Saturday, January 24, 2015

Challenging Myself in 2015!

I signed up for two challenges with reveal dates these next couple months.

First up is Sally Russick's Make a Statement Challenge, which intimidates me quite a bit. My beading pieces tend to be on the more practical side but I had an idea I am playing with and I sure hope it looks in live beads the way it appears in my head!

Then we have Andrew Thornton's Spring Awakening Challenge. Andrew's challenges fill up in the blink of an eye and I am always glad when I respond quickly enough to buy a challenge kit. Mine arrived yesterday and I think I know where I will go with it.

Oh, and more importantly, you may have noticed a new look to my blog. Thanks to Rita at The Coffeeshop Blog, we enter 2015 with a bright new appearance! We have a few more last-minute touches to make and I will write a bit more when we are all complete.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Time to Stitch 6: Graphed, Word or Picture Chart

Therese and Christine return to host A Time to Stitch #6 - thanks so much! For this challenge, they inspired us to use a graphed, word or picture chart for any of four stitches shown above. I fell in beady-love with one of the examples Therese used - the middle star which was created by Eridhan Creations.   I was so smitten with the design, I went a little crazy and bought a four-pack of patterns which all use a twisted peyote design. Here's a collage of the patterns I purchased.

All the tutorials use a combination of word and picture charts as you see here.

Sample of Eridhan's Tutorials

Since I was working on this over the holidays, I used most of the finished items as ornaments and they received rave reviews from the giftees. I stitched up three of the Desert Rose Patterns and one each of the other three. Here are three variations of Desert Rose.

I thought this was very poinsettia-like - perfect for the holidays!

Next up was the Polaris tutorial. This one was a little trickier.

But my favorite was the very simple Twisted Triangle variation and, as I worked on it, I thought it would look great as a pendant on a spiral neckstrap so here's what I came up with. 

Thanks, Therese for introducing me to Eridhan's tutorials and to you and Christine for hosting another great challenge. Be sure to visit the other bead artists for A Time to Stitch #6:

10-Paula (you are here!)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What I Learned in 2014

OK, this is not a metaphysical post. I actually acquired some new skills in 2014 and have been using them to take my beadwork in new directions.

Skill #1: bead crochet. I took a class earlier this year at Creative Destination, my favorite local bead store. I did not leave the class with anything remotely looking like bead crochet but I practiced and practiced over the next couple weeks and while I am not a master, I definitely completed quite a few projects and love the way it combines fiber and beads.

Skill #2: crochet. My entry into bead crochet led me to explore sites like Ravelry and Etsy for patterns and I was inspired to pick up crochet hooks that belonged to my mother, who was an amazing crochet-er. My projects have been VERY basic - a few bracelets and of course Sashay scarves like the one shown below. All my friends received these Steeler Sashays as part of their Christmas care packages.

Skill #3: Photoshop. I actually started taking classes in Photoshop last year but they extended into this year. Some of you may be thinking. Classes? Why not just use it? Well I have learned many software programs in my years in corporate business but I did not find Photoshop to be intuitive... at least for me. So I bought about a gazillion books and took three online classes and have really enjoyed learning new methods of creating impactful photos. This is a skill I will work on for many years to come.

So that's my round up of new learnings for 2014. For 2015, I'd like to:

  1. Create inventory for my Etsy shop (yes, this is a repeat item!)
  2. Improve my crochet with more complex projects
  3. Learn more about appliqué quilting with beads (just purchased Nancy Eha's book Bead Creative Like Crazy)
  4. Improve my resin skills
  5. Maybe even venture into polymer clay
What skills would you like to develop in 2015?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Focus on Life Week 52: Gather

My gathering was of the bead-shopping variety. I joined the masses of people who went shopping on the day after Christmas but my travels took me to my favorite local bead store: Creative Destination in Mesa, AZ. It's amazing how much value I can cram into a small brown bag!

Here are the items I gathered:

Let's see what everyone else is gathering this week:

© Cave Creek Beads