Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it's going to be 2013 already?  The years just fly by faster and faster.

I have made a little gift for you.  I felt the smiley face peyote rock that I made symbolized the happiness we should all start the new year with.

Feel free to download this picture and use it as your pocket calender for January.  You can click on the picture to make it bigger.  I will put up a new one every month.

Happy New Year!


Friday, December 07, 2012

Xmas Decorations

My friend asked me to make some beaded decorations for her tree.  She said it is just a little tree, and she wanted blue and silver to match the other decorations she bought.  So, I looked through my collection of Sandra Halpenny snowflake patterns and picked two.  She makes the greatest snowflake patterns!  And her directions are easy to follow, with good diagrams.

Anyway, here are my snowflakes.

Then I wanted to make her a really special ornament, so I chose Paula Adams' Pagoda pattern.  It was pretty easy to follow as well, though I wouldn't recommend it for beginners because she doesn't include any basic instructions, like 'step up' at the end of a round.

Here is my Pagoda ornament.

My friend loved them!  Yay!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Can I take a minute of your time?

I don't usually write about politics as it can be such an inflammatory subject.  But Senator Mark Begich of Alaska has come up with a great idea for extending the life of our broken Social Security system.  I think that is something we can all get behind!  He will be introducing it to the Senate during this coming lame duck session, and I will be contacting my Senators asking them to support him.   I am hoping that some (in my wildest dreams - all) of you will do the same.

His proposal is called Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act.  The text of it can be found here.  Very basically, it proposes to remove the $110,000 income limit on FICA tax contributions.  This would only raise taxes for approximately the top 9% of earners in this country, and in return for that they will be able to collect higher Social Security benefit payments after they retire.  This one change would keep Social Security solvent until at least the year 2085!

There is a second element of the Act asking for a change in the way we compute the SS cost-of-living increases each year (you can read it in the first link).  This is a good and fair request, but if it has to be used as a bargaining chip/compromise to get the rest of the bill passed, that would be okay with me.

In 2010 the Congressional Research Service (non-partisan) studied what effect such a change could have for this country.  If you would like to read that study, here it is.  It's pretty long and detailed, but written in plain enough language that it is easy to read.

How can you help?  Contact your Senators and ask them to support this bill when Sen. Begich brings it up on the floor of Congress, or even for them to approach him before then and co-sponsor it.  Here is a list of U.S. Senators and their contact information.

OK guys, I promise, that was my only public service announcement for the year.  Thanks for listening.  If you agree with this cause, I hope you will help it's passage.  The power of The People is strong!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Free Beads!

We had a great Thanksgiving day with friends and family.   My tiny house was stuffed with people, and I'm thankful that they love us enough to come over and spend time with us.

Now, looking forward, I'm thankful that I will be getting $25 in free beads on Saturday!  And you can too!  Actually you can spend a free $25 in any participating small business if you have an American Express card and you sign up before you shop at this link.  Once you sign up, they show you a list of small businesses in your area that are participating.  When you spend $25 in one of them, you get a $25 credit back from American Express on your card statement.  It's a win-win for both you and the business.

My local bead store participates, so I'll be there stocking up just like I did for last year's Small Business Saturday.  Wheee!

Even if you don't have an Amex card, please shop at a small business near your home this weekend on Small Business Saturday.  It's a great way to show your support for the people who work so hard to keep their small business open in your area all year long.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a very short post from me today.  I want to wish everyone who celebrates it a happy Thanksgiving!

I took a lot of pictures this morning of jewelry to upload to my ArtFire store, but I have been putting off uploading them and creating the listings.  I love making beady things, the other tasks that go with the selling, I do not like so much.  I need some elves to help me.  :)

Here is a picture of one I made the other day, design by Noriko Romanko.  For the ends, I used silver end caps.  Believe it or not, this was the first time I have ever used them.  They turned out a little bit messy, but quite sturdy.  I need to have more practice with this technique because it is a very comfortable necklace to wear, with the suede around the part that touches your neck.  This necklace was given to my oldest daughter.  She loves when I practice new techniques, because she gets to keep everything that I feel is not perfect enough to sell.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Ideas

Since handmade jewelry is such an over-saturated market, almost every piece of business advice I have seen says that in order to distinguish yourself, one should find a niche product and focus on it.  The thing is, though, that I like and make all different kinds of jewelry depending on my mood at the time.  I don't really think I have a style or a theme that runs throughout all of my jewelry.  So what should I do?

