Woodside WireWorks

Wit, Whimsy, & Wisdom…

Confessions of a Bead Addict…

I've had these pastels since I was in elementary school...more than a half a century ago!

I’ve had these pastels since I was in elementary school…more than a half a century ago They speak volumes about why I just might have a storage problem!

Sooooooo, little did I know when I bought a kit and a pair of pliers roughly a decade ago it would be so life changing.  And when I made my first few pieces, little did I know they would fall apart on me and I’d have to make them again.  And of course, if they did break, naturally it was the pieces I considered extremely complicated at the time…some multi-stranded numbers that meant I had to redo every stinking strand.  Ugh!

Once I was in a bead shop and this gal asked me how do you store your beads?  I thought what a stupid question.  And I explained I stashed them in a box, stored by color…no big deal.  She saw the fistful of strands in my hands, and tubes of seedbeds sitting on the counter, awaiting checkout.  Her parting words were, “You just wait!”

"Part" of my accumulated seed beads reside in this cabinet. It sure would be nice if all of them fit!

“Part” of my accumulated seed beads reside in this cabinet. It sure would be nice if all of them fit!

But they were on sale...

But they were on sale…

She tried to tell me.  She really did!  I guess she recognized a kindred spirit and knew just where I was headed.  That was then, this is now.  A box…sorted by color.  Seriously?  How ’bout a wall, sorted by color, and two cabinets, filled top to bottom sorted by color.

The bead and supply wall. The rack everything hangs from used to be part of my display but weighed a ton. I prefer using it like this!

The bead and supply wall. The rack everything hangs from used to be part of my display but weighed a ton. I prefer using it like this!

There comes a time when you’ve just got to recognize you have a problem…in my case, a major problem!  I’m talking about the girl who went to Gem and Mineral Shows wearing a backpack to drag home her treasures.  Do you think the vendors recognized a “live one?”   Oh yes they did!

I did that two years in a row.  I would come home with aching feet, and rush out to the man-cave to tell my late husband I was home.  He’d say, go fix yourself a drink and show me what you got.  He was a rock hound at heart, me…I liked the sparkly things back then; but my backpack would have bits of both.  Then we’d enjoy the “unveiling ceremony” where I would lovingly lay out strand after strand of treasures!

It doesn’t take too many gem shows to create a surplus!  Since the house was about to cave in, I decided it was high time I did something my disorganized mess.   I’ve been sorting, reorganizing, culling, and cussing for a solid week now, paying for the decisions I made many moons ago.  You see,  since I’m a fanatic about “seeing my stuff,” I stored my beads upside down so I could see the contents in each jar.

This was a lovely system a few years ago, but I outgrew it!

This was a lovely system a few years ago, but I outgrew it!

Since most of my stone beads were already stored like this, it made sense to keep them that way.

Since most of my stone beads were already stored like this, it made sense to keep them that way.

But, I still had a space problem.  So I did this.   Talk about painful!  And tedious, and ENDLESS!  And, not wanting to spend another dime, I needed those trays for another purpose–as displays for my finished pieces.

Time to lose the jars and get practical! I sorted them by color, placed them into tiny bags, stapled them to card stock, so that I can still see them.

Time to lose the jars (at least some of them) and get practical! I sorted them by color, placed them into tiny bags, stapled them to card stock, so that I can still see them.

Eventually, all of those trays of beads landed in one of two cabinets.  This is what it looked like a year ago.  My desire to find things quickly soon became a nightmare.  So, in an effort to conserve real estate, the old system had to go.

I used to attach my finished pieces to easels, and transport the batch to shows in a box. The jewelry kept falling off. Ugh! These jeweler's trays are lined first with styrofoam, covered in fabric, and I can pin the pieces in place. Plus they stack for easy transport. Yes, I needed those trays!

I used to attach my finished pieces to easels, and transport the batch to shows in a box. The jewelry kept falling off. Ugh! These jeweler’s trays are lined first with styrofoam, covered in fabric, and I can pin the pieces in place. Plus they stack for easy transport. Yes, I needed those trays!

IMG_4946

One of my cabinets last year this time…What a jumbled up mess!

It has taken me roughly eight days to reorganize this mess.  I never, ever, ever want to do this again!  So I tried to be methodical about it and I’m fairly certain some tweaking will be ongoing.  There was a ton of stuff to deal with…all acquired for several years, and squirreled away in several places in the house. Before I consolidated everything in my now studio space, I was clueless about how top-heavy my stash had grown.  I hate to admit how many things I had duplicated–simply because I was storing things in three rooms back then.

