Saturday, March 31, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

I haven't posted macro shots for the past few weeks.  I'm not sure how time gets away from me, but the week usually flies too fast for me to catch it.

I did have a chance to take the kiddo to the arboretum.  Each of us were armed with our cameras and spent some time with the newly blooming flowers.

I saw something moving around and was lucky enough to see it pose.  :)

I was also taken with the texture of this rope.

Everything is blooming so early this year.  I cannot wait to visit again to see what else has sprung up.  :)

studio waterstone

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beading Babes Project 4 - Progress

We have almost a month until the Beading Babes Project 4 reveal.  I am in a much better position this month than I was in last month when Karyn very graciously gave us a few weeks extension.

We have three projects this month.  The first one was Paisley Drops, designed by Jane Lock.  The pattern for these earrings was published in the August/September 2010 issue of Beadwork Magazine.

I did these in two colorways because I really liked this pattern.  It was quick and easy and the result was beautiful.  I didn't think to take "in progress" pictures, so you are left with just a tease for now.

Our second project was the Ruffled Chain Bracelet by Laina Goodman.  It was published in the February/March 2011 issue of Beadwork.  Again, I can only offer a tease of the finished bracelet.

Our final project was a special one.  Nancy Dale was kind enough to provide us with her Trellis Necklace pattern.  Nancy has this pattern and more available in her etsy store.

I found this awesome African metal bead at a local bead store.  I quickly snapped it up, but couldn't decide how to use it.  Nancy's Trellis Necklace provided a wonderful opportunity to showcase this bead.

I found a few smaller metal beads to use as accents in place of the pearls in Nancy's pattern.

Because the metal beads have much larger holes, I had to improvise a bit.  After finishing a section of right angle weave base, I continued with size 15 seed beads in a circular peyote stitch.  The resulting rope was just the right size to fit into the metal beads.  I was then able to switch back to right angle weave without too much trouble.

My color inspiration comes from this bead in the African Slave Beads section of  I saw it and fell in love with the colors.

I'm working on the right angle weave base of the rope and cannot wait to add the black, tan and cream embellishment.

This is one of the first times in which my vision played out perfectly in the beaded world.  I didn't have to unstring or restitch.  (Yes, that's me doing the "happy dance.")

I hope you'll join us in a month for our Beading Babes project 4 reveal.  If you want more information on Beading Babes, click here to visit the Beading Babes page on Karyn's blog, Releases by Rufydoof.  Karyn also has links to our first three projects on her sidebar, just in case you want to bask in the glow of beady goodness.  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beaded Beads

I posted a few weeks ago about Beadwork Magazine's Beaded Bead contest.

I've been trying to come up with a design to showcase all five beaded beads, but haven't thought of anything yet.  It is probably just as well since only two of the beaded bead patterns have been published.

The first pattern is Seeing Stars by Melinda Barta and was published in the February/March issue of Beadwork.

I didn't think I would like this pattern at first.  You bead four tiny stars and then start to link them together.  I don't usually like beading the same motif several times, but I made an exception for this project.  The little starts are adorable.

I loved them so much, I made a second bead.

These took almost no time at all and are a great way to use those left over seed beads.

I kept the same multi-color scheme in the Cube Cluster Beaded Bead, designed by Gwen Fisher and published in the April/May issue of Beadwork.  Gwen is a mathematician and incorporates a great amount of  geometry and symmetry in her designs.  I am constantly blown away by what she can imagine and then put into beaded form.

Gwen's beaded bead was no exception.  I loved this bead.  As complicated as it seems, it is a very simple, symmetrical (and organized) beaded bead.

I'm very excited to see the next few beaded bead patterns.  I am hoping an idea will begin to form.

Florence Turnour designed the beaded bead for the June/July issue.  You can see a sneak peak here.  Are you as excited as I am?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Looking for Closure

Deryn Mentock from Something Sublime is offering what looks to be a wonderful online class on creating your own closures and clasps.

Here are a few examples from the class:

Now that I've piqued your interest, you can look here for more details on the class.  Seriously, go look now.

Deryn is also hosting a giveway .. a spot in her class for two lucky people.  I know I'm crossing my fingers.  :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

When I'm not beading ...

It all started about a week ago when the kiddo and I discovered this book at the library.

The kiddo was so excited that she spent about an hour looking through the book and deciding on projects.  

