Sunday, June 20, 2021

Colour Makes Me Happy


I cleared away the detritus of a few completed craft projects this week. I always seem to end up with some spare beads and one shiny-bob thingy that defies classification and easy storage in my stash.

Years ago, I read on a bead artist's blog that she makes 'bead soup' with her leftover beads. She said that by throwing random beads together in a bowl, ideas for new combinations will often insinuate themselves into your mind. 

For a long time, I had a jar in my studio for odds and ends. Flinging random beads and findings into the jar was a quick way to tidy up my workspace but my obsessive personality never really approved of the chaos jar and eventually, it became so full that it was impossible to search for something anyway. 

One day, I bit the bullet and started sorting the contents of the jar. Instead of trying to separate beads from other 'small stuff' and try to find a place for everything, I catalogued the whole lot according to colour.

You can now find expensive cloisonné next to a plastic teddy bear, and if you need anything from a crystal chandelier dangle to an ivory dice, you only need to know what colour you want, and you can easily find it. Bits of broken jewelry with butterfly wing, sea shells, a rhinestone, a fossil,  leftover beads of every shape and size, it's all there.

Like a good wine, this kind of cumulation takes years to develop and mature. If well organized, such a collection is precious. It has become a mainstay in my creative process and many a miniature project has been sparked when I came across a random doodad in my stash. 

How do you organize your creative supplies?

There isn't really any news here. For the last few weeks, I've been sorting and tidying away things that piled up in my studio over time. With Henning well on the mend after his surgeries, we have started exercising outdoors more often. It is mid-winter here now but the days are sunny and nighttime temperatures haven't dipped below freezing more than a few times.

As you might have surmised from my silence, I'm in a bit of a creative slump but rather than letting it get me down, I'm using the time for housekeeping and planning ahead.


  1. Megan el trabajo que has hecho de ordenar es el más costoso, la idea de colores es genial, tomo nota pero a mi me cuesta ponerme a ordenar, siempre surge algo que me distrae para hacerlo. Cosa que lo veo imprescindible pues es un ahorro de tiempo increíble. Seguro que cuando Henning esté totalmente recuperado volverás de lleno a tus trabajos creativos. Disfruta de tus paseo, cuidaros. Besos

  2. I organize a lot by color. The clothing in our closets and fabrics in my sewing room closet are all done in color families. Organizing does require a lot of creativeness so you're in no slump. Today is our first day of summer, so I am supposing it may be your first day of winter.

  3. I also like color. Organizing your odds and ends by color makes a lot of sense and the Teddy Bear looks quite happy to be categorized right alongside the cloisonné. I do have odds and ends, but I organize them by material – bits of wood, metal, beads, fabrics, electrical, etc. So far I have a box for each, but soon, I’ll either have to purge or add boxes.

  4. I'm a 'categorise by colour' girl too. I spent a whole day recently colour sorting my huge box of feathers and bagging them up in colourways so that they would fit neatly into a much, much smaller box. I like the calming effect that doing something useful but easy promotes. I love it when I get new silk ribbons and have to allocate them to my silk ribbon boxes, all carefully sorted by colour. It's a balm for the soul.

  5. I'm never that organized! But there is something absolutely wonderful about just looking at those little boxes filled with colors and variations.

  6. Es una buena idea la de organizar por colores, además tu colección de piezas mini es absolutamente increíble, tienes muchísimas piezas. Me imagino cuanto trabajo te habrá dado.
    Seguro que las ideas surgirán muy pronto.

  7. Wow Megan, what a great collection! After doing all that sorting and clean up work, if you are still feeling like you are in a bit of a creative slump, you are more than welcome to come here to Canada and organize my craft room for me. You'll have to leave breadcrumbs when you enter just so you can find your way out again! Big hugs. - Marilyn D.

  8. Oooooh my goodness, Megan, what a huge amount of beads, and so many different sorts and sizes, woooow!! Good to know for you: I've become very cheerful seeing all of these gorgeous beads, and in so many colors of the rainbow!!
    Yes, I know this sort of cleaning up (for me:the mess), sorting out things and putting them back into my piled up stash, doing all this in order to get some inspiration.
    God to read that Henning's recovery is going well and you both are outdoors doing sportive activities. Odd for me to read it's winter in your part of the world, as I know very well, but still. Here, in The Netherlands, it has been quite hot, today it's a very cool day which I like more: no hayfever because of less pollen after a good night of rain. Yippeeee, because after being indoors for two weeks, today I was able to go outdoors and bike again, oh, how much I loved to get some fresh air :).
    Good from you to stay calm and doing some housekeeping, you'll see: new inspiration and plans will come whenever it's the time for it, think and stay positive, dear Megan!!
    Take care for the both of you, stay well.
    Warm hug, Ilona

  9. It's so good to see your beads and bits so well organised. I can imagine what a time consuming job it was. I sort my beads according to the material they're made of, glass, plastic, wood, gold and silver metals and more or less find the ones I need quite easily. I hoard a huge collection mostly donated by friends. I hope one day (smile) I'll store them the way you did.
    Great to know your husband is on the mend.
    I read your previous posts. Annabelle's box is stunning. I also love your adorable puppy.
    Hugs, Drora

  10. I go vertical. Lucky me, my spousal unit is a carpenter by upbringing (and nature), so the studio has evolved into floor-to-ceiling shelves for yarn, fabric, beads, doll stuff, lace, you name it. And I'm with you--color makes me happy too!

  11. That’s an impressive collection of beads and trinkets Megan!! I love how you have arranged them according to colour. I am a fan of colour too, and I’m always telling people ‘colour is your friend’. Great to hear Henning is doing well and that you are taking the time to tidy. My craft room is always a mess, but periodically I have to take the time to tidy. Otherwise I think the disorganisation really starts to suck the creative urge.

  12. Sorting your beads by colour is a fantastic way to store them... because it offers the wonderful side effect of getting lost in the beautiful looks of these boxes. I suppose just letting your eyes fly over this colourful collection makes your creativity happy and lets your inspiration flow.

    I'm glad to hear your husband is doing well and that you were able to do some necessary household and cleaning work. Cleaning my work desk is one of the tasks I really fear - but whenever I don't remember the colour of my table top anymore (hmmmm... makes me wonder... eh... *pant*... wait... oh, my... now I got it... it's... ehm... white!!! *phewey*) I know it's time again to face my nemesis. And despite all the time this takes I fear the most what's happening after the work is done: Whenever I'm in need of a certain piece I remember so well where it has been... but not where I put it now being totally convinced that the new place would be the perfect one to have it right at hand whenever needed. *sigh* I wish I was as organized as you! ;O)


  13. Wow, what a collection!! I think you have found a very smart way of organising and enjoying them. Glad your husband is recovering.

  14. Your colorful collection of beads is inspiring! Sometimes, organizing or going through your stash helps when you are in a creative slump. I agree with you about color making one happy. It really does. I keep my embroidery threads and floss in bags that are fitted into a ring note book. I keep colors divided with a list of the color numbers in the bag they are in. I can easily find what color I need that way.

  15. These are a work of art all on their own! Seeing color like this does something great for the soul!