Monday, November 30, 2015

Yay for PK!!

PK is the winner of our giveaway book, Resin Alchemy!  Congratulations!!

My crazy quilt block is finished

I told you a few weeks ago about the basic crazy quilting online class I signed up for with Kathy Shaw.  Well, I'm here to tell you now that it was great.  The last part included adding beads, buttons, lace, and other embellishments.  It was a lot of fun, but then I found myself balking a bit.  Even though I admire really jam-packed CQ squares, it's just not my style.  I like space between the elements and to allow the fabric to speak as well.  Go figure, because I'm certainly not like that with my bead embroidery!  Here's what I added:

Antique sequins


Two tri-colored butterflies

I decided to fill the corners with a templated version of blanket stitch, which is what I use (the plain variety, that is), to finish all my hand-stitched quilts.  You can see the dots in the photo below.  I finished the block by turning it under, setting it on top of a larger piece of wool felt with some cotton batting in the center just to plump it out a bit.  Then I wrapped muslin around from the back and slipped it under the edges of the block.  This method is sometimes called "wrap and tuck", and it's the one I use most frequently.  I show it in more detail here on Mixed Media Artist.  You don't have to miter the corners, but I think it looks nicer.

Since I didn't feel like adding any lace to the block itself, I added a small piece to the bottom of the quilt frame.

Blanket stitch and cross stitch around the edges.

Finished.  Not quite as bowed as it looks in the photo, but not perfectly straight either.  Who wants perfection?

The pattern of the block, seam stitches, and flowers are all taught by Kathy Shaw, and the overall design is her copyrighted pattern.  Please think about taking this course with her!

Copyright 2015 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
In her ongoing series of great gifts for the holidays, Jean reviews Heather Powers' lovely new book, Beautiful Elements.

Easy Mold Making for Resin or Clay
Do you know how easy mold making is? Eileen duplicated a 3/4" diameter metal pendant of a frog on a lily pad after losing one from a 3-piece set of jewelry. Can you tell which of the 3 is the copy?

Art Bead Scene
Michelle is hosting a challenge - and she wants YOU to play along!

Crochet Pattern Review
Here is a video review of Lion Brand's free wristers crochet pattern.

December Diamonds
Connie's posted the next two section of the free SAL. There's still plenty of time to get started!

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book review: Veranda - The Romance of Flowers

If you are familiar with the magazine Veranda, you know that it's all about gracious beauty.  Well, here's a coffee table book for you that will help you to drift away into that romantic, gracious, and stress-free zone as the holiday season descends upon us!  The Romance of Flowers, by Clinton Smith, and published by Hearst Books, an imprint of Sterling, is an enormous book that you can just fall into and forget all about life for awhile.  And don't we all need that from time to time?

There are photos of flowers in close up, floral arrangements set in beautiful rooms, and flowers in lovely still lifes.  There is also a running commentary by Clinton Smith about the flowers, the fashions, and the fashion makers...but to be 100% candid, I haven't read it all yet!  I got so mesmerized by the flowers that I decided to look first and read later.  This is a book that I think I will find myself dipping into a little at a time when I need to refill my well or just grab a few moments of relaxation.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Recent publications: November 2015

A few new books to get you ready for a new year, featuring a new stitch and some new markets!

Introducing Albion Stitch: 20 Beaded Jewelry Projects by Heather Kingsley-Heath

2016 Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market by Mary Burzlaff Bostic

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Book review and giveaway: Resin Alchemy

Books don't have to be brand new to be good choices for holiday gift-giving!  Resin Alchemy was published in 2013, but there are still a lot of people who are excited about the techniques it teaches.  My original review is at the link.  So, who would be interested in maybe winning a copy, for yourself or to give to someone else?


I've got a copy that needs to go to a good home!  Here's what you need to do...please read this carefully. Leave me a comment here and include your email address. If I don't see your email address, I won't be able to contact you. No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person. You are welcome to spell it out if you'd prefer, for example, cyndi at mazeltovjewelry dot com. If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice! Deadline: November 30, 2015

Resin Alchemy: Innovative Techniques for Mixed-Media and Jewelry Artists
By Susan Lenart Kazmer
Interweave/F+W; $24.95

Join award winning artist and trusted mixed media master, Susan Lenart Kazmer in this jewelry making book about one of the hottest trends: resin. Advance your skills as Susan takes you through all the steps for working with resin, from basic mixing and pouring advice to more involved techniques including resin casting. Unlock the design potential and take your resin jewelry to the next level with this comprehensive book bursting with inspiration! Create projects that highlight stunning artistic effects with color, found objects, texture, casting, collage, and more! Discover how versatile this material is as you uncover all of Susan's resin secrets.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a great book for holiday gift giving, Resin Alchemy by Susan Lenart Kazmer. What a fabulous book to own and learn from!

Jingle Bell Wreath Ornament
Jingle bell wreath ornaments are fun and easy ornament to make from wood curtain rings, hot glue & bells. They make great gift toppers or wearable pins too.

Get Edgy 
This video review talks about a new book for crochet edges.

DIY Ninja Stars...or Suns... 
This video shows you how to make a Ninja Star. Terry made these for a gift exchange on a recent cruise and everyone loved them. One person told her she was excited to use it in her scrapbook of the trip

Art Bead Scene
Claire interviews Kathrin Kniedl - take a peek behind the scenes at her stunning clay work! 

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book review: Chain Mail + Color

Do you love chain maille, or do you find it intimidating?  Do you love the sleek minimalism of it, or do you wish there were a way to jazz it up a bit?  No matter what your opinion of classic chain maille, I think you're going to be enchanted by Vanessa Walilko's book Chain Mail + Color, published by Kalmbach.

Never fear if you've not tried chain maille before.  Vanessa introduces you to three very simple weaves that you will be able to master quickly.  She teaches you all the little tricks and techniques to working successfully in the Basics section, and (YAY!) gives you a list of suppliers who carry the various materials that she uses.

The main body of the book is broken into three sections.  Once you've learned the weaves, you can then choose to add colorful aluminum scales, disks, or washers to make your designs really pop, but without adding a lot of weight.  Oh, and did I forget to mention that the jump rings themselves that you'll be working with are also aluminum?  Intimidation gone!  You don't have to worry about messing up a precious metal anything.

The colors range from eye-searing and super-fun to more subdued and elegant.  Vanessa's style runs more towards the fun, hip, happy pieces.  If you do a lot of chain maille work already, I still think you will enjoy seeing how she integrates these shots of color.  You can think about adding some of it to your own work.  And if you are the type who prefers more quiet color schemes, don't let the bright cover turn you off: you can stick with the metallics and neutrals if you like!

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Book review: Beautiful Elements

I love Heather Powers's work, especially her glorious polymer clay beads, but also her finished jewelry which she puts together using a lot of her own wire and metal elements.  In her new book, Beautiful Elements, published by Kalmbach, Heather brings it all together in a delightful celebration of designs from the heart.

Even though I would consider this an intermediate book, the thorough Basics section in the beginning, covering materials, tools, and techniques for making jewelry, working with polymer clay and metal, mean that a beginner can play too.  If you like Heather's style, grab this book and learn from the very beginning how to make your own findings, links, drops, pendants, and beads, rather than buying manufactured ones that everyone is using.

Heather's book will teach you how to "sketch" on metal, add amazing texture and personal imagery, create your own charms and drops, and make custom beads from polymer clay.  Throughout, there are projects to help you practice your new skills.  All are made with minimal tools, including all cold connections, so there are really no worries for a beginner!

Check out my review of Heather's earlier book, Jewelry Designs from Nature

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