Friday, April 24, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Clay Cross Stitch
Have you ever heard of clay cross stitch? The words "unique" and "original" hardly do justice to clay artist Eva Stosic's latest adventures in clay.

How To Make A Pom Pom
Easy tutorial on how to make your own pom pom and ideas to use them.

Quick Craft Update
Adorable amigurumi overload! Owen the Monkey and Blair the Bunny are ready for their new home. Come say hello to them before they move on their way.

Art Bead Scene
Check out Mary's fun tutorial using macrame and leather!

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Book review: Beaded Chains & Ropes

You all know that bead embroidery is my thing, not so much beadweaving.  Although I enjoy beadweaving from time to time, it just never enthralls me the way embroidery does.  Except...

Except for beadweaving ropes.  I could spend time almost everyday weaving ropes, and I'd be happy (as long as I still had time to embroider).  There is something hypnotic, mind-freeing, and relaxing about beading a rope.  Sometimes they are tricky to get started, but once you've got the first few rows done, the rhythm kicks in and the zen descends!

I also love ropes because they're a great way to feature favorite pendants or art beads.  Now Karin Van Voorhees has put together a collection of really nice chains and ropes by a talented collection of designers, called appropriately Beaded Chains & Ropes.  All the major stitches are represented, including herringbone, brick, peyote, square, ladder, RAW and cubic RAW, crossweave, spiral, circular netting, Russian spiral, St Petersburg chain, daisy chain, bead crochet, and kumihimo.

For a quick refresher on the stitches, just turn to the back!  This is Kalmbach publication, so you know the quality of the illustrations and photos is excellent, and the instructions are easy to follow.  Some of the projects have been previously published in Bead & Button magazine, but quite a bit is new specifically for this book.

As for me, I'm inspired to maybe try some new spirals!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Black + copper bead embroidered pendant

I've had this beautiful black and copper swirl dichroic glass pendant for a long time, and it is certainly large enough to just wear on its own by adding a large jump ring, but I wanted to do a bit more.  Not too much more, though!  I'm very happy with the compromise I came up with.

If you are new to bead embroidery or to making pendants, step-by-step instructions for putting together a bead embroidered piece, including back stitch, edging brick stitch, and stack stitch can be found in the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.  Chapter two has instructions for stitching a peyote stitch bezel, and Chapter three teaches the square stitch bail.

1. I decided to stick with only the colors already found in the pendant.  I used some double stick tape to hold the pendant down temporarily while I bezeled it with size 11/0 seed beads, topped by a row of size 15/0 seed beads to cinch it in.  I used a Swarovski marguerite to hide the pendant hole and to secure it to the foundation fabric even more securely.

2. Cut a piece of backing fabric to match the top and add edging brick stitch in size 11/0 seed beads around the outside, trapping a large jump ring at the center of the bottom.

3. Use size 15/0 seed beads to add stack stitches to each edging bead. I alternated colors and height.

4. Stitch a square stitch bail to the back of your pendant.

5. Add a chain or cord to the bail, and use a bead pin to add a couple of beads to dangle at the bottom.  I used another Swarovski marguerite and a Swarovski crystal pearl.

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, April 17, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Yarn Review and Bead Crochet
This video craft podcast is full of knitting, crochet, and beading! Take out your current craft project, and craft-along with the Crafty Princess.

Blue Glass Solar Lights
Cherie's playing with blue glass again! She's made some solar lights for the garden.

Butterfly Spring Card Design
“Hello.” Here’s a bright cheery butterfly spring card with die cut embellishments to brighten someone’s day.

Fish Extenders and Finished Bags
Finally finished the Fish Extender Bags! I also show some of the gift ideas I have come up with.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Stop by and check out the fun projects that the participants of the Frenzied Motion Challenge made!

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book review: Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop

By Karen Karon 
Interweave/F+W; $26.99

It's hard to believe that it was three years ago that Karen Karon's first book on chain maille jewelry was published by Interweave (my review at the link).  It is by far my favorite book on the subject. And now, chain maille enthusiasts, take heart!  At long last, Karen's sequel, Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop, is available!

One of the most important things for me when I'm learning a new skill or trying to improve one is that the instructional source I use is well-organized.  Just like the first book, Advanced Chain Maille is amazing in how thoughtfully it is laid out.  There is a quick review of tools, materials, and techniques in the beginning, including chain maille math.  Then Karon moves right into fabulous new weaves, each more complicated than those in the first book, and progressing in difficulty throughout each section so that you can stack your skills as you move along.

The new weaves are divided into 4 chapters: Persian weaves (7), Elf weaves (3), Hybrid weaves (4), and Scale maille weaves (2).  The Scale maille techniques and projects are completely new to me, and I've included one of Karen's pieces above.  If you'd like to read a bit more about it, Karen has an article on Jewelry Making Daily.

Each chapter culminates in a couple of projects, plus tips for moving beyond what has been included.  There is a final chapter which covers attachments, terminations, and finishing touches, all designed to make your pieces as professional as possible.  There are also charts and resource lists, the charts covering aspect ratios and conversions from imperial to metric measures.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Seed bead components

It's so much fun to master a little piece of beadwork, and then be able to use it over and over for different purposes in your designs.  I gathered up a bunch of easy little multi-use seed bead components that I've taught here over the years, all in one place so you can find the one you want easily!

Square stitch bail for a donut

RAW bezel and bail

Two-drop peyote stitch beaded beads

Peyote stitch beaded beads

An interesting spiral

Beaded flowers

Beaded cabochon pendants

Spiral square stitch


Floral chain

Bezel for a lampwork bead

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, April 10, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Video Needle Review
Learn the pros and cons of the Knit Picks Interchangeable Nickel Plated Needle Set.

Dazzle-It Rings: Great Beginner’s Bead Weaving Projects
If you'd like to try bead weaving, here's a great way to learn. Look at the ring Eileen made in her first attempt.

Connie Gee's Designs
Prims are all the rage these days and Connie is fascinated with them. She's added a new free pattern that is inspired by all the primitive designers she admires. It will have you "crowing" in anticipation of a quick finish.

Art Bead Scene
5 Free Art Bead Jewelry Project that were featured in the 2015 Bead Cruise Program.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Winter is coming... actually, it's spring, but the new season of Game of Thrones starts soon. See what Andrew created for a jewelry challenge that pays homage to the books and television series.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

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