Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends who celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ:

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Blessed Hanukkah

To all of my friends who celebrate the Festival of Lights

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Book review: Casual Bead Elegance

Eve Leder has written a new book, Casual Bead Elegance, published by Kalmbach, which doesn't make you choose which stitch to learn...instead, Eve wants you to try them all!  And then she wants you to learn how to combine them!  

Using beads that any beader will most likely have on hand (seed beads, crystals, pearls, a few gemstones, and a couple of shaped beads), Eve leads you through ladder stitch, right-angle weave, cubic RAW, herringbone, square stitch, circular brick stitch, peyote, and then finally combined stitches.  You'll find three main projects for each stitch, plus variations.  The first project teaches the stitch path and reinforces good habits from the start.  The second project allows you to practice the new stitch with a more elaborate result, and the third challenges you to apply the new stitch in even more challenging ways.  

If you've been wanting to brush up on off-loom beading stitches, work your way from the ones you already know into others, or just expand your skill in a few of them, this may be the book to get you going and moving beyond your present comfort zone!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Daisy chain bracelet

I was leafing through a few older books (meaning 2013 in this case...not exactly OLD), looking for a quick and easy piece of jewelry I could make for a friend.  I came across a bracelet designed by Nancy Zellers in her book Metallic Seed Bead Splendor (review at the link and link to purchase).  It's a super cute bracelet that she calls "Going Baroque with Pearls".  I didn't have the right size and shape of pearls, but I found with just a few adjustments, I could use 8mm faceted fire polished beads.

With some 8mm accent beads and two different colors of seed beads in size 11/0 and one in size 15/0, I made this bracelet in one afternoon.  It's a modified and embellished daisy chain stitch, and I kept my tension tighter than Nancy did so that my bracelet would twist a bit since my friend has a narrow wrist.  You could also leave a link or two out...or add more if you need them.

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book review: Simple Metalwork Jewelry

Have you been hankering to add metal to your work, but haven't been quite ready to invest in a torch?  Judy Freyer Thompson's new book, Simple Metalwork Jewelry, published by Kalmbach, may give you just the boost you need to take that next step!  Judy teaches you cutting, drilling, filing, etching, texturing, riveting, sawing, and adding patina all while creating wonderful wearable jewelry designs.

As you work your way through the earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings, you will find your confidence growing in your new basic skills, and maybe next year you'll decide to add a torch after all!  But even if not...Judy sets you up for lots of wonderful fun working with metal and cold connections!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Coiled bangle bracelet

I was rather enchanted with Sonia Davis's "Coiled Kumihimo Bangle" which appeared in Beadwork Magazine, the December/January 2017 issue.  I don't really enjoy kumihimo though, so I thought about how to change it for my own use.  I ended up deciding to use tubular brick stitch around wire instead and accent it with glass pearls.  The kumihimo project probably weaves up a lot faster than my version, but I didn't really mind.  These are size 11/0 seed beads, so it could have been worse! 

Since it was really the construction of the bangle, with the three segments that overlapped, that intrigued me rather than the stitches, I definitely owe a debt of gratitude to Sonia for such a cool design!  

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Book review: Micro-Macrame Jewelry

The designs you will find in Kelsy Eason's new book, Micro-Macrame Jewelry, published by Kalmbach, are lighter, more open lacy and airy designs overall than you usually find in micro-macrame books.  Kelsy has decided that she wants her designs to be appropriate for everyday wearing, not just special occasions, so she has concentrated on easy-to-find materials and easy-to-learn knots.

Most of the designs use the slightly larger size 6/0 seed beads, C-Lon or S-Lon cords, waxed linen, or 1mm round leather cording.  All of these are readily available online and in beading or craft stores.  There is only one piece of specialty equipment needed, and that is a padded bead board.  If you don't want to invest in one, Kelsy shows you to make one!


The knots used are ones you probably are already familiar with if you've done any macrame in the past, and they are all easily learned if you are a beginner: Lark's head (both horizontal and vertical), square knot, half knot, and half hitch (both diagonal and horizontal).  The designs you can make with these few knots are young and fresh and fun...give it a whirl!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Gift books for the holidays!

