I design … I teach … I create … I craft … I love kumihimo

New Chapter: PhD Program

I’m excited to tell you I’m closing my retail shop as I prepare for my doctoral studies.

My initial pang at the thought of closing my retail shop has now turned into something no less than complete enthusiasm. Sometimes letting go of one dream is the only way to grab ahold of a bigger dream.

I love kumihimo. I am proud to be a kumista. I will continue braiding and designing and teaching, as time allows.

The retail portion of the business, however, was never my passion. I initially sold the supplies because they weren’t readily available in my local area and because I could give my classes an excellent price break by buying in bulk. I’m happy to close shop. Retail is a drag, folks. You can quote me on that. But teaching … well, that’s where the fun is. You can quote me on that, too.

I’m ready to research. I’m ready to learn. I’m ready to teach more than kumihimo. I’m ready to embrace the challenges I’ve faced in learning to live with my invisible disability and turn my personal growth into something that will ultimately, I hope, help others.

Goodbye, retail! I’ll miss my customers but I won’t miss my studio looking like a mini warehouse. 

Pour the coffee. It’s time to hit the books.
Hittin the Books

Creatively yours,

Monica

I have nothing against computers, smart phones, text reminders or online calendars. After all, I’ve been an information technology specialist for a few days now (10,000 or so). You’re doing the math on that, aren’t you? Decades. Let’s just say I’ve been a girl geek for decades. 

But oh, how I enjoy writing in a book. It’s magical in the most analog sense. Smooth, thick paper. Flowing, bold pen. 

Of course I had to customize my journal with some cool Piddix art and my own little name.


I need some comfort and super-human organizational skills as I look at the quickly-approaching new year. I’ve made some decisions, you see. Changes are afoot. Hard work is in my future (I ❤️️ Hard Work). A lot of details are still up in the air — and in my newly customized Bullet Journal — but I plan to share more as time goes by. 

If you would, please wish me good things as my dreams unfold. I’ll gladly do the same for you. 
Creatively yours,

Monica

Tackling the To Do List

After taking a few days off, it’s now time to tidy up my studio and tackle my To Do list. 

I’ll be photographing new products for my shop (Toho beads!) and images for new tutorials and kits. 

  
Soon I’ll be focusing on class prep for two kumihimo classes I’m teaching this Fall semester at Parkland College. Registration is open. Supplies are included in the class fees. If you’re local, come join the fun!

Creatively yours,

Monica

I’m having a fabulous time with my new “Monica’s Pop of Color” series!

My newest tutorial for “Monica’s Pop of Color in Light Teal” is now available!

Some of the beads for this design are a bit hard to find, so I’m offering a bead kit, too. A printed tutorial is included with the kit AND I include a few extra of every type of bead. Nothing is more frustrating than making something from a kit only to find one broken bead has ruined your pattern, right? That won’t happen here.

I’m offering introductory pricing for the instant download tutorial as well as the kit. Prices will change later this month.

Monicas-Pop-of-Color-Light-Teal-beaded-kumihimo-necklace-DSC09221-InstantDownloadPDF

 

Back to work for me. I have two more tutorials to write and several new designs floating around in my head.

I hope you’re all having a fabulous week!

 

Creatively yours,

Monica

Kumihimo Storage Fun

I don’t get out much* but when I do, I like to pack my precious kumihimo supplies carefully and efficiently. 

Eureka! I found the perfect tama container. Sneakily enough, stores seem to think it’s a refrigerator storage bin. Silly retailers.

The bin holds 8 beading tama, my scientific weights, a chopstick and a split ring. The handles guarantee I don’t drop it. The bins are even stackable if I don’t include the scientific weight. Splendiferous! 

I tried it out yesterday as I packed for a local Craft Bash (gathering of fun, friendly, creative folk) and it worked perfectly. I used another bin for Miscellaneous Important Things. Pretty sweet. 
  
