Etsy Beadweavers May Competition

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It’s time to vote again on the monthly Etsy Beadweavers challenge.  Even if you don’t choose to vote, please take some time to look at the beautiful work created by my fellow team members.  Please click here to visit the Etsy Beadweavers blog (etsy-beadweavers.blogspot.com/2012/05/voting-for-may-challenge-nautical.html).

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Bead Embroidery #2

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Ancient Ocean bead embroidery

Ancient Ocean bead embroidery

I am so excited to have finished my second bead embroidery piece.  This is my challenge piece for the Etsy Beadweavers May Challenge on the “Nautical” theme.

I know it doesn’t look nautical at first glance, but I was thinking about how the Midwest was once under the ocean, which can now be only experienced through the fossils that were left behind.

I am leaving town tomorrow to visit my daughter, and I worked around the clock and into the night to get it done before I leave.  So, here I am posting in the middle of the night.  Hopefully I can sleep on the plane tomorrow – or make that today!

The good news is that I feel like this piece is so much better than my first bead embroidery.  I like the design better, and it has more dimension to it.  It is also a whole lot bigger!

Detail 1

Detail 1

This time, I used Nicole’s Bead Backing rather than Lacey’s Stiff Stuff.  I think it is just as easy to work with, and I love the fact that it is available in a whole range of colors.  But most of all, I love that it is cheaper!

Detail 2

Detail 2

I thought at first that I would never find trilobites, and was shocked to find them so easily on Etsy and YardSellr.  But I LOVE them.  I have a couple of beautiful teal ones left that I will have to find a use for.  I also really love the metallic Czech bead mixes.  Their rounder shape makes them a better choice for using on end than Japanese beads.

I felt really guilty neglecting my kids for the past couple of days as I worked on this piece, particularly because I am leaving them for several days.  But sometimes I feel like I need to be selfish once in a while.  There isn’t a lot that I do for myself, so every once in a while I deserve a bit of selfishness.  Of course, the guilt remains.  Perhaps if I could actually sell a few pieces, I would feel like I was working, and that would make it okay rather than just a selfish hobby.  Ah, well, the joys and guilt of the stay-at-home Mom.

On the "man"equin

On the "man"equin

April Etsy Beadweavers Challenge – Seed Beads Only

It’s time to vote on this month’s Etsy Beadweaver challenge.  The theme for April is “Seed Beads Only.”  Participants were allowed to use a small amount of other beads, but the majority of the materials had to be typical round seed beads. This included a beaded clasp rather than a metal one for most pieces.

There are a lot of beautiful pieces here.  I hope you will enjoy checking them out, and hopefully participate in the voting.  It’s fun!

To vote, please go to the Etsy Beadweaver blog (http://etsy-beadweavers.blogspot.com/)

April Challenge Entries for "Seed Beads Only"

April Challenge Entries for "Seed Beads Only"

Easter Egg Disappointment

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A Roller Dyed Easter Egg

A Roller Dyed Easter Egg

Dying Easter eggs with the kids is always a favorite holiday activity.  Last year I visited some friends and dyed eggs with them for Easter.  I was shocked to discover that they just dyed their eggs a single color!  How is that possible when there are so many fun things to do?!  Of course, I have tried fancy techniques like the pysanka egg resist, but I am just talking regular old family egg dying here.  At the very least, you can dunk one side in a color and the other side in another, leaving a nice white stripe through the middle!  Plain eggs – definitely not for me.

We have always had fun trying new things with our Easter eggs, and this year was no different.  However, Mom (that’s me) messed up mixing the dyes, and that made things a bit more difficult.  I mixed them with too much water, so the colors were almost imperceptible.  Pink seemed to be the only color we could really get out of them.  Luckily we had more than one way to dye our eggs.

Every year we us the traditional PAAS egg coloring kits, but I usually also try to buy one of the “fancy” kits available.  This year we tried a kit with roll-on dyes, and we had a lot of fun with it.  You didn’t have a lot of control, but the colors turned out vibrant and fun.

Roller Dyed Eggs

Roller Dyed Eggs

Scribble EggOf course we always have to use the “resist” crayon.  I usually do my famous scribble egg, but the colors were so weak that it came out terrible.  It is so easy to do, and it always impresses people.  Just scribble all over your white egg and dye it a light color, like yellow.  Let it dry for a while, then gently wipe off egg with paper towel.  Scribble again, dye again, etc. until you have used all the colors from light to dark.  Here is a picture of one from last year.

Rubber Band Egg

Rubber Band Egg

Another fun technique is to use rubber bands as your resist medium.  It can be tough to find the right size rubber band, so save them when you find them.  Put them around your eggs in different ways and do the usual with adding more and moving to a darker color.  The egg on the left here is one my son tried this year, though he only used two  rubber bands and one color.  I have made some really beautiful eggs with this technique.  You can imagine the possibilities.

Masking Tape Spotted Egg

Masking Tape Spotted Egg

Scribble Egg, Dipped Egg, Rubber Band Egg

Scribble Egg, Dipped Egg, Rubber Band Egg

Masking tape also makes a good resist medium.  I have spent hours cutting, taping and dying eggs with masking tape.  This year I just made a quick one with squares of tape.  Those little round notebook hole protectors also are great for this.

No matter how you color your eggs – even if you leave them all one color – you will have a lot of fun and end

up loving them!  But, for me, try to make at least a few of them with more than just one color.  You won’t regret it.