Well, for one thing, I think I am going to work more on beaded art projects, which I had almost completely given up.  Not sure yet exactly what type of art yet, but I have some ideas beginning to form and I'll follow up on them.  You probably won't see the results for a while though, as I build up a body of work.

I have also thought of another niche area I could work in with beads.  I am in the process of testing designs to see if what I have in my mind translates into I imagine it being in real life.

Another thing I was thinking about doing is offering one-on-one tutoring.  This would be different that the pattern-based bead classes offered in the local bead shops.  I would work with only one student at a time, so they would have my undivided attention.  My plan is to work on the theory of each stitch, having the student learn it inside and out so that they would then have the tools to envision and create their own designs.  Before beginning this venture, I would like to give it some more thought and write out some lesson plans to see if this is a feasible idea.

Of course, all of this does not mean that I will stop making beaded jewelry.  I love to make jewelry, and will continue beading it and offering it in my ArtFire shop, which I have just recently resurrected.  Here is a picture of a couple of my recent beaded bracelets.

So, those are my plans for 2013.  Do you have any yet?  Would you like to share them?


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bead, Book, and Bounce

The Bead, Book, and Bounce is a challenge that a group of us beaders participated in.  The group is called Operation Tackle That Bead Stash, although we usually do just as much buying as tackling. :)  The challenge was to make a box from Julia Pretl's book, Little Bead Boxes and review the book.

I've made boxes from Julia's book before, so I was really looking forward to making another one.  And after that huge RAW project that I did, it was nice to get back to peyote.  There's just something so satisfying about hearing the 'click' of the beads as they snap into place.

Julia's book is well-written, though I'd advise that you have some experience with peyote stitch before tackling it.  She does provide very clear diagrams and explanations for each step, so if you're an adventurous beginner you might give it a try.  She also provides word maps for each design.  If you've never used a word map before, you're in for a treat!  They make following the pattern so much easier, although I still used the graph for backup.

She provides 12 patterns in the book, for different shapes, sizes, and designs.  She also includes blank graphs for each shape so that you can design your own little boxes.  I got the design for my butterfly box from her website, where she provides additional designs.  If you buy a design from the website, you do need to also have the book, as all that is provided is the graph and word chart, no instructions.

I had an older edition of the book, with four boxes in it.  If you have that edition, do yourself a favor and buy the newer edition as well.  I did.  Julia has improved on some of the processes in the newer book, plus you'll be getting 11 additional patterns (one is the same).

Julia recommends using doubled thread, but I used Fireline.  I started with 6lb and then switched about halfway through to 8lb, because I didn't feel it was firm enough.  Also, I'll give you a big tip: Add the feet to your box when you only have about 3 or 4 rows of the sides done, otherwise it gets too difficult to maneuver the needle around in the box to add them.  Another tip is that even if you're an experienced beader, read the book through once before starting a box.  Some of it won't make sense until you actually have the box in front of you, but it's still a good idea.  You'll know where everything is and be able to refer back when you need to.

Working on the boxes does get a little fiddly and frustrating at times.  There are some spots (like the HEM) where it seems almost every time you add a bead you break one, and then have to replace it.  But all in all, I really enjoyed making my little box, and I enjoy looking at it on my dresser.  I plan to make a few more of them for holiday gifts.

Click here to read book reviews and see boxes from other members of the group.


Monday, November 05, 2012

Trying Something New

I don't work a lot with strung projects, but I was in the local bead store the other day and this little box of mixed beads just called out to me.  I loved the colors of the beads and the freshwater pearls.  Here is a picture of the beads after I dumped them out of their little plastic box.

After playing around with them for awhile, I came up with this arrangement.  I thought I night put the drop strands on a curved piece of wire, with some seed beads separating the drops, and attach the wire on each end to stringing wire.  Then I would string the rest of the strand on each side, adding some beads from my stash to fill it out.  I have some pretty light jade colored rounds I can add and I'd use crystals and silver seed beads to round it out.

