How to Bead With A Friend…Or Not

I don't often get the chance to bead with friends, so when Stephanie Dixon, aka The Dixon Chick, told me she was coming to upstate New York for her summer vacation this year, I jumped at the chance to spend a day with her. Because it had been so long since my last get-together with friends to bead, I had to refresh my memory on these four simple steps for how to bead with a friend…or, not.

Step 1: Bring snacks. Lucky for us, there happens to be an amazing gourmet cupcake bakery on my way out to Stephanie's vacation spot, so I stopped and bought a six-pack for us to share with her family. (I don't know if I should mention or not, but I actually belong to their frequent buyer club. That's a lot of cupcakes.) Snacks are important to keep your energy up while you're beading, and these yummy treats were the perfect finish to the large lunch we shared with her family. Only thing better than sharing beads with a friend all day? Sharing great food.
Step 2: Make sure you get a tour of the premises. Stephanie's little vacation spot happened to be her Aunt Penny's beautiful house on an Adirondack lake, complete with tea house, pottery studio where her uncle creates gorgeous ceramic art, and a downstairs craft room where her aunt beads and sews. We went for a little stroll down to the lake where we stood on the boardwalk and admired the beauty of nature all around us. The more Stephanie showed me around, the more I got the impression that this was such a special place for her and her family, and I was honored that she shared it all with me.
Step 3: Check out your bead stash. Before we got down to do any actual beading, we had to check out the bead stash that we had each brought, peruse the selection of beading books that I had brought along for reference, and take a good look at Stephanie's newest wire and gemstone bead designs! Because…well, this was all getting us ready to bead, right? We had a little bead exchange — Stephanie gave me a plastic baggie full of crystals, wire, and crystal cup chain, and I left her with one of my favorite Bead On It beading boards.
Step 4: Sit down to bead…finally. Stephanie has done mostly wire work and wire crochet during her jewelry-designing career, but since I first met her in Tucson back in 2012, she's been learning how to do bead embroidery and off-loom bead-weaving! Her latest project has been to learn how to bead odd count peyote stitch, particularly with that funky turn at the end of every other row. Thankfully, we had a little bit of time left before I had to go home where we could sit down and look at her beading and I could demonstrate a couple of different techniques for making that peyote stitch turn. And I actually had a few minutes to finish making another component for a piece of geometric beadwork that I was working on at the time.

The day just went way too fast! Before I knew it, it was time for me to pack it in and head back home where my family was waiting for me. But in the hours we spent talking and eating and beading, we learned so much from each other! Beading with a friend is always time well spent, even if you don't actually get around to doing all that much actual beading.

If you're planning on beading with a friend, sometimes it helps if you have a couple of projects picked out ahead of time. Need some inspiration for great beading projects? Check out the 2012 Jewelry Stringing Download. You'll get four issues of Jewelry Stringing magazine that you can download instantly on your favorite desktop or laptop computer! Browse, search, and print out just the pages you need for the next time you want to bead with friends. Get your copy of the 2012 Jewelry Stringing Download today and start planning your next beading get-together!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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