Most people have a clear out in the Spring, but my workshop boxes are bulging with old ideas and kits.
The bead handbag was one of my more unusual workshops. I didn't wake up one day and decide that that was what I was going to do next. In fact, I had become fascinated by handmade peg dolls and wanted to make an all-too-human fairy for Christmas – with lots of sparkles. The fairy went on to feature in a presentation for a new book.
My approach to developing workshops in 2010 is the same as it is today. When I need a new workshop idea, one of the quickest ways to put a new workshop together is to look at what I am doing for pleasure. Invariably I will have lots of ideas floating around in my head that I will never use, and I will have produced some test samples that I can use in the workshop. The technique I used to make the handbag had proved to be quite useful. It was a good-looking project, with an interesting technique that the student could develop – perfect. Minus a fairy, the handbag became a stitch-marker or charm, and the instructions also became a free download from the Debbie Abrahams Beads website.
I taught this workshop for several years. The students had a choice of kits and, so that the last student to select a kit had an equal choice of colours as the first, I have six kits left. On top of the many samples I have made, I have the handbags that I made during the workshops so that the group could see how the next stage should look. There are a lot of handbags.
I have decided that I am going to offer them for sale at a school Winter Fair. What I don't know is how I should present them. The handbags are not toys – they cannot be given to a small child as an accessory for their favourite doll. We will have to make a sign to that effect. They are a bit small to adorn a Christmas tree. Not many people at the Fair will be interested in stitch markers and they may be difficult to picture as charms. I will attach a lobster claw clasp to each handbag so they could hang from zips or a small metal ring and see what happens. I would buy something like this just for the beads.
If you want to make a bead handbag stitch marker then the worksheet is available for free here.