When I was fifteen, I decided that I wanted to learn to bake. For Christmas, my parents got me a cookbook which I dived right into. Up until then, I'd been the "box" kind of baker...you know what I mean...Betty Crocker or those tubes of cookie dough was about all I knew how to do. Then I took Home Economics along with my prized cookbook, and decided I could take what I'd been doing and "ADD" to it. So then, I had my Mom add flavorings and food color to the shopping list. I still did my box mixes as I wasn't ready to start from real scratch just yet. My sister would help me, and we'd come up with the most amazing combinations. We were very lucky that our brother would eat just about anything we made. Our biggest undertaking for a Forth of July family party was to make a big flag sheet cake. The actual cake was a regular chocolate cake mix where we added some cherry flavored pudding. It was pretty tasty and reminded us of chocolate covered cherries, but we weren't finished. There was the icing to consider. Red, white and blue was easy to make with our food colorings, but we wanted to make it special so we (you guessed) got out the flavorings. It was a sort of banana split type of cake with banana, pineapple, and cherry flavorings. Hey, we thought it would not only be the hit of the party, but a cornucopia of flavor delights. My Dad's eyes glazed over with all the scrumptious sugar. He took a giant piece, bit into it and those glazed eyes turned into tiny pin pricks as they focused on me and these words came out of his mouth, "what did you girls do?". Well, it was too confusing for the taste buds, so the cake sat uneaten and the guest had boring watermelon instead. My brother did eat the whole cake in the next few days, but this experiment was a wake up call to me that yes, you can mix and match things but you need to focus on only a few surprises at a time. No need to throw everything in the mix (literally) or you'll just confuse everyone and make a big noxious mess.
Same goes with designing beaded jewelry. First off, before you get down to the nitty gritty, you have to take your time and really learn the techniques. You don't have to become a Master at them, but learn them enough so that you don't struggle with the execution of each technique. Use books such as Mabeline Gidez's I CAN Right Angle Weave to learn the basics. Take some time to go through Lark's magnificent collection of Master Bead Weaver's books such as Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence honing your skills and getting ideas. The two words here and Practice and Experimenting. Practice the skills and then take that experience you've worked on, and start adding two "ingredients" together to make something different, unique, but complimentary. This is what I've started doing on my beaded jewelry design.
I've called my newest piece "Delightful Brunch". Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch with all the delicious treats you find in both meals, but all put together for mouth watering temptations. Delightful Brunch is my offering of two separate bead weaving techniques used together to create something simply delicious. The rope is a basic tubular Herringbone using two different size seed beads. With this piece, I used matt colored size 11 seed beads with size 11 Galvanized colored size 8 seed beads for that little bump. This is one long tube which can be slipped over the head in a lariat type style. Then the fastener is Right Angle Weave tube inspired from Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence front cover. For this I used a combination of her instructions with a few little changes. The end dangles are also another offering of other techniques. One dangle is a lampwork bead and the other dangle is a peyote caged Rivoli combining tear drop pearls. Each piece is separately made and then combined and presented for your approval. I've worn this two times already, and it is so light that I forget I'm wearing it, but it does draw attention.
So never be afraid to combine stitches. Experiment and enjoy and try to remember that sometimes too much is not necessarily bad as there is always someone out there that will enjoy a big batch of everything thrown into the bowl. And always have your groupies there cheering you on.