What are your creative kumihimo storage solutions?
Creatively yours,

Monica
* Why? Well, that’s a story for another day.

Liquid Resin Tip

Resin tip: You can use spare beads to support jewelry findings when you need to fill them with liquid resin. 

Some people use rice, which works well, but I’m not fond of the floaty little rice dust that sometimes happens. I prefer to use beads from my “miscellaneous treasures” jar.

  

This is like bead recycling, right? So I’m totally justified in buying more beads, right? Right. I knew it! 

What resin tips do you have?

 
Creatively yours,

Monica

I’m surrounded by loads of kumihimo experiments and unfinished projects. Yay, me!

Everyone has their own workflow, right? I tend to design, assess and rework the kumihimo portion of a piece until I get it done the way I like. 

When I’m writing tutorials, as I am now, I practice and photograph the preparation and braiding processes over and over and over again. Then I have a “finishing party” and attach all the end caps, clasps and such. 

Today is Finishing Party day. Tools are everywhere and I’m making a huge fun mess. 

 Finishing Party with tools and findings
Party on, friends!

 

Creatively yours,

Monica 

Creativity Break

Hi, all! I’m offline for a little while, enjoying a Creativity Break.

  
I hope you’re nurturing your own creativity. 

Be well!

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Social Media & Rebranding

As much as I try, blogging doesn’t come as easily for me as I’d like. I try. Really I do.

I post more consistently on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. If you don’t already follow me on those venues, you probably haven’t seen these designs.

 

I’m happy to announce a bit of a name change. You’ll now start finding me as iLOVEkumihimo on all my social media places 

Let’s connect all over the webosphere, shall we?

like: facebook.com/iLOVEkumihimo
tweet: twitter.com/iLOVEkumihimo
pin: pinterest.com/iLOVEkumihimo
peek: instagram.com/iLOVEkumihimo

 

Creatively yours,

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The Art of Teaching

I’m putting together my summer class proposals for the local community college where I teach. I feel so fortunate, so blessed, so valued when I’m invited to teach. This is what I LOVE!

Speaking of teaching… This week I had a bit of a disappointing educational experience. In this case, I was the student. (Never stop learning!) 

It was the kind of experience that made me think the focus of the lesson was on “don’t make a mistake” rather than “try and see what happens”. Once I put my emotions aside, I looked back on the situation and I realized all over again the importance of things like:

  • The value of patience
  • The power of encouragement
  • The importance of making learning FUN

I believe Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”

That’s my goal: to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. And I hope I don’t forget the elements of patience, encouragement and fun. They matter oh, so very much!

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.  Albert Einstein
So, my thought for today is: don’t be afraid to try something new. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Try. Learn. Repeat. That’s how we succeed, right?

Have you tried something new today?
Creatively yours,

Monica

Design Notes

With every design I think, “Oh, I’ll remember that” … and with every design I’m usually quite wrong.

It took me a while to establish a system that was a) convenient b) accurate and c) useful for me once some time had passed. I’m happy to share some of my secrets here with you.

My primary documentation tool is my smart phone. Truly, my childhood dream came true when modern technology made it simple to have a camera, calendar, computer, clock, phone, flashlight and more — all in one device that fits in a pocket.

With my phone, I photograph and video all the glorious details of learning a new braid or making a new design. I get it all: before, during and after.

My process is simple:

  1. Photograph the materials
  2. Photograph the setup
  3. Make a simple ‘reminder video’ as I braid so I remember the sequence
  4. Photograph the finished braid
  5. Write down the numbers (# of warps, # of ends in a warp, tama weight, counter weight, width of finished piece … any number that seems significant)
  6. Note anything that should be done differently the next time
  7. Put it all together in a folder
  8. Back up the data
  9. Print out the details (offline references come in handy)

I recently learned a square 8-warp Kaku Yatsu braid. My design notes look like this (click on an image to get more info) …

 

I also made a very short reminder video of the move sequence on the marudai. My reminder videos are very brief but I find them super helpful. I encourage you to document your own design journey so you can have an objective view of your growth as an artist.

