Saturday, July 26, 2014


So yeah, I finished this sample and its instructions. I'm pretty happy with the colours.
 A few years ago I was noodling around and made a rather large pendant which ended up being really awkward to stitch, and so I thought I really couldn't teach it, that there was no way, that I should instead find a simpler version to teach, and I did.
A slider bead. Much more manageable in terms of effort, still pretty, but not as stunning.

Most times I wear my original very large pendant, it garners a fair bit of attention, so I thought I'd reconsider. The truth is that the slider bead, while containing the same elements as the large pendant, requires some extra work to stabilize and finish it, while the pendant because of its structure does not. All it requires is a bit of perseverance, manoeuvring abilities with a needle in tight spaces and a little more time to complete it.

I actually think it's teachable, so I made another sample.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I Give Up

It's always felt to me that the more years I have under my belt, the more interesting introspection and reflection is, and the more I do of it, and the more interesting (to me) it is how things change. I really enjoy being in my head - not that I'm claiming I'm doing anything especially clever, just that I enjoy it.

I've always been told I'm good at "colour", whatever that means to the person saying it. 

To my mother, it's meant that I was able to look at a colour, say at a shirt or shoes or piece of jewellery, and then some time later, hours or days or weeks, go out and see something else and know that it's the same colour (and then perhaps buy it and bring it home and voilĂ  it's a prefect match).

To my fiber and beading friends it's meant that my items (knitted, beaded) contain a happy collection of colours (I think).

The thing is, it's completely intuitive and it all goes to hell if I try to be conscious and mindful and goal-oriented. Most of the time I'm fooling around with say a super duo, and then I need a size eight so I look at what's on the table under the piles and if it's right (i.e a contrast if that's what I need or a blendy colour if that's what I need) then I take it otherwise I hurriedly open one of of size eight drawers and grab the first tube that looks kind of OK and move on. 

When I'm focused predominantly on size or shape then everything works so very well, but when I'm aiming for colour-ways (like making kits for a design) then either they all end up looking pretty much the same or else I spend a huge amount of time cutting up hideousness until it's not ghastly.

So I need to make a class sample for my class on August 5th. It uses a significant amount of super duos, and I like the effect of an opaque super duo, and the only super duos in my stash that fits the opaque and plentiful criteria happen to be a sort of purplish. Perhaps orchid? Less pink though.

I also have a boatload of a half-coat metallic almost-lime green 6mm fire-polished bead that I bought for something for which they turned out to be unsuitable and ever since then, I've been trying to use them up with little success, and this time was no exception.

I mean, purple and green (the right shades) are perfect together: think olive and eggplant, plum and chartreuse.

I find it interesting to see what the colour wheel says; there's an app on my Mac desktop I've been using for years, and also one here that I've messed around with. The thing is, much as I enjoy the surprises that these tools provide (and somehow, their suggestions almost always are unexpected to me), I look at them and something's missing from their colour schemes. The intensities are too close, they don't take accents like black or grey or finishes like metallic into account and they always look both flat and garish, but the damn colour wheel has been drilled into me for years and years and years and so I sort of think okay maybe but hmmm, not really sure.

So this happened (those shiny seed beads at the end aren't blue; they're really very purple but my camera skills blah blah blah):

That green zig-zag in the middle is both dull and screaming but without any authority or gravitas. It needs deeper intensity, right?
Wrong again. It's just not happy-making. I hate all those greens with all those purples, there's altogether too much colour but not enough zing.

Disgusted, I put the green beads aside, and prepared to think, and then it came to me: black grey silver charcoal matte shiny opaque transparent picasso gold-luster.


I swear, I'm not wasting time with the colour wheel any more because it clearly doesn't work for me.

I'm also not going to overthink colours any more. No intense planning, just pick ONE BEAD, and then quickly grab the others and I'm convinced I'll do better that way.

But I have to say, there's a part of me that's disappointed that I can't have better success through mindful and conscious planning, and that my ability to pick colours that work well together is an effort more closely related to not really paying attention than the inverse.

And I'm still going to have to find something which will use up half a mass of green beads.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Four days early (class instructions, with sample). Not bad.

I need to get ahead because I'll be too busy the weekend before the following class.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Good One

I really enjoyed making this sample, though it took forever to get the right colours. I had the rivolis and planned and planned and PLANNED the colours, but they just didn't work. I tried two different colour scheme pickers and neither one picked anything reasonable, anything not too horribly garish and so eventually I decided against any other colour and just went with shades of grey and silver.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Still here, still making samples, slowly and carefully because the hands.
Classes promised must be taught with decent instructions, and deadlines wait for nothing.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Always More

Tuesday night's class was Skella, a rivoli pendant surrounded by three layers of two-hole triangle beads sandwiched between two layers of netting. 

As usual, I'd made it a few times before the class, but it turned out that when I made it to photograph each step, I omitted pictures of a couple of crucial steps, so on Monday before class, I made another one so that I could fill the missing pictures in the instructions.

Which I did.

But then instead of making the bail and being done, I carried on stitching, adding a layer of clusters of magatamas behind the back layer of triangles, and making  a chain and I like it SO MUCH BETTER as a necklace.
Go figure.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bad Bad Hands

This was all I managed to do with my hands today (sample and instructions for Tuesday's class). Apparently they're just not so very much into all that sanding and scraping and painting and they punished me with pain, so I heeded their call and watched four episodes of The Killing on Netflix and took a very brisk walk instead of working out (with weights).

The bright green beads around the rivoli are a bit much though. I might do it again with less garish beads. Another day.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Things That Are Not Beaded

OK, so this is beaded, but I finished it yesterday or the day before and it's no longer in my present.
 What I've been doing is making a mess in my driveway.
 I acquired these cabinets that can accommodate the standard size jewellery display trays, which is just as well since I bought a bunch of unfinished wood trays some months ago, intending to attempt to make these cabinets, but with one thing and another, I didn't, which works out OK because I'm pretty sure I'd have failed miserably, almost like the guy at Home Despot today who could NOT figure out how to cut a two by four foot board such that (among other pieces), I would be able to walk away with two pieces measuring about sixteen by twenty-two. He didn't think it could be done. I managed to convince him that it could.

So first I stripped off the nasty fake oak finish - can someone tell me why cheap furniture that has an "oak" finish ends up being a really bilious yellow? - which took a while, even with the fancy non-caustic modern paint stripper which smells unsettlingly citrusy. Then I realized that the supports for the trays are spaced to accommodate one-and-a-half inch high trays, and mine are mostly two inches high, with a couple of one-inchers.

So I removed a bunch of the supports which made it easier to strip away that nasty yellow stuff which by this time was sort of pinky and goopy from the stripper. Now of course I have the additional task of cutting and nailing new pieces in. Tomorrow perhaps.
I had bought some copper spray paint, the wording on which assured me would yield a hammered or forged effect, but which turns out to be true only if you use enough paint to make it start dripping off the surface, so I sprayed a border of metallic dark bronze but that only made it look like some lame faux antique as you can see there on the left, so that goes the same way as the yellow "oak" finish on the cabinets which yes, is still on the interior back wall and which will stay. Those doors are now enjoying the effects of citrus paint stripper.

Then I decided that a black and gold crackled effect would be even better, but apparently the fashion for paint special effects has raced off into the past no matter how many stores you go to, hardware as well as "craft", about all you can find are paints that promise to look like sand which just doesn't appeal, so I bought some glitter and some black paint and if the instructions for Tuesday's class go really fast, I may get to the glitter tomorrow, otherwise I'll be here, trying to figure out (a) what I did and (b) how to describe it.