Snippets from a bead artist.


Twisted Herringbone... with Twins!

Feel like doing something fun and a little different this lovely spring day? I did - I made a bracelet this morning using twisted herringbone stitch and some lovely Superduo beads... and don't have a photo to show you yet as my wonderful photographer husband is at work... but hopefully I will have something to show you later on in the way of finished work. Superduo beads are like Twin beads, but they are made by Jablonex and are much more uniform and there's a lot less culling going on while you bead. I like them both - and use them both!

In case you would like to try it too, I've made a mini tutorial here on the blog. It assumes prior knowledge of herringbone stitch and twisted herringbone as I haven't included all of the steps to start you off.

I started off with a regular twisted herringbone rope in all size 11 beads to get comfy, and then began adding my twin beads to it. This is a three spine piece, so there are six beads around total. So, coming down through one 11 and up through two 11s for the rope so far...

Pick up one twin bead (or Superduo bead) and two 11 beads. Go down through the second hole in the twin bead and down through the second 11 in your spine. Go up through two 11s in your next spine. Repeat this twice, and step up by coming up through your two 11s and then the twin and the first 11 added in this round.

Pick up one twin and two 11s and come down through the second hole in the twin and the 11 underneath it. Come up through the first hole in the twin bead in the next spine, and the 11 above it. Repeat around. When you step up, you will be coming up through a twin, an 11, a twin, and an 11.

Just keep on going, adding a twin and two 11s per stitch, coming down through an 11 and up through a twin, and your rope will spiral nicely!

I went back to the start and took off the beginning spiral in 11s, so that the whole rope bracelet was in twins, but I can see how this would look fabulous as a center for a rope, with regular or twisted herringbone in seeds to show off the twins in the middle. :) I finished off each end by adding one 11 per stitch - so that I had a picot of sorts on the ends of the spines, and then went round those three 11s in a circle to cinch them up, and then added a crystal rondelle and a clasp half. Once the crystal and clasp were attached firmly, I came back down to my circle of three beads and added one 11 between each of them to make it look less pointy, and voila I had a bracelet!! I hope you have fun if you decide to try this out too!



The other side of nature; away from the blooming flowers and emerging buds. The darker side, where spores are spreading, insidious and creeping, rooting in anything they can, overtaking and blighting. Alien and strange.

I have never, in my entire beading life, had such a hard time creating a piece. Not only struggling with the concepts and the visuals, but fighting with the beads, the Fireline, the stitches... broken beads, tangles that would not come undone in the thread, false starts, ripped up edges... but it's finally done. To be honest, I have really disliked working with the long magatamas - but I think it is because I use my beads as building blocks in a lot of ways, and the long magatamas only seem to work as toppers for me - not as a place to begin. Many of the artists asked to participate in The Beadsmith challenge came up with lovely, flowing, graceful pieces that made me drool, and I think that some artists would have a lot of fun using them - but for me, they acted awkwardly and did NOT want to be where I wanted them to be. Lisa Peters provided another lovely focal cabochon, handcrafted with incredible skill. I also gave myself more of a challenge with this than I could have, choosing to bezel with matte Delicas, which are notoriously thin walled due to the process they go through when manufactured, so I shouldn't have been surprised by a few broken beads.

No matter how much I disliked, or downright hated this piece, it ended up meaning a great many things to me during the process. Which is perhaps why it was as hard as it was. Lisa's focal is fabulous, but when I looked at it I saw spores... and everything came from there. The more I worked and struggled with this, the more I realized what I was 'journaling' about. Not just the focal, or showcasing the magatamas, but things that are happening for me and around me. This month marks the anniversary of my mother's death 13 years ago; today, in fact - we had a difficult relationship, and I found her when we went to investigate when she hadn't answered her phone. My friend, and inspiration, and more to me than I know how to express, is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer, which came in as one tumor, then two; and then more and more, spreading itself wide. Rooting, if you will, sporing, taking over. I hate Auntie C as much as I love you, Linda. There are places in my life when a seed was a lie; and of course that lie leads to more, and more - and spreads. One deceit is enough to plant that seed of distrust, which will overrun a relationship and smother any love or respect it finds growing there. Then there are the seeds that are planted in us, early on, bringing self-respect and self-image issues, anxiety and depression, which can grow to huge, overshadowing things.

