Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Love Me, Love Me Not Bracelet

I felt a bit uneasy since complaining about my last embroider project; which sits unfinished still, however, after completing a flat peyote bracelet, I don't feel so bad.  Whipping up that flat peyote bracelet was soooo relaxing and I really had a chance to sit and meditate on some of the more important things in life.

I started with a B&W pattern by KFS that I found on Pinterest:

I chose this pattern because the December challenge for my OTTBS group was black and white with 1 additional color. I really loved the simplicity of the pattern and felt that I could incorporate a single color due to the one central element.

I started with the black and white and then decided to add a pop of teal metallic beads

I really love the end result and I added a simple beaded toggle clasp

This shot is more true to the real color of the teal beads

Now I must digress for a moment, I used some Toho cylinder beads that I bought (on sale) from A.C. Moore.  However, even though I have a nice selection of these beads, I have never used them and I hate them.  They are so wonky and inconsistent and I had a hard time continuing this piece because the beads were just not uniform.  I am used to beading with Miyuki delica beads and truly I am spoiled by the exact nature of delicas.  As usual, you get what you pay for, and I will never complain about the price of delicas again because it is obvious that Miyuki delicas trump Toho cylinder beads.

(Note: I am just referencing Toho cylinder beads, Toho seed beads are still #1 in my book)

All in all, I love the piece, but the Toho's are so annoying and I am seriously considering beading this pattern up using Miyuki delicas, but not right now.  I am going to work on something else that is relaxing (maybe I will give that bead embroider project another go ;-) )

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cabochon and Button Swap

I am so excited, I have finally have received the cabochon and buttons swap box. There were so many treasures to pick from within the box.

I particularly love the gemstone cabs 

The swap box concept involves taking out items you like that others have contributed and then putting in items from your own stash and sending it on to the next person so that they can swap out items.

I put in the following treasures:

I am so happy to share some of my favorite items with others and enjoyed this swap!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ho Hum Bead Embroidery Aint So Fun

Whoa, ummm normally I fall into a welcomed trance when I bead, however, this project is really challenging for me.

This is a piece that I am working on for the 2013 Bead East Tenth Anniversary Challenge and I am not certain if it is because of the beads or the deadline but I am not feeling this piece.

The bead selection is just not what I would work with, and part of the challenge is to use 75% of the included beads only. The problem I am having is I have to think too much and since this is a freeform embroidery, the design is taking shape as I bead, so I am constantly thinking about where to put what.

I don't hate the piece, I am just feeling bored by it at this point, there are SO MANY BEADS (never thought I would ever say that). I just want it all to be over, but noooooo, I still have a gang of beads all over my board.

Hopefully I will make the deadline, but if I don't, I won't be too upset.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lampwork and Clay Blog Hop Reveal

My piece features the focal and glass beads from Pineridge, all other materials, I added.

The focal is triangular so I tried my hand at capturing this shape by embezzling it in seed beads

Since the bezel worked, I added the glass faceted beads and the gold tone metal circles

I wasn't certain what I was going to make with this, but then decided to make a brooch (I have never made a brooch before) so I chose this cream colored leather (which was soooo thick and a bit complicated to sew)

I finished it by lining it with amber colored rounds and glued on the pin back

Please check out the other participants of the blog hop, Enjoy!

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
Annette Rivers, MamaOwl's Mess
Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha's Ramblings
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Lori Jean Poppe, Lorillijean Creative Corner
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Leah Mifflin Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl's Jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Linda Aspenson Bergstrom, TBD
Toltec  Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Judy Turner, Silver Rains
Gloria Allen, Gloria Allen Designs
Kathleen Douglas, Washoe Kat's
Connie Tipton, TBD
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations
Michele Dotson, Star Jewels
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Jennifer Clifford, TBD
Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyns Creations
Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
Bonnie Coursolle, Jasper's Gems
Alice Craddick, Alice's Beads and Baubles (reveal will be delayed a few days)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Polymer Clay Play (Pt. 2)

I normally bead and rarely play with clay, though I attempted some pieces months ago and blogged about it here. However, I must admit that I had to throw away ever single piece because the glaze I chose to use turned them into a sticky mess :-(

I was utterly disgusted and went back to beading away, but I continued to research polymer clay techniques.  One that intrigued me was the image transfer method.  There was a plethora of videos and tutorials on the internet and so I was finding it hard to pick which I would try first.  I happened upon a video on Michaels website and something about the process clicked.  First it seemed super easy and fool proof, having the least amount of steps to follow.  Second, the instructor is actually demonstrating the process and the video was clear and the steps were clearly demonstrated.  Third, the timing of the transfer was short, it took about 2-3 minutes and lastly, it worked perfectly and the instructor had samples of previous transfer s that were a few years old, so I understood this method to be trustworthy.

The video is located here but I have also included the video below:

I tried this tonight using this image 

Elizabeth Caffey painting

And this is the finished transfer:

I used translucent Premo clay and the process took 30 minutes (this includes 25 minutes of baking) so the transfer took about 5 minutes.  The edge at the bottom is a bit chipped, but this due to me scrapping a bit of paper off with my nail- directions clearly state to use a cotton ball, which I did for all but this one spot....

