Monday, March 26, 2012

Where Does the Time Go????

Did you ever see that video of guys attaching a motor to a kids playground roundabout?  Where the guys are holding on for dear life and it still isn't enough and one is thrown off?
Well....I feel someone has attached a motor to the world and it's spinning so fast I can't keep up.

I have been working hard on the new Pavé designs and I'm close to finishing the first tutorial which includes a bangle, bracelet with snap clasp, hair accessory and ring.

So, this one should be complete today, tomorrow at the latest and the next pavé tutorial will be what I'm calling the "HoneyCube" (though the Trekker in me thinks it looks like the Borg ship....yeah, I'm a geek)

I finally perfected the end decreases last night, though it was one of those things where I kept going off on a focus was not staying! It's versatile and I see lots of possibilities and that's makes it tough to stay on track.  A couple of pendants spring to mind...or six!

This morning my kit for Lacey's Legacy, "Beading For a Cure" arrived and I've already gone through my stash and found some ridiculously perfect cabochons to go with it.  How did I manage to have a couple of cabs with EVERY color in the kit in them??  Sometimes things are just meant to be.
It's the first time I've signed up for a kit as I typically don't even make finished jewelry these days....just lots of samples for tutorials. But I have had a couple of people express a desire to own something I made with my own two I thought this would be a great way to go about it as the finished pieces are auctioned off.

I need to review the stack of books I have and I've been reading through them so I know what I'm writing about....always goo to do that :)  So reviews are coming.  On a sad note Verenabeth never got back to me with her address, and she had such a good story....but as prizes are for people who follow my blog (and if you don't follow even to see if you won) I'm going to draw for the book from the people who answered.  Look for the winner on Wednesday :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

And the Winner is........


Congratulations!  As someone said it was very difficult to get past such a great story of generosity and love. For me it wasn't just that, I am a huge believer in the arts and crafts being passed on through the generations and the thing that pushed me over the edge was the fact that Verbenabeth sees arts and crafts as a way to make a living.  I was raised in a home that thought arts should just be a hobby and were not something you could make a living at. I had to bring newspaper ads to my father to prove there were jobs for an artist out there before he would even consider allowing me to go to a technical college. I studied Graphic Design simply because that was the only job listed in the "Help Wanted" section. I did manage to squeak in a foundation year by changing colleges but even after my pleas and the pleas of my professors I wasn't allowed to go to a 'real' (degree) college.  So I have to show my support for a parent who encourages art as an expression and career opportunity :)

Not to worry if you didn't win.....with the help of Lark Books I will be doing many more giveaways and giving you the heads up on other giveaways of their great books. Today I can share a fabulous giveaway for an advanced copy of Sabine Lippert's "Beaded Fantasies"

Sabine does amazing work and  has just been announced as one of the designer's at Marcia De Coster's Beading By The Bay next year along with the amazing Huib Petersen which has a LOT of us majorly excited.
Sabine is based in Europe so it's a big deal to get her Stateside though I hear she will be over this June....if you get the chance to take a class with her JUMP because I have a feeling her classes will sell out fast!

I spent my beading time this weekend working on my first bead embroidered piece and made a lot of progress, almost finished with the surface beading and ready to start the 'extras'. I am so glad I bought Jamie's "Dimensional Bead Embroidery" because I'm going to need some of her ideas putting the backing on it being fairly heavy.

The progress photos aren't great but I did like this one as the light bouncing out of the main pyramid is just too cool and an effect I hoped to achieve but didn't know how I was going to pull it accident!

Probably because of the pyramids I've been calling this "Osiris" as I've been working on it...something about black and bronze too, I think. Anyway...this is where I still needs it's bells and whistles but as my first step into the world of bead embroidery I'm feeling pretty happy.

Today it's back to the drawing board for me....finishing the test sample of Pineapple Lace and getting the edits done so I can finally release it.
Happy Monday :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Books, Books, Oh So Yummy Books!

So, as some of you may know I was recently asked if I would like to review some books by Lark, I don't know what I did to receive such an honor and I'm totally stunned that anyone would even want my opinion, but you're going to get it :)

First up is Diane Fitzgerald's "Favorite Beading Projects"
Now, Diane is one of the Grand Dame's of beading as far as I am concerned and it's daunting, to say the least, to offer my opinion of one of her books...but here we go.