I'm not completely happy with it, so I'll probably try a few more ideas before I actually start stringing.  Anyone have any other ideas, or any comment on this arrangement?

I also have to think of a project for the November OTTBS challenge, and I have to make something from Carol Wilcox's The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving for the Bead, Book, and Bounce challenge.  Lots to do, and so little time!  I also want to make some more jewelry for sale so that I can fill up my ArtFire store, it looks so empty. :(


Monday, October 29, 2012

Quickie Bracelet

Now that I've finally finished my Little Box (remember, book review on Nov. 6), I've been playing around with the rest of my beads.  I picked up a tutorial for a cute bracelet at my local bead shop, and made it in just a couple of hours.

It's just a row of 8-bead right angle weave made with 15's, long enough to fit your wrist.  Then you embellish it on both sides with size 11 seeds, and it naturally twists into a thin round bracelet.  I used gold seeds for this one, but I want to try lots of other colors, and also make some multi-strand bracelets with this method.  I can also break out my 2mm Swarovski crystals and embellish with those.  Ooooooo...sparkles!

How do like my new "artsy" picture style?  I like it because I found that with more than just the white in the background, the colors in my beadwork show up more as their true colors.  Also, I don't have to do as much editing to my picture afterward to get it to look right.

Hope you're having a great day!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Daisy Chain Bracelet

I've been taking breaks from beading my little box and making small projects in between.  This one is a bracelet that I saw at one of my local beading stores.

It's just 5 daisy chains, connected at the ends and attached to a slide clasp.  It took just a few days to make it, and it was really fun to work on.  I live both pearls and crystals, so I was delighted to be able to combine them both in one bracelet.  I used rose-colored pearls and crystals, one of my favorite colors.  Though when it comes to crystals, I don't think there are any colors I don't like.

The bracelet I saw in the store was 8 chains wide!  That would be way too overpowering for my small wrist.  In fact, I'm thinking about making another one that is only 3 chains wide.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Working Hard

I've been putting a lot of beading hours in on my Little Box.  I can't show it to you yet though.  I belong to a group, Operation Tackle That Bead Stash.  We've been challenged with making a project from Julia Pretl's Little Boxes book.  Then on November 6th, those who participated will be showing our projects and doing a review of the book.  So make sure to come back and see!

I can show you how hard I've been working though.

I think it's time for me to get a new needle out, LOL.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Those Little Beads Will Fool You

The hardest part, for me, of any project is picking the colors.  Even when I know which colors I want to use, like today, it can still be difficult.

I needed five colors for today's project, one of Julia Pretl's Little Bead Boxes.  I'm making the butterfly one, and I was trying to match the colors of a beaded butterfly that I bought at the bead show, so that I could sit the little butterfly on top.  (and there's another whole story there...the butterfly turned out to be not so "little" in comparison to the box)

So, I pulled about 25 tubes of beads from my stash, and started trying to match colors.  One bead would be just the right color, but the finish would be too matte, or the finish would be right but the color would be a little off.  Like the Flame Red that turned into orange when I started stitching with it.  I finally got settled with all my colors and started my box.  And then, right before my eyes, the beads changed color!

The pink and blue beads that looked this in their tubes....

looked like this in my project.  :(   I couldn't even tell the two colors apart.

So, back to the drawing board again, looking for colors with more contrast.  And of course that meant I had to pull apart my carefully stitched little box beginning and re-do it, but I'm much happier now with the two colors I settled on.

See the difference?  Much more contrast!  Now if only I could somehow shrink that huge butterfly, because the box is a lot tinier than I thought it would be and I don't think the butterfly will fit on top.  Keep watching my blog to see how, or if, I solve that puzzle.  I may just put a flower on top.  Or something else.

But then, that's part of the fun of beading.  Your ideas change as the project goes along, and sometimes what you end up with is very different from what you envisioned when you started.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tatiana Necklace Finished

I finally finished making my Tatiana necklace!  It is a beautiful pattern designed by Manek-Manek Beads.  I'm so excited to have finished it because it is made almost entirely with tiny size 15/0 seed beads, and it took me many days and nights using my magnifier Ott Lamp to weave them all together.  I broke a bead or two along the way, and I went through 9 (!) size 13 needles, breaking those mostly when I was trying to maneuver them around the crystals.

