Don't miss our book giveaway, running until Sept 21! Visit the link above to enter.

Friday, October 30, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a lovely book on beaded embroidery. What a marvelous holiday gift for the crafty person on your list! Comment on the review to enter the giveaway of this super book!

SAL Diamond Seven
Connie's added the next section of her free stitchalong. Diamond Seven is ready to stitch! There's definitely still time to join in so get the charts today.

Circuit Marker Kit
Have fun & help children learn how electricity works by creating a light-up birthday card with the Dazzly Circuit Marker Kit. It's an electricity lesson plan!

My Etsy Shop Is Open!
Finally after talking about it for over a year, Terry finally opened her Etsy shop--TappingflamingoBling. She shows some of the things that are in her store like, guitar string ornaments and Christmas earrings. There will be more added to her shop soon, so stay tuned!

Super Small Crochet Projects
A little yarn can go a long way when you make items for a Blythe doll.

Art Bead Scene
Take a peek Inside the Studio with Erin!


Fire Mountain Gems and Beads



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Monday, October 26, 2015

Taking my own advice!


Yup, I can be taught!  I decided to take my own advice when I wrote the article Why Take a Class?, and I signed up for Kathy Shaw's basic crazy quilting online class.  And it's great!  Yes, I've done crazy quilting before, so why would I want to take a beginner's class?  Well...maybe it's time I learned how to do it "right"!


I know that there are many different styles and methods, but I like Kathy's.  And since I like her style, why wouldn't I want to learn from her?  And I like the way she structures her online classes, which are free, by the way.  Everyone takes the beginner class so that everyone in the future is on the same page, so to speak.  The first class consists of putting together a CQ block during which you learn about design challenges, template seaming, silk ribbon work, and adding beads.  You'll notice that my block doesn't have any beads on it yet.  There's a reason for that...


Although I like to add the beads as I go, I decided to follow Kathy's advice this time and add them towards the end.  That way, the fiber embroidery won't get hung up on them, and they will not take over the design the way they usually do when I'm involved :-)

[Here is the finished block]


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Friday, October 23, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Christmas Is Close At Hand
Here are a few gift ideas Terry has put together for an individual on her Christmas list. These gift ideas should get your creative juices flowing for some on your list...whether it is for Christmas, Birthdays, Graduations, etc...

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Fast & Easy Earrings,100+ Projects, by Erica Swanson. This book is loaded with earring designs from tons of your favorite artists. You will love the inspiration you'll get to begin creating your own beautiful earrings!

Art Bead Scene
Read Claire's great interview with Sarah of Slate Studio Supplies, and get a peek behind the scenes at her work!

Jade Knotted Bracelet
This free bracelet tutorial is a good beginning level project or just a good quick one for anyone who loves colorful beads.

Ice Cream Yarn Review!
Who doesn't like ice cream? What about ice cream yarn?

Halloween Skirt for a Little Girl
Sometimes improvising does not go that well, but it all turned out OK when Sarah decided to make a Halloween skirt for her daughter out of scraps from another project.

Bewitching Halloween Card
Eileen shares directions for a cute Halloween card featuring witch layered die cut embellishment from the Silhouette Design Store as well as tips for hand lettering.

Two New Patterns
Connie's added two new patterns to her Etsy shop and she is also running a sale there - find out the code to use to save.


Fire Mountain Gems and Beads


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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book review: Bead Play Every Day



Techniques galore culminate in some wonderful beadwoven projects in Beth Stone's new book Bead Play Every Day, published by Kalmbach.  The proper subject of this book is beadwoven components that can be mixed and matched into an endless number of fabulous ropes.

You will gain the most if you are an intermediate stitcher, but a very determined beginner can also play along.  It was really written for people who are ready to move beyond the basics of peyote, herringbone, and diamond stitch, and who like to think in great glorious clusters of playtime!  For those who want to learn variations to use in their own designs.  It's definitely best if you already have a working knowledge of the stitches, plus how to make basic ropes using them.



