Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Got to Pick a Poppy or Two (Post 66)

I was very fortunate in receiving a great Beading Software Application for Christmas, Bead Tool4  it looks pretty impressive.  It is a tool used by Jewellery Designers to assist in the designing of bead weaving graphs; covering a variety of popular stitches including variations of: peyote, tubular peyote, brick stitch, loom, RAW (right angle weave). It has the colour charts for all Delica, Rocailles, Pony, Tokyo Aika and Treasures; you can make up your own palettes of your stock and then ... then ... it works out exactly how many beads you need!  How remarkable is that!!! Amazing, I'd say.  Updated on a regular basis and you have direct contact with the developer if you want to. It was recommended to me originally by Donna Saunders, owner of Delicate Sparkles.  I now know a few designers who just couldn't be without it.  You can treat yourself to a free trial as well - you won't be able to save or print it out but it will certainly give you a flavour of what it CAN do.  One for your 'wish list'.

As a recent convert to Peyote I knew this would be great for any future designs - and, of course ... as you know I do love my gadgets!

Donna knew how keen I was to create my own Cuff Bracelets and pointed me to her tutorial which takes gives you the bracelet pattern and shows you how to add the bracelet to a Cuff blank.  

Poppy Cuff
A 'Donna Sanders' Design
Having only done 'Even Peyote' to date I now had to do 'Odd Count Peyote', very similar except for the 'odd' rows.  With Donna's help, that of friends on OTTBS and various tutorials, (gosh don't I sound particularly thick!!) ... ahem.  I soon conquered the awkward turn.

This Cuff is a 3/4 inch cuff ... recommended would be 1/2 inch.  So as you can see there is a border either side.  To my mind, this is still a WIP (work in progress) and I have it in my mind to bead a decorative edge ... eventually!  Although some people do actually like it like this.  What do you prefer?

WELCOME TO ... Rebecca Dean

Rebecca has a variety of Jewellery and other Craft articles that she showcases on Etsy, along with some great tutorials ... I seem to be getting obsessed with tutorials, but honestly its such a great way to enhance your knowledge.  Rebecca has recently found Bead Embroidery, so follow her journey on her blog - interesting reading!

A 'Jencel UK' Design
Remember my weekend jaunt a few weeks back ... well, I bought a sweet little kit, which I sort of got persuaded into buying, (not that it took much - Carole and Dee!). Thanks to Celia of Jencel UK who was very helpful as I opted for a 2nd colour choice. NO not awkward - I prefer different thank you.

Stitch for flower buds was Peyote ... yay, first time I've done peyote that is not just in rows!  The necklace itself is a Brick Stitch.  A nice tutorial which makes up quite quickly.  Everything is included in the kit so you can just pick it up and Bead!

What's that I hear you say ... no I haven't done Week 7 Earrings yet!  That's next on the agenda - well, if I didn't keep getting side-tracked, then there's the February Challenge and of course another lovely tutorial from a beady friend ... 

So, I'll close here and remember:

'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging'


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Thrills and Spills - Part Two (Post 65)

OK, its been a few days - life takes over sometimes!  Update on 'the camera' ... as thought, its going to cost one heck of a lot of beads (grrrrr ....).  It'll certainly make me very wary of using it.  Currently I have quite an old Canon 'point and shoot', which used to be quite good but is not as sharp or as colour bright as it used to be.  Maybe I will be able to use the OHs if I don't touch the card reader??  We'll see  ...

An Award
The other week I was so pleased to receive an award from the very lovely Jay who I met 'online' a few years ago - awarded to me as one of her favourite bloggers.  Even though you visit people from time to time when you actually get mentioned its quite a thrill.  Jay introduced me to the art of making ATCs - that's Artist Trading Cards and I'll always be thankful for her kindness towards me, as I was such a 'newbie' to online forums, and crafts in general. I'm quite the proud owner of a number of traded ATCs ... although I admit to none of late.  They are literally little pieces of work of arts; fun to make and passed to other Artists whose work you admire as a way of socialising and being recognised I suppose - some people sell them as 'art'.

