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This weekend, I am watching The Great Bead Extravaganza Spring Fling. The Great Bead Extravaganza (TGBE) was the brainchild of Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery and Sara Oehler of Soft Flex as a way to help creative small businesses during the pandemic. It has turned into a wonderful online bead show that they have several times a year. It benefits the audience and presenters alike. I found myself all teary with gratitude this weekend because I’m enjoying it so much. Sometimes I worry when I get in a creative slump that I’ll never feel that creative again. The antidote is a wonderful show like this. Because here’s what happens.

One of the presenters is Kate Richbourg. She works with Beadshop.com. I did buy her bracelet kit but I rarely make the projects during the presentations because I like to watch the presentation first and then watch it again to follow along when I make so I can pause and re-watch as necessary. However, at the beginning of TGBE, I followed all the social media for any presenter I wasn’t already following. I love learning about new creators and suppliers, so that’s one of the many benefits of a bead show. I hadn’t been following either Kate or Beadshop.com before this. During the lead up to this weekend’s Spring Fling, I was paying extra attention to Kate’s Instagram and saw a fabulous multi-strand necklace that was a kit project some months ago. I was enraptured and during TGBE breaks yesterday, I was watching the instructions. I realized that even though the kit is gone, I have many of the ingredients and got a few more from beadshop.com using their coupon code for the show. So while being inspired about making that necklace, she briefly showed another necklace I fell in love with. I found another video on the beadshop.com YouTube channel that talked about this necklace and some associated techniques. I also realized I had beads for that necklace, and that’s the one I started to make.

It’s all related to TGBE because I wouldn’t be following Kate or Beadshop.com without TGBE! I often go down rabbit holes online, but this one was certainly fun and productive. Not that cute cat videos don’t serve a purpose…but I digress.

Above is a screenshot of Kate’s necklace. This was from a Free Tip Friday video series called The Bead Doctors are IN! This is part of what made me all teary with gratitude. It wasn’t just TGBE, but the amount of help and instruction these and other folks offer us. I will be forever grateful to Lorelei Eurto, her blog, and the way she identifies bead artists in her listings for educating me about art beads. In hearing Kate talk about how, even if you aren’t ready to string a necklace like this, if you like these types of beads, you can start collecting them like she and Janice (beadshop.com owner) have for many years to have a stash when you are ready. That made me think about how I will be forever grateful to Andrew Thornton for his Andrew Thornton: Project Destash that over the years was a major contributor to educate me about beads and giving me access to build my stash with beads like this so I had them for this necklace.

Necklace in progress with various African and other beads.

Here is my version in process. The closure is very cool but something I’m going to have to watch the video for a couple of times. I want to get it right. Here is where I got (or think I got) some of these beads. Starting from the left, it is likely I got the long fluted red glass bead (just like Kate’s!) from Andrew, along with those blue Vaseline glass. That large blue and green speckled glass bead is from The Bead Goes On. It was bigger and heavier than I expected when I got it, but if you save stuff, it always finds its project! The vaguely bicone shaped tan clay bead is from an Allegory Gallery kit. The gorgeous large hammered bead (it’s hollow) is from Lennis Carrier. I’m sure I squealed when I opened it because it’s just my kind of thing. The old green bead is an antique Hebron bead from Andrew. I was surprised how little African metal I have. I think maybe I believe I have a lot so I don’t buy it when I see it. Next is a Buddha prayer bead with gold leaf that I think I got at Planet Bead in Milwaukee. The red bead is from now closed Jade Mountain Beads in my town. I specifically remember buying a few of those beads because they were so different from the crystals, sterling and more modern beads I had been buying.

The large resin pumpkin bead I got from Andrew’s destash. I was (and am) so enthralled with it. I bought some of those black beads with the metal band from beadshop.com this weekend since I saw them in this necklace. Then when I was looking through my stash, I realized I already had a strand. Keep track of what’s in your stash, people! But they’ll come in handy. There are several African recycled glass beads in the necklace. I’m not sure where I got any of them, but it’s good to get them when I can get small amounts in different colors just to have on hand for a project like this. The tube bead is bauxite, also from Andrew’s destash.

This was a longer post than usual, but it was fun for me to go down memory lane a little bit while designing this necklace. Even Daniel Tiger enjoyed going through my beads!