Sunday, 26 September 2010

Bead blog recap weeks 37-38

Time flies and it feels like I haven't gotten into doing weekly recaps since my summer vacation. Anyway, here's the latest recap of what I've written at Manekis Pärlblogg. This week was cut short due to Randi's injury and an exhausting trip to Lund. But I still had time to blog about everything from iridescent patinas to extension chains.

Bello Modo Swarovski Pearl Challenge
Bello Modo is hosting a challenge based on swarovski pearls, check out all details at the Bello Modo blog.

Bead giveaway/contest winner
The winner in my giveaway/contest, sponsored by Bello Modo, is revealed. Read her winning answer as well as many other good ideas about what is a useful and/or fun present to give a newbie beader.

Buy bead patterns -- support a good cause
Sometimes you can support a charity or community by buying a bead pattern, here are a few examples. Please feel free to tip me about other patterns or projects to add to the list!

Art charms
Explains what the right now so popular art charms are and includes some blogs for inspiration as well as tips for sharing the charms through swaps and fundraising.

Patina tutorial from missficklemedia

You've seen the gorgeous colourful patinated clasps, links, chains and beads from Missficklemedia, now she offers a tutorial for those interesting in working with this type of patina by themselves.

Oxidize with resist
When oxidizing metal using LoS you can add patterns by first applying a resist on the surface, which keeps the oxide from forming on parts of the metal. When the resist is removed, a pattern is formed.

YLI jeans stitch and Gütermann top stitch
There are many threads that can be used in bead crochet, from ordinary cotton yarns to special crochet threads. Two threads I like are the "heavy-duty" polyester threads from YLI and Gütermann.

Iridescent patina
Add ammonia to liver of sulphur (LoS) and you get a shimmering iridescent patina. Works best on metal (and heavy genuine silver plate).

Artfully mounted bead embroideries

Robin Atkins show how you can make elegantly displayed art from your bead embroideries by mounting them on canvases.

Extension chains
Some like them and some don't, regardless they can be very useful in jewellery. Includes a few details you should consider before making your extension chains.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

My poor Randi

My little sweetie Randi is in need of some attention today. This week he hurt himself, probably cut himself on a sharp metal edge or glass (we have a couple of greenhouses) and it was so bad there was nothing else to do but go to the vet. He was stitched together and got a tube in his leg to drain it. He had to spend almost a whole 24 h at the vet's as we were in Lund where dad had to go through a special exam they couldn't do at the hospitals closer to home where he has been treated during this spring and summer. Anyway, yesterday we picked him up and he's now a very sad kitty with a funnel around his head to prevent him from biting and licking the stitches and drain.

He's a very sweet and friendly cat and so far I haven't yet had any problems administering his pills or making him accept that we won't let him go outside. I will look in to other options to the funnel as I feel sorry for him for having to try and walk around and sleep with a plastic funnel around the head... When the drain is removed, I hope it'll be a little easier to let him out of the funnel without the risk of him aggravating the injury. He sleeps a lot and is a bit sad (funnel, trauma of being "abandoned", infection, drained fluid he can't lick away himself), but he has a healthy appetite, which is a good sign. And he's a bit playful both yesterday and today.

He wouldn't let me take a pic of him with the funnel on so the one above is from last autumn. Below is another one from last summer when they were born (by a feral cat that lives/lived in our stable). Don't remember if I've already shown this pic... The black and white cat is his sis, Ninja. Not named after the Japanese ninjas, but after another female cat we had, named Nino (who didn't get her name from the Spanish word for boy).

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Revontulet -- one of my first bead embroideries

I recently had a look at my little bead embroidered piece called Revontulet and since this is my first finished bead embroidery project it was a bit interesting, re-visiting old beadwork I haven't thought about in a couple of years now. I made it in 2008 for a beading contest at Pärlplatsen, a Swedish bead community were I'm a member. You can see all the entries here. I won, but you can see that I was a newbie at bead embroidery when I made it.

The theme for the contest was aurora borealis, the Northern lights. Bea, the founder of the community lives in Norrland (far North) so she's used to this phenomena and it was when looking at the lights that she came up with the theme. I live in Skåne in Southern Sweden and have never seen it IRL.

In my research for finding an approach to the theme, I read all sorts of folklore and myths. I stumbled across a site that said the Finnish word for Northern lights, revontulet, means fox fires. According to legend, there'd be special fire foxes in Finnish Lapland and when they ran across the snowclad mountains, sparks would fly from their fur. Those sparks were the Northern lights. Didn't know enough about Finnish folklore to judge if the story was true or not, but it sparked my imagination.