Week 6 Earrings
Think bling think Week 6 result, a nice little tutorial which can be done in one one evening - if time is an issue for you. 
Made with tiny seed beads and crystal bacons.  The pattern is a type of netting stitch.  Although in French the diagrams are self-explanatory.

As is quite often the case I used alternative beads than those in the pattern.  My centre bead was a little larger than the tutorial which affected the outside causing me to use more crystals to cover the larger bead - this also meant that the final earring 'ruffled' gently.  Not unpleasant - one I'm sure I'll recreate.  

Still on target - not sure what I'll do for this weeks?  Yet ...

Welcome To ...

Jet a friend from OTTBS, who blogs about her adventures with beads - along with Neo her cat.  Her bead weaving is brilliant, very vibrant, very inspiring and a very honest approach to some frustrating times that bead weave creates at times!

Time clocks on - but I've yet to tell you about my latest project Poppy Cuff.  Not to worry that can wait until another day.  Catch up again soon!

'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging'


Friday, 10 February 2012

Thrills and Spills - Part One (Post 64)

February got off to a great start when this arrived in the post!

I occasionally take part in Blog comps, never expecting to win but enjoying the interaction with the authors.  This time though ... I was one of the lucky winners, but didn't want to believe it until I could see for myself!

The blog I refer to belongs to Gemma who is like so many of my friends 'multi-talented' and showcases her work whilst also giving an insight to her many crafts.

Are you intrigued yet ... do you want me to 'open the box'?

Here we have it ... a beautiful sea blue/green, pearlised pair of earrings.  The picture can not do it justice (actually that's another story ... keep reading).

The earrings are resin with iridescent hearts inside and sterling silver ear wires .... ooh, so cute!! The winner had the choice of one of three pairs, but these were the one's that just called out to me.  

The added pleasure was the sweet little presentation box and personalised card, all handmade by Gemma.  Its these finishing touches that added to the experiences. Thank you so much Gemma x

Canon - Can Not!
Without prejudice ... is that the phrase I'm looking for?  The camera in question: Canon 50D, my husband's not mine - has been known to be used in probably what you will have noticed as the 'better' pictures on my site.  It is always with fear and intrepidation that I 'borrow' it.  Always afraid that I may damage it.  Well .....

That fateful day has arisen, and, since my last blog post my OHs camera has taken a turn for the worse.  Was it me ... I'm reliably informed by the very nice man in the Camera shop that the 'actual' cause will never be known for sure!   Whew, so maybe, just maybe it wasn't me?  I admit no responsibility, whilst strongly suspecting it 'might' have been me.  The camera has a Flashcard which connects inside the body of the camera.  The camera no longer 'reads' the card and closer inspection - we're talking gigantic lenses WITH lights, (the works!!) has detected that the pins inside the camera have been severely damaged.  By that I mean 'expensively' damaged. Resulting in a new Card Reader having to be fitted. Given my OHs undevoted attention to it, in all honesty it is extremely UNLIKELY to be caused by him.   Needless to say, I will probably receive a life's ban on using it on its return!

Moving on .... 

Welcome to my latest Blog Friend .... sunb1
A follower who shares an interest in Crafts of various types.  Always nice to meet new people - welcome to my blog!

Here I will close and hope to post Part 2 later tonight.

'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging'


Friday, 3 February 2012

The Missing Macrame Earrings (Post 63)

Whilst updating my Charters Creations FB I realised that Week 4 Earring Beadalong had not been shared on my blog.  Not that its anything 'outstanding' but it does still deserve a mention!

Week 4 Earring Beadalong
Based on a Sherri Haab Design
I think I recall telling you that many years ago I used to make macramed Wall Plaques. These were made from mariners' jute, which is quite a thick rope and were quite striking as wall hangings.  Very popular in Germany in the mid 80s. Macrame's popularity slipped away ... only now it would appear, (like a lot of fashion), to be on the increase.  No longer were pot holders, lampshades and other larger items being macramed but Jewellery, (no not the hippy friendship bracelets); something that is being termed as 'micro macramé jewellery'.  This  seems to be the current buzz word. 

