Are You a Beader?

Jan 11, 2013

We beaders have very distinct patterns of behavior, wouldn't you agree? Sometimes, I catch myself doing something, and I think, gee, only a real beader would do something as crazy as this. Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Five Warning Signs That You Might Be a Beader

 You might be a beader, haven't seen the surface of your dining room table in the last six months. Yes, this also applies to your coffee table, kitchen table, sofa, or favorite armchair, too. In my case, the beads tend to overflow from my little corner office desk in the living room into the dining room, into the bedroom, and even into the kitchen once in a while. Does those little beads have legs, or what?

You might be a beader,'ve ever made a New Year's resolution to buy less beads and use more of what's in your stash. Admit it, when you thought about what you wanted to change in 2013, you probably thought that you wanted to do more beading projects to use up all the beads you have in your stash. I did, too, until I saw that one of my favorite online bead suppliers had a brand-new stock of Rizo beads. That resolution didn't even last a week, I'm ashamed to say.

You might be a beader, start six new beading projects before you finished the first one you originally started. This could be why my beads tend to spread themselves out all over the house. I started a bead-weaving project on one of my new Bead On It boards, and then before I was halfway finished with that one, I had an idea for another beading project that I just couldn't wait to get started! Thankfully, I had another empty beading board, so I started that beading project. But then I ran out of room on my desk, so I parked the new project on the dining room table...and so on. It's almost like I suffer from Beader's Attention Deficit Disorder or something.

You might be a beader, have four cabinets full of seed beads, but you don't have just the right color for your current beading project. This happens to me all the time. Yes, I really have four cabinets, each with seven drawers, that are full of seed beads in pretty much every size, shape, and color you could imagine. So why is it that I can never find just the right color for my latest beaded jewelry design idea? I have no idea, but when this happens, it's really hard not to break that resolution not to buy any more beads and use more of what's in my stash.

You might be a beader,'ll spend $300 on seed beads, but you buy all of your clothes at the local thrift shop. Not that shopping at the local thrift shop is a bad thing. I mean, my local thrift shop is where I found my favorite cheetah-print cashmere sweater for a mere $2! Saving money on clothes means more money for beads, right? (At least, that's what I keep telling myself.)

If you or anyone you love displays any of these behaviors, chances are, they are a beader. Thankfully, there's no cure for being a beader, except to get out your beads and your favorite seed bead patterns and make something beautiful!

Now, don't worry if you made that resolution to buy less beads this year, because as everyone knows, the Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows at the beginning of February is the place to be for any serious beader! If you're heading to Tucson, Arizona this year to bask in everything beady, you'll definitely want to make sure that you have a copy of the Tucson Show Guide 2013 handy to find out where your favorite bead pushers, er, vendors will be with the latest and greatest in beads, jewelry-making supplies, and beading tools.

Even if you're not going to the Tucson shows this year, having a copy of the Tucson Show Guide 2013 is a great way to have a comprehensive listing of bead and beading supply companies at your fingertips. Use it all year long to stay in contact with your favorite beading supply companies. Or, if you just can't wait to get a peek at what's happening in Tucson this year, the Tucson Show Guide 2013 is also available as an instant download!

So, what do you think? Did I miss anything? Are YOU a beader?

Bead Happy,


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DHouck wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 4:13 PM

Oh My!  As I read your column I thought you were talking about ME!  I am only 1 year into this beading and wire-working stuff and already, my office/studio is so crammed that I have moved to the dining room table and even my living room sofa somewhat.  Time to get Organized and Stop Buying and Start Doing! Were talking about

I am so glad I'm not alone in this!  

on Jan 11, 2013 4:26 PM

I love this article.  I also make that resolution every week.  Before I finished reading the article, I immediately looked up the new Rizo beads.

But all in all, beads are not a harmful thing to be addicted to.


Janz Joolz wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 5:22 PM

Oh lordy. These are the definition of me! Well, except for the one about buying clothes at the thrift store... why buy clothes when you can put that money toward more beading supplies?! :-D

D.M.Z wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 6:00 PM

J:  I KNOW I am a beader as I took over our guest bedroom, remodeled it (conservatively dollar wise) and have all my gazillions of beady delights right all around me. I am a bit obsessive/compulsive, so no spreading out in "unauthorized" areas for me.

