Friday, September 30, 2011

Andrew Thornton September Reader's Challenge

I enjoyed the July challenge so much, I thought I'd try the September challenge as well. I had a difficult time coming up with a design idea for the last challenge but, this time, I developed an approach fairly quickly, inspired by the "grow" bead. I pictured something ornate and elegant and decided to build a filigree foundation to turn "grow" into the focal point.
Photo Courtesy Andrew Thornton

Here is my final product and below that, I captured a step-by-step pictorial of the creative process.

Building the Necklace

I started with a filigree base for the "grow bead" and lined it with bead embroidery backing from Nicole's Beadbacking, which I have on hand for bead embroidery projects. I glued a single filigree connector, shown on the left, to the back of the lined filigree and then glued on ultrasuede backing  to give the back a finished look. The filigree components (focal frame, connectors, bead caps, and jump rings) came from Vintage Jewelry Supplies.
Focal Components
Filigree Connector Glued to Back of Focal
Then, to hold the focal in place, I carefully bent two filigree connectors around the bead in front and around the back on top of the ultrasuede, and used a little glue for extra security. This is a tricky process because you need just the right amount of pressure in just the right places on the connector, else it will snap or distort (and I had a couple casualties as proof!).
Finished Focal
I've been going crazy for beaded mandalas lately and I liked the reinforcement of the circular shape as well as the stylized floral theme. The mandalas incorporated the round crystals provided in the kit and I used seeds, round pearls, and hex beads from my own stash. I made two large mandalas and two smaller ones and layed them out on my work surface to determine the best design. I decided that I needed two more smaller mandalas to complete that portion of the design.
Figuring Out the Lay-Out

My last step was to make the strap and toggle closure. For the strap, I wanted to use the remaining crystals.

And here's the toggle closure.

One last shot of the final necklace.

Visit Other Challenge Participants

Check out the great creations of the other challenge participants:

Andrew Thornton has photos for Christina Porter, Darby Lohrding
Lorelei Eurto
Sally Russick
Tara Linda
Melinda Orr
Beth Emery

Stay tuned for phase II of the reveals on October 12.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hair Beadies

It all started with a search for a beaded poinsettia pattern. After spending more money than I wanted on a couple patterns that missed the mark, I happened to read about The Beaded Garden by Diane Fitzgerald. I ordered the book and it is terrific. Not only did I learn enough to complete the poinsettia, I was inspired to make these hair beadies for my nieces, Mary Grace and Josie. I made the flowerettes according to Diane's directions but fixed them on a circular piece of bead embroidery backing and sewed the backing to a hair clip. My sister-in-law, Pam, thought they would be great in school colors. In keeping with my poinsettia search, I thought they would be great in holiday colors. The options are endless!

Hair Beadies for Mary Grace and Josie
© Cave Creek Beads