Friday, February 27, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

New Free Pattern
Connie added a new free cross stitch pattern this week Also, check out the new additions to the Etsy shop.

Holiday Craft Planning App
Anyone who hand crafts gifts and decorations for holidays or other special occasions needs to plan ahead. Handcrafted things take time. Download Eileen's free spreadsheet.

No Dog Snuggles but Lots of Crafting
In the latest video podcast, the Crafty Princess shows off some finished knitting, crochet, and shares some bead weaving ideas.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Sharing supplies with friends is always a thrill when you organize a blog hop. This one was excellent as it feature beaded rings.

Peeptastic Center Piece
Love Peeps? Cherie has a new way to use them for your Easter table.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Erin Prais-Hintz hosts a creative challenge through Halcraft called, Pretty Palettes. This month, Andrew was the Pretty Palettes Partner! Stop by and see what he made!

Art Bead Scene
Check out what Ema has been up to in her Inside the Studio post this week, and be in with the chance to win a pair of her handmade metal matchsticks!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

LBS: Just Because Bead Boutique

Joyce wrote about her favorite local bead store:

My favorite bead store is Just Because Bead Boutique in Temple Tx. It starts when you walk through the door, you feel the creative and friendly atmosphere. The employees make you feel like you've come home to your jewelry making family and they are excited to see you. Most of their classes are free and you just pay for the supplies you need to create the project. There is always an instructor at the store in case you have questions or need help figuring out how to make something.

If they don't have what you need they special order it for you and a few extra, because if you need it then someone else might also need it. It could be a special tool or special bead, it doesn't matter. They tell you it's a special place to leave the stress from the day outside and have time for yourself.

If you want to spend the day there with friends making jewelry there is always an available space for you. Special jewelry making groups meet there after hours like the America Needlework Guild and Rick's Loomatiks. This place is not like any other bead store I've ever been to and I love it.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Bead Journal Project: February 2015

So now I've got my second piece for the 2015 Bead Journal Project finished, combining beaded crazy quilting with 3D forms.  This month, my form is a simple crescent.

1. Draw two identical overlapped circles on some felt.

2. Cut the pieces apart, and cut a center piece out of a different color felt if desired.

3. Decorate the side pieces as you wish.

4. Stitch the curved edges of the side pieces together.  I used embroidery floss with seed beads to do the blanket stitch.

5. Decorate the top piece.

6. Stitch it into place, stuffing the crescent form lightly with batting.

January 2015: Wavy raised circle form
February 2015: Crescent form

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, February 20, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Wire Wrapping a Heart Pendant
The resin heart pendant that Eileen made for a collaborative showcase organized by Carmi Cimicata needed a finishing touch. Wire wrapping quickly turned a 1-inch pendant into a 2-inch one!

Victorian Blue Earrings Tutorial
From our friends at Rings & Things!  Simple wirework adds drama to a pretty design.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dazzle-It Rings blog hop

A few weeks ago, my friend Carmi Cimicata proposed a blog hop that would focus on rings!  Since I've never made rings before, I figured why not?  It also gave me the chance to try out some products carried by John Bead, importers of many beads and components.  We were sent a selection of Czech glass seed beads, some Beadalon WildFire beading thread, and a booklet of beaded rings called Rings by Giovanna. [Note - here's a link to the entire blog hop list!!]

I chose to do a project that features the first bead weaving stitch I ever learned: square stitch.  I still love square stitch, with it's soothing rhythm and stiff structure.  I thought it might be the perfect stitch for making a ring, which needs to have some structure to it.

What I learned was that the beading thread matters too.  I did not like the WildFire at first.  I found it difficult to thread the needle, hard to coax the beads into place, and really a pain in the neck when you wanted to remove a bead.  But the more I worked with it, the more I saw the value.  Yes, you need to be really careful and try not to make mistakes (!!!), but the stiffer feel to the work, when that is important to you, is quite impressive.  I will definitely consider using it again when freestanding structure is an issue.

