6 Signs of Spring for Beaders

spring flower group
People from every region have their own heralds of spring. Here in Wisconsin, where I live, songbirds announce the season and entice us out of our winter cocoons. Honking waterfowl make their way through icy waterways as snow starts to melt. People show up at dog parks clothed in a few less layers than the prior month. In Memphis, TN, where I use to live, wild green onions sprout at the end of winter. By early spring, yards smell like salads when people venture out to mow.
snow thaw
Sculptural snow boulders form during the spring thaw.
Regardless where you live, spring brings new sights, sounds, and smells, which make our senses come alive. For the beading community, we have our own signs that spring has sprung.
Brass and blue necklace_hero
Lava beads are one of the hot items at Tucson. My old friend Helene Tsigistras made this necklace with brass and lava beads.
1. Tucson Unpacking
Whether you went to the Tucson shows or followed postings from those who did, we have new beads, gems, and findings to be excited about. While I wasn’t lucky enough to go to Arizona, I did ogle over friends’ finds and read about others’ discoveries. I am excited to incorporate some of the “new” items in my spring projects, including dusky and “lucky” lava beads. I hope to be unpacking Tucson-inspired bead shipments very soon.
Going through your old beads will generate new project ideas and make you feel good when you donate unwanted items to good causes.
2. Spring Cleaning
It’s time to clean up our beading supplies and work stations. Over the years, I’ve heard many good ways to reduce obsolete bead stashes. Many bead societies have stash swaps, some bag beads and sell or give them away to senior centers, other use online re-homing sources, such as Freecycle. I like to give them to my local Boys and Girls Club, but other non-profits, which offer crafting classes, jump at the possibility of receiving beading donations. There’s nothing like making room for new items and clearing work space to get you excited for new projects.
I imagine an entire wall with metallic canisters. Find this and other thrifty bead-organizing tips online.
3. Getting Organized
This is the time of year I explore purchasing new boxes, drawers, canisters, and other types of storage for my beads and tools. Being frugal, I often comb thrift stores and browse dollar stores for unconventional possibilities. Recently, I saw little metal tins – the kinds you see sold for beading – at the local science-and-surplus store. Not only where they inexpensive, but they came in fun saturated colors like the new Swarovski Lacquer Pro crystals. The thrill of finding something nontraditional or unexpected satisfies my need to be creative as well as organized.
No green thumb is needed for this project.
4. Blooming Beads
First crocus emerge, pushing the snow away with sheer determination, then the purple irises reappear. I love watching my garden come back to life after the long, gray winter. I can’t talk about spring without mentioning flowers. As beaders, we don’t have to wait for the sprouts to bloom to enjoy flowers. We bring the outside in with our flower-inspired jewelry. The March 2017 issue of Bead&Button magazine features 15 botanical-themed projects and its online counterpart, facetjewelry.com, offers more free projects. We’ve all come a long way from daisy chains.
I love this spring color roundup that includes seven select projects.
5. Changing Hues
Part of my household spring cleaning includes moving the heavy winter clothing out of my closet and into storage, or off to Goodwill. While black and gray clothing will in my closet as color options, new colors reappear. The fuchsia solids and light-weight yellow tops reappear.  I find a similar churn occurs with my beads.  I pack away certain beads and explore different color themes. The Pantone color “greenery” will be one hue I incorporate in my spring projects.
6. Spring Planning

Now that the Tucson Shows are over, it’s time to plan for the Bead&Button Show. I love to make lists. They not only help me get organized but build excitement. So with a big event on the horizon, I will enjoy planning my schedule – watch for what-to-do around Milwaukee as the Bead&Button Show draws closer. Until then, I’ll look into other bead-related trips and activities. Even if I don’t go, it’s exciting to dream!

"Don't ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs
is more people who have come alive."
– Howard Thurman

I hope you and your beading come alive this spring.

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