I have created beadwork most of my adult life, mostly self taught, and I still love it. Of course, being self taught, I may have done things the "hard" way sometimes! But, thanks to good old Polish ingenuity, I have found some shortcuts that I'd like to share with you, especially if you are fairly new to the craft.
1.Keep a roll of cloth medical or bandage tape handy. You can tear off small pieces for holding beads on the end of an unfinished piece made on beading wire or stretch cord, or to use to keep thread/wire/cord from unrolling off the spool. It's flexible, easy to tear off by hand as much or as little as you need, and the adhesive is very strong.
2.The best separator and holder I have found for beads I'm working with are the small (about 6 in. in diameter), round ceramic paint trays/palettes. They have several compartments, are white in color, a solid surface so your needle doesn't stick into it, they are heavy, too, and the bottom is usually unglazed, so it isn't bumped or moved easily. The funniest thing is, I purchased them for beads, but now I USE them for paint!
3.If you transport supplies anywhere with you (I take stuff to my job so I can work on lunches and breaks), you can find large cosmetic bags with lots of clear pockets at thrift stores, and they work great for containers of beads and all the paraphernalia associated with beadwork. I found one that rolls up and closes with strong Velcro- I think I paid $1 for it.
~ Don't Do What I Did - Part 1~
Speaking of transporting work, about 15 years ago I purchased a "bead case" that the company was touting as something that works well to carry bead trays (like the ceramic ones above) that are in use and full of beads. It was a hard black plastic case with foam rubber inside - it was pretty nice and did work well for the beads. However, the catalog failed to mention that it was actually a GUN CASE! Now, I'm not anti gun or anything, but I was never around them much, and would not recognize a pistol case.
I'm really not against repurposing things, in fact I thought it was a clever idea. However, at the time I worked in the Cash Vault of a BANK! Fortunately, I found out what my purchase was before I went gaily skipping into the bank carrying a gun case!!!
4.Those sets of 2 or 3 tiny (about 3" long) pliers are nice to have, inexpensive and lightweight!
5.Use empty bead tubes to keep headpins, needles, etc. in.
6.Little cheapo nail clippers work well for clipping wire and thread very flush to finish off a piece nicely. Of all the special tools made for this purpose, this has worked the best for me.
7.I think everyone knows about sealing knots with clear nail polish or super glue, but it's worth mentioning again.