Friday, October 31, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

What Is Failure?
Cherie contemplates hope and failure with her latest print.

Bat Out o' Hell Halloween Treat Basket
Make cute Halloween treat baskets using Eileen's Bat Out o' Hell basket template and design.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Check out what Andrew and other participants of the Inspired by Reading Book Club made in response to "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman.

Art Bead Scene
October Monthly Challenge Recap of Entries.

Facebook Me!
Keep up on all the latest updates and more at the Crafty Princess Diaries' Facebook page. Like it, and make sure to click on the drop down notifications menu when you do.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bead Journal Project: October 2014

I have not completed my Bead Journal Project piece for October, but at least I've gotten a good start.  I'm not going to show you what it's going to'll just have to wait till November, and hopefully I'll have been able to complete it by then.

Shown above is a small section, featuring metal mesh ribbon from Fire Mountain Gems, Czech glass daggers from The Best Beads, and the embroidered form of St Petersburg chain stitch from Bored By Back Stitch.

Here are the rest of my Bead Journal Project pieces so far:




Friday, October 24, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Carmi's Art/Life World
A pocket watch becomes a pendant with Pebeo paints, a rub on and resin.

John 3:16 and Art
Cherie uses the Bible verse from John 3:16 as inspiration for art.

Episode 7: Addicted to Amigurumi
Enjoy some amigurumi goodness in this seventh video podcast from the Crafty Princess Diaries.

Postcard Art Inspired by Desiderata
Is anyone not inspired by Max Ehrmann's Desiderata? Eileen signed up for a postcard art Desiderata theme swap and couldn't stop at just one.

Art Bead Scene
Color Palettes featuring the Art Beads of Margit Boehmer. Bright, Beautiful and not to be missed!

A Bead A Day
Is it possible to live a sparkly dream? Lisa says, YES! She's sharing some exciting Swarovski news this week.

Jewelry artists tackle the same materials and come up with creative results
Andrew hosts design challenges on his blog. Check out the different approaches each participant took in the reveal for the Royal Feather kit!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book review: Unexpected Findings

By Michelle Mach
Interweave/F+W; $22.99
I can guarantee that many of your favorite designers contributed to this fun volume by Michelle Mach.  Unexpected Findings, published by Interweave, features more than 50 projects that all rely on one or more of the great new findings available today.

The first section outlines just what these findings are.  Since many different names are used for some of them, the photos in this section are very helpful.  "Oh, so that's what that's called!"  Following immediately is information on other materials and tools that you will need, insuring that this is a book even beginners will enjoy.

The projects are quite varied, in technique, materials, and style, as you would expect from such a wonderful cast of designers.  One of my favorites is how Michelle turns filigree ring bands into a sweet pair of earrings (p 42), shown above, and how Erin Siegel makes very clever use of both ribbon ends and cord ends in a pair of leather earrings (p 28), shown below.

And I love this necklace by Molly Schaller (p 57), featuring all the colors of the sea, and appropriately named Tidal Treasures:

In the back, all the resources are listed in case there are any items that you simply must have, but throughout, you are still encouraged to create your own's entirely up to you!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Beads giveaway from The Best Beads!

My friend Ekaterina, from The Best Beads, is giving one of my lucky readers a $30 gift card to her shop!!  Although you can use the winnings for any beads you wish, she would especially like you to notice the great variety of Wheel Beads that she carries.  Ekaterina writes:

"These are 6mm Wheel Beads from Matubo Beads (Super Duo manufacturer). I have the whole color range of these beads (19 colors). They can be used as an O-bead."  

So if you've been interested in trying out O-beads, or any other wonderful Czech glass beads, now's your chance!


Would you like to win this $30 gift card? Here's what you need to do...please read this carefully. Leave me a comment here telling me what you like about Czech glass beads 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: October 28, 2014  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wrap bracelets - part two

My favorite bracelet so far...
Last week was Part one of this wrap bracelet tutorial.

So, did you try making any of these?  Have you made some in the past that you'd like to show off?  Just drop me a line, and I'd love to share your work with everyone!

6. Following Pam's lead from last week, I made this one with waxed linen and Nymo thread, but with no embroidery floss.

7. Stone chips can be used instead of regular beads or crystals.  I used a plasticized cord and Nymo thread to make the amethyst bracelet, satin cord and Nymo for the turquoise one.

8. It occurred to me that a boot lace would make an awesome (and inexpensive) stand-in for leather cording.  4mm magnesite beads (from Auntie's Beads) are strung on with black Nymo thread.

9. When you get to the end, tie an overhand knot right up against the last bead, and another knot far enough away to accomodate the button.  Glue or Fray Check the ends, and trim when dry.

