Sunday, July 31, 2011

Peyote Ring

I was in the mood for a small project today, so I made a ring. I got to use some of my 2mm crystals. They are so cute! The pattern for it is on Cynthia Daniels' website, Jewelry Tales. But, shhhh, don't tell anybody, I didn't buy the pattern, I just copied it from the picture. Cynthia does have some great patterns, though. I've bought several of them. Her designs are beautiful and her directions are easy to follow. Now I'm trying to think of how I can combine some of them so that I can enter the Bead Mavens Meld Challenge. Of the group, Cindy's are the only patterns I own, and I don't have money to be buying any new patterns. Maybe I can put together this earring and this necklace to make a bracelet with a focal. Or maybe not...I don't know. I'll play around with it and we'll see. The challenge is open until October 15, so there's plenty of time to think about it.


Friday, July 29, 2011

My Happy Rock

Since I had so much fun beading the first rock, I decided to take Tara's suggestion and bead a rock with a happy face on it. First I colored the rock with nail polish (thanks for the idea, Mandy), then drew the face on it as a guide. I started with a band of tubular peyote around the middle, and beaded one half first, then the other. I think he looks pretty cute. Now I'm thinking about making another one and embellishing it with some beady "hair".


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Pet Rock

I felt like beading, but I couldn't settle on a project, so I decided to just bead around a rock. It was a fun way to practice increasing and decreasing peyote anyway. I don't even know why I had a rock in my room, but I did. I got out a black and grey bead mixture, and a few hours later, voila! My beaded rock was done. It's kind of fun to just hold it and feel the beads. Maybe it'll be my muse. My daughter says I should make one with a face on it. Hmmm...Maybe.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

1000 crystals

Someone referred me to a seller on eBay who was selling "Swarovski crystals" very cheaply. I went to the site, and when I saw they were coming from China, I had no illusions. I knew they would be fakes. But it was only $11.00 for 1000 crystals! When I go to the bead store, I get 24 crystals for $3.00. I just hoped they would be pretty.

I ordered, and then I waited. I don't know why, I guess because I've never bought 1000 crystals before, but I thought I would be getting a big package in the mail. So when I got a tiny envelope in the mail from China today I thought, "This is my 1000 crystals?"

But it was! 1000 crystals really doesn't take up that much space. Of course, I had to compare them under my magnifying glass with some crystals I have here that are real Swarovski. Just to see how much difference there was, and if I had gotten ripped off for $11.00. The ones I received are just slightly longer and have wider holes. Other than that, I can't complain. They are just as colorful and sparkly as the real thing! They are well-cut and have smooth facets and holes.

I took a picture, but the light is really glaring on the plastic of the packages. This is what 1000 crystals looks like:

It doesn't look like a lot, does it? But each package has 50 in it. There really are 1000 there.

I can't wait to use them! I love crystals, but I hardly ever buy them because they're so expensive. Well, Mr. K. in China now has a new customer!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The challenge

The challenge piece that I made is up on the OTTBS blog! It's the first photo. I love the other two entries that are also on the page.


I have an idea!

Yay! I have an idea! An idea for a project, that is. Actually I thought of it a couple of weeks ago. But then when I tried to convert it from brain to beads, it didn't work, and I just got frustrated and ripped it all apart, and that was the end of that. So, with all my complaining over the past few days, I realized that the reason I haven't "designed" anything is because I was too impatient with myself.

I guess I expected to get an idea and then just bead it up exactly on the first try. It's looking like I might have to make ten or twenty or even more tries before I get this thing to look anything like what I'm envisioning in my head. So, now that I'm accepting of that, I'm just glad that I have a lot of cheap thread on hand to practice with. ;-)) And each time that I bead it up and take it apart, I'm learning a little bit more about what will and what won't work.

Now, instead of feeling like a failure each time it doesn't look like what I want and giving up, I just try again using the methods that worked and discarding the ones that didn't. And I remember not to use my good thread.

One of these days, I may even have a final product to show you.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

How I started beading

I really kind of fell into beading by accident, never dreaming that one day I'd have a bedroom with beads in every nook and cranny.

I used to have a small flea-market stall where I sold Mexican arts and crafts. My favorite craft were the Huichol Indian beaded carvings. They carve a piece of wood into whatever shape they want, cover it with a soft wax, then cover it with beads. Some of these carvings are breathtaking!

Unfortunately, business was very slow in the store, so I spent my days imitating the Huichol art by gluing beads onto objects. I started out by decorating the rims of clay pots.

Then I started decorating products. Here are two samples, a cereal box and a laundry soap box.

I pick up each bead singly and glue them on, one by one. It's very slow work, but it's actually pretty relaxing. Even now, when my jewelry beading mojo disappears, I'll work on a beaded clay pot.

Eventually I had a pretty large collection of beads, and I was running out of things to put them on, so I wondered if I could learn to make jewelry. I looked up a few sites on the internet, beginning with Ruby's Beadwork, and never looked back.

I love making beaded jewelry. I love wearing it, and I love giving it away. But beads cost money! I'm in no danger of running out, believe me, but there's always another color or shape that I just have to have. That's why I'm so eager to try designing. I want to sell my creations to earn money for more beads, and I can't sell jewelry made from patterns. I could probably sell one here or there to a friend or family member, but I want to have an ArtFire store, and for that I need original designs.

So, as Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story.


Saturday, July 09, 2011

But if you are a designer...