The step-by-step photos use primary and secondary bright colors to make it easy to follow the thread path.  The book does not have the usual expanded basics section that beginner Kalmbach books have, but that's no trouble as long as you have other titles of theirs.  There's a basic tutorial on each stitch, and then away you go!!



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Monday, October 19, 2015

Turquoise bead embroidered soft cuff bracelet


It seems that I never get tired of the color turquoise.  No matter what material the beads are made from, I always end up buying the turquoise colored ones! Since I have a large collection of vintage beads, I decided to indulge myself with a mix of glass, plastic, wood, and fabric in this turquoise and kiwi colored bracelet.  I even had the perfect turquoise colored satin button to complete it!

My instructions below are pretty abbreviated.  If you need more detailed step-by-steps, please visit my page of bead embroidery e-books.  The first chapter of the first book is free.


Materials & Tools
Foundation fabric
Lightweight fusible interfacing
Fusible web
Ribbons, Offray 1/4" Simply Sheer Asiana, mallard and kiwi
Sewing thread to match foundation fabric
Shank button
Nymo beading thread, size O, black and white
8" rhinestone cup-chain
Size 11/0 seed beads, Ceylon rainbow white
Size 6/0 seed beads, opaque turquoise
Size 15/0 seed beads, opaque luster turquoise
Accent beads from 6mm to 14mm
Backing fabric, ultra-suede or other non-woven fabric
Iron
Sewing needle
Beading needles
Wire cutters
Straight pins



1. Pick a fabric for your foundation that will not compete with the ribbons.  Cut out a rectangle that will wrap your wrist by at least 1/2 inch.  Back the fabric with fusible interfacing and top it with fusible web.



2. Cut ribbons about an inch longer than your fabric and pin them in place, criss-crossing as you choose.



3. Iron the ribbons to the fusible web.  Wrap the ends to the back, stitch in place using the matching sewing thread and tiny stitches.  Trim the ribbon ends.




4. Stitch the shank button into place so that the bracelet fits your wrist with some give.  Add the cup-chain, pinning and then stitching it into place.




5. Add accent beads, stitching them into place with stop-stitch beads.  Cut some scraps of ribbon and loop them to form the "hook".  Stitch them into place on the end opposite the button, adjusting their length until the bracelet fits, still with some give.




6. Cut a piece of backing fabric to match the top and pin into place.  Using size 11/0 seed beads, stitch edging brick stitch all around the bracelet.




7. Add stack stitches to each edge bead except for the area near the button which will underlap the end with the ribbon "hook".



Step-by-step instructions for back stitch, edging brick stitch, and stack stitch can be found in the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.


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, October 16, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Beadweaving Beyond the Basics, 24 Beading Designs Using Seed Beads, Crystals, Two-Hole Beads and More by Kassie Shaw. Also,comment to win a GIVEAWAY of this lovely book!

Postcard Art Inspiration
Eileen shares a collection of postcard art by various artists and explains the methods used. Do you know the benefits of postcard art as a learning tool?

Want to Learn to Knit?
Maybe this new book is for you. Check out this quick video book review!

SAL Diamond Six
Connie's posted the sixth section of her free stitch along (SAL). The cross stitch design would also be suitable for beading.

Art Bead Scene
Ever wondered about how lampwork glass beads turn from glossy little pieces of beauty into smooth, silky velvet? Read all about it here with Julie's post on etching!


Fire Mountain Gems and Beads


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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book review: 'Tis the Season to be Felt-y



You know how the holiday gift-giving and decorating season always seems to sneak up on you?  It's time to plan NOW, especially if you want to give handmade presents this year!  Many of the same designers are featured in 'Tis the Season to be Felt-y as are in the first book, Fa la la la Felt, but all of the projects are new!  You don't have to buy both books (unless you want maximum variety) because the basics are repeated in the new one...what you'll need and how to work with felt.  It really couldn't be much easier since felt doesn't unravel when cut!  Still, it pays to use good quality materials and you'll learn all about that in either book.

