Sunday, 8 July 2012

Key To My Heart by Jean Power

The rather marvellous Jean Power recently released a pattern called Key To My Heart and Mummy and I immediately adored it so we decided to set ourselves a little challenge.  We would both bead it together and see how differently we interpreted the uses for these gorgeous little trinkets.

We'll see Mummy's use first:

Mummy chose to make a rather delicious necklace using both keys and the padlock as a centre piece.  As you can see, she used her favourite blue for the detail colours and it looks rather fabulous!

Here's a close up of the centre piece with both keys on the simple peyote chain - she wanted the keys and the padlock to really stand out with this and she has definitely achieved that.

Mummy chose to have the keys come off if she wanted something a little bit simpler.  I love this with the padlock alone because it looks so Sid Vicious!!!  This is how I'd wear it :) 

This is what she said about the pattern and how she got on with it:

"Hello dear, doing my duty for you... The keys were very easy to make, the instructions were very clear.  I also made one more with peyote and less brick and, though I think it looks nicer, it is not as robust.

The padlock I found more difficult for some reason... It wasn't until I had made it/remade it for the 4th time that I really felt comfortable about the shaping - as you said, I was probably over analysing it with my mathematical brain - possibly if the diagrams had shown how the shape began to form I might have found it easier (being a visual learner!).  Once I was comfy with it, it was no problem.  I think I also changed the beads I used to more delicas than in the pattern but I can't remember - you've got it Cate, so you can look!"

This is how I used them:

As you can see, I decided on a much darker colour choice - I love gunmetal and red, the black beads helped to darken the Swarovski rivoli from the much brighter red that you can see in this blog post, taking it to a much bloodier red. 

I also thought that the components really lent themselves to be a fabulous pair of same-but-not-the-same earrings.  I never wear earrings that match - I even have one piercing in my left ear and six in my right ear because I dislike matching so much!  For me, odd but paired earrings really work, and Jean's fabulous pattern was a simple but effective way to make them.

As for interpreting the pattern, I found that a breeze.  Where Mummy had issues with making the padlock, I had none.  This is probably because I just sit back and put my brain in neutral when beading up a pattern and trust implicitly that all the steps are correct and the design will suddenly emerge in the way the designer wanted!  Mummy, on the other hand, is a much more inquisitive beader, analysing every step and second-guessing all the missed stitches and additional stitches and seeing how the designer created the form. 

In the end, the padlock took me one evening and the key took another evening so they were pretty quick makes. 

What makes this pattern such a bargain (seriously, a measly six squiddlies - or £6 if you don't work in squiddlies!) is the fact that the components are so versatile.  I immediately though of mismatched earrings, Mummy wanted a necklace that could be worn three ways.  There are loads of other things you could so with these pieces - what about beading a load of them and adding them to fat chunky chain to make a superbly chunky charm bracelet?  Changing the rivoli sizes and making a hugely oversized key pendant on a long necklace?  Turning the rivoli key on the horizontal, adding a peyote shank and making a bling ring? Having a deliciously long lariat end in a padlock on one end and a key on the other?  Seriously, the list is endless!  Go get this pattern!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Antidote to all that gold!!!

After making the Gold Lariat of my previous post I decided I needed a quick make that was more my taste!  When Mummy and I visited the Beadworker's Guild Bead Bazaar a few weeks ago, I fell in love with this Swarovski Montana Blue Fancy Oval which I bought from the JBS Beads stand (unfortunately the stone isn't listed on her website yet which is why the first link takes you to Fire Mountain Gems).  JBS Beads are based literally 10 minutes from me in Thurmaston and although she is a mail/internet order company she often hosts excellent evening shopping parties in her home where you can go along and be made very welcome with a lovely cup of tea or a glass of something else poured by her husband and feel utterly free to have a wander through her ground floor looking at and buying her full range.  And it does take over the full ground floor of her house!  She's very welcoming and my goodness it's best to take cash because cards can get taken to their very limit if you're not careful!

Anyway, I saw the stone and knew I needed it!  I also saw these gorgeous Nickel plated steel coloured delicas (DB21) and thought they would go brilliantly.  I hunted high and low for the same finish delicas in 15 but could only find Steel hex-cut from G J Beads so I decided to take the plunge and bought them.  I'm really glad I did as well because the cut on the hex really sparkles and gives it some life!

As always I head towards the simple, rather than embellishing and made a bit of a bling ring.  I kind of love it but have to be careful wearing it when I'm driving because it really sparkles in the sunshine and can dazzle - it's definitely safer not to wear it if it's sunny out!

Here's the ring I made, it's not a brilliant picture as it was taken on my phone in the kitchen at dusk (it's the only place there was any natural light left)!

And here it is on my finger!  It's definitely a statement ring, if only for the size!

Golden lariat

So I've clearly not been around much over the past month.  I've been quite busy and haven't been able to bead as much as I'd like, mainly because I had to go into hospital to have two of my wisdom teeth out.  Quite frankly the break was lovely and it was absolutely delicious to have a few hours of down time in the hospital!  Luckily they did it as a day patient and under general anaesthetic so I mainly spent the morning reading a book and chilling out and then the afternoon asleep!  Hurrah!  Mummy was an absolute star and looked after Xander, but because I was quite pants and sleepy afterwards, he was a little unsettled - autistic kids and their rigid routines eh?!  Daddy also bought me ice cream and that was fantastic! 

Anyways, I recently had a commission from a lady at Mummy's work to make a long lariat in gold  That's the only brief I had - that it was a lariat and that it was gold!  I immediately thought of Gustav Klimt and his skilled use of gold, especially in his portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer and the Tree Of Life (which incidentally, I have a print of in my hallway!).  I knew that there was no way I could replicate his panache in a lariat so I decided to go back to the basics and try and use his mosaic aspect of different hues of gold.

This is the result:

In this close-up you can see how many shades of gold I used.  I think I must have used pretty much every hue and finish of gold seed bead there is!

And at the bottom of the lariat, to give it some weight, I used lots of gold and amber glass beads with some goldstone thrown in as well to give it some sparkle.

Unfortunately, I'm not a major fan of gold.  I don't really know why but it just doesn't feel as comfortable for me.  I much prefer the coolness and understatement of silvers and steels, gold just feels too blingy to me!  So there you have it, not my favourite piece by a long way but I understand the lady who wanted it was thrilled to bits with it.