Friday, December 11, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I spent Saturday at the show shopping for new goodies, and on Sunday, I took a full-day class with an excellent instructor, Meg Fillmore of Bead My Love. Meg creates some outstanding bead embroidery. Meg sells kits, which makes choosing beads for a project much simpler. I'm really pleased with my pendant, and I'm looking forward to wearing it. The brooch is a gift for my darling mother-in-law's birthday, which is in two weeks. I'm SO excited to give it to her. I don't wear pins, nor have I ever made one, though I do have some wire jewelry books with fibula instructions in them. I really hope she likes it! As for bead embroidery, my goal is to work my way up to crafting those really gorgeous embroidered cuffs!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Often times, I am the last person to complete a project during a workshop session. Of course, the time needed to complete a project varies based on each project's techniques, and other factors. This project definitely required more time than a class session would allow. The minute I got home, I got right back to work on it, but could not complete it before retiring for the evening.
The next day, I picked up where I'd left off the previous evening, but after a few stitches, I discovered a mistake in the piece. Argh! My motto is always, "when in doubt, rip it out!" Despite my best effort, I was unable to tear out the stitches necessary to correct my error. I then decided to just start the entire project over. I didn't mind starting over too much, because the first time around, I learned the motif, I became familiar with the stitches used in the pattern, and I learned to adjust my technique for better thread tension. My project re-do would be much improved, I vowed.
My darling husband and I went to New York City for the weekend to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, so I took my unfinished project with me. I figured that in the event I found myself with some idle time, I could work on it. Hubby and I spent a portion of the afternoon relaxing in our room, so I pulled out my project and got to work. Much to my surprise, I completed the bracelet!!! I never expected to finish it, but I was THRILLED and so pleased!
The next day, hubby and I went to Tavern On The Green for a wonderful Sunday brunch, so I decided to wear my new bracelet. We no sooner returned to our room from brunch when I noticed the bracelet was no longer on my wrist! I was DEVASTATED! It was not the cost of the beads or materials that I was fretting over. No, it was the commitment of time and genuine effort that I put into my newest creation... the now vanished piece. :-( What I think happened, is that the bracelet got caught on the end of the sleeve of my sweater when I was taking it off during our walk back from the restaurant. I didn't feel the bracelet slip off of my wrist, so I can't say for sure if this is what took place, but somehow, the bracelet slipped off of my wrist without me realizing it. Hubby and I went back out and re-traced all of our steps to and from the restaurant, inside the restaurant, and even the restroom, but my bracelet was nowhere to be found. Now, I am bummed out!!
Following brunch, I decided to venture out in search of bead shops in the city. It was a beautiful day to walk around New York City and I thought perhaps a trip to the bead shop would cure my disappointment of the day. I walked for MANY, MANY blocks, until I found a couple of bead shops that were open and worthy of exploration.
The first shop proved disappointing. They didn't carry Czech crystals, which is primarily what I've been using since I started taking classes at Artful. The seed bead selection they had was very limited also. They did carry 8# Fireline - the thread used for this Crystal Window bracelet project, so that was what I purchased.
The second shop was located right next door! Awesome! This shop didn't have a huge selection of Czech crystals, but they did carry them, and so I purchased a small amount in two colors. What I did find in this shop was a number of beautiful, interesting beads with large holes. Large-holed beads make great focals in either macrame or wire work projects. The treasures I found here made my extra long walk well worth it.
As I prepared to leave bead shop number two, my darling husband rang my cell phone to inform me that he recovered my missing bracelet!! I just couldn't believe my ears! I felt so relieved! My sadness turned to delight in an instant! My husband is just amazing at locating any items that I manage to lose or misplace!! Truly remarkable! His New York City favorite is Angelo's Pizza, so I stopped and bought him a pie on my way back to our place. The large half-plain, half-pepperoni was his prize this weekend and he was tickled. :-)
In all, it was a pleasant weekend. Relaxation, great food, bead shopping, and the pulse of the city that always brings a smile to my face.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Now that I've completed my tenth class at Artful, I'm eager to review all that I've learned and I'm excited to create more jewelry. I splurged on my bead purchase today, BIG TIME. When you take a class at Artful Bead Studio, you qualify for a ten percent discount on your purchases the day of your workshop. I always try to take advantage of the discount, and today happened to be one of those days that I went wild!! Haha! Time to go play! :)
Friday, September 4, 2009
This week, I learned to bezel Swarovski Rivolis, link them together, and use them as buttons for closures. After completing the rivoli embellishments, I added a chain using right-angle weave stitches with seed beads and crystals to create the length of the completed necklace.
