Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Odds and ends

Recently a beadweaver out there in bloglandia wrote about copper lined light amethyst beads.  They are also one of my favorites.  I thought that the Czech hank I bought was just copper lined crystal AB and I have not been able to track them down again, but this tidbit of info has given me hope.  Here is a little sample of a corset stitch (from Kate McKinnon - you can find a link to directions for a cuff made with this stitch on her blog.) using my favs with silver 15/0 one-cuts.

The pollen is so thick you can taste it.  I'm desperately waiting for rain to clear the air.  If you have never been in a pine forest in the spring, it is a messy place.  I can stand outside and watch the pollen spewing from the pine trees.  It is as if they have a misting attachment.  One of the trees near the front of the house is home to a huge and very active beehive.  Every year they go crazy at this time; the bees go into hyperdrive and it really is amazing how loud they are as they fly about.  I wonder what pine honey tastes like.
We back up to acres and acres of woods and swamp

After I took this picture I painted the front door.  To the right of the house you can see they entrance to the courtyard - brick pillars topped by balls.  This is where I have taken many necklace pictures.  Bead Soup blog hoppers frequently commented that they liked the antique bust I used.  Well, it wasn't a bust, it was the top to the column.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I have not actually fallen off of the face of the earth.  Just working and sleeping.  This week I finished yet another cuff.  I spotted this loom pattern at a blog from Spain - Ruxandrabolorios - and followed it to Rux's pattern site.
Since I don't loom, I used square stitch.  I used Toho Treasures for the cream and turquoise and Delicas for the copper and bronze.  Toho cylinder beads are just a little bigger than Delicas so I had a neat surface texture contrast that I decided to exploit. Because there are an odd number of beads in each row, I ended every row with a group of three beads instead of a group of two. Stitching back and forth means that there is a bit of unevenness in the way the beads sit.  I guess the best way to describe what I was after is a bit of a cobblestone texture.  I also used smoke Fireline which took away the yellowy quality to my cream beads and gave them a rather antique look.
closes with two snaps
15/0 picot to match the DB-oo22L scrolls
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What is that on the cream beads?
At first I thought it was pollen.  We are covered in a fine yellow dust.  Seriously, it looks like South Georgia has been sprinkled with mica powder.  But no.  I made chili last night.  I toasted my dried chili peppers and ground them in a dedicated coffee mill.  I threw tomatoes in the blender with chipotles and adobo (I believe that is where I picked up the gunk in the photo).  I roasted my spices to bring out the flavors.  It was delicious, but the leftovers on the cuff - Yuck!  Gotta give these a scrub.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

bead corral

I've been making beaded beads the past few nights.  Right now I'm waiting for an order of Delicas to make a stunning dragonfly cuff I spotted at Good Quill Hunting.  I keep telling myself I won't make another one-drop peyote cuff, but I found this one and fell in love.  This is the photo from Christina's pattern site:
you cannot tell how shimmery this is in the photos
These are the beads I've been playing with since the weekend.  The little ones are woven on an 8mm core of 15/0 seed beads.  The larger ones are made from 11/0's and are on a 10mm core.
these are about 9.5mm across

these are the little guys; the big ones are rolling around in the background

I use circular peyote to make my beaded beads.  I make two halves and join them together.  This came about because I find it very difficult to decrease on a 3-D surface in the round.  Also because I originally followed a tutorial in French and the part about the increases was about all I could understand.  The details for the decrease were not accompanied by the best diagrams, so this was the solution  I invented.  I like getting all my rows to line up and not having any bulky areas sticking out as I had with some other methods.  I'm pretty certain this is fairly similar to the TQB beaded bead.  But if you check out her beads you will not believe how tight they are.  I guess mine will get better after 15 years of practice.
My mom commented that I needed another light source for my photos.  I've got three lights now, but they are not fancy photo lights.  I think I need to change the bulbs and see if this helps.  Above is my do-over pic of the celtic trefoil.  I think it is a little better photo, but I'm going to continue working on the lighting.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Third times the charm

I tried twice before to finish the Celtic Trefoil from Diane Fitzgerald's book Shaped Beadwork.  Each time I broke one or more beads when I was zipping up the piece.  After speaking to another beadworker,  I switched to KO thread, and had success.  I love this thread.  It is so silky and didn't need any wax or thread conditioner.  I'm hooked on this for projects that need a softer feel than Fireline.
I'm not in love with the color choices I made, but I wasn't really certain this piece would come together
 I'm still working on my indoor camera skills.  I tried a set-up I read about - cut off the bottom of a plastic milk jug and shoot through the top.  I got my lights set-up and tried it and it worked better than anything I've tried before.  I've got to keep experimenting to get better color and sharpness, but shooting a silver beady thing probably isn't the best place to start figuring it all out.  I need to get out some matte pieces and see what I can do.