Thursday, October 25, 2018

Another October piece completed and listed in my Etsy shop. This pin and pendant can be found here.

A decal object I saw became a bead embroidered pin and pendant. This project pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone of freeform beading. For anyone looking to move up a level try looking for pictured objects that can be traced and then filled in with beads.  I encourage the use of contrasting bead colors and different shades of the same colors to create dimensional looking designs. 






For the cat outline I used 15/0 gunmetal black round seed beads and in the center I used 15/0 round seed beads in galvanized silver and crystal.  I wanted the center raised so I picked up 3 (silver, crystal, silver) beads and pushed the needle back down close to the working thread. By raising the center slightly it sharpened the inner outline.

The backside was lined with a faux leather fabric. I glued a 1 inch bar pin and made a chain guide using a small strip of ultra suede. I did a basic sewing stitch across the strip adding a bead with each stitch. My fancy way to hide the thread. I trimmed the length close to the bead stitch and then glued the strip to the backside with E6000 glue. This is the very best glue for jewelry making. My best advice is less is best.  It has great adhesion and dries clear, you just don't need a lot in the application.

As always, I hope my beading journey provides inspiration for you!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October Update

It's been a productive month already on the beading front.  I have been bouncing all over the place with ideas and finishing incomplete work.  I hope my sharing of projects inspires someone else to challenge themselves. 

My sister requested beaded teal ribbons for her upcoming conference in support of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention. Given the recent Supreme Court news it seems appropriate to share the finished ribbons with everyone.


I began the first one as a 2 inch ribbon, but then downsized it to 1-1/2 inches.





Shortly after posting pics to Instagram I received a request for the 1-1/2 inch ribbon. The out the door version is below.



The embroidered collar I have been working on for 3 months is nearly finished. I intentionally was not in a hurry because these are supposed to provide relaxation. The last steps are the hook and ultra suede backing. The earrings came about by chance. They were another unfinished idea sitting in a draw. I realized the tangerine crystals looked awesome with the collar. I call these orphan ideas happy endings.


Last, I listed another pinwheel peyote triangle color pattern in my Etsy Shop. This series of my tutorials are not how to make the triangle. The intention is to share the color placement. 



For the fun of it I added a Rivoli to my prototypes of the pattern. 



That's all for now.  I still have 2 weeks left this month!











Tuesday, September 11, 2018

New Tutorial - Triangle Rivoli

I have not posted in months, but I have been plenty busy. For anyone that follows my beading tutorials there is a new one coming out next week. I have made this earring for a few years now. A recent buyer asks if this would eventually be a tutorial. Yes, Yes, Yes.  I have to test the pattern one more time and then it will be listed in my Etsy shop Preserve Studio.



All three of these earrings are for sale in Etsy shop Preserve Studio.





Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunburst Yellow Glamour Drops

When I am in between creative ideas I revert to bead shapes. One of my favorites is the peyote stitched teardrop shape topped with a crystal rivoli.  I have given this earring design to family and friends, but this is the first time I have made a pair to keep. The reason I am keeping these is I love the sunburst yellow crystal and they are a prototype to a new earring tutorial I am working to publish in my Etsy shop in a few weeks. I usually make this shape using only delica seed beads. I experimented with adding the 11/0 round seed beads in the outside rows and now I really like the contrast it gives to the shape. 

The earring length is about 2-1/2 inches long from the top of the french ear wire.   



For a friend's birthday I designed the earring below because she loves the rivoli crystal but not a long earring. To ensure the loop kept its shape through time I put on two coats of Everbrite's ProtectaClear. ProtectaClear is a clear coating that will seal and protect metals that get a lot of use. It also acts as a stiffener for beaded shapes. 


These earrings match a beaded collar necklace that is 99% done. I hope to have this finished and photographed in about a week. See you then....


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Eye of Sauron

I took a break from a larger beading project and made a pendant and barrette incorporating the Eye of Sauron. I found a talented artist (Yvonne Williams) on YouTube that shared an in-depth lesson on painting these eyes on the backside of glass cabochons. They were super easy to make and I really like that each eye is unique.




It's really important to use calibrated glass cabochons to avoid any distortion of the image. I have not tried it yet, but I would imagine one could adhere a paper image underneath. I purchased these cabs from AliExpress, a China based online store similar to Amazon. I am amazed at the art supplies I can find there that I can't find anywhere else. The shipping time is anywhere from 14 - 45 days, but it worth the wait for the prices and many merchants offer free shipping.

