Thursday, 29 December 2011

Post-Christmas beading

I hope the Seasonal festivities left you rejuvenated and ready to go in 2012!

Once the preparation was all out of the way, I enjoyed seeing family and friends, and apart from a heavy cold (me) everyone seemed fit and healthy. Before Christmas, most of my beading was intended for presents with the exception of the Dragonfly necklace. I stocked up on some bead goodies in order to use the break productively. As I had to clear my beading table this meant smaller projects which could easily be contained in a case, and worked on without a large table surface.

My first project was Debbie van Tonder's Seahorse chart from her Etsy shop which requires only three colours of delica beads and is worked in even count 2-drop peyote. It was great fun to do even though charted designs are not my usual choice. I finished it with a Sterling silver sliding clasp:

My next project was a kit I ordered online on the 21st December and received the next day, perfect timing! The kit is from Heatherworks and is a little dimensional piece in the form of an owl. I thought the kit was well presented and the instruction booklet was pretty good too.

I think you might struggle a little if you were not familiar with all the stitches (peyote, netting, herringbone, RAW, and Albion) and working at this small scale can be quite tricky once the owl takes shape. My only real quibble is that the instructions for the eyes ask for an initial round of 11 silver beads in size 11, which were not supplied in the green colourway. I substituted the size 15 silver, but then had to alter the stitch counts to fit the central pearl. The outer round is to be 16 size 11 beads so several increases are required. I ended up swapping the pearls for slightly larger ones, making the inner round 14 beads and increasing twice, though perhaps an initial round of 16 size 15 followed by 16 size 11 would have been easier. I might experiment with this... The diagrams for the head show an initial round of 8 beads rather than the 4 stated in the written instructions (I followed the written version). Here is the work in progress:

The Owl is stuffed with wool, and once assembled is about 5cm tall:

 How cute is that? I will probably gift it to my Mum, as she loves owls!

Overall I am really happy with my Post-Christmas projects, thanks to these rather fabulous designs from Debbie and Heather

Monday, 19 December 2011

Dragonfly Necklace

Finally my Dragonfly takes wing! I completed a beaded toggle clasp (having tried a few now from Sandra D. Halpenny's book 'Crystal Lace Necklace Patterns' and Laura McCabe's instructions in 'Embellished Beadwork' I 'winged it' on this one and it seems to work well).

The braided rope has a tendency to twist in wear, but as it is for me I'll keep it as it is. I decided to make the fringe at the bottom fairly simple, with a little overlapping  part at the top to go with the Art Nouveau feel of the button itself. I tried leafy fringe but it was too full and heavy, and a very plain fringe was difficult to keep flat as it attaches through the right angle weave. This is actually a front and back row attached fringe, to save passing diagonally. The little drops at the bottom are green/brown picasso finish Czech drops which remind me a little of moss agate.

I feel a real sense of acheivement with this piece as I started with just the button for inspiration. Nancy Dale very kindly shared the construction of the braid, and Nikia Angel's Etsy shop was a source for the triangular Swarovski stones so I'd like to thank them both.

And the best part? Three more delicious buttons just arrived in the post from the US in time for me to play with over the Christmas break from work! I am a happy and lucky beader.

Saturday, 17 December 2011


You may recall, I joined a 'beadalong' on the Operation: Tackle That Bead Stash blog, to complete the Laura McCabe class project. The bracelet from the first class ('Stargazer') was completed from Laura's kit in Blue/Purple/Silver colour scheme. I also chose my own colours and this version is now also complete. I had to bite the bullet and buy a gold-filled clasp since silver didn't really go with the warmer palette, but I think the end result was worth it. You can find the blog here with a completed 'Treasure Locket' necklace by another beadalong participant, Gloria. This is still on my to-do list.

Here are the finished bracelets, mine has been simplified slightly and has already been worn to the Work Christmas Lunch.

For anyone interested, the bead colours are Miyuki 15s in gilt lined peach alabaster 579 and dyed SL wine 1428, Delicas in green patina iris 24, metallic plum 12 and matte metallic copper 1051, and Swarovski crystals in cyclamen opal (3mm bicone) and Colorado topaz (2mm round). Czech and Japanese Charlottes in gold were also used (these were bought from Laura)

Friday, 16 December 2011

The C* word

Yes, it's Christmas time, I am panicking and beading is, of necessity, taking a bit of a back seat. I have put aside a new beading pattern and the requisite beads as a treat to myself, once things are back under control!!.

I bought the lovely Seahorse peyote pattern from Debbie van Tonder's Etsy FunPatternDesigns and the delicas for it from Stitch'n'Craft. Here's a pic along with some round seed beads and Swarovski stones which jumped into the cart with them...

The greens were for part of my Dragonfly necklace which I need to move on with if I am to wear it on Christmas Day. Here it is in progress:

You can see the type of embellishment on the straps is minimal, really just to cover the joins. Once the straps are finished, I'll make a beaded toggle clasp and possibly fringe the centrepiece...time permitting!

Also on the agenda this week: shopping for more presents, cooking up some edible presents (cranberry cake, gingerbread, peppermint creams and fudge) and decorating the house and tree. Two more days of work still to go however, so I'd better get on!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Too many projects...

Last weekend I managed a fair amount of beading:

Finally made the tropical version of Holle Sauerwein's 'Flower Power', and the pink bag-charm version got restitched where I had a confused moment and snipped the wrong thread. I decided to try adding some Swarovski bicones to the new pendant flower centre, and am quite pleased with the result.

I also made another unit for the second Laura McCabe 'Stargazer bracelet', a pendant with a square rivoli (or squivoli as we call them), and bezeled a Czech glass dragonfly button. A mishap in cutting the shank off the button was cured by backing the button with ultrasuede. This also gave more depth to the lovely lustre lime colour. I have a special project in mind for that dragonfly!!!

Just wish I had time to finish all these projects, but some good progress at least!