Saturday, December 31, 2011

i heart macro Sunday

This winter has been unseasonably warm so far.  I am not complaining, but the kiddo has been wishing for snow.

The warmer weather did allow us to squeeze in one last family hike for the year.  The only thing the kiddo likes more than running around the trails is running with her grandpa.  Luckily, my in-laws are always up for a walk around the lake.  We even managed to catch a glimpse of a few eagles.

On the way back up the trail, we saw a bit of construction equipment.  I grabbed a few quick shots.

And the vehicle:

With that, we are leaving 2011

and wishing all of you a wonderful 2012.  Happy New Year, everyone!

  studio waterstone

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

I finished my last present last night: a bracelet for the kiddo. I hope she likes it. This bracelet is a smaller version of Marcue Abney's La Catedral bracelet.

Due to a misbehaving laptop, this image is brought to by my phone + dropbox + a wonderful invention called the ipad.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

i heart macro Sunday .. cookie edition

A few years ago, my aunt hosted a cookie party.  This was an all day affair in which everyone brought cookie dough and several of my aunts baked all the cookies.  It was so much fun that it has become an annual event in my family.  

Another aunt has a wonderful sugar cookie recipe.  You know the soft kind of sugar cookies that just melt in your mouth?  That's her recipe.

Sugar cookies by themselves are wonderful, but when you add candy and sprinkles, a kiddo can certainly create a masterpiece.

 And a half dozen kiddos can create several:

And a dozen grown women?  Well ...

I am sorry for the huge number of pictures this week.  I didn't want to leave out a single cookie.  :)

studio waterstone

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tumbling Tiles

A few weeks ago I won a pattern from Marcy Abney, from La Bella Joya.  I chose her Tumbling Tiles bracelet.

This was such an easy pattern to work.  I loved working around the circle of the bangle.  I made two versions.  For the first one, I used matte black tilas on the inside and shiny black on the outside.  I liked the bit of contrast.

As I worked through Marcie's design, I can tell a great deal of thought (and probably lots of trial and error) went into it.  I love how this bangle keeps its shape.  The embellishment is not only beautiful, but also functional.  Plus, it worked up very quickly.  I love instant gratification.

When I started my second bangle, I tought I would use the same color tila beads on the inside and on the outside of the bracelet.  Unfortunately, I didn't quite have enough beads.  I was about to head to the bead store when I reminded myself that I had all kinds of beads in the office.  Was there any way I could make this work without buying more beads?

(Okay, I have to confess:  that last part was for my husband.  As a non beader, he wonders how I could possibly need more beads.)  In this case, I decided to try something different rather than buying more tilas.  After a bit of searching, I found some lovely round pyrite beads.

So, Tumbling Tiles became more of a Studded Round.  Instead of embellishing the outside with tila beads, I used size 15 and 8 seed beads.  There was just enough room in the center to add the pyrite.

Technically, this isn't a bangle.  It doesn't have the stability in its core and doesn't keep its shape.  The pyrite beads are a bit too heavy and the seed bead embellishment doesn't strengthen the bracelet like the tila beads do.  I like how it looks, though, and may restring it and add a clasp.

Marcie, thank you again for the pattern.  I love how easy it was to do and how versatile it is.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Marla!  The true random number generator picked her comment.  

I'll be sending Marla this version of Marcie Abney's La Catedral Beadwoven Bangle bracelet.

Thanks to all who commented!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Santa, Baby

Sometime in October, I saw a pair of Santa earrings in my local bead shop:  a brick stitch Santa climbing up to a swarovski margarita bead Christmas tree.  I remember thinking, "I'll definitely try that after Thanksgiving."  Well, in the first part of December, I went back to the shop to get a closer look.  To my dismay, the earrings were gone.  The lady at the shop had no idea what I was talking about.  Now, either I'm confused (very likely), dreaming (somewhat likely), or in a parallel universe (not so likely).

Of course, these earrings became somewhat of a mission.  After a bit of searching, I found this pattern on threadabead.    This site has a ton of peyote and brick stitch patterns for almost any occasion.  (There is even a brick stitch karate student.)

While searching for the hanging Santa pattern, I found several other awesome patterns.  Who wouldn't want this snowman on her tree?