Each year, I like to share a list of books with you that I think are really the top picks from all the books published in this past year.  I still think that many of the books from prior years' lists are good too, and if you'd like to see them, they are linked at the bottom of this post.  Also, I keep running lists of all the books that pertain to specific topics and media, like wirework, bead embroidery, etc, all linked up at the Books tab at the top of every page.  And finally, if you are looking for all of the bead and jewelry books published this past year, just scroll down to the bottom of the linked page and you'll find them all listed by month.

My Top Pick for Everyone This Year:

The Embroidery Book
by Christen Brown

For Beginners:

Learn to Use Two-Hole Beads by Teresa Morse
Make It Sparkle by Lindsay Burke
Cool Copper Cuffs by Eva Sherman
Colorful Wirework Jewelry by Kim St. Jean
Hubble Stitch by Melanie de Miguel
Discover Torch Enameling by Steven James
Play with Chain Mail by Theresa Abelew
Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples series
Fast Peyote Stitch Jewelry by Josie Fabre
Learn to Make Bead Jewelry by Lynn Davy

Advanced Topics:

The Embroidery Book by Christen Brown
Beaded Lace by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
Metalsmithing Made Easy by Kate Ferrant Richbourg
Art Jewelry Today 4
New Connections in Chain Mail Jewelry by Kat Wisniewski
Sensational Soutache Jewelry Making by Csilla Papp
Kumihimo Jewelry Simplified by Rebecca Ann Combs
Wonderful Wire Jewelry by Kalmbach
Jewel Loom Inspirations by Julianna C Avelar

Oldies But Goodies:

Gift book recommendations for 2015
Gift book recommendations for 2014
Gift book recommendations for 2013
Gift book recommendations for 2012

Monday, December 05, 2016

Amethyst tree necklace tutorial - part three

Over the last two weeks, I have showed you how I put together the centerpiece of this bead embroidered necklace (links at the bottom).  Finally this week, I want to show you how I made necklace strands that would echo the colors of the center, but not compete with it for attention.

15. On the center of a long piece of beading wire, I added enough seed beads to loop through one of the bails.  I used a crimp tube, covered with with a large-holed glass bead, and filled that bead with tiny little seed beads for stability.

16. I strung each strand of wire separately, bringing them together in the middle through a small donut of amethyst.

17. I worked to keep the colors, textures, and sizes of the beads balanced on the strands, larger beads towards the bottom, and smaller towards the top.

18. At the end of one strand, I added chain and a handmade wire hook.

19. At the end of the other strand, I added chain and a wire dangle.

20. And here is the finished piece, adjustable in length to accommodate different necklines.

Check out Part One - the design and Part Two - the edging if you missed them!

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Copyright 2016 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.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Amethyst tree necklace tutorial - part two

Last week, I showed you how I decided to trap this unusually shaped slab in a wire cage in order to add it to a bead embroidered necklace.  Starting where we left off...

8. I trimmed the foundation fabric close to the outside edge of stack stitched beads, and removed the guide thread.

9. Since this is a heavy piece, I decided to add another piece of interfacing (see step 3), this time to the entire piece.  I chose Lutradur, because it is extremely strong even though it is quite thin.

10. After cutting a backing piece of fabric, I used edging brick stitch to cover the raw edges all the way around.

11. Around the sides and the top, I added a simple stack stitch to each edging bead.

12. Near the bottom, I added heavier beads and stitched the stacks longer so that they became fringe.

13. I tested the piece for balance and chose two spots on the sides near the top where I wanted the necklace strands to attach.  At those points, I stitched two square stitch bails.

14.  Here is the finished centerpiece.

Next week, please join me for Part Three - the straps, and check out Part One - the design if you missed it!

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Copyright 2016 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, November 25, 2016

heART beats from other blogs!

3D Goofy Turkey Place Cards
Put smiles on guests' faces this Thanksgiving as they search for the goofy turkey place cards clutching guest names in the beaks. How-to and downloads.

Pattern Mix & Match Card: Eye-catching & Easy Peasy
If you enjoy mixing and matching patterns in your decor or art, then you'll love making this pattern mix and match card!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Amethyst tree necklace tutorial - part one

Sometimes you have to get more than just a little bit creative when adding a stone or other item to a piece of bead embroidery.  I have used wire wrapping many times to help secure a cabochon or donut (like in Orinoco Flow, below).

