Monday, July 28, 2014

Bead quilt tutorial

I didn't really ever plan to write up a tutorial on this piece, but since it was featured in Chapter two of Bored By Back Stitch (page 32), I've gotten too many requests to ignore.

I know it's not technically a quilt, but that's what I'm going to call it since traditional quilts were the inspiration.  Please don't yell at me about it!

1. Cut a piece of fabric just slightly larger than your final desired measurement to account for shrinkage while beading.  Cut and iron a lightweight fusible interfacing to the back.

2. I started by measuring off the central square and stitching its outline in, of all things, BACK STITCH!  See, I don't hate back stitch...I just want variety.

3. Next I added back stitched lines off to each side of the central square.  These were filled first...

4. by bead embroidered herringbone stitch, which was then topped off by another back stitch line.

5. ...and the other side by bead embroidered peyote stitch, which was also topped off.

6. The next block was filled in with bead embroidered right angle weave.  This block did not end up being the top, but at the time I wasn't sure.

7. Starting from the middle, I worked bead embroidered chevrons out towards each edge.  See how they are taller than the block outline?  No problem: just make the lines longer!  I added short stacks between each stitch, but I didn't fill the central holes so that the fabric color would shine through.

8. I added free-standing bead embroidered chevrons to each corner and filled them to round them out.  See how uneven and wonky some of the black lines are?  Not to fear.  The next step is to run thread back and forth through all of them, adding beads where needed and filling the holes completely with thread.  This acts to straighten out the lines.

9. With the lines as straight as I can get them, the quilt was finished off by stitching a blanket stich border with embroidery floss and beads, and then stitching it invisibly to a piece of mat board.

Copyright 2014 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, July 25, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Charlene Sevier
Book Review: The Complete Photo Guide to Making Jewelry (2nd Edition)

Origami-Inspired Calling Card Holder Suits Gift or Credit Cards
This origami-inspired card holder had two large pockets on the inside and 2 "secret" pockets on the outside. It holds about 20 cards and fastens with an elastic ponytail holder.

Resin Crafts
What could be cooler than miniature people at the beach?

Art Bead Scene
Check out Ema's new favourite tool - her wood-forming block for making curved metal components!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Which fabric to choose for shibori flower project?

I want to make a non-wearable piece, just a pretty bead and embroidery picture, and I'm having trouble deciding which fabric should be the background.  I started out with a whole bunch of fabrics and narrowed down over a few hours.

The two contenders are both pieces of muslin that I free-style marbled years and years ago.  As you can see, the one above is subtle and doesn't interfere with the focal pieces.

BUT, the other has more of the colors of the flowers in it, and seems to be a slightly better match, although it is a busier pattern.  Which would you choose?

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Bead Journal Project: July 2014

Cerulean Shoals - a metal mesh ribbon cuff

I am very very excited about this new piece that I did for the Bead Journal Project this month!  I have been looking for other textiles that would give an organic look to my work like pleated shibori silk ribbon does, and I stumbled upon metal mesh ribbon.  Not that the two look alike, that's not what I mean.  I was looking for that organic quality that the silk has, and the metal mesh ribbon seemed to be a distinct possibility.  You can stretch it and bend it, pinch it and fold it, stick stuff inside it, and best of can easily stitch through it.  So here is my first attempt, in all it's turquoise-y glory!

There are step-by-step instructions for this piece in Chapter 3 of my e-book Bored By Back Stitch!



Copyright 2014 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.

Friday, July 18, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Carmi's Art/Life World
It is wonderful to see how a bit of fabric ribbon and a button can be featured into a new beaded cuff.

Resin Crafts Blog
There are inexpensive bamboo tiles that can easily be turned into wearable jewels with some simple resin application techniques.

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi is head-over-heels in love with a new book on reclaiming and upcycling textiles!

Crafty Cupcake "Recipe" Calls for Styrofoam and Glue
Not only are they cute, these cupcakes are fun to make. They’re guaranteed to be sugar-free, gluten-free, calorie-free and cute as the dickens.

Back to Amigurumi
Crafty Princess is loving amigurumi again with this new project that was a tad challenging.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beads from

I received a wonderful package of buttons and beads from Bead & Button Company, UK.  They are a leading shopping site in Great Britain, located in North Lancashire.

The soft colors of these buttons and the seed beads reminded me of a special piece of pleated silk shibori ribbon that I've been hording...time to break it out, I guess!  In a few weeks, I expect to have a project to show you.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Royal Pearls necklace

When I found these pretty gold-plated filigree rounds, I knew that they were destined to become the delicate supports for a pearl necklace. I chose rose hued fresh water pearls, but you could substitute whatever color you wanted, or use completely different beads instead!

Materials & Tools 
22 mm gold-plated filigree rounds, 9
Fresh water pearl, 35
2mm gold-plated rounds, 56
2” gold-plated head pins, 19
24” of 24 gauge gold colored wire, cut into 3” pieces
12” gold-plated stringing wire, .015” diameter
4 gold-plated crimp beads
Gold-plated chain, 3 - 4”
Gold hook
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers

1. Slide a pearl and a 2 mm gold-plated round onto 18 head pins. Create a wrapped loop with each so that there are 2 dangles hanging from the bottom of each of 9 filigree rounds.

