Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, New Rings

 I hope You All had a wonderful Christmas. We certainly did. Paul and I had one day off, the 25th together and we spent it organizing our apartment. This is a very decadent and luxurious activity for us, because normally we both have many better things to do and no time for such. So we just hung out, ate tasty Christmas food and got some long overdue organizing done.

Thanks to that, I now have more space to live in and bead on.
 What I did not do for a couple of days was beading. So all these little goodies were mostly finished before Christmas.
 I just did not have the time to take pictures of them and list them on Etsy till last night.
 Aren't they fun? And such an easy way to use stone/glass orphans.

You know, the one that's left behind after a project, that you just don't know what to do with?
Make a ring!
 They all have their own little ringy personalities. This is Galaxia , like Woody Harrelson's  character from Anger Management. Such a funny movie, and he made me laugh so hard!
Of course the boro glass in the movie looks like a tiny galaxy, but it's a lot more fun to call it Galaxia.
 Then  this little lucite centered piece reminded me of my bridal bouquet that I made with green chrysanthemums and green spider mums.
 This one is all about ice.
 I think it was about this point in the photo shoot that I realized that my hands are not only dry and full of ever present weird cuts and scrapes ( I swear I got some fairy with a tiny sword cutting me up every night, because I have no idea how these even get there), but my fingers are crooked too. (That, I can't blame on the Little People. They were always crooked.)
 I guess I could use a hand model. If only Samantha did not have webbed feet, her precious brown fingers would look very good with rings on. She has got the longest, most beautifulest wonderfulest doggie toes.
This above piece is named after the Mourning Dove. It does not make a peep, but it's a lovely shade of soft grey.
Then of course here is something very pink.Very, very pink.
Kind of fun isn't it?
Since I have ran out  ring blanks now I am off to something different.
It's about time to start my challenge entry for my own challenge, "Illuminated by Candle Light".
Just a reminder if you feel like participating, make anything, send me two pictures of it by Jan 17th (my birthday) and I will post the entries right here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Snow White Cuff

         Butters in the drawer where I keep my jewelry. Sitting on top of my Preciouses....

Here is something I just finished: Snow White. Another bracelet. I have been only making bracelets for a while, but it's what I feel like doing at the moment....

Yesterday I went to my favorite bead store, Arvada Bead Connection , and I got the little red beads that I used for the brick stitch (on the edges of the cuff, all around) from my friend BJ there. That was a present from him, and he told me the color of them reminded him of ruby slippers. They have a wonderful shimmer to them, a little bit like a candy cane. The sizes are a little uneven, but I just love the way they look. Can't  wait to show this piece to BJ. The little red bicones and white hexes came from his store too.  Best bead store ever!

The milky white resin flowers are a new addition to my bead stash. I have other colors too, and they are fun to use. I initially planned to use them  in the Winter Solitude bracelet , but they were too big for that. They                          worked just fine with this piece.
                Her skin was white as snow, her lips were red as blood and her hair black like ebony...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter Solitude bracelet

In many ways this bracelet is autobiographical. There was a winter a long time ago, when my family fell apart, and since I was the oldest child in the family, a teen at the time, I had to gather and chop firewood, so we wouldn't freeze .
You might think that was horrible, but it really isn't so.

I ended up spending a lot of time in the woods that winter, and there was a particular grove that I walked by a lot, one this bracelet is modeled after.

In the summer this small grove had a semi permanent miniature pond at it's feet, full of frogs and birds and life, and in the winter it froze up. The trees were standing there ,so exposed ,so dark, and at their feet all their summer garb froze into ice, one with the water and rocks... The background for the scenery was Central Europe's largest highland, covered in the thick winter coat of fog, impenetrable, beautiful, all accepting, like a blanket that covered my world.

Just like my solitary winter world, this bracelet only has three colors: black white and gray. One might argue, that white includes all the colors, black is the absence of them, and gray doesn't even exist, but really, that's all there is.

The texture however, gives a lot more to talk about. I used about 20-30 different kind of beads to create a pattern that matches the theme, a pattern that to me, gives back the feel of the icy peaceful solitude. Almost as if I broke the image down into it's components and put it back together and it's translated into how I see the world. Just random shapes that add up to a pleasing whole...

