Monday, April 30, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || Z || Zipping up

Hooray!  I have officially completed the Blogging from A-Z Challenge and zipping up is a fitting way to wrap up!

Zipping up a piece of beadwork, in my opinion, is kind of 'when the magic happens'.  There's a feeling of completion...full circle-ness...and just general satisfaction.  Kind of like how I'm feeling about having finished the A-Z challenge! 

I was surprised to find so many photos in my files, of beadwork during the process of being zipped up! So rather than explain zipping up, I think the pictures speak for themselves!

Here are just a few....

THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who stopped by on the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I really loved participating this year. I'll write more about that soon, May 7th is the day scheduled for participants to post their reflections of the challenge!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Beading Babes Reveal - Project(s) 4!

It's Beading Babes Reveal day!!

First let me just say - I just LOVE this idea of Karyn's.   And her tag line is so perfect and fitting - "Bringing Beaders Together."  The Facebook Group is fantastic because we have a very easy forum now to encourage, get and give tips, or commiserate over frustrations on projects!

This round of Beading Babes featured three projects. Paisley Drops by Jane Lock, Ruffled Chain Bracelet by Laina Goodman and Trellis Rope by Nancy Dale.

The first project I completed was the Paisley Drops.  I'd been wanting to try the Russian leaf pattern for some time so I was excited that this was one of our projects.  I love blue and orange together!

 I knew from the beginning that I wouldn't have time to work through the whole bracelet on the Ruffled Chain Bracelet, and decided on earrings right away. 

I liked this pattern a lot alot also, I felt like it worked up quickly, and that's always very satisfying!
The only challenge I found here was that, when it was time to work the final peyote round - I couldn't even get my smallest needle through the spots pointed out below!  But I didn't mind, I still like how they turned out!

And last, but certainly not least, was the Trellis Rope! As many Babes know, this one was a lot of work and very time (and bead) consuming.  I loved, loved, loved the RAW tubular base of the rope.  It worked up quickly.  My first challenge came on the flower embellishment - but it was only because I didn't like the colors I chose - they were all too matchy-matchy, and this rope (IMO) calls for some contrast!   The netting confused me a bit, but once I figured out the rhythm, it went along nicely.  This is as far as I'm planning to do on the rope, I"m going to add another couple inches to this rope, probably with some more of the crystals - but smaller, and then add a clasp.  Also - I may go back to the embellishments near the crystals and add a few more beads, because right now there is more thread showing than I would like....

While this rope was a bit more time consuming than I might have liked, I really LOVED the result.  This is such a beautiful rope.  Now I'm thinking through what kind of pendant to add that will  compliment with this rope!  Or maybe I'll leave it as is! 

Looking forward to Project 5!  Thank you again Karyn for hosting this fun, creative group!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || Y || Y Chromosome

One of the great things about beading, is the endless ability to make things for people....but not all people...mostly female people!

The Y chromosome is what makes a boy, well., a boy!  I don't typically have a lot of opportunity to make things for my son or husband....but once and a while and opportunity comes up!

Join me tomorrow for the Beading Babes REVEAL! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || X || X

Cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater!  That's me!  I searched long and hard for an "X" topic....and alas....couldn't come up with much.  Last year I wrote about "xanthic" which was a fun commentary on things colored yellow.  But since I couldn't drum up a true "X" topic....I'm cheating.

X is for x-claimation points - of which I admittedly overuse!!! (I can't help it - they are such wonderful x-pressions of enthusiasm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

X is also for x-cited!  Which I am for many reasons!

The first is that I finally saw the Bead & Button spread, featuring one of the squares I contributed!

I am proud to be in the company of several other Maryland beaders in this feature! I did four squares for the project (one for every breast cancer survivor I know), but the swan featured above, I worked up during a fun event at Bead Soup on new years day.  The store's owner, Kathy, generously donated kits for beaders to create Baltimore orioles (see them in the spread?!)  What great energy there was that day!!!

I was also rather x-cited to see some of the patterns I created for use on this project, have been used!   It's such a great project, and I can't wait to see what the theme will be for next year!

Also x-citing, is that the focals came for the next challenge!  I have plenty to go around this time.

Here is an x-clusive sneak peek!

I am going to start putting kits together this week.  I think the cost will be around $4 for this challenge kit. If you are interested in participating, feel free to sign up for the challenge kit newsletter (there's a widget on the left side bar - if you participated last time- you're already on the list!)   Kits will be available for purchase May 8, with a reveal date of June 25.   

And finally another x-citing thing is that the Beading Babes reveal is this Sunday.  I have two pieces done, but like many of the other Babes, I am still working on my trellis rope.  

Wow - I can't believe there are only two letters left for the A-Z challenge!!!  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || W || Work

Work.  My dream job would be to bead and craft all day.  Although that was tested once when I had a request to make a bunch of necklaces in a short period of time. My hand and fingers hurt so bad I thought, could I really do this?!

