Saturday, March 29, 2014

Green Sample

So I'm teaching a series of classes at Studio Beads in Chicago next month, and am preparing kit samples for each class. I don't really have time for executing new designs (though I have plenty of sketches itching to be realized) because I'm trying for three to four colour ways for each of the four classes.
There's only one more pair of earrings, one more Buttress pendant and just about two more Iksitito necklaces to do - those take quite a long time and the very hardest part is coming up with colour ways that are distinct from each other and well, that I think look good.

We all have our own aesthetic after all.

I've tried to make the Spike Earrings and Buttress Pendants in close to the same colour-ways since I'm using the same colours of spike beads, but it hasn't worked out for all of them. The earrings above do match the green pendant, and the remaining pair of earrings will match but the other two... let's just say that they're related enough to wear together (unless "can be worn together" is not enough of a similarity endorsement) but they don't share [most of the] seed bead colours.

I think it's OK.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rather Pink

I think this one turned out quite well. I'm especially taken with the effect of the colour gradation of the fringe beads in the front.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Rove Raku

I mean, what's not to love? Deep, sludgy iridescence - it just doesn't get much better than that. And you can't really tell from the picture, but I've accented the front of the necklace with tiny copper-lined clear dewdrops. Quite yummy.
 And another kit sample.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Just Earrings

I thought I'd do my taxes this weekend. That was even less productive than my beading efforts.

I did, on the other hand, see The Grand Budapest Hotel, supposedly set in the wholly fictitious state of Żubrówka (check it out). As we know of course (we sampled it more than once on our travels a couple of summers ago), Żubrówka is a delicious Polish beverage, also known as bison grass vodka, typically served with apple juice.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not As Planned (But OK)

I had big plans this evening, mostly involving Netflix, cats and kumihimo and then things took a left turn.

It's Class Deadline Night: I have until midnight to photograph and describe the classes I'll be teaching at my local bead store for the months of June through September, and I left work feeling very relaxed because all the samples were done and photographed and the descriptions were mostly done and all I needed to do was check the cut-and-paste errors (there are always some), send off the pictures and text, and settle down with my feet up in front of the TV.

It didn't actually work out that way.

I made this bracelet a few weeks or months ago (I really can't remember. Not yesterday, not last week; sometime before that) using two-hole brick beads and wondered how it would look with the squarer tile beads, but somehow something else was more important, so I didn't.

I sent off the class proposals early in the evening, and then started playing with tiles. The first go-round was Really Ugly, so I cut the thread and put it aside as a reminder that my colour sense really is quite fallible, and started again. 
It really went quite quickly, even photographing every step for posterity (not really: for the instructions) and then the bracelet was finished and the evening had slipped by and I needed to send a class proposal update with the new picture and amended materials list.
Oh well.

Netflix will most certainly wait; I mean, I've finished Dexter and House of Cards (second season) and Sherlock, so it's not as though there's anything desperately calling me, is there? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Last of the Samples

Like Mohicans, but not.
Honestly, I'm not sure why I push so hard, as the samples aren't due for another month; it's merely the class proposals that are due tomorrow. With pictures. Which look better if they're not just of a part of a thing, but are actually of The Whole Thing.

OK, I guess that's why I do it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lies in Colour

Just another kumihimo necklace.
The photo skewed the colours a bit: the bead is less blue, the chain is less brown and the clasp isn't quite as dark. It's prettier than it looks.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I don't know, what would you call it? I realise it's completely non-functional (and I like it that way, despite the thing where they cut up forks and spoons and knives and make them into jewellery) and even though in general I shy away from representational art (not that I'm calling this art; I don't think it is) but somehow I'm fixated on the belief that I have just beaded a fork. (Technically it's a fish fork since it has three tines).
I made another one of these.

Even though it turned out pretty much the way I wanted it to and even though making it is interesting and varied, I confess I don't live it as much as some other things I've made. Is that wrong?

There's kumihimo in the works (there always is) but it's probably less interesting than the one with the leaves.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


Class samples for Tuesday.

The first didn't have a focal (the fat beaded bead centre front) so I cut it in half and stitched it as well as a couple more floral motifs. It was a bit short before but is now a better length.
 Then it occurred to me that a necklace with alternating focals and smaller motifs might work too.
I think it does.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I finished this one all the way. 

Originally it was just going to be the small embellishments all the way around, no focal area, but then I decided that it wouldn't take long enough to teach so I should add the slightly larger focal - quickly, without much planning. The first couple of tries left too much thread showing, and now that it's satisfactory, I'm thinking the necklace might be even better alternating the smaller with the larger embellishments. 

Perhaps while I'm making that version I'll feel obliged to make an even bigger embellishment.
 I've always loved the look of lampworked leaves, and I've even bought a few over the years but have never even come close to having the vaguest clue of how to use them.
Until now, along with a pair of tiny beaded beads.

Yay kumihimo.

