Saturday, May 20, 2017

Three Grand-ma's and a Mommy-to-be

The baby count-down is underway. Our new granddaughter is due in about two months and festivities are in-progress. Last month, I talked about the baby shower plans and how Mommy-to-be selected this cute elephant as her theme.

I wanted to make some special pieces for Mommy-to-be and the grandma's. There are many ideas online about corsages out of ribbon. But beads are my wheelhouse and I was "strung up" on doing some kind of beading to commemorate the baby shower.

So I started with the elephant in mind and ordered these pendant findings. The caption links you to the Etsy seller but beware they are in China so leave plenty of time for shipment. I wanted large enough pendants so the design would be easy to see and had the idea to use them as a pin component with the tops of the pendants at the bottom to hold a dangle instead of a bail. I think the X's around the end look like hugs or kisses - whichever one the X is!

Etsy shop for AngelaDIYjewellery

Here's what they looked like after I had sized the design to fit in the pendant, sealed and then covered with resin.

And here's the finished pin. I love the lacy edge treatment, learned from a Jamie Cloud Eakin book, Dimensional Bead Embroidery. The link is to Jamie's web site in case you're not familiar with her amazing work.

I went with a simpler edge treatment for the Grandma pins mostly because I was worried that I would run out of beads. I made the little rosettes out of super duos with a 4mm crystal as the center.

And what would a session of beading be without some earrings? This design is inspired by Stephanie at BronzePony and her Summer Daze earrings. But I added the elephants and bi-cones in the center. As my brother once said, I know how to get a theme and run with it!

Next post, I'll share some of the items I made for new baby girl!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

44 beads to crazy

Hah! I hope the title captured your attention. Just check out this adorable beaded charm designed by Potomac Bead Company. If you want to go crazy with me, the link is in the caption below.

Charm Design on YouTube

There are just 44 beads in this design unless you count the bail which can be as many beads as you choose. I thought these would be adorable favors for a baby shower I am helping with. I thought I could whip up a bunch, no problem at all. Yet it just gave me fits last week-end. It is not a design flaw. It is a moi flaw. I was simply all thumbs. Anyhoo, after about three stops and starts, I realized I was making it much harder than it needed to be and here is my version. I added the sweet bow in front of the bail since the shower is celebrating a baby girl.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

'Nuff said

Hot off the presses!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

It's raining elephants!

Our son and daughter-in-law have announced that our first grandchild is expected later this year and....

So the other two grand-ma's to-be and I are planning a baby shower and Mama to-be has selected an elephant theme. Who knew there are so many adorable elephant items? We have been heating up the Pinterest boards with more elephants than you can shake a trunk at.

I offered to make shower favors and found these sweet little elephant beads on Etsy. I included the shop link in the caption below because this seller had the best communication and service of any I have experienced on Etsy, and I have experienced quite a few!

SmileyBoy Shop on Etsy

So here are the favors I am making as well as a thank you post card for packaging!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Closing out National Craft Month

Since March was National Craft Month, I thought it might be fun to close out the month by reminiscing about the various crafts that have engaged me over the years.

As a young girl, I watched one grandmother sew gorgeous outfits and another crochet and knit like a champ. I don't think I ever wore store-bought gloves until I was in high school. Does anyone remember the smell of wet wool as gloves lay on the radiators, drying from a day of playing in the snow? My mother could pretty much do it all: sewing, crochet, doll-making. The wedding dress she made me is still one of my life's great treasures.

Here's one of my grandmother's crocheted table clothes. I think this must be 40 years old and it is still beautiful. I used it regularly until we replaced our rectangular dining table with a round one.

In high school, I started embroidery and needlepoint and continued that into my early 20's. I made many beautiful wedding and baby keepsakes and wish I had thought to photograph them. Here's a more recent wedding keepsake I made for my step-son and his wife. The photo quality is a little fuzzy but one of my favorite things is the little beaded pocket in the left corner where I have stored a ring that belonged to his grandmother.

I didn't discover beading until my mid-40's. Can you say late bloomer? But what I lacked in early years of experience, I made up for in enthusiasm and in purchases! And now I have started to mash-up my passions. Photography, Photoshop, embroidery, beadwork and even a smattering of sewing here and there all combined like in the wedding gift for my cousin Anna.

And just like my Mother and Grandmother, my family and I are involving the next generation in learning the joy of making. Here's a photo from last fall where I joined my sister-in-law, a champion knitter, her mother, a champion quilter, and three nieces to craft away a week-end. Apologies to Te-te for catching her with her eyes closed. She's such a terrific quilter, she could probably do that with her eyes closed!

