Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Another bead embroidered kitty pendant

Both have been sold and are on their way
to their forever homes!

I showed you the bead embroidered kitty pendant on the left yesterday, and then promptly spent the rest of the day doing what I almost never do...I made a second one like it!  Different colors, but same pattern :-)

To remind you, the focals are by Dorothy Supri of Skyline Beads.  Aren't they the cutest?


Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Monday, October 07, 2019

Bead embroidered kitty pendant


Sold!

Dorothy Supri of Skyline Beads makes these adorable little focal pieces on dominoes and mini-dominoes.  I have enjoyed stitching around some of her full-sized pieces, but this one caught my eye and it was just so darned CUTE!!  It's only 1 1/4 inches high, so the total size of the pendant is quite tiny too.  It was fun making one that worked up so quickly.

Here are two others that I've made with Dorothy's focals:

Peacock bead embroidered pendant
Winged giraffe bead embroidered pendant

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 my e-book Every Bead Has a Story.


Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Green bronze bead embroidered pendant

Available!  Leave me a comment

Instead of starting with the focal, this time I started with the beadwoven bail!  The one I chose was a previously stitched piece that you can learn more about at the link above and below.



Now, that's not to say that I don't absolutely love the focal!  I do, and I've been saving it for something special.  It's a resin-coated polymer clay piece made by my friend Mary Anne Williams Knapp.  Mary Anne has online trunk shows that you can access through Facebook, but you better move quickly when her work is up for sale!  It gets scooped up with lightning speed.  I used some Miyuki drops on both an inner row and around the edging of this piece, along with some pearls and a lovely little raku bead by Amy Mealey of Xaz Bead Company.

My e-book, Some Assembly Required, covers making different types of bezels to enhance both regularly shaped and irregularly shaped cabochons, connecting your bead embroidered components with various techniques, unifying your piece with texture, and creating beautiful finishing styles.  Check it out if you're wanting to go beyond the basics!


Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Book review: Heirloom Embroidery


There are over 225 iron-on transfers in Heirloom Embroidery from Brian Haggard, specifically from his book Embroidered Memories.  The designs are classic for crazy quilts, and come in a variety of sizes.  There is only one page of embroidery stitch instruction in the very back, but surely you've got plenty of other books that cover the stitches!  This book is about pure iron-and-go!!  By C + T Publishing.





This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Monday, September 23, 2019

Orthoceras fossil bead embroidered pendants


Available!  Leave me a comment

When I was in Cambridge England recently, I went to a really nice little market.  It mostly had food, so of course I bought some tea...and then I turned a corner and found a lovely woman selling stones and fossils.  One of my favorite pieces that I've ever made features a small but almost perfect orthoceras fossil I bought in Alaska, so I was thrilled to find she had a little bin of them.  They were a bit shorter than my first, but that is absolutely fine. 

The one on the left features a butterfly style bail that I've really enjoyed making recently, and the one on the right has my more typical square stitched bail on the back. 

Finally!  I always planned to keep my original pendant and have resisted all offers to buy it, but now I can keep it guilt free!


Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The British Museum in London England


I'm so happy to be able to share these treasures with you.  Our last stop in England was the world-famous British Museum.  My tastes have always run to the ancient, so I headed for some of the most ancient pieces in the collection. 

Created about 2500 BC, these pieces of jewelry were found in a royal Sumerian tomb.  Sumer was the earliest known civilization in southern Mesopotamia, located between the Tigris and Euphrates.  One of the best-known city states in Sumer was Ur.  Most of the Sumerian artifacts in the British Museum come from Ur.


This stunning headress is a reconstruction, but the jewelry is original.  This suggests the arrangement of the jewelry worn by the royal Sumerian women found in the grave called The Great Death Pit.  Below is the signage with information about this burial site. 


Click the image to enlarge it for easier reading.



These are some of the pieces worn by the queen's attendants, similar in style to hers but less elaborate, and varying according to status.  Both men and women wore jewelry on their heads and upper bodies.  I believe that these were also found in The Great Death Pit.


