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Beading Challenge: Clear Your PHD Pile

Beading Challenge - how many PHDs can you finish? Part 1 with Katie Dean, Beadflowers

Throughout February 2021, I’m offering you the chance to take on a personal beading challenge. So, how would you feel about clearing some of those PHDs? And, if you have no PHDs, how about clearing some of those NESTYs?

What is a PHD?

In beading terms, it is a Project Half Done. Now, these can take many forms…

  • A project that has been sitting on your beading mat in plain sight, but you just can’t get around to finishing it.
  • Projects that you packed up into bags or boxes, uncompleted. So, you will have some of the beadwork in place, but not all of it.
  • Patterns that you bought, maybe sorted out the materials, but never got around to starting.

What is a NESTY?

Again, this is a curious beading acronym. It stands for Not Even STarted Yet.

So, that would cover any tutorials and patterns that you have purchased, then saved or filed and forgotten about.


Click here if you need to learn a bead weaving technique

So, what is the beading challenge?

I’m inviting you to take on the challenge of seeing how many PHDs or NESTYs (or both), you can complete this month.

And, yes, there will be prizes…

But more on that in a moment.

First, let’s consider how you have managed to accumulate so many of these incomplete items. It happens for a reason, you know. And I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, or that you should ever reach the point where you have nothing left to do.

Part of the joy of beading is in discovering new things to excite you. So, you don’t want to let go of that. But if this journey of discovery is also leading you to feel weighed down and guilty about the number of projects you haven’t yet completed, then we do want to let go of that guilt.

So, I’m going to be teaching you a proper system for doing that, this month.

You absolutely can wake up one morning and announce, ‘I’m going to finish my PHDs this week.’ But the odds of you really following through on that are quite slim. You need a proper system to help you achieve your goals.

The Prizes

I’ll be revealing full details of the prizes and how to get your hands on them, in my second post, next Monday (8th Feb). But I want you to know that if you do decide to take on this beading challenge, every single PHD or NESTY you complete during February 2021 will earn you a prize.

You see, part of the reason we end up not completing things is because we don’t have the motivation. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether the piece gets completed or not. So, it’s just too easy to get distracted and never finish.

So, what would happen if you did have a reason for completing your project?

I bet, if you look back over the time you’ve spent beading, you’ll be able to see this pattern… Whenever you were making a project for a purpose with a deadline, (e.g. birthday gift for a friend), it was more likely to be completed than if you were just making something for fun.

So, by giving you a prize to aim for, I hope to be giving you an incentive to complete this challenge.

Free beads loyalty scheme from Bead flowers, beadwork by Katie Dean

Support for your beading challenge

I also appreciate that this isn’t easy to do on your own. So, again, next Monday, I will be providing you with a support system to help you along.

Obviously, if you follow the structured system I’m about to set out in this series of blog posts, that is going to support you in some way. But it’s also nice to have other people to talk to. A sense of camaraderie always helps motivate us through tricky situations.

So, again, next Monday, I’ll be telling you where you can find just such a place…

But for now, it’s time to get started on your first task…

Your first task

I want you to take out all your PHDs and/or NESTYs and this week, you’re going to begin sorting them out.

Basically, there is usually a reason why a project doesn’t get finished (or started). And I think these are the main reasons…

  • no beads – you didn’t have all the materials, or you ran out of beads partway through
  • losing interest – you simply got bored or weren’t enjoying the project and got distracted by something else
  • hitting a problem – you were struggling with the techniques and didn’t know how to get help, so you put the project to one side
  • a better option – something else (not necessarily beading related) got in the way and stopped you from working on the project, so you cleared it away into a box and forgot about it

Now, all of those reasons can also apply to the projects you haven’t started yet. Maybe the pattern required you to buy some beads and you either couldn’t afford that, or you couldn’t find what you needed at the time.

Perhaps, when you read through the pattern, you realised it involved a lot of techniques you didn’t yet know. So, you decided to put it to one side until you had gained more skills. Then, you forgot about it.

We all buy patterns that we’re not intending to begin immediately. So, it’s easy to file them away, then forget we’ve bought them.

Beading challenge - sorting out your PHDs

How to sort through – part 1

I want you to take four bags or boxes and label each one with the four reasons I’ve just given you, above.

Then, I want you to take each of your PHDs and add them to the appropriate box.

If you are doing this with patterns, you can do this virtually if you prefer. So, set up four new folders on your computer and save a copy of each pattern into the appropriate folder.

How to sort through – part 2

When you’ve done that, I want you to go through each box and look at it each project. Ask yourself, ‘is this something I still want to make?’

If it is, then leave it in the box.

If you don’t want to make it any more, that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with admitting that something no longer suits you. Our tastes, desires and abilities naturally change over time. That’s a good thing. But there’s no point in holding on to the ‘old you’ just for the sake of it.

Be completely honest here. If you no longer have any desire to make that project, then don’t make it. And own that decision.

So, any project that you no longer want to make/complete, needs to be pulled out of the box. You’re going to deal with all those projects this week.

What you need to do this week

Take all those projects you don’t want to make. If they are part finished, then un-do whatever beading you’ve done, and return the beads to their place in your bead stash. (If you need some advice on storing your beads, check out this blog).

Any patterns that are unwanted, you should file in a folder (either real, or on your computer). Label this, ‘unwanted patterns’ and put it away somewhere.

You can keep this folder, just in case you ever change your mind. But the point is, it’s no longer a ‘guilt-trip’. You’ve made a conscious choice to ignore those projects.

Are you ready to get started on your beading challenge?

Now you’ve seen how simple your first task is. I’ve promised you some support and rewards. So, are you ready to take up your beading challenge?

I hope you’ll be saying ‘yes’.

Enjoy sorting through things this week. Then, when you’re ready, you can move on to your second task by clicking this link.

(By the way, if you do happen to have absolutely no PHDs or NESTYs, you can always find something new here.)

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