Friday, May 29, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Glass Cobalt Bottle Flowers
Cherie makes some glass garden flowers out of cobalt bottles and bowls.

Marshmallow Clay Recipe & Information
Clay artist Eva Stosic has taken the term marshmallow clay to a new level and uses real marshmallows in her air-dry marshmallow clay recipe!

Amigurumi Cuteness
Princess Knits is hanging out her shingle, which includes some adorable bunnies and bears.

Art Bead Scene
Check out what Erin has selected for our perfect pairings this week

Honey Inspired Jewelry
See what Andrew and the other participants of the Sweet Honey Challenge created!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Bead Journal Project: May 2015

I made a slashed rectangle for this month's Bead Journal Project piece.  I saw one of these once that was really long, and was hanging from one of its corners so that it sort of spiraled down with the center slashes gaping open.  I liked that one a lot.  My own attempt...not so much!  I didn't have time to do one that was long enough to get the full effect, so maybe I should have just saved it for another month.

Here's what the felt looks like after you've slashed it.  You can see that all you have to do is alternate between slashing the middle and the sides.  

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

March 2015: Orb form
April 2015: Pyramid form
May 2015: Slashed rectangle 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, May 22, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Blocky Layout Makeover: Scrapbooking Outside the Box
Eileen took a layout from blocky to eye-catching with a makeover of a scrapbook page commemorating those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer.

Surviving Disney & Comforting Crochet
Crafty Princess talks a little about the Disney cruise she went on recently and the comfy crochet baby afghan she is working on.

Connie Gee's Designs
Connie shares a recent finish along with information about where you can find the pattern and what she used to complete it.

Glass Garden Mushrooms
Cherie brings up an oldie but popular post on her blog about glass garden mushrooms.

Art Bead Scene
Check out Claire's art bead picks to get your juices flowing for our May challenge!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book review: Easy Jewelry Making

Easy Jewelry Making was compiled from the pages of BeadStyle magazine, and includes more than 50 projects from the magazine's eleventh year of publication!  If you don't subscribe to BeadStyle, this is a great way to get the best of the best projects.  The projects are arranged by materials - crystals, stones, glass, pearls, metals, and mixed media.  There is great variety, and most projects can be done using other materials than those shown, which is good, because there are no sources provided.  That's a problem for those who want to duplicate the projects exactly, but is a great jumping off point for those who prefer to go their own way.

There are many good points to this volume.  The projects are easy, you will learn lots of good basic skills in many areas of beading, all while making fun pieces.  There are great tips included to help you go beyond the project.  There are also tips on how to do things better and faster, and their is fashion advice scattered throughout!

Best of all is the breadth of basic skills covered.  Just check out this list: knotting, finishing, weaving, wrapping, crimping, color blending, epoxy clay, working with chain, attaching charms, designing with color, wire wrapping, working with leather, using memory wire, getting necklaces to drape nicely, using a jig, and MORE!

Is that enough to get you started?  :-)

One of my favorite pieces is this beauty by Dana Meredith, called Nature's Treasures:

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Faerie Bells, revisited

There are some designs that you come up with that end up being worth repeating, and Faerie Bells was one of those for me.  I was a little surprised to find that how different each of the pieces ended up looking though!

Amethyst Faerie Bells Necklace

Using Moonstone

Using larger "sea glass" nuggets

An elaborate pearl necklace

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Friday, May 15, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Bead Board Video
This brief video shows how to use a bead board to design beaded jewelry.

Craft Lights and WIPs
Connie tells about her latest WIPs along with a new wrinkle that her craft lamp has thrown into her stitching plans.

Art Bead Scene
Check out Mary's round up of books covering the history of beads - fascinating stuff!!