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, October 17, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Fun saying in resin filled bottle caps will make you smile today.

Taking a Fall Drive
Cherie uses the colors of fall as inspiration for some new pictures.

A Bead A Day
Think it's okay to go crazy with sparkle? Lisa does too! Stop by A Bead A Day to see her latest find!

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene Editors take the October Monthly Challenge using Milton Avery's painting Autumn as inspiration.

Homemade Halloween Cupcake Topper
Make these darling Halloween cupcake toppers to delight the kids. Just grab the free printable and have fun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book review: Bead Play with Fringe

I'm a big fan of Jamie Cloud Eakin's books, and this one is no exception.  Bead Play with Fringe is obviously a labor of love, in which Jamie sets out to demystify all the different forms that fringe can take, and why some styles work better with some pieces than others do.  It's a brilliant book, beginning with the supplies you will need, and working through fringe styles that are increasingly challenging.

In the supplies section, Jamie explains bead sizes and which beads will make the best fringe.  She also covers the needles you'll need and the best threads to use.

And then the fringe starts!  "Fringe Basics" is a nice overview of all the various styles covered in Jamie's book.  She starts with a basic single strand fringe style, and helps you work your way through all sorts of kinky, branched, looped, twisted, and spiraled fringes.  Jamie also gives instruction on how to vary the ends of your fringe, including the standard turn-bead, a picot, leaf, and loop end, and a very nifty seed bead star end.  And they are all interchangeable, giving you so many exciting options when you get to work on your own projects.

An incredibly helpful section in the basics shows you how to attach fringe properly to work done in all the different stitches.  For example, attaching to the hole edge of peyote stitch is much different from the edge of right angle weave, and it's also different from attaching to the side edge of peyote stitch instead.  Jamie has been very thorough.

Then Jamie launches into the meat of the book, all the different types of fringe in all their variation-ed glory!  She even includes projects with exact bead counts so you can practice the different styles...and make a cool wearable piece doing it.  I think my new fave is Jamie's spiral fringe, which I can't wait to try!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The World Wide Blog Hop!

Some of Robbie's wonderful small quilts!
The wonderful Robbie from Robbie's Paw Prints invited me to take part in the World Wide Blog Hop!  I invite you to start off your adventure by visiting her emporium of fiber arts and lighthearted chat!

But here's what Robbie told me I have to do...answer these questions, and introduce you to some more bloggers that you might not know.  Then they will do the same in a week or so!  Here we go...

1. What am I working on?
A new necklace that uses some of the techniques I developed for Bored By Back Stitch: bead embroidered forms of St Petersburg chain stitch, metal mesh ribbon, and maybe some shibori silk ribbon too.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I am constantly exploring how to integrate new stitches and materials into mixed media bead embroidery.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
Because there's a fire burning in my bones if I don't.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?
I want everyone who ever thought that they'd like to try expressing themselves through bead embroidery, but thought it would be too difficult to learn, to be able to see how easy it is to get started.  Like many other art forms, bead embroidery is easy to start, difficult to master, and impossible to ever be finished with learning.  My goal is to never stop learning, and to take others along for the ride!  To that end, I work on new ideas, document what works and what doesn't, and share it with other mixed media fanatics.

Now, here are the bloggers that I'd like you to meet!

Tammy Powley is a writer, designer, and teacher. She has been a long time crafter working in all kinds of media from fiber arts to glass. After spending eight years on the art show circuit selling her jewelry designs as well as supplying small boutiques with her work, she began writing about her crafting experiences and focused on teaching others how to make jewelry. She is the author of numerous jewelry making books, has an extensive background in writing for the web, and was’s Guide to Jewelry Making for 15 years. Tammy has a Ph.D. in Texts and Technology, and as her "day job," she teaches college English, primarily composition, literature, and technical communications.

Eileen Bergen returned to her artistic roots after taking early retirement. Financial reverses spurred her to pinch pennies. What better way than to DIY? Soon Eileen was selling in galleries, expos and craft fairs. That led to her own gift shop and finally The Artful Crafter website. She chose the motto "The Artful Crafter - Helping Crafters to Be", figuring there were probably more people out there like her – people who need to bring in extra cash and aren't aware of their hidden talents.

Her original intention was to advise other crafty people on how to get started crafting for profit, but soon casual crafters as well began writing with questions.