And speaking of my sister-in-law, she's also a champion cook. Here we see her with a yummy mid-crafting snack she just seemed to throw together. After all, crafting is hard work and we needed sustenance to finish our projects.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Swoon: metallic suede gold

It all started with this YouTube by Stephanie of BronzePony Beaded Jewelry. It calls for about 30 grams of mini duos which I did not have so off I went to order them. I order most of my beads online and I'm sure others can relate to the disappointment of something that looks very different in person than it does online. It's not because sellers intentionally steer you wrong, it's just the alchemy of small photos and computer pixels sometimes trip us up.

Summer Daze Necklace

I was so happy when the metallic suede gold beads I ordered were even better in person than they looked online. And even more so when I realized that the drops and 11/0's from my stash complemented them perfectly.

So off I went to start the project and I am so enamored with this color, I had to restrain myself from placing more orders.

Here's the finished necklace with earrings to match.

And, obsessive that I am, I started the matching bracelet that Stephanie posted last year. These designs are absolutely addictive, especially the bracelet which has a puzzle-like satisfaction when you connect the round daisy shapes.

And yes, I had to place another order to finish up the bracelet. Yay for metallic suede gold!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

My beady St. Patty's Day

I was not among the revelers drinking green beer or other similarly-colored libations yesterday. Instead, I took a break from one beading project to try another one. I really need to stay away from YouTube for awhile because it sure doesn't help my beader's ADD when I see project after project I want to try. I came across this tutorial by Spoiled Rotten Beads for a yoga necklace. Now I haven't done yoga for years but I loved the look of the necklace - especially the cute little tassel.

Spoiled Rotten Beads Yoga Necklace Tutorial

And they even have another tutorial that tells you how to make the tassels. Since green was the color of the day, I grabbed some green cord and made these tassels.

Then I remembered that one of my shipments from Bargain Bead Box had some perfect little St. Patrick's Day charms.


The design uses knotting between the beads so it gave me a chance to use my knotting tool. And here is the finished necklace. The tutorial suggests that you make the beaded portion about 30 inches and, as I was making it, that seemed a little longer than I wanted, so I made mine about 23 inches. I should have followed the instructions because a little more length would have been ok but it looks just dandy and it gave me a chance to use some beads and charms that were languishing in my stash.

St. Patty's Day Yoga Style Necklace

Friday, March 10, 2017

Self-improvement by Rob Reiner

Friday, February 24, 2017

Simpatico with Pantone's Greenery

I had a moment of delight opening my Beading Daily email this morning to read about the Pantone Greenery color palette for 2017. I usually gravitate to a certain bead palette and am not typically governed by each season's changes. However, for once I am completely simpatico with Pantone's Greenery palette. In fact, it feels like most things I have made this year so far have been somewhere in this spectrum.

Beading Daily Features Pantone's Greenery

Actually, the green in the below ring is more olivine than those in the Greenery palette but I included it anyway since I really love the design by Stephanie at BronzePony Beaded Jewelry.

Here's another of her designs, which I whipped up in no time: the Interlace Band ring. This one is great on a middle finger but I had a terrible time trying to photograph my own hand! Clearly, I will never be a hand model but this gives you an idea. And, thanks to Photoshop, I removed the age spots on my hands. Wish it were that easy in real life!

Interlace Band Ring, Design by Bronzepony Beaded Jewelry
But here's the green that really reminded me of the Pantone palette. This design is by Lisa Kan from the December 2016/January 2017 Beadwork Magazine. Lisa's designs are beautiful but usually a little fussy for me. A beading buddy was working on it and requested my thoughts about the pendant bezel which is made from cubic right angle weave - a bit tricky. In fact this entire pendant is not for the feint of heart. The design wasn't graded for difficulty but I would say it is definitely an intermediate-level one. 

Lisa Kan's Radiance Necklace Design

Do you have any Greenery designs on your bead board this month?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Rings, rings and earrings

Quick hit beading projects are the best. You get the satisfaction of finishing a project and a fun item to give as a gift or wear that same day. Aside from my engagement and wedding rings, I have never been much of a ring-wearer but recently have gravitated to wearing beaded rings. I thought I would share a few of those designs with you.

The cabochon ring is an embellished dichroic cabochon on a peyote stitch band. The gold and blue ring was from a design by Catharina Thomas, featured in The Beader's Handbook. You can easily make the embellished round into earrings.

That's why I really enjoy so many of the tutorials by Stephanie of BronzePony Beaded Jewelry. She's one of my favorite YouTube personalities and her tutorials are always well done and accessible. I really went to town last week-end making her Summer Daze earring design. I am a super duo addict to begin with so these were right up my alley.

Summer Daze Design by Stephanie at BronzePony Beaded Jewelry
The earrings on the left are a different design based on a project on Linda's Crafty Inspirations blog. I added the Swarovski scarab drops which I recently discovered.

Stephanie also offered a ring tutorial to complement the Summer Daze earring designs. This makes up even faster than the earrings and would be a really cute project to do with my nieces. I love the way she uses the super duos to make the band - very clever!