Because I am participating in a three month jewelry challenge sponsored by B'Sue Boutiques, I spread everything out in January. What a massive pile of parts!

Because I am participating in a three month jewelry challenge sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques, I spread everything out in January. What a massive pile of parts!

Being part of the Build a Line Challenge made me spread everything out.  I knew when I did it I was going to go crazy…I just didn’t realize it would be so soon.  Here are some pics of the civic improvements I’ve made since I hit the “do something now” moment!

All of these tiny parts needed some meaningful organization. That was painful but it had to be done.

All of these tiny parts needed some meaningful organization. That was painful but it had to be done.

My chain choices for the challenge needed to be at arms length--in one place, not three!

My chain choices for the challenge needed to be at arms length–in one place, not three!

I call this basket, Part 1 of "finishing school" because every project usually requires some of these parts. They needed to be handy and organized.

I call this basket, Part 1 of “finishing school” because every project usually requires some of these parts. They needed to be handy and organized. Clasps are also nearby…all in one place.

Here’s is the part of my cabinet that got labeled “The Good Stuff” in honor of our group mentor, Brenda Sue Lansdowne, who sells the best of the best at http://www.bsueboutiques.com.  The pieces I make with her components always sell!

The Good Stuff...Those who know will clearly understand!

The Good Stuff…Those who know will clearly understand!

After eight days of organizing, I think it is time to play. After all, I have some challenge pieces to make!

After eight days of organizing, I think it is time to play. After all, I have some challenge pieces to make!

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to show you the AFTER pictures!  Here are the cabinets now.  I think I need to hang a big sign in my studio which reads:  Put it Away!

My left cabinet, now! It houses stampings, charms, pearls, stones, and basic findings. I love the transformation!

My left cabinet, now! It houses stampings, charms, pearls, stones, and basic findings. I love the transformation!

And the right cabinet. Shells and glass live here along with a few sparkly things. Much, much better!

And the right cabinet. Shells and glass live here along with a few sparkly things. Much, much better!

Of course, there are still dribs and drabs that need tending to.  Rome wasn’t built in a day–or eight days, either.  But, I promised myself a day off and it begins NOW! Life is good, good, good! Thanks for the visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

33 Comments

  1. I could have written this blog! I have been reorganizing and labeling for six days now. My stuff was all in one place since I have only a 5×12′ area in our family room. But, I had to do something when I realized I had 5 plastic ‘shoe’ boxes full of beads to be put away. I have always been good at keeping categories of stuff separated but lately have fallen off the wagon.

    I was also a gem/bead show addict. I would take a rolling suitcase however because there was no way I could carry my bag of treasures.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and I feel your pain. I hope to finish mine today.

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 11, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      I hope you do get finished. I found the whole process to be quite tiresome, Ginger. Glad to know I’m not the only one who travels to gem shows with intention! Glad I didn’t take a rolling suitcase…I’d still be sorting. Thanks for popping in. So glad I’m in such good company!

  2. This is inspiring! My studio is in the basement, the dining room, and my work office. I’m in the process of turning a guest room into my studio. first step: Get rid of the guest bed, then rip up the carpet and replace it with sturdy flooring. Next: put up shelves…etc.

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 11, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      It really does help to have everything in one room. I hope it goes well for you! I’ve made so many mistakes along the way and I always seem to want to change things. I’m optimistic that I’m done this time!

  3. Marcia Tuzzolino

    March 10, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Oh, Susan, you know how much I love to read your writings and musings!! This was a fantastic read that I totally can relate to. I have all my “before” photos taken, but I still have a BIG work in progress, getting everything labeled and in its place in my old office. Thanks for the inspiration to kick it into high gear, my friend! You did an awesome job of getting your space organized!

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 11, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      My friends are always telling me I have too much stuff, Marcia. Typically they refer to my ‘stuff’ with another word that starts with ‘s’…as if I didn’t know, LOL! I want to backhand them and say something smarty like, “Thank you, Einstein for stating the obvious!” Hopefully yours will come together soon and nicely. I honestly don’t know how I stuck to this project for the duration. Tasks like this make me crazy! Hugs my friend and good luck! I appreciate the visit!