The truly "cruel" part of your post (and I quote "I mean, my local thrift shop is where I found my favorite cheetah-print cashmere sweater for a mere $2!" ).A CHEETAH PRINT CASHMERE SWEATER? OMG, I am just almost insanely jealous. But then again you live in the part of the country where people (non-beaders of course) spend money at real stores for real clothes..........I am here in poor retired country and when it is time to discard clothes here... well they are scraps of polyester. I miss my good thrift shops for sure. Donna

SusanR@3 wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 6:41 PM

Another sign of being a beader is looking at bead sites and posts from the USA and knowing you cannot afford to buy the goodies let alone pay the postage to Australia-but you keep looking anyway!

Love your column and love being part of a worldwide epidemic of beadiness.

My wish for everone in 2013 is that all projects get finished and turn out as they should :-)

cheers, Susan

hethcox9 wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 7:23 PM

Oh, very good list! How about this one: you make a resolution to stop buying beads for a while and 6 months later you still haven't had to leave a project unfinished for lack of beads...

hethcox9 wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 7:26 PM

And your comment about the thrift shop, DMZ, is extra funny :)

There's nothing sadder than a lack of good thrift shops...

Cristiana3 wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 7:30 PM

Oh yeah, I AM A BEADER all the way! Only that I make the resolutions each and every day not only on the New Year ... lol.

vrichmond wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 7:37 PM

Guilty as charged!!!   I'm reading these to my husband and he keeps saying "yep, that's my wife" after each comment!   Special emphasis to boxes full of seed beeds in all colors but having to go back and buy that perfect color to match my half dozen unfinished projects...

vrichmond wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 7:45 PM

guilty as charged!   was reading these to my husband and his comment after each was "yep, that's my wife"!   special emphasis on having drawers of different colored seed beeds, yet having to go buy that perfect color to go with my half-dozen unfinished projects...

vrichmond wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 7:45 PM

guilty as charged!   was reading these to my husband and his comment after each was "yep, that's my wife"!   special emphasis on having drawers of different colored seed beeds, yet having to go buy that perfect color to go with my half-dozen unfinished projects...

marla0416 wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 8:05 PM

I was one who made the resolution to "use my stash".  That lasted maybe till January 3!  Who's suprised?

on Jan 11, 2013 8:36 PM

My DH has insisted on eating in front of the TV for so many years that he never even noticed when I took over the kitchen table with my beads.

CharmaineD wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 8:49 PM

pretty much all of your Beader Warning Signs also apply to embroiderers! Certainly they apply to me, both as an embroiderer and as a beader :-)

teridann wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 10:04 PM

I'm sending this to my husband so he might understand that I'm not beaders go, that is.

mellissa2 wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 10:04 PM

Oh Yes... I am a beader alright.. kids gave me the ultimatum.. beads or them!1..hehehehe

LynetteJ2 wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 10:21 PM

Hello, I'm Lynette, I'm a beader with severe OCD. And yes, Virginia, there really are 350 shades of green.

gichuhi wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 10:22 PM

Hah, then i guess i am not an authentic beader. A good article though :)

michele.may wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 11:05 PM

Yes, that's me alright!

cinisajoy wrote
on Jan 11, 2013 11:47 PM

Guilty here too, beading, cross stitch and embroidery here.

And throw in crochet and sewing once in a while.

SusanF@6 wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 12:38 AM

I laughed all the way through that one.  Once in a while I try to put all my beads "away" to clean my work table but somehow they miraculously seem to reappear by the next morning.  Always have 3-4 projects going at once and several UFOs (un finished objects) waiting my attention sometimes for months.  It is a gentle madness, however.  And I am " going to Tucson."

on Jan 12, 2013 12:55 AM

No, I'm not a beader (as you define one). I am a quilter, so change the word "beads" to "fabric" and you can see we are the same under the skin. I do use some beads on various quilt projects, and I don't dare get into beading like I am into quilting. There wouldn't be room for ANYTHING! I tell people I have something to show for the money I spent instead of butts and bottles.

pdu2pdu2 wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 3:20 AM

Seeing the picture made me feel normal and eliminated session with a shrink.  For me it's a large box on the couch  and a box of unfinished projects that I keep together in plastic containers with the needle and the beads etc.   I think I should just buy the beads as I need them  but it doesn't work. I try to file them by size, by  color but tat doesn't work.

