Snippets from a bead artist.


Reveal: Choose Your Own Adventure

I'm so happy today to be able to post photos of two new bracelets, made for the Choose Your Own Adventure blog hop hosted by Mandi Ainsworth and Karen Williams.  The idea behind the blog hop was to create something in freeform peyote stitch, which is one of my favorite techniques.  I thought it was an awesome idea, not only for people like me who already adore freeform, but for those who would like to try it out for size.  I am really enjoying being part of their Facebook group as well, and highly recommend stopping by if you're of a mind to try out some freeform yourself; they have some wonderful ideas and tips in the posts.

I tried something new with this first one.  I used leftover bead soup from my Honeybutter necklace (made years ago in freeform right angle weave) and have named it Honeycomb.  Instead of starting off with one strip of peyote and working off of that strip continuously, I made several strips and then wove them together with more freeform.  When I start with a single strip, the edges tend to have scallops from connecting new lines of peyote to the original strip, and I wanted to see how it would lie if you didn't have the scallops doing the connecting.  I really like how it makes for several 'paths' in the work, and then ends in fairly solid peyote at the ends.  The clasp is from the Elegant Elements line of findings.

For those of you looking for a similar color palette, the original Honeybutter soup mix started off with a bead mix of the same name which is, I think, manufactured by Miyuki, and if you do a Google search, you should be able to find the same basic mix in several sizes of seed beads and firepolish beads as well.  I then added a TON of my own stash beads (Swarovski, freshwater pearls, faceted glass, cubic zirconia, triangle/cube/hex/24kt gold plated seed beads, etc etc) into the mix to make it more unique, but you could certainly use their mix as is.

With my second bracelet, Compass, I had more of a true adventure, even though I didn't try anything 'new to me' with it, because it truly evolved as I worked with it.  I had a fairly plain, been-there-done-that plan in my head as I started, and didn't plan the chains or jump rings or the basic steampunkery feel to the piece.  It just happened as I worked, which is what I think freeform is really all about - seeing where it leads you.  I used my own custom Chocolate Cherry bead soup mix (which was concocted for a special friend by request) and a Lisa Peters Art focal cab and freshwater pearls for the side 'cabs.'  The base idea was to create something with my Atlantis Cuff tutorial frame work.

I really like the double clasp, which to me adds some complexity and is visually very cool when worn.  The clasps are attached with double jump rings threaded through the gaps left in the peyote work, and then one jump ring is attach to those two, to hang the clasps.  The rings for the other side of the clasp are attached the same way.  And although it makes it slightly trickier to clasp (you would definitely need help doing it up) it also makes for a very secure connection which is likely to last longer than using thread loops for attachment.  I am usually a bead snob - I admit it.  I like to use sterling silver beads and chain or 24kt gold plated beads and findings... but I have lately been smitten with this bronze colored base metal look, and it seems to go really well with the 'chocolate' part of the mix as well as adding a more antique feel to it.  And although the metal is very soft, I think that the doubled jump rings do make up for some of that and will hold very well.

I had planned to have three pieces to be revealed all together, but the last one is still a work in progress, as it turned into a much bigger project than I thought.  It was *supposed* to be a bracelet, but it decided to be a necklace instead and I am just now finishing some of the edging, which comes before the fringing, which comes before the clasping... so it may be awhile, lol.  It uses the bead soup shown below, faceted sugilite, sunstone, and an unmistakable feeling of magic.  It has a fortune teller feel for me, something that would be used to predict and unmask and show secrets.  I can see a lady with long flowing hair, dressed in a gypsy style, a lady who has an accent you just can't place and a sparkle in her eye...

I haven't advertised it very much, but if you'd like a bead soup custom made to your shades/bead preferences, you can order one in my shop - you give me the colors you're looking for or send me a photo of your focal and I create a soup for you from that. I decided to offer that awhile back when some of my friends asked, and I know that making a soup isn't what everyone enjoys, even though they like to work with the results.  :)

I can't wait to go hop around and see what adventures everyone else has had with their freeform experiences,  and I really hope you will, too.  There is bound to be some really gorgeous eye candy out there!!  Here's the participant list, please come along!  (If my links below don't work for some reason, please go to Karen's Blog at Skunk Hill Studio to find clickable links on her post!!)

Mandi Ainsworth - Adventure Guide

Karen Williams - Adventure Guide 
Bobbie Rafferty
Sarah Meadows
Katherine Gale
Mandy Duffy
Leanne Kirsch
Jean Hutter

Nancy Dale
Judy Riley
Natasha Wiegelman
Pam Chesbro
Stephanie Woods
Romana Tschunko

Bette Greenfield
Mary Harding 
Melody Marie Murray
Shirley Moore

Sally Russick
Therese Frank
Tanya Goodwin
Christine Altmiller
Lea Paličková
Ivona Šuchmannová

Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten
Kay Haynes
Tammy Bowman  
Alisa Lehman
Lori Callahan 
Tami Norris

Jane Kettley
SaraBeth Cullinan 
Tami Norris
Julie Schmidt Bowen
Tammi Clapper
Cynthia Machata 

Kay Haynes
Bette Greenfield
Alisa Lehman
Tammi Clapper
Debbie Rasmussen


Bead soup is here! (And some more links...)

