Friday, May 29, 2009

Odd-Count 2 by 2 Variant Peyote Bracelet

This bracelet was done with #4 cubes and #11 seed beads in the same color. It's an adaptation of a project in a circa 2008 Beads and Buttons magazine.  I didn't care for the clasp design though so I just used a tube slide clasp.  Nice and clean.  I love it.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mom's Card Stash is Low

I recently got a call from my mom informing me she was low on greeting cards. This means that my sister-in-law or I need to replenish her card stash since we both do paper crafts. I decided on projects, all of which I'd done before, so they were able to be done quickly.

The birthday cards are made with a Cuttlebug embossing folder, stamps, and coordinating colored paper, ink and Stickles glitter. The scallop punched disc is mounted with a dimensional dot.

The Thinking of You and Sympathy cards were also done with Stampin Up stamps where the background floral stamp was done on the white and colored card stock at the same time, and the contrasting color frame added later. Many probably won't notice that the flower print matches between the two, but you can see it well in the purple card image.

The Thank You cards are done with multi-part stamps and I used a stamp-a-ma-jig to align the flowers to the stems. Coordinating colors were used on separate paper and a round punch. Discs were overlayed to roughly line up with background image.

The interior text is printed with coordinating color ink. My pet peeve is poorly inked interior messages...they look like an afterthought and ruin an otherwise quality made card. So I try to make sure that my stamps are inked very well.

A fun little finishing touch is a personalized stamp. Mine was purchased by Stampin Up but the quality is pretty bad. I need to find a better quality stamp maker for personalized stamps.

I hope mom likes them!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Stone Wrapping

I took a great class at Nomadic Notions for Stone Wrapping taught by Mick. It was great fun and I learned a lot. The wire work is my favorite. Here are the 3 beads I wrapped in class. I really like the bead with the triangular wrap, even the bale is triangular.

Ndebele Fringe Necklace

This was another great class taught by Claudia at Sea of Beads. Ndebele Fringe is an extremely fast beading project. I had a lot of problems with my thread with this project. It kept fraying and knotting and I had stretched and conditioned in many times. I have decided this problem is related to the type of thread used. I'm becoming pretty partial to ONE G thread made by Toho but it only comes in 12 colors so I have to go with S-lon and it just was actually so hairy that I'd cut it and start new thread well before I was close to the end of the thread.

Ndebele Rope Lariat

I took a wonderful class at a local bead store, Sea of Beads taught be a great teacher, Claudia. Ndebele stitching is also known as the herringbone stitch. I decided to do something that wasn't in any of the class samples and that was to choose a design with one by one stripes extending the length of the rope. This project used size 11 triangular seed beads. I chose this color combination: glossy black and hematite. I used a hematite ring and a hematite teardrop with a sterling silver cap bead on either end of the lariat. It took a long time to bead this piece so I'll want to remember this isn't something I'll finish in one night.

Practice Makes Perfect

Early in my beading experience, I met Leo at Legendary Beads. He is an excellent teacher and in a matter of minutes had taught me how to bead wrap. Of course, I didn't go home and practice and by the time I got around to trying it on my own, I'd forgotten everything he'd taught me. So I stumbled through the first portion of my bead wrapping project until I could get myself enrolled in a bead wrapping class. I took this class at another local store, Nomadic Notions and it was taught my another exceptional teacher, Mick. I went home that very night and started back where I'd left off on my project. The Before and After difference is extreme. My partner said that the new stuff looks like it was done by a machine. How excellent of a compliment! I'm still working on this one. I want it to wrap at least 5 times...maybe more! The lessons learned here was not to give up, to take a class before I develop bad habits, and that I have to practice after each class/technique learned so I don't forget what I learned.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My First Corded Piece

This is a Lia Sophia or Silpada Knock Off. This is the project on which I learned that not all beads have the same size holes. Most of the beads would not thread through with the large cord. It took me weeks to find an effective bead reamer. I ended up finding a seriously fine tipped taper reamer at a local glass shop, Blue Moon Glass, which I put into my cordless drill and used with a sponge and a dish of water to ream each stone until it fit. Not something I care to repeat any time soon, but the results are great. People are shocked to find out I made this one myself. That's always the best compliment!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Metal Etching

