Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crazy For Cabochons

In all of my beading projects, cabochons are my all-time favorite. Cabochons or "cabs" are flat-backed stones or decorative items that require extra stitching and sometimes adhesive to place them in the design. Each cabochon is different and assumes a distinct personality. And you needn't worry about copyright infringement unless you copy an existing design stone for stone or technique for technique! The stitches are easy to learn and can be extended to bead embroidery for some really amazing work!

I learned my first cabochon techniques from the book Beading With Cabochons by Jamie Cloud Eakin, published by Lark Books in 2005. In fact, my first every attempt turned into a great necklace that earns raves every time I wear it. The cab is made of dichroic glass and the color shifts with movement and light.

My First Cab Piece
I was so encouraged with that result that I made a bead embroidery bracelet for my friend, Becky, and usually have one cabochon project going at all times. I love to buy glass pieces on eBay, such as the cab in the pin below, which is a gift for my friend, Sandy's, birthday. The ruffle edging really accentunates the marine colors in the cab.
Sea Foam Serendipity
My bead embroidery heroine is Sherry Serafini, a bead artist from near my hometown in Pennsylvania, and her work is just amazing. I aspire to come within 60% of her talent some time in the future. Any of her patterns or books is a great place to start for the bead embroiderer-in-training. Check out her web site anytime you need a little cab inspiration!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Double Duty Components

Before I get into today's topic, I have to share that Spring brings of mixture of elation and dread. Elation for obvious reasons: the dreary days of winter are over - not that we have many of those in Phoenix! But dread arrives with 80 degree temperatures and snakes moving out of their winter habitats to find food and mates. Snake sightings are such a common rite of Spring, I have become more accustomed to them than when we first moved West. No matter how accustomed, I admit to shivering at the story of our next-door neighbors who called the Herpetological Society last Sunday to remove three four-foot rattlers from their property! Yikes and double yikes! Hopefully that included some from our property who slithered on over to their place for a visit!

Now, let's talk about double duty components. When you finish a piece, pay attention for opportunities to expand on a pattern or use a portion of it for another purpose. In the necklace pattern below, a kit by Michelle Skobel, I used the theme of the flourettes that make up the necklace centerpiece for earrings. In this case, I made earrings in blue but you could easily make them to match the necklace and have a great set! I glued the flourettes to pierced earring posts but you could also make a connector and hook them on wire findings.

That's the way to get double duty out of your pattern purchases! Wouldn't these also make adorable snowflake earrings for the holiday season?
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