 I think this is a very well thought out book...even a little sneaky, in a good way :)  What do I mean by "sneaky"?
Well, seed beads and bead weaving can be scary to a lot of people and their immediate thought is "I can't do that" a teacher of bead weaving and having done numerous demos I have heard that hundreds of times.
With this book Diane cleverly introduces seed beads by showing mouth watering projects that take the reader from simple stringing designs into actual bead woven designs.

Take this project, "Fortune-Teller Beads", if you're someone who has strung beads this is very tempting, because it builds on what you know with a simple technique to take your skills to the next level.  All of a sudden you know how to do netting stitch, and if you can do that...well, the door is open. 
I love smart people and smart things and I can honestly say Diane and this book fall into those categories.  If you have ever looked at seed beads or bead weaving and thought "I can't do that" buy this book!  If you know someone who has drooled over your designs and said "I could never do that" buy them this book!
The designs are delightful and temptingly easy enough for a beginner.
My thanks to Diane for writing this book because I know she is converting people to bead weaving with it and as a designer of beading tutorials I get to benefit from there being more seed bead lovers in the world :)

And now for something completely different :)
Something I don't do but have always wanted to do....Metal Clay.
I do work in polymer clay but haven't as yet moved to metal clay.....mostly because my mother thinks I'll burn the house down with the blow torch.  She's wrong....that would be my brother :)  With the upcoming move I will have a place of my own...with hopefully a garage...and that workbench I see in Costco so I can start working in metal clay.

So...we have "Metal Clay Fusion" by Gordon K. Uyehara and what a scrumptious book!!
This book makes me want to order metal clay immediately (must not, must not) with stunning photos of Gordon's gorgeous work, I'm a fan.
And Gordon shows us how, step by step!
It really is a thorough book on the skills required, teaching you everything you need to know to create beautiful metal jewelry.  In a mere skimming of the book I learned so much and I know it will be my 'go to' book when I do start working with metal clay.

Gordon really covers all the angles, from a really complete list to put your 'Metal Clay Kit' together and how to use everything, with techniques to take you from beginner to advanced.  He does recommend taking a class if you've never worked with metal clay before and once you've looked through this book I think you'll be looking for the closest, soonest class available.
I also really appreciated the section on "Artiquette" about being professional as an artist and being original....I will share what he says about being original because I think this cannot be said enough and he says it so well.

"Thou shalt not copy. Just don't do it. Though it's true that there really is nothing new under the sun, let me make it very clear : If it looks like somebody else's work, don't publish it or sell it as your own. Add your personal, distinctive touch to it so you can make it your own. This is especially true with regard to published step-by-step instructions. Even though it's public, it never was your idea. So step up and credit the designer. Someone will call you on it anyway. Avoid the embarrassment, because those in the community will know."

True words!   And here are a couple of examples of projects in the book...a very original bead and a cool bangle.

Click on the book covers to go to where you can buy these great books.

And finally....yesterday I received a big box of books from Lark, one of which was Jamie Cloud Eakin's "Dimensional Bead Embroidery" which I bought a couple of weeks ago and reviewed before I knew I was going to be a reviewer. I have two copies....I'm not greedy, so I am giving a copy of this great bead embroidery book away.

Just tell me why you should be the lucky recipient and the person who convinces me they need it the most will get it...though you will have to pay the shipping. Don't forget to leave me your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday, Sunday

It's early, I'm up and halfway through my morning latte.
You might think it's not that early but for me to be up before 9am on a Sunday especially after beading until almost 1am is rare for me.
Apparently I was having nightmares (Mom said I screamed out at 5am) and that could well be why I'm awake. I don't know why I was screaming, could be a flashback dream to an attack that happened to me when I was amazes me that those still happen, but they do or it could be I was dreaming of the nightmare to I woke up verbally defending myself...yet again.'s daylight, a new day and time to live in the present.
The very recent past saw me beading till almost 1am on my venture into bead embroidery.  To be honest right now it looks like bead weaving sewn onto a backing but I am reassuring myself that most bead embroidery starts off with cabochons glued to a backing.  Like most things, I'm doing this my way which means seasoned bead embroiderers may think "well, that's wrong" as I know I've taken liberties already :)

