Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Channeling Mandy via Nancy, Sally, Kristen, and Heather!

What a title, huh? My buddy Mandy, over at Beads for Brains, is always making samples of new stitches. So my buds Kristen and Sally hooked me up with the incredible Nancy Dale, who posted instructions for her awesome ColorPlay necklace yesterday. Nancy gave a link to BeadMavens, where Heather Collins posted a video on how to do CRAW (Cubic Right Angle Weave). Now, I'm here to tell ya, I have tried Right Angle Weave in the past, and even though I did manage a single row of it, I was very much outside my comfort zone. My brain just doesn't want to understand those figure 8's and I was constantly messing up on which bead I was supposed to come out of next.
But when I saw Heather's video, something clicked, and I just had to jump in and give it a try.
This is a view of the top, with the 4 horizontal beads, and the 4 verticals below them.

In Heather's video, she used a separate color for each set of units. I decided to do the same while learning the stitch. I really like the color combos, however, the crystal thread showing, not so  much!

So Mandy, here's my sample stitch for the day!  I did learn something from a previous experience. I won a pattern from SandFibers last year, and since she had just finished her Blooming Beads pattern, that was what I requested. After struggling with it in the size 11 Delicas it called for, I finally wised up and used size 8's! Here's a pic of that gorgeous thing.
Now, this is one substantial bead in size 8's! But, that was just what I needed to be able to understand the pattern.

So, back to the CRAW, I decided size 8's were again the way to go. I don't know if it was that, or just Heather's excellent video, but that was such an easy stitch to understand. Nancy's Colorplay necklaces are so pretty, I'm just itching to work this stitch in 11's now.
I guess this was really my BTW, a day early!
Blessings, Shirley

Playing around

Just playing around with some different things.

My daughter wanted to make a gift for a friend, and we didn't have much time, so I thought we would try making a wrap bracelet, like I've seen everywhere lately. We watched a quick little video on it. Seemed pretty straightforward, so we got all our supplies together.....
Clamped that puppy down to a bead box lid. Chose some beadlettes as my center bead. Kinda like cubes, but a bit longer. Pretty iridescent purply color. Methinks not quite big enough, mm??

Here was my inspiration piece, from a bracelet swap a few months ago. 

This is my daughters. We found a very cute orange owl button for her clasp. The leather I was using was just way too big for a kid, so we switched to hemp cord. We were both using embroidery floss to string the beads.

Clearly, beads were too small for project. However, since this was just a learning session for me, I didn't try to find something else.

What? You didn't think I could just leave it like that did you? Of course I wanted to try embellishing it! However, not so thrilled with the yellow....

Here's my daughter's finished piece. We wrapped a soft yellow organza ribbon at the ends, and superglued it down. That was a Three Stooges moment! Anyway, I think hers turned out very cute, and her friend was thrilled. Mine is still in the works.....
Blessings, Shirley

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Deryn Mentock's Inspirational Challenge

Ya'll know I can't resist a challenge, right? So when I stumbled upon Deryn's blog, Something Sublime, and she said she had a color challenge, I was jumping up and down happy! I immediately said yes, cause I'm tellin' ya, those are MY colors!! Check 'em out!
Deryn's blog is full of romantic, vintage images, so that's where my mind was heading. I don't really wear that kind of jewelry, so I was trying really hard to marry the two ideas.
I decided to use a pattern I fell in love with and hadn't had a chance to try....the Daisy Spiral from B&B April 2011.

I"m not very sure about the chain on this. I'm still very new at mixing media, so if any of you have seen a better chain choice, let me know. I doubled it, since one strand was too wimpy for the size of the beadwork. 
This piece does look a bit on the goth side, (which I don't do) but I was really working towards a dark, lush romantic feel.  I knew the beads would be a challenge to photograph, since they are mostly all shiny. The flower motif is in 3 colors, transparent red, silver lined crystal, and matte black.
The beaded beads are transparent red bicones, with metallic hematite seed beads.
I also made some earrings, but didn't like the style at all, so no pics of those. I did try to incorporate the green in this, but it gave a decidedly Christmas feel to it, which was not what I was going for.
Thanks Deryn, for a lovely color challenge! Head over to her site for a link of the other participants. Blessings, Shirley

Thursday, October 13, 2011


 I found some great stuff at Tuesday Morning. I don't shop there a lot, but sometimes I can luck up, like with these metal buttons.
Check out the herringbone pattern on the one on the right.

