New Year, New Start! I always get the urge at this time of year to clear out and start again, and that includes my bead stash. So I like to set aside an afternoon, preferably when it’s cold and stormy outside, tip out ALL my beads onto the carpet or table (put a large towel or cloth in it first to stop them all rolling away!) and have a good sort out.GLASSBEADSMORE

Now, there are several ways of doing this. My particular favourite is to sort into piles of similar colours. I never cease to be amazed at how different they look; they take on a totally new lease of life! And you will see all your lovely left over odds and ends in a totally new light. All types of beads – wood, lamp work, ethnic, crystal, fire polished etc. – will look fabulous in piles of similar colours and I am often surprised how well these different beads work together. For example, who would have thought that a humble wooden bead would work so well with SWAROVSLI ELEMENTS crystal? They do, honestly!

The more OCD amongst us may wish to subdivide these piles and indeed sort them into genres, e.g. gemstones, crystals, wood etc. You will end up with an impressive hierarchy of beads!

Now the fun starts! Grab tools and odds and ends of findings and start making. An odd length of chain can be transformed into a clustered charm bracelet in gorgeous purples, with enough left over for a necklace to match. Or simply string everything onto stretch magic for a stack of bracelets and a lovely long lariat. I once bought a bag of Rainbow Lustre mixed beads, sorted them like and made 15 bracelets out of this one bag! I can feel a beady business coming on!

If you got a new top for Christmas, you’ll need new jewellery to go with it. So, if for example it is in shades of brown and teal, pick out beads from your naturals pile and your turquoisey pile and get creative.

The best thing about doing this of course is that once you’ve cleared out all your beads and made yourself and your friends lots of new jewellery, you can go out and buy more beads in all the latest colours and shapes!!