I had to make 12 of the above in 3 short days.  Now this might have been easy to do in 3 days, except one little issue....I work full time, and not as a beader.  Sigh.

You might already glean this, if you regularly read my blog, ...but for work, I am a private contractor working on marketing and event projects.  I rather enjoy it.  It brings home a fair paycheck and there is always a place for creativity in marketing and events!  Aside from the events I need to be present at, I work from home.  That is a huge blessing as a parent and I feel very, very lucky that even though I work full time, I can sneak away to do field trips, stay home if my son is sick, lunch with a friend (hey a girl's gotta eat), etc...without anyone noticing or caring for that matter!   Sneaking away to bead is another matter....I have a pretty strict work ethic and even thinking about sneaking away to bead, gives me just too much guilt.  So beading time is usually reserved for evenings and weekends.

I suspect that is the case for many other beaders out there and it makes me curious - - what do YOU do for work?  If you care to answer below, it might be fun to see the diverse work that is done by people in the blogosphere.  SAHM's feel free to answer too - I know you work all day too!!!
(Click on the "Click here to enter" to share what you do for work)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || V || Video

No beads, just a little video!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || U || Unfinished - Undo

I have to confess....I have several containers full of 'unfinished' bead projects.  They're typically pretty small pieces.  Sometimes I've started something and I don't like the colorway....sometimes I like the colorway, but I don't have enough beads to complete the project....or sometimes I've made a mistake on the pattern....and sometimes I have tried an adaptation of a pattern and it just isn't working out....then there are times I just plain don't like it!

The result is lots of unfinished work.  Here are just a couple of containers I have that contain unfinished work!

I think the psyche behind these containers of unfinished work is, at the moment they go into these containers, I don't feel like picking it apart, and I certainly wouldn't dream of throwing away the beads.  My intention is to move on quickly to another project.... and to get back to these pieces and salvage the beads for another project or give them another try!!

But I think it's time to face the facts that I'm never going back to these unfinished pieces....I need to schedule one day a month to UNDO these pieces!
 Also - I put some names in a hat and pulled out a winner for the kit I want to giveaway for the Spring Fling Challenge players! 

And the winner is......
Therese from Therese's Treasures!!  Congratulations Therese.  I can't wait to see where your talent takes you with these beads!
 It's about that time when I wish the A-Z Challenge was the A-T Challenge!  Still trying to think up topics for V, X, and Y!!!!!  Don't forget to stop by the A-Z Challenge Blog list - there are some really neat blogs to discover on this list!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || T || Tutorial

Today my "T" post is TUTORIAL.  Where would be we [beaders] be without them?!  So in honor of my two hundredth post and the letter "T", I am sharing my first tutorial.

I have been working on this tutorial for a little while, and I want to acknowledge to all those tutorial writers out there, that I did not realize how difficult the process is!  And this one isn't very fancy!  Just some pics (and some bad ones at that) and some instructions, very much in my own words.  I started this same one several months ago and gave up because I didn't feel like I was doing a very good job.  I guess all I'm trying to say, is that tutorials are a lot of work!  

On that note, however, feel free to use this tutorial freely!  I don't know that my future holds many more tutorials, but this is a really basic disc, starting with a base of circular RAW and the rest of the rounds are peyote or netting, and I'm positive that even without the tutorial, plenty of experienced beaders would look at the picture and figure it all out! ;) 

(Disclaimer - some of the pics on this are a little fuzzy - sorry!....also it may be assumed during this tutorial that the beader is somewhat experienced in off-loom bead weaving and familiar with stitches  like right-angle-weave, peyote and netting.)

Here are the earrings for this lesson! (Don't have a name for these any thoughts?!)

1g 15/0 seed beads
1g 11/0 seed beads
1g 8/0 seed beads
thread of your choice
beading needle
earring wires 

First thread your needle with about a yard of thread.  String on 10 15/0 beads. Tie them into a circle and make a knot.  Leave a tail that will be comfortable for you to use when you need to weave it back into the work.) Pass your needle through the first bead strung.

Pick up 3 15/0 beads and pass through the first bead (again) and the second bead strung (First right angle weave unit).

Pick up 2 15/0 seed beads and pass through the first bead of the previous RAW unit, and the second and third bead in the base circle. (second RAW unit)

Repeat all around the circle.  

When you get to the part in the circle where you pass through the 9th & 10th beads in the circle, also pass through the last bead in the first RAW unit (see below).  Pick up one 15/0 bead and pass through the  first bead of the previous unit, the 10th bead in the circle....

....And the last bead of the first RAW unit.  This will complete the second round which is simply a circular RAW round. 

Now pass through one of the upper most beads in the RAW unit, pick up one 11/0 bead, and pass through the upper most bead in the next RAW unit.

Continue peyote stitching 11/0 beads all the way around.

Step up through the first 11/0 stitched at the beginning of this round.

Next, peyote stitch 8/0's all the way around.

Step up and do another round of 8/0 peyote stitched round.

