Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You've Come a Long Way, Baby....

The other day I was looking for some black fire polished 4mm black beads. I couldn't find any in my stash, and I have a whole section in my stash devoted to black beads of numerous sizes, cuts and finishes. So I decided to go into my 'discard' bag. My discard bag is a big bag of stuff I don't wear any more or there was a design flaw or was part of a piece of jewelry that had some beads on it I needed for another project. It also has beads that I don't have room for in my stash because they are of a quality I don't care to use any more or simply aren't my style.

So in this archeological dig for black beads of a certain size...I came across this oldie but goodie!

This cracked me up! I distinctly remember getting started on this. It wasn't too long after I read Carol Wilcox Wells' Creative Beadweaving. It was an attempt to make a change purse. I obviously didn't quite get the concept of weaving your beginning and end threads INTO the piece....hahaha! And clearly I didn't cut off enough thread at each go around because I seemed to be making knots every three of four rows!!!

This piece is approximately circa 1999. It cracks me up, not just because of the poor workmanship....but the pattern! Whoa! That is SO not me!!! I remember back then I just went at it without very much planning (as I did many things in those years). I definitely wasn't interested in creating or following a pattern to create a small tapestry. And at some point - and this is where it gets foggy - I gave up on it...and then eventually it went in my discard bag. I am sure I never took it apart because I spent so many hours on this piece!

Back then I only dreamed I would ever be able to produce a piece that I would want to enter into a contest. But years passed, I gained more patience and practiced (and even mastered) many techniques. And today I am proud to be able to create pieces like this:

...which I have entered in the Haute Couture Beading Contest at GoodQuillHunting.com.

I chose dress #9 which I thought was pretty spectacular looking!

Now...to say my competition is FIERCE would be an understatement.

I'm pleased with how this piece turned out. But when I compare it with some of the items in my discard bag, I can only say to myself, "You've come a loooooong way, baby!"

Friday, September 24, 2010


Well, this week I've had copying and originality on the brain. Really. It's been weighing heavily on my mind.

It all started with a post on Beading Daily forums about whether it is ethical to see something in a magazine and then create your own version and then sell it on Etsy:

And then a beautifully written post on this blog:

Which led me to purchase this lovely tutorial:

Which led me to create this lovely pendant!

Which I plan to wear to my stepbrother's wedding next weekend.

I made it to go with this top:

and am planning a thin herringbone cord to hang the pendant from!

Funny how an ethics discussion led me to create something (that I think is) gorgeous to wear to a wedding.

Circular peyote is one of my favorite stitches. I've been doing earrings in a circular peyote pattern for over a year now, and I've made a few pendants of my own in a circular peyote pattern.

But then I saw La Bella Joya's beautiful "Carnival Pendant" and fell in love (okay, it's true that I fall in love with beady things often!!!). And it's also true that I studied the photos intensively figuring "I can do that!". But there were nuances in the pattern that I couldn't wrap my head around and so in the spirit of all that was going on in my head this week ethically, I purchased the tutorial. Outside of buying books, this is the first time I ever bought a tutorial. ( I have always figured, whatever is out there will eventually find itself in a bead magazine or I could certainly find on a YouTube video ) But I AM GLAD I DID! The instruction and diagrams were done perfectly. And there are definitely parts in the pattern that I am certain no matter how many times I might try, I wouldn't have figured out. and i'm so thrilled with the results and I can't wait to try pattern with different colors and stones and frankly lots of other variations of sizes and shapes.

Will I ever take this pattern and create some pieces and sell it on Etsy? No. That just doesn't feel right.

Will I play with this pattern with different colors, sizes and shapes??? Absolutely!!!! Will it ever become my own? Maybe, maybe not. But I can tell you that there are several women in my life who will enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Artist's Diary Project (or alternately titled "It's really neat so check it out!")

I was lucky enough to participate in this very cool project, the fourth annual Diary Project. (there is a link to the right!) The way this works is nearly 400 artists from around the world designed a page and it was put together in one diary. I designed February 11, 2011. It is not that fancy, but I'm still excited to be a part of it! I am taking a PhotoShop class now, so I will really look forward to participating next year if I'm able to get a date! It's really neat so check it out!

And speaking of neat...did you see Jupiter hanging out just below and to the left of the moon last night?! I heard that if you get a pair of bird-watching binoculars you can see the rings around the planet. Jupiter will be close by only for another week or so! It's really neat so check it out!!

And this fellow, Andrew Thornton, is giving stuff away every day this week on his blog in celebration of his birthday! It's really neat, so I would definitely recommend you check it out!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Well. I think it is safe to say that lately I've been obsessed with color. I've been checking books out of the library about color. Made a trade on swaptree.com for a book on color theory. And subscribed to the Color for Bead Artists blog...where I came across a link to this great article:


Otherwise I've been busy working on my Haute Couture beading contest entry! I have started and stopped and taken it apart and started again so many times already!!! But I've finally settled on a design that I'm really excited about! And although the contest deadline isn't until the middle of November, I have about four other contests I'd like to enter between now and January 5! (oh did I say I was obsessed with color? apparently exclamation points too!!!hee hee!)

And as the article above references, I am quite excited for fall and yes, all the colors that go along with it. But I sure will miss the amazing tomatoes I've been getting at the farmers market:

Every other week I've been using the tomatoes to make a wonderful gazpacho (and what a great way to get a delicious serving or two of raw veggies!):
5 fresh tomatoes (I really think the freshness of the tomatoes is what makes this so pleasing!)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a red onion
half large cucumber
1/2 pepper (green, yellow, red or orange is fine)

Coarse chop all the above items and place in a blender

add the juice of a lemon and a lime
add about 12 leaves of cilantro (torn up with your hand)
add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Blend for about 1 minute
Chill for a couple hours