I also learned to create netting overlay on a right-angle weave base, a technique that can be applied to any woven beaded project. The earrings pictured here are Amy Haftkowycz's design, which was published in the June/July 2009 issue of Beadwork Magazine. Now I ask you, what could be better than having the designer herself teach you how to create her design?! Thank you, Amy! The netted-overlay bracelet pictured here is also Amy's design. It is fun to make, and I just love it!
I have to admit that I am really enjoying bead stitching, though I never expected that I would. I hadn't even considered attempting bead stitching until I began socializing on beading networks, groups, and forms. I'm delighted that I decided to give it a try because I'm enjoying it so very much! Woven beaded jewelry is stunning, in my humble opinion. In thinking back, I suppose I never really took the time to truly appreciate the beauty of woven beaded jewelry. Now that I'm crafting my own, I seem to have a deeper appreciation for it.
As my user name suggests, I enjoy creating wire jewelry, but for now, I'm having a splendid time learning to stitch beads together with a needle and thread. I look forward to uniting my wire work and bead stitching techniques in future projects, to create some truly unique jewelry items.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Today was another fun day at Artful Bead Studio! I learned to make these lovely "Vintage Beaded Beads" that can be used as components for earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Our teacher also gave us a recipe to make a matching component in a smaller size. She made a bracelet using the larger component as a focal, and she then added a small component to either side of the focal. To complete the length of the bracelet, she attached a filigree finding to either side of the clasp and the smaller components. The finished bracelet was just beautiful.
I'm planning to take another workshop at Artful next week, where I'll learn to create a similar component that can be applied in the same manner as the Vintage Beaded Beads. One of the gals at the shop put together a necklace using both styles of these components, and it looks so amazing! My plan is to complete a similar project after I take the next workshop.
The day before the next workshop for the other component is gonna be BIG. It will be my first experience using Swarovski Rivolis!!! I'm SO EXCITED about this workshop. After examining the finished piece they have at the studio, I'm uncertain if this project can be completed during the allotted time frame of the workshop. It would be great if I am able to do it, but I won't know until I start. I will be very excited to post and blog about that one!! It is such a glamorous looking necklace.
This weekend there is lots of rain scheduled in our forecast with Hurricane Danny looming in the Atlantic Ocean, so I'm hoping to accomplish a lot of beading. It's already getting late on Friday night, so I doubt I'll start a new project now, but I must begin my plan of action. I will have to break tomorrow night from beading to attend a child's b'day celebration, and I MUST accomplish a good, strenuous workout both Saturday and Sunday, but the rest of the time I hope to concentrate on beading. :)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I just LOVE this design and it works up quickly! This is another fun one from Artful Bead Studio. The ladies who own and operate this shop just rock my world! I must spend at least two or three afternoons per week there! Their designs are just beautiful, their instruction is superb, and they are so very patient.
This design is versatile in that you can create either a single or double row of woven beads in the piece, and naturally, I had to try one of each! The single row bracelet looks so beautiful in person.... much more so than the photo portrays. I'm giving this bracelet to my girlfriend for a charity fund raiser she's organizing and that will be held exactly one month from today. I hesitated to make such a contribution because I'm still learning the craft, and I don't sell the jewelry. This is a relaxing and rewarding hobby for me. My friend was tickled pink when I told her that I'd make something for her to auction off with a restaurant gift certificate. I hope it fetches a nice penny from the bidders!
I made this fun bracelet at Artful Bead Studio, my favorite local bead shop. There are 144 wire-wrapped dangles in this bracelet!! It took me an evening and a full day to complete this piece, but I enjoyed it and I hope to make a couple more. I learned how to work more quickly, as if I was working on production. It was a good experience. I'm disappointed that I didn't use lighter gauge head pins for this piece because I now see that they have a significant impact on the overall design. With that knowledge, I will be sure to use the lighter gauge head pins hereafter.
Well, as usual, Bead Fest Philly was KNOCKED OUT!! Wow... two full floors of fabulous CANDY!! :D
I was fortunate enough to take two workshops this time around. The first one was with Doris Coghill. Her work is GORGEOUS! We made a "Stone Necklace" in her class, using a really interesting twisted wire technique. The cool thing about this workshop is that we could BYOB (bring our own beads.) Doris had Stone Necklace kits available for purchase, but I decided that I wanted to use what I already had in my stash. Of course, I had to buy more beads to match the beautiful Amazonite stones that I'd chosen for the project. It was fun hunting for precisely what I needed though. My necklace is not complete as yet. I'm actually going to start over from scratch, now that I understand the technique more clearly. I want to incorporate some different beads than I had originally planned in my design as well. I hope to finish my necklace soon. I'm sure it's going to be really lovely.
