Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Starburst Bracelet

Here is a bracelet I completed recently that is one of Stephanie Eddy's designs.  Great design Stephanie.... thank you!!

Innovative Beads Expo: Allentown

I really enjoyed my time at the Innovative Beads Expo in Allentown, PA this past weekend.  Of course, I bought loads of goodies, and spent WAY too much money!  Ha.... no one can blame me for not fueling the economy!!   I am gathering quite a collection of many interesting beads and findings, but it seems as though there isn't enough hours in the day to complete all of the projects that I would like.  Either that, or I'm just too slow.

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

Viking Knit

This is the first Viking Knit project I've attempted on my own, following the workshop that I took with wire jewelry artist and author Denise Peck at Bead Fest in August.  I absolutely adore this design by Stephanie Eddy!  I will surely use Stephanie's pattern again. It's easily adapted to both bracelets and necklaces, and what is especially nice about this design is that you can achieve different looks by varying the wire colors, end caps, and the beads you select for each piece. Stephanie's Lazee Dazee Viking Knit Tool makes the wire-weaving task easier, and it can be used to create custom coiled end caps that add a unique flair to the overall design.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mixed Media Project

I am pleased to say that I enjoyed another entertaining Saturday morning workshop at Artful Bead Studio, where we embraced our creativity with this fun and unique mixed media bracelet project.  This was my very first time using waxed linen cord.... it's quite an interesting substance, and it's tricky to string beads with!  I'll be hunting for some distinctive metal components to use in my next mixed media project, when I hit the Innovative Beads Expo in Allentown, PA next weekend. :-) 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lost and Found: Crystal Window Bracelet

I enjoyed another great session at Artful Bead Studio last week, where I made this unique Crystal Window Cuff Bracelet. As with all of the classes offered by Artful Bead Studio, I was truly excited for this one.  I was a little frustrated during the class session though, because the bracelet was not turning out as nicely as I had expected, and I was struggling with the pattern.  For this project, I felt truly challenged.

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

Another Day, Another Workshop

Today I spent an enjoyable afternoon at Artful Bead Studio making this lovely Czech crystal and seed bead helical style bracelet in my most favorite color. I have a fondness for the ball and socket style clasps too. They're so easy to manage with one hand. Buttons and beaded beads make beautiful and unique closures also. I'll likely explore more of the bead and button closure options as I practice my stitching.

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

Week of Workshops

I had a productive week with jewelry workshops. I feel so fortunate to be able to participate in them, and I'm enjoying all the variety! I took three classes at Artful Bead Studio, and I've got one more planned for this coming Saturday. Barbara, Laina & Amy (Artful Bead Studio owners) are all so artistically talented, and they are extremely patient instructors. I enjoy the time I spend with them and the other beaders that I meet at the studio.

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.