Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Adventures in Looming

my first piece of loom work
I bought myself a little Beadzu loom and have woven a few pieces.  The first one, above, is based on a Latvian floral bracelet pattern.  I used 11/0 Toho beads and put in the edging with 15/0s.  I really had no idea what I was doing so I went to YouTube and watched some videos.  I wanted to figure out how to loom with as few warp threads as possible, but I decided I might just try the most basic method first.  I used Nymo to thread the loom, but have since read that if I use Fireline or another thread that is difficult to split, I might be able to pull the warps through the finished piece in sort of a serpentine so that I end up with only two threads to deal with at the end (see video at the end of the post).
you can see my wobbles, but I was happy and they aren't so evident when I'm wearing the cuff
butter soft leather lining
I stitched the piece to a thin piece of leather and found the perfect bead for the closure.

Next, I decided to try weaving with some 15/0s.  Crazy, huh?  Well I decided that looming went so quickly that I might as well use the tiny beads I love so much.  I had seen this pattern in a Bead and Button a few years ago.  It turned out that the crazy part of this attempt wasn't the 15/0s, but the 37 warp threads!
"In Flight" pattern from B&B
Look at all those warp threads!
I'm still looking around for the perfect leather or Ultrasuede to back this piece.  The cream beads are matte finish and the red are Toho inside-color jonquil-hyacinth lined (TR-15-303/c).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yellow flowers

I have not been doing much jewelry photographing, but I have been making pieces.  This is a the second lariat I made based on Leslie Frazier's Trumpet Flower Necklace in the Aug/Sept 2012 Beadwork  
Now I must get busy with the camera in order to show off what I have been doing since last spring. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Just back from Costa Rica

I just got back from Costa Rica.  Two other Spanish teachers and I took 17 students for a week touring Costa Rica.  No time for a full post - more later with monkeys, sloths, iguanas, hummingbirds, and volcanoes. For now I have just a bit of inspiration.  From the town of Sarchí, home to the largest ox cart in the work, here is something in a smaller size.
An ox cart from Sarchí

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Arabic motif bracelet

Apparently I didn't manage to write a blog in April.  I don't know what happened to the month.  It was here, I blinked, and it was gone.  Only the bills remain.
from a La Bella Joya pattern: Arabic Motifs

I loved the colors in Marcie's piece and had to make one myself.  Actually this is the second one I made.  The first I completed a few years ago, but I used thread that was a little too light weight and had problems with the aventurine beads breaking the thread.  For this piece I used 4 mm aquamarine and 6 lb. Fireline.  No problems.
I hoarded this aquamarine for years - it is much prettier in person

Gwen Fisher commented that she saw a similarity to the Archimedes Star in this design.  I see it too.  All the little triads and groupings of six.  I have been reading Gwen's article "Using tiling theory to generate angle weaves with beads" and am excited about thinking through angle weaves (RAW, CRAW, MRAW) in a new way.  I am a very big picture person - I like to understand how everything fits together before I start exploring details - and this article helps me wrap my mind around the weave and imagine possibilities.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Miriam's Garden

This piece is based on the Carole Horn Neptune's Garden bracelet from the December 2011 Bead & Button.  I used the size 8/0's listed in the magazine for the diagonal peyote base, rolled the edges, added three Czech floral buttons for the closure, and then went all Miriam Haskell adding beaded flowers and leaves until I had a corsage bracelet.  I think this piece went from being Neptune's Garden to Miriam's Garden.
The 8/0 peyote base is very supple even though I stitched it with 8 lb. Fireline.  It was easy to add the embellishments to the base because of the large 8/0 holes.  I tried to get a good balance between matte and shiny beads.  I even found a spot to add a pearl.
loops on the right for fastening to the three floral buttons at the far end
looking into the garden

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Star light, star bright

preview: a big pile of the work I photographed this morning
I finally got out the camera and the light box this morning and took some pictures.  Above is a preview of some of the blog entries coming soon.  Today I''m sharing the gold and blue piece.
A few years ago I caught a glimpse of Gwen Fisher's Archimedes Star, but I didn't have the pattern.  Beadwork recently had a 50% off deal on back issues so I grabbed the Aug/Sept 2009 issue.  I have been reading Maggie Meister's Classical Elegance and am currently enamored of the gold and anything color combination.

I ordered a great cache of gold beads in all sorts of sizes and finishes to see what I liked best for various projects.  Here I combined some Preciosa Ornela champagne gold 11/0s with tiny 13/0 one-cut rocailles and Japanese sky blue lined transparent light peach 11/0s.  I've linked my sources and bead colors because I buy completely on-line.  Perhaps once a year I get to a bead store and am able to buy seed beads, but mostly the stores I come across do not have the selection of seed beads I need.  So I thought I would help out my fellow on-line buyers with the details.  I can't tell you how many times I've ordered what I thought to be the perfect colors only to have something completely unlike the picture show up in my delivery.  Don't I wish I had sample cards!

