I had loads of good old-fashioned fun last weekend.  I went back to my craftsy roots by weaving a batch of potholders.  

 I started making potholders as a young girl – my mother bought me a square loom and the loops from the dime store, and I took to it right away.  I made so many potholders that I decided to begin to sell them to my neighbors.  Around the block I went, selling my potholders.  Every couple of months I’d make the rounds again.  God bless those neighbors – they always bought from me! Anyway, I take out the loom every couple of years when my potholders start getting either too worn out or dirty and make myself some new ones.  Usually, though, the selection of loops I have found is serviceable but uninspiring.

 But not this time!

 I was looking through the Uncommon Goods catalog and spotted gorgeous, bright-colored loops and I knew I HAD to order them.  I didn’t know such beautiful loops existed!  I ordered them and I was so excited when they came I spent the whole weekend making these beautiful potholders. I think my kids thought I was crazy (obsessed) but I really enjoyed the soothing rhythm of the weaving process again, working the colors into random patterns.  It made me happy.

 I have since checked out the website of the company that manufactures the loops, Harrisville Designs, and found out I can order loops by color! (be still my heart!) Oh, my…I hope my neighbors need potholders…

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I admit it.  I am a total bead shopping junkie.  If I can’t get to a bead store, I’ll be on a website looking for my next big thing.  You  know, that thing that will inspire you, drive you to creative heights you’ve only dreamed about, make you rich and famous…THAT next big thing.

So what do you do when the economy pinches your pocketbook?  When a new bead order is just not in the stars for you?  How do you stay creative in times like these? 

Today I had a creative awakening when I took a new look around my studio.  There are drawers I haven’t opened in months.  There are piles of idea sheets I haven’t gone through in years.  Stacks of old bead magazines with sticky notes hanging out are piled in the filing cabinet.  I literally have hundreds and hundreds of dollars in beading supplies just existing all around me while I always gravitate toward favorites.

But what if this economy forces us to take a second look?  What about that bead strand that looked so cute in the catalog but wasn’t what you thought it was once you got it?  What if you took another look with new eyes?  As for me, I have a huge bin of tarnished and broken jewelry that only need to be cleaned up, taken apart and sorted.  Voila!  Beads again!  I have a treasure trove of tarnished silver that would probably pay for a year of college just sitting around unused because it’s – gasp! – tarnished.  Well, this bead chick is getting out her cotton gloves and getting down and dirty!

What about a new line?  What about that technique you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t take the time?  What about incorporating the beads you already have and aren’t using into a new type of craft project?  I’m looking into incorporating my collection of old jewelry into some new purposes – collage, sculpture or wire working.  I took a basketryclass once and loved it…can I somehow use that?  How about practicing soldering like I always planned on but never took the time to do? 

And, with those things I can’t use, I can always bag them up and sell them on Etsy or eBay, because I’m sure someone else out there can use them.  Then I can use the extra cash to put gas in the tank or something. 

I will keep you posted on my new visions, and I’d love to hear about your ideas for stretching your beading budget during these tough times.  We can all share and help each other out, which is what makes the tough times bearable.

I couldn’t resist these!  I saw these on Jessica Jones blog howaboutorange.blogspot.com.  She tells all about how to make these.  They seemed just right for a nearly Valentine’s Day post.

We all bend paper clips anyway, but after seeing this we can put them to good use!

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