Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Independence Day 2015! (And a little from 2014)

July 4th is a special day around our house. First, it is within close proximity to hubby's birthday, which is always a cause for celebration, and because our little down does it up in a big way! Cave Creek actually has two fireworks festivities: one on July 3rd hosted by Harold's Cave Creek Corral (our favorite watering hole) and one on July 4th hosted by the town. We can see both from our back patio but really have an amazing view for the July 4th fireworks which are almost in our back yard. 

We couldn't keep such an awesome view to ourselves and, starting the first year we moved into our home, we have hosted an annual July 4th party so friends can enjoy the show too!

Oh, and here's a big shout-out to Rita from The Coffeeshop blog for her terrifically patriotic photo blog templates which I used above to frame some red, white and blue beady pieces I made last year.

Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Favorite Beading Surface

Occasionally I toy with the idea of ordering one of those fancy beading mats with the padded fabric frames but then I look at the prices and think that I would rather spend that money on beads. I use a very economical beading surface which I have come to love. The base is nothing more than a plastic cafeteria tray which perfectly accommodates a standard beading mat. I bought my trays at Target but on a recent trip, I noticed they were just carrying the ones with the compartments for your food which doesn't work. You need the basic flat cafeteria tray and there are oodles on eBay for around $1 each.

On my beading trays in June.....

I just finished the Peacock Necklace, design by Ellad2.

And I am completely smitten with these five-strand bracelets. I discovered a wonderful tutorial by Christina Larson and was so impressed with the quality of her instruction that I subscribed for her YouTube channel and blog.

What's on my bead tray for this week? More five-strand bracelets and a pearl knotting kit I purchased to try to build a new skill.

What's on your bead tray?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Time to Stitch #7: Bead Embroidery

Wow! I am in beady heaven. Last week-end, Sally Russick hosted the Creating with Cabochons challenge and this week, Therese and Christine host a bead embroidery showcase. My two all-time favorite beading techniques back-to-back!

For this challenge, I wanted to try a couple different approaches. The first is a more traditional bead embroidery piece using the design Button Fan by Tracy Van Niel (B&B August 2009). I had squirreled this pattern away and re-discovered it when I was looking for inspiration for this challenge. I adapted it a bit since it was a gift for my friend, Darlene, who has the smallest wrists of any adult I have ever known, thus limiting the required area of bead embroidery!

Next was a non-jewelry project: a purse designed by Ann Benson who offered it as a kit, which is one of my favorite ways to learn new techniques. If you've been driven crazy by bead crochet, you might want to give it another try. Watching Ann's tutorials is like yoga class for beads - her voice is so calm and soothing. I purchased this kit last year and when I first saw the super-skinny crochet thread, I felt anything but calm and put it away for a day when I felt braver. Along came Therese and Christine's challenge and that was the perfect motivation to give it a go.

Yikes! Skinny Crochet Thread!

Thanks to Ann's mentorship, I was able to complete it with minimal cursing. Even though the foundation of this piece is bead crochet, the motifs are embroidered on the surface along with more beads for additional pizzazz, so I thought it would be an interesting piece for this challenge.

My last piece is another adaptation of a design called Tuscan Sunset by Julia Gerlach (B&B April 2014). Julia's design called for cutting ultra suede to form the bead foundation but I decided to use this cuff I found at the Lipstick Ranch booth in Tucson this year. Beside the cuff display was a sign that said "great for bead embroidery" and that enticed me to buy three. The cab was also a Tucson purchase by Lisa Peters. Aren't they a great pair?

The original design used a large button as the focal and I adapted the surround to accommodate a cab.  The other elements were pretty much the same. This was not a gift and I am thinking I may just keep it.

Hosting these challenges is a lot of work, herding beady cats you might say. So thanks again to Therese and Christine for always coming up with fun concepts and thanks to all the many bead friends who worked hard to bring their creations alive. Take some time to feast your eyes on their creations!

1.       Therese (Host) 
2.       Christine  (Host)
3.       Amy
4.       Lola
5.       Lori F
6.       Kim
7.       Becky Pancake
8.       Karin G.
9.       Debbie (Kepi)
10.   LizE
11.   Maryanne
12.   Paula
13.   Wendy
14.   Janet
15.   Jasvanti
16.   Ginger
17.   Alicia
18.   Bobbie
19.   Shirley
20.   Sarah
21.   Cynthia
22.   Lizzie
23.   Samantha
24.   Sally
25.   Niki
26.   Karen W.

© Cave Creek Beads