Although the pattern called for Japanese 11/0s and 15/0s, I decided that the smaller size of the Czech beads would be offset by the 13/0s. This worked out fairly well although the sky blue beads would have been easier to work with if they had been smaller Czech 11/0s  as well, but in the end the piece is still very pretty.  I like the antique feel the one-cut 13/0s give to the piece, but if I made another one I would use all Japanese or all Czech round beads for more modern, clean lines.  I think the key to bead selection for me is to have opaque beads for the star and have jewel-like transparent beads fill the points.
I used Fireline and a size 12 needle and was able to make many passes through the beads.
try this modified right angle weave

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A feather, a flower, and a window

a feather: pattern source (in French)

feather with charms

flower blossom: link to original post

blossom lariat
Blogger has gone a bit crazy on me, but I'm trying to keep up my glacial posting schedule and crank out one post per week so I'm just going to write below the photos and not log off and plan to come back later. Later seems to have a way of eluding me.

This week I've got a feather pendant which I made from a French pattern from L'atelier de mimi.  Her blog is linked in the photo caption and has some beautiful examples of her plumes.  The little butterfly is a charm from Gardanne Beads and the quatrefoil bead is turquoise dyed magnesite.  The pattern uses 11/0's and 15/0's of the same color.  I pulled out some dark bronze Toho beads that had been rolling around in the bead cabinet for some time.  I got to whip up a fun piece and tackle my stash at the same time.

The final photos above are shots I took in the light box which my mom gave me a few years ago.  This is fitting because I made the Blossom lariat for her.  I wrote all about the piece in an earlier entry, but I will repeat that the blossoms are a pattern from Leslie Fraizer (Trumpet Flower Necklace, Beadwork Aug/Sept 2012).  These flowers have captivated me.  I just finished another lariat in a completely different (and very Pantone Spring 2013 colorway), but I still need to photograph it.

Finally, my husband has continued to build onto his mother's house in Mexico.  A few years ago he had a bedroom/bath room suite built, and now he has bumped out the living room.  He wants to make sure that his sisters' families will all have plenty of room to visit their mother during the year when he can not be with her.  Unfortunately, all this building has really taken a toll on her beautiful garden.  I have a feeling we will be working on that next.  Below is one of the new windows in the living room and some calla lillies growing next to nopal cactus.
nopal, callas, and roses

Monday, February 18, 2013

Saw it and made it

How much time do you spend perusing Pinterest?  I spend a little too much time being dazzled by the gorgeous beadwork I find.  I thought I'd better start making some pieces I'd seen on Pinterest to justify the time investment.
saw it and made it

One of my favorite wearable pieces is this bracelet by Lucila based on a pattern by Amparo Santos aka Quimeras on Etsy.  Every few days I would see it again and finally I decided to make my own.  I went to Lucila's blog and saw that the base component was designed by Amparo Santos whose patterns I have used before. 
Lucila found her amazing turquoise in Puerto Rico, but on my limited budget, I used turquoise dyed magnesite 8mm and 4mm beads.
my version

When I bought the magnesite, I found these matching quatrefoil beads and decided to use the as clasps.  Somehow they managed to perfectly fit.  Although Lucila finished her bracelet with coral beads, I wanted to keep a simpler color palette and stitched the 4mm's a bit more tightly together.

This piece is really a labor of love.  Each component with a bezeled 8mm bead surrounded by four 4mm is an individual piece.  There are 33 of these components stitched together!

Saw something on Pinterest and made it: Check.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Be still my heart

When I saw this group of beads from Gaea I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I had been stalking Gaea's Facebook page for a few weeks trying to pounce on a winged heart and a good looking set of beads before someone reserved them.  Finally success!  You can also buy Gaea's beads at her website and at Lima Beads.
Even though I knew what I wanted to make, it took me awhile to get around to putting the piece together because they arrived just before the start of school and all the difficulties of the fall term.

The wirework is dark annealed steel which matched the loops on the pendant.  The spacer beads are copper, the enameled bird is from Gardanne Beads, the little etched copper charm I made myself, and the tuquoise seed beads are vintage from my stash.

The necklace it about 36" long and the seed bead length hangs around my neck and ends just above my collarbones.  The wirework has a nice drape because of the Goldilocks weight of Gaea's beads (not too heavy, not too light).  The smallest beads are about 6mm and the largest around 12mm.  I sand my steel wire, then rub it with steel wool before forming links. For this necklace, I lightly hammered each loop and jumpring.
This was my first attempt to etch copper.  I followed at tutorial similar to this one from Copperheart.  I bought my ferric chloride from the hardware store...it is used in pool cleaning.  For resist I used StazOn permanent ink and a stamp with tiny detail.  I have more to learn about etching, but I was happy just to get any result.  I need to practice a little more.
a little over exposed

Sunday, January 13, 2013

blossom lariat

A gift made for my mother based on Leslie Frazier's Trumpet Flower Necklace in the Aug/Sept 2012 Beadwork.  I picked out a color palette to coordinate with a winter outfit and my mom's favorite color of nail polish.