Strange Times

posted: Friday, 20 March 2020

We sure are living in strange times.

I'm behind on writing up my blog but wanted to post this one ASAP as it is what I sent out in my newsletter today:

Hello all,
It certainly is a crazy time all round at the moment and I'm writing this unsure of the next few months and worried about you all, and the beading world, and of course the wider world.

As my email inbox floods with emails from companies closing their doors for the time being, and events being cancelled all around, it's hard not to feel pessimistic but I'm trying hard to think positively of the future and looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm busy behind the scenes working away on future events (Bead Sparks 2020 is now waiting-list only so we're having fun planning for that) and hoping that some enforced time at home will mean I can finally tackle some of those jobs (and unfinished beading projects) I've been putting off for years!
But so far I meanly seem to be procrastinating so we'll see...

I taught a lovely class on Monday but there was a funny feeling in the air as I know many there were heading home after class to self-isolate to protect themselves, and their loved-ones, and the feeling of uncertainty, disbelief and worry loomed large.

So this extra newsletter comes to you for a variety of different reasons but mostly to reach out and say that I hope you and your loved ones are well and that you take care of your physical & mental health at this stressful time.

Below I have added links some links I have liked, or been using, these last few days so do read on for plenty to keep you occupied and well over the next few weeks.

So, until my next newsletter I wish you good health, good weather and, of course, lots of happy beading!

The beading world
This is going to be a very trying time for small businesses, and the beading & craft world, with doors closed to the public, classes cancelled and big events cancelled.

The beading & craft world is one which operates on small margins, and a lot of time and financial investment behind the scenes, with often limited avenues to make money and the cancellation of events & workshops will have a big impact on us all.

So, if you can (please be assured I'm aware that this may be a very stressful time for you financially) do support your favourite bead shops & designers so that when we come out the other side of this they're all still there for us.

Some fun things I've seen the last few days:

  • Stephanie Burnham has just added this very cute Posy Ring pattern to her Etsy shop (she also has lots of other lovely patterns & kits available)
  • Sian Nolan's patterns & kits are enough to brighten anyone's mood
    I recently beaded myself her scissors charm and have 4 other patterns & kits on my 'to-bead' list... maybe I'll get around to them soon...
  • Taking of Sian, StitchnCraft Beads have some lovely sets of Rivolis which now include one of Sian's patterns so you can use these with your stash to create a lovely bracelet
  • If you love Rivolis then Old Bicycle shop's amazing etched Rivolis are perfect to add to your stash (they also have other incredible etched items so do have a look around their site for them)
  • I love the Swarovksi 27mm Crown Stones (as you can see by the number of patterns I have using them and also my blog post about them) and Tanzee Designs have an absolutely jaw-dropping range of them if you want to stock up
  • Spoilt Rotten Beads have got lots & lots of free video tutorials to keep you occupied
  • Swarovski's new #1400 Dome beads are out and as they're available in 14mm I've been having lots of fun using them in place of 14mm Rivolis in beading variations of projects from my Rivoli Beadwork book. You can do an internet search to find a local stockist, or ask for them at your favourite bead store as they are a lovely thing to have in your stash!
  • Heather Kingsley-Heath has just launched a brand new kit and she also has lots of other gorgeous items in their online shop

Things you can do with your bead stash

  • Tackle those UFOs!
    I know we all have lots & lots of unfinished beading projects and imagine how pleased you'll be to clear the deck... ready to fill it all up again with new UFOs of course :)
    I know I have lots of things that just need clasps added, or basic repairs done, so I hope to tackle all those soon and maybe now is the time for you to finish those Secret Beadalongs you've signed-up to...
  • YouTube is full of great beading videos which you can watch on your TV, Phone, IPad or computer etc and now is the perfect time to learn a new stitch or tackle a new technique or project that you've been putting off.
    Simply visit here and search for any stitch you can think of, or simply just for things such as 'beading video', 'peyote stitch project', 'beaded bracelet' etc and get started
  • I have lots of free patterns on my website (and over 60 which are £5 or less which will be even less if you use my 'pattern discount code' below)
  • Lots of designers have great videos and free, or low-cost, patterns out there so get searching and see what you can find to keep your fingers, and brain, busy at this time

Taking care of yourself

Whilst your physical health is of utmost importance so is your mental health and it is natural to be worried about being isolated or lonely at this time (I know I am).

Do make sure to reach out to others if you need to (even me- I love a good chat to distract me when I'm stressed!) and try to keep an eye on your beading friends if bead groups are being cancelled etc.

For many of us beading classes & groups are our main socialising opportunities and I'm sure we all appreciate how important they are to us so do try to stay in contact with your beading friends if you can.

Here are some things I use to stay well which may be of use:

Meditation
It might sound airy-fairy but taking time to relax and calm your mind is very important, and even just a couple of minutes of this a day can help.
Calm is a great meditation app and they have made a lot of their meditations available online for free so you can listen to them on your phone, iPad or computer etc

Yoga
Yoga is wonderful for you both physically & mentally and it doesn't all have to be standing on your head!
You also don't need any special equipment and can do it whilst you sit or stand and don't need much space to do it or special clothes.
Just the basics of taking time to breathe and move is very good for you and I personally love Yoga with Adriene which you can watch on YouTube.
She has so many videos covering all sorts of areas and allowing for all sorts of physical issues so I hope there is one you'll enjoy.
For example I use the ones for bad knees and neck & shoulders a lot as well as any to do with stress or anxiety.
She also has lots of seated yoga videos which are great for doing in a chair or a wheelchair.

Fun things on the internet

Lots of museums & galleries have closed their doors but there is still plenty we can see online (if you can't see any of the shows I have linked to then do search YouTube for them also):

Pattern Discount Code
Simply enter 'newsletter' into the promo code box on my shopping cart and also now on Etsy to receive 20% off all individual patterns (not valid on any other kits, books or pattern sets or on any other websites)
Please make sure the discount is applied to your basket total BEFORE you finish checking out. Also ensure you type the code without the quote marks.
You can use more than 1 code at the same time so if you have any others which apply please do use them.
When used on my website the code will give you 50% off Summer 2017 Beadalong, Summer 2018 Secret Beadalong and Summer 2019 Secret Beadalong and 33% off Winter 2017 Secret Beadalong, Winter 2018 Secret Beadalong and Winter 2019 Secret Beadalong