We attempted a finger puppet:

This morning, the kiddo decided on a bigger project:  the Yoda doll.  I spent my time tracing, cutting and sewing.  She, of course, supervised.  She did have time to draw a few pictures, though.

I could not find black buttons, so our Yoda has green eyes.

I wanted to give his face a bit more definition than I saw in the example in the book.  After a bit of googling, I found this wonderful example of Yoda by DeadlySweet.  It looks like her etsy shop is closed at the moment, but if you want to see some absolute adorable work, check out her deviant art gallery.  Man, that girl is talented.

Here is the finished doll:

He's not too shabby, I guess.

Somehow, the kiddo loves the Dark Side.  I don't know what I did or said, but she loves Darth Maul.  For this puppet, I used the template from the book and added a bit of detail.

Of course, when the kiddo saw him she said I should make a Darth Sidious.  How bad is it that my five year old likes the Sith?

As time goes on, I'd like to add to the finger puppets.  They are cute are easy to make.  Maybe I'll even get to make a Jedi someday. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

A ring for the kiddo

Some time ago, I bought this tutorial from Smadar's Treasure for a ring called, very appropriately, A Star is Born.

Much to my delight, the ring worked up quickly and easily.  It also takes just a few beads, most of which I usually have laying around.

I think it's definitely pretty in pink.

Since I don't wear rings often, this sits in my jewelry box waiting for a special occasion.

I did not count on the fact that little girls love sparkles and have very good memories.  Yesterday, the kiddo asked if she could wear my ring.  It took me a few minutes before I realized she was talking about my pink sparkly ring.  My rings are too big for her little fingers, so off we went to the bead store.

The kiddo has some amazing taste.  The colors she chose are awesome together.  I used slightly smaller beads for her ring and I love the way it turned out.

The smaller beads look great on her little fingers. 

I might even make a smaller one for a pinky ring for me.  :)

Check out Smadar's blog and etsy shop for more awesome tutorials.

Another of Smadar's patterns was used for this month's Beading Babes projects.  We all took a stab at Smadar's Ravashing Rosettes pattern.  You can see my version here.  The other members' versions are here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

i heart macro sunday

This week has been a bit of a blur.  The kiddo was sick, and my assurances that moms don't get sick didn't do me much good.  Even my husband fell prey to the flu.  We are all doing better (finally) and looking forward to getting out of the house next week.

This winter has been so mild, it almost seems as though we moved from Fall

to Spring.

Hopefully, when we finally get out of the house, we will have some nice weather.

studio waterstone

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Beadwork Beaded Beads Contest

Can you believe that Beadwork Magazine is 15 years old?  Seriously?  I actually had to go back and look at the date of my oldest Beadwork - Fall 1996.

This alone should tell you two things about me:  1) I keep all my old magazines and 2) I must be pretty old myself.

I did a google search and could only come up with one picture of the Fall 1996 Beadwork, which is available here, in Urban Bear Books's artfire shop.

Why am I suddenly nostalgic?  Well, I stumbled upon this contest Beadwork is hosting in honor of its 15th birthday.  Beadwork Magazine will feature one beaded bead in each of its upcoming 5 issues.  You mission, should you choose to accept it, is to create a piece of jewelry using at least one of each beaded bead.  The rest of the contest details are here.

I'm a bit excited about this and am now even more on edge to receive the April/May issue.  Doesn't it look lucious:

I'm curious to know if anyone will be up for the challenge.  As the last issue won't hit the news stands until October, the contest can't officially begin until late October.  The entries will be displayed on the Beading Daily site at  that time, but it still might be fun to have a blog hop of our own.  Maybe even mini blog hops to see the beaded beads as the magazines come out.

What do you guys think?  Is there any interest in beaded beads?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Triangle bead bangle

I mentioned in this post that I liked the look of right angle weave with triangle beads.

The result looks a bit like snake skin to me because of the random way the beads turn.  Don't you think?

At one point, while beading Runway of Pearls by Barbara Falkowitz (published in the December 2011 issue of Beadwork), I thought about using a different bead instead of pearls. I ended up staying true to the pattern with wonderful results.  You can see my version here.

I still wanted to try out my idea, though.  Since I always seem to have beads laying around (just ask my husband), I had plenty of materials.  I found some purple triangle beads and started another 5 row right angle weave base.  I made mine 65 rows long (about 10 inches).  I noticed that this "shrinks" a bit when you fold it over.  Make your right angle weave base about an inch and a half or two inches longer than you want the bangle to be.