And here's a final ring. This is part of the Blossoms set by Melanie Potter, a kit I purchased in 2013. I had it so long, I lost the instructions and had to write to Melanie requesting another copy. It must be a popular item because it is still in stock and I am linking to it in the photo below if you are interested.

Here's the photo of Melanie's kit with a link to her web store in the caption.

Kit available on School of Beadwork

The bracelet is almost finished but I want to do a wrist measurement for my giftee so I will post that later. Meantime, find some fun earring and ring designs and have a blast!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Have a heart (I know, it's corny)

Last January I wrote about discovering a tutorial to make super duo hearts. I made those hearts many times for various projects like the one shown here.

And, with Valentine's Day right around the corner, I looked through my heart patterns and decided this is still one of my favorites. The YouTube tutorial by VALENTINAoOo [sic] is in Italian and I had to listen to it about 20 times to get the thread path. So I made the below crib notes to help guide me.

Now beware if you decide to follow my notes - they are not a full tutorial and only serve to guide me through the first couple rows until my memory for the design takes over.

I wanted to make some heart charms to send as little Valentine surprises and I found just the right color of red super duos in Tucson last week-end. I changed them up by adding a round-ish component at the top to serve as a spot for a jump ring or bail. These reminded me of the sacred Mexican heart images so I refer to them as my sacred super duo hearts.

Here's a close-up of the modified design. You can see where I joined the top connector to the heart. I probably should have used crystal Fireline to make the join but at least it's easier to see with the darker Fireline below.

And here's how it looks as a book bag charm.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tucson 2017

Tucson is to beaders what Augusta is to golfers, what Omaha is to college baseball fans and what Disneyland is to kids of all ages. Every time I visit the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, I am fascinated with how it came to be that the entire city is taken over for over a month every year by people buying and selling the most amazing things, from precious gems to bargain trinkets. When I make the 2 1/2-hour drive, I think it would be fun to live in Tucson so I could spend almost a whole month visiting all the shows that have never made my list for a day trip. And then I deal with the traffic and decide against it.

This was my fourth time to visit Tucson for the bead shows and this year was an especially fast trip.  There are over 45 "shows" or venues at locations across the city. My first visit was in 2010 and I spent hours pouring over online information, watching YouTube tutorials and planning the venues I would visit. And that is really the best approach. Give yourself at least one visit just to get oriented and see what all the fuss is about. Better yet, adopt a buddy who has been there before and will show you the ropes. That way, you can decide if it is your cup of tea and can be more targeted in planning future visits.

It's very easy to get overwhelmed. Here we see just one venue at the Kino Sports Complex where tent upon tent holds an abundance of materials.

Some less well organized than others. Buffalo teeth, anyone?

One of my must-do venues is To Bead True Blue held at the Doubletree Hotel.

They have a sister venue called The Tucson Bead Show, held at the Radisson. It is perhaps one of the strangest set-ups I have ever seen. There is one smallish ballroom where some of the vendors are located but most vendors are set up in individual hotel suites where the items for sale are in one room and the room the vendors sleep in is in the other. Every time I visit, I wonder if I am the only one who finds it a little creepy and off-putting as you try to figure out what rooms you want to visit. They do seem to host a fair number of classes so maybe that is the main attraction.

Here are my goodies. My first stop was the Potomac Beads booth where I met Ali Brukner, star of their YouTube tutorials. I was out of Tulip needles which are my very favorite needles and then I picked up some of the new shaped beads: a pack of Ava beads, dome beads and cup buttons.

Potomac Bead Company Purchases

Then a mandatory stop is The Lipstick Ranch. Oh my how I love their charms, pendants and chain. Take a look at the unusual 6mm ball chain. The fringe is to make a sassy tassel that is secured in a bead cap. Tassels were very prominent throughout the show.

Lipstick Ranch Purchases

Next was a kumihimo kit and some unusual findings from Ancient Moon Beads.

Ancient Moon Beads Purchases

Then, I bought two finished items. I fell in love with these raku pieces by Jennifer Pottner who creates mix and match components that you can use in your own designs or tie them together with one of her beautiful silk ties. Aren't these colors delicious?

Jennifer Pottner Purchases

I have been wearing more beaded rings lately and couldn't resist a make and take booth by Marianne Kasparian of MAKU Studio. MAKU also does raku designs so I must have been in a raku mood this trip. Here is my distinctive make and take ring. Not bad for $15.

Make and Take Ring by Marianne Kasparian

Here are my final purchases. The left three pieces came from the T-Beads Booth at the Kino Community Center (where traffic was really light) and the seed beads on the right were  my only purchases at the Tucson Bead Show from the Beading House booth.

Next year my goal is to take some classes and stay for a bit longer but all in all, it was a pretty fun day!

© Cave Creek Beads