2. Connect the filigree rounds together as follows: Turn a small wrapped loop around the upper side hole of one filigree round using a 3” piece of 24 gauge wire. Slide on a pearl between two gold rounds, and create another wrapped loop around the next filigree round. Continue connecting in this way until all 9 are linked.

3. Cut your piece of beading wire in half. Crimp one piece to each outside filigree round. Add 3-4 inches of pearls and 2mm gold-plated rounds. I alternated 2 gold-plated rounds with each pearl.

4. On one end, crimp the wire around a hook, and work the end back through the last two gold-plated rounds. Clip the wire end off close. On the other end, crimp the wire around a length of chain to make the necklace adjustable. Make sure the chain links are big enough to accommodate the hook.

5. Create a dangle with the last head pin, sliding on a pearl between two gold-plated rounds. Wrap a loop around the free end of the chain. You can wear this necklace snug like a choker, or longer if it suits your clothing neckline.

Copyright 2014 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, July 11, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Crafting Discount Alert!
Get 25% off a cool Hobby Holster with this discount code good until the end of the month

Mixed Media Artist
Are you interested in wearable art? Cyndi has gathered a number of her tutorials that will move you beyond just jewelry!

Art Bead Scene
Check out Kylie Parry's beautiful post on summer inspiration!

How to Make a Page Map Card Unique to You
Page maps, layouts, or sketches - whatever you call them - are a great way to: 1. Learn basic design principles; 2. Come up with a quick design on the spur of the moment; and 3. Observe how other artists interpret the sketch - honestly, no two are ever alike.

Creative collaboration helps raise awareness and funds for a worthy cause.
Andrew participated in the Beads of Courage Design Challenge. Check out pictures from the Bead&Button Show and see images of his finished piece.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Jewelry business tips for the summer

If you treat your jewelry making as a business, then you know that there is never really any time of the year that is "time off".  I've gathered up a few posts that I think are especially helpful, so maybe you'll sneak in some business strategizing at the beach!

Is it still worth starting an online publication today?

10 Things you're doing wrong with your craft photography and how to fix them

Designing an MBA
How to improve the SEO for your online store in less than 5 minutes

Jewelry Making Journal
Tips I wish I'd known

Luann Udell
The Numbers Game

Beading Daily
Set your jewelry business up for success

Professional Artist Month
10 Tips for improving your art sales

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Metal mesh earrings...not so much something I'd want to wear!

Have you ever had what you consider an epic fail with a project?  I did recently!  And I thought I'd share it with you and how I plan to correct it :-)

I know it doesn't look too terribly bad up there, and all it needs is an ear wire to finish it off, but for soooo many reasons, I have no intention of adding one!  I never even made the mate.  In fact, as soon as this posts, I'll be taking it apart.

So what went wrong?  It started with my choice of metal mesh.  I used a very common wire mesh that is available through craft stores for modeling.  It is meant to create an armature that you can cover with plaster cloth or polymer clay, or something similar.  The edges are rough when it is cut into shapes, and I quickly decided that I really didn't want it hanging near my neck!  

The second issue is how rough the individual internal wires are.  I am really afraid that after a short while, my thread would end up cut through. What I really wanted to do when all the beads were stitched on was to twist it as you see at the top.  More strain on the thread, and now some of the little wires on the outsides broke their connections with their neighbors.  Yay!  Just what everyone wants...more sharp little wires swinging freely around their neck!

Yup...epic fail.  But shortly, I should be able to share some new earrings and other pieces with you made possible by wire mesh ribbon!  So stay turned...

[Later...check out the piece that I made using the wire mesh ribbon!]

Copyright 2014 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.

Friday, July 04, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Cuteness Alert
What is cuter than a matching bunny and baby afghan?

The Inspired by Reading Book Club reads about botany and booze!
"The Drunken Botanist" by Amy Stewart is an intoxicating exploration of the botanical histories of some of our favorite beverages. See how this book inspired a group of artists and jewelry-makers!

Would it be Pretentious to call this my Studio?
I ask because it's really starting to feel like one. And I remodeled it on less than $15!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Book review: Stylish Jewelry Made Simple

BeadStyle Magazine has come up with a very clever compendium for the year and has published it as Stylish Jewelry Made Simple.  If you are a relative newcomer to jewelry making, or if you've decided that you want to move forward and add some new basic skills to your stringing projects, this book is a great start.  In it you will find wirework, chain, and stitching added to stringing in 45 fun and stylish projects.

This is a Kalmbach book, so the basic techniques are always included (in this case, in the back, along with a glossary), and projects that use more tricky techniques are always well illustrated and photographed for you with beautiful clear closeups.  And I haven't even told you the best part yet...the projects are arranged by COLOR: reds, greens, blues, pinks, neutrals, metals, and mixed.  Not that you can't take a blue project and turn it into a yellow one, but this organization does make for really fun browsing!

One of my favorite projects is Sarah Arnett's Leather & Luxe bracelet.  I want to make one of these in every color imaginable!  You'll find them starting on page 16.  Such a simple idea, and so pretty.  I've seen woven bracelets similar to these before, but I had no idea how easy they were to make.  Most recently, there were some in the Sundance catalog that weren't nearly as nice, and at those prices?  No way!  Now, thanks to Sarah, anyone can make their own version.

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