Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Using Peanut Beads in a Design

I was at White Fox Bead Studio the other day and the owner was working on a bracelet she was making out of the new peanut beads.  I was struck by how the beads laid.  So I bought some and started experimenting!

I cannot do CRAW with these beads!  So I tried simple RAW; it worked!  Then I added more rows.  Still working!

I put this gray bit aside and went back to the pink beads.  I decided to add more types of beads to add contrast to the look of the peanut beads.  Here is what I came up with.  A chunky flower!

Notice the gray leaves poking out from each side of the flower.  This was the first part of my experimenting!  I made leaves from the gray peanuts.  I combined these leaves with the flowers by using sparkly crystal bicones.
 I made several flowers and experimented with connections.  Here is my first connection.  It was too tight with too many beads!  But I did like the look of it!

I ripped and re-beaded.  Here is the next connection.  I'm not certain I like it.  There is too much space in the X meeting of the beads.  I liked the first connection better!
I'll keep working on the connection for a while.  I would like to make a necklace and possibly a bracelet using these chunky flowers!  I'll post more photos when I'm done!!  Happy beading!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Etsy Beadweavers' Challenge

Voting starts at midnight tonight and goes through the 16th!  Everyone can vote just go to    Happy Beading!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I took my first Kumihimi class on Saturday a week ago at White Fox Bead Studio.  It was offered by the author of this book, Anne Dilker.  The class was designed for beading students who wanted to learn how to use seed beads in Kumihimo.  Anne works with BeadSmith and is a potter.  She has developed many kumi techniques.  I felt lucky to have had her as a teacher!

I chose two size 8/0 seed beads that were similar in color but with different finishes.  One bead has a picasso finish while the second bead has more of a luster finish.  We started with four strands of thread and added the beads on each end of the four strands.  These strands were placed on the Kumihimo board and we began the weaving!  It was lots of fun!!!  Here is what my bracelet looked like.

When the weaving was done, we learned how to add the end caps to complete our bracelet.
Now all that was left was for me to let the end caps set for 24 hours and then add my closure.  I chose a sterling silver ball hook closure, which made the bracelet a little too long for my wrist, but looks great!  It'll make a nice gift for someone!

This was a wonderful learning experience!  I would recommend this class or any class of Anne's to anyone.  Her book is completely packed with information as are her Utube videos.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Inspiration can come from many sources.  When I received my copy of Woman's Day, I knew I had to make the paper straw wreath that emblazoned the cover of the magazine. 

I chose beads as my medium...fancy that!  Red and white tiny size 15/0 seed beads were chosen.  I used CRAW as the stitch of choice for the arms of the wreath.  Red Swarovski 3mm bicones were used to tip each arm.  The arms flopped around so I decided to add more stability.  In so doing, the tiny wreath transformed into a beautiful peppermint snowflake.  I used 4mm crystal rounds and bicones with the tiny seed beads to connect each arm.  I am very proud of my finished piece!!!  Do you think I should make instructions for this?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Tester for Fleur de la Mer Instructions

I love beading, but writing is not my favorite thing to do!  I love designing new pieces, and I love teaching others to bead.  So, it's just natural that I have to write instructions for my designs, especially if I teach them!

Unlike many artists, I do not have a degree in art...I taught kindergarten instead!  Granted kindergarten teachers do focus on art but only with gobs of glue and dolops of paint!  Trying to take acceptable photos and then using a drawing program to make diagrams that are easily understood by others was not a part of the kindergarten curriculum.  All of this, I have had to learn on my own!  I did have some help from my two college age kids, but my mind doesn't work like theirs does...thank goodness!

It has taken me over a month (life did interfer) to write the directions for Fleur de la Mer!  It is a large piece and that requires more written instruction.  Now that I am done, I would like to have the instructions tested by someone who is not an accomplished beader. 