This is traditionally called The Ram in a Thicket, although it is probably actually a goat.  A pair of these were found in The Great Death Pit.  It is made of cold, copper, lapis lazuli, shell, and red limestone.  There is a gold cylinder on the back of the goat's neck, so it is believed that it was the support for something, maybe a small table.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London England
The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge England


Copyright 2019 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.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London England


The other day, I showed you some photos that I was able to take in Cambridge England (link at the bottom of this post), and today I want to turn to the first of two world-class museums we visited in London!  In no particular order, here we go!


Micromosaic jewelry pieces are made from the very smallest glass pieces (tesserae), some of which contain more than 5000 tesserae per square inch!  The necklace, bracelet, and earring set were most likely made in Italy around 1850.




This piece is called Devil's Trumpet, and was made from recycled and electroplated cutlery in 2016 by artist Ann Carrington.  It was inspired by Dutch still life paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries.



Life Began in Water, about 1950 by artist Sah Oved.  The necklace contains gold, silver, agates, jasper, and aquamarines.



Inspired by a Picasso drawing, Portrait of a Woman, artist Wendy Ramshaw made this necklace in 1988 from patinated silver and colorcore.




This is a collection of Berlin Ironwork pieces in a Gothic style, but produced between 1815 and 1830.  The cast iron had little intrinsic value, but once made into these fashionable products, the Prussion factories gained international success.



An amber bead necklace with a silver filigree clasp, made near Hamburg, Germany about 1765.

The British Museum in London England
The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge England


Copyright 2019 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, August 26, 2019

Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge England


Mike and I just returned from a trip to Cambridge and London, England!  Mike was working, and when I wasn't busy being a groupie, I was out exploring.  I loved loved loved visiting two of the museums in Cambridge, and was sorry that I didn't have time for more.  The Fitzwilliam Museum is not to be missed, but since it doesn't have much to do with beads per se, I thought I'd concentrate on the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology instead.  You must go if you every have the chance.  It is a "small" museum, but is three floors high, with lovely displays and wonderful guides/guards available.

In no particular order, here are some of the things I liked best.  The quality of my shots is poor...the lighting as designed to preserve the pieces, of course, and flash photography (as everyone should know by now) is not appreciated.

 
The so-called square headed brooches of the Anglo Saxons.  They could be worn either direction, so the 19th century name for them is inaccurate.  They are gilded bronze and their ages varied.  The AS period in England was from 410 to 1066 AD.


This woman's belt from Alaska is embroidered with caribou incisors.  They were highly prized heirloom pieces, and were used in healing rituals.


Fijian necklace of carved sperm whale tooth ivory.  Strung on woven coconut fiber and collected in Fiji in 1875.  Actual date is unknown.


A bead embroidered hat from Borneo.  Undated, but isn't it cool??


Another hat with bead embroidery and also wired bead decoration.  This was from Peking, China, made in either the late 19th or early 20th century, pre-Manchu period.  It was ordered by the King for either the Queen or for the highest ranking concubine, as these were the only women allowed to wear a phoenix on their heads (only the King could wear a dragon).


 
This neck ornament is embroidered with small shiny red seeds.  It came from Queensland, Australia, and was collected in 1914.



This pearl shell pendant was collected from Western Australia.  The designs are different on each side, and are engraved.  The date is unknown.


Other collections that I have been privileged to see over the years:
The British Museum in London England
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London England
Tlingit arts in Alaska
Bishop Museum in Hawai'i
Glassworks and beads in Murano, Italy
Tzanchaj, Guatemal


Copyright 2019 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, August 19, 2019

Book review: Two-Hole Bead Stitching


If you like working with shaped beads, then you are probably already a fan of Virginia Jensen's work and her books!  Stitching with Two-Hole Shaped Beads and Contemporary Cube Bead Designs are Kalmbach Media titles you might already be familiar with, and here is her latest: Two-Hole Bead StitchingJust like the others, this book has the fabulous photos and illustrations that Kalmbach is known for.  And it is full of the fabulous and fun designs that Virginia is known for!