  4. Wow! Great job~ With our upcoming move this summer I fully intend to revamp my whole studio in our new house. Thanks for the inspiration 😀

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 11, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      I am so excited for you, Tammie! I hope the move flows smoothly, that you’ll love your new home, and your studio will be a perfect creative oasis! Hugs coming your way!

  5. Wow you have been busy Susan. …I can only aspire to be half as organized as you now are…way to go! !

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 11, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      I got so weary of the disaster this room had become, Lyn. It takes a crisis to get me going! Hugs to you.

  6. You did a great job! Loved the blog! The pictures off all the stuff on the wall looks like a bead shop! Looking forward to your jewelry reveal! <3

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 11, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Thank you so much, Mocki. I really appreciate your comments and visits! It means a great deal. Cheers!

  7. Great Blog! You have accomplished so much in a short amount of time. And, I completely understand how it feels like it needs to be done NOW, not later. I have well outgrown my China Cabinet and Dining room. Its time for me to have my own space…which hubby and I discussed, since we got our income taxes back already. First thing I am doing is opening my own checking account, separate from the house account. This way, I can have all of my purchases, as well as money from sales on Etsy and eBay that go directly into this account, so I know exactly how much money I have to play with, whether its placing a bulk order from B’Sue’s, paying for listings, postage, etc. AND, this will make it much easier on my accountant and myself so I can see where my money is coming in and going out. So, today, after hubby gets off work, we are going to the bank. I can’t wait, its the first step in turning our little small 3rd bedroom into my studio, so I can get organized. Thank you for your inspiration and making me get off my butt and get moving.

  8. Well I love what you’ve done with the place. Wish I could hang strands. Great Job

  9. Good blog as usual! I like to hang my temp strung beads, too….but that’s another thing I need to reorganize as the place I reserve to do it is really getting loaded! LOL

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 13, 2016 at 6:58 am

      It seems when I solve one problem, Brenda, I often create three more! Hope you can find a place to hang a few strands!

  10. YAYYYY Great blog Susan!!! I will hopefully be spending some polymer clay time today, but you have inspired me to PUT IT AWAY (all the stuff I’ve pulled out in the past few days after cleaning last weekend!) BEFORE I start with the clay!!! You always managed to entertain my brain with your blog posts! Great job!! Now, go PLAY!!!!

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 13, 2016 at 7:00 am

      Thank you, Karen! I haven’t had a chance to do any real playing yet; I’ve been taking advantage of some good weather and trying to clean up my yard a bit. I’m looking forward to getting “back in the saddle” first of next week.

  11. I enjoyed reading this. I too have found myself wanting to blog about cleaning and organizing my studio. Funny how many of something you find when you bring everything out to sort through. I guess we can thank Brenda for opening our eyes to that.

  12. Oh, I love reading your blog posts Susan! Good job with the reorganizing! My stash isn’t quite as big as yours, but give me time, haha!!

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 13, 2016 at 7:02 am

      Thank you, Janet! I never intended to acquire this much stuff. At least now I know that I don’t need another thing!

  13. You’ve made quite a lot of progress Susan! Looks terrific! And your post always enjoyable.

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 13, 2016 at 7:04 am

      Beth, wish me luck in staying the course! I hope to be far more disciplined than I’ve been in the past and put things away! At least now I know where to put those things. It was hit or miss in the past…mostly miss!

  14. You are so funny, I see so much you in me. I have been working on my space. I love what you have done with your space. I had my son hang some shelves for me and they are full already! But I truly know your pain, I’m still deciding what should be at arms length. Hopefully by the end of this challenge I can get it together. ;D

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 13, 2016 at 7:24 am

      Belinda, it is so hard to organize a gazillion tiny parts! Best of luck pulling yours together. I haven’t had a chance to work with mine since I finished redoing. Hopefully it will be very functional!

  15. Melissa Latimer

    March 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    I love sorting and rearranging and color-coding. I think it’s because I’m part raccoon on my mother’s side of the family! 😉
    Things still end up . . .ummm . . .untidy.
    I love your stash, by the way. Gorgeous stones!

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 13, 2016 at 7:25 am

      I wish I loved it…Oh Melissa, I can’t stand it! That is why I surprised myself by hanging in here for 8 days. Torture!

  16. Wonderful post! Reminds me of me

  17. What a great blog .. Thank you for sharing your reorganization venture with us .. Great job .. Wish I was motivated

    • Susan Bowerman

      March 13, 2016 at 7:27 am

      Thank you, Jann. I was so over it and it was driving me nuts. That was quite motivating!

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