10.31.2009

Project Two - My Way


Hecate's Lariat
.
The beaded beads for this went MUCH faster - each one took about 8 minutes.  I used black size 11 seed beads, shiny and matte,  and they whipped together like a dream.  I think they look like blackberries, actually, which gives me an idea for a bracelet . . . but that's for another time.  
.
I'm the first to admit this is nothing special, but I wanted to finish it in time for Halloween - I sort of cheated by using the red rose beads instead of making as many beaded beads as I'd originally intended.   Later, I'll most likely do a few things to it - add more silver, subtract some of the red, trade size 11s for the size 8s I have strung between the beaded beads and skulls - stuff like that.  Right now it feels a little on the clunky side, but it has the impact I wanted and for tonight, that's all that matters.
.

.
Next time: "Electric Blues Amulet Purse."  Cheers!

10.29.2009

Intermission

This is just a short break between projects to ask all my readers to visit Beadedbear's Nonsense and Complete Waste of Time - and if ever a blog was misnamed, this is it - and read THIS POST.  Sig totally nails this very important issue.

And tell all your beading/crafting friends to check it out, too.  I cannot emphasize strongly enough how important the information she has to share truly is.  So, go.  Read.  And heed.   Everyone be safe.

10.27.2009

Project Two - Their Way (sort of)

The next project is the Small Beaded-Bead Lariat, designed by Deneen Matson (Creative Bead Weaving by Carol Wilcox Wells, pp. 38,39).
*
Aw jeez.  More cylinder beads?  Nothing against the teeny tubes, mind you.  I can see the point of using them in certain circumstances - but they're so TINY!  My fingers don't like them.  And I don't think they're very interesting. Each one exactly like the other - that's great when your design demands uniformity, but my eyes just slide over their surface and don't catch on anything.
*
This project is an exception, as it includes surface embellishment on the beaded beads, but still.  My inventory on these is pretty low, so I have the problem of working out if there are enough.  I found this really handy website: All Info About Jewelry Making and it should help, but honestly.  Why hasn't anyone made a chart of bead counts per teaspoon?  We ALL have teaspoon measures - life would be so much simpler.  *sigh*
*

My Cylinder Bead Stash
*
The materials list is pretty short and sweet - just two colors of size 11 cylinder beads. 10 grams (or 1900 beads) of each color, if the conversion chart is to be trusted. Hmm. How many size 11 cylinder beads in a teaspoon? About 550. I just counted them. So - almost four teaspoons? Umm - I only have about 2 teaspoons full of any one color. So instead of two colors, I'm using maybe ten. And as I think about it, each of the larger beaded beads  uses 40 beads for its base. I'll need around 1250 for the bases and another 300 for the stringing between the beaded beads. Maybe 1000 tops for the embellishment and a little fringie thing at each end. I should have plenty of beads for this. I hope.  
*
The techniques list indicates 1. even count flat peyote (I know this one), 2. odd count flat peyote (Yay! something I've avoided in the past and now must tackle) and 3. surface embellishing (I've done a lot of this with free form peyote so I grasp the concept).
*
Okay. The first step is to make 32 'pieces.' The second step is zipping the pieces into tubes. Seems like it would be easier to just zip as I go. So I'll make 32 tubes. The pictured lariat has 7 tubes/beaded-beads of one size, 21 of the same size but a different color, then four more of another size. Step three is the embellishing - I love that word. This is where I can go sort of nuts with personalizing the design.
*

*
Whoa. I have to check the size on these. They seem awful tiny to me - like 15s. *sigh* yup, the 11s really are that small. Didn't seem that way when I was working the flat peyote piece - but trying to bend these little tiny buggers into tubes is tricky. (note to self - what about making a bracelet length tube for a bangle?)
*
Linking them together seems simple enough - but I think stringing four or five non-embellished beads in the middle makes more sense - the lariat would lie better along the back of the neck.
*
The final step mentions adding "a few fringes to both ends of the necklace." Page 31 has the basic info for adding fringe. Another place to individualize the project, eh?