Each chapter starts with a fairly simple piece and progresses through more intricate and challenging pieces.  I particularly liked some of the variations that could be made using the basic S-braid pattern.  The easy basic version is included in this book, along with lots of fabulous alternatives, using other shapes and mixtures. 


I have to be honest that I've not been very interested in shaped beads.  I love my regular seed beads, and for the most part, adding a few drops or daggers around the edges of my bead embroidery is just fine for me.  But recently I've been seeing more shaped beads being used even in embroidery.  Often then are woven together first and then stitched down to the foundation.  What makes this particularly appealing is that the neck straps of a large necklace or cuff can be completed very quickly.  Virginia has many many designs that would be beautiful on their own, but that I could also see being incorporated into embroidered pieces. 

I may just have to start buying a few of these beauties and fooling around with them! 


Other books I've reviewed that focus on shaped beads:
Learn to Use Two-Hole Beads
Stitching with Two-Hole Shaped Beads
Beautiful Designs with Super Duos and Twin Beads
Great Designs for Shaped Beads
Contemporary Cube Bead Designs



This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bead embroidered pendant redo!

Available!  Leave me a comment

Sometimes you just have to let a project sit for awhile, and sometimes you need to get advice from your friends!  I had pretty much decided to just keep the pendant that I showed you last time because I was unhappy with the wonky back stitched lines around the onyx donuts.  But thanks to an online friend, Shayne M's suggestion, I stitched peyote "bezels" around each, and it hid the uneven line enough to make me happy!  Thank you, Shayne :-)

Here's what it used to look like:




Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved.



Friday, August 09, 2019

Fuchsia + onyx bead embroidered pendant


I had another beautiful set of polymer clay and resin focals by Mary Anne Williams Knapp, and although I like the asymmetrical design of this piece very much, I'm a bit disappointed with one aspect of it.  Can you see the problem?  The onyx donuts did not sit flush, and so they shifted around after the piece was stitched together.  Until that time, the surrounding rows of back stitch were nice circles, but stitching everything together caused them to shift and warp slightly.  What I should have done was to either build a clay base for them or sink them into a thicker felt foundation.  By the time the shifting occurred, it was too late.

Oh well, I'll just have to keep this one!  I don't see pieces that I'm not satisfied with.

You can find information on the open-hole triangular bail at the link.  Further instruction on making bead embroidered pieces can be found in Every Bead Has a Story, where the first chapter is free to download.


Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Book review: Bead Stitching Handbook


You know those super-clear instructions that you get from Bead & Button magazine (or from any Kalmbach publication, for that matter)?  Well, here is the handbook that you've been waiting for, that puts all the instructions for all of the stitches in one spot: Bead Stitching Handbook by the editors of B&B!  Here's a list of the stitch instructions that are included:
Peyote, netting, ladder, brick, square, herringbone, right-angle weave, crossweave, fringe, bead embroidery, spirals & helixes, chenille, chevron, St Petersburg chain, loomwork, and bead crochet.  Wow!  All the fundamentals in one handy book.

The book also includes the variations of each stitch, so for example, you'll get instructions for flat, circular, and tubular, plus how to increase and decrease.  AND it also covers special tasks the stitch is really useful for, like creating bezels with peyote stitch, stitching two-drop, diagonal, Dutch and Cellini spirals, etc.  There are tips included for using shaped beads with certain stitches too.  

Bead Stitching Handbook has 20 projects included, but it would be worth it even without them!


This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

An open-centered triangular bail


Earlier this month, I showed you some beadwoven bails that I was working on to top off and embellish my bead embroidered pendants.  Well, I found another one that I like very much in Diane Fitzgerald's book Shaped Beadwork.  On page 33, Diane shows a double-layered triangle with an opening in the middle.  Instead of stitching the whole thing together around the edges, I stitched only the top edge.  Since the two layers are joined in the middle around the opening, that forms a nice little tube along the top for your necklace strap to go through.



