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Seed bead artist: Val Enders

Val and I have had a bead-inspired correspondence going for a number of months, and she was kind enough to allow me to show you her progress.  Val has a "can do" spirit that I believe everyone should strive for, especially when it comes to doing something creative, artistic, or just plain fun!  As a postscript to this letter exchange, Val recently let me know that she was able to sell some of her pieces this past Christmas at a local art gallery show...enough to help out with birthday gifts for all the grandchildren!  Isn't that great?

Here we go:
April 2012

Hello Cyndi,
Would you be kind enough to tell me where I can learn about the bracelet blank you mention in step 2 of your tutorial (Destiny Bracelet tutorial). I am just starting out and have downloaded your beginning E book. ( thank you so much for this information for free).  I have no information on making bracelet blanks or where to learn or materials to use. Can you please tell me how you traced out the one you use in this tutorial?
I love you webpage and thanks for sharing.

A new beader,
Hi Val!
Welcome to the wonderfully (addictive) world of beading.  Run away now!!  You've been warned ;-)

You're still here?  Good!  There are a number of places you can buy bracelet blanks online, but here's a really good one: Designers Findings

To make your pattern, you just sort of roll the bracelet form along the fabric and trace it as you go.  Some people make their own blanks using soda bottles and the like, but I like something a bit more stiff but bendable.

Please share what you make!!  I would so love to see it :-)

Best ~

Hey Cyndi,

I am doing my first piece on a piece of heavy interfacing that I glued a piece of black felt on. Brutal on the fingers. But I plan on finishing it as my prototype. I used a great button someone gave me , and am designing as I go. ( Not a great plan, but hey I am too anxious to get going). I did a another partial peice on just felt as well, and am still working on that.

Can I ask one more question?.... I am using 06 beads for the project and miscelleaneous stuff from my bead box. My thread is wldfire from Beadalon, and it works well, but on the really tiny seed beads I don't have a needle small enough to get through the holes that is strong enough to go through material. Do you have any suggestions? What is the smallest seed bead that you use?

Hi Val,

Heavy interfacing isn't a bad surface, but you do have to contend with the little fuzzies.  Same with felt.  Personally, for the top (or foundation), I prefer using either buckram for lighter weight projects (you can paint it), or some sort of faux leather for heavier ones, the same material that I always use for backing.  I only use heavy interfacing if the cabochons have a pointed back or need to be "sunken into" the surface.  The fuzzies drive me crazy, but sometimes I just have to live with them :-)

Size 6/0 beads are the largest size of seed beads.  They are readily available in 6/0, 8/0, 11/0, and 15/0.  You can also find some brands in 10/0 and 12/0, and antique seed beads that go all the way down to 22/0 or even smaller.  I work mostly with 11/0 and 15/0s, and you can buy a pack of beading needles in mixed sizes that will work with these.  My favorite thread is Nymo, but there are lots of other brands.  You'll have to see what you like best by trying some small spools.  Make sure you get beading needles though...regular embroidery needles will not fit.  The sizes of the needles are like the beads: they get smaller as the number gets higher.

Best ~

November 2012

I had asked you about making the cuff bracelet, and you were kind enough to answer all my questions. Well one of my cuffs turned into a Wonder woman head band and you can see a picture of it when I finished it. It never got on a cuff as it was too stiff and ugly to boot. hahaha
Here is the picture and story to go along with it.
 Note: I don't think it's as bad as Val does!  Apparently her husband doesn't either :-)

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Unknown said…
Hi all. First, thanks Cyndi for sharing your experience with us all, you have been incredibly generous.

On the subject of needles, I have found that quilting needles , size 10 or 12 sharps, can be used with size 11 beads and some size 15s. They are short and have small eyes, but are still rigid enough to get thru multiple layers of fabric. They have become my main needles for bead embroidery.

Cyndi L said…
Thanks are absolutely right! In fact, I used to use quilting sharps occasionally and I wouldn't mind getting some more and trying them again. Generally, I like the longer beading needles, but sharps were very helpful sometimes. I guess I just neglected to get more when my last one broke. Thanks for the reminder!