Monday, 31 October 2011

Cubic Right Angle Weave

Over on the OTTBS, we have been very excited by the introduction of CRAW via this video tutorial by Bead Maven Heather Collin. Nancy Dale generously shared some of her secrets with this stitch as shown in her ColorPlay Rope necklaces in this Blog post

So I took the plunge and decided to combine a size 11 bead soup I had already matched to some lovely lampworked beads by Helen Mitchell at LaLaLampwork

Here are the first few inches of work, I found plenty of accent beads in the right colours, so I'm having fun with them experimenting every few rows with a new variant.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Day of the Dead

I thought I'd make a sugar skull inspired piece, for the Mexican festival Dia de los Muertos, I used a piece of heavy interfacing and drew a rough outline with pencil. The eyes are enhanced with a permanent marker in the grooves. I was spontaneous in the choice of beads and decided not to make this symmetrical, although as a skull has its own symmetry there was a limit.

I finished it as a hair accessory using a bought slide (barrette) which I glued and stitched to the ultrasuede backing. This was then glued to the embroidery, and trimmed. The edge was finished with brick stitch in size 8 seed beads. By attaching the barrette first, I think I get a firmer result.

Day and night earring swap

I mentioned before that I was participating in the OTTBS earring Swap and the theme was 'Day and Night'. Now my swap partner Clare has received the ones I made I can show them here!

The freshwater pearls in star shape were an obvious choice, I wanted the look of a shooting star!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Half Term Beading

Well my son is off school this week, so we went down to London to visit my Mum. Although she is hoping to sell her flat soon, so we had some house chores to do, we did get a little time out as well. On Sunday we went with Mum to the Globe theatre at Bankside where she works as a volunteer steward. There was an 'Autumn Plenty' event with a procession from the Globe to the nearby Borough Market...superb for foodies. We watched a bit of the performance by 'The Lion's Part' and shopped for goodies, many special apple themed. As it was a gorgeous sunny day we then walked along beside the Thames to Waterloo, crossed on the footbridge, and walked North to Covent Garden, where I was pleased to see a bead shop open! £50 or so on a selection of lovely Swarovski rondelles and bicones, and I was a happy beader.
The Copper Crystal rondelles were almost immediately used as embellishment on this lovely cabochon (Preciosa glass from Nikia on Etsy), but as it is quite large I can't quite decide whether to make a brooch or necklace with it

Monday, 17 October 2011

Orchid Necklace

Like many seed beaders, I have a love of big lampworked focals. Many of these live in a box waiting for the Muse to visit me. This one, on the other hand, spoke to me immediately, I knew I wanted to make a spiral rope for it with the appearance of a flowering vine, and to give the focal some naturalistic aerial roots, so yesterday I set to work. Remarkably the transition from my brain to the bead mat was fairly pain free, and the finished result is here:

I am so pleased that I managed to use this beautiful bead, and intend to wear it tomorrow!
Please take a look at Laney's other creations in her Izzybeads shop on Etsy

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Weekend Beading

Most of my beading is done at the weekend, as I work full-time, and can't bead when tired. This morning was gorgeous and sunny, and as my workspace is in front of the East facing window, it was a lovely welcoming space. So I beaded!

I have signed up to a 'goal' on the OTTBS blog of completing a Laura McCabe bracelet for my Mum's Christmas gift. My 'Bead Buddy' Jo suggested modifying the original design to leave enough left over beads for earrings and possibly a pendant, so that is the current plan. The design is the Starburst bracelet from the class we did (Jo was the organiser). This one is the colour scheme supplied by Laura as a kit in purple and silver, and I still have my own to finish but I'll do it later.

Today I also sorted seed beads to go with a lovely lampwork focal by Laney Mead at IzzyBeads I was delighted to find that Miyuki 2211 and 1931 seedbeads from my stash were a perfect match for the  very pale lilac and the deep rose pink

I've chosen matte green 2033 to complement these colours. I have in mind a spiral staircase rope and a tassel under the focal representing the aerial roots of orchids (though not completely realistically...they aren't very attractive!). Added to the mix, though I may not use them, are some Swarovski bicones in Rosewater, Violet, Cyclamen and White (all opal) and some Czech glass flowers and facets. The long olive bead is a Guterman, from the bargain bin at a fabric shop.

I also made 2 pairs of earrings for the OTTBS swap on the theme of 'Day and Night' but they can't be shown until they get to my swap partner. However, I was in the mood to make earrings so I kept going and made a nice pear for myself...or even a pair of pears!!

The drop beads were bought from Yashma Designs who has a lovely range of pressed and firepolished Czech beads. Coincidentally Yashma is the sponsor of this month's OTTBS moodboard, so I must remember to enter!

Sunday, 9 October 2011


One of the ways in which I try to increase my beading output is to participate in challenges. Whilst not being as nerve wracking as entering juried contests, there is a tiny element of competition, or at least comparison, with the other participants. I prefer those challenges with a fairly simple theme, such as a limited palette of colours.

For the last few months I have entered the 'OTTBS' or Operation Tackle That Bead Stash monthly moodboard challenges. This month's moodboard is Aqua, Red and White, a very Nordic feel. I have a red flower button which I'd like to use, however in a fit of enthusiasm I glued it to a piece of foundation intending to mke a hairslide/barrette. The question is: will I be able to salvage the button or should I continue with the hairslide, trying to use only the moodboard colours?

Here's a cuff I made in a similar range of colours, for another challenge on the theme of ' Mother Nature', with blossoms against a background depicting flood waters. This was my second ever piece of bead embroidery, and I still feel it is one of my best pieces. This challenge was from a member of the Bead Buddies forum, one of the first I joined

Friday, 7 October 2011

More Freeform

I received some more frames from Laura Zeiner so began work more or less immediately on a spring palette version
The back isn't quite finished but here is the rear view, to show the ultrasuede stitched in place
Laura was kind enough to say it reminds her of an Easter egg as designed by Monet, which is a fabulous description, and suggests far more intent than was actually there. I like the way freeform just grows from a random arrangement of beads on the mat. One day I'd love to make a bigger piece, but at the moment I have a pile of frames and ideas for a 'Summer' and 'Winter' version...