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Friday, April 20, 2012

Using Leftovers

I use my leftovers.  Well, I admit, sometimes they get lost in the back of the refrigerator until they turn green and have to be thrown out. But I'm talking beads here!

 I hate wasting things, and that includes my time.  So, sometimes when experiments go wrong, I am able to salvage parts to be used in another project.  I am not talking about using parts of vintage jewelry and old beads here. (although I do plenty of that!)  I am talking about using a leftover component that didn't work in one design, or was just leftover from one piece, and using it in another.

 For example:  This was a leftover component from a large piece I am making for a FMG contest.  It is composed of a bunch of these smaller pieces, and I got carried away and made way too many.  So this little necklace used up one of those components.

This one is a special order necklace I recently made.  I made the neckchain and decided it was a little clunky for the size of the pendant.  So I made this chain instead.  It's a little hard to tell in the picture, but it has smaller beads.

 Which left me with an extra neckchain.  So I decided to use the first one in a little bit bigger necklace.  Turns out, the customer preferred the second one and purchased it!

This necklace was all about leftovers.  I had all these little cabochons and over the course of about 5 years I would make a few more and set them aside.  I wasn't quite sure what I would ever do with them, until I brought them out and played with them a bit.


Then of course I had a few pieces leftover, so I made a bracelet!! (but there weren't enough for earrings!)

Last year I entered this piece in a contest.

The large polymer piece was my second attempt.  The first attempt was I made a necklace of course!

Do you remember the "Australian Wedding Piece"? (no, she never sent pictures!!)  I used a lot of leftovers from that!  Most of them were experimental components that didn't pan out in the original piece.

Here are a few of the leftover pieces- there actually are lots more!

So, save your leftovers- you never know how you will be able to use them.  And the good thing is, they have a really long shelf life!  I have never had to throw one out because it was growing a nice crop of mold!!


  1. Well this is good news for me! I have a box of UFO leftovers that I was considering picking apart to rescue the components. Now I'll rethink that radical plan.


    1. Can't wait to see what you make, Kate! When I use these UFOs I feel like I am getting something for nothing!

  2. Greetings Betty,
    your work is so beautiful, this post has given me hope. I have a small box full of bits abandoned. Maybe I can take a page out of your book and put some together in a new creation.

    happy beading
    Patrick, Sydney, Australa

    1. Thank you Patrick! I am sure you will create something gorgeous with your leftovers!

  3. Beautiful each and every one

  4. I do save left over components, but so far have never had enough of anything that would co ordinate with something else. Yours are all beautiful

  5. Thank you Jennie. Sometimes it just takes awhile to find the right project!!

  6. Betty,

    I discovered your work through Eva Maria, and I'm so glad I did! You make such dramatic and beautiful pieces. Congrats on being a Bead Dreams finalist!

    I like the idea of using leftovers. I found some sterling silver clasps I made about 5 years ago, and I'm finally starting to use them in my pieces. I hate to waste time/materials, too.

    -- Sarah of Saturday Sequins.

  7. Thanks for sharing these leftovers with us Betty. Love seeing how you use all of your beads. So disappointed for you that the Australian bride didn't ever send you pictures. For us too of course as we were dying to see it worn. Have a great day.