There are more types of felt than I ever imagined, being most familiar with the cheap acrylic felt found in craft stores.  But there is also wool, wool blends, eco, bamboo, and other specialty felts.  The authors even show you how to felt wool clothing to use in these projects to that you can add upcycling to your accomplishments.  Then, of course, there are a gazillion embellishments you could try, but as a jewelry maker, you probably already have plenty of the ones suggested.

Templates are included in the book.  The tools are very basic.  Techniques are also very basic, such as transferring patterns and the stitches you need to use.  Some projects are even no-sew, so get out your craft glue!


The projects are divided into ornaments, decorations, and stockings, covers, and bags.  I really love the poinsettia wreath (page 76) by Suzie Millions, shown above.  But what about simple little projects like the gift tags and card sleeves (page 112) by Jennifer Jessee shown below?  You could put BEADS on those!






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Monday, October 12, 2015

All Buttoned Up

Trends in accessories come and go, and it's always sad to see them go when you've collected quite a few!  That is how this project came to be: my large collection of button-covers inspired me to create a bead-embroidered pin that would allow me to wear my button-covers as an interchangeable part of the design.

Materials & Tools
4x4 piece of buckram or other foundation material
4x4 piece of ultra-suede
E6000
Button covers
Shank-style button
Selection of seed beads to coordinate with button, Delicas, size 15/0, 11/0, and 8/0
Cabochons, pearls, other beads, and charms to coordinate
Nymo O
Pin back
Fabric glue

Sharpie pen
Beading needles
Scissors



1.  Choose a shank-style button that your button covers will fit on.

2.  Choose beads, cabochons, and charms to coordinate with both the button and the button covers that you'll want to use.

3.  Cut out a piece of foundation fabric, approx 4 x 4, and draw the shape of your completed pin's border with a permanent marker if you want to.  I usually do not do this as I like to see what shape the piece will take naturally, but many people feel more secure with a plan.



4.  Arrange the large focal pieces, and glue down the ones that won't be stitched into place, using E6000 .




5.  Leaving an empty spot to fit the button shank, backstitch small beads (like delicas) into place all around where the button will be.  You can simply stitch the button on first, but then you will have to maneuver the needle underneath the rim of the button to fill your canvas with beads.  Keep these beads small so that the button will sit up high enough to accommodate the covers later.




6.  Sew button in place and continue beading around cabochons until you fill just to the inside of your border, if you drew one.  Use backstitching, small stacks of beads, and any other bead embroidery stitches you like.  Use some dimensional stitches so that the button cover will be more integrated into the design.




7.  Back stitch a final row of size 8/0 seed beads completely around the border.

8.  Run a thin bead of fabric glue just outside the last row of beads.  Let it dry.

9.  Clip the buckram close to the last row of beads, being careful not to cut any threads.

10. Determine the placement of your pin back and stitch it into place on the back of the buckram.

11. Cut small slits in the ultra-suede to allow the pin clasp and shank to slip through.



12. Using just enough fabric glue to create a slight tack, attach the wrong side of the beaded buckram to the wrong side of your backing fabric, slipping the pin through the slits.  The glue will only be holding them together while you do the final stitching.  Don't use much or you'll stain the ultra-suede where it seeps through.  Let it dry.

13. Cut the ultra-suede even with the beaded buckram.




14. Cover the raw edges with beading.  There are several ways to do this, but how I did it on this piece to end up with a smooth outer edge:
Take a few small shallow stitches to anchor the thread between the two layers, close to the edge.  Needle up to the top, exiting behind the border row of  size 8/0 seed beads.  Pass the thread between the two closest beads in the border row, pick up one #8 bead, and needle up from the bottom through all layers of fabric, exiting again just behind the border row. Then pass the thread between the border beads again and down through the bead that was just added. Pick up another size 8/0 bead, needle up from the bottom, and repeat the sequence for the entire shape of the pin.