The entire necklace is done in Right Angle Weave (RAW), including the bezels.  The rope is done in Cubic Right Angle Weave (CRAW).  Through making this necklace, I learned a new love for RAW and all the things it can do.

In my September 2 post, I showed you the beads all set up and ready to go.

Here is a picture of the beginning of the necklace as I was just getting started.

Before I show you the final pictures, I just want to say that this is the first time I have purchased a pattern from Manek-Manek.  She has a wonderful way of writing the instructions so that they are easy to understand and follow.  The diagrams are clear.  She has beautiful designs, and even though some are quite advanced, I have confidence that I will be able to complete any pattern that I purchase from her.  She is also very friendly and easily accessible should you need help at any point in your project.  I shall definitely be buying more of her beautiful designs in the future to make for myself.

Here is the finished necklace:

And here is a close-up of the crystal embellishments that I substituted for size 11/0 seed beads in the column bar parts of the necklace:

I feel like a queen when I wear it out, even if I'm just going to the grocery store.  ;)


Monday, September 10, 2012

All Aglow

Another customer asked me to make her one of my stretchy chainmaille bracelets using glow-in-the-dark rings.  I made it for her, and then I wanted to take a picture of it, since I haven't taken pictures of any of the other glow-in-the-dark ones that I've made.  I wasn't sure how it would come out since I was taking it in complete darkness, but my camera did a pretty good job.

This is how the regular stretchy bracelets look.
And here is the glow bracelet.
I probably should have taken a picture of what it looks like in the daylight also, but too late now, I've already sent it to her.  Oh, well, next time.  And I'm sure there will be a next time, as these bracelets have proven to be pretty popular.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

Ready To Start!

I have finally sourced all of the materials I need to make the Tatiana necklace, from Manek-Manek.  I never thought it would take me so long to get everything. 

First, it took me forever to find the 14x10mm octagon crystal called for in the pattern.  I finally found some at a place called Glitz and Glamour.  I'd never heard of them before, and their website isn't very fancy nor does it offer a wide color range, but they had what I wanted!  I have to say, I was very happy with their service.  They shipped quickly, and everything was labeled nicely for me.  I'll definitely order from them again.

Then, I was disappointed that 2mm Swarovski bi-cones aren't made anymore, after I looked everywhere for them.  They aren't called for in the pattern, but I want to use them instead of 11/0 seed beads to embellish the columns going across the necklace.  I finally found out that the 2.5mm bi-cones are actually 2mm long and 2.5 wide, so I think they'll work and I ordered them from Fusion Beads.

So, now that I had my crystals, I had to pick seed beads out to match.  That always takes me a long time, but I finally settled on silver and a bluish-grey, in 11/0, 15/ and size 15 charlotte.  The 15 charlottes weren't easy to find either.  I don't remember now where I got them.  I think it was my local bead store.

So, now I have my kit all set up, I'm going to be babysitting for my daughter tonight, and I can finally get started on my necklace!  I can't wait!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Personality Type

I took a test at one of those sites that asks you a thousand questions, and then tells you your personality type.  After it gives you the name of the type, it goes into detail about some of your traits.  I have to say, I think it was pretty accurate.

It took some time, but it was fun. So, this is me, in colors.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Someone is Following Me

OK, not really, or not literally.  I don't have a stalker.  But there is something unexplainable going on.

My daughter was having problems with her dog chewing things, so I searched for websites with information on how to stop that.  Almost immediately, I started getting spam emails from dog-training sites.

Now, I didn't sign up for anything or create an account on any of the websites I went to.  So, how did they get my email address to send the spam?  Even if just going to a website gives them my IP address, I still don't understand how they would get my email address from that.

Anyway, I found the information I needed and gave it to my daughter.  She is working with the dog on the chewing thing.

That's why I have cats.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Dream Trip

Wouldn't you just love to see how all of those beads that use in your projects are made?  Or pay a visit to the Preciosa glass factory, and see more crystals than you've ever seen in one place in your life?

