Snippets from a bead artist.


News about Prompts

Hello all.  I'm afraid I'm going to stop doing bead prompts for a bit, go on hiatus and see if things perk up at all.  The original plan was to start doing monthly prompts to see if they could help me (and others!) to get back to beading again... and it hasn't worked for me (although I have heard that it has for others and that makes me soooooo happy!).  I'm sad that the beads these days cause me anxiety rather than joy, but it's helped me to make this decision.  I'm hoping that by putting things away and taking a true break from everything bead related, that my muse will be coaxed back into the open.  The prompt group is going to remain open and folks are more than welcome to hang out and post their works in progress or inspiration, or even to suggest prompts themselves.  I hope to come back to it with a fresh eye and a much more relaxed mind, but I'm not at all sure when.  Thanks so much for following along, if you have, and for supporting my little endeavor!  I hope you all have a wonderful April and that you have much, much fun.  Hugs to all.


March Beading Prompt

Happy spring-almost!  How has your year started?  Have you gotten to any of the things on your 2019 To Do List yet?  I haven't, either, don't feel bad.  ;)  We're at the point in the year when we start to rearrange what we planned, I think - you're either massively excited about the things you're ready to do (but can't yet because weather!!) or you're thinking of changing directions because the planned things aren't floating your boat anymore.  I think both things are perfectly ok - it just means realigning yourself with what's resonating.  

I didn't get around to beading last month's prompt, but I did get out an old, half-started project and consider it.  It's still a thing I want to work on, so we'll see if that happens within the next few months.  It's a huge project, and it felt very intimidating and led to this month's prompt as well, because I thought to myself that it would be good to maybe dip in a toe rather than belly flopping.  Soooooooo, a smallish type of prompt this month - earrings.  They seem do-able since they are usually (not always!) small and quick.   And really - you MUST have at least one earring pattern floating around in your stash that you haven't done up yet?  Or one in a magazine that you've been eyeing?

These are some of my favorite ones I've made in the past which I hope will give me some impetus to make a few more.  I discovered that I enjoy creating bead embroidered ones much more than the woven ones, but there are some lovely weaving patterns out there (and in here, in my stash of patterns on my computer... oh so many!!).  

One of the problems lots of people face with earrings is the issue of The Other One.  Making the first earring can be a blast, having to follow through and make a second can be a pain in the butt.  SOOOoooo, here's the thing - if you make some mismatched ones this month, it totally counts.  In fact, if you make one earring and decide holy heck! this would make a fabulous pendant! - it still totally counts.  :D  I hope to see bunches of earrings - matching or not, turned into pendants or not - in the group this month! Happy beading!


February Beady Prompt

Good second month, all.  I hope the new year brought you loads of goodness!  It brought me another round of chest infections, lol, so this post is going to be rather short and sweet.  On the other hand, it also brought me a new oven (which works a million times better than the old one), and brownies are always welcome.

February's prompt is Freeform weaving.  It doesn't have to be peyote, although combining peyote and right angle weave is my favorite ways to freeform.  You can do freeform with most all of the stitches, herringbone in particular can be very pretty and corrugated.  Most online sources for directions are about peyote stitch and freeform, but I encourage everyone to try it with all the stitches - you never know what you will come up with that might be utterly gorgeous.

Folks usually either adore freeform or absolutely loathe it - for me, it's freeing and a way to bead without worrying about patterns or formality.  You can add ANY bead or component, or wrap it around any old thing and make it special - rocks, sticks, vases, compact mirrors, pens... pretty  much anything goes.  It's a beautiful way to meditate or to work on mindfulness, something that I have been trying to invest myself in these last two years.

If you've never tried it, I really hope you will.  Keep in mind that freeform projects almost always go through a very Ugly Stage where you're convinced it will always look awful and you should give right up - and keep going.  It gets past that stage and you end up with gorgeousness.  Honest!

I do straight freeform with beads only and then I do freeform with bead embroidered components included as well - both of them are hugely satisfying and fun to work on.  Here are a few of mine from days past...