Decoupage Glass Vase Organizers Have Many Uses
Eileen created hers to organize paint brushes and foam pouncers. But decoupage glass vase organizers can be put to many uses. Use the cubes as candy dishes or to hold pens and pencils.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book review: The Crafter's Guide to Patterns

The Crafter's Guide to Patterns by Jessica Swift and published by Lark focuses on both creating the patterns and on their application to your projects.  If you've ever stamped a simple pattern onto a background fabric in order to have a unique surface for your beading, you've been involved in pattern creation.  For me, this is an area of interest.  As much as I enjoy seeking out and using commercial fabrics in my work, I enjoy creating my own patterns even more, and Jessica has made the process very accessible.

The first part of the book covers finding inspiration for you own patterns, use of color, and pattern type.  From there Jessica moves into how to create the various types of repeats: straight, half-drop, and brick.  Unfortunately, there is a little bit of a problem with the instructions for the straight and half-drop (step 6 and step 2 accordingly), but if you follow the illustrations you can easily see what you are supposed to do.  Once you understand the process, you won't need the instructions anyway, but the first few times it's nice to have them.  I like that the process is also described for Photoshop and Illustrator, the two most widely used digital imaging tools.

The second half of the book focuses on application of those wonderful patterns you've created!  Fabric, giftwrap, stationery, packaging, and home goods are all covered.  Perhaps you'd like to create your own pattern and stencil a wall when you're not busy beading?  Jessica has you covered.  Also included in each of these application chapters is an interview with a top-notch surface design artist that Jessica has tagged for more inspiration.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Bead embroidered dichroic glass pendant

My friend Jeanne Kent of New Terra Artifacts makes the most beautiful dichroic glass beads, cabochons, and pendants in the world!  Several years ago, I bought a set of beads from her called a blue rainbow...I have never regretted it!  Instead, I have had endless fun over the years, any time I am "in between" projects.

One of these little beads makes an awesome pendant, and with so many beads in the set, I can make fun little pendants to my heart's content.  You'll find all the information on back stitch, edging brick stitch, and stack stitches in the free chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.  It will also give you all the details about backing your piece properly, so below, you'll find the bare-bones outline of how to make this piece :-)

1. Stitch down the bead (and/or glue it down if it's a cabochon instead), and bezel it with size 11/0 seed beads.  I added an extra row of back stitch around the outside, because I wanted the bead count to be a multiple of 4.

2. Add a row of right angle weave and a row of Russian spiral, working the netting off of the "up" beads of the RAW stitches.  Each of the "up" beads was stitched down to the foundation before the netting was added.  Instructions for these stitches are in Bored By Back Stitch.  

3. Add a row of Russian spiral with large accent beads to the back stitched row of step 1.  This is why I needed the row to be a multiple of 4.

4.  Cut out the piece, leaving a small edge, and attach a piece of backing material with edging brick stitch in size 11/0 seed beads.  Add a small stack of size 15/0 seed beads to each edging bead.

5. Stitch a square stitch bail to the back of your pendant.

6. Finished!

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, May 08, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Craft Supply Acquisitions!
Beads, yarn, tools, oh my! Check out the craft supply goodies and projects the Crafty Princess is creating with them.

Apple-Stamped Mom Reusable Grocery Shopping Bag
Make this eco-friendly reusable grocery bag for Mother's Day, or Mom's birthday. The project uses inexpensive items, many of which you already have on hand.

Art Bead Scene
Check out the colour palette which Tari has pulled from this month's vibrant challenge piece!

Connie Gee's Designs
Felines rule (don't tell my dog) and Connie has added a new free pattern that involves a cat trio out on the prowl. Added bonus: check out the fur-baby photos.

Teal Glass Sculpture
Hide all your vases and ashtrays! Cherie is back to making full size glass sculptures again.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Book review: Freeform Wire Art Jewelry

By Gayle Bird 
Fons & Porter/F+W; $24.99 

Freeform Wire Art Jewelry is a new book by talented jewelry designer Gayle Bird.  It is set up like a class that you might be lucky enough to take with Gayle, so that you will work through techniques step-by-step as you complete projects that lead from one to the next in level of complexity.  What Gayle calls "improvisations" are encouraged along the way.