I found through experimentation that the size of the entire triangle needs to be enlarged from Diane's instructions.  It's simple to do this, just adding as many more rounds as you like.  An alternative, which is what I did in the sample shown here, is to just peyote stitch increases along the top edge of one layer, and then zip it to the other side.  That keeps the entire bail smaller, but still accommodates the necklace.   
Copyright 2019 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.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Fuchsia swirls bead embroidered pendant

Available! Leave me a comment

I bought this set of polymer clay and resin cabochons from Mary Anne Williams Knapp at one of her online trunk shows.  There were so many different color possibilities that it took me awhile to decide. 

I don't usually sketch out a pattern for myself before I begin, but in this case, with all the spirals and interweaving, I needed to do that, but not with the chosen colors. I simply grabbed some different colored markers and sketched the pattern, keeping a chart of which color was used in which order.  Then it was much easier to recreate it in the colors I wanted without having to draw it on the foundation fabric, fumble around, or rip out sections.


If you want to learn how to make bead embroidered pieces, I show you how to do it with over-sized beads and lots of pictures in the free first chapter of my e-book Every Bead Has a Story.  There are also free instructions there for back stitch, edging brick stitch, and more.

Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Green floral pendant with butterfly bail


Available!  Leave me a comment


Once more, I've turned to my favorite metal clay artist, Jennifer West of Off the Grid Designs.  Jen made both the focal and the charm, which feature dandelion fluff.  I used one of the beadwoven butterfly bails that I stitched on vacation for this piece.

    

Further instruction on making bead embroidered pieces can be found in Every Bead Has a Story, where the first chapter is free to download.


Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

How to Make Pandora Style Beads with Resin



Here is a guest post from Resin Obsession!  They have all the materials you need for your resin projects.  The links throughout the tutorial are not affilate links, and I have not been paid to share this project with you.  

We’ve all seen Pandora beads. Trendy and stylish, these unique beads can be customized on bracelets or necklaces for endless combinations. They are beautiful and fun to collect. But did you know you can create your own? There’s something very satisfying about creating your own beautiful jewelry, and even more so when you get compliments on it! Here, we will give you all the details you need to know about making your own Pandora-style beads with resin. This project is also appropriate for beginners. New to making beads? Head over to our tutorials to learn more about how to make your own beads and other must-knows for beginners!

Tools you will need for this project:
  • Mixing cups
  • Rubber gloves
  • Stirring sticks or toothpicks
  • Bead mold
  • Clear resin epoxy and hardener
  • Dye, glitter, or metallic powder
  • Bead grommets

The majority of these supplies can be purchased online from arts and crafts suppliers and retailers or found at your local craft store.

Let’s get started!


Prepare Your Work Station
First, lay down some wax paper or plastic that will protect your work surface and allow for easy cleanup should a spill occur. The last thing you need is to be cleaning up a catastrophic resin spill on your dining room table!

Gather all of your supplies and place along the edges of your table within reach for easy access. Rubber gloves are important for protecting your hands from resin. You may also prefer to have a trashcan within close range for disposal when finished.

Mix the Resin
A superclear resin kit is an excellent choice for making beads. Though curing times vary amongst kits, most kits take 8 hours to cure though you can always wait the full 24 hours in non-peak curing conditions. When choosing a crystal clear resin, you may also decide to add colorants for a little extra color and flair!

You will need to measure and mix your hardener with your resin according to the kit directions. Be sure to scrape the sides of your cup as you are mixing, and carefully mix the two parts together to avoid bubbles.

Once you have finished mixing, pour the resin into the mold, and set aside, allowing the resin sit.