My second workshop was with well-known wire designer and author, Denise Peck. She taught her famous Viking Knit technique, and we had a lot of fun in her class! I was anxious to try the technique because I think the wire weave looks so beautiful. I'm so pleased that I was able to complete the project in the allotted time frame and I've gotten several compliments on the bracelet. There was a vendor at Bead Fest who created a special Viking Knit tool!! Stephanie Eddy is a genius! This all-in-one tool makes crafting a Viking Knit piece so much simpler, AND she also designed a way to craft the special size bead caps that are used exclusively with Viking Knit! Stephanie sold out of the tool at the show, so I was disappointed that I didn't get to bring one home with me. Now, I am patiently waiting for my tool to arrive via USPS. Apparently, UPS lost one of her boxes of inventory in transit to the show, so she didn't have enough supply on hand to meet her demand. I'm holding off on beginning any Viking Knit projects until I receive my new tool. I purchased one of Stephanie's Viking Knit kits at the show, so that's likely what I'll tackle when I get my hands on the tool. I'm excited to give the Viking Knit another whirl!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Had so much fun making these macrame bracelets, though getting the hang of the knots can be tricky. I really love the colors of the Czech button. I'd like to make a necklace using this macrame design, but first I must decide on a focal piece.
I purchased Annika deGroot's Micro-Macrame: 30 Beaded Designs for Jewelry Using Crystals and Cords. The book is beautifully put together and Annika's designs are exquisite. I am half-way through my first project from the book, and I regret to admit that I'm very disappointed with the way it's turning out....so much so that I don't even want to complete it. :( There are a number of other projects in Annika's book that I would like to tackle. I hope I'll be more pleased with the way those other projects turn out.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I continued practicing my spiral stitch that I learned last Saturday and came up with this beautiful necklace and bracelet. I think I'd like to make a bracelet to match my Autumn Blooms necklace pictured here. I really like the way it turned out. :) I love the colors in my Modern Vintage bracelet pictured here too.
I enjoyed making this "Beaded Tennis Bracelet" yesterday at Artful Bead Studio. Barbara was my teacher and she was wonderful. I'm so glad that Artful Bead Studio will hold one-on-one workshops!! The other bead shops I am familiar with typically will not hold a class if enrollment is too low.
I can't help but marvel over this project. I just love the way it turned out and I love the way the bracelet feels on the wrist. I've already got another one started! :) I also love the idea of using shank buttons as clasps!! I have such a collection of buttons from over the years. I have always saved the buttons that were included with an article of clothing that I purchased. I've contemplated tossing those buttons in the trash at times, since it seems that they just continue to pile up. I find that I rarely ever use them. But, I've never tossed those buttons in the trash out of guilt. I can't bring myself to discard something that I think may be useful at some point in time. Well, am I ever thrilled that I've saved all those buttons, as I see now that I will be able to put them to good use!
Tonight my plan is to complete a beautiful bead & chain necklace piece that I've been wanting to get to for a while. I am going away for the weekend, so I will take my woven project with me and work on that if I get a chance.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I took my first class today at Artful Bead Studio where I learned to make this beautiful spiral stitched bracelet! The gals at the bead shop were all very patient and kind. I struggled a little bit with threading the needle. It isn't as simple as it may seem, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. I'm excited about bead weaving because it will expand my options for jewelry creations. Woven pieces can be used on their own and/or as components in a piece of jewelry, which allows the artist to incorporate various techniques in a design. I am delighted that I'll be going back to Artful Bead Studio on Wednesday to make a beaded tennis bracelet! FUN!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
OMG, OMG, OMG!! I found out about an AWESOME bead shop that's near me because of a jewelry forum that I belong to. People were posting in the forum where they were from, and after reading my post, someone told me about a couple of bead shops that were near my residence. This was yesterday. Today, I jumped in the car and off I went to check out the drive. NOT BAD! I'm happy so far. I open the doors to the shop and I immediately fall in LOVE! Oh my.... they had LOADS of jewelry all over the shop, and of course, beads, beads, and MORE beads. What a place! This shop has LOADS of classes that I wanna take! I've been on the fence about bead weaving, but I have to admit that after seeing the woven work posted by many designers, I decided that I'd like to learn to weave. The more techniques in my repertoire, the better, right? I signed up for a macrame bracelet class that they are offering in mid-August. The bracelet is really beautiful in person! They have a macrame necklace class too. I may have to sign up for that one so I can have matching sets. :) There's a "Peacock Feathers" bracelet class, and a "Beaded Tennis Bracelet" class that I'd like to take too. The bracelets are SO pretty! A spiral stitch class is on the their schedule for this Saturday afternoon, and I think I'm gonna jump on in if there are still seats available. SOOOO excited!!! Happy day! :0)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I have to admit that I check my horoscope each day just for the heck of it. I like to see if it’s accurate. I think today’s horoscope is spot on since it reads:
Every good tailor knows that the tiny things make a garment fit like it was, well, made for you. All that care and attention will take a simple piece of clothing and turn it into a statement. There’s something in your life right now that deserves that same kind of care and attention when it comes to even the smallest components.
