bead. Smaller beads are typically less expensive and by featuring just one in a necklace, you'll be able to make additional pieces (matching earrings? more necklaces?) with the remaining beads in the set.
Download Solstice by the Sea
Power of Beading Contest: Tell us how beading has helped you through a challenging time and you could win a beaded ribbon pin created and donated by designer Kerrie Slade. Contest ends September 12. Details.
Charity Fundraiser: You can also buy a copy of the pin instructions and make your own pin. All the money raised from the sale of the instructions through September 30th will go to charity. Details.
Michelle Mach shares free projects every Friday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Michelle, please post them on the website.