Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ocean Treasures Necklace

The August theme for the Etsy Beadweavers is Sea Adventures and I created this necklace in response to the challenge.

The white washed shell is from Melbourne Beach, Florida, which I visited in February 2013.

The process started by glueing the shell to a piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff. Next, I embroidered around the shell in peyote stitch.

After bezeling the shell, I began to add the fringe which includes freshwater pearls.

After the fringe, I added 3mm swarovski crystals around the shell.

The rope is twisted herringbone, made with 3 shades of purple seed beads...

And topped with silver plated, nickel free bead caps, with silver plated, nickel free jump rings and lobster clasp.

The back is finished with soft, periwinkle ultra suede.

The pendant is attached with a peyote band embellished with pearls, round beads, and swarovski crystals.

This piece can be purchased in my Etsy shop, along with many more handmade pieces.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Color Psychology

So I am working on a project and I noticed that once again I am using the color purple and it made me think, why do I use purple so much? My favorite color happens to be blue and yet, when I create, I normally gravitate towards purple, this led to an extensive review of my beads and materials and what do ya know, I have an abundance of purple materials; beads, clay, even some of my tools have purple handles.

With the above being said, I decided to give color more thought; when I am creating, what feeling am I trying to evoke with my use of color. Admittedly, most times, I just grab and go and there is no true thought about how the colors I have chosen will affect the over all outcome of my piece. I have glanced at the color wheel to get a good idea of contrast and complimentary colors but that is as far as I go.

What I noticed from my research is that there is psychology behind color (oh yes it gets deep); see colors can affect our emotional state; for instance, in doctor offices blues are normally used; why? Blue is the color of trust and responsibility and promotes both physical and mental relaxation; in addition, blue also seeks peace and tranquility ( No wonder I love the color blue! However, when I create, I am not looking to create peaceful or tranquil pieces; I want to create sophisticated pieces that are beautiful, fun, and even a bit quirky; because I think that this is my true personality, not just a mental state or emotion I seek.


Now get ready to have your minds blown; I look up the color purple and ….
Purple is the color of the imagination. It can be creative and individual or immature and impractical.
The color purple relates to the imagination and spirituality. It stimulates the imagination and inspires high ideals. It is an introspective color, allowing us to get in touch with our deeper thoughts.
Purple or violet assists those who seek the meaning of life and spiritual fulfillment - it expands our awareness, connecting us to a higher consciousness.
The color purple is specifically associated with royalty and the nobility, creating an impression of luxury, wealth and extravagance.
Purple has power. It has a richness and quality to it that demands respect. Purple is ambitious and self-assured, the leader. (


The above describes me quite accurately and I am pretty convinced that this is the reason I incorporate the color purple more often than any other color in my pieces. I also believe that one can love the mental and emotional qualities of another color, in my case, the color blue, but still have a subconcious favorite color that conveys ones personality traits, be them good or bad, and therefore gravitate towards that color, especially when expressing oneself artistically.

So I would like to know, do you create using your favorite color or do you gravitate towards a different color other than your favorite? In addition, what does your favorite color and/or the color you use most to create say about you and your personality traits?

Please note: Color psychology, like most sciences, have many interpretations, therefore, the information I have used is only as accurate as the writer and can merely be a coincidence, however, I thought it a great topic and quite fun to consider.

Needles -A- Plenty

Currently I am working on a project and have found that I have had to use at least 3 different sizes (15, 12, and 13), and two different types (sewing and flexible) of needles. What prompted this constant change of beading needles you ask?

As I am working carelessly on this pendant, I notice that I broke a bead, instantly, I blame the bead, because clearly, wonky beads are a beaders nightmare, however, they exist and so I just replaced that one bead and kept a beading.  Next thing I know I break 3 additional beads and now my work is looking sloppy and down right poorly executed, so I did what all insane beaders do, I tore the entire edging down (along with the fringe).  Tearing down the picot edge wasn’t that big of a deal because it didn’t take me long to put the edging on; the fringe was a completely different story, not only did I waste time (about 5 hours), I also wasted materials (about 2.5 yards of thread) because I was using Nymo thread (and anyone who has used Nymo knows, there is no backing out of it…TANGLES GALORE).

 I ended up having to cut the fringe off and so as I wiped away tears of frustration and beads of sweat (totally exaggerating); I found that I needed to plan my mode of execution a bit better the second time around.  Hence my topic; there are several needle sizes and shapes, but I am just going to focus on needles sizes and a few needles shapes.

beading needles

First; needle sizes, for bead weaving needles the most popular sizes are sizes 15, 13, 12, 10, and 8. 

Size 15 is he smallest needle and can be used if you are embroidering a delicate fabric like silk, other than that, they can also be used for multiple passes through size 15/0 seed beads.  However, their downfall is that they are extremely fragile and will break in an instant (yep I have broken 3 in a row on one project); so if you are going to use these you will need to have a plentiful supply.

The next sizes are 13, 12 and 10, which vary in diameter and can be used for bead weaving and embroidery.  Sizes 13 and 12 (most popular) are best for size 15/0 (1-2 passes) and 11/0, 10/0 (2-4 passes) and even 8/0 (multiple passes) seed beads; as well as a multitude of other beads.  All three sizes are pretty study but the smaller the size, the easier they will bend, could also break, but bending is the biggest flaw. I weave with bent needles, they literally have to break before I throw them out.

