Monday, 30 January 2012

Who Ran Away With January? (Post 61)

You will already know by now that I'm not a 'prolific' blogger!  Yet, I have so much I'd like to blog about. I started this year by saying I'm not making resolutions yet I find myself promising myself just the opposite.  Some people say its best to be upfront and announce them to the world - in the misguided conception that this will 'force' you to act on them.  Not quite my style ... I prefer to drip feed my achievements. 

Week 3 - Earring Beadalong
Week 3 Beadalong
A ' Debbie van Tonder' Design

I made these beautiful pair of earrings using Tila beads, (which are quite a new type of 2-holed square bead with a vast range of colours).  I also used Size 11/0 black seed beads and Size 8/0 gun metal seeds.

Haven't they worked up quite frilly ....

The design is by Debbie van Tonder, a jewellery designer from South Africa.  Her designs are very 'moreish' - the more you have, the more you want!

Week 3 Beadalong
A 'Debbie van Tonder' Design
I've also entered these into OTTBS January Challenge - amid an outstanding collection of work.  Its the taking part that's important, but who wouldn't want to win!
For those of you who have 'twigged on' to the fact that it is Week 5 ... there's no fooling you! Your right - I am a little late.  

Week 4 bead along has not yet been invented - Week 5 isn't due before the end of the week, which gives me a little leeway. Coming soon ...

I'd like to say a big welcome to Eva Maria Kaiser, who has recently joined us, Eva is an artist renowned for her structural 'wonders'!  I am so lucky to have so many artistic friends who take time to pop over when they have a minute.  Once again, my thanks to you all.

Handmade Monday
Have you been to visit Wendy and online friends who showcase their work at Handmade Monday No. 51.  There you will find a variety of crafts to admire; such as jewellery from Alison, of Blue Forest Jewellery, cute knitted gifts from Quirky Villages and so much more.  

Work In Progress
I have two pairs of earrings to do this week, one which may well be a micro macrame design.  I used to make Macrame Wall Plaits inlaid with silk flowers ... ahem, back in the 80's that is!  Very popular at the time when I was living in Germany.  There are really only a few knot techniques to master; it will be interesting to do as I used to work with jute rope that mariners use.  Micro macrame, although the same principle is going to be soooo different!

Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging ... probably later in the week!

Week 3 Beadalong
A 'Debbie van Tonder' Design

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

No Your Not Seeing Double (Post 60)

Week 2 - Earring Beadalong
I was so impressed with Norma Jean Dell's tutorial that I made a 2nd pair, this time using the beautiful gemstone Unakite.  Don't worry, when I said last week that maybe I'll do 52 pairs - I was only joking.  

Week 2 Earring Beadalong
A 'Norma Jean Dell' design

I was a little disappointed with the irregularity of the seed beads but as its using up some of my 'old stash' I knew it would be.  Last week's were what I call 'proper' miyuki seed beads.

Since joining Operation Tackle That Bead Stash (OTTBS) I've become consciously aware of How Little I Know, and, How Much I Want To!  Its been so encouraging seeing the vast range of beadwork and how 'welcoming' and 'willing to share' everybody is.  Its certainly given me a 'buzz'.  I have a feeling I will be 'blogging' their praises for a long time to come. 

Debbie van Tonder - Welcome to my blog ...
Debbie, who I met through OTTBS, is a jewellery designer with some pretty impressive tutorials and patterns, in fact over 400 scrumptious items in her Etsy store.  

Keen to learn new techniques I have purchased a few tutorials; one being 'How To Bead and Read a Peyote Graph'.  This takes size 15/0 beads - so, a little bigger than those of the brooch I made the other week.  

The Peyote stitch is a totally new stitch to me, but I can thoroughly recommend this tutorial.  Debbie's clear guidelines and pictorials meant that by the end of my 'test' square I felt I really did understand the stitch and how to read the graph, to the point where I was even able to correct some minor mistakes I made.  

Without moaning (again!!), my beads were from my stash and meant that the overall result was not as good as if it had been the 'genuine' miyuki delica bead.  Sorry Debbie ... but you can see by the wiggly border what I mean.

I now need to order some more stock as I have a single peyote bracelet pattern that I feel I really must do.  More about that again.  I also have a beautiful tutorial from Debbie for a pair of earrings using Tila beads ... aha, that will be perfect for the Earring bead along!

