Staying Ahead of the Holidays…

•November 17, 2017 • 1 Comment

What am I doing this week? I’m creating tiny gift boxes and bags. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I’ll need hostess gifts and small tokens of appreciation to give to friends and service people.  

To make this process easier than cutting and measuring cardstock with ruler and cutting matt, I’ve invested in a Big Shot Plus cutting and embossing machine. 

It can handle paper and cardstock up to 8.5” in width so I can make nifty pillow boxes that are large enough to hold materials for my beading kits. Each box and bag is one of a kind because I buy plain cardstock and embellish it with stamped designs and/or apply torn art papers onto them. It’s a fun creative outlet and makes gifts and kits all the more special!

This little box is the perfect size for holding my Delica-filled Large Color Wheels!  I know of several beaders who would love to receive gifts like these!

It’s never too early…

•November 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Many gift-giving dates are fixed…birthdays and Christmas, to name a few. Preparing for these occasions is stressful enough without the task of running out at the last minute to buy gifts. When I see an item that I know someone would love, I buy it even if it’s months before the occasion, because I’ve learned that a particular item(s) may no longer be available when the time comes.

With that in mind, I’ve put together these wonderful little color-coordinated wheels of 11/0 Delica beads to use as gifts and stocking stuffers during the holidays and as birthday presents for my bead enthusiast friends. The collections are presently available in the following color combinations…Spring Tones, Sunset Tones, Twilight Tones, Pomegranate Tones, and Neutral Tones and two sizes (the large container measures 3.25” in diameter and the small container measures 2.25” in diameter). Each wheel holds a collection of twelve color-coordinated Delica beads. All are accompanied by a list of the color numbers and names. Depending on bead finish and color, the large wheel holds approximately 18 to 21 grams. The small wheel holds approximately 12 to 15 grams of beads. These are perfect amounts for creating “on the go” projects…just toss a wheel or two in your bag, add needles, thread, and scissors and you’re ready for the road!  You’ll find these collections in my Etsy shop!

Last Night…

•November 3, 2017 • 1 Comment

I had a dream in which I was teaching a bead embroidery class and as in so many dreams one has, it was fraught with problems that must be solved. In this dream (perhaps I should call it a nightmare!), I was teaching my “Six Petal Bloom” project.

So far, so good, but I had more students than anticipated and not enough kits to go around so I was rapidly trying to gather extra materials to assemble more kits while at the same time trying to answer questions and help students with their stitching. And as the students were working on their projects, they were running out of beads so I was dashing about to stores looking for more beads…all while the class was going on! Phew! Happily, I awoke in my bed and not a classroom! In reality, I don’t teach…I’m not comfortable in that arena. Although I’ve been asked numerous times to teach, designing and writing tutorials is the closest I come to a teaching gig. My comfort zone is being ensconced in my studio and working on a project in the company of cats! With some classic jazz playing in the background or a Poirot or other mystery DVD playing, color me happy!  

In a blue mood…

•October 29, 2017 • 1 Comment

Last August while on vacation in California, I purchased some wonderful natural crystals from which I created molds This collection of blue and teal faux crystals was created using those molds . I have a theory as to why some of the faux crystals come out crystal clear and others are more opaque when removed from their respective molds. Although these faux crystals were made from the same batch of resin, I’ve noticed that various molding compounds do make somewhat of a difference.  I use several different brands.  EasyMold Silicone Putty is a shiny purple compound that seems to produce a clearer end result while the molding putty made by Ice Resin is more porous and produces an effect that is slightly matte. Both formulas have their merits depending on the end result I’m after. For example, a faux Rose Quartz crystal looks more natural if it is a bit cloudy, whereas a faux sapphire is more believable if it is crystal clear. Another factor is the porosity of the item from which the mold is made…if your model has a very smooth, slick surface, chances are your resulting resin piece will be very clear. I’ll be cleaning and buffing these faux crystals before setting them into bezels and I guarantee, they will be quite stunning as finished jewelry pieces!

Do You Have a Favorite Beading Stitch?

•October 21, 2017 • 2 Comments

I’ve worked primarily in Peyote stitch for the past few years because it lends itself so well to geometric beadwork.  The beads sit nicely stacked like little bricks and it creates a fairly stiff and supportive structure akin to the feeling of upholstery fabric opposed to the fluidity and drape of a lightweight gossamer.  But I enjoy other stitches as well. The Herringbone stitch is wonderful for creating tubes and ropes.  Right Angle Weave (a.k.a. RAW) can produce either a lace-like or densely woven stitch depending on the beads one chooses to use.  I’m presently in the experimental stage of a new project that will consist of large beaded links.  I’ve chosen size 11 and 8 seed beads,  fire polished and Swarovski crystals in a palette of blues, greens, bronze, and gunmetal that will go well with several garments in my wardrobe!

I almost missed it!

•October 13, 2017 • 3 Comments

The deadline for latest Fire Mountain Gems contest featuring Swarovski Crystals was October 8 and I finished this neckpiece just in time to enter! I had been so busy finishing up my latest geometric beadwoven bracelet that I’d forgotten the contest was closing. I had originally thought of doing a bead-embroidered piece, but with less than a week to the deadline, I had to come up with a project that would work up quickly. Frankly, I couldn’t be more pleased…I love this neckpiece! I’ve titled it “Flight of Fancy”. Contest rules specify that at least 50% of the project must contain the featured materials so using an abundance of Swarovski crystals (Marguerite Lochrose Flowers, Bicones, and Crystal Pearls) I’ve strung them on sterling silver wire and added tiny polymer clay butterflies here and there to impart an ethereal “flight pattern” so to speak! I won’t know for a month or two whether my submission will make it to round two…that’s when FMG requests that the piece be sent in for final judging. I’ll keep you posted when I know more!

It’s that time of year…

•October 6, 2017 • 2 Comments

I love Autumn! Daylight now has a different glow with the sun lower in the sky. The prairie is awash with brilliant shades of yellow as goldenrod, native sunflower, and black-eyed Susan are in full bloom. Trees are sporting leaves in shades of gold and crimson. The dog days of summer have now become pleasantly warm followed by refreshingly cool nights. I’ve packed away my lightweight frocks and sandals and traded them for cozy sweaters, scarves, and boots. With the change of season I’ve been inspired to create several new pieces of jewelry. The antique-finished “Nature Talisman Necklace” shown here consists of a 10″ long handmade Sterling silver chain suspended from a stamp-textured silver neckring. An antler tip, natural pearl, faux tourmaline resin crystal, and two fine-silver metal clay seed pods Talisman charms dangle from the chain. I love wearing it against my neutral-toned sweaters! 

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