My lovely partner for the BSBP sent me lovelies!  I am thrilled that we were able to connect so quickly, and am so glad to have met Bobbie of Beadsong.  She's a wonderful person, and we're having fun getting to know one another.  We seem to have lots in common!

Without further ado, here is the amazing soup she sent to me!! She packaged it with a gorgeous red ribbon, and sent me a beautiful card.  (I felt kind of  bad, because the day I was getting things together to mail out, my husband was in a mad rush to get out the door for work and I didn't have time to write a note at all!)

The beautiful lampworked flower focal bead is by Elizabeth Girod,  and look at all the beads Bobbie included in my soup!!  I love the clasp she made especially for my piece, too - so jealous, as I can't work with wire no matter what I do.  I'm lucky if I can make a wrapped loop without hurting myself, lol.  I wanted to get a photo of allllll the beads together, but the amethyst, onyx, agate and red onyx would NOT sit still on my white background and I had to resort to the bead mat.

I think it will be a challenge for me to work with these colors, and that's always a good thing - streeeeeeeetch!!!

I hope that Bobbie enjoys playing in the soups I sent her,  I was extra pleased that she is also a fan of my friend Julie Canon of Julsbeads, and that she likes the focal sets I sent her!  I sent two soups because I just wasn't sure what would be best.  They kind of coordinate, so they could be combined, or used separately.  Bobbie's blogged about our soups here.  :)  (The gold clasp in the first photo is a custom clasp made for me by Hodgepodgerie on Etsy - HIGHLY recommended!!)

My apologies for the short post today, but I'm swamped and have to run.  Cheers!!


BSBP and Trying Something New; Wherein I post so many links you'll be here at least four hours if you click them all

Loooong time no post... sorry!  There has been a lot going on in life right now, and so I have neglected a lot of things, including my blog.  Some bad things and some really great things, both.

Of the lovely, beady, NEDbeads type things, there are a few!!  Marcia DeCoster's new book, Beads In Motion, is coming out very soon and I am very excited, as Marcia decided to include one of my pieces in her gallery.  Check it out HERE to see some examples of the lovelies she is going to share with us!!  I can't wait to make some of these designs, they all look scrumptious!!

I am also participating, for the first time, in the wonderful Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party, and am very excited about that as well.  If you aren't familiar with the party, check out Lori's blog and see, it's fabulous!!!

My partner is the talented Bobbie Rafferty of  Beadsong Jewelry!!  I am absolutely thrilled, and having gone through and read Bobbie's blog, I am LOVING her work.  Look at some of this beauty!!

The earrings are amazing, the necklace is sublime and I am particularly in love with this gorgeous freeform peyote bracelet.  I have been hooked on freeform myself lately, and just can't seem to stop.

I made up Bobbie's soup and sent it out this morning - actually, I sent two because I wanted to make sure that she had something to choose from.  I can't wait to see what she thinks, and if she likes what I chose! (Fingers and toes crossed!!!)  I would love to post a teaser pic, but I honestly don't know how to 'disguise' a photo, so I had best wait, lol.  Our reveal date is 4/6/13 as we are part of the second group.

I am also taking part in a wonderful blog hop called Choose Your Own Adventure (seriously, how could I resist with a title/theme like that???), hosted by Mandi Ainsworth (of the Bead Circle) and Karen Williams (of Skunk Hill Studio), where the participants are to make a freeform piece.

Mandi does amazing podcasts and has a fabulous site - make sure to click on her link and check it out.  She recently did a podcast with Karen, and introduced the challenge there, and Karen introduced it on her website as well.  If you'd like to know more about the hop, check that out here on Karen's blog.  Karen does amazing freeform work and is the author of several beading books, too!  I have been working on this for awhile now, and am actually making a mini series of pieces of freeform.  It's been a wonderful exercise so far and I can't wait for the reveal date, February 23rd.  They have also started a new community page on Facebook called Freeform Peyote Beading, where there is a LOT of eye candy to be found, and some really great tips on freeform beading.  

I am hoping to participate as planned in Battle of the Beadsmith 2013 as well, as long as the not-so-great life events don't dictate otherwise.  It's really kind of intimidating again - there has been so many posts of so many truly Great pieces over the last year that my brain is almost numb!  Here's to hoping that the muse finds something BIG to inspire me...

A friend of mine has also asked if I will participate in an embroidered art doll round robin with a few of her close friends.  This is a very new sort of thing for me, as I have never beaded on a form before, only on flat embroidery backing.  I am looking forward to it a lot, although maybe a little worried too, as I think it must be very different from my normal embroidery.  I've chosen to do a bird form for mine, made by Renetha Stanziano (I can't sew - NO I can't!).  In order to practice a little beforehand, I am also going to try embroidering a starfish form, which is being made for me by my fabulous friend Julie Cowan .

Finally, the Beadsmith has used my Lotus bracelet design in a hyyyoooooge six foot pop up poster which they will  be showing during their travels to different shows, etc, and I love it!!  They also have one of the original Lotus bracelets with them, which they commissioned earlier this year.  :)   (If you'd like to make your own version, I have a tutorial available in my Etsy shop.)

So... beadiness = busy-ness = calm.  I need calm right now.  And courage was definitely the word for the year as I deal with the bad things.