A Belated Hi ... to Handmade Monday No: 49
Hey ho ... my resolution has already flown out of the window!  To link up you DO have a deadline, which in Wendy's generosity is open until Tue noon, (I believe?). This week, for me, has been a little out of the ordinary and unexpected events meant I didn't make that timescale - but I will pop over and see everybody and you can do the same.  

Are You Overwhelmed with Blog Reading - or General Excessive Surfing?
Over the last week I've come across some interesting blogs which leapt out at me!   
Sister Diana, aka Diana Gilleland, Discussing the wealth of information that we receive and how we try to keep track of it all.  Thoughts quite close to my own - why do we feel the need to bookmark and link to everything, hoard tutorials that we may never use etc etc. Elizabeth Rogers Drouillard suggests ways to lighten the load talks about how we should approach digesting all this information.

Diana and Elizabeth's blogs, to me, bounce off each other quite nicely ... sisters?  I don't think so, but quite interesting to share their world!  Word of warning mind, they also reference soooooo many other 'interesting' people that I challenge you NOT to 'add' to your blog reads - an impossibility I'm sure! 

I have yet to follow out their recommendations but over the next few weeks intend to.  Both blogs are full of thought provoking views and I'm sure you will find some worthwhile tips.  

What am I saying!!  I do hope you will continue to follow and remember: 

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'


Monday, 9 January 2012

Art Decor - Such a beautiful Era (Post 59)

I started off this year by stating I don't make 'resolutions' as such.  Then I went on to say that I'd joined Operation Tackle That Bead Stash Earring Beadalong.  Electing to make a pair of earrings each week for the year.  Luckily, Clair is not laying down the law on exact timescales - guidelines are by 12 pm each Saturday, but there is a bit of a leeway.  Basically, although not a Challenge (no prize but your own earrings to wear), the aim is to make 52 pairs of earrings throughout the year.  

No, this is not a ... 'I've been too busy blah blah post', as I have submitted Week 1 Earrings, which are:

Week 1 Beadalong
A 'Norma Jean Dell' Design
Norma Jean Dell very kindly gifted a tutorial to OTTS Facebook Group for these earrings and always keen on developing my beading skills I was delighted to test it out. I used size 15/0 seeds, freshwater pearls (a pressy from my daughter-in-law) and lilac/pink magatama beads.

My first attempt (discarded!) was nothing to be proud of ... never one to give up, I started again. This time a success.

I find I learn 'visually' I need to see written/pictorial instructions for it to register in the 'little grey cells'! Norma Jean's tutorial was just that with the clear instructions and follow along photos.  

If you want to join in with the Beadalong or any other of the challenges visit Operation Tackle That Bead Stash and join the OTTS Facebook Group.

I'm aiming to keep my blogs 'shortish' - that way you may read to the end!  So before I whitter on, be assured I will be blogging more often.

I also want to say a 'Happy New Year' to all my friends at Handmade Monday who produce some lovely projects ... a vast range of delights - artwork, jewellery, candle making, knitting, needlework, woodwork and so much more!  Every Monday you will find out what everybody has been up to throughout the week; always worth a look! This week is Handmade Monday 48, the 1st visit of the year and, as always, is hosted by Wendy. Oops, my second 'non' New Year resolution!  To join in each week.  

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'


Sunday, 8 January 2012

Why Do You Follow - Why Do I? (Post 58)

Since the New Year I have acquired numerous followers on Twitter and also to my blog, this set me thinking as to what makes somebody link up with another that they have never met before?  I would be interested to hear Your views.

My virtual friends on Charters Creations, are in the main, like-minded friends and have their own blogs which share their creative side.  I consider myself quite fortunate and enjoy linking in with you all.  

Do you link as a 'reciprocal gesture - I hope not, I certainly don't and only follow those who I 'want' to.  Some of the reasons why I do, are because:

  • I am inspired
  • Intrigued, perhaps you have an 'unusual' style to your blog
  • It may be the beginning of Your Journey - and this in itself I find interesting, which way will your path take you
  • I see similarities in my own 'learning curve'
  • Share views
I follow the same guidelines on Twitter; which is a whole different ball game!  The audience a lot larger, this is where the question is more apparent.  Why do People Follow Me?  I know for some its because they want to boast they have 'x' number of followers, others I like to think its because they've taken the time to look at my blog get to know me a little through my posts and like what they see.