*
Good lord. It took me all freakin' day to figure out how to do the embellishment. I kept trying to add beads to the surface all around, instead of making a band around the bead attached only in one place. Adding beads to the surface was kind of cool, but I wanted to at least try to follow the instructions. Now that I've rounded that particular learning curve I can get on with this. 
*
So weave the base, zip it up, attach the band. Deneen refers to the bead base size by width and depth, instead of column and row (which I'm more familiar with). I'll vary the width from 8 to 11 beads and use a depth of 10 for all of them. I'll use different colors in the same family for the embellishment bands on about half of them.

*
Each bead took me 15 minutes to whip up because of my fudgy fingers. All told, I think this took about 8 hours to do.  Check this out - it's an online stopwatch! Now you too can figure out just how long it takes to bead a beaded bead (say that three times fast).

*
So here it is, their way. Sort of. I veered away from Deneen's design in that I decided not to make some of the beaded beads look like little dumbbells, I used a lot more colors than suggested and I made the beads that will lie along the back of the neck without embellishment. I put 11 beads instead of 9 between each beaded bead as I was stringing them together. I gave each end five fringes instead of three and made them a little more delicate in appearance. Other than that, it's exactly the same! ;-)
*
Now to have at it, my way! My version should go a LOT faster! See ya next time!!

10.22.2009

Project One - My Way

For every project that I attempt during my ArtVenture, I'll be creating my own variation on the theme - and so here's my version of the Beaded Barrette.

I don't know about other beaders, but I always have one heck of a time trying to estimate how many beads I'm going to need for a project.  Being neither a drug dealer nor pro bead seller (insert your own joke there), I don't have access to a little calibrated scale that I can use to measure out a gram of something.  So I never really know until I'm deep into beading if I have enough of a particular color or size on hand.  This is one of the many, MANY reasons I love free form peyote.  Don't have to over-think things.

With free form, I just round up a bunch of beads I really like, throw them all in a dish to see if they play well together, and then go for it.  One of the interesting challenges with making a free form barrette is making sure the piece will be light enough.  Have to stick with smaller, less ornate beads.  It'd be a drag to invest a lot of time just to end up with a barrette that slips down from its own weight.

I have always loved Picasso jasper, and I had some small rounds and cubes in the stash.  My prototypes usually end up in my jewelry box, so I go with my main favs.  After about two hours of beading, here it is.
 
Shades of the Deep

 
My friend (and professional artist) TJ says most of my free form peyote looks like how she imagines dry riverbeds in Faery must appear.  I like that description.  I wore the barrette all day; it's lightweight and comfortable.  And it looks great in old lady hair, too.

I'm still having fun, and I hope you are, too.  Next time:  The Small Beaded Bead Lariat

10.20.2009

The Beaded ArtVenture Begins!

I'm starting off my ArtVenture with the first project in the book, Creative Bead Weaving by Carol Wilcox Wells - pp. 36,37.  The designer is Wendy Ellsworth.  I can't show you the actual pages from the book here, or print out the instructions (for obvious copyright reasons), so I hope what I tell you about my experience will be descriptive enough that you won't feel you need to run out and buy the book to follow along.  Not that you shouldn't buy the book.  It's a pretty terrific book or I wouldn't be doing this.  Most beaders have a copy of this anyway - or so I'm told. Enough lead-in - let's get to the action.

My first step: look over the materials list.  Hoo boy.  Hex cut cylinder beads?  I'll be lucky if I can rustle up ANY cylinder beads, much less hex cut.  French-style barrette.  I have no idea what that is, but I know I bought a bunch of barrettes at Big Lots a few years ago, and I think I know where they are.  Leather strip, leather glue, bead glue - check, check and check.



French barrettes.





The barrettes I have on hand.


Close enough.  It sort of HAS to be.
I found a box with some tubes of Delicas and Toho Treasures - leftovers from a long-ago project . . . and none of them are hex cuts, but I don't think that's going to make any real difference.  There is a little problem, though.  The size is much, much different.  The finished size of Wendy's barrette is 3"x3/8"x3/8".  My barrette will be 1 7/8"x1 9/16".  Guess the design chart is out the window.  But that's okay - I'll just adapt Wendy's diamond pattern - make it a God's Eye.

I'll work a small piece of flat even count peyote and mount it to the barrette's face - looking over the instructions that would mean I don't need the leather or the leather glue.

Now I need to figure out how many beads wide and high.  I strung 32 beads and it looks like that should work for the width.

