Friday, January 17, 2014

More Beaded Lace

For my Time to Stitch entry, click here.

I mentioned in this post that I have been following Gwen Fisher in her beaded lace adventures.

Since I made this necklace, I've wanted to make a second one.  I finally found some time and created a focal using Gwen's Beaded Lace Medallions and Beaded Lace Hearts.

I kept the rest simple and finished the necklace with a Beaded Lace Swag.

I love the end result.

The necklace is soft and feminine in these colors.  An edgier version in red/ black would also be stunning.

As per usual, I finished the piece with a beaded clasp.

I am intrigued by these techniques and have more ideas swirling around in my head.

I am particularly taken with Gwen's latest pattern, Beaded Rick Rack

I can't wait to start on it.

The Beaded Rick Rack is part 7 of Gwen's series.

Parts 1 - 6 are:

Athena's Acanthus bracelet
Beaded Lace Flowers
Beaded Lace Swags
Beaded Lace Medallions
Eucalyptus Leaves bracelet
Beaded Lace Hearts

If you haven't already looked at them, I highly recommend these patterns.  The two bracelet patterns teach you to create a finished piece of jewelry and the others focus on a specific component or technique.

What makes this series unique is that the components can be combined to create different designs and pieces.  Each tutorial shows different arrangements and combinations for inspiration.

They are all available in Gwen's etsy shop.

You can find other patterns from Gwen and Florence Turnour on their website, Bead Infinitum.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Time to Stitch 4

It's time for another Time to Stitch challenge with Therese Frank and Christine Altmiller.

This time around, our main stitch was netting and we had a choice of three other stitches:  spiral, chevron and chenille.

This was a hard challenge for me.  I rarely use netting and I wasn't sure where to start.

I tried to bezel a rivoli with netting.  Unfortunately, I started with 46 beads, which put me at 23 beads around the outside.  An odd number of beads doesn't always work.  I ended up looping the beads a second time to come out even.

So, the netting didn't work out as I had intended.  It still looks nice, though.

I thought about making a netted base for my pendant, but remembered this tutorial by Nancy Dale.  Nancy's Trellis Necklace was one of our Beading Babes projects a few years ago.  I have wanted to make another for some time and this was a perfect opportunity.

Nancy's design starts with a right angle weave base, then adds a netted overlay.  The result is a gorgeous rope.  It take a bit longer to bead, but it's so luxurious that it's more than worth the time.

If you haven't looked at Nancy's tutorial, run to her shop.  She offers many other gorgeous tutorials in addition to the Trellis Necklace.

I love how it turned out.  I wouldn't normally gravitate to blue and purple, but it works so well.

I wanted to try another stitch as well, and found a design by Yvanne Ham that used 4mm beads in a chevron chain.  Yvanne's "Chevron Chain with Flowers" was published in the April 2007 issue of Bead and Button.

Looking at the bracelet, I would never have guessed chevron stitch, but it is and it makes a wonderful pattern.

Finally, I decided to take a stab at a netted pendant again.  This time, I took inspiration from Sonoku Nozue.  Sonoku's book, Japanese Beadwork, is fabulous.  I used her "Snow Crystal" brooch as a basis for this pendant.

There are three layers of netting in the pendant and it looks fabulous.

I finished the necklace with a cellini spiral and ribbon.

Therese and Christine, thank you for another lovely challenge.

It's so easy to fall into a "beading rut."  I need constant reminders that other stitches exist.  :)

Please take some time to visit the other participants.  I know you will see some beautiful creations.

Tanya Goodwin - you are here

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My blogging review of 2013

2013 was my second full year of blogging.  My goal was 100 posts and I fell short of that by 3.  Still, 97 posts aren't too bad.

50 of those posts were part of Sally Russick's "Focus on Life" series.  (The last two were posted in January.)

Sally's idea was to take one photograph a week, concentrating on our day to day lives.

I missed a few weeks here and there, but ultimately, was able to catch up and offer 52 photos for the year.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Like last year, I participated in several beading challenges.

My favorites this year were Erin Prais-Hintz's Challenge of Travel and Christine Altmiller's Rolling Blog Hop.

I made this beauty in honor of the fountains in Kansas city.

I made a similar necklace using a spool from Christine.

As you might be able to tell from the photos above, I took an interest in chain maille this year, thanks to Rebeca Mojica, founder of Blue Buddha Boutique.

This bracelet, made from Rebeca's Intricate Chain Maille pattern, is my favorite to date.

In non beading news, I hit a milestone in 2012 and achieved my first black belt in karate.

That brick held the honor of being my arch nemesis for some time, but I am happy to say, I prevailed.

My weapons test was postponed from October 2012 to April 2013, so I will spend the first part of 2013 with these.

We took our second family vacation in July of 2013.  We visited Chicago and the kiddo has a fabulous time at the aquarium, the planetarium, the zoo and the nature museum, not to mention the hotel pool.

About a month after our vacation, the kiddo started first grade.  *sniff*  Her first year of all day school was a success and I cannot believe how well she is reading and writing after only 5 months of school.

Her math skills are also out of this world, thanks to her keeping score in Five Crowns.  It is truly amazing to watch her grow and learn.

According to google analytics, from January 1 - December 31, 2013, a whopping 11,691 people visited my blog a total of 16,098 times and viewed 27,479 pages.

While most of my blog traffic originated from google searches, a few referring sites stood out:
This was my most popular post in 2013, though it was written in 2012.

I would like to thank everyone who has visited, commented on and followed my blog in 2013.  Every page hit and every comment means the world to me.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2014.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 Word of the Year

For the past few years, I have joined several bloggers in choosing a word to help me though the coming year.

This year, I chose the word "today."

I chose this word for two reasons:

First, over the past year, I found myself saying, "I can do that tomorrow."

You know the drill:
       I'll start running again tomorrow.
       I'll clean that tomorrow.
       I'll finish this project tomorrow.

Unfortunately, there is always another tomorrow and it's so easy to forget about today.

So, for 2014, I want to do things TODAY.

Second, I've noticed that worrying about what tomorrow will bring makes enjoying the day much harder.

My karate instructor's instructor (my karate grandfather) said something in class a few weeks ago that rang true:  "thinking about the past brings regret and thinking about the future brings worry, so think about the present."  He was talking about kata, but it applies to our lives as well.

I found this quote by Henry David Thoreau that sums it up perfectly:

"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment."

It sums up what I hope my attitude will be in 2014 -- take pleasure and pride in each day, accomplish what you can and forget about tomorrow.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Focusing on Life - 51 and 52

Of course, I'm behind again on Sally's Focus on Life series.  Rather than do separate posts, this time, I thought I would just combine the last two.

For week 51, Sally asked us to photograph "togetherness."  I had the perfect idea.

A few years ago, I mentioned that my aunt hosted a cookie party every year.  It's usually the Saturday before Christmas and several aunts and cousins converge upon a single house to bake about more dozens and dozens of cookies.  (Seriously, about 9 or 10 batches of cookies.)

I the post above, I showed you the cookies.  In this post, I wanted to show you the people.

I think there may be a few of my aunts not in the picture and the kids were off playing, but you get the idea.  It's one of the best examples of "togetherness" I'll ever find.

For week 52, Sally asked us to capture "goodbye."

This was a bit hard for me.  Luckily, as in past weeks, the kiddo was ready to help.

If you were wondering, she drew her hand waving below the words.

Sally, thank you for this wonderful experience.

If any of you are interested, Sally has renewed her "focus on life" series for 2014.  You can find the details here.

Since I was frequently behind in 2013, I opted not to take part in 2014.  That won't stop me from following along, however.  You can also find the first week's photos here.