(Freeform peyote + RAW combined with bead embroidery)

(RAW and peyote freeform together)

(Freeform peyote only)

(Freeform peyote only)

 (Freeform RAW only)

There are lots of  tutorials online for freeform beading; one of my favorites must be Karen Williams' book  Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading (and she included me and one of my rocks - squee!!) and you can get that HERE.  I have a tutorial in my shop that combines the freeform and the bead embroidery if you want a starter - you can find that HERE if you're interested.  For a wonderful free tutorial you can't get a better one than the one Beki Haley provides on the Whimbeads site HERE.  For those of you who really really hate freeform - and I'm sure there are a few! - feel free to keep on working on Albion stitch or Trellis or anything at all that makes your heart sing, and share in the group anyway this month, so we can keep in touch.  :)   Happy beading!!


January 2019 Beading Prompt

Happy New Year everyone!  I sincerely hope that it brings you each what you most want and need and that it's full of joy and many, many beads.  (And that you might have gotten a few stash items for Christmas as well. ;) )

Speaking of Christmas gifts brings me smoothly to this month's prompt, as it is entirely brought about by a generous and wonderful gift I received from a very special friend over the pond - Becs Dean Skinner sent me BOTH of Heather Kingsley-Heath's Albion Stitch books!

I'm so excited and can't wait to dig in!  Albion is a fabulous stitch with so many variations and uses, and Heather's projects are amazing and beautiful.  If you don't own the books I highly recommend them (yes, I've read them already!), and if they aren't in your budget right now,  Heather has many pdf patterns available on her website, as well as some free ones that she created for International Beading Week.  

There are a plethora of projects to choose from in the books (which are really well written and have step by step directions that are sooooo easy to follow).  A selection of the patterns I am most drawn to in the two books would be the Sea Curl bracelet, The Cloister Ribbon necklace and (squeeeeeeeeeee) freeform vessels!! 

Projects/patterns you can find on her website (which is HERE) include The Harlequin Lariat;

this STUNNING Country Garden Beaded Flower;

The Spinning Wave Pendant;

And the Winter Butterfly (seriously, this is so gorgeous it takes my breath).

These are all located in her for purchase pdf patterns, which you can find HERE.   If you'd like to browse her free pdf downloads, you can check them out HERE.  And last but not at all least - Heather has written a new book with Melanie de Miguel (author of the fantastic Hubble Stitch) named "Tudor Inspirations - Elemental Beadwork" which I am DYING to buy. The projects in the book were inspired by the Cheapside Hoard,  something I discovered years ago and was sooooooooo inspired by but never got round to designing from - Heather and Melanie have brought all my beady dreams to reality in this book!  Feast your eyes upon the cover, and the inspiration photo from Heather's blog.... so much DELICIOUS...

So you know what's on my wish list now...  Sherwood is definitely getting a few nudges for my birthday.  :)  So that's it for me for January, I wish you the best of the beginnings for this year, and I hope you find something that makes you want to dive into Albion stitch as much as I do!  Have a wonderful month, and see you soon!


December Beading Prompt

Happy Holidays, everyone!  December is hugely busy for most of the populous, no matter which celebration someone takes part in.  So this month I am keeping it pretty short and sweet, so that everyone has a chance to join in if they want to, and still keep up with their Everythings.  :)

But first, an update here on what I managed to do last month - I finally managed to do one of my own prompts!!!  *trumpet flares here*  I finished the cuff I picked up to do AND I started another project that I hope I can show sometime during December.  It was so so so good to get back to things, and to FINISH something!!  There were also a ton of awesome embroidery projects shared in the group - everyone that participated did gorgeous things, and I was so happy to see so many photos.  Here's my cuff done!

On to December!  This month's prompt is make a pendant!  I would say they're fast and easy, but some of the ones I've seen out there are pretty darned complex and amazing, lol! However, you can find simpler ones around, and they might be the perfect thing if you're needing something for a gift.  I wanted to mention that Cynthia Newcomer Daniel has a FREE pattern for a Christmas pendant that she has uploaded to Facebook - I shared the link on my personal page, if you'd like to make one of your own.  Isn't it beautiful?? 

Instead of looking through Etsy and sharing my favorite finds with you this month, I'm challenging the folks in the group to come forward with their favorites and share links.  I'd love to see what you all are loving.

I really hope 2019 is going to be an excellent year for all of us, and that things can be a little more peaceful and a little more easeful.  If I don't get around to writing another post until January, let me wish you a fabulous new year's now.  :)   Happy beading!!  And thank you all for following along for another year's worth of prompts with me, it's been a pleasure.  