Thanks for this moment of bead sanity.  P.

amtiller wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 4:06 AM

Et godt eksempel på meg  og min hobby. Det er vel bra  at vi har  andre ting å ta oss til . Verden  har så mange fristelser og farer, så jeg  mener  at  vi  tåler litt rot her og der,bare  vi her orden i rotet vårt.

amtiller wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 4:33 AM

Et godt eksempel på meg  og min hobby. Det er vel bra  at vi har  andre ting å ta oss til . Verden  har så mange fristelser og farer, så jeg  mener  at  vi  tåler litt rot her og der,bare  vi her orden i rotet vårt.  Anne Marie

JaneP@33 wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 6:37 AM

You might be a beader.......if you are determined just to go to the Bead shop/online ONLY  for those absolutely necessary Findings........and what do you buy ? ....... seed beads, accent beads, crystals etc etc........and oh dear - what do I overlook actually buying/ordering  ?????

on Jan 12, 2013 7:27 AM

OMG. This I already knew, but is exciting to read about other beader's habbits. When I first started beading, I took over the living room floor! But, had to clean it up every day before hubby came home! Now, after four years of beading, I have taken over one of the guest rooms for my studio, which is now out grown. Hubby built some long shelves which now hold all of my beading books, all sort of beading containers, stringing supplies and small tools. I had to get another table to hold my larger tools. My beading has expanded to wire work, clay, metal smithings, reisn molding. Did I miss anything? But my first love is beading. I would love to attend the Tucson Show this year, but already spent too much money on more BEADS!

God bless US Beaders!


linda15419 wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 9:05 AM

I've described myself as a beader/collector and this has diminished my bead guilt somewhat.  When fantastic crystal or high quality freshwater pearls are on sale, what's a girl to do?  Live with regret or guilt?  Guilt is easier to push back I have found.  Regret never goes away.  So, I have completely overwhelmed my tiny "studio" with bead storage -- I'll deal with it.  It's so rewarding to find beads, focals, and findings that scream to be combined into a masterpiece and have it all work out as if it were planned!  One of life's greatest pleasures for this beader/collector.  Hope to see all of you in Santa Fe in March!

anne_d wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 9:47 AM

Well, I *was* going to use the beads I have instead of buying more... and then my husband gave me a gift card to the local bead shop for Christmas. :)

kpmartin wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 9:55 AM

i love your article!!! It describes me perfectly on every single point (except for the dining room table - that's where everything else goes)!  I can especially identify with the lack of that "one perfect" color of seed beads in my stash for a current project.  My husband cannot understand my many emergency trips to the nearest bead store.  I am only 3 years into this hobby and thoroughly addicted.   I can hear the bling beads in the stores calling my name from afar.  And, I do believe here is an affliction call Beading ADD!!!!!  

Thanks so much for your article!!!  I'm glad to know I am not  the only one with this obsession!

sixburgh wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 10:13 AM

Great article! I can identify! My bowl of shame filled with unfinished projects sits next to me as I bead, but to no avail it becomes higher and higher. There is nothing wrong with starting and stopping as long as your flow of creativity is not interrupted by "not finishing guilt".

momcat560 wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 10:35 AM

Comment "4" - All those beads and still not quite the right color.  Is someone watching me from satellite or something??!!  And in my case, it is the coffee table in the living room.  Thank goodness I am not alone in my "affliction!"  BTW - I just started working on my first peyote/gourd stitch projects.  I feel another obsession coming on....  ;D

on Jan 12, 2013 11:03 AM

I must be a beader, I thought you had been spying on me.

Bobbi Garber wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 12:09 PM

I think you have been following me around, how else would you know how to describe my life?  Bobbi

2ndChance wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 12:13 PM

You must have been peeking into my house. I dream of having a designated room, instead of a corner of the living room, that always is covered. I straighten things up, so I can turn around and get started again.

bjenkin wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 12:24 PM

I was so relieved when I read this article! I am not alone! AND I know there is a masterpiece in my various stashes, I'm still looking for it!!