Other methods of finishing the edge (with edging brick stitch) as well as more bead embroidery stitches can be found in the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.





Bead Embroidery e-Books



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, October 09, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Snap out if it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a stunner of a jewelry design book which you will love: Handcraft Wire Jewelry: Chains Clasps Pendants, by Kimberly Sciaraffa Berlin. Check this one out--it is unique and fantastic!

No Knitting Book!
Want to play with yarn but don't want to learn to knit or crochet? Then this book review is for you.

How to Crackle Finish Furniture and Other Large Projects
Do you enjoy adding crackle finishes to crafts? Before you try to crackle finish furniture & large items, there are some important things you should know.

Floating Diamond Pattern
Connie's added a new free pattern that will be suitable for any season just by changing up the colors. Make a Halloween or Christmas ornament, or use the design for a special card. Since it is whole cross-stitch only, it will be a quick stitch.

Etsy Shop Updates
Charlene shares a new feature under prototype at Etsy.

Art Bead Scene
Julie shares a beautiful and contemplative post with us - and asks you to give yourself permission to create.


Fire Mountain Gems and Beads


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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Book review: Tropical World



Last year, I reviewed an adult coloring book by Millie Marotta called Animal Kingdom (my review at the link) and I was somewhat surprised that no one said, "Hey, what's that got to do with beading?"  My guess is that everyone is now smart enough to know that interest in one art form doesn't preclude interest in another, and all creative activities are helpful in stoking the fires we already have burning!

Inspired by, but not limited to her travels, Millie has put together another coloring book called Tropical World and published by Lark.  Her illustrations stay fairly true to the overall shape or form of the subject, but then are filled in with a myriad of fanciful patterns and details.  Like the first book, a few pages are left with some spaces and unembellished forms for you to letter or draw on as you choose.  A few (very few) color suggestions are included when it seems appropriate; for example, suggestions are made for the plumage of a bird you may not be familiar with.

Colored pencils or pens?  Direct coloring in the book or photocopies?  It's up to you, but the paper is absolutely heavy enough for even markers to be used directly in the book.  




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Monday, October 05, 2015

Amulet bags

Berry Juice

Do you remember amulet bags??  Whatever happened to those?  It seemed for years you couldn't open a magazine without seeing examples, reading how-tos, and lusting over what everyone was making.

And then, all of a sudden...poof!  They seem to have disappeared from popular culture.  Is that because we had gone as far as we could go with them?  Did the large bead embroidered collars take their place?  Did we just get over-saturated by them?  It seems kind of sad that they have vanished, and I wonder if there are any artists who are still working on them and improving on our old techniques.

The bag shown at the top is a little teeny tiny itty bitty thing that I made back in 2005 from size 15/0 seed beads and even smaller antique beads.  I'm not an amulet user, myself, but I still love the bag form.  I'm contemplating whether or not it's time for a personal revival of amulet bags :-)




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Friday, October 02, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Artificial Plants Made from Craft Foam or Paper
How to make artificial plants from craft foam or construction paper. Both materials make lovely succulent plants. Use what you have. Template included.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean presents some thoughts on the great beadist Kim Miles and what she is up to these days.Come see the gorgeous necklace displaying one of Kim's amazing focals!

Make a Burlap Bow for a Fall Wreath
It's easy to make a simple, big burlap bow to put on a grapevine wreath as a decoration for fall.

Pom-Poms!
Make cute pom-pom pets with this new kit.

Diamond Five has Arrived
Connie's posted the fifth installment of her free SAL (stitch-along). Be sure to join the Connie Gee's Designs group on Facebook to follow along with other stitcher's progress and to show off your own.

Art Bead Scene
Check out part 2 of Heather 'Humblebeads' Powers' new series - How to Sell More Jewelry! Lots of fab tips and tricks for you!


Fire Mountain Gems and Beads


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