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...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My new challenge- Illuminated by Candlelight

Remember my Harley Davidson challenge? And the Hardware store challenge before? Well, I have a new one for You, or me, and whoever wishes to participate :

Illuminated by Candlelight

Think of soft yellows, oranges, shadows, lights playing on the wall, on whatever.
Think of old paintings , long winter nights, good things, whatever comes to mind.

I know we will all be very busy for the next couple of months, so there should be enough time to work on this.
The deadline is going to be my birthday, January 17th.
Simply make whatever beaded jewelry, or object you feel like answers this theme, take pictures of it, email me two of them at kinganicholsATyahooDOTcom , and I will post all the entries all at once when the challenge is over, right here.

What does Sammy snuggling with Butters has to do with this?
Nothing really. I just love how well my furkids get along. See the felt flower on Sammy's sweater? I made that yesterday , when I decided that I need more hobbies that I hardly have enough time for, and purchased some felting needles, wool and a sponge to felt on.
Then it came to me that to be very good at anything one needs hundreds of ours of practice, and I rather stick with bead embroidery. But I am still thinking about combining the two.
Some way, somehow. We shall see....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Golden Marsha bracelet

My friend Marsha Wiest-Hines, maker of wonderful ballroom gowns and jewelry gave me a beautiful cabochon when I visited her this fall.

See, Paul is from Minnesota, and we go to visit his family once a year, in the fall, so when I finally had the dates for our vacation, I started pestering Marsha if I could go and visit her.

She graciously agreed , and so I got to see her , and her studio, and all her beautiful work . It was so much fun! I unfortunately forgot to take pictures, except for one where I am wearing my favorite necklace of hers, but I lost the picture. Silly me...

Anyhow, we went bead shopping, had lunch and exchanged gifts. One of the things she gave me was this wonderful big yellowish creamy colored cabochon.

It reminds me of a giant creature's scale. Most people it reminds of butterscotch candy.

I do have a vivid imagination.

I think it might be some sort of onyx, but I really am not sure.
*Update: Marsha informed me that it's a Honey Opal*

I was thinking and thinking on what to do with it, and since I was in the mood for golden things, I made the Golden Marsha bracelet.
I think Marsha will probably like these colors together.
She is very graceful and lady like and so I had her in mind while working on this piece.

The to all the Butters fans out there, here is a pic of the evil kitty in repose. He usually tries to sleep on the middle of the dog bed, so Sammy has to sleep on the floor or play fight him for it,but this time the two were so tired they shared it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cat in the box and a new bracelet

I'm not even sure what I should call this one. It's definitely very metal!
It was just an interesting experiment, I had a bunch of onyx agate cabochons I got from Ebay and wanted to bring them together in one piece. Black was an obvious choice for beads, and originally I was thinking about using red, but when I looked at the new light aqua, almost icy blue seed beads I got, I knew I wanted to put those with the black.
More blue followed and this is what came of it.

The little semi precious stone beads I had in my stash are the same shade of icy greenish blue, but I forgot what they are called. I think it's in the bible, apparently the heavenly Jerusalem is full of them, but I am not sure what they are.

Now here, Ladies and Gentleman, we have Butters in the light box. This picture explains why it's so hard for me to take pictures. Him and His Bride Anakh Sunamoon both believe that the photo apparatus is a prime nesting area and it's almost impossible to keep them out of the box.
Good thing I am not Schroedinger.