See, winter wonderland can be just serene, peace comes from where you find it....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Come and vote for your favorite!

Hello everyone. I have participated in the Beads East Challenge this year.So did my friend, Sharayah.
All the entries are great, and there will be a
People's Choice Award with a gift certificate to go along.

If you have some time and you feel like going through some fun stuff, go and vote for your favorite right here.

Everyone had the same beads to work with, so the best part for me, as a participant, is tso see what others did with theirs.
It was such a fun project!

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Bracelets, Another Baggie

Here is the outcome of a busy two weeks. Technically, the baggie has been sitting around for a while, I just didn't take pictures of it till now, but the bracelets are spanking new. If I only didn't have to work as much as I do, imagine how much more I could work on things like these...
Van Gogh painted a picture a day. I wonder what would that equal to in bead embroidery. If only there was an equation from paint stroke to stitches, I could set some unrealistic expectations for myself.
Anyhow... This is Very Purple.
I am running out of creative names for bracelets, I guess. She (no question that this bracelet is a girl, so SHE) is a very frilly golden purpley , three part Arabian Nights like, funky pretty thing, as asymmetrical as any bracelet can get, when it comes to patterns.
She is centered around an ammonite cabochon, almost as if she was contemplating her epicenter, her belly button, the beginning of beginnings, deep in thought.
Segmented bracelet designs are not the easiest to bring to life, because they don't always want to lay right. It's a challenge every time, but I think I pulled it off.
The components of the two sides contain pretty much the same assortment of beads, but because of the position of the long pearls, one side appears to be shorter. I can assure you it's the same length, but consider this bracelet as something of an optical illusion.
Well, it was fun making her.

But not as much fun as this loveliness!
Ladies and Gentleman, I give you The Darkness Within.
The Darkness Within is my own. My Prrrrecioussssss!
(Gollum, Gollum!)
Yes, a tribute to my dark side.
Recently I have been thinking about how I usually end up selling all the things I make except for some early duds that aren't on par with my newer work.
What a shame, right? I wanted to make something that only has to please me , and no one else, but me.
Something that I can wear till it falls apart. (That's going to be a really long time. God Bless Fire Line!)
Something that speaks to me.
Eyeballs came to mind instantly. Taxidermy eyeballs. I believe that this one was meant for a much less fortunate dead bass.
The very substantial cabochon is a bumble bee jasper. Comes from Indonesia, and found nowhere else.It's patterns are captivating with the vivid sulfur oranges and yellows.
It's not exactly a jasper, because it's softer and it's rather hard to track down.
But boy, it's worth it! It's my new favorite stone.
So I have been sleeping with my new bracelet on.
But since I have more of this lovely stone, count on similar things appearing here and at my Etsy store soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Random Furry Modeling

It appears that Butters has his own following, and it is my duty now, to satisfy your Butters cravings by posting new , incredibly cute Butters Pirate Nichols pictures.
So cute, so orange, so deadly. Able to disarm mailmen, handymen, father in law.
Owner of sharpest claws, stainless steel baby corn teeth, destroyer of furniture, doors and the pride of anyone ,who thinks a 9lbs kitty can't take them out.

Who can even see the Wunderhund supermodel proudly displaying my new necklace in the back, when Butters steals the show with those whiskers?
Yes. Whiskers. Regal whiskers...
One of these days my furkids will get that modeling contract, and I can retire and bead all the time....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Here comes the Sultana!

Here she comes!
I am not sure what to think of her.
I think I want to explore Islamic patterns a bit more, they fascinate me, and so think of this piece as a beginning to a new obsession.

Not bad for a first attempt, right?
My intention was to use seed beads more, instead of dazzling you with lots of shiny things , I wanted to create a pleasing pattern with mostly good old seed beads, negative space and lightness itself!

Using lots of azure, turquoise and gold, and a teeny bit of red for contrast.

If you look closer, there is a secret magic "ingredient" :
A beautiful star sapphire. I know the star doesn't show. The only thing that shows is probably my head reflected by the sapphire.
But believe me when I tell you, the star is there.
That little beauty came from my trip to Wisconsin, when I visited the gallery that exhibits my friend, Sharayah's work, the Jewelry Mechanic.
The lovely and kind folks who own the Jewelry Mechanic are Sharayah's extended family, and they became my friends too, and the sapphire was a gift from them.
I hope they like what I built around it.

