Sunday, January 29, 2017

January Beading Project: Swinging Starlets

Some beading projects are quick hits and can be completed over a week-end. Others are an investment in time. Such was the Swinging Starlets kit by Melanie Potter. I bought this kit in (gasp) early 2012, which shows the depth of my stash! I am a fan of Melanie's design and beading skills but her projects are more ornate than I typically wear. But every once in a while, I like to buy a kit or two to learn something new.

Anyone who has spent time beading knows the importance of engineering but jewelry wearers usually only appreciate it when there are issues with a piece. Maybe it doesn't sit right or it keeps getting tangled or the clasp is too difficult. On this particular piece, the necklace keeps flip-flopping and it's difficult to keep the star motifs facing in the proper direction. The starlets are beautiful - here's one in close-up.

But I guess they may be a little more substantial than the neck strap of square stitch can easily support without twisting. So I don't think I will gift this piece but I will definitely wear it. My favorite design element is the bead cap and tassel which I modified just a bit.

I added the 8 mm silver bead at the top. These were from a shipment of beads from my last year subscription to the Bargain Bead Box. I thought the color was a perfect match and decided to add it. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the other 39 beads in the string!

Oh, and if you noticed my logo watermark in the photos above, you can probably tell I am playing with Photoshop. I love learning new Photoshop techniques and one of the very best teachers is Linda Matthews from the Creative Cloth web site. She offers classes for a fee but also dispenses a lot of free advise and tutorials and the watermark technique is one of her free tutorials.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hug the people you love

My sister knows how much I love cats so she got me a darling calendar with the pages you tear off each day. Here was yesterday's page.

That quote really hit home as we have had to say our final farewell to a favorite uncle and some very good friends in the past couple months. My Uncle Jim was a character for as long as I knew him. I featured this picture of Jim (on the left) with my Dad, his older brother - by 16 months - in an earlier blog post.

Uncle Jim on left and my Dad
I understand he babysat for me when I was a young girl and we were living in Baltimore. How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to witness a few of those babysitting sessions. He loved hats and was rarely seen without one, and had an eclectic fashion sense that usually paired plaids with stripes. 

At a Pittsburgh Pirates game with Uncle Jim and Aunt Barbara
He and his siblings had a tough life but he never focused on that. His father passed away at the age of 41 when Uncle Jim was 13 and my Dad was 14. As the two eldest in a family that included six children, it fell to them to help their mother maintain equilibrium. He remained a bachelor into his 40's and I remember visits to see him in his pre-marriage days. He would be sequestered away, tapping on his typewriter. He kept this love of the written word all his life despite spending much of his professional life with numbers. Many years later, he wrote a biography about my father which I cherish as a reminder of details I never asked.

Uncle Jim had an intense curiosity that gave him an endless fascination with just about anything and made him one of the best conversationalists I have ever met. I will miss his jaunty walk, sly sense of humor and commentary on the world-at-large.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Loving beaded bead caps

I first wrote about these clever beaded bead caps last year when I was looking for caps to complement this bead crochet bangle.

Blog post about this bangle

I stumbled across this tutorial online and, while written in Russian (I think), the design is quite easy to follow. I especially like that it uses super duos since it's nice to have findings that carry on the same bead types from the main design.

This necklace is one of my favorite designs for an all-purpose but very pretty rope. The designer is Kristen Stevens and her tutorial was published on the Art Jewelry Elements blog in July 2015. I have made this rope so many times I have lost count! Here it is with a finish using a bead to end the rope and connect to the clasp.

Rope design by Kristen Stevens on Art Jewelry Elements

I wanted the ending to carry on the super duos used in the rope so in my next version, I made these bead caps. All you need is a handful of super duos and some 11/0 seed beads.

Here's a close up of the bead cap once it's connected to the rope.

And here's the design all put together.

© Cave Creek Beads