I just completed this beauty last night! The necklace is comprised of black onyx beads with a gold-filled wire-wrapped component boasting Swarovski bicones and pendant crystals in jet. I’m getting some good practice with wire-wrapping. I’m very pleased with how this piece turned out and I’m excited to wear it!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
This necklace is the very first piece that I've crafted that included using Liver of Sulphur (LOS) solution to patina the metal. All of the sterling silver (SS) head pins used for wire-wrapping the pearl bead units, and the SS toggle clasp needed to be darkened to match the gunmetal chain. Other than the funky smell of the LOS, the patina process was simple and quick to do, much to my surprise. I happened to be reading one of my jewelry making books this week and came across a section that discussed using LOS to patina various metals. I'm glad I read the book because the author noted something about the use of LOS that I had not previously known. You can not patina silver and copper at the same time. Well, I actually did this my very first time using the LOS because I was unaware of this. I noticed a difference in the LOS solution the second time, when I darkened only SS components. So, I learned a valuable lesson with this project, and I'm thrilled with my new necklace. I adore the luster and beauty of freshwater pearls (FWP) and I love the combination of pearls and gunmetal in this piece. Thanks again to Fusion Beads for the sweet inspiration!
I enjoyed a class this past Sunday afternoon at my local bead shop, where we made this wire-wrapped beaded cuff bracelet. The pattern for this piece carries the same concept as the bracelet in my Gravatar, which I crafted back in April. The April workshop was terrific, but I certainly need practice. I was so thankful to have another face-to-face lesson.... and at a fraction of the cost of the previous workshop. I now feel much more confident in my ability to make more bracelets like this. And make more I shall! I'm patiently waiting on an order of half-round wire and a pin vise so I can get started.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
There are 31 crystals wire-wrapped onto this filigree finding. It took me a few days to finish this piece. As I worked on it, I wondered if I was even going to like the finished product. I had my doubts. Now that's it's complete, I am pleased with the result and I look forward to wearing this beauty, since purple is my favorite color.
I am uncertain if I will be eager to embellish filigree once again with little beads, as I learned from this project that the technique is a bit tricky and time consuming.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Last night before going to bed, I decided to put together a ring that I'd been wanting to make. I love Karla Schafer's Stack of Sparkle ring so much that I made it in several colors. The first time I made it (using 20g gold craft wire), I completed it in only five minutes! I was stunned!! Only five minutes to bling bliss?! You betcha! Last night's attempt took me much, much longer than five minutes, however. It took me six times before I finally got the ring right. I was trying to make sure that the crystal square ring and the rondelle were really tight against the 20g copper wire base because the square piece moves if it is not secured. The tighter I tried to make the beads against the wire, the more loose they became!!! I finally realized on the sixth try that my attempts were futile, and that I should just focus on securing the top wrap firmly. Thankfully, it only took me..... five minutes.
My project this evening is an embellished filigree piece. I am in love with the Vintaj brass components! The color is a nice change, and you can get really creative with the findings. At the Innovative Beads Expo I attended in Allentown, PA, the folks at Kabela Designs were showing pieces embellished with beautiful paint colors. The pieces were GORGEOUS! I may just have to splurge on some of that paint at the next Expo, which is only a couple of weeks away!
Hopefully, I'll be posting my completed embellished brass filigree piece tomorrow or the day after. Until then.... happy crafting!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I've been learning to create handmade bead and wire jewelry during the past year. I've taken a number of workshops at my local bead store, and at nearby bead conventions. I now own just about every current jewelry-making title on Amazon's list, and I've successfully gotten hooked on the craft, although I was never a crafty individual at any point in my life.
During my learning process, I've realized that almost all handmade artists have a blog of some sort, so I decided that, I too, should make an effort to participate in the blog world. Many of the blogs I've come across have inspired me. If I can inspire someone through my blog, then I've done something worthwhile.
Pictured here are the Leaf Drop earrings that I completed just last night. Not the best wire work, I know. Three months ago, I took the Leaf Drop Earring workshop offered at Bead Fest Wire by the very talented and knowledgeable Lisa Claxton. I only had enough time to complete one earring during the workshop, and crazy as it sounds, I didn't complete the second earring until just last night! I really like Lisa's design and it is my intention to perfect my technique as I continue to make more of these components. We'll see how I fare.
I've got loads of projects sitting on my bench currently. That makes me very happy! Now, it's time to get busy and have some fun.