PS I did finish knitting a sock (it was half-done before I hurt my hands) but I think it hurts too much. I need to figure out how to manage this because the stash is just too extensive and precious to get rid of it. Besides, I really like the whole knitting by hand thing.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


So old story boring: I have what seems to me like a rather large collection of lampwork beads. I use them less often than I wish I did mostly because it can be hard to figure out how to use seed beads in such a way that the lampwork beads are complimented and that isn't, well, boring.

I don't have to be challenged all the time, but it's hard for me to contemplate a project which is simply "herringbone rope" for example.

Then blah blah blah the hands no knitting so I started with the kumihimo and have spent a certain amount of effort getting my ropes to look the way I want them to, using a variety of beads to get interesting textures, stringing patterns, etc. I made lots of ropes using size eights (and I will probably make more incorporating shaped beads) and then in an effort to slow the rate of production, I switched to smaller seed beads, which is somewhat effective.

And then I realized that a decent number of lampworkers use a mandrel which is the perfect size to accommodate a braided cord of thread such as would be used when making a beaded kumihmo rope with size elevens.
 It's quite lovely wandering through the lampwork stash to find the treasures that really only and exactly need a lovely round rope to display them to advantage.

Most of the beads were acquired ten years or more ago, so it's not as though they haven't paid their dues in terms of patience, not to mention age.
Meanwhile (as usual if I must admit) I guess I'll make my deadline for class proposals. I hate that inspiration isn't consistent over every four-month periods so that when there's the call for classes I simply have to assemble them; instead inspiration strikes hard and fast within the week or two after submission, and in the two or three weeks before the deadline, just when I'm convinced I'll have to dig up something old that I've taught before (I'm no longer enamoured of some of my older designs; besides, the people who most often take my classes have already taken those).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Was Wrong

I really thought I was itching to make a pendant with two dangle spikes, but when I made one it wasn't quite right and then when I made another it still wasn't quite right and then I made one with three dangles instead of two and then I could sleep at night.
 Sort of.
 Either way, I like the one with three dangles so much better than the ones with only two though sleep is irrelevant except that it's getting close to bedtime and so, y'know, sleep.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Isn't that what they call it when you slip away at lunchtime to do something fun - and finish it?

This bracelet turned out absolutely nothing like the way I planned it, well only slightly: my plan included a repeating motif in which groups of four bricks were arranged in squares and joined by seed beads and fire-polished beads, but this one is much, much better than when I tried it out the way I'd planned it.
 And the toggle clasp matches too!
I had Thoughts about the edges and wondered if the pointy bits needed to be connected, so I made a pendant to experiment on. Actually, it's probably better as an earring, though even so it needs a bit of work, but I do think I'm satisfied with the bracelet.

My only concern is that the thread path is a little weird, and I need to make sure I can explain it very, very well indeed.

I think it might also work using the Czech mate tile beads. Perhaps I'll try it out sometime when I don't have a deadline looming (two weeks and six hours to come up with about eight projects for the months of June through September. I need a decent sample for one, and then I need to invent two more. One and a half more (I have one which is sorta-kinda halfway done, but if I complicate it, I might just stretch it into two sessions and if so then things might not be so dire in the Be! Creative! Department over here).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Some Things

About a minute ago I'd just finished going on and on and on about beading and then instead of deleting a picture I went back a page and then when I can back here it was all gone and now the moment has passed and I just don't feel like repeating myself at quite such great length as before, so I'll just summarize:

Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
 Not long for this world.

Inspired by something completely different in almost every way (except two types of beads in common) and I confess to being satisfied, though it's possible that improvements could be made or at the very least, a variation or two.
It works standalone as a beaded bead, or sewn one to the other as a necklace. I like that sort of project.

And now I need to go and do That Thing with the rivoli and triangle beads even though I pretty much hate all the colours I have. But still. Proof of concept and all that.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


So a couple of weeks ago I was browsing a favourite lampwork artist on eBay and I saw a bead which has elements I generally strongly dislike in a bead but also had so much I did like, but I lfet it there because I have this huge tin of lampwprk beads that are doing nothing but relaxing so really I don't need anymore.

Now this particular artist generally moves her unsold weekly eBay auctions to her Etsy shop but somehow this bead was still on eBay the next week. I'm not really into Signs from the Universe and other mystical claptrap, but I have only so much strength to resist temptation so I bought it. Like all her work (I've bought quite a bit from her over the years) it's beautifully done, just gorgeous.

A dragon eye. Usually I hate that stuff but the colours...yum!
 I think this is the first kumihimo rope that I've made since the start of my hand troubles that from the beginning was intended for me.
 I mean, I could use this one too - it's not as though I don't have a gazillion pendants that need a decent beaded rope.
And then I made a pendant with triangle two-hole beads, version one - yes, that implies that version two is just around the corner, some corner.

The hands? Yeah they're not going to get any better and they'll almost definitely get worse and the question is how much can I slow their degradation. I'll do my exercises, that's for sure, because I need them.

On the plus side, since I'm not waiting for a miracle cure, I've started knitting again, carefully, no more than an hour a day, so that's something.