Unfortunately that's not always the case ... some its just blatant advertising and spam tweets.  Anyone who follows me, I try to find out a little more about them; if they have the above criteria I may return the 'follow' - but never automatically.

Just a thought ... now I'd like to give a big welcome to:

Gemma of Damselfly Gemma is interested in all types of jewellery and makes beautiful resin jewellery, beaded hair clips, button jewellery and has an online Folksy shop where you too can see her work.

Dee - unknown to me but I'm sure somebody who likes Handmade crafts as she follows a few blogs that I do.

Norma Jean Dell of NJ Designs is a Beadweaver who designs beautiful, in fact my next post will feature a pair of earrings that is one of her designs.  Thank you for inspiring me!

Sarah of April is Forever creates handmade beaded jewellery on Etsy and sells tutorials and even has free tutorials whilst also contributing to Tackle That Bead Stash.

Alana Haukka is a Beadweaver, wireworker and polymer clay artist and poet who like so many of us is inspired by all types of creativity.

So, I think you will agree with my opening statement, so many of my virtual friends are fellow artists.  

Thank you all once again, its a great start to 2012.  I will be posting again tomorrow to show you the earrings I made for the Beadalong ....

Until then, 'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging'


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Little Rudy arrives ... (Post 57)

Only 2nd January and I start the New Year with one finished project!  Here he is ... my Little Rudy

Little Rudy ... (made from aTutorial from The Lone Beader)
You may recall I purchased a tutorial from Diana, The Lone Beader, a Jack Russell Terrier brooch. You may also remember my reaction to working with tiny seed beads ... shock, horror. Surprisingly though once I'd started I found myself  'in the zone' quite quickly and within a short time got quite attached to him.

The tutorial covered all the materials and tools required; the instructions were easy to follow and has lots of photos to guide you.  Diana kept in touch, so I was able to ask her advice at any time.  
Lessons I Learnt
Not quite asleep - afraid to miss something!
  1. Gather all your materials together before you start and make sure you order those that you need.  In my case, I had to order everything yet still forgot to buy black beads ... thinking I must have these already.  I substituted these beads (which were for the eyes) for larger 11/0s.  Its given Little Rudy a bit of a quirky look - instead of looking as if he's asleep, he looks like he has one eye open, keeping an eye on things.  Like a new puppy who is afraid of missing something.
  2. Keep in touch with the Designer, they are pleased to advise - they want your finished item to look good as well.  Diana was very friendly and helpful.  Thanks Diana!
  3. Be patient with yourself!  I found I kept referring back to the photos, like a comfort blanket for reassurance.  Its not a race ... don't work on it unless you have time to concentrate.  
  4. Diana encouraged you to complete an area then to close off a section and use a new thread. Great tip, because if you did go wrong at any point you could take out a section without ruining everything.  Not that I had to ... because I took my time this wasn't necessary - but I can see the logic behind it.
  5. Take photos ... its good to look back at and you'll want them to post on your blog!
  6. Keep in mind, you are learning new techniques which you can transfer to future projects, those that you feel inspired to design yourself.   That's the beauty of tutorials ... they are the stepping stone to releasing your own ideas.
This design could be a pendant or a brooch, or both!  I chose to have it as a brooch, (or Pin as I know Americans say).  I varied the finishing technique a little, by adding the bar clasp direct to the felt covering the stitches, then covered it with the ultra suede. This hid the bar, giving quite a neat finish.  
Back after Beading finished
Completed Back after adding Bar Clasp
I feel as if I've learnt a lot but also know I have a lot more to learn.  Diana's tutorial has given me the skills and confidence to continue my beading journey.  
Oh, he looks so cute!

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Little Rudy.  Pop over and see what delights the The Lone Beader shop has.  You won't be disappointed, her work is simply amazing!

Before I close, I must lead you to another self taught Beading Artist, Smadar - who produces such intricate jewellery and has very kindly produced a free tutorial for her very own Ribbed Beaded Bead.  If you use this tutorial please credit Smadar as the designer and follow her guidelines.  Thank you.

Finally, thanks to Gemma, Dee, Norma Jean and Sarah for joining us - I hope to tell you a little more about them next time.  In the meantime ...

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'


'Little Rudy' ... amongst the Christmas Decorations