I love the details in these. The middle one is a rose gold, while the left one is sort of a white platinum. The black one fades to a gunmetal in the center.
You can see the black one better here. Look at that cutout on the gold one!

I love the texture on these.

These remind me of Kristi Bowman's designs.
The best part? Got all these for $5.00!!!
I also picked up some scrapbook stuff for $1.99. You just can't beat that. What's that? Do I scrapbook? Nope.  However, I was totalled hooked the other day by the wonderful Molly Alexander over at Beautifully Broken Me. She made this divine journal, and I immediately thought of 3 precious ladies I would like to make one for. So when I found the scrapbook stuff, I knew I needed to follow up on that idea.

Funky, sparkly chipboard letters~.99 cents!

 Gorgeous black/grey/off white papers.

Sticker letters, and 3 D shapes.
I'll keep you updated on the progress!
Blessings, Shirley

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Painting with Fire Book Tour

What an exciting event! Barbara Lewis is launching a book tour for her new book, Torch Fired Enameled Jewelry: a workshop in painting with fire.  It seems there will be lots of opportunities to win prizes, as each jewelry artist presents their perspective on the technique.  I have been lurking reading about this technique for several months now, and am thrilled to get to hear from so many talented people on their experiences with this type of enameling.  Below is the list of participants, and the rules of the tour.  Have fun hopping, I know I am! Blessings, Shirley

(Copied from Barbara's website)
From October 6 through October 24, please visit these great blog hosts and share in the excitement.  Here's the line up:

October 6, Mary Jane Dodd, www.mairedodd.blogspot.com
October 7, Gaea Cannaday, www.gaeabeads.blogspot.com
October 8, Linda Larsen, www.objectsandelements.typepad.com
October 10, Andrew Thornton, www.andrew-thornton.blogspot.com
October 11, Lori Plyler, www.waterstonejewelry.blogspot.com
October 12, Diane Cook, www.rosa-josies.blogspot.com
October 13, Lori Anderson, http://www.prettythingsblog.com
October 14, LeAnn Weih, www.summersstudio.blogspot.com
October 15, Jen Judd Velasque, www.jenjuddrocks.blogspot.com
October 17, Melissa Meman, www.melissameman.blogspot.com
October 18, Lisa Crone, www.abeadaday.blogspot.com
October 19, Shannon LeVart, www.missficklemediacom.blogspot.com
October 20, Cindy Wimmer, www.sweetbeadstudio.com
October 21, Laura Twiford, www.souvenirsfromlife.blogspot.com
October 22, Erin Prais-Hintz, www.treasures-found.blogspot.com
October 24, Jennifer Cameron,  www.glassaddictions.com

We'll have prizes throughout the book tour plus a grand prize at the end! The more you spread the excitement, the more chances you have to win some of the goodies our bloggers are giving away!

Leave a comment at your host's blog and become a follower = 1 chance.

Tweet, facebook or blog about the giveaway and leave a comment at this post (the original Virtual Book Tour post)  = 1 additional chance.

While you're at my blog, if you become a follower or say that you're already a follower in your comment = 1 additional chance.

So, you can earn up to three chances per giveaway.  A winner will be selected by 10 p.m. eastern time and be announced the following day. You can check back at my blog for the name of the winner or at any other of the participating blogs.

To thank you for following along, we will have a BONUS PRIZE at the end of the book tour!  All of the entries will be included in the drawing for a kit containing all the elements of "Floral Cascade," one of the projects in the book! You'll receive everything you need to make the necklace, including the chain, jump rings, clasp, enamel beads, and head pins!  