So how does this differ from bead weaving?  Well, to start with those babies aren't made off loom and attached...they are actually started (first four or five rows) off loom and then attached to the backing and then beaded further. Also to be honest....I don't know that I couldn't achieve the same effect totally in bead weaving but it's early stages.
And if you're looking at the backing fabric and seeing the white core this is because as the Lacy's Stiff Stuff is white and I'm making a black, bronze and gold cuff I didn't want to work on white. The answer was to use some iron-on black Pellon, a fabric interfacing used to stiffen fabric when making clothes.  I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere so I thought I would share my solution.

As you can see there's  some height to this piece, my goal is for it to be very three dimensional and have lots of depth. So far, so good....I'm especially happy with the tallest pyramid but I'm not going to show you why until the piece is complete :)  I don't quite know what the piece will be yet....I originally designed it as a cuff but I'm seeing it work as a necklace and maybe I can figure out how it can be both.
More work on it today after things are taken to the storage unit (my studio gained a full 6 square feet of empty space yesterday) and shopping at Costco is done.....maybe I'll actually get to the bead embroidery part :)

As I was looking for photos of my Da Vinci study the other day I came across photos of me in costume...for those of you who don't know I'm big into costuming (or used to be).  As Jenn over at Beading Daily showed us her first chain maille on Facebook yesterday I thought I'd show you my first chain maille.  As you can see, I didn't start with jewelry :)
This is one of my Female Super Hero is about 10 years old (I don't look bad for 43!), and you can see one of my inspirations, Kate Bush, in the background.  I made this outfit, yes, including the corset, for a costume event in San was a riot getting it through security...alarms going off all over the place :)
And when I say "I want my body back" this is the body I'm talking about :) Note the Total!
I was actually in better shape than this five years ago....right before I started beading...hhmmm....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blown Away!

Yes I am!
Because February sales beat January sales and January sales were record breaking!  You have no idea how this makes me means I can save to be able to buy the things I'll need when we know things like a fridge or washer and dryer...or maybe a sofa!!!!
Thanks to all my customers for making 2012 off to a brilliant start.
Yesterday I gave away, as promised, the $50 gift certificate because I met my sales goal and I gave away and extra $25 gift certificate because I beat my previous month....I like win-win things :)

And to beading....I finished the Pineapple Lace cuff though I think it would look great as a choker too so once I've written the instructions I'll test them by making a duplicate (I usually at least change colors) which can be clasped to the first one to make a choker.  You know how I am about versatility...the idea of being able to wear the lace as either a choker or pair of cuffs really appeals to me.

I did plan on starting the illustrations yesterday but someone had a different idea for how I spent my day *sigh*. So, today I'm locking my studio door and the word "no" will come out of my mouth :)

As I was too distracted to illustrate yesterday and as my new storage things were delivered I started repacking my Delicas.  Not the final reorganization but the one I'll need to safely transport everything.  As I move my Delicas from lots of little tubes and clunky square boxes to nice slim 6" flip-tops I am realizing I need to order more Delicas :)

Last night I broke down and made a special purchase, I bough one of Diana Breigleb's faces.

I plan on making some dolls and making my own faces but that can't happen until I'm moved and settled with my clay supplies unpacked.  But I was tempted by Diana's lovely faces....known as "The Face".  This one makes me think of Da Vinci's ladies and is destined to end up as a Renaissance lady.
Of course, doll making and bead embroidery need to be in the hobby section of my life for now which means I have to squeeze them in on the weekends....when I'm not using the weekends to play  catch-up.

I did receive a wonderful surprise a couple of days ago, Lark Books had contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing their latest bead books...heck, yeah!
So I got my first one...eek! Can I say it's a little scary to be reviewing a book by one of beading's greats, the amazing Diane Fitzgerald.  My immediate thought was "who am I to be saying anything about the Grand Dame?"
But I will, because the people at Lark asked me to (eek), so watch for my review of Diane Fitzgerald's "Favorite Beading Projects" in the next week.

So far 2012 is looking like a really good year, hope yours is too :)