I plan to bezel around this with beads or clay so I will cover up the mishap, other than that, I am throughly satisfied with the outcome.

In addition to this, I also experimented with the Mokume Gane process. I used a few canes that i purchased and just played around.  I didn't go too crazy but I was pleased with what I created:

I stacked the slices and created a bit of a 3D effect on top

Again, I think I will most likely bezel around this piece

Polymer clay has definitely got my attention again and I am so excited to expand on this image transfer idea.  It should be noted that you can transfer black and white images and paint them so that will most likely be my next adventure.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What to do with all these patterns....

When I first started beading, I went on a pattern buying spree.  I accumulated patterns and until I reached quite a large number, I realized that I wasn't actually beading any of them.

So here is a simple warning for all the newbies, or even those that just accumulate patterns....STOP. There is no need to buy a pattern if you are not going to work on it right away.  It is the equivalent to buying a dress that you think you may wear in the future.  Or even better, for us beaders, it is like purchasing beads, just because they are pretty.

One reason for this warning is that normally you will gravitate to creating your own designs, faster than you think, and then you will not want to just settle on beading up the patterns of another designer. But don't let that deter you from using the pattens you have purchased, you can always tweak a pattern and make it your own, or simply add your own personal twist to a pattern. Of course you want to give credit where credit is due, so mention the original artist, even if they were just the source of inspiration.

Beading is a great hobby, but it is also a business and of course businesses want to make money. So there is an influx of supplies for us crafters and many of us accumulate more than we can create. 

One way I have decided to deal with this dilemma is to actually take some time off from purchasing and actually spend more time on using up the stock pile that has been building in my office.

Therefore, I am going through all my saved patterns and I am actually beading them up, and guess what, I am having a great time learning new techniques and there is a bit of satisfaction I gain from knowing that I have not wasted my money.

In addition, I am also putting a pause on purchasing supplies....so much easier said than done, however, I am determined to not turn into a bead hoarder. No disrespect to the bead hoarders out there, however, I am a true believer in limiting waste and one good way for me to do that is to use what I have.

With all that said, I would like to introduce another Heather Collin design that I beaded up using some fabulous beads in my collection.  It is called Persian Tiles and I made a bracelet and a pair of earrings.

Each tile had to be constructed separately and then joined together

Since I had a couple of tiles left over, I made the earrings

This was a great project to finish and again, I was really overjoyed that I was able to complete this pattern that I purchased so many months back.  I am now moving forward with another project "Knot of Hercules" which is working up quite fast, so I will be posting that soon enough. In the mean time, I am also working on kits that I have purchased and so I am beading my way through a Beads East kit as well.  

There is more than enough to keep me busy, and I can't wait to show off my diminished bead stock in the near future.

Remember, less is more, especially when it comes to consuming!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pig's Ear to Silk Purse Stash Buster

This was an interesting challenge introduced by Coral Tuttle Egelund; we were to take a pig's ear (something ugly, plain, unappealing etc) and turn it into a silk purse (something beautiful, appealing, etc). We could only use items that were in our "stash". Since I have quite a few things in my office I looked through and finally settled on this item:

White plastic rectangle

I ordered this rectangle a couple, maybe even a few, years back because I was excited to play with it and see what I could create.  When it arrived, I noticed that the edges were thicker than I expected and so adding seed beads would be a challenge.  I threw it to the side and really never gave it much thought until now. I still think the rectangle is an interesting piece, however, the pig's ear aspect is that this piece is quite plain, just a white rectangle.

First i wanted to add something to the rectangle, it is just so plain, so I added some silver and white glass pearls and some bicone crystals.

Then I added two chains, one is silver plated and the other is gunmetal tone.

Last, I added just a few charms made from the pearls and crystals to balance the piece.

I thought adding the embellishments to the sides of the chain rather than just have them hang from the bottom. I took this approach because the chains are quite decorative and I wanted the chains to get just as much attention as the embellishments.

The jury is out as to whether this is a silk purse, maybe a rayon or damask purse, but not certain if it has reached silk. I don't hate the piece, I think it is just so outside my design realm since I am so use to working with beads. However, I did enjoy the challenge and find the piece interesting and quirky and the chains are absolutely lovely.

Silk purse? You be the judge.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lessons in CRAW

CRAW (Cubic Right Angle Weave) is such a versatile stitch, however, recently I have discovered that not many beaders use CRAW and that is just a pure shame.  Many find it hard to maneuver and others are intimidated by it.

I must admit, I felt the same way at first, but I found a wonderful video by Heather Collins  who, in my humble opinion, is one of the best designers in CRAW stitch (not to mention her other projects); has a unique style and an amazing CRAW video that has up close visuals , as well as, step-by-step directions.

