Sunday, 19 February 2012

Fluorite Cab

For Christmas this year my darling bratlet bought me some cabochon for bezelling.  His favourite colour is green, so he bought me two green ones and then a fluorite one and a tiger's eye - I am a very lucky Mummy indeed!  They're all 40x30mm and really pretty.  So this week I decided to bezel the fluorite one.

As you can see, I also added some fluorite 8mm beads throughout the herringbone cord and used the 15s to frame them.

The clasp was a nightmare to do because I didn't want to just put a bead on the end, nor did I want a traditional toggle so instead I made up a beaded bead using three of the 8mm beads.
View from the top
Side view

All in all, it's very simple but I'm pleased because although the dark iris beads do darken the cab significantly, they also bring out the deep purple veins in the fluorite.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Quickie

Was just catching up on Jean Power's blog and saw that her newsletter will be out in the next couple of days and will contain instructions to her Key To My Heart (picture behind the link)!  I am already choosing a colour scheme for these and have a rivoli set aside ready!

If you enjoy peyote stitch and love beading contemporary styles, pushing beading boundaries then I urge you to sign up to her newsletter.  Best thing?  She doesn't spam you and every so often you get a treat like these instructions!

Potowatomi Weave

A few years ago Mummy and I discovered Potowatomi Weave (instructions behind the link), well, I should say that she discovered it and taught it to me!  This sweet little stitch makes up for one heck of a strong, flat weave.  It's also really versatile: you can weave multiple rows of it and make a really strong base from which to embellish (although it looks pretty amazing as is), you can change the colours within the stitch to produce high contrast and interest, you can make chokers, bracelets, cuffs, and you can embellish a single row with dangles, much like the necklace and bracelet set I made below.

 This was such a simple idea.  I made a single strip of Potowatomi and then added amethyst chips along the bottom edge in an altered picot type edging.  The amethyst chips are much smaller at the back and get bigger and darker the further round the front you get.  The little bracelet was made in exactly the same way.

I haven't played round with this stitch half as much as I'd like to but I have played with it enough to say that delicas just don't sit as well as seed beads on this one!  I must come back and revisit this stitch once I've finished the two projects I have on the go at the moment.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Once More From Mummy!

My Mum read my blog post late last night where I showcased her work and sent me a text: "Gosh, not even the oglioliwali whatever made the cut!  Thank you!"  "oglioliwali whatever" is what we call Ogalala Lace Stitch (instructions behind the link).

This is the necklace that she was talking about:
and I would have included it if I had a picture!  So Mummy sent me this picture at half past eleven last night so I could share it with you!

She also made it in a really delicate lavender palette and that one is just as delicious as this one is. 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Showcasing Mummy's Work

As you've seen, I mainly seem to do big and bold beadwork.  My Mum, however, is a much more delicate beader.  Her work has a timeless elegance and a grace that I simply cannot emulate - no matter how hard I try!  I thought that in this post I would showcase some of her work so that you can see how different it is to mine.  Her choice of pattern, her palette and the style is ephemeral and daintily beautiful.  We are complete opposites in our beadwork and I adore pretty much everything she does.

This piece was from a pattern (unfortunately I can't remember where she found it) and I love how she used a creamy seed bead with that warm amber colour as the accent.  It's delicate and lacy and just so elegant.

This was another piece that she made from a pattern, and even though she's done it in haematite and black glass, she still makes it look so delicate and feminine.  This necklace looks blooming gorgeous whenever it's worn!

A choker this time, in a modified Right Angle Weave.  I'd have been tempted to do this in all black but she conjures up the Renaissance with her colour choices.

This was her first ever cabouchon!  How unbelievably neat is that?!  She thought the delicacy of the rose quartz would be lost on a beaded rope so instead she found some pale pink organza ribbon that matched the cabouchon perfectly and used that instead.  It tied at the back in a large floppy bow and is ultra femme.  

This was made from a pattern from The Bead Shop kit that she bought a few years ago.  The beads that came with it were much more vibrant but she loved how the pattern flowed so she made it in silver and amethyst.  It looks so delicate but is actually pretty robust! 

Mummy's very lucky in that she can go from being uber glam to being right in there with block colours and chunky cuffs!  This was a pattern in one of the beading magazines we buy (either Beadwork or Bead & Button) and she absolutely adored it as soon as she saw it.  The closure on the original pattern was with Margaritas but she wanted to echo the Art Deco drama so used gunmetal cubes for the closure instead.  Personally I think this works better than the original pattern!