If you have the time and inclination to do so, between the 9th and 15th of December, go vote for your favorite Etsy Beadweavers' Arabesque Challenge entry :

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to You All!
I hope you are having a wonderful fun filled day with your families.

We spent the first half of our holiday hiking , because it's almost 70 degrees here in Boulder.
Not bad, given that we had our first snow storm more then a month ago now.
Here are some pictures from our hike .
The last one shows Sammy's thinking face. Very serious, isn't she?

Now I am off to make Tofurky and stuffing and the rest of the holiday feast.
Enjoy this wonderful day Friends!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Arabesque - The Sultana's Necklace

Dear Reader, this is my Sultana's Necklace in progress. I don't usually share pictures of the jewelry making process, and that' because I don't do tutorials, and I think bead embroidery is a relatively easy, albeit largely time consuming art form, and if you know the basics, you know how everything is made.
But I thought You might like this after all.

Well, first I designed it. Which is done in my head, then on a paper. I use a compass and a ruler for this. (no picture of this, sorry.)
Then I traced it on Pellon. In this case it's black Pellon.
Hard to find, but so worth it.
Then I cut it out. Some people like to let their designs evolve and don't cut it out just yet, but since this was a tight design, no room to deviate from the plan, I did cut it out.

Then I lined my work with size 15 gold Charlottes. I am very fond of size 15 beads in general.
They give a feeling of a certain finesse...

Then I filled in the rest with more beads in back stitch, mostly size 15s and some 11s.

I am almost done, and will post pictures of the finished piece in a day or two.

But now, let me tell you about the design.
When I learned about the new theme for the December Challenge of the Etsy Beadweavers', I knew I had to participate in this one: Arabesque.

Arabesque is flowing leafy , organic patterns largely influenced by Islamic art, which oftentimes turns into even more ornate geometric patters that are based on the sacred geometry of the stars and living things. Even some Medieval Christian art, especially found in codices are a good example here. What fun, right?

Well, I like the geometric patterns even more then I like the leafy ones. So I based my necklace on an Islamic pattern, and decided to make a very light looking and feeling necklace in turquoise, gold and azure blues.

We shall see. I named it the Sultana's necklace, because the Sultana simply means Muslim women rulers. Not a wife on the Sultan, but a ruler in her own right.
Can't wait to finish up and share the final pics with you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Evolution of a bracelet

This pattern was my first bead embroidery project back in 2006 or 2007.
The project was featured in Bead and Button, and I altered the pattern quite a bit, never the less, it came from there and I want to give credit to who deserves it, but I no longer have the magazine.( If you happen to know who's design it was, let me know please.)

* Correction: Dear Uli, from Not Without My Beads , maker of breath taking bead woven jewelry (please check her blog out, if you haven't yet, it's truly one of the most amazing beady blogs out there), left me a comment saying that the designer of the original bracelet is Laurie Marcum, and the issue of Bead and Button was from 2006.

Anyhow, take a look at the picture with the three bracelets:
The one on the left is the first piece of bead embroidered jewelry I have ever made.
It's cute, but it's a hot mess, and by now it's falling apart too. Never the less, it's close to my heart because it got me started on this amazing journey .
The other two cuffs are new, the theme re-visited. Two friends asked me to make them a bracelet just like the first one, so I got to go back to the "roots", so to speak.
Funny thing is, bead embroidery evolved so much since then.
Instead of Nymo, I used Fireline, I redesigned the pattern to be more stream lined, and used hook and eye closures instead of snaps, the back is lambskin not fabric and I stitched on Pellon instead of fabric too.

Now days I use more stones and cabs, so there is less back stitching, but there is something very meditative about doing the same stitch over and over, and I am glad I got to play around with that a bit.
See, it's like a stitched Zen garden, right?
They both came out good, and different, because I simply can not, will not do the same thing twice.
I am happy with the outcome, and it was a great exercise, and now I am happy to move on to a necklace! The Etsy Beadweavers' team challenge for December is "Arabesque". I was very happy when the theme was announced because I love the style and planned to do a few pieces with lovely geometric patterns anyways.
So there will be a necklace soon...