Friday, December 11, 2015

ZnetShows Cultured Sea Glass - Not Just for Jewelry!

A few months back, I was presented with a challenge by ZnetShows to create something with their lovely line of cultured sea glass that wasn't jewelry.

Two ideas came to mind: Christmas ornaments and place card holders.

My stash of cultured sea glass is pretty decent from past design opportunities.  So for my first ornament, I dipped into my stash and selected the peridot colored tusk shaped cultured sea glass and the peridot colored leaf shape cultured sea glass beads! It has been years since I tried to do any netting on an ornament and all I remember was how I kept scratching the finish with my needle when I tried.  I didn't have that problem with the clear glass ornament!  Here is the result of my first attempt.  Basically it was just some free form netting with the leaf shaped beads, seed beads and then I added the tusk beads as fringe:

 Next up it was time to play with the red coin puffed cultured sea glass beads.  Again, I used a clear glass ornament and did some free form netting with amber colored silver lined seed beads and 4mm Tiaria Chinese crystal bicones:

The place card holders were a little bit more of a challenge and there were a few 'fails' along the way.

I used the large starfish cultured sea glass bead for the first one, and worked a free form cubic right angle weave (is that even a thing?) to make a stand for the starfish.  Then I worked several tight rows of peyote in graduated sizes to hug the starfish opposite the stand.  It worked!

For the next place card holder, I used the bottom drilled shell shaped cultured sea glass beads.  First I sewed them together with fireline, adding a row of seed beads in between the holes of the shells  Then I wrapped a row of the pearl colored seed beads around the base of the two shells and through the seed beads that were already there.  I went through this base row of beads several times, and then started doing a circular peyote around and around and around, increasing sporadically, which ended up creating a ruffly effect.

The shells were a little floppy so I added a few peyote rows on the exposed sides of the shells.  It didn't help, and i didn't really want to cover up the pretty shell, so I added a tiny dab of glue between the shells about 10 mm from the bottom and that worked like a charm!

It was a lot of fun working on these ZnetShows cultured sea glass projects!! I enjoyed the free form process quite a bit! Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of times throughout the process where I pulled out a stitch or two and tried a new way, but it's fun to see how well the different bead-weaving techniques shaped into the items I had in mind.

Friday, December 4, 2015

I Get It!

So...a couple weeks ago, I took a little stroll around the craft fair I was participating in (which turned out to be a great event...thanks so much for everyone's well wishes!)....

I came across another bead jeweler who had baskets and baskets full of wire wrapped rings.  She was selling them for anywhere between $9-$13 each.  Wire is not really 'my thing', but seeing her display piqued my interest because she had a LOT of them.  And really they were quite charming. And inexpensive! 

When I got home I looked up "wire wrapped rings"...something I wouldn't normally do because like I said...wire's not my thing.   HOWEVER, I came across many very short videos talking about how simple the process is! 

Well,  I promptly logged onto Amazon and ordered some craft wire in gold and silver, and a mandrel.  The wire came on Wednesday but the mandrel was delayed.  Of course by this time I'd been obsessively watching videos on wire wrapping so I threw caution to the wind and got started....using a taper candle!  Haha!

But it wasn't so bad! I had a couple fails, and a couple successes, and my resulting rings were rather waxy...but here were my first two....

 And then my mandrel came few days later and frankly, I had a hard time quitting! 

These are just too fun and satisfying to make!! Yeesh!  Today I stepped up my game and picked up a bur cup and some nylon pliers.  

I still need to perfect my technique...

But I can definitely see more wire wrapping in my future.  Now I finally get it! I get why people enjoy this medium so much! 

Finally in the Bead-it-Forward world, there is lots happening.  I was inspired by a raffle we are holding at one of my restaurants and decided to hold an online raffle for Bead-it-Forward.  The auction is slow going, and I'd love to make a nice donation to The Healing Garden by the end of the year.  Tickets are only a dollar (less if you buy in bulk!), and you have a chance to win one of five gorgeous Bead-it-Forward quilts!  Click here to see the quilts available to win and to buy tickets if you would like! 

And there are some pretty lovely items in the auction page too!  Click here to check it out! 

Happy Friday everyone!