I would love to, and now there is a couple in the Czech Republic who are starting a company which will allow tourists to do just that!  Their names are Simi and Keith Dudman, their company is called Bananas 4 Beading, and their website is here. You can choose anywhere from a one- to a five-day tour, and since the company is so small, it sounds like they will allow you to customize your tour as much as is reasonably possible.  Their website contains descriptions of their standard tours and pricing, which includes your hotel stay and appears to be within reach of the average traveller.

I can't really "endorse" the company as I have never met them or taken one of their tours, but it sounds like a very interesting way to spend a few days if you are going to be in that area of the world anyway, so why not try them out?  I for sure would give them a chance to show me around!

Here is a picture of the couple from their website.  They look friendly to me. And they even give you their phone number so you can call and ask questions before you commit to anything.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Chainmaille Triangle

I made my first project from David Scott Plumlee's book, Chain and Bead Jewelry Geometric Connections.  His instructions are very easy to follow, he goes step by step with lots of illustrations.

I wanted to make something quick so I chose the beaded tripoli.  It was pretty easy, especially with his hints telling you how to keep track of which rings are which.  I think I'm really going to enjoy this book.

Monday, June 04, 2012

A New Baby!

My daughter had her baby today!  It feels like we've been waiting to meet her forever, but Stella Grayce finally made her appearance today.  She is beautiful!!  She weighs 8lbs, 10ozs and she is 20 inches long.  She has a full head of dark black hair.  Here are a couple of pictures.

Isn't she just the cutest thing you ever saw?


Friday, June 01, 2012

National Doughnut Day

Today is National Doughnut Day here in the USA.  I never even knew that there was such a thing as National Doughnut Day, let alone that there is a 75 year history behind it.  You can read about the history here

I had the remains of a variety box of Entenmann's doughnuts in my kitchen, so I ate a chocolate-covered doughnut in celebration of the holiday.  Then I ate a cake doughnut, since it was such a special day.  ;)

Then there was only one doughnut left in the box.  A glazed doughnut.  And it looked so lonely.  So, of course I had to eat it.

I mean, it's only proper that I should celebrate such a special day as National Doughnut Day by eating more than my share of doughnuts, right? (sorry no pics, I was too busy eating, heehee)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

My New Tumbler

I got a new tumbler!

On a whim, I decide to check Craigslist and see if there were any tumblers for sale.  There was one, and it was right in my town.  It is a Lortone 3A, which I think is a good tumbler for a beginner.  So I emailed her, but she wanted $80 for it.

80 dollars???!!!  I could buy a new one for 80 dollars.  So, I offered her $30.  She came back with $50, and then we ended up splitting the difference and settling on $40.  I asked her if she had the shot and she said no.

Well, guess what?  When I went to pick it up today, the shot was inside of it!  She didn't even know, she said it was her son's tumbler.  So, I actually ended up getting a pretty good deal.  It doesn't look used at all.  She even had the instruction booklet.  I'm going to run a cycle with the just the shot and the water/Dawn solution to make sure it's clean, and then I'm all set to start using it!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Little Cube

I made a mistake and bought the wrong size jump rings for a bracelet project (embarrassingly, several times), and then I had to also buy the right sized ones. Now I have more jump rings in my house than the bead store has!  (I'm not kidding, I have hundreds of them, LOL)  So I decided to do something constructive with them and teach myself chainmaille.

Little did I know, chainmaille is fun and is just as addicting as beading!  Of course, as usual, I jumped in feet first.  I could have started with something simple, and probably should have, but hey, why not go all in?  I spotted this pattern for a cute little chainmaille cube by lunabellvarga, and just had to have one of my own.

Thank goodness the directions were very clear and there were good photos!  It was still a bit confusing in spots, but I did manage to successfully make a little cube.  Now I'm on the hunt for more chainmaille projects to work with.

Here is a photo of my finished cube...


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ava'a Bead Projects

Well, as promised, here are some pics.  For Ava being only seven years old, she is really a good little beader!  She has so much patience, making sure her needle goes into the right bead, backtracking if she makes a mistake, and not giving up until she completes a project.

Last time I was there, I taught her peyote stitch and she picked it right up.  I was a little surprised, because she only has a set of "hobby" beads that someone bought for her, and as you know, they are very uneven in size.  But she picked up the idea of culling right away, and used the beads that were most identical in size.