Ursula clark wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 1:10 PM

I know it's me me me you are talking about.Even about the thrift store , well I volunteer in one, even there Iam not safe from baying beeds, since there are some old ones. After reading all the comments I know Iam not all that weird its refreshing to see how many share my passion. Oh by the way right after writing this I have to go to the bead store , I ran out of some beads and I need any  a couple dozend more do you think I will end up with more than I need??????

Suzieh1 wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 1:46 PM

I'm so glad it's not just me! I always feel so guilty about the clutter on the table(s) and about the buying more beads and supplies all the time, but now I know it's just normal beader behavior!

ctutt wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 2:49 PM

If… every time you vacuum, you hear the CLIKKETY CLIKKETY CLICK of some wayward seed beads rushing to their doom---

LOL It's all true!!!

Geni Zepeda wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 7:26 PM

Am I a beader??? This had me chuckling as it resonated big time.  Let's just say, if you want to eat at the dining table, you have to clear a spot.  In the past year I've kept the center clear or nearly clear.

It's gotten "better" as I moved a lot of materials/supplies down into my exercise/beading room.

I've also spent some time, not enough, organizing items by categories.  I'm in a good place unless I have to clear the entire table.  The dining space is good, even with an Ott light downstairs, as it's well lit, and near the kitchen.  

P.S. I have been saving the sturdier plastic take out containers with clear lids.  When I have a project begun or in process, I store in those and label them.  This helps me keep track of what needs to be done.  Happy beading.

TheresaA@6 wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 8:33 PM

Add one more to the list who identified with that article.

I do have one more though...whenever you travel (anywhere in the world) you check to see if there are any bead shops near your hotel or any tourist attractions you may be going to.  Already found one down the street from our hotel in Wales this Summer, when I told my husband he just

lohmalinda wrote
on Jan 12, 2013 9:31 PM

You CHEATED!!!  You came to my house and looked at my dining room table!  Then you went and checked the multiple Save n Go trays which are stacked all over!  Did you count them!  How did this gremlin get into my house?  You even checked the receipts for the seed beads.  I'll bet you knew just where to LOOK!   YIKES.  Well, it's too late for me to straighten up now.  I might as well let it go till next year.  But please don't TELL EVERYONE!  

Anna Paradox wrote
on Jan 13, 2013 11:16 AM

Oh, yeah! All of that. And one more...

You might be a beader if all your female relatives get jewelry as gifts and all your male relative get hints that they'd look great if they started wearing jewelry.

catlover0192 wrote
on Jan 13, 2013 9:01 PM

I guess I'm not a beader then... (Only 1/5) I've been beading for about 5 years though...

1. If I covered any horizontal surface in that much stuff, it would wind up on the floor within 24 hours thanks to my cat.

2. That one is easy. The closest bead shop that I know of is a 4 hour round trip away. Not in my time budget. I only buy beads when I go home during the holidays.

3. Guilty. Only because the closest bead shop is so far away. I buy beads for specific projects way ahead of time and put them in separate jelly jars with notes for what project goes with those beads.

4. All of my beads fit in a single small moving box. Until very recently, I moved three times every year. Also, I shared a single room with another non-beading person.

5. Nope. If I spent $300 on beads, I wouldn't eat or have internet or electricity. The most I've ever spent in any one break is $50. I don't buy clothes unless I have to.

ozmommi wrote
on Jan 13, 2013 9:12 PM

Yep, I have a bit of a gemstone bead, tool, and metal clay, enamel, macrame cord, problem.  I too converted a bedroom into a studio.  I can hardly fit into it because of the beads.  If it were seed beads I might have a little more room.  Nope,  probably not.  

I think this article should spin off into a, "Show us a picture of your overstuffed Studio" article.

And don't you think the on-line stores are so smart to have all of these "New Items" emails etc...

I am so weak when it comes to beading goodies!


pamiheb wrote
on Jan 15, 2013 11:32 AM

Well, I'm a few days late to reading this article but only because I was trying to finish 2 projects, starting 3 more, and trying to discover how I also have 4 more projects half finished!! Seriously, I read through this article and just laughed because I ticked off every single "warning sign". We had family visit over the holidays and I was an absolute wreck because I had to clean off the dining room table!! Took me 3 days, but now the family's gone and half the table is already covered again. :-)