Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Beading on the Go

I'm packing for Mexico and figuring out what beading supplies I need to take with me.

I know I need pliers, because Kate advised us to bring our own (note to self - don't pack them in the carry on bag, they won't make it past the x-ray machine - no tools of any kind are allowed, I've been told.) Even if I am taking a class where the tools are provided, I usually end up bring one or two of my own - especially the bright yellow handled pair you can see in the bottom left of the photo below. It has a smaller head than a regular pair of square nosed pliers and it is especially good for wrapping wire. (For more info on what tools you need, see the Beadfx blog posting of today's date, in which Dwyn provides a very good summary of the basics - http://beadfx.blogspot.com/2008/12/tools-what-to-buy.html. Her hint about not buying tools with the same coloured handles is an especially good one, although as you can see from the photo, it's too late for me to make use of this suggestion!)

I'm also taking a beading mat and tray. Kate suggested we bring a portable work surface so we can move from sitting by the pool to indoors to outside under an umbrella to the beach, etc. - did I mention it's not too late to sign up and join us? :) My friend Colleen (who is also going on this trip) told me a few months ago that she uses baking/cookie sheets with a bead mat on top as a work surface and I have found this to be an excellent idea. It's lap size and easy to move, plus if you get your baking sheets at the dollar store, it's not a very expansive investment at all. I usually have more than one sheet on the go at a time, as usually it's easier to start a new one than it is to clean up a work-in-progress and start over. Plus my cousin Catherine gave me a jumbo sized cookie sheet that was too big for her oven but is really handy for projects that need a larger workspace and sometimes I turn it over and use it to cover up my projects to keep the cats from sleeping on or eating what I am working on.

The hard part about packing bead stuff for this trip is deciding what miscellaneous beads and components to take with me. Kate is bringing us each a bountiful stash of goodies to work with but she also suggested we might want to bring some of our favourite beads, or something we've been meaning to make something out of. I have several vials of seed beads that have been waiting to be put to good use but how will I decide on which few to take with me? Hopefully the beads I leave behind won't be too jealous of those I take. :)

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