Cherie Burbach is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and relationships. She's written for, NBC/Universal,, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: My Soul Is From a Different Place: Poems.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Wrap bracelets - part one

Bracelet made and modeled by my friend Pam Heutmaker

These little wrap bracelets have become so popular recently, that I finally decided I better learn how to make them!  You might remember that one of my favorite designs from Stylish Jewelry Made Simple was the wrap bracelet (my review and a picture at the link).  You can find a very clear explanation, with pictures, of the wrapping pattern at Art Beads, so I'll just continue here with my own tips.

There are a bunch of different ways to make them, using a cord and a binding thread.  Here are some of the possibilities:
Core - satin cord, waxed linen cord, leather or faux leather cord, craft cord
Binding thread - Nymo, fireline, carded silk thread, embroidery floss

Besides those materials, you'll need beads, of course, a button for the closure, fray check or hypo-tube cement, scissors, a beading needle, and possibly a sewing needle.

You'll have to experiment with length to see what works best for your size wrist.  I like having enough left over cord to make tying the knots easier, so I used 26 inches for a single wrap and 46 inches for a double (the length will be halved, remember!).

1. Thread the cord through the button shank, or through two of the holes.  Center it.

2. Depending upon the method you choose, anchor your "beading thread" and stitch your beads to the cords.  You can either loop the thread up and over the cord, or when using the satin cord, you can stitch right through it.  Stitch up from the bottom of the first bead, up and around the top cord, back down through the bead, around the bottom cord and angle the thread slightly diagonally in order to add the next bead.

3. When I chose beads which were too small for multiple passes of thread, like the little rose quartz ones (above), I stitched once through each bead and right through the satin cord.  Afterwards, I anchored a piece of embroidery floss at the button, and wrapped between each bead going down one side and back up the other.

4. My friend Pam skipped using embroidery floss on hers, and chose waxed linen cord and fireline.

5. For this one, I also skipped the embroidery floss, and used satin cord and Nymo to match.

Next week, I'll show you some more examples, and we'll see how to finish them off.
Part two

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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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Book review: Fabric Play

If you play with beads for awhile, and you work on putting your own spin on the projects that you do, rather than always following the suggested colorways of the designer, then you know how much changing the color can change the feel of a piece.

My other love besides making wearables is, predictably, making quilts, collages, and other mixed media pieces.  They often, but not always, have beads on them.  I got excited recently when Martingale sent me a review copy of Deanne Moore's new book Fabric Play.  She includes 14 graphic designs that will change quite dramatically as you change the fabrics.  You can transform any of these patterns from traditional to ultra-modern depending upon your own choices.  Each project is photographed in two completely different styles to help you get going.  And there are coloring diagrams to help you create your own!

If you've not quilted before, this book presents designs that are possible for all skill levels.  Every Martingale quilting and sewing book also has a wonderful section that presents the basics, and each project lists exact amounts of fabric needed in each color, so fear not!

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Book review: Remarkable Rectangles

I have made a fair number of art quilts, many featuring beads, but most of mine are not geometric.  So when I saw Remarkable Rectangles, written by Robert DeCarli and published by Martingale, I thought maybe it was time to try a few.  What I found inside this book are 17 strip-pieced quilts that I swore could not be made from nothing but rectangles.  And yet, they are!  Once you know the secret of weaving these blocks, it all becomes quite simple.

So I thought I'd share this book with you.  Even though it doesn't feature beads, can't you see some of these blocks, or even full-sized quilts covered in them?  Each pattern gives you precise fabric requirements and all the cutting instructions, as well as the how-tos you'll need to finish a quilt.  This might be a bit much for someone who has never made a quilt before, but I believe that even a determined beginner can make these!

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Shibori silk flowers and beads!

Sorry for the delay!  Here is the tutorial for my Bead Journal Project piece that I shared last week!

Since I made the flowers some time ago, the first task was to choose the background fabric, which I did with the input of several online readers and friends.

The next step was to make the little herringbone leaves to go with the calendulas, which I showed you two weeks ago.

Then it was just a matter of cutting the fabric to size (postcard, 6x4), stitching everything down, and adding some stems.  The pansy has a stem of rolled silk ribbon, and the calendula stems are double strand embroidery floss.

I edged the piece with blanket stitch and mounted it on a piece of mat board.  Done!

And now it occurs to me that I never showed you how to make the flowers.  Sheesh.  Ok, in a couple of weeks...

And here it finally is: a tutorial on making the shibori silk flowers and leaves!

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, October 03, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Cute Paris Curtains
Cherie makes curtains for her kitchen.

Felted Ornaments
This quick video tutorial shows how to make some simple hand-sewn felt ornaments.

Art Bead Scene
Check out September's challenge entries!

Quick Craft Projects Sure to Impress
Anne asked for quick craft projects that look like they took a lot of effort. We can all use a few quick craft projects like that, can’t we?

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