The ring designs in the booklet use variations on basic stitches, including square, peyote, herringbone, and RAW.  The photos and instructions are easy to follow.  I changed the design that I made.  It was supposed to have 3-bead picots on top and bottom.  I didn't want them on the bottom, because it would have forced the ring to ride too high on my finger.  Instead, I chose to use some of the larger beads that were sent and enhance the top edge more fully.  The gaps between the larger beads allow my fingers to slip right between them, making it very comfortable to wear.  I'm not showing you a picture of it on me, however, because I have the world's ugliest hands!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Book review: Fiber & Cord Jewelry

Pages of fun await you -- 95 to be exact!  Ashley Bunting's new book, published by Kalmbach, shows you how to turn paracord, hemp, cotton, leather, ribbon, and lace into bright and fun jewelry with the addition of a few common findings.  Fiber & Cord Jewelry: Easy to Make Projects Using Paracord, Hemp, Leather, and More is its name, playing with cording is its game :-)

Most of the pieces have a kind of rustic style, but because these materials are now available in such a wide variety of bright colors (especially the paracord and ribbon), rustic doesn't have to mean just earth tones.  The other things you will need are mostly glues and a few tools for simple wire work.  From that point, all you really to do is dive in and try some of the easy-to-follow projects, with the step by step instructions Kalmbach is known for.

The jewelry in this book is not really my personal style, but I do think that the pieces are all interesting, wearable, and well-made.  You'll have to decide if the style suits you or not!

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Dragonfly + heart bead embroidered pendant

I love making quick little pendants from special beads.  When I've got a wonderful bead, cabochon, pendant, or charm that I don't want to overwhelm with beadwork, my go-to technique is a peyote bezel and some back stitched accents, in colors that set off or blend with the focal rather than contrasting too much.  Boring?  Not at all when you've got focals this special!

The dragonfly and the heart were made by Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio.  The stitches and techniques used in this pendant can be found in the free chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.

1. Stitch a peyote bezel around your cabochon using size 11/0 seed beads and ending with size 15/0s to cinch in the bezel top.  Add a couple rows of backstitch around the bezel and cut the foundation fabric, leaving a little edge.

2. Cut a matching piece of backing fabric and use edging brick stitch to attach the fabrics, trapping a ring at the bottom.

3. This is what the back looks like.

4. Add short stacks of size 15/0 beads to each edging bead.

5. The almost-finished pendant.

6. Add a square stitch bail to the top back.

7. Use a jump ring to hang a heart charm from the bottom.

8. The finished pendant, hanging on a black rubber necklace.  

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, February 13, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Knitting Lingo
Knitting a baby kimono brings with it a whole new crafting language.

EnviroTex Lite Pour-On: The Possibilities!
Looking at an entrancing butterfly-filled window pane created with Envirotex Lite Pour-On made Eileen consider using it for table top decoupage.

I Love Resin
The unique art created by 25 different artists working in the same tiny bezel is a joy to behold.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Come see the inspiring designs people created for the Desert Sands Challenge!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book reviews: Little Gems

Many of you are probably like me and enjoy quilting as well as beading.  In fact, I'm sure all of the quilters out there already know about how much fun it is to combining beading with your quilts, but for those who haven't tried it yet, I've chosen one of the newest Martingale books to share with you that I think would lend itself well to the addition of beads.

Photography: Martingale photographer, Brent Kane

The finished quilts in this project book are only 12 x 12, so you can make them entirely from scraps if you'd like.  Even the backing fabrics (14 x 14) could be pieced together from scraps.

Little Gems is a great way to learn paper-piecing, if you've ever wanted to try it.  There are scale patterns for you to use as you're learning.  It also covers quilting, binding, and creating a hanging sleeve.

The small size of these quilts would make them an excellent short-term project for adding beads if you've never combined the two before.  I especially like the designs for "Forest Fire" (above), and "Tranquility" (below).    

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Monday, February 09, 2015

Boot toppers to crochet

I had some small quantities of yarn left over from some other projects, and decided to figure out how to make some super-simple boot toppers with them.  I wear them tucked into the tops of my boots to keep the cold air out.  I love them with leggings the best, since they keep that little band of uncovered skin warm!

Wouldn't these be great with beads?  I didn't think of it until after I'd made them, and my suggestions, should you chose to heed my warning, is to only add beads to the top few rows!

Here's how I made mine...your stitch counts will vary depending upon how loose you like them and how wide your calf or ankle is. They'd be good cankle covers too :-)

Using a medium sized crochet hook (size H), I chained 40, did 40 single crochet, and joined the ring.
4 rounds of half-double crochet.