 (Note: Passes refer to the number of times you can comfortably pass your needle and thread through the beads.)

Size 8 of course is for 8/0, 6/0, 4mm, etc beads; though I have yet to use a needle so large, to me, they just aren’t necessary, however, if you have poor eyesight or maybe some arthritis, I can see where the larger needle can come in handy.  However, the flaw with these needles is that you probably would not want to use them for embroidery because I imagine you can tear up your fabric and smaller beads just will not fit, so unless your entire project is large beads, then really, what’s the point of using them?

Next; needle types, there are your average beading needles (they resemble sewing needles) and then you get into you big eye needles and flexible needles. 

The upside of your average needles is that they are found any and everywhere, I believe that sewing needles and beading needles are one in the same actually.  However, depending on the thread you choose, threading them can be a bear and those nifty little threaders do not help (I have broken a plenty of needles using them).  Normally you have to flatten your thread (using your teeth) before you can maneuver the thread through the eye of the needle.  However, if your thread has any fray, threading can be a complete nightmare, in this case, I normally cut the fray away.

Big eye needles are great for threading but I find that the thread will continue to slip out, which isn’t a huge problem since you can just pop your thread back in, but seriously, who want to deal with that when you are completely absorbed in your bead work? Also, they are normally thinner in diameter so you can make multiple passes. However, I have found that big eye needles aren’t as populous as your average beading needle; and I find them to be rather long and cumbersome to deal with.

Flexible needles are FABULOUS, easy to thread and they can maneuver through all types of tight spaces and since they bend, you can pretty much have your way with them without any issues.  Again, I find that the thread can slip out pretty easily, though not as much as with a big eye needle.  In addition, I have also found them to be even rarer than the big eye needles and since they are essentially twisted fine wire, most brands have this semi-rough surface (not that it will tear through your thread or fabric) but it strange.  Advantage of this surface; it s the needle easier to grip (either with fingers or teeth) and I have NEVER EVER broken a bead using a flexible needle.  Down side however, they are flexible, so it can be tedious to get them through multiple beads at one time without them bending and popping through a gap.

So needless to say, there are many choices that can be made when selecting needles; though I am not devoted to one brand over another; any brand seems to work just as well as the next.  However, regardless of the brand, if you are an avid bead weaver, save yourself a lot of headache and keep a varied selection of sizes, lengths, and types of needles in your stash.  Your emotional, mental, and maybe even physical state can be thrown into chaos if you deny yourself needles a plenty.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Time to Vote: July EBWC Summer Flowers

It's that time again, the challenge for July was Summer Flowers. I participated with my entry "Dark Bloom" and there are so many beautiful pieces to choose from, but you can only vote once. 

Voting will end July 15, 2013 so get on over to

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dimensional Diamonds

This is a design by Angie Weathers from the book Stitch Workshop: Peyote Stitch.  I have had this book for a couple of years, it is one of the first books I purchased when I started beading and I wanted to bead a simple bracelet, something that was pretty mundane without a bunch of steps and stitch changes. I love the end result and the bracelet fits perfectly and it only took a few days to complete.

11/0 delicas and seed beads were used to make the bracelet, the different shape of the seed beads allows the diamonds to seem as if they are rising out from the background

Two colors of 11/0 delicas were used, amber and copper brown and the seed beads are a cream color

Up close view, the closure is beaded with a 8mm pearl (the project is originally a bangle but I started to run short on beads so I improvised)

The finished size of the bracelet is approximately 6.5 inches

Back view

Ultimately, this was an easy project that allowed me to just enjoy the simplicity of the even count, one drop, peyote stitch

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Double Diamond Back Bracelet

The finished product with a nice silver plated slide clasp


The fit is wonderful and the white and black pattern is very modern and interesting and the swarovski crystals give it a certain bling that catches the light

This is a project that is featured in the June/July 2013 Beadwork magazine. Normally I do not replicate projects from magazines, rather I just gather inspiration but this piece was so beautiful, I just had to make it just as it was featured.

When I first started, I somehow thought that this would work up as one seamless piece, not so.

I had to create 20, yes 20, individual squares....

Next, they had to be linked together, one at a time...

Finally, the edges had to be finished and I reinforced the bracelet for extra sturdiness and durability.

I love the outcome and the black and white color palate is modern and sophisticated (in my humble opinion).  I still have to attach the clasp, however, I cannot locate my sliver tone slide clasps, so I will look for them one last time and then I will just have to purchase more.

While this project was tedious, in that so many individual elements had to be created, I really like the outcome and I think that I make another one with fire polished gems or druks for embellishments instead of swarovski style bicone crystals.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Albion Stitch

Heather Kingsley-Heath is the author of Albion Stitch, this is version 2 and so far I attempted the Wavy Bead project (pictured on the cover).   The book is quite interesting and encompasses some fantastic projects. I had the CRAW rope laying around and so I made a gold wavy bead, however, my next endeavor with the albion stitch will be a complete wave bracelet (the colors will be more interesting I assure you).

Close-up of the wavy bead - it is hard to see the dimensions because I used one color instead of contrasting colors.  I chose this because the rope is done in various colors.

I just thought that this was a beautiful shot.

Another interesting shot

I have yet to choose a clasp, though I think I am going to create some beaded bead caps, I will add the finished picture once it is done.