Making the Resin Beads
Depending on the type of resin you have mixed, there are several different ways you can go about achieving the desired color and shape of your Pandora-style beads:
  • Clear Resin: Simply pour the clear resin into your bead mold. It can help to use a toothpick to guide the resin into the mold. Fill the mold completely for the best results.
  • Color with Neon Pigment: Bright neon beads are great for kids who love the brilliant effect of neon colors (or for those of us that are kids at heart!) Mix your neon pigment into the resin until it is well combined. Pour into the mold, following the same instructions outlined above in the “Clear Resin” section.
  • Metallic Powder: Mix your metallic powder into the resin and pour into the mold, following the same instructions outlined above in the “Clear Resin” section.
  • Chunky Glitter: Make your resin sparkle by mixing in glitter! In this method, mix your glitter into the resin, making sure the flecks are thoroughly mixed and suspended before pouring into the mold as outlined above.
  • Color with Transparent Pigment: Semi-transparent beads allow some light to pass through and look great when outside. Mix in the pigment and pour into the mold as outlined above.
  • Colored Alcohol Inks: In this method, first pour the clear resin into the mold as outlined above. Then add one or more alcohol inks in layers or spots to achieve your desired effect.

    Resin Bead Tips
    Once you’ve poured your resin into the mold, don’t forget to top it off completely! You can do this by placing your toothpick into the mold and dripping the resin mixture down the side of the toothpick. Once filled completely, just sit back, and let the beads cure. Once cured, gently twist and pull the beads free from the mold.

    If you end up with leftover resin, DO NOT dispose of it down your sinks or drains. The easiest option is to let it fully harden, and then dispose of it in the trash.

    Attach Grommets
    Once your beads have fully hardened and have been removed from the molds, you may notice that you have a little bit of a mess and overpoured on some beads. This can easily be corrected by sanding the beads down with fine-grit sandpaper and a little water.

    Once you have reached your desired smoothness, use a strong, clear adhesive to attach your chosen grommets to both sides of the beads. Try your best to use the right amount of adhesive so that is doesn’t overflow onto the bead surface. But don’t worry if this happens. A small amount of sanding with fine-grit sandpaper can help diminish the appearance of excess glue.

    Get Creative
    Once dried, you can use your Pandora-style beads to make bracelets, earrings, or wear as a pendant on a necklace. The combination possibilities are endless! You can even make beads that glow in the dark for the next nighttime party you attend! Add metal flakes of mock gold, silver, copper, and bronze for shine. Dry brightly colored flower petals and incorporate them into your beads for a colorful springtime look!

    Pandora-style beads make great gifts for any occasion, and making your own beads is a great project for beginners, so get your buddies involved and make it a fun group project!


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Raku bead embroidered pendant

Available!  Leave me a comment

Once more, I have combined pieces by the talented Amy Mealey and Jennifer West!  I just love the look of raku and metal together, don't you?  I was tempted to use mostly turquoise colors again on this one, but I seem to be stitching a lot of those lately, so it seemed to be time for a change :-)

The focal is bezeled with peyote stitch and a final row of right angle weave (RAW).  The bail is one of the ones I stitched on vacation.  You can see more of them and get links to the instructions at the link above. 


Copyright 2019 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Beadwoven bails for pendants


You know that most of the time, I like to just stitch a square stitch loop onto the back of my bead embroidered pendants, like the one shown below:


If it's set down low enough, it doesn't show on the front, and if you want it to show, you can set it up higher or even weave it off of the edging brick stitch row on your piece.  Instructions for stitching these can be found in chapter 3 of my e-book Every Bead Has a Story.  But today, I want to look at some other forms of bails!


While I was on vacation recently, I took along just enough beads to stitch up these triangular (and one cylindrical) bails.  Here are some sources for the instructions for these fancier bails:

How to make beaded beads with brick stitch

Shaped Beadwork by Diane Fitzgerald (book review and link)
Page 20 - triangle
Page 25 - elongated triangle
Update: Page 33 - an open-centered triangle

Shaped Beadwork and Beyond by Diane Fitzgerald (book review and link)
Page 40 and 45 - butterfly triangle



Copyright 2019 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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