The wire gives you more places to catch a thread and stitch the odd-shaped item down. But this slab of amethyst crystals had me stumped for awhile.  Until I decided to create a cage for it that didn't actually wrap around it!

I'm going to share many of my steps with you over the next few weeks.  If you are a beginner to bead embroidery, please help yourself to a download of the first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.  You will find step-by-step instructions for putting together a bead embroidered piece, including back stitch, edging brick stitch, stack stitch, all the materials and tools, etc.

I can't give you an exact materials lists or exact measurements and details like that, but I've shared the techniques many many times, including in the chapter listed above.  Instead, I'll be concentrating on design decisions and some additional tips and tricks that made the construction of this piece easier than it looks.  Let's go!

1. Using a heavy gauge wire, I made a circle that would encompass the amethyst slab and added a fine wire design that I twisted together.  I left enough slack to account for the depth of the slab.

2. I stitched the wire cage down to the foundation fabric with a piece of interfacing underneath, which you'll see in the next image.  I added several rows of seed beads around the cage in back stitch.

3. Here is the back with the interfacing trimmed close to the rows of back stitch.  I drew the approximate shape that I wanted for the necklace on the back of the foundation fabric.  I don't always (or even usually) do this.

4. Using the drawn shape as a guide, I stitched around the outer border of my desired shape.

5. Here is the piece with a first round of stack stitch beads applied.  Note that the ones on top are generally smaller than the ones on the bottom.  Working in rounds like this helps to keep your beadwork balanced, by size, color, shape, and texture.

6. Here is the piece with all the stack stitches finished, and...

7. is the back so you can see the stitching pattern.

Next week, please join me for Part Two - the edging, and then for Part Three - the straps the following week!

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Copyright 2016 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.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Amethyst tree necklace

Here's what I just finished working on...a tutorial is coming soon!

Copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

heART beats from other blogs!

Dream Create Inspire — Making Art Happen
Eileen made a fun piece of postcard art from start to finish this week! If you sometimes get stuck and have trouble completing projects, she has a tip for you.

Snap out of it, jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the beautiful book by Christina Anton, Creative Leather Jewelry

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Mixed media art books

Just trying to catch up here today!  I've posted quite a number of reviews of mixed media art books over on Mixed Media Artist since the last time I shared a comprehensive list of them here on Beading Arts.  That was back in!

In chronological order, here's what's been posted since:

Favorite Fabric Bowls, Boxes and Vases

Creative Strength Training

Acrylic Expressions

Double Vision Quilts

Art Quilt Collage

Pigments of Your Imagination, 2nd edition

Making Art from Maps

Painted Paper Art Workshop

Artful Improv


Monday, November 07, 2016

Bead embroidered rhodochrosite pendant

This will be the last little bead embroidery pendant for a short while, because I finally started working on a BIG one!  This stone is rhodochrosite, and like the others from the past few weeks, it's been sitting in my bin of crazy-beautiful stone cabochons for too long.  It's a small stone, and so the seed beads are mostly size 15/0s with a final row of size 11/0s.  

It's an odd shade of pink, and I felt that if I wasn't careful, it could end up looking like pepto bismol.  The stone has some crystalline "flaws" in it, so it wasn't terribly expensive; therefore, I felt pretty free to experiment with the bead colors.  The background of the stone has a peachy cast, but the swirling foreground is a cool pink, so I was a bit ambivalent about bead colors.  In retrospect, I think the deeper red color should have been cooler, but when you are looking at it straight on, the red doesn't show quite as much as in the angle of my, the beads are REALLY tiny!

I feel like I have repeated similar instructions too frequently lately to write them all out again.  You can check the recent Leopard Skin Jasper pendant tutorial for a basic outline of the steps and match them up with the images shown here.

Or if you haven't already done this, you can download my free ebook chapter.  Step-by-step instructions for putting together a bead embroidered piece, including back stitch, edging brick stitch, and stack stitch can be found in the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.  Chapter two has instructions for stitching a peyote stitch bezel, and Chapter three teaches the square stitch bail.

One thing I'll point out here is that I used two different colors of beading thread for this piece.  As you can see above, I switched from white (used for most of it) to black just for the row of edging brick stitch.  Since the stitches would be visible at the edges, I didn't want to use white.

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique
Copyright 2016 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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