I took a great class from Art Academy of Austin learning how to etch brass, copper and silver. The etching compound and the resists used were those used for etching circuit boards plus we experimented with a bunch of other resists as well. It was a fun experience. Here are my pieces. I have to cut them out and make pieces out of them, but I don't have the equipment to do that yet. One of the irons used to apply the resist was used previously for batique and it pretty much ruined the ghecko, but the rest will be able to be salvaged. The liver of sulfur worked to antique the pieces with some of the projects but more on the copper than on the brass.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Couple Simple Single Strands

Here are a couple basic single strands I recently made. I am going to redo the brown necklace so there are silver spacer beads next to each focal bead as they seem get lost without them. I bought the pendant, but once I have a kiln, they be handmade too!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Projects from Seed Bead Stitching by Beth Stone

Here are a couple different beading stitches I've learned from the book I posted earlier in this section, Seed Bead Stitching by Beth Stone. Some of these may be repeats. All were very fast except the black one which was smaller beads and I needed better lighting.

Tri and Quad Stitch Combination, Page 58

Basic Daisy Chain, Page 65

Right Angle with Drop Beads, Page 50

Diagonal Peyote with Drops, Page 25
I get a lot of compliments on this one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gold Plate Byzantine

This is the same byzantine weave I've posted before but I did it in gold-plate jump rings from the Ring Lords. It works very similar to the sterling silver jump rings in terms of stiffness. I get so many compliments on this! I wish I could afford to do it in real gold!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Russian Spiral Rope with Dangles Set

Here are better pics of the rope set with Hematite dangles that I posted before. This is the Russian Spiral Stitch, as printed in Seed Bead Stitching by Beth Stone, Page 82. I know I need a better iPhone will just have to do for now.

Done with same color mat and glossy beads. The mat beads are 8, the glossy beads are 6. I used heavy gauge fishing line for the necklace which gives it some really nice coil like body to it. I didn't want that stiffness in the bracelet so I used beading thread.

This is one that I get asked to make quite a bit.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

PMC 101

I took an absolutely fabulous class at Creative Side Academy here in Austin t0 learn PMC. It was a great introduction to this medium. Basically this is silver impregnated clay that you shape like modeling clay. After firing in a kiln, the organic binder burns off and you're left with pure silver. This is great for charms and small pieces of jewelry, although if you have a larger kiln and the money for a lot of packets of clay, you could probably get larger pieces. I definitely recommend either taking a class from an experienced instructor (vs. an artist trying to make some side money who is just going to get you really frustrated when you get into the more advanced stuff) or investing in a few good books on Precious Metal Clay and networking with other DIY PMC'ers in your area.

Here are the three pieces I finished in class. We used PMC3, fired in a kiln, cleaned with steel wool, and polished (and work hardened) with steel shot in a vibratory tumbler. Great fun and I love to wear these!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Now That I Know What Not To Do

This is one of my first pieces posted. One day a noticed beads on the floor in my office. It was falling apart. Since then I have found there are several places that it is broken. Why? I didn't reinforce this piece at all. Why not? Because none of my beading books have emphasized the need to reinforce your pieces. Recently I've been investing in classes and the pay-off has been marked. I just wish I'd learned to do this before I lost pieces I really loved.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Matching Chain Maille and Crystal Necklace - "Glitter Maille"

Earlier I posted the bracelet, but here is the set! I've called it "Glitter Maille." The weave is Enigma (or Gridlock Byzantine), and it is a variant of the basic Byzantine weave. This is one of the weaves I learned in the book, Chains by Becky. To get the ange for a necklace (instead of a choker), I used a triangle crystal instead of a square. I wasn't able to find Volcano, so this color is called Bermuda. They are still close. The anodized aluminum in seven different colored jump rings from The Ring Lord. This is a really fun set to wear. I made another set to donate to a local fund raiser and it auctioned off at something like $250!