Now done, I am exhausted. I need to find something to play with, something light hearted and beautiful.

Out of all of this... came this. I hope that someone, somewhere, will find something that speaks to them more positively with this necklace, and that it finds a home. I'm thinking it won't stay with me for long... or maybe that's just more hoping.


Yayyy, we have a winner in my cuff giveaway!! Unfortunately, Teddy wasn't able to pick names on this one, so I went to the random number thingy - and don't know how to show you the picture of it, lol!! By the numbers, Sharyl of Sharyl's Jewelry and Reflections is the winner!! Thank you to every single one of you for entering and sharing my links, or just stopping in and commenting. Make sure to keep on coming back, I'll have another giveaway soon!!

Sharyl, make sure to contact me with your mailing address! Hope you all have a fab weekend... :)


Long Magatama Beads and a Giveaway

A Happy Holiday to those who partook of Easter, and a happy Sunday to everyone who didn't...

I mentioned in my last post that I would have a new challenge coming up, using Miyuki long magatama beads from The Beadsmith... and have completed a third of the challenge! Lisa Peters Art provided focal components for the designers chosen to participate, and The Beadsmith sent each of us several colors of the long magatamas to work with; Lisa did an amazing job matching colors with her beautiful handmade focals.

I have to admit this has been a hard one for me, so far. Long magatama beads seem very bold and in your face looking to me, and the focal pieces are also large... and I am used to small little beads. I find the way that the bead itself is configured to be puzzling to work with, because the hole is drilled at a slant, and there is a definite front and back to each bead. I fiddled and futzed, I ripped apart, I tried three or four bead weaving stitches... and came back to embroidery. I immediately had fallen head over heels in love with Lisa's flower button component, and had to start with that. But I had no ideas on how to combine the magatamas with the focal! In the end, I decided that they looked like flower petals, and so went with that for my cuff. Although I made sure to use the magatamas on their flattest side for the embroidery, I did find that I had to add a little dab of glue to the tips to keep them flat against the surface of the embroidery.

The cuff itself was a challenge, as well, in that I didn't measure correctly when laying out the outlines, and so it wasn't going to fit over a cuff blank... and figuring out how to get the clasp to stay where I wanted it, and look good, and be secure all at once... this was a learning project for sure!! I also used crosshatching in the background, which is a first for me. The details on the cuff are mostly layers - the bottom layer of embroidery, and then crystals and beaded 'leaves' are made and attached over that. Make sure to stop by the gallery of work that Steven has provided on the Beadsmith Page here!! The clasp was gifted to me by my wonderful friend Linda Jones - and of course the focal and the magatamas came with the challenge. So, I want to pass the goodness on, and I will be giving this cuff away.

In order to enter for the giveaway, I am going to ask you to do a little something... please share my blog link for this giveaway, AND a link to my Etsy shop of your favorite tutorial or piece of jewelry that I have listed there, in two separate posts. It doesn't matter to me where you post, whether it is on your own blog, or Facebook, or Google+ or Twitter... any social media out there would be lovely. Come back and leave me a comment and a link to your post and you're entered! For those of you who follow me on Facebook at all, you will already know that our Chow Chow Sydney had to have some oral surgery this past month, and I won't even tell you how much the bill came to... yikes!! So if I garner any sales, tutorial or otherwise, from the giveaway, it will be awesomely helpful - but you don't have to buy anything to enter. :)

Details on the cuff; it took me around five days to make. It had Swarovski flower crystals, fire polish crystals, seed beads, and freshwater pearls in it, and the clasp is 925 silver, with a hook and loop. It's backed with ultra suede and entirely sewn and embroidered with fire line, so it WON'T come apart. It measures 1.75" wide and exactly 8" long - it will fit snugly on those with a wider wrist size, and more like a bangle on those with a more slender wrist, as it stays rounded when worn. The clasp is amazing - and it won't come undone on you on accident, that hook is quite long.

Thanks so much for following along with me, for sharing my links, and for taking the time to keep me company! Now, on to the next Lisa Peters focal and the next shade of long magatamas - shiny gunmetal/silver... :) Happy beading!

UPDATE! I forgot to add it in earlier - the giveaway will be open to entries until 5PM EST on Friday. :) :) :)