This time I thought it would be fun if we made a daisy chain.  She caught right on to it after a few mishaps, and here is her first chain.  I think she did a great job!

She also made a air of earrings all by herself to surprise me.  I'm not sure if the different color drop beads are supposed to be a fashion statement, or if she just didn't have two matching beads in her stash.  I'm just proud to have them, and yes, I will wear them as soon as I put some earring findings on them.

I only wish she lived closer so that we could bead together more often.  She loves it, and seems to have a natural talent for it.  I am sending her some size 10 beading needles so that she will be able to thread them without help.  She had a bit of trouble with the 13's that I brought with me. 

Well, that's it for today.  I am working on a chainmaille project that I hope to be able to show you soon.  It is so cute!  I can't wait to finish it.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Week In Seattle

I haven't posted in quite a while, and now I arrive at Blogger to make a post and the layout is completely different!  Arghhh!  I hope I can figure it all out.  Obviously, I did figure out how to get to the page where I compose a post, now if I can just get it to publish correctly, maybe I can figure out the rest of the site later.

I have just had a great week in Seattle spending time with my granddaughter.  The weather was great all week, and Seattle is really a fun place.  There is always something to do, and most everything is within walking distance.  My old bones are aching after all that walking, though.  And up and down hills no less!

We did lots of fun things together.  We saw the movie Pirates in 3D.  She really wanted to see Dark Shadows, but she is only seven and her guardians wouldn't let her see it. Boo on them, I'd have taken her.  I used to watch the series as a kid, I'd run home from school so I could turn it on at 3:30.

We watched a Mariners baseball game at Safeco Field.   The Mariners won in a shutout against the Twins.  YAY!  Good day for us to attend.

There is an annual Elders Tea at her school, which I attended with her. It's lots of fun.  We got all dressed up and wore jewelry that we made.  The teachers served us tea, cookies, fruit, and finger sandwiches.

We went out for ice cream.  There is a new gelateria by her house.  I had chocolate and ricotta gelato.  The ricotta was surprisingly good!  She had mango for her first flavor, and I can't remember the second flavor she had.

We spent a lot of time at the park.  She loves going to the park, and at the one near her house there is always something going on.  We saw some people doing a fashion photography shoot, and then we took some "fashion model" pictures ourselves.  We watched people practicing dance moves, people playing baseball, a group playing croquet (believe it or not, she really loved the croquet!), and just generally hung out and had fun.

And of course we ate Peeps.  Shhhhh...she is not allowed to have them, so each year I sneak them there in my suitcase and we go to the park and eat them.  Hey, what are grandmas for?  ;-))

Next post I'll have pictures of the bracelets we made together (she is a pretty good little beader!) and of the earrings that she designed and made for me all by herself.

So, that was my week.  How was yours?


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Playing With Wire


My daughter and I are fascinated with wire.  We’ve been playing with it for weeks, finding out what it can do and what we cannot force it to do.  This week, in addition to our experiments, we made three projects.  I don’t have pictures of my daughter’s projects, but here are mine.

First, we made a butterfly out of wire. It was pretty easy, just some spirals wired together.  We used Beadsmith silver craft wire, 18 gauge, wrapped with 24 gauge.

wire buterfly

Then we made simple rings with some beads.  I used 3mm Swarovski crystals in turquoise with 21 gauge copper wire.  The lesson we used is called 3-Bead Hammered Ring, but I used 5 beads in mine.  This was the first time that I hammered a ring to make it harder, and we were both surprised at how much harder the metal got!

turquise ring

Then, we made a ring called The Wave.  This one gave me some difficulty.  The instructions were great, but I think it’s a little above my level right now.  My ring definitely doesn’t look like the one in the tutorial, lol.  But I’m wearing it, so it’s not that bad.  I managed to make it the right size, and to smooth out all the ends inside so that it isn’t scratchy on my finger.  I used Beadsmith square craft wire, 21 gauge, in silver and antique bronze.

wave ring 2

Now I’m going to try making a beaded rosette.  My boyfriend’s sister wants an ohm symbol, and she wants it to be round.  I found a really nice picture of one, and I have the Easy Bead Pattern software, so I put it in there.  It’s a free program, check it out. 