And then we go right back to old school Victorian beadweaving.  She's a bloody marvel!  I love this pattern so much because it sits at the base of the throat, collar length, and really makes you feel like a princess when you wear it!

This is another of her cuffs made using elements from Jean Power's Freeform Cuffs and then framing the beads.  I love how subtle her colours are and how they blend and complement so perfectly.  Her refined use of colour is what I am most jealous of.

And then once in a while she will make a real show stopper like this Gothic Reticule.  We are lucky that in Leicester we have a huge selection of fabric shops and The Golden Mile, which is host to not only the most beautiful and ornate jewellery shops, but also a delicious array of Indian fabric shops selling the most exquisite silks and saree material.  Together we trotted off down there to gasp at the opulence and she bought this fine silk fabric with which to line the reticule.  

And then she made a bridal one in a slightly different pattern.  Unfortunately this picture doesn't even begin to to do this reticule justice, nor does it show the detail of the tiny brick stitched hearts around the top. 

Finally, Mummy at her most simple.  A plain peyote tube hung with haematite arrows and slid onto a neck wire.  Gorgeous. 

So there you have it.  This is all the work of my fabulous Mummy.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I always do.  We are polar opposites - I think that just adds more depth and fun to our beading adventures in that we can look at the same component and dream up completely different ways and styles to use it!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Pyramids Cuff

A while back I bought 50g of Sand Dune Mix delicas and knew I wanted to do something pretty outrageous with them but couldn't think exactly what!  I started making a really fat RAW neckerchief with them that went from jaw line to cleavage but I don't like the way delicas look in right angle weave.  They just don't lend themselves well, in my opinion.  I wanted something a bit punky and really contemporary but just didn't know what.

So I started perusing Jean Power's website for some inspiration because I love her patterns and she knows her geometry!  Then I moseyed through my various beading books and my eye was caught by Diane Fitzgerald's Shaped Beadwork.  I've made a few of the pieces in the book but knew that I just wanted the starting blocks for something of my own design.

Finally, I found inspiration in the most unlikely of places!  My friend came round for a cup of tea and she was wearing a square studded belt and I just knew that the delicas could make that happen!

This is the result:

I started out just seeing if I could actually make a beaded pyramid.  I used Diane Fitzgerald's square for the bottom and half of the Octabead (but added rows to make it taller) and it worked!

Here you can see the bottom.  They're surprisingly sturdy, which is good as it wouldn't do to have them collapse on themselves!

I started laying them out to see if they'd work but then had to think about joining the little buggers!  When I first zipped them together at the base the whole structure was just too stiff and unwieldy.  I tried adding a couple of rows of peyote in between, but that just looked rubbish.

Looking through my crystals stash brought me the perfect solution - half gold Swarovski 4mm bicones. They gave the flexibility and because they aren't fully 'blinged up', they really work with the delica mix. 

As you can see here, I made a simple open triangle (again, from the Shaped Beadwork book) and toggle clasp to echo the pyramids.

And here's what it looks like on.

And the clasp.

It's a bit mad and definitely not to everyone's taste but I'm glad it turned out pretty much as I imagined it, punky and contemporary all at the same time, yet the Swarovski adds some femininity and bling!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Beaded Beads

Lately I have been playing around with beaded beads.  I thought I'd have a little go and see what I could make that were self supporting but that would also allow you to see the structure of the bead as well.

 I started with the green bead at the back.  It's made with some cheap Indian glass rounds and lots and lots of thread to keep these heavy beads still!  Then I made another using Swarovski faceted rounds.  I'm not much of an orange fan but thought it looked quite cute.

 Then I tried again with some Swarovski pearls.  This one is my favourite by far, possibly because I love the colour!  I threaded this on some plain silver snake chain and turned it into a very simple necklace as a birthday present for one of the girls at work.

Then I moved on to Cindy Holsclaw's rather fabulous Disco Ball beaded bead and I absolutely loved it!

I had loads of leftover bicones in some pretty random colours so I thought I'd see how the Disco Ball beaded bead would translate to them and they really worked!  As you can see, I didn't add the lace overlay so I had to go through each bead quite a few times in order for them to stiffen up.

But then what to do with all these random beaded beads I had made?!
A cute little charm bracelet worked wonders as yet another gift.  Luckily she is a bit of a champion of colour so this was right up her alley!