November 2018 Beading Prompt

Happy day after Halloween!  I hope everyone had a lovely time yesterday.  Ours was pretty relaxed, we never get trick or treaters (darn it!) and I'm down with a case of pneumonia, so QUIET was the word, lol.  Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and Samhain is just the icing, though, so I was happy as can be anyway.

November's prompt is near and dear to my heart, and hopefully will spark lots of creativity.  I didn't get to doing any brick stitch last month, but hopefully I will get right into working on this month's prompt - Bead Embroidery!  In fact, I dug out an unfinished cuff project yesterday and hope to complete it before the end of the month.   If that doesn't work out, I have promised myself to start a new piece of embroidery of some kind.

In a lot of ways, I feel that bead embroidery is one of the very best, most creative forms of bead work, with SO MANY ways to make it purely your own.  There are many gorgeous patterns out there (and yes, I'm going to link to some of them) but it also provides this gigantic playground for the person who wants to just jump in head first.  You can grab any focal at all and just go to town.  You can include any bead that tickles you, and objects that aren't beads or even resemble beads -there are no rules at all!  One of my favorite ways to use it, other than cuff bracelets or wall hangings, is to combine it with weaving such as freeform - to make necklaces, to make bracelets, to make rocks into art objects.   (I have a tutorial called Atlantis that shows how I combine embroidery and freeform in my shop if you'd like a peek at my process.)

My second favorite is doing what I called Mixed Media bead embroidery  -  which is basically using weaving such as freeform or RAW on top of fabric along with embroidery, and including things such as fibers or patches of different fabrics or metallic components.  (I have a tutorial on  that as well.)

So 'my kind' of embroidery is sort of free flowing and rarely looks like a 'thing' in itself.  But a few of my friends do amazing portraiture/caricature work and have made tutorials, as well.  Kinga Nichols of CrimsonFrog does, of course, AMAZING work with embroidery.  As of right now, she is off teaching and her shop is closed, but she offers gorgeous kits for her creations, as well as offering a seasonal, curated collection of beads each season, specifically meant for embroidery - these kits also include beautiful fabrics to work with, and unique focal bits.  She has an FB group for those people who have bought her kits,  and I highly recommend both the kits and the group!  You can find the group HERE, and these are a few of the kits from past seasons (and may I say, they are hugely inspirational):

My friend Jody Young also has a new bead embroidery group on FB, called Beyond The Boundaries with Beads, where she is inspiring people and conducting both swaps and challenges  - you can find that group HERE.  Jody's work is incredible and features what she calls her Raised Texture method of embroidery.  She has a shop on Etsy with delicious embroidery kits as well, HERE.   A few photos of her incredible work:

There are so many artists out there that inspire me, I could go on and on and on and on;  Diane Hyde, Jamie Cloud Eakin, Sherry Serafini, Heidi Kummli, Catherine Chinoy, Laura McCabe, Laura Boudloche Zeiner... the list is a mile long at least.  A few of my favorite bead embroidery tutorials would have to include:

Carol Paris of BumblebeadCrafts on Etsy offers WONDERFUL and whimsical tutorials of adorableness such as Puffins, Heilan' Coos, Foxes, and my ever favorite (and I even own one of the originals!!!) Hedgehog.  You can find her shop HERE.

 Donna Louise Sanders provides fabulous tutorials for her Goddess brooches, earrings and necklaces as well as Christmas ornaments in her shop on Etsy and her Payhip shop.  One of her designs that makes me grin like a loon is the Big Girl Panties brooch, which is a free download you can find HERE.  (We all need some of these, don't we??? ;) )

Tamara Scott Designs has the Lizzie lizard tutorial that caught my eye.  You can find that HERE.

Eva Csizmaadia Lajosne of Vicus on Etsy has stunning design tutorials for barrettes, cuffs, earrings, necklaces - AND she sells some lovely components as well.  You can find her HERE.

If all of that isn't enough inspiration, I highly recommend wandering over to Pinterest (if you have half a day or so to spare - you'll get lost!) and putting bead embroidery into the search.  I hope this kick starts your November beading, and hope to see you soon!  I'm off to see if I can figure out the ending to this cuff....