The barrette is a 3 inch clip and it is currently listed for sale in my Etsy shop for $38.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Watercolor Beaded Cuff

The beginning and end of a beading project is always exhilarating because I never know where things will lead. I rarely draw out every detail of my designs. I would say I am more free wheeling in the design process and cross my fingers I like it when I am done.

Below are a few of the cabs I made from polymer clay recently. The first thing I did was decide it will be a cuff because that tear drop cab was large enough to be a good focal point. Next, the shape was drawn so I could utilize a pre formed brass cuff I purchased online.


In selecting the beads I know from experience it is good to match beads, but equally important is contrast beads. You can work with a color wheel or use your own sense of what colors will look good together.

Next, I encased the cabs with the traditional peyote stitch. I have a strong preference to using galvanized silver beads in my work. In my opinion it gives the cabs a richness not attained from a matte color beads. In the 3rd cab I started another layer of fill around the bead.



After encasing cabs with a peyote stitch I like to get the outlined completed to see how much space there is between the cabs and the edge. The actual space allowance is a factor in how I will fill in with beads. 


Because I had a fair amount of space I used the contrast color beads to create the rings around the cabs. I filled in with a double layered bead technique to create a cluster look.


I glued the beaded foundation overnight to a brass cuff secured with paper clamps. Then, I lined the inside with ultra suede fabric for a finished and comfortable fit. 


The finished cuff is 1-1/2 inches wide and fits a size 6 - 7 wrist. 



This cuff is for sale in my second Etsy shop called alexasteve1.etsy.com. The link to the bracelet is here.





Saturday, February 17, 2018

Polymer Clay Cabochons and Bead Embroidery

Yup, making my own cabs now.  After a year of buying them I came to the conclusion I would have more options if I started making them myself.  I have learned a ton of techniques from the Youtube clay artist Ludmila Bakulina.  What a talented lady who I admire for all of her creativity.  I am still a newbie just two weeks into this new art form, but I am hooked and I know I can make myself some awesome pieces to incorporate into my bead embroidery pieces. The good thing about this craft is it takes minimal amount of supplies to get started. I think I have invested about $75 in some clay, a few tools and molds. All you need is an oven to bake the goods to perfection. I do own a dremel tool which makes buffing a breeze.

Here is a look at at first batches.  The watercolor batch is pretty, but I learned a few better techniques on sanding and buffing that came out in the garnet and white beads. It really pays to have the right sand paper for the job!




I am already laying down the cabs in a new design. This will be 1.5" cuff that I will adhere to a pre-formed brass cuff.



In between making clay cabs I manage to finish beading the collar design. I am pondering what connections I will use to finish off the piece.



I am over the moon with the crystal finish look.  The cab on this piece is just spectacular and what led me to pulling out the pasta machine I bought 5 years ago. When I thought about clay years ago I was not even thinking about doing bead embroidery.  Bringing these two mediums together in a match made in heaven. 







Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Polar Bear Necklace


Instead of a geometric design around cabochons I gave myself a challenge of a scenery piece. I started with the polar bear placement and the rest seem to fall into place. I purchased a light box to help me transfer pictures to beading foundation quickly and clearly. I can't say enough about having this $20 - $30 tool just for this purpose.



This design took about 3 months to bead because I paused in between segments to visualize how to create the icy texture around the bear and the horizon color. An interesting approach was I used some lesser quality seed beads I bought locally that were uneven cuts. I almost discarded them and luckily I did not do this because the uneven characteristic provided the perfect texture for the ice. 





Each time I push myself to a higher ground I learn more about the art of beadi embroidery and how limitless it can be even using lower quality seed beads.

Finally, here are a few other designs with the lapis blue cabochons that were accomplished in between working on this necklace.   



So where do I buy the majority of my cabochons? An Etsy shop called mygemgarden2. The shop ships from China, but don't let that deter you because Jack ships quickly and packages securely with bubble wrap for the long journey. I have never been disappointed with any of the cabochons I have received.

I have another design in production that I plan to show next week. I will discuss the artist providing the inspiration, where I purchased the cabochons and some of my stitching techniques.  Stay tuned....