Sunday, 24 June 2012

Wind and Weather

Although we've been lucky over on the Eastern side of the UK, not to have been flooded as some other regions were, this week has had some fierce weather! Occasional sharp showers have caused drains to overflow, and high winds have brought down tree limbs in our neighbourhood. The temperatures range from 10 to 29 degrees Celsius so it is a challenge to dress appropriately.

On the other hand I am beading more than usual for the time of year as the garden is watering itself Yay! When they introduced a hosepipe ban you knew what would happen...

This week I concentrated on some gifts for work colleagues. On Tuesday we had a leaving party for a co-worker who was made redundant. This was rather depressing but I'd made her a couple of beaded gifts to help cheer her, and bought her a beading tutorial since she has beaded in the past and will have some time to do more.

I made a ring with some of the beady gift from last week:

Passionflower Ring

Then it transpired that our Summer student is getting married in two weeks time. Second time for both of them, and they are going down to Cornwall for a short break, the ceremony will be extremely small. I was going to make her a bracelet as a leaving present, but I changed my mind and decided to make something  for her wedding based on her description of her dress 'Champagne Lace'. I included plenty of pearls as her name is Margaret (which means pearl).

Margaret's wedding cuff
Amazingly it was a great fit, so I just sewed the snap fasteners in place, and apparently a great colour match too! Phew! I hope she will be able to wear it on other occasions too.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Lucky Beader

Last week I sent out a couple of parcels of beads. One was to a lady who beads on a budget and had expressed an interest in some pearls I was destashing. A fellow beader in the US had asked me to send on some of her destash anonymously. I added a few oddments such as a ceramic angel tile and some Chinese crystals and sent the whole lot off. On Friday another parcel of disc pearls and some assorted orange accent beads were sent off to a friend in Scotland with some pieces to share with the other beaders she meets up with. I love sharing out the contents of my stash as it helps assuage the guilt I have at accumulating so much and using so little! Ahem! Yes, moving swiftly on...

On Saturday morning there was a knock at the door and I had a parcel delivered. Vicky at Bead Shop Liverpool had promised to send a couple of Chrysolite Rivolis, but the parcel contained much, much more...
Goodies from Bead Shop Liverpool

...including the chrysolite opal Swarovski bicones I have been denying myself for nearly a year (you know how it is, you add them to the basket and then before checkout you put them back? Must have happened 5 times if not more!) But also in the package was a challenge:

'Your mission, if you choose to accept it is to make a piece of jewellery using the components in this envelope. You must use at least 2 different stitches. This message will self distruct in 5 seconds 5...4...3...2...1...poof'

Well what could I do but accept the challenge...I love all the items...although I might not be able to combine all into one project but that is OK I think, and I can add from my stash!

Karma does work, and what you do can come back to bite, or as in this case benefit you. I feel very fortunate in my beady friends!

So, on Sunday I played with some floral ideas, thinking of combining different types of bezeled stones. I used Sabine Lippert's 'La Fleur' design as a jumping off point and tried a few variations with different stone sizes and embellishment rounds. Here is a selection of my 'Beadoodles'

'La Fleur' Variants

The left hand is a 14mm  Chrysolite Rivoli the right hand are crystal 8mm chatons.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

June Jubilations

I'll skip right to this current month now, and show some of the beading I managed over the long Jubilee weekend (celebrating the 60 year reign of Queen Elizabeth II). We were lucky and had both Monday and Tuesday off so on Sunday, all the chores done, I settled into a good beading session. On the OTTBS blog, the new monthly challenge theme was posted (no, not Red White and Blue!) and it was Rainbow, to use at least 5 colours from the Rainbow song, and, to double your chances of being a winner of some Swarovski elements, to use 'leftovers'. I looked through my bead soup drawer as I remembered having a multicoloured mix which I'd used for a dichroic glass pendant, which was mainly an iridescent transparent green but also had red orange and topaz silver lined beads. I topped it up with some purple and blue to get a nice spectrum, and managed to make a really speedy Freeform Right Angle Weave cuff. With a few embellishment beads I think it made a good tonic for the AWFUL weather that day!

Rainbow Fiesta

Freeform is my current favourite, and I realised that although I've made small items in freeform peyote I had yet to try a large piece, so 'Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained' I found a beautiful lampworked shell pendant by Tiger Henderson and spent most of a day assembling some beads I thought would go well. My main problem has been NOT matching the focal too closely, as with the loose structure it seems to blend into the background. This is the progress so far:

Seastrand necklace
I've put it to one side now to wait for more inspiration to strike, but with a bit more work this foundation will be ready to embellish.

Next, I decided to take a few more days annual leave, so spent some time making another owl from Heather Kingsley-Heath's pattern, and I treated myself to a lovely new pattern by her called 'Bella's Charm' after the Twilight series of books/films. I liked this as it has another way of bezelling chatons, so I look forward to trying that method as well as the ones in Sabine Lippert's designs

Alternating between making other peoples' designs and trying to make my own works seems best for me, if I get discouraged I can set a piece aside and do an 'instant gratification' project, even a pair of earrings and this helps remove the 'block'

Saturday, 9 June 2012

May Treats

Well such a lot has happened I have barely had time to breathe let alone blog! I hope the following post isn't too long as I attempt to catch up.

The Bead Retreat to Derbyshire was another weekend of fun with like-minded beaders. We were fortunate enough to have received sponsorship from a number of Bead Shops including Beadshop Scotland, RB BeadsJencel, and Spoilt Rotten Beads, in the form of Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones and a number of other exciting items. As they were in some cases impossible to divide 18 ways, Donna made smaller parcels and numbered them 1-18. At random I allocated every person a number, then put the appropriate numbered parcel in the goody bags that Donna had decorated, so neither of us knew who had what! Also in the bags were a sample of Bead Soup from Nancy Dale of NED beads all the same mix, and a little bead embroidery kit from Julie Cowan and Nancy Dale

The soup and a freeform peyote item I made from it (Laura Zeiner's design)

We also had a great time swapping items from our stash (one beader's unwanted items are another beader's treasure), visiting the pub, learning new techniques and tricks of the bead from each other. The time passed all too quickly but I have a tray full of mementos:

 as well as a load of happy memories and some new beady friends, who I hope to stay in touch with until the next time...

I'll continue the Month's roundup of events in a further post since time is running away with me!

STOP PRESS--- Nancy Dale is now offering Custom Made bead soups, mixed to your liking! Have a look in her Etsy shop---STOP PRESS