UFO or PIP–what to do?

What to do with UFO”s or PIP”s?

Jennifer at Beadfx started it all on their Facebook page: she asked about unfinished projects (UFO”s). I replied with a short description of my PIP”s (projects in process). Then Maureen asked about the bags I used. Then Heather wanted some photos… So here are the details: read and beware the perils of boredom.

I start with a cardboard box with a lid, the kind you get at an office supply store to hold filing folders (or tax receipts in case the Feds come calling).

Inside the box are gallon bags (Ziplock, Hefty etc.). Find these at a dollar store or a grocery store. Problem: recently Ziplock has switched to a new, improved version that has a pleat at the bottom. Don”t buy this kind if you can find ones without a pleat. Here”s a photo.

project box










The Process

1. Gather your information and any supplies for one project. It doesn”t have to be everything that”s needed—perhaps only a drawing and maybe a focal bead.

2. Grab a gallon bag, put in a 9×12″ sheet of stiff paper (card stock or similar) to help keep the bag upright. If you”re putting in a magazine with a project you want to make, then you don”t need the card stock.

3. You can write notes on the card stock—perhaps an idea for the next step to take (e.g. beads to source). You can write on Sticky Notes & stick them to the card stock.

4. Take a blank label and write a title for the project.

Repeat steps 1-4 until all of your PIP”s are in gallon bags & in a box. Click photos to englarge.

Project bag 1


project bag 2


project bag 3

5. Sort your casino online PIP”s into the kind of project, e.g. Beadwork, Wirework, Chain Mail, Resin, Crochet etc.

6. Look at each PIP of a particular kind and decide on its status: Planning, Ready to Start, In Progress.
Add the Status to the label. (I also have a category called Instructions (that I need to write). )

The projects In Progress can be sorted further into two sub-categories according to the amount of brainpower required: ones that have stalled & need a problem solved before they can be continued, and ones that can be worked on in front of the TV or as a passenger on any trip over half an hour. (I”ve even taken these to a hair salon to do during “processing” time).

7. Sort the bags according to Status.

8. We”re getting there! Now look at each bag & decide on it”s priority. Write an A on a project that”s high on your priority list, and E on the ones that can wait the longest. The priority may be an A because it”s for a gift you need done soon, or it”s for a class you promised to teach, or it”s something you really want to wear with that new top you just bought. It may turn out that the E projects should be terminated & the supplies put back in your stash, or it may be that your original idea needs serious re-working.

9. The next (somewhat anal) step is to put this information into a spreadsheet with columns for Number, Priority, Status, Brief Description. (I also have Project Type, e.g. beadwork, and Category, e.g. personal, kit, experimental…) It”s easy to sort the spreadsheet by any of the columns, or to search it using a key word.

Then print it out and drop it into the box so it”s handy for editing or quickly jogging your memory.

10. Last of all, print labels for each of your gallon bags.

Here”s an example of one of my labels for a project that started with a pendant I bought at Bead Fest last year from Charmed, I”m Sure. (No, it”s not finished. I keep going back to it with new ideas.)

P-2-B In Progress
CU Tree Pendant – Foxtail

Warning: Organizing my projects was quite easy. The hard part is keeping things updated. I started this in January 2011. I suspect it”s past time to update things. (An understatement if there ever was one!) The many new bags have handwritten labels, And some old bags have changes on the labels. Guess I”m not perfect…

My Top 5 Bracelet Projects

This post is another response to the often asked question: I want to try chain mail, what would be a good project to start with? Only this time I”ve chosen 5 of my favourite bracelets that are perfect for someone starting to explore chain mail as an aspect of jewellery making. These are different from the ones I used in the earrings—so remember that those ones also make really gorgeous bracelets. The weaves in these bracelets (just like the ones used in the earrings) can be used in many creative ways to make additional pieces of jewellery. Please comment if you have a favourite chain mail weave to add to my list!

Boxchain Bracelet


#1 Boxchain Br.

This is a sleek and sensuous bracelet that I enjoy wearing. It”s a substantial, squarish chain that works well as a online casinos necklace with a pendant.

See the silver version.


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#2 Double Spiral Br.

Another classic chain that looks like a rope and it very flattering. Fantastic as a necklace! I”ve also made it as a very From a bank perspective, free-credits-report.com means that the bank will cover a consumer’s purchase in the present in exchange for future payments (including interest) from that consumer. long lariat with bead dangles on the ends.

See the silver version.

Vertebrae Weave Bracelet


#3 Vertebrae Br.

Another sensuous, slinky chain—only this one is flat. Makes a great watch band using a heavier gauge of rings. See the copper version, and the watches

I”ve seen this weave used as a wonderful necklace—but haven”t made one yet for myself.

Barrel Weave Bracelet


#4 Barrel Weave Br.

A lovely weave! See the Ocean Lace Bracelet that adds crystals and lampwork beads. And look at  the Barrel of Pearls—features 2 Swarovski pearls between each barrel component.

I love the flexibility and creative options of mixing and matching chain mail components with beads and connectors.

Japanese Stepping Stones Bracelet


#5 Jap. Step. Stones

The Japanese Stepping Stones Bracelet is delightful. Imagine stepping from one large stone to the next in the Japanese garden on your wrist.
Also comes in copper.

If you have a look at my Facebook page—Marilyn Gardiner Design, you”ll see an awesome silver necklace with a pendant made from Larimar cabs set in sterling.

I hope you”ve enjoyed looking at these. I”ve had fun choosing them for you!

My Top 5 Earring Projects for Beginners

I am often asked “I want to try chain mail, what would be a good project to start with?” Another variation is “I just made the xyz bracelet, so what would be a good kit to try next?”

The easy answer is to say “Look for kits with a skill level of Beginner and choose one”. But I think I can give a better answer to this question. There are certain chain mail weaves that are not difficult, but also have the flexibility and potential to be used in many ways. Once learned, these weaves form a foundation for future experimentation and exploration in the world of jewellery making.

This post will identify earring patterns—but note that the weaves introduced could be made into bracelets or necklaces. My next post will feature additional weaves in 5 bracelets for beginners. Stay tuned!

Parallel Earrings


#1 Parallel Earrings

Ramp up your wardrobe with skinny, swingy, sexy earrings. The Swarovski briolette drop is a beautiful Erinite colour. These online casino are very easy to create—and would make pokies online a lovely gift—if you can bear to part with them!


Mobius Ball Earrings


#2 Mobius Ball Ear.

These are classic, wear everywhere, earrings. The bicone drop is a beautiful crystal AB colour. I”ve given these as a special hostess gift.

Orchid Earrings


#3 Orchid Earrings

Delicate, elegant, and feminine are words that come to mind when you see these exquisite earrings. I had a 12 year old boy make these for his mom in a class.

Japanese Flower Earrings


#4 Jap. Flower Ear.

Create exquisite and intricate looking earrings in the tradition of Japanese chain mail. These aren”t as fast to make as the others (more rings to open & close), but I love them!

Celtic Star Earrings


#5 Celtic Star Ear.

Make an eye-catching sterling silver star motif and turn it into a special pair of earrings. Another possibility would be a pendant on a delicate chain. Easy to make! (Also available in silver filled or jeweller”s bronze.)

I hope you”ve enjoyed looking at these. I”ve had fun!