Finished Carton of Easter Eggs

Finished Carton of Easter Eggs

First Time Bead Embroidery

I completed my first bead embroidery piece.  It is a bracelet cuff.  I was originally going to donate it to our church auction, hence the religious theme, but wasn’t even close to getting it done in time. So, I entered it into the Etsy Beadweavers competition on the theme of “Destinations.”  You can view or purchase it in my Etsy shop.  It so happened that my daughter traveled to Jerusalem during this time, which I’m sure was part of my inspiration for this piece.  Of course, she was on a Jewish Birthright tour, but that’s a whole other story.

Calgary

Calgary

It is not as interesting as it could be, but not bad for a first time.  I am angry with myself that I didn’t take pictures of the process. For those of you who are familiar with the technique, I used permanent markers to color the bead backing before adding the beads.  The center cross is a gemstone, but the rest is all seed beads in different sizes and finishes.  I used a stiff interfacing rather than poster board inside because I feel like bracelets get wet sometimes, and I just didn’t feel comfortable with paper inside.  I used Ultra Suede on the back.  It’s tough (and expensive!) to find Ultra Suede, but it such a wonderful backing.  This took a LONG time to complete due to all of the size 15 seed beads.

Biggest problem I had was when I attached the interfacing with E-6000 and then left it to sit on top of a napkin on my vinyl topped beading table.  When I picked it up, the vinyl was a wrinkled mess, and I thought ruined forever.  Miraculously, as the solvents evaporated, the table top went completely back to normal.  You can’t even tell where it happened.  Seemed kind of like a miracle.  Now I put it on top of a Corelle glass plate.

Happy Beading!

Polymer Clay Jewelry or Cabachon Giveaway

Here is a nice little giveaway from MoonSafari Beads

You can win either A) beautiful finished jewelry with polymer clay components, or B) gorgeous polymer clay cabachons to use in jewelry making.

Check it out at Moon Safari Beads ( http://moonsafaribeads.blogspot.com/2012/02/giveaway-nyerj-gyurmaekszert-vagy.html ).

Too Many Beads

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Beaders often make custom bead mixes for projects, and it can be difficult to estimate how many beads are needed.  Hopefully you will never make the mistake I made of mixing WAY TOO MANY beads.

I was working on a cellini spiral necklace that used a bead mix for each of the four sizes of beads.  I estimated pretty well for three out of four of the mixes, but somehow went way overboard on the size 11’s.  If there are just a few beads left, and you don’t want to use the mix again, it may not be worth sorting them.  Just throw them away or put them into one giant spare bead mix.  However, if there are a lot of good beads there, you have no choice but to sort them and put them away.

Beginning the sortingBeginning the sorting

This is a picture of the beads as I began sorting them.  You can see that some are in dishes rather than on the mat.  In the next few pictures, some of the piles of beads are off to the side in these dishes, so not all of the piles are showing.

What was I thinking mixing all of these beads?!

Sort small amounts at a timeSort small amounts at a time

You can get a rough sort of some bead mixes using sieves and colanders, but with beads that are the same size, you need to hand sort them all.  I find it easier to work with small amounts at a time, sorting into very small nearby piles.  Then I drag them to the bigger piles.  This small sort is done in the middle of the bead mat

For efficiency, use a straight edge such as this scoop.For efficiency, use something like this scoop.

If you are lucky enough to have long nails, sorting the beads will come easier for you.  I am not so lucky!  So, for more efficiency, I use something with a straight edge that is easy to handle, like this small scoop to drag the beads.  Instead of trying to sort each bead as you come to it, concentrate on collecting one type of bead for a while, then switch to another type.  You will know which bead to focus on because you will see a group of them close to the edge.  Focusing on one bead type at a time saves the time it takes your brain to make the decision about where each bead goes.  You totally focus on pulling out gold beads, for example, and it helps you work faster.

It also helps to have a cull pile.  As long as you are looking at each bead, you might as well cull out the bad beads at the same time.  I have a pile of culled beads at the bottom of my mat.  I periodically throw them away just to keep them from getting annoying.

Finally, after FIVE HOURS of sorting, I am finally done!

Five hours later and ... Done!Five hours later and … Done!

You can see by the size of the piles that there are too many beads of each type to just throw the mix away.

One of the piles - that's a lot of beads!One of the piles – that’s a lot of beads!

Now I just have to sort through the other three mixes!  Happy sorting.

Finished my first Etsy Beadweaving Challenge – NOT!

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Completed "Winter White" NecklaceCompleted “Winter White” Necklace

Last month I was accepted as a member of the Etsy Beadweaving Team.  One of the requirements is to enter at least one monthly Challenge a year.  This month’s theme was “Totally Twisted,” and had to include some type of spiral or twist stitch. I finished my latest piece just in time to enter – NOT! I misread the deadline and was two days late! I could kick myself.

Close-up of twisted herringbone rope

Close-up of twisted herringbone

The floral focal is suspended on a beautiful twisted herringbone rope. Each round contains twelve different beads in two sizes. There are three colors of size 8s and a mix of many size 11 beads sandwiched between the 8’s.

The center focal area contains a netted flower, beaded leaves, seed beads, and a variety of beautiful Czech pressed glass beads. There is even a little quartzite butterfly that has landed on the netted flower.This is my first very complex piece, and I am quite pleased with the results. It would be a beautiful wedding necklace, but I tried it on with a pair of jeans and it looked great, too.

Center floral focal piece

Center floral focal piece

This necklace took many, many hours to make. Full resolution pictures can be viewed on Etsy (www.Etsy.com).  I hope you like it!

Winter White 2

"Winter White"