I had a wonderful tester, but she decided to get pregnant, leaving no time for beading!  (I'm very happy for's her first!  Good luck, Kim!)  So if there is anyone out there who would like to volunteer to test Fleur de la Mer, please leave me a message!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Totally Twisted

Totally twisted is not only the Etsy Beadweavers Team challenge theme this month, but is also the way I feel when I bead a Cellini spiral. As some of you may know, I am a type A personallity which means in beading terms that I have very tight tension!  This being said, my first Cellini spiral was a wonderful long work of long I mean straight and stiff.  It needed to curve, so I bent it.  Yes, you guessed broke into two sections with tiny beads popping through the air.  My heart broke!  Then to top it off, my husband told me it looked like plastic.  That's his comment when he doesn't like my beadwork.  Well, it does look somewhat like plastic...need to rethink my bead choices!!!  Notice the straight spiraling work...perfect, but not an ounce of give!

My second Cellini spiral turned out a bit better. My bead choices didn't look plastic so I wove about three inches.  The tension varied.  I was trying to figure out the correct tension so that when I started my third Cellini spiral it would bend! 

The third was a charm!  My tension allowed the spiral to flex and bend into a nice curve.  You see it here in this necklace that I made for the challenge.  I am so proud of this Cellini spiral because beading it does not come natural to me, I had to work hard for it!

After all this, one of my FB friends told me that my tension may not have been the culprit!  She had always used Nymo for her spirals and they were very flexible, but she decided to use Toho's One G thread on a new spiral.  She said that it broke on her and was not flexible.  One G is my thread of choice, but I will have to give Nymo another chance on the Cellini.
Wow look at that flexible curve!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

When Beads Go Bad

I fully intended to enter the Etsy Beadweavers Challenge, Inspired by Picasso!  I researched Picasso's art including his different periods.  I was most struck by his analytic cubism period.  All the angles, shapes, and play with a confined colorway was something I understood.  Picasso's "Le guitariste" (1910)  is the perfect example of analytic cubism.

I organized my thoughts (as well as they can be organized).  I chose my colorway.  I drew a diagram of what I planned to do.  It was titled "The Swimmer".  If you look closely you can see a face and two swimming arms.

I even made the base for the bracelet. My plan was to embellish the angles and lines on the surface of a right angle woven base.  I chose a wonderful Czech finished seed bead that was sort of a variegated buttery tan color.
I started to add my embellishments...that's when things started to go bad!!!  Somehow, I had forgotten to tell the beads what I wanted to accomplish.  As many of you beaders know, beads do have a mind of their own!  The beads felt very strongly that stripes were in order.  Who was I to argue!  
Actually the "bad" beads were correct in their thinking,  stripes turned out great.  My only problem was how to close the bracelet.  Again the beads made that decision for me.  They had the idea of collapsible flowers with loops for the closure! 
They turned out even better than I thought they would.  Sometimes when beads go bad, we really need to listen!  The bracelet was wonderful...but had nothing to do with Picasso or analytic cubism!  Oh well, there's always next time!  Happy beading!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Playing with my Pattern

 I have been playing around with my Bling Ring pattern.  I love the ring as it is, but wondered if I could dress it up more.  I took several 18 mm rivolis and using the pattern bezelled around them.  Then I  matched different  beads and embellished to make each rivoli  bezel different.  I wanted to show several options of how to adapt a simple pattern to make something more unique.
It is very easy to make the ring pattern into a pendant.  You just change the peyote ring strip to a smaller strip and attach on the same side as the start.  If you look below, you can see all the embellishments I added to make the pattern into unique designs.  I especially like it when students take my patterns and change them up to make something unique to themselves.

To make this pendant, I used peyote stitch and added Czech rondelles to make the sweet dangles.  I added a tiny bit of silver with 15/0 seed bead embellishment between the dangles and on the edge of the bail.

On this pendant adaptation, I used 15/0 seed beads, copper metal bugles in two sizes, and crystal rounds to make the triangle shaped dangles. 
This is a ring awaiting the new owner's finger size.  For this adaptation, I used 15/0 seed beads to make a wrapped around look.  It is very substantial and bold looking!! 

