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Taking a Break with Fuse Bead Crafts

Sometimes, you just need to take a break. The boys and I did this week, and did some fuse bead crafts.

I have not been a big “bead-er” in terms of crafts, because I’m not a fan of stringing and have difficulty seeing the thread when sewing them. But I started working with fuse beads last year, and I fid I have a lot more patience for them.

I pulled out the beads and our forms. We have a variety of shapes and sizes.

Now, I am a pattern girl. I just don’t imagine shapes well, so another item to work off of is terribly helpful. This time around I got the idea to go online and search for free, online cross stitch patterns. I mean, cross stitch works off a grid, so I thought that I could just use a square or rectangular form and be set.

I settled on this pattern

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But decided to change the colors.

One thing I learned is that beads are much bigger than stitching, so I needed to work off of small cross stitch patterns, and it still took up my largest form.

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I worked with an iPad in front of me. Once the outline was done, I didn’t need it any more, since I decided to use different colors.

My youngest son started out working side by side, but he is much faster than I. In less than on house, he did this.

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Now, it turns out… the boys do not feel the need for patterns like I do.  They work more free form. So, as the week went on… This happened.

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And this.

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And this.

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aIt’s no surprise that the Doctor played such a prominent role in our imaginations, but, it looks like our initial foray into marine biology has gotten a foothold in people’s imaginations, too, because this is also happening:

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And, this is taking shape. I’m not sure what it is yet, but it doesn’t appear to be whovian.

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Last year, we did a ton of Chrismons using fuse beads. They’re a great project for all kinds of reasons – you get to study symbolism in different cultures, and they make great holiday decorations and gifts. We referred to images like the one below (links to Pinterest), but again, you can use any counted cross stitch pattern, so long as it’s small enough to fit on your pattern board.

 

I like working with fuse beads with the kids for some other reasons, too. It’s a great way to take all the pressure off while practicing the whole x,y (coordinates in math) thing. No, it’s not (exactly) the same. But when you’re beading like this, particularly when working from one square graph to another, you are working with the same types of relationships between points. Again, it takes the pressure off. it’s about making the pattern or image, not about plotting some random points in a meaningless way. After all, plotting x,y coordinates is about showing mathematical relationships, so if the plotting itself is a problem, it becomes an obstacle to comprehension of the mathematical relationship between values being plotted. This is starting to sound more like math than like crafts here  😉 so I’m going to leave it at how using beads in this way lets us practice skills used in plotting or graphing — or even map reading — (all left brain stuff) while we’re focused on being creative (and flexing our right brains).

Here’s a recap of our late summer beading week:

 

Before you get all excited, I feel obligated to warn you. With a project like this, you can walk into your living room and find your coffee table looking like this:

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And let’s not talk about stepping on beads on the (supposedly) freshly vacuumed carpet. (And the bead-eating dogs…<sigh>)

Many thanks to #artegotoysfusebeads who supplied the beads we used in our project here. These beads were provided complimentary for testing and review purposes (and they passed with flying colors). You can check out Art:Ego fuse beads and kits on Amazon (of course). They have 3D fuse bead kits – how cool is that? If you’re into making your own, like us, beads come in a bulk bucket for the kids and a sanity-saving pre-sorted box set (for the moms, <cough cough>).

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Disclaimer: I received complimentary samples of the fuse beads used in these products for testing and review purposes.
Opinions are my own, based on my personal experience.
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