First I tried peyote stitch, but none of the shapes in the picture were coming out correctly, so I switched over to rosette stitch.  It looks great, but I’ve never done this stitch before.  It’s kind of like bead embroidery, done in circles.  I’ll give it a try and see what happens.  It looks like I’m going to have to use a million beads, though.

What do you have on your beading table?

Cat  Cat face

Monday, February 20, 2012

Busy Day


Red Czech Tile braceletAfter losing my muse for such a long time, I’ve been back in the mood with a vengeance the past few days.  I finally finished my Czech tile bracelet, and I love it!  Beside the tiles, I used some reddish Czech size 11 seeds, gold size 15 seeds, and 4mm gold Swarovski pearls.  It’s too big for me, though.  I always do that when I make bracelets.  I underestimate the size of the clasp.  Plus I have a very small wrist.  Oh, well, it’ll either be given away or sold, and I’ll make myself another one.  I want to try and write down the thread path I used, also, so that I don’t forget how I made it. I added a magma color Swarovski heart to the clasp.  It matches the red in the beads perfectly.

I’ve also made a few pairs of earrings.  I made the ones with the green Swarovski margheritas that I’ve been planning to make.  I also made two other pairs.  One is made with some black and gold wooden beads that I found at the bead shop, and the other is made with a milky white pair of beads that was in their bead soup mix, so I don’t know what they are.  They’re kind of hard to see.  I couldn’t get a good picture of them, even using a dark background.  I’ll try again tomorrow outside, maybe that will help.

Swarovski Green DiscSwarovski with Gold and Black earringsSmall White Swirl earring

I’m so glad to be beading again and enjoying it!  I missed it so much.  Maybe having my new wallboard helped me out.  It really does make me feel like I have a little studio, even though everything is really in a small 4x3 foot space in the corner of my bedroom.

Well, I’m going to get back to beading while I’m still in the mood for it!  Maybe I’ll have some more pictures in a few days.

Cat  Cat face

Sunday, February 19, 2012

More Storage



Look what my boyfriend put up for me yesterday!  Lots more storage!  My neighbor was giving away the pegboards, and we got a beginner set of hooks and storage stuff at Lowes.  Isn’t this cool?

I can hang everything up where I can see it easily, and get to it quickly.  He is so good to me.

Now I just need to see which hooks and accessories I use the most so that I can buy more of the ones I like.

And on the bottom right, you can see my current work in progress, a Czech tile bracelet which I will hopefully be finishing today and have pics to show soon.

Cat  Cat face

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Bargain at Any Price


Head on over to Jen’s blog, The Cheeky Kea, to find a good short read.  She tells us why buying handmade jewelry (handmade anything, really) is such a great bargain!

It’s a good thing we all love what we do, because very few of us are going to become millionaires from it.  I’m happy if I can just keep buying more supplies.

Speaking of supplies on hand, since I’m sharing links today, Operation Tackle That Bead Stash is a great blog that does exactly what it says.  Sarah helps you to use up the supplies you already have before you go out and buy more. (well, except for those times when you really can’t hold yourself back, haha)  And even gives you a chance to earn prizes while using up your stash!  Plus there’s great eye candy from some very talented beaders.  If you haven’t visited yet, you should check it out.

Cat  Cat face

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Finally, Some Prototypes


After all my agonizing, I did finally come up with a couple of things to do with my tile beads.  I’m still experimenting, but the more I work with them, at least I’m learning which thread paths are possible with these.

diamonds bracelet2The first one I made is part of a bracelet.  You don’t want to see the earlier attempts that got me here. Eye rolling smile  But at least I ended up with something I like, and I may even embellish it some more if I can figure out how.  Here is what the piece of it looks like so far.  Not too bad.beaded bead

Then I attempted a beaded bead inspired by Anna Elizabeth Draeger’s bangle bracelet design in the latest B&B.  This is actually embellished cubic RAW.  The cubic RAW is Anna’s, the embellishments are mine.  I think I’ll be taking this one apart.  It doesn’t seem very useful.  I’ll wait awhile though, you never know.  I may need a rectangular bead for something.