I embellished rows 1, 2, 4 and 5 just like the design for Runway of Pearls calls for.

It's a little hard to tell in these pictures, but the embellishment is there.  I couldn't find a color I liked with the purple triangle beads, so I opted for a more monochromatic pairing with blue iris seed beads.

Then I added joined the sides to make my right angle weave box.  Then I zipped it up to make a bangle shape.

I stitched two rows of farfalle beads between the triangle beads on the top of the bangle and 11 seed beads between the triangle beads on the bottom of the bangle.  The farfalle beads lined up wonderfully between the triangle beads.  The addition of the 11 seed beads helped the bangle keep its shape.  (I don't like a wimpy bangle.)

And the finished product:

If you try this, keep in mind a few things:

  • This bracelet will shrink.  A 9 inch base will not yield a 9 inch bangle.  If you are concerned, you can either make it longer than you would normally (1.5 or 2 inches as I suggested above), or you can wait to zip it into a bangle until after you add the embellishment.
  • You don't need to embellish the bottom of the bangle with the 11 and 15 seed beads (meaning you can skip embellishing rows 4 and 5 above).  No one will see the bottom.  If you don't embellish the bottom of the bangle, your bangle may not shrink as much.  I'm also not sure if the bangle will keep its shape without the embellishment.
  • You can also run a length of 3mm cord through the bangle to help it keep its shape.  This isn't a wimpy bangle, but it is a bit wiggly. 
This was a fun experiment for me.  Usually, my ideas don't work as well in reality as they do in my head.  This bangle, however, ended up just as I envisioned.  It worked up quickly and let me use the farfalle beads I have been itching to try.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Beading Babes January project

Beading Babes is the creation of Karyn from Releases by Rufydoof.  Each month, the group votes on a project and, at the end of the month, we all get to see each other's work  We had two projects this month, which helped keep me out of trouble.  :)

The first was Ravishing Rosettes by Smadar Grossman.  This was featured in the December 2011 issue of Bead and Button.

I love Smadar's designs.  If you want to see more of her work, check out her blog, Smadar's Treasure.  She also has an etsy shop (one that I am very familiar with) and an artfire shop.

This pattern was a bit different than what I'm used to doing.  First, it is mostly square stitch, which i don't do often.  Second, the rosettes attach together starting with one tiny bead.  This gave me a bit of frustration at the beginning.  I didn't really figure out the best way for me to stitch and reinforce the rosettes until I was on my 5th one or so.

I am glad that I persevered.  After I found the "groove," I was able to crank out a rosette every 20 minutes or so.  The growing string of rosettes is quite lovely.

That said, after I beaded half the rosettes, I decided to finish the necklace with some sari ribbon.  My reasons were twofold:
  1. I wanted a more casual end product.  I thought an entire necklace of beaded  rosettes, while gorgeous, might be too formal for my taste.
  2. I got tired of beading rosettes.  I looked at my half necklace and wondered if I really wanted to spend another 3-4 hours on it.  That's the painful truth (and hard for me to admit).     
I added a loop of square stitch to the rosettes at both ends of my chain and used two small oval links from Miss Fickle Media to connect the ribbon to the rosettes.  I am really pleased with the result.

I cannot wait to feast my eyes on the versions created by my fellow Beading Babes.  The fully beaded necklace looks like something a movie star would wear.

Our second project was Runway of Pearls by Barbara Falkowitz.  This was published in the December 2011 issue of Beadwork Magazine.

My first attempt used three rows and skipped the side pearls.  It looked like a big right angle weave box.  It was also stiff and not very comfortable.  I salvaged my beads and tried again.

Luckily, right angle weave works up quickly and I had the base of my new bracelet done in only a few episodes of White Collar.  On this attempt, I stuck to the instructions and the bracelet turned out beautifully. 

I used gray triangle beads for the base.  Blue seed beads on one side gives it a monochromatic look.  Pink seed beads on the other side provide more of a contrast.  The Tahitian Blue Swarovski pearls are a stunning finish.

I have to admit, with apologies to Barbara, I didn't think I would like this bracelet.  I thought the pearls would "stick out" too much.  I have never been so happy to be wrong.  The bracelet is just beautiful.  The design is wonderful and so versatile.  This will be one of my favorites.

Please hop over to Karyn's blog, Releases by Rufydoof, and see what the other participants did.  You can also find more information about Beading Babes on her blog.

Karyn, thank you again for putting this together.  These projects are always so much fun for me to do.