This piece is made using several different stitches: couching, satin stitch, back stitch, running stitch, back stitch variation. I wanted to test many different stitches as I was new to bead embroidery. When I was finished I came to this conclusion: it toughest part is that embroidery take so much time, even the little things -- the hardest part was translating my sketch into beads. The beads have a whole different feel and density than pencil marks. Where my sketch focused on the soft and ethereal, the bead embroidery had to focus on colour and shape.

I wanted to avoid using beads with AB finish as it felt a bit cliché so instead I used sparkling-lined Delicas in green and turquoise hues. I also used jet green iris to get the feeling of the dynamic in the Northern lights, the flowing and changing properties you can't capture on photos. Iridescent beads look black in certain angles and sparkling green, blue and purple in others.

The background is black, unbeaded felt and the contours of the landscape is embroidered using transparent gray lustre 15/0 seed beads. There you find two tiny sterling silver "foxes" (actually wolf or coyote beads, I think) and the sparks from their furs (also known as purple iris Delicas). All in all, this piece is 16 x 11 cm big/small.

Not an easy piece to photograph with the sparkling, shimmering beads and black background that refused to get as dark as I wanted on camera. This is the original photo I submitted to the contested, haven't tried re-shooting it.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Tumbled glass -- first experiment

Ok, now for something more fun today -- I got a lovely gift with the mail this afternoon so I'm in a better mood now. Thank you so much, Dave and the rest of you at Rings & Things!

So what will I share today? I thought I'd show you my share of the first glass tumbling me and my sis experimented with this weekend. Tumbled glass is similar to sea glass in appearance and it's got the same soft surface as etched glass but with the difference that tumbling also smoothed the edges. Unfortunatly I forgot to get any "before" pics, though... I've washed the grit and glass particles off, but as you can see from the photos they still need to be cleaned a bit more.

We did read tuts online, but the problem was that there were many different suggestions. We did add somewhat coarser grit than the fine to medium that was suggested by most (apart from just tumbling with sand) and on a few pieces I think the finish is a bit too rough. But it's just one of those things you do because you want instant satisfaction -- and it's the kind of things you learn from.

The first pic show a handful of glass pebbles. The kind you find in the flower or home décor section in your supermarket or at the florist's. I sometimes use clear pebbles instead of more expensive clear glass domes/cabochons, but I also had a few with an ugly AB finish that I couldn't use so I tumbled them, which removes the finish. You can't use these to "encase" pictures and patterned papers, but you can add foil to the back for a lovely soft shine and a pinch of colour.

Remember the crackling experiements? The pebble above is one of the glass pebbles I put in the oven and then in ice water to acheive the crackled effect. Tumbling it shows off the crackles in a different way.

You've probably heard of sea glass, well, this is field glass: pieces of glass I've found in the fields when picking potatoes this summer. Thick dark glass with sharp edges that just had to be ground down for use in jewellery.

This is irregular glass mosaic, originally with a transparent, shiny surface. Mostly added these as we needed more glass to fill the drum. Like the new frosted finish, though.

Here you can see an interesting difference between etching and tumbling: on the heart, the thick garish AB finish I disliked has just been removed from the raised areas: it's still there in the crevices and recesses. Like when you oxidize metal and then polish it. If you etch instead, the liquid will pour into these crevices and remove the finish there as well.

The butterfly button is one I thought was nice, but way too crude. It hade hard edges, like the "seams" you often see on Indian lampwork beads. Tumbling it, the butterfly is now much softer. Much more in tune with the motif.

Dare I show this one (knowing the person who fused this cab and gave it to me sometimes reads the blog)? I'm not fully pleased with it. I believe I probably should give it a polish for a softer finish. Frosted but smoother. This cab was previously etched, but I didn't feel the result was even enough and also feared that etching it again might add to injury. So I wanted to see if tumbling it instead would give it a more even frosted finish. It is even now, much better than after I etched it, but it needs a finishing touch.

This is more mosaic. Italian glass mosaic with aventurine. I bought it to use in my jewellery, but the corners were so sharp I ended up barely using the pieces. Tumbling them not only smoothed the corners and edges, but also gave it a nicer frosted finish.

More mosaic? Yes, this is clear glass mosaic, which is often used onto of a picture of some kind. You can also use it as a less clear alternative to small glass tiles for making pendants. As with the pebbles above you can really see a pic through the frosted glass (it's all blurry), but you can add metal or foil for a slight change in colour and added glow.

We used what glass we had. My sis is "fortunate" enough to have dropped many coloured glass bottles, vases and such -- and she's saved the shards so she had a lot of glass she could recycle. Some have the perfect shape for bracelet focalpieces, following the curve of the wrist. She also had a piece of more unusual "field glass", a green shard from a Coca Cola glass, which added pattern to it.