I know the pictures are phooey.  That’s the problem with having my photo studio downstairs, and having to set the whole thing up every time I use it.  I never get down there and do it.  I just go for the quick pic upstairs on the bead mat.  I can be so lazy sometimes.  Oh, well, you still get the idea of what I’m working on.

I like working with these beads better than I do the Tilas, though.  The walls are thicker, so I don’t have to worry about them chipping when I make multiple thread passes.  And I like the Picasso finishes.  I don’t like the ones I’ve seen that appear to be metal-finished.  They look like someone gave them a coat of metallic spray paint, and it doesn’t look like it will last very long.

Cat  Cat face

Monday, February 06, 2012

Where’s My Muse?


Aaaack!  For days I’ve been playing around with my new Czech two-hole beads, trying to make a bracelet design.  Except nothing is working out.  Every design seems to look good in my head or on paper, and then when I start fiddling with the beads it just doesn’t look like what I’d imagined.  Or it doesn’t hold together firmly.  Or it looks like a design I’ve already seen.  I love these beads!  I want to make something with them so badly.

I guess I really only have a few choices.  Keep fiddling around and see if something useful comes out of it.  Move on to another project until my mind clears, and bring these beads out another day.  Buy a Tila project and work on it to get my juices started. 

I’ll probably end up doing all of those things.  Smile with tongue out   Right now I just feel desperate and frustrated.

What do you do when you want to use a particular bead or type of bead but it doesn’t want to cooperate?

Cat  Cat face

Monday, January 30, 2012



little box progress 5I finally finished my little box!  I’m quite happy with it too.  It’s from Julia Pretl’s book, Little Bead Boxes. This link is to a newer edition than mine.  The book I used had 4 boxes in it, this one has 12. It looks like she also added more shape variations and more pattern designs. There are also additional patterns on her website.

It took a long time.  I didn’t keep track, but I’d say there’s at least 20 hours of work in it.  And I’m not a slow beader.

I used doubled Nymo, so the sides are quite stiff and don’t need any extra reinforcement.  But I normally bead with very tight tension.  If you tend to bead with looser tension, use something like Fireline. And I’d still double it.

The diamonds pattern wasn’t hard to follow, but for the lid I got to a point where the pattern wasn’t working as written, so I just had to wing it.  I’d done enough of it by then to know how to make it work though. 

It was also difficult getting the handle bead on the lid.  My needle broke in half, and I just kept using it that way because it was actually easier with a shorter needle, but I was terrified of breaking another bead while weaving in.  I might even wire on the top handle bead next time. There is a small open circle at the point where you begin the lid, so wiring the handle on wouldn’t be difficult. (haha, now that I’ve discovered wire, I want to add it to everything! Maybe I can wire the feet on too.)

As I said before, add the feet before you start the sides.  It would just make it easier to weave them in without hitting the sides or trying to get your fingers inside the box.

I broke about 8 beads during the process. Every bead that broke was a matte bead. They seem to be thinner. I’d skip using matte beads and stick with the opaques. Julia even tries to tell you this, but of course I didn’t listen.

I only charged $60 for it.  If I’d known how long it was going to take, I’d have charged more. Ah, well, live and learn.

Also, buy extra beads of the main color, in my case black.  Since the entire bottom is black, I went through one and a half 10 gram tubes of black delicas.  The pattern only called for 7 grams.

I only spilled my beads once during the entire time I was working on it.  Thumbs up

Could a beginner make this project?  Maybe a very determined one, but I’d say no.  You need a good understanding of peyote and structural beading.

Would I make another one?  I sure will! Julia provides blank graphs, so I look forward to making my own designs.  I also want to try some of the shapes in the newer book.

I can’t think of anything I left out.  Leave a comment if you have a question, and I’ll answer it.  The answer will also be in the comments, so you’ll have to check back for it.

Now on to my next project.  I’m making a wired amethyst pendant for a friend’s birthday.  It’s coming along smoothly, but I hit a brick wall with three wires left to play with. I’m tired of spiral embellishments, need to try something else.  I don’t want to just cut them off, because there is a small flaw in the stone that I want to cover up. So I set it aside for the night, maybe I’ll get a grand idea in one of my dreams.

Cat  Cat face