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....


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Lots and Lots of Beading Updates

I have been away from my blog for quite a few months and I return with lots of show and tell projects. 

Let me start with the bead embroidered letter pins. I began with the first "L" as a birthday gift for a friend. They were fun to make and friends thought they were unique so I made a few  gifts and custom orders.









I treated myself to the "S".  


A beaded cuff with matching earrings for a friend on Christmas.








A beaded collar was gifted to my sister for her birthday. 






A couple of new beading tutorials were added to my Etsy shop.



Wow! I have surprised myself with just how much I have accomplished since August.  

Last, but not least is a beaded collar in progress. This has been a lingering project since late fall mostly because I had a creative stumbling block on how to fill in the area around the polar bear. I settled on keeping the sapphire blue as the primary color. I am praying I have enough beads to finish because I have no idea where these were purchased years ago.  Yikes!


That's all for now.  Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!  Happy Holidays. See you next year.























Monday, August 14, 2017

Bead Embroidered Barrette

A quick barrette in between projects. This barrette is 4 inches which is ideal for thick hair.  I designed the center to resemble mosaic glass and used 15/0 seed beads. I will admit it was tedious work!


The ends were patterned with 11/0 seed beads around the silver bird and butterfly beads I purchased from A.C. Moore. These beads had center holes and I was happy that they laid fairly flat in the design.  


The backing is ultra suede. A technique I use to give the backside a finished look is to cut small slits at each end and then slip in the barrette ends. I figure where to position the slits by bending the beaded foundation against the barrette and marking the slits about an 1/8 inch back.


A helpful hint I can share is to glue (I use E6000) down the ultra suede up to the slits. Put some pressure all around the area with your thumbs and let it dry for 30 minutes. Slip in the barrette ends into the slits and apply a generous amount of glue. Be careful not to put too much that it soaks the suede leaving glue marks.  Use small clamping paper clips to hold the ends down while they dry for about 30 minutes. Remove the clips and let the whole piece dry overnight before starting the edging.

Happy beading!





Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bead Embroidered Necklace

I just finished this necklace design utilizing a very basic collar template. Here is how the project progressed from start to finish.

I used a basic collar template and elongated it for the big teardrop jasper stone. The 4 irregular shaped cabs were turned randomly to balance the design within the outline. I chose several bead colors that matched the shades and tones from the cabs. First, I circled the cabs with black and galvanized silver seed beads to lift them up.


I then used complimentary seed bead colors in gunmetal, ivory, bronze, brown and gray and then sewed the beads in a random pattern around the cabs. I also incorporated a few randomly placed small silver disc beads.


On the ends of the collar where there are no cabs I made a wave-like pattern to fill in the open area. 


The most satisfying part of making a necklace is clipping the foundation away from the design. To give this necklace a sturdy shape I did glue lightweight cardboard to the back before I applied the ultra suede backing.



The necklace closes with a gold toggle clasp. All and all it took me 4 weeks to finish around my full-time job.


What's next? Stop back to see how I use some new cabs in gold and green shades.