Speaking of trees, I needed to make some for my earrings.

Trees + Santa + ring = the cutest Santa earrings

They are a little big, but I like wearing them.  I think they are also a perfect size for an ornament.

My plan is to take these into the bead stores I frequent and ask around.  If I find the name of the person who made the pair I originally saw, I'll update this post.

If any of you remember seeing them in a magazine or other publication, please let me know and I will give credit where credit is due.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

i heart macro Sunday

This week, I managed to get outside around dusk and take a few pictures of our Christmas lights.  I haven't done much night photography, so I experimented with different settings.  Not all of my pictures turned out the way I would have liked, but I still have a few weeks to try again.

I did like the way these two turned out.

Have a good week!  There's still time to win my blue and gold version of Marcie Abney's La Catedral Bangle. If you haven't entered my giveaway, please check it out.

studio waterstone

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Two notes of thanks and a giveaway

This has been a good week for me.

Elisabeth, from Beads for Busy Gals, hosted a giveaway a few days ago and very generously gave away two items from her etsy shop.  I was lucky enough to have my name drawn and Elizabeth is sending me this beautiful butterfly necklace:

Elizabeth, you rock!

Also, Erin, from Treasures Found, hosted a massive giveaway tied to her 2nd Annual Challenge of Color.  I was lucky enough to win a tutorial written by Marcie of La Bella Joya.  I've bought a few of Marcie's tutorials from her etsy shop and have had great success with her designs.  After a few hours of deliberation (no exaggeration .. Marcie's designs are just wonderful), I chose the Tumbling Tiles Bangle.  I cannot wait to start on this.

 Thank you Erin and Marcie!

I feel so fortunate to have won both of these and I want to give something away too.  I thought I would showcase another of Marcie's fabulous designs and give away a blue and gold version of Marcie's La Catedral Beadwoven Bangle.  I love this pattern.  It is so easy to work and the result is beautiful.

If you would like to enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post.  I will pick a name at random at 6:00 pm central time, Sunday, December 11 and announce the winner Monday, December 12.  Please be sure that your email address is either in the comment or in your profile.  

Be sure to check out both Elizabeth's blog and shop and Marcie's blog and shop. These ladies are some very talented artists.

Beading Babes November project

Karyn White, who writes Releases by Rufydoof, hosts Beading Babes, an online beading group.  We ended up choosing two projects for November.  The first was Sleek in Silver by Hatsumi Oshitani. It was printed in the October/November 2011 issue of Beadwork.

I started the month with high hopes and I was eager to dig into the Sleek in Silver project. One thing I discovered, though, is that the designer knows best. Hatsumi Oshitani called for 8x10mm briolettes. I had a hard time finding that size in a color I liked, so I ordered 15mm tiger's eye briolettes. This was bad idea #1.  The 15mm briolettes were way too big and jumbled together.  Lucky for all of us, I didn't grab a photo.

Bad idea #2 was to use dagger beads. These were just a bit too "pointy." Again, I didn't think to grab a picture.  Luckily, I stumbled upon these wonderful potato pearls. (Honestly, I love pearls.  I think they belong in everything.)  The pearls were the right size, and, while not exactly briolettes, they worked well.  Here is the result:

I also made a clasp using the tila beads. I found the instructions for the circle on the Miyuki website.

I really loved the the variation on the St. Petersburg stitch. It worked up so quickly and laid so nicely. I have another color of tila beads on hand and may just be trying this again.

Our second project was Earthly Hues by Carol Ohl. It was printed in the August/September 2010 issue of Beadwork. Like most of Carol Ohl's patterns, this worked up quickly.  Lucky for me, I didn't try to play with the size of the beads.  I was able to do this without having to restring anything.

This is a chunky and fun necklace that is really light. It doesn't feel like you are wearing a necklace at all. It's also very easy to dress up or down.

I want to try the variation pictured in Beadwork. I'm thinking black and gold. (It seems I have a rather large "to do" list.)

Be sure to visit Karyn's blog, Releases by Rufydoof, to see what the other participants did.  If you are interested in joining Beading Babes, there is a link on the right side of the blog.

Karyn, thank you for putting this together for us. It was a blast.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I heart macro Sunday

This was the first year the kiddo really "got" decorating for Christmas.  She was so excited to help with the outside lights, the inside ornaments and everything in between.  Her enthusiasm was contagious and my husband I and really enjoyed hanging all the decorations.

As we took the ornaments out of the boxes, the kiddo and looked at each one.  She loved seeing ones from when my husband and I were kids.  She also loved seeing the ones people have already given her over the few years she as been with us.  She decided where to hang each one and I'm excited to say the tree reflects her as much as it does my husband and I.

I tasked myself with taking photos of our outside lights, but never remembered at the right time.  Hopefully, I'll have a better memory in the coming week.  Instead, I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of our tree.

Yes, that is Iron Man peeking out of the pine needles.

My grandmother made this ornament some time ago.  It's one of my favorites.

Thanks for looking.  :)

studio waterstone

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Color Challenge

I have trouble with color. It's hard for me to branch out from a single color family. I try, but it never seems to work. Brown on brown is a safer, but not as interesting color choice as, say, brown on blue and green. I love it when an artist mixes blue with reds or pinks and makes it look fabulous. I get giddy when I see a sprig of yellow sticking out of teals and greens.

So, when I saw this post from Erin of Treasures Found, I knew it was my chance. Erin asked about 50 of us to choose a single color. After we chose our color, Erin picked a color palette for each of us based on our color.

Let me say, I am an earthtones girl at heart. Give me browns, mosses and coppers any day. However, I wanted to do something different, so I chose gray. I don't work with grey often, but it reminds me of winter, which reminds me of Christmas, so it can't be all bad.

Here is the palette Erin chose:

Could it be more perfect? I love the dark grays, the red and the white all mixed in. This palette and all of the palettes used in this challenge were created by Jessica Colaluca from Design Seeds. If you have a few minutes (or a few hours), check out Jessica's blog. Her color palettes are nothing short of gorgeous. It seems she can take almost anything and pull the most beautiful colors from it.

I started thinking about what I wanted to create. I knew right off that I wanted to play up the winter/Christmas idea. The red and the grays just screamed for snowflakes and flowers. I immediately beaded a few small flower motifs. I envisioned a field of flower motifs blooming in the midst of a snowy night.

A trip to the bead store yielded some light green pearls and stumbled upon this wonderful large link gunmetal chain. Early on, I had decided against gunmetal. This chain made me change my mind. I grabbed some black diamond swarovski crystals from my stash and went to work.

As I tried to add my motifs, I discovered my idea didn't translate well. My imagined field of flowers ended up forming an incoherent jumble.

I left the chain hanging on my necklace display and tried several different things. Then it dawned on me. The chain, crystals and pearls were wonderful together. The necklace didn't need a garden. It needed a single bloom.

Immediately Lisa Kan's Corsage Cuff came to mind. Lisa's designs are both beautiful and versatile. I beaded the flower from her bracelet design and slipped it over the crystal and pearl strands.

Because I can't leave well enough alone, I beaded another flower, this time in red. I also adapted Lisa's netting technique for a 14mm rivoli. The end result is a single necklace with several different looks.

I am really pleased with the way this piece came out. I love the simplicity of it and am excited to wear it during the holidays.

I think I like the rivoli best. What do you guys think?

Oh, in case you are wondering abuot those forgotten flower motifs, I did find a use for them. Come back later this week and I'll show you.

Erin, thank you so much for giving all of us this opportunity to challenge ourselves with color.

Jessica, thank you for providing the wonderful palettes.

Erin, it seems, is an over achiever. She made a piece for each of the twelve colors available. Definitely check out her blog post on Treasures Found. The rest of the challenge participants are listed below. Be sure to check out all the wonderful creations. I've set aside most of my day to do so. :)

18 Tari Kahrs ~ Orange ~ Citrus Tones
23 Amy Severino ~ Orange ~ Winged Tones
25 Tanya Goodwin ~ Gray ~ Pecked Tones (you are here)
28 Linda Landig ~ Green ~ Cacti Dark
35 CJ Bauschka ~ Teal ~ Teal Air
41 Jenni Connolly ~ Gray ~ Paw Tones