Once I removed the braid from the marudai, I took some close-up photos in natural light. This photo set shows the braid detail and gives a better idea of the colors.

I have not yet turned this piece into jewelry. When I do, I’ll photograph the finished ends and any embellishments. I’ll also note details on the findings.

Ba da bing! Ba da boom! That’s all there is to it.

With these handy notes, I’ll never completely forget how to make an 8-warp Kaku Yatsu braid.

I hope you find some of this helpful as you document your own creative fun. If you have helpful tips or suggestions, please share.

 

Creatively yours,

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When I Die

My husband says my craft supplies will be buried with me when I die.

When he told me that, I just laughed and laughed. 

Clearly he underestimates the size of my stash. 

 

I hope all you lovely creative people are enjoying your craft stash this weekend. 

Creatively yours,

Monica 

More Fiber

The doctor said, “You need more fiber.”

Did I buy enough?

I love making healthy choices! 😉
#kumihimo #braidallday #doctorsorders #shoptillyoudrop

Creatively yours,

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New Year’s Appreciations

At the end of summer, I practice self-evaluation and goal-setting. That is when I make my resolutions. I work and live in an academic cycle, I guess.

January 1st, when the year is fresh and new, I like to just be. To appreciate. To love. To be kind. To be gentle with myself and others. To sit (metaphorically) in stillness and not judge or search for faults or weaknesses or missed opportunities. For me, this is the perfect way to open a new year.

Let the awesomeness of 2016 begin! 
 
Creatively yours,

Monica

Thank You

May the holidays you celebrate this season bring you much joy. Thank you friends, family, colleagues and customers for all your support this year.
May 2016 rock your socks off!

Creatively yours,

Color Me Happy

I love color.

Bright, bold colors make me happy. Dark, rich colors make me happy. Jewel tones? Happy. Monochrome? Happy.

I love color.

People often ask me how I choose my color combinations when I design and when I teach, so I’ll share my simple visual method here. Throughout the post I will mention beads, but the same method applies to cord, leather and all other mediums.

I play. Really, that’s about all there is to it.

I grab some beads, mix a few together or lay them out with whatever focal I’ve chosen, and let them spend some time together. Truly.

I’ll notice them as I walk by or do other work. I’ll make a note if I like them. If something doesn’t seem to be quite what I want, I remove or add some components. Then they spend more time together until I’m either a) satisfied or b) no longer interested in that project. Don’t judge. It’s just truth.

When I’m mixing different colors of same-size beads, I keeping mind that just a little is usually quite enough. I don’t mix whole tubes of beads together just to experiment. If I hate the blend, I don’t want to separate hundreds of beads.

For my bead mixes, I measure one or two caps of beads (note the tiny white cap partially showing in the photo; marvel at my high-tech methods) in a small container. I pour them onto a bead mat and let them get to know each other well.  You know, to let them choose to either make friends or agree to go their separate ways.

These beads are getting to know each other.

In my photo, I’m letting an experimental blend make friends. I’m looking for a nice subtle blend for a beaded kumihimo project that will use these focal handcrafted lampwork beads. (Pssst! Love the beads? Check out Juli Canon’s work at Studio Juls. I know, those silly implied Business Competition Rules say not to share trade secrets. But I’m an educator and I’m happy, so it’s ok.)

Once I string the beads, I’ll twist the strands together and evaluate them again. Then I’ll start braiding and evaluate again. Persnicketiness pays.

For color inspiration, there are a lot of options. I photograph everything and place color ideas in folders. And inspiration abounds online. You can find my Color Me Happy board on Pinterest.

What is your method for choosing colors in your designs?
Creatively yours,

Unblinkable Eye

It’s Autumn now in North America. My favorite season. The leaves are colorful and the days are getting cooler. Halloween is coming soon, so it’s time to get out the eye jewelry!