As I whined so ferociously about in my last post, I can't design worth a hill of beans. But, those of you who CAN design should hop over to Susan Mandel's blog, and read the post dated June 2, 2011. She gives all the delicious details about how to win three days of jewelry-making classes at Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San San Francisco, including airfare!

The scholarship contest is open until August 15, so take some photos of your best works and send them in! If you just can't wait to sign up, here is the link to the online application for the scholarship.


Finished The Pearl Bracelet

I finally finished the pearl bracelet. After making a few toggles and ripping them apart because I didn't like them, I finally made one that I think works well with the bracelet. Take a look.

Here are some close-ups of just the toggle.

(that curved piece of white in the pic above is the edge of a bead with light shining on it, it is NOT a piece of thread. I double-checked the bracelet after I saw the pic.)
It feels good to have the project finished and all the scraps and beads off my beading table so that I can focus on something else. Like my Russian Spiral...thanks for the suggestions, Mandy. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with it.

I really don't know how bead designers come up with all their ideas. I've tried just envisioning things in my head and I've tried putting all the beads I want to use on my tray, but no great ideas ever pop into my head. I really want to start beading my own designs and stop using patterns, but there are days (well, most days) when I think that will never happen. I feel like I'm always going to be a second rate beader, always just following someone else's patterns.

When I bead, I try to fully understand the stitch in my head, not just to follow the pattern, but to understand why a bead here or a bead there makes a difference. And I can change up a pattern with different beads until it looks nothing like the original. But I'm not satisfied. I want to sit down with some beads and thread, and just make something of my own creation. I mean, I made the toggle clasp, that was my own, but that was simple. I want to design a bracelet, and I just don't get how to do it. Maybe creative people have a special gene that I'm missing, or something. I guess I'll just keep working at it. Possibly one of these days it'll click. I hope.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Belt or Necklace?

I'm going through all my unfinished projects to see what I can finish, and which ones I should just take apart and use the beads for another project. I found this Russian Spiral that I originally planned to make into a belt for a black dress that I was wearing to an event. It's actually black and gold, but the picture made the gold beads look silver.

I didn't finish it in time for the event, so it's just been languishing in my project box. As you can see, I haven't even weaved my thread ends in yet. I think I may just add a clasp to it and make it a long necklace. I might even have to pull some of it out, because as it is, it would be a VERY long necklace. I had bought a buch of different shaped black and gold Swarovski's to use as ends on the belt, so maybe I can use them to make some kind of pendant for the necklace.

I started the peyote clasp for my pink and pearl bracelet. I made the toggle, but after I made the ring I didn't like it and I pulled it apart. I'll have to try making it again today.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

OTTBS July challenge

So, I did make something for the July OTTBS challenge after all. It's just a small pendant. I used cubic RAW, ugh! Some people can make cubic RAW look so beautiful, but I always end up with lots of thread showing, so I filled it in with the size 15's to cover up the thread. It's definitely not the best work I've ever done, but I did manage to use orange beads without invoking Halloween, so there's that.

Here's a photo:

Hope you enjoy looking at it, I promise I won't beg anyone to wear it, LOL.


New bracelet and OTTBS

I seem to have a problem with finishing things. I just made the netted bracelet from the latest issue of Bead and Button magazine, and now I don't know what to do about a clasp.

A toggle clasp just doesn't seem right for this beautiful bracelet, although I'm thinking that if I make a peyote toggle I can add some pearls to the toggle and that would work better. The picture in the magazine shows it with a magnetic clasp, but this is a heavy bracelet, and I don't think a magnetic clasp would hold very well.

I thought it would be a complicated project, but I finished it in one day, so that wasn't too bad.

So, for now, it's on my bead board just waiting for the perfect finish.

I was also thinking about participating in the "Operation Tackle That Bead Stash" challenge this month, but the colors are oranges. I've gathered up all my orange beads trying to come up with ideas, but all I can think of is Halloween. Every orange bead I have (and, why oh why do I have so many?) is bright, very bright, and none of the colors I've tried to pair them with are toning them down. Believe me, if I try to make a piece of jewelry, nobody would wear these colors.

They don't look quite so bad in this picture thanks to my horrendous photography skills, colors never come out right, but believe me, they are orangy (is that a word?). Plus, they are all size 15's (hex's no less!), except the gold-lined size 11's on the right and of course the crystals.

So, maybe I will or maybe I won't participate. But either way I've got to find things to do with the beads I already own, however ugly they may be or what the hell was in my mind when I bought them, because I have no money for new stash beads. Yeah, I know, boo-hoo and tiny violin. Anyone need a babysitter?


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Now What?

Besides just reading beading blogs, I have been doing a fair bit of beading myself lately. A week or so ago I made this pendant.

(Add photography to the list of things I cannot do. The pendant is much prettier in person.)

I got this pattern from a Russian web site called, as nearly as I can tell, I Am Creative.

I just don't like the metal bail that I made for it, so I want to make a necklace to hang it on. But every time I start the hunt for beads to use, I am stumped by my utter lack of creativity. I just do not know how to make the perfect necklace to show this pendant off. Should I make a few beaded beads and intersperse them with some Swarovskis and pearls? Should I make a St. Petersburg chain to go with the pendant's Russian heritage? Should I just throw some seed beads on a wire and be done with it?

And so the pendant just sits, mocking me. I wish I could think of something to do with it.