I was intrigued to learn more and added it to my 'must do' list ... which by the way I can't possibly do unless I live to be 100!

Week 5 Earring Beadalong
Based on a Sherri Haab Design
I looked on it as being similar to my last blog ... you need to know the basics to get past the goal posts.  And ... Week 4 and Week 5 Earrings are the result.

Only a few knotting techniques were used, which are very simplistic.  Hopefully, over the next .... weeks/months you will see some more detailed work.  That's the plan anyway.

'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging'


Thursday, 2 February 2012

January Reflection ... February Forecast (Post 62)

So far 2012 is proving to be a very interesting New Year and I thought I'd reflect on what January has meant to me.  At the end of last year I joined Operation Tackle That Bead Stash (aka OTTBS) and unwittingly that 'jump started' me back into making jewellery - after a short interlude.  
Week 5 Earring Beadalong
Based on a Sherri Haab Design

Little did I realise just how quickly I would become involved with the Group.  Through it I have met some great Friends, Hobbyists and Jewellery Designers. Its a very informative, welcoming and friendly Group. 

January I committed myself to one of the beadalong challenges, which was to make 52 pairs of earrings over the coming year - supposedly one per week. 

Last weekend I was fortunate to be given tickets by Doris to Gem and Bead Show at Chepstow and met up with new friends from OTTBS - a first!  I'd been to bead shows previously, but to be able to go with people who shared the same passion for making jewellery was in itself bound to be an enjoyable day.  Doris was promoting her beautiful jewellery and I was able to meet this lovely benefactor of tickets in person ... thank you Doris, it was a great day.

'Swapsy' Stash
Many Thanks x
We held a 'swap' between the one's of us who had met up and shared views and general chit chat before launching into a spending spree.  I came back just buzzing with renewed energy and lots of new 'goodies' to add to my stash.

I am still not sure what pathway my jewellery making will take, and, for the minute I'm quite happy to take it at a steady pace.  

'Goodies I Bought
Calling out to be something?

I do tend to be drawn to small beadwork and begrudgingly accept that to produce the type of pieces that appeal to me I need to concentrate on learning new techniques. These are a few of the many artists, who have inspired me.
Rachel Nelson Smith
Kerrie Slade
Julie Pretl
Diane Fitzgerald

What I have come to understand is that all of their work has a 'starting' point and that is to learn the basics; only then can you create master pieces.  Unfortunately, that means potentially, producing simplistic items of jewellery because it is this that will underpin the learning and lead to your own designs.

Interestingly, OTTBS wealth of designers, puts all this into perspective and styles morph into the most outstanding results.  I said, 'begrudgingly' early as my weakness is that I want to run before I can walk and make these beautiful sculptured works of art without the toil of learning involved. 

I mean 'really' learning the basic stitches; the stitches that form the foundation of such work.  Peyote - Double, Even and Tubular, Brickstitch, Netting, Ladder Stitch, Square Stitch, Russian Stitches like St Petersburg Chain ++, Macrame techniques, Tubular Crochet - and probably a few I've missed.

No matter what specialist jewellery is made it is very often the above finishes that form the necklace to showcase the silver pendant or lamp worked bead.  So you can see that its not a case of being a 'jack of all trades' master of none because it is only if your able to vary your work that you can finish it professionally.

January Pursuits were ....

This month I have also learnt: Even and Odd Count Peyote and Sennit Knotting (macrame).

February Forecast

Already I am ahead of the Earring Beadalong, (due this Sat) and I will be entering this months OTBS Challenge. I have something in mind already ... you'll have to be patient!

I'm currently working on an odd-count peyote cuff ... work in progress.

I also want to learn tubular peyote this month!  There is a beautiful necklace in one of Rachel Nelson-Smith's book which is a sort of goal to head towards ...

A beady welcome to:

Jane Lock who creates beautiful jewellery and admits to be a fellow beadaholique! Her blog makes for interesting reading, if you'd like to take a look.

Well, not one for long posts, that your lot for now ... look forward to our next post.

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'