Did we learn anything for the future? Apart from not getting impatient and add coarser grit than recommended, I think it was to drill holes before tumbling so the holes too will be smooth and rounded. We will try that next time. Because there will be a next time.

Black Monday...

Yes, I know I promised to present a winner of the Bello Modo beads today, but seeing how the election turned out it doesn't feel like a happy day today. Not decided anything yet, though.

I normally don't talk about politics in my bead blogs, but what is happening now is so serious that I can't ignore it just because this is a blog detached from the political world.

As all voters interested in politics I've been disappointed by the results in the elections before, but yesterday when I heard the news on the telly I was furious. There are no words for how I feel about the fact that Sweden like so many other countries will now share the shame of having a racist party in parliament. If these four years have been hard on those who are too ill to work or unemployed, I feel it's escalating and now hatred of immigrants and islamophobia is not just something voiced by the village idiots, but by politicians in our parliament, in the heart of our democracy. I still keep the hope up that the other, more respectable, politicians won't be lured into their rhetorics and thus cement the presence of xenophobia in our country. I hope the political parties will stand united against this clique of malcontent and populism.

I still believe in the positive forces in our country and I urge everyone to do what they can to show solidarity with those that are deemed of lesser value by some of the politicians who will now have the power to change Sweden. Show those politicians what we still believe that all humans have the same fundamental rights to a safe life; that people should receive an extended hand when in need of help instead of being pushed down; that our society has lost compassion and we want to change that; that we don't want this hard and cold climate that is being formed with its contempt for those with the "wrong" religion, clothes and/or skin colour, or those that can't earn a living as they can't find employment or are plagued by illness, physical or mental, that keep them from working. I will never accept a society built on blatant egoism.

I know that internationally some people despise countries like Sweden, use the name of our country as an argument against social reforms in their societies, but I've also met many people from other countries that have admired or liked our society. Frustrated social workers who've wished they had the same resources as us to help those in need in their area, people who can only dream of a country where they can afford all the medicine and operations they need, people who don't dare speak up against their employer for fear of losing their job and thus their only means to social security. And these are just people from rich democracies -- for some people in the poorer world Sweden is still more like a fairy tale, with social safety nets and freedom they can only dream about. I wonder how they feel about us today?

95 % of all the voters do not sympathize will SD, don't forget that! I know many feel angry, sad, frustrated, scarred, or fearful right now, but don't dispair today -- all is not lost as long as we stand up for a more humane world! As long as we show the politicians that we care about everyone, regardless of sex, ethnicity, age, religion, sexuality, health and means of income.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Busy Sunday

It's Sunday. And election day. I've managed to do quite a lot this afternoon: feed the cats (ok, that don't count -- I do that every day, it's my chore), vote, chat with aquaintances we met when voting, administer a worm pill to a shy cat without any of the others eating the food I hid it in, picking apples from about a dozen trees located in different parts of our big garden and clean our tumbled glass which is now all nice and frosty. To that can be added that my sis is baking buns right now and I'll soon join her as I'll be mixing pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and that kind of things in my half of the dough. And I'll spend the evening packing beads for those who have bought things from my destash.

So... a lot of things done and while it's a big of a handful doing so much at once it does feel good to finish all these musts. Hopefully Monday will be calmer. And I'll do this week's bead blog recap then as well. And probably I'll also get around to taking a few picks of my portion of the tumbled glass.

EDITED TO ADD: and I'm supposed to have picked a winner for my giveaway/contest by tomorrow. Darn... I'd almost forgotten that... But if any of you have participated, rest assure, I will publish the winner's name tomorrow as planned if nothing else happens until then.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Destash -- säljer av lite pärlor mm

Just added a logo about my destash to the sidebar. I've already sold enough to pay for my no. 1 priority: new clogs. I constantly wear clogs, always have worn clogs at home what with the farm and all that. A few weeks back I managed to break the sole. A couple of cm of pure wood snapped from side to side. Worn down as I've had them for ages, but still... Anyway, it's getting a bit wet now with the rainy weathers so I need new clogs. Can't use my good shoes around the house so right now it's winter boots or broken clogs -- and the clogs are faster to step in and out off.

But I still want to get rid off the rest so I can buy new beads. Out with the old and in with the new as per my philosophy on the creative effects of cleaning out everything that's just collecting dust right now.

So I'm destashing and that's mostly a message to my Swedish readers (as I only accept payment to my bank account), which means I'll end this in another language:

Har sålt de populäraste artiklarna som mycket av mina japanska seeds, men där finns fortfarande allt från tjeckiskt glas och Swarovski till moro-moro och indonesiska hartspärlