Saturday, June 30, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

One of our favorite places is the arboretum.  The kiddo can walk around for hours either snapping pictures or looking at the different flowers.  She also likes the outdoor model trains.

In nice weather, the trains run around outdoor tracks.  One of the tracks runs under the pavement and can be seen beneath a sheet of plexiglass.  

The volunteers also set up a little village full of houses, trees and little people to watch the trains pass.

The kiddo waved at the engineer, but he was all business.  :)

For more macro goodness, check out Studio Waterstone.

studio waterstone

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beaded Beads

I've got more than a few projects that I should be working on.  In addition to finishing up my projects from Bead and Button, I've entered a few challenges here and there.

This week, though, I've been fixated on none of the above.  Instead, I've been happily making beaded beads.

I've mentioned Beadwork Magazine's Beaded Bead Contest a few times.  Over the past few months, I completed a few of the beads, but had been stumped on how to incorporate five different beaded beads into a cohesive design.

A few weeks ago, an idea popped into my head.  Actually, the idea drifted into my head as I was falling asleep.  Luckily for me, it managed to lodge itself in there and I remembered it upon waking.  I'm really hoping this idea works and I've been busy working on the beads I think I'll need.

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

While I wasn't keen on trying this design, it is easy to bead and the little stars are fun to make.  You could even use bigger beads and change the look.

The second beaded bead was designed by Gwen Fisher and published in the April/May issue of Beadwork.

The Cube Cluster Beaded Bead seemed complicated at first, but once you get going, it's a fun project.  I love the symmetry of the bead.

Florence Turnour designed the third beaded bead for the June/July issue.  Her Stargazer Beaded Bead starts out a bit squishy, but really shapes up as you add the overlay.  I was amazed at this design and made two versions.

If you haven't tired of beaded beads (and, really, how could you?) Gwen and Florence have a ton more designs for sale on their website, Bead Infinitum.  I highly suggest you check out their store.  Gwen and Florence are mathematicians and their beaded cubes, rings, prisms and spheres are well thought out, fun to bead and amazing when completed.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel,  from Jewelry Tales, designed the Treasure Trove Beaded Bead, which was published in the August/September issue of Beadwork.  This is the fourth bead in the series.  Cynthia's bead features a right angle and peyote weave overlay that really changed the look of the bead.  Again, I am amazed at how this bead worked up.

This bead reminds me of a lampworked glass bead with dots on the surface.  It's not quite smooth, but is so much fun to touch and interesting to just stare at.

If you would like to see more of Cynthia's designs, check out her website or her etsy shop.

Cindy Holsclaw has designed the remaining beaded bead, to be published in the October/November issue.  I'm really excited for this one.  Cindy's designs are marvelous and you can check them out at her store, Bead Origami.

As it stands, I have three more beads to make and then I can start on my design.  I'm crossing my fingers that it works like I've imagined it.

The Beaded Bead Contest doesn't start until the middle of October, so you have plenty of time to start working with these fabulous beaded beads.  Honestly, any one of these would make a spectacular pendant if you wanted to try just one to get your feet wet.  :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beading Babes Project 5

For Project 5, Karyn chose two wonderful patterns designed by the same person, Helena Tang.  I have been in awe of Helena's designs for some time and was so excited to try two.  If you are not familiar with Helena's designs, check out her website.  There is a wonderful gallery and many beautiful patterns for beaders of all skill levels.

Our first project was Echos of Nefertiti, published in the June/July issue of Bead and Button.  I first saw this issue at the bead store and started paging through it.  When I came to Echos of Nefertiti, I started walking around the store, issue in hand, looking for disc beads.  I talked myself out of some beautiful green stones of some sort, promising myself I would come back to the necklace.

A few days later, Karyn, the mind reader that she is, announced the projects and I was overjoyed to see this necklace included.

I started looking in my stash and, with the exception of the 14mm round beads, found all sorts of things that would work.  Unfortunately, everything I tried didn't seem right.

Then, I found these jasper beads and fell in love.

I thought it would be easy to find the right colors.  I won't bore you with the details, but I went through quite a few tries to find the perfect "fit."  As it happened, though, I had all the right beads in my stash and once I got going, the components were a cinch to make.

I was lucky enough to have delica beads that matched the tila beads.  I used those with size 11 seed beads to make a twisty spiral herringbone rope.  

I omitted the smaller components on either side of the necklace.  I also used beading wire to string all the components together.  I love the way it turned out.

The toggle is a wonderful component by itself and I can envision it as a bracelet or necklace focal.

This was a fun pattern and I can see how even one component can have several different uses.  I can see earrings and bracelets in my future.

Our second project was Helena's Four Leaf Clover Cuff.  As I was digging through my stash for the first project, I found a few hundred 3mm heliotrope bicones.  I have no idea why I bought these, but I loved the dark blue/black color and decided to use those in place of the pearls.  I also found matching seed beads in my stash.

At first I was a bit scared about using a bicone instead of a round bead, but I love the little diamond shape the bicones make in contrast to the open circle between the clovers.

I even found these 6mm pyrite rounds that I was able to use for the clasp.  I was on a roll!  I created this bracelet purely from my stash.  (*beading high five*)

This was a fun bracelet.  The pattern is easy to pick up and once I started the first row, I didn't need to reference the pattern until the end.  This is a good thing when you want to watch Dr. Who on netflix in full screen mode.

Helena, thank you again for allowing us a discount on your pattern.  For more of Helena's designs, check out her website.

Karyn, thank you for putting this together.  I always look forward to the Beading Babes projects and reveal day is such a treat.

Please visit Karyn's blog, Releases by Rufydoof, for more information on our Beading Babes group.

If you would like to see other versions of these projects, please take a few minutes (hours) to see the beady goodness that will be listed soon on Karyn's blog.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

I've always loved willow trees.  My great grandmother had a weeping willow tree in her yard.  I think that's where my affinity for willows sprouted (sorry, I couldn't resist).

When I started dating my husband, I noticed another type of willow tree in his yard:  a corkscrew willow.  I had never seen such a tree before and was taken with it.  I love the way the leaves curl and furl.

My husband's tree started as a sprout from his grandfather's tree, which makes it all the more special.

For more macro goodness, check out Studio Waterstone.

  studio waterstone

Saturday, June 16, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

Again, I don't have much this week.  My husband, the kiddo and I went for a short hike last weekend.  We happened upon this dragonfly.

A close up:

Check out more macro goodness at Studio Waterstone.

studio waterstone

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Time to Stitch Challenge

Therese Frank of Therese's Treasures and Christine Altmiller of One Kiss Creations recently started a challenge for both beginning and advanced beadweavers:  create something using peyote or herringbone stitch or both.  It sounds easy, but the possibilities with those two stitches are truly endless.

Herringbone is probably my favorite stitch.  It's fun to weave and I love the look of it.  I came upon this Three Strand Nebele Bracelet by Laura McCabe.  I thought it was a perfect pattern for this challenge.

The middle rope is tubular herringbone.  I used size 10 delicas and 3.4mm fringe beads.

The outer ropes are spiral herringbone.

The pagoda at each end is made with a combination of peyote and herringbone stitch.  The bell cap is herringbone and is a perfect cover for the transition from three ropes to one.

Therese and Christine, thank you for hosting the challenge.  These are two of my favorite stitches and I have been wanting to try this pattern for a while now.  Thank you for the opportunity.

Please check out what the other participants

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Alice in Wonderland Blog Hop

Staci Louise of Staci Louise Originals and Genea of Genea's Beads hosted an Alice in Wonderland Challenge and blog hop.

I wasn't able to participate, but please take some time and look at all the wonderful jewelry inspired by Alice.  You can start at Staci's blog.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tiny Copper Rings

I love beading magazines .. and jewelry magazines ... and metal working magazines .. and wire magazines .. the list could go on and on.  Even though I don't have the materials for all the projects, I still like to read about the process (and fantasize of an unlimited stash and budget).

Ttoday was a lazy Sunday.  My husband and daughter were busy playing Plants vs. Zombies.   I was paging through the June/July issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry and saw "Love Knot" by Abbi Berta.  She twisted thin gauge wire into a cute little ring.

Hmm .. the husband and kiddo were occupied.  I had 20 gauge wire and a torch.  That's all it took for me to run outside and try my hand at these:

The ring above is my attempt at Abbi's design.

The last two rings are the result of playing around with loops.

This was a fun project with almost instant gratification.

As a side note, Linda Larson's "Bronze Age Cuff" is also featured in the current issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry.  I adore Linda's tutorials and this cuff is amazing.  One of these days, I'm going to get the nerve to try it.  :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

My entry in Andrew Thornton's reader's challenge is here.

I don't have much today -- just a few flowers.  I was taken with the colors.

For more macro goodness, check out Studio Waterstone.

studio waterstone

Friday, June 1, 2012

Andrew Thornton's Lima Beads Reader's Challenge

I love a good challenge, at least in theory.  When I saw Andrew Thornton had cooked up a Spring inspired challenge using beads from Lima Beads, I knew I wanted to join.  Truth be known, I scarcely looked at all the beads before taking the plunge.

The kit is just beautiful with all these luscious shades of green.  The bird, by Earthenwood Studio just wants to take flight.  I didn't even notice the rabbit toggle clasp from Green Girl Studios, until I received the kit.  I love that the rabbit is jumping through the toggle.

These are not colors or components I usually work with.  Had I really sat down and looked at the beads, I might have run the other way.  I love greens, but gravitate toward darker, more earthy tones of green.  The silver also threw me a bit.  Lately, I had been working with more bronze and copper tones.  But that's why they call it a challenge, right?

I knew I was going to need more seed beads, so I looked through my stash and found these awesome lime green delicas.

I wanted a contrasting color and stumbled upon these matte red seed beads.

Both looked nice with the frosted celery from the challenge kit.

I had beads, but I needed a plan.  I kept staring at the picasso rondelles.  I only had a few, but they were too pretty not to use.  Then it hit me.  What do you do with only a few rondelles?  You bezel them, of course.

I started beading without much of a plan, but I had thought I would use the bird component.  As I went along, though, another idea hit me.  The rabbit in the clasp from Green Girl Studios looks as if he's bounding along and diving into his den.

What if the rabbit was bounding through the garden, heading toward the den?  He might look like this:

I couldn't figure out how I wanted to connect my flowers.  I wanted to use the chain, but wasn't sure how.

I remembered a design in Beadmaille by Cindy Pankopf.  Cindy used rings and seedbeads to create an effect similar to chain maille.

I took the links out of the silver chain and used them with seed beads to create the strap from Cindy's "Faerie Garden Necklace."  It was perfect.

I connected the chain to the remaining part of the toggle:

And the finished product:

While I am pleased with the red, I think a bright orange would have made the piece more "springy."  Ah, well .. next time I'll know.  :)

I was disappointed that I did not use the beautiful blue bird or the citrus seed beads.  I glanced through my books and found a lovely bracelet in Seed Bead Fusion by Rachel Nelson-Smith.  Rachel's "Mini O Bracelet" seemed a perfect fit for the size 8 citrus seed beads.  I thought I could incorporate what I had left of the celery seed beads as well.

This was such a fun bracelet and worked up in about a day.

I also wanted to use the other rabbit.  I hope he likes his new home.  :)

I still have dreams for the little bird.  I'm sure he will take flight soon.

Andrew, thank you for putting together such a wonderful collection of beads.  I would never have chosen these colors on my own, but love the combination.

Please check out Andrew's blog to see what the other participants created.