Drawing the chart was fairly simple - I have lots of colored pencils, and plenty of beading graph paper, thanks to the nice folks at the Black Giraffe.  And if anybody thinks following a chart is easy, even if you drew it, THINK AGAIN.  Especially if you're easily distracted or have too much going on at once (just call me Princess Short-Attention-Span).


Once I got to the center of the pattern, I realized it would end up with too many rows.  I pulled out the first few rows, and it evened up okay.

I like how this came out, and while it's inspired by Wendy's design, it's divergent enough to call my own.  But I love the texture and visual interest of free form peyote so much more than flat even count.  My next post will be my adaptation which will bear NO resemblance to the original and we'll compare and contrast.

Are we having fun yet?  

WE HAVE A WINNER!!


Yay Arline!
abeadlady, check your email!!  And many, many thanks to everyone who left a comment, and to all the followers of this blog - all 56 of you!!!

Next post, I'll attack the Beaded Barrette.  I need to come up with a good name for the overall project.  Hmm.  How does "The Beaded ArtVenture" sound?

Aside:  Big congrats to Darcy - The Jade Dog - for her big win!  You go, grrl!!

(lead-in graphic is from Papyrus Designs via Print Shop Deluxe 15)

10.11.2009

TA DA! 300 POSTS!! WOOHOO!!!!

I finished my bracelet box, too!


Welcome to Blog Post #300! It's a milestone for me and I'm celebrating with a drawing for a Fabulous Prize - leave a comment on this post and your name will go into my trusty pith helmet.
EDIT:  CONTEST HAS  ENDED!

EDIT: CONTEST HAS ENDED!

After ten days, I'll have a drawing (supervised closely by Montag and Carmen) and announce the winner here! There's a picture of the prize at the end of this post (CONGRATS TO ABEADLADY, WINNER OF THE DRAWING!), and now on to the regularly scheduled nonsense:

You've all probably heard about the movie, "Julie and Julia." Before it was a movie, it was a book - "Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen". Before it was a book, it was blog - The Julie/Julia Project. If you haven't heard about it, here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_and_Julia

Briefly, It's the story of a young woman attempting to cook all the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," in a year.  Me?  I hate to cook. It is absolutely not my thing. Which is not to say that I don't cook. I do, and I do it well. I just don't enjoy it. I think it's boring.

However, I DO love to bead interesting things. This IS my thing. On reflection, though, my repertoire of stitches is actually quite small. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I feel the need to grow my skills. I want – no, I need to learn every single seed bead and beadweaving technique that exists. And not just learn them - MASTER them. Sometimes when I'm designing a piece, I don't know exactly how I'm going to take it from sketch to three dimensional object and I end up making all sorts of compromises.

Well, no more. With Julie Powell inspiring me to be tenacious, having a library full of the best instructional and design books a beader could want, armed with the ability to learn just about anything from a book and possessing an ENORMOUS stock of beading supplies, I've decided I'm going to make almost* every project in the following books:

Creative Bead Weaving by Carol Wilcox Wells
The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells
Seed Bead Stitching by Beth Stone

And as if all that were not enough, I'll tackle the projects contained in four of the "Beadwork Creates" series: Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings and Beads.

That should fairly well stomp to death every seed bead technique that exists, but if I've missed any, I'll gladly take suggestions. I'm not saying I'll be entirely faithful to all the directions, and especially not to the suggested materials - to copy designs exactly would be far too boring, but more importantly my bead stash does have its limits! I'm determined to enjoy this, and if the going gets ho-hum, I'll do my damnedest to rev it up to where I need it to be. I plan to make each of the projects MINE. I'm not going to buy any more beads until this is through, so I'll most likely make a LOT of interesting substitutions.

My blog here is now the chronicle of this endeavor - and with luck my daily efforts, be they brilliant successes or abysmal failures, will provide entertainment for us all. All this will kick in as soon as I get back from vacation, in about 10 days – right around the time we have the drawing, so don't forget to leave your comment!

Next Episode: Morwyn vs. The Beaded Barrette (from Creative Bead Weaving)

Oh,and before I forget - here's the prize for the drawing -

The Beader's Guide To Color by Margie Deeb

EDIT:  CONTEST HAS ENDED!

* I say 'almost' because if its a stringing project, I'm skipping it. For me, stringing is - well, you know.