My Unblinkable Eye line of jewelry is water resistant and features domed glass for that ‘wow’ factor. Each piece is made with antiqued silver-plated or gold-plated pewter for a vintage look and feel.

I use Nunn Design components made right here in the United States. I’m always pleased with Nunn Design quality. Always. As a persnickety person, I don’t get to say that very often about very many things.

I have a growing selection of my handcrafted rings and brooch/pendants in my shop. http://ikumihimo.com

Handcrafted and water resistant, you won't be able to take your eyes off this … eye.

Handcrafted and water resistant, you won’t be able to take your eyes off this … eye.

 

 

Keep staring. It won’t blink. I promise.

Unblinkable Eye Brooch/Pendant in the more human-looking version. Sort of.

Unblinkable Eye Brooch/Pendant in a more human-looking version. Sort of.

 

I’ll have more soon. I’m starting a new batch today. I can’t stop making these!

Eye love wearing eye jewelry.

Eye love wearing eye jewelry.

Handcrafted dragon eye in green and orange by Monica K Campbell.

Handcrafted dragon eye in green and orange by Monica K Campbell.

 

What unusual jewelry do you like to wear this time of year?
Creatively yours,

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I am humbled and awed and excited that so many of you creative people are interested in my Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo tutorial. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

A few minor typo’s have been reported. Kudos to you detail-attentive folks! I appreciate your help in making this 22-page tutorial as accurate and professional as possible.

I have applied the changes and changed one image on the back page (just for fun), which means this tutorial is now Version 1.1.

For those of you who have already purchased the original, see if you can download the new version via Etsy. If you cannot, send me an Etsy convo and I’ll make sure you get a typo-free version.

v1.1 of my Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet tutorial is now available. Click the image to see it in my shop.

v1.1 of my Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet tutorial is now available. Click the image to see it in my shop.

Creatively yours,

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IT’S FINISHED!

Strike up the band! My Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet tutorial is FINISHED! Woo-hooo!

Now available in my Etsy shop: a detailed 22-page PDF digital tutorial for making Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelets.

Now available in my Etsy shop: a detailed 22-page PDF digital tutorial for making Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelets.

I’m offering an introductory price of $8, which I think is pretty good deal for a tutorial that has:

  • 22 pages
  • detailed instructions
  • 30 instructional images
  • easy-to-read type
  • a clean, professional look

I’m also offering a special little something else. I do this for my class handouts and it’s been quite successful. Presuming I’m not breaking an Etsy policy, the special little something works like this:

  1. You have 7 days from the date of purchasing the tutorial to be the first person to report any typographical error to me via an Etsy conversation.
  2. The first person to report each error will win a reward. In this case, the reward can be a $5 refund OR a free tube of beads (winner pays shipping).
  3. If you find more than one error — and you are the first to report each error —  you earn more than one reward ($5 refund AND beads; or one tube of beads AND free shipping anywhere in the US).

Hurry and buy your copy. The price goes up a bit next week.

Thanks to each and every one of you who have waited patiently for this labor of love. I truly enjoy writing tutorials, even though my persnickety self edits and re-edits until even I am annoyed.

Creatively yours,

Monica

Save the Date

Save the date! Start the party! Stock up on beads!

August 19!

Finally, I’m (nearly) satisfied with my Multi-Wrap Memory Wire Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet tutorial. By August 19, even my persnickety self will be able to call it finished and fine. 

Whew. 

It has oodles of photos and step-by-step instructions. I think you’ll be pleased. 

This is not for kumihimo newbies, folks. You want to be comfortable with your kumihimo skills before you try this tutorial. Beaded kumihimo experience highly recommended. 

Check back here on the release date and find out how you can get a $5 refund on the $8 tutorial. You won’t want to miss it. 

  
Back to editing I go. I’ll emerge August 19. See you then!

Creatively yours,