The book starts out with a discussion of the basic tools, design techniques, color theory (unusual for a wire book), and working techniques that will be used throughout all the projects.  I really like the emphasis on color and the simple, organic style that Gayle teaches.  Loops are layered and arranged into seemingly complex designs, but as you follow through the excellent photos and instructions, it all becomes demystified.

So if you've ever wanted to make pieces like this one, but were just sure that it's too complicated, I think you will really like this book.  Once you become comfortable working simple designs with wire, you'll probably never want to stop!
Gayle Bird is an online education and course developer, writing and teaching curriculum for adult learners in various design subjects. She taught herself jewelry design and became a juried member of the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in Nova Scotia in 2007. Her jewelry is sold in stores across Nova Scotia.

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Monday, May 04, 2015

Beaded wrap bracelets you can make for Mother's Day

These beaded wrap bracelets are still wildly popular this spring, and they are so so so easy to could whip up a few for yourself and for your Mom for Mother's Day!  I used a couple different ribbons from Offray instead of cording, because the color selection is so fabulous.

Materials & Tools

1/4" Champagne sheer Asiana ribbon (bracelet shown below and in tutorial steps)
5/8" Violet wire edged Arabesque ribbon (bracelet shown at the top)
Button with shank
Scotch tape
Beads (I used size 2/0 Czech seed beads)
Thread or embroidery floss (I used a double strand of metallic gold sewing thread)

Tape measure
Glue or Fray Check

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 use 26 inches for a single wrap, 46 inches for a double, and 62 inches for a triple wrap (the length will be halved, remember!).  For this triple wrap bracelet, the portion that I stitched with beads was about 22 inches, plus the button and the clasp.

1. Cut the tip of one end of the ribbon on a sharp slant and wrap it with a small piece of tape.  Thread this end through the button shank, and center it.

2. Tie a half hitch in the ribbon just below the button shank.  Knot your beading thread and anchor it in the ribbon knot using the needle. Take a few stitches back and forth to secure it.  Leave the tail - you will glue and clip it later.

3. My instructions have you working from the bottom, from right to left.  Start with the button on the right and the two halves of the ribbon extending towards the left, parallel to each other.  Pick up a bead with your threaded needle that you anchored in step 2.  Follow the orange thread path in the photo, and bring the thread up behind the two ribbons, nestling the bead between them.  Take the thread up and over the top ribbon and insert it down into the bead from in front of the ribbons.  Now follow the green thread path, exiting the needle in front of the bottom ribbon.  Pick up a new bead and repeat.  Pull the thread tight enough to roll the ribbon into a gently rounded cord, but not so tight that the beads buckle.  Smooth each newly added bead to the left to make sure they sit side by side before picking up the next.  

4. When you get to the end, tie an overhand knot in the ribbons right up against the last bead, and another knot far enough away to accommodate the button.  Stitch back and forth through the first knot with your thread several times and stitch backwards through the ribbon and a few beads to anchor it.  Knot the thread but leave the tail for now.

5. Use glue or Fray Check on all knots and on the ribbon just beyond the second knot.  Trim the threads when dry and cut the ribbon ends at a slant.

 This post is sponsored by Offray, from whom I have received some of the products in order to create this project for you.
 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, May 01, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Packing For A Cruise
Here are my must haves for cruising

Baby Shadow Box
Make a sweet dreams shadow box for new parents or for Mother's Day. Include baby's name and date of birth, a lullaby or poem.

Sea Inspired Necklace Project
Mermaids, fish, and starfish plus lots of wonderful glass beads make up this easy to assemble sea-themed necklace design.

Adventures in Dog Sitting
Connie's been dog-sitting and watching TV and, of course, stitching. Read a brief review of her latest project and be sure to check out the free patterns page for a new addition.

Art Bead Scene
Check out Claire's interview with Dawn of La Touchables - fascinating and inspiring!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Drop by and see all the Steampunk-inspired creations made by participants of the Amethyst Aether Special Challenge!

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