This pendant adaptation represents the Caribbean summer.  A golden warm sun shining down on the beautiful blue crystal waters.  I used two sizes and colors of crystal bicones to represent the cool water and golden seed beads to complement the warm sun. I used a picoted row of charlottes as my top row, followed by a row of 3mm crystal bicones, and lastly a row of 4mm crystal bicones with a 2AB coating for extra bling!!
This ring is a more formal adaptation.  I used golden 15/0 seed beads to picot around the bezel to add an elegant element to this emerald green ring.
I was going for a fun and funky look on this ring adaptation.  I used cube beads to achieve this look.
I made a very delicate looking flower by using 15/0 seed beads to picot around then adding a second row of picots behind this row.  In the second row, I used 15/0 seed beads and daggers.  The daggers look just enough petalishness (my new word) to make a flower.
This is another ring adaptation.  On this ring, I used gemstones strung between six 15/0 seed beads as dangles all around.  This ring will be fun to wear with all its movement!
Last, but not least is my favorite adaptation.  This ring embellishment takes the longest amount of time when compared with the others, but it is well worth the time.  You get a very bushy ring with oodles of shake and movement.  Everyone notices this ring immediately!!  To accomplish this look, I used coraling technique using seven initial delicas and then adding two branches.  The tips are 15/0 seed beads.

If you would like to try any of these embellishment techniques on my Bling Ring pattern, you can find the instructions for the basic Bling Ring on my Etsy site.  Enjoy!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Catching Up

I've been remiss in posting new info lately!  Part of the problem was the end of the school year with one son graduating from high school and the other son moving home from college and then up to Connecticut for the summer.  Then there's the whole summer problem...I love the outdoor life when it's hot!  Boy, has it been hot!  I have enjoyed the pool and the lake (My hubby is one of those boater people!).
And, of course, my last reason is the computer.  The computer is typically not my friend, but I have been using it more and more!  I have learned quite a bit about my new drawing program and have been using it to make new beadweaving instructions.  I use diagrams with fewer words than my original instructions.  I still have some of my original instructions to list on Etsy.

I currently have instructions of these items in my Etsy shop or they are being tested by friends  in the new format.  I can't wait to see how they do. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Green All Around

What's with all the green?  I'll bet that's the question you are asking if you saw my latest Etsy offerings. To make a long story even longer, let me start at the beginning!!!

This month's EBW Team's Challenge is "Spring around the Corner".  I was inspired!!!  Looking out of the window in front of my beading studio desk, I could see all the trees budding green.  The greens varied in hue and shade!  It was lovely!  I also had purchased a ceramic face from Marty Thurman (Laughing Dog Studio) that had a green tint to it.  The face actually looked like it was yawning!!  Spring Awakening!!!!  Oh what whimsy!

I used the face as a bead embroidery pendant!  I loved it, but what kind of neck strap to use.  First, I tried a lacy look that just didn't feel substantial enough for the it became a bracelet!

Next, I had this elaborate idea of dual herringbone ropes of differing green colors with a string of beads between.  The herringbone ropes were easy!  How in the world was I going to put strung beads between them?  Not a clue!  After many trials and ERRORS (that, of course, had to be frog stitched out), I finally had an idea of how to progress.  Surprisingly, my idea worked; HOWEVER, when I went to hang the pendant, the dual ropes sagged and rippled in on themselves!!!!  Horror of horrors!!! 

Without the pendant the ropes hung a new necklace was formed!!!

Still, I had a pendant without a neck strap. I made beaded beads and thought that would work, but I did not have enough of the lime 3mm I was stuck yet again!!! But I made these wonderful earrings!!

I asked friends for ideas....I was desperate!!!  A friend suggested a spiral rope.  I thought about that idea for a while and then decided to do a flat spiral.  I really liked the way my challenge piece turned out!!!  Plus, I had all these new pieces of jewelry to list!!!

How's that for an  answer to the question of all the green?  I sure hope someone out there likes green!!!!!