But, that's not all!

For a chance to win the Grand Prize ... a Torch-Firing Kit (or $110 shopping experience at www.paintingwithfireartwear.com) ... please leave a review at Amazon.com by November 24.  Remember, leave an honest review ... the book must stand on it's own merits.  

Thanks for playing along!  This is going to be a lot of fun!  

P.S.  Winners should contact me with their name and address through my author website: www.torchfiredenameljewelry.com so that you can receive your prizes! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Michelle Mach's Fall Challenge Reveal

Today's the day for the Fall Challenge Reveal. Michelle Mach put together a lovely selection of Vintage filigree, and vintage lucite. Here's a pic of the kit. I actually won the Fall Challenge kit, and was very excited that Michelle invited me to participate with the others who purchased the kits.

 I got the lovely lucite ball in the front, with the orange hints on the swirl.
 This is the main selection of the kit. I got just a few different pieces from the ones in the upper left.
So, ya'll know I'm a seed beader, right? This challenge was even further outside my comfort zone than the Bead Soup Blog Party! I've never worked with lucite before. Or filigree. Or odd shaped branches! What was I supposed to do with that?!

I was immediately drawn to the lovely orange oval drop. And I have a tiny little vintage lucite bead, that had this really cool clear space in it. Now, I'm talking, this bead is tiny. So, how to showcase it? I really did pay attention on the Bead Soup hop. I saw lots of layering. I decided to make a flat peyote triangle to go behind the orange drop, and then dangle the little lucite inside it.
Like this:

Only, it didn't happen. This was what I worked on first, but then, it just didn't want to come together. I will try some other ideas, and any suggestions are more than welcome.
Let's see the stuff that did work!

I took a leap of faith, and did some filigree bending. I finally got to use the headpins my Bead Soup partner, Mallory, sent with my soup. I also learned a very important lesson. Always check to make sure the bead holes will work with the head pin. I made one earring, then went to make the second, and there was an obstruction in all 3 of the remaining beads. I headed out to the toolbox, and spent several minutes reaming out those babies. Finally got one to work. Here are the results.
I very gently bent the filigree around the mop oval bead, and strung the head pin through the bottom and top of it.

Aren't they just the cutest? Oval mop beads, with the vintage lucite leaves dangling from Mallory's headpins. 
Next I chose to make a lariat for the odd bits and pieces of lucite and the acorn cap. This is a very sweet pattern, with a definite Victorian feel.
 I made the polymer clay circle a few months ago, just playing around. The color went perfectly with the lariat.

I love the orange and purple together.

 Don't you just love the pattern that emerges? This is a netting stitch from Beaded Allure, I think.
Now we come to the ball pendant, and that crazy branch. What was I going to do with it? Well, I originally started a rope for the other pendant, so I figured I'd just make the pendants interchangeable and use the same rope. It is  a 2 bead spiral from Beth Stone. It also has a very Vintage look. I had to have a stern talk with myself, because this particular stitch shows the thread quite obviously.  I have  a huge hangup with thread showing. Really. But the colors and style just hit the right note for this challenge. Or so I think. You tell me.
 Yep, I hung that baby! I did see this on the blog hop, not an original idea. But still, c'mon....good use of elements, huh? :)

 I used a mother of pearl link for the toggle, to tie in the tiny bits of white in the pendant. The bronze seed beads in the loops and toggle bar are also in the necklace.

 Now, don't  you think this was an engineering nightmare?? Yes, it was. The pendant has a tendency to slide across that branch. It really bothers my son, but I kinda like it.

 See, there it is, hangin' at the bottom of the branch. I really like the whole look of this piece. It's totally unlike anything I've ever done. There were just a couple of beads I didn't use, 2 little red guys that remind me of strawberries. Maybe they'll make their way into whatever I can work out for the oval pendant...
Thank you so much, Michelle, for this challenge. 
Please have some fun, and go visit the rest of the participants.
Blessings, Shirley