If you want to learn CRAW, I recommend starting with Heather's video.  With that said, when this stitch was voted for our Monthly Bead Challenge, I thought great, but many were hesitant and timid, so to show my courage, I tackled a Heather Collins design "Guinevere Cuff".

I started with my color palate 

I purchased this pattern about 2 years previously but I was just to intimidated to start it, I must say, I am glad that I did.  The results are breath taking and Heather provides a complex design that leaves one with new techniques regarding CRAW.

This is 3 individual eight unit CRAW ropes that are joined together

This bracelet is sturdy and full of character

I finished it with antique copper magnetic clasps

Truly this will be a go-to pattern because there are so many elements to this pattern, you could take one of them and develop a whole new design

I also made a simple CRAW bracelet and incorporated crystals. 

Pretty in Pink

While this is a more simplistic design, it shows the versatility of the CRAW stitch.  I created 2 separate CRAW ropes and then strung them on either side of this focal using beading wire.

So regardless of your design, CRAW can assist you to create a piece that can suite your personal style.  Simplistic or complex, CRAW does not disappoint when you incorporate it into your designs.  So grab those beads and give CRAW a try, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Rock-n-Roll Loom Bracelet

There is so much joy and amazement once a piece is finished, however, no one ever really sees the difficulties and failures when attempting to create a piece.  Most time designers keep their mistakes hidden, for me, I am simply so glad to complete a piece that has caused me difficulty, that I quickly forget about the mishaps....this time is different.

I decided that I wanted to loom a bracelet and this is only my second loom project, but my first loom project alone.  A few months back I took a beading class with Erin Simonetti and blogged about that awesome experience here. Afterwards, I simply went back to off loom beading, but I felt a twinge of guilt as my loom started to collect its third layer of dust :-(.

So I gathered all my courage and a dust rag and broke out my loom.  I had some awesome beads that I wanted to use so I grabbed them and started to bead...

Looks fine right?

Well when I confronted my loom the next night I noticed a bit o disaster on my loom....

 Notice the buckling pearls, I just could not work out a systematic way to add these pearls AND I could not back out of the thread path regardless of how hard I tried. What to do?

At first I thought crush and destroy this loom and stick with the comforts of off looming beading 

However, while this experience is negative, I love that I was able to turn it into something positive.  I scrapped this idea and warped (threaded) my loom yet again.  With a bit of perseverance I mentally designed the beginning of another piece...

I loved the colors that I was working with, so I kept those and began a gradient pattern

I didn't want a flat bracelet so I started adding jet black chips

I consulted my group Bead Loom and was motivated to continue to finish one side with chips.  Many also suggested adding something to the opposite side to give the bracelet balance....

I had some silver faceted glass gems sitting around so I added these to the opposite side, along with some red delicas to give the bracelet some pop

I even found a way to incorporate the saucer bead from my original design and I made it part of my loop and button closure

The bracelet is quite big for my wrist but I still love the outcome and will be listing this for sale in my Etsy shop within the next couple of days.

Moral to this story, turn tragedy into triumph and don't give up. Make your mistakes work for you because ultimately, every design has some success in it, even if it is just a color palate or maybe a shape, something can be salvaged from every disaster.  And normally, if you just "keep swimming" you reach your destination and how much more enjoyable is the outcome after experiencing and enduring a bit of tribulation.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fandango Bangle

I have been working on a bangle pattern by Heather Kingsley and now it is finally finished...

Size 11/0 and 15/0 seeds were used to complete the entire bangle

This is the start of the bangle, just a simple netted tube in two colors

Next, the first round of spirals are added using a metallic green and gold seed beads 

Just an up close view to better show the colors

This bracelet was quite time consuming though there were very few steps. I especially enjoy the sturdy structure of the bangle and the elegant outcome.  I am thinking of making another one in a more playful color pallet.

But I have been longing to loom again so I will be working on something loom related

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sequintial Chaos

I made this embroidered bracelet for the Sequintastic September Blog Hop.

Please note that I have NEVER EVER incorporated sequins in my jewelry pieces so this was definitely a challenge for me.  With that said, I absolutely had a blast creating this piece.

I started by cutting out my backing (Lacy's Stiff Stuff) - Please don't judge my messy bead mat - I create best in a bit of disorganization.

Then I bezelled the various cabochons to the backing. 

I started adding beads but I was uncertain when or where to incorporate the sequins so I just decided to let the sequins fall where they may (hence the name).  There is no rhyme or reason to the design, just a lot of beads and some cabs (and let us not forget the sequins).

I trimmed the whole bracelet in matte black seed beads using the picot technique

Then I added an ultra suede backing in a dark purple

And lastly,  I added a hook and eye clasp in black tone

View from the far right side

View from the far left

And a view of the middle of the bracelet

It is a perfect, comfortable fit and I love it!

I am thankful to have found this technique of incorporating sequins into my designs and I am excited to use sequins more and more as I continue to design more jewelry pieces.

Please take some time to look at the pieces created by other participants of this blog hop, I am certain you will find the experience fun and inspirational.