Step up 

Now pick up 3 15/0 beads and pass through the 8/0 next to it and repeat all the way around.  

 Do not step up, but instead repeat this round so you have two rows of three 15/0's between each 8/0.

 Again, do not step up.  This time, string 1 15/0, 3 11/0's, 1 15/0 and pass through the next 8/0. 

Repeat all the way around.

When you get to the final 8/0, pass through the first three beads strung on this round (1 15/0 and 2 11/0's), so your needle exits the middle 11/0.

String  1 15/0, 1 11/0, 1 8/0, 1 11/0, 1 15/0 and pass through the next middle 11/0 bead (as shown below).

Repeat all the way around.
I typically go through this round twice to reinforce.

When you are done, stop when you pass through the next 8/0 bead.  String 1 11/0, 4 15/0, your ear wire, 4 15/0, 1 11/0 and pass bac through the 8/0 bead.  Repeat several times.  Weave your thread through the work, knotting occasionally and snip the thread.  You will also have the tail from the first round to weave back into your work, and snip.

Repeat all the steps for a second earring and voila!  Your earrings are ready! 


There are only a few days left of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge, and if I do say so myself, some tough letters are remaining - U, V, W, X, Y, Z!  I have to admit, on my handy-dandy sheet of paper that I plotted out all my topics, there are still question marks next to U, X, and Y!!!!!  Wish me luck in drumming up some topics with those letters!!! I better get going, too since U is tomorrow!


Also - I  haven't forgotten about the kit for the folks who participated in the Spring Fling Challenge.  I will announce the winner of the drawing tomorrow!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || S || Songs and Shows

First I want to give a shout out to some of the participants in the Spring Fling kit challenge hosted here yesterday.  There are still a few that are completing their kits - which is great and I can't wait to see the results.  The results that were revealed yesterday were nothing short of spectacular!!

Here is Kristen's design:

Maryanne's design:

Therese's design:

Bravo ladies! 

Now onto today's topic - Songs and does this relate to beadwork?  Indirectly, but somehow relevantly.  You see when I look at the piece I revealed yesterday, I think of Rita Wilson uncovering her past and learning about her ancestry!  Why is this?  It is because for a solid block of time while I was creating this piece, I was watching the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" featuring Rita Wilson (which was an awesome episode, incidentally). 

When I go up to bead, I set up my computer on my beading table and either listen to music on Pandora, or watch shows on Hulu! So what happens because of this, is I associate my bead work with songs or shows!

For instance:
Lenka station on Pandora

 Once Upon a Time
Beyonce's "I Was Here"

And this is just a small sampling.  I have a huge pile of beadwork that I created by watching the entire 7 seasons of Grey's Anatomy last summer! Hah!  I was also on a Miley Cyrus(don't judge) kick for a while and there's a bunch of my beadwork I associate with her music!

How about you - do you do beadwork while listening to music or watching TV??

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blogging from A-Z || R || Reveal

I was so excited to incorporate the Spring Fling kit challenge with the Blogging from A-Z Challenge!  Thank you to all the wonderful beaders who participated.  It's been a long-time desire of mine to host a challenge and/or hop.  I've tried some without a lot of success, But this type of challenge seems to be a winner - the kits were a hit.  Since I didn't know what the response would be so I only did a small amount of kits.

But since the response was good, I'm planning to do another kit challenge real soon.  My goal is to keep the kit cost under $5, always!

Let's get to the reveal!

All the participants received this kit (there were 4 orange and 4 blue).  I kept a blue kit.

I really didn't have any idea where I wanted to go with this except that I was planning to use the focal with some embroidery. 

It wasn't until I placed the focal on the piece of Lacy's Stiff Stuff and picked up a pencil, that I decided to expand upon the branch that the sweet little bird was sitting on!

The rest evolved nicely, although it turned out a tad bigger than I really would have liked.  I used a lot of the kit - almost all of it, and added the leaves and the green delicas, and the black 15/0 beads for the branch.
I think my favorite thing about this piecen are the leaves!  I was walking though Michael's one day for something else, and these lucite leaves were on the end cap and I immediately thought they would be perfect for this challenge!
It's hard to see, but in the green portion of this I used a lot of the farfalle beads and the green FP beads.

Aside from my issue with the size, I also feel like the blue delicas kind of overwhelm the less vibrant blue of the focal.  Overall, though, I am very pleased with the result and I sure had a blast doing it!

I'm ridiculously excited to see what everyone else did with their kit!!!!  And although I will be not near my computer til much later today, you can bet I will be checking everyone's blogs on my phone today!!!

Here is a list of the participants with blogs (I had two others get kits, and will post their pictures when I receive them!):
Kristin, of My Bead Journey
Maryanne, of Zingala's Workshop
Karyn, of Releases by Rufydoof
Therese, of Therese's Treasures
Vimala, of The Bead Diaries

There is a linky tool below that the participants can add their post to for this challenge!