1 round of single crochet, reducing one stitch every 5th stitch.

Attach the yarn to the other edge and single crochet around, reducing one stitch every 5th stitch.

So so so easy!

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, February 06, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Here Comes the Bride
Cherie starts a series of paintings with brides.

Handmade valentine Gifts Galore
Eileen has gathered up her favorite handmade Valentine crafts, which have been created and published on The Artful Crafter over the past ten years.

Art Bead Scene
Take a peek inside the Tesori Trovati Studio with Erin, and see where her fallow season has been leading her...into the world of mixed-media art!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Artist profile: Deborah Glasser

Detail from necklace shown below

Deborah Glasser's etsy shop

The neck-pieces shown in this post are a few of my favorites.  My technique is mostly back-stitch on my bead embroidery. Although I enjoy all types of bead work, embroidery is my first love. In the past 7 years I have come back to jewelry making after many years as a quilting teacher and sewing instructor. I had a successful bridal & evening wear business in Chicago, specializing in pieces that were heavily beaded and embroidered. 

I am a team member of EBEG, etsy bead embroidery guild. You can see my pieces on facebook, twitter & pintrest and in my etsy shop (linked above).   My pieces can also be seen in two bead magazine challenges: Bead & Button Aug. 2014 and  Beadwork Dec/Jan 2014.  They have also been featured in ads for Fire Mountain Gems, bead catalogs, the back cover of Rock & Gem Nov. 2012, back cover of Bead-it magazine Dec.2013, back cover of the Crafts Report Feb. 2013 and at Fire Mountain Gems.

Most of my inspiration comes from nature and in many cases, the gemstones I am working with. I face the daily challenges of MS. I am completely devoted to my craft these days. My husband of 35 years helps with his encouragement, his photography skills and creative input. 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Book review: Beautiful Designs with SuperDuos and Twin Beads

To be completely honest, I have never been that interested in all these shaped beads with two holes.  I love my seed beads and bead embroidery most of all, and bead weaving takes a distant second place in my affections.  Looking at some of the beautiful patterns that Carolyn Cave has come up with for her new book Beautiful Designs with SuperDuos and Twin Beads, however, I may have to revise that opinion.  In fact, there is one very simple design in the book that I almost can't wait to try.

After a thorough introduction to twin beads and superduos, including information on basic techniques for stitching with them, Carolyn turns right to the projects.  These are divided into five chapters: bracelets, rings and earrings, ropes, chains and pendants, and specialty pieces.  As I browsed through the projects, it struck me that many of the motifs that Carolyn creates can be used in many different ways, not only in the projects that she shares.  That makes this book very valuable to those who want to learn the basics of working with double-holed beads and who also like to experiment.

I especially liked the chapter on the ropes.  Tubular peyote and tubular herringbone make wonderful (and fast) ropes, and the herringbone rope looks for all the world like Viking knit!  I'm going to be trying this in the near future, and I'll share my results with you if they're worth reporting on :-)

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Monday, February 02, 2015

Paua shell bead embroidered necklace

Sometimes the mood hits me to make a piece with absolutely no pre-planning other than chosing a couple of focals and a color palette.  This necklace is the result of just such a mood...

Most of the information you would need to create a piece like this can be found in the free chapter of my first e-book, Every Bead Has a Story, which has instructions for most of the stitches except for those linked individually below.

1. The focal paua shell pieces are drilled, so I did stitch them down before bezeling them with peyote stitch and outlining them with some back stitch.  If they weren't drilled, it would still be really easy to bezel them into place, switching to tiny little size 15/0 seed beads at the top to cinch in the bezel.

2. I added some embellishments, stitching into the back stitched rows, using the bead embroidery form of Russian Spiral stitch.

3. Stack stitch fills in the gaps.

4. I used edging brick stitch around the outsides to attach a backing fabric and to trap two hammered loops.

5. The finished pendant portion of the necklace.  I added stack stitches around the edges.

6. Beading wire neck straps with coordinating accent beads.

7. I added a piece of chain on one end...

8. ...and a handmade hook on the other.

9. The finished necklace with an adjustable closure.

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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