Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beady Friends and Kitty Kats

I've made some great beady friends through blog hops. One friend is Lynne Bowland, aka Islandgirl, who shares a love of beads and furry friends. As a result, many of her beady creations feature furry friends.

Last year, I splurged and bought a bead and waited for some design inspiration which recently came in a pattern by Lynn Davy called Peyote Paradise. I love the wavy, whimsical look of the peyote and thought it made the perfect complement to the playful bead.

Thanks to my beady friend, Lynne, for the centerpiece of this fun creation!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Kits - Not Just for Beginners

When I first started to learn beadwork, kits were my salvation. How wonderful to find everything you need in one place! Any avid hobbyist knows the "Murphy's Law" of projects. No matter how many items in your stash, it will be lacking that certain something for your newest project, requiring an online order or trip to the closest store where you invariably buy more than just that one item. (Come on - you know it's true!) And when I was starting out, my stash was a fraction of the size it is today. Back in the day, I ordered many kits from a site called Ready to Bead that featured lots of different designers like Sandra Halpenny, Glenda Payseno and others. For a reasonable price, you received wonderful instructions and everything you needed to make their creations.

Flash forward to today. My stash is huge and I am much more proficient than in my learn-to-bead days. But I still like kits. Why? The same reason I liked them when I was starting out. Everything is in one place and you receive the products the designers used when they developed their creations. If you buy from reputable kit makers, the material quality is usually terrific and is usually more than you need to complete your project. Then you can use that base as a launching pad to make your own substitutions. Yes, it can be a pricier option than using items from your stash but frankly, I look at it as an educational expense to gain an insight to new materials and techniques.

But my biggest reason to like kits is to promote the businesses of other bead artists. It took them hours to develop their ideas and I like the idea of helping them grow their businesses - so they can continue to design.

Here's a sampling of kits that I recently created. All were wonderfully put together with clear instructions and superior materials.

BeadsEast Kit: Bead Crochet & Bead Embroidery
Jill Wiseman: Tassel Necklace

Marion Jewels in Fiber: Flat Turkish Bead Crochet


In many cases, artists permit you to sell items made from their designs so long as you do not mass produce and provide attribution. I think this is very generous and hope to follow in their footsteps one day when I am brave enough to try my hand at offering a design kit.

Speaking of BeadsEast, they are moving to Florida. I just received a notice today that they are having a 50% off sale to reduce the amount of inventory to be moved. Now would be a great time to try their wonderful kits!
BeadsEast Is Moving!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Awakenings Reveal

Andrew Thornton was "thinking Spring" when the snow was flying in Pennsylvania. Andrew's challenge packets are always jammed-packed full of beads of every size, shape and texture and you can see that was the case in the photos below. The mystery component is an amazing blue-green, just begging for the right bead frame. I started by wire wrapping one of the crystals from the packet to make a pendant.


Andrew's Mystery Component

The color palette for Spring Awakenings is a blue-green mix with the Southwest feel of the blue drawing me in. Instead of using the combined palette, I went with more monochromatic approaches for two necklaces.

The first necklace plays off the green tones and highlights Andrew's wonderful mystery component pendant which I nestled within an oglala netting motif. The netting allowed me to incorporate the many wonderful smaller beads as accent beads. The green 11/0 seed beads were from my stash.
Oh, Oglala!
I thought we needed earrings to complement the playful feel of the necklace and used one of my favorite earring patterns: the Swinging Fringe by Rebecca Cretti, featured in the October 2007 BeadAndButton. This pattern also allowed me to further incorporate some of the fun small accent beads.

But I couldn't neglect the wonderful blue which attracted me to the challenge in the first place. Andrew had provided an amazingly generous assortment of larger beads, which I decided to use in a loopy-fringe treatment. I thought the necklace needed a centerpiece and used the silver primitive cross from my stash.

This was a fairly time-consuming design as each of the increasing-sized loops used more beads which had to be mirrored on the opposite side, requiring lots of counting and good eyesight. It also required an abundance of blue size 11/0 beads. Fortunately, I had some in my stash that perfectly matched what Andrew had provided so no emergency orders were required.

Andrew, thanks for pulling together such an inspirational kit. Please visit the links below for more wonderful Spring Awakening creations:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Time Out for Horse Sense

Living in Cave Creek, we are surrounded by horse ranches and authentic cowboys and cowladies. But what I know about horses could fit in a thimble and is the mass accumulation of about six rides at Spur Cross Stables when we had guests come to town. I always wanted to know more about them and a friend mentioned a class held at the Phoenix Zoo. Called Horse Hands, it is conducted by Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) instructors and covers all the beginning topics horse.

My first class was last Sunday and, I'm ashamed to say it was my first visit to the Phoenix Zoo. We arrived before the zoo opened and were advised not to stray from the path to the Thunderbirds Charities Equine Facility. (Yikes!)
Corral at Thunderbird Charities Equine Facility, Phoenix Zoo

The class is very small, limited to only six students, and we spent the first half getting to know each other and the horses in the stable. Our instructor, April, provided a brief lecture on horse ownership, obligations, etc. For the second part of the class, we were assigned to a horse and put on a bridle, walked the horse to the corral and groomed it. It doesn’t sound like much but grooming is very involved. I was covered with horse hair after the class.

Here is my horse, Parfait, who I just adore. She is a svelte 1120 pounds and a youthful 20 years old.

Sweet Parfait

I hope I have her every class. I tried to take a selfie of us but her head is so big I couldn’t get the right angle.

It's hard to take a selfie with a horse!

The class is just 6 of us - all women: three younger girls, less than 20 years old, and three about my age with the other two older ladies being sisters. One of the young girls is pretty timid but otherwise, we all seem to be enjoying it!

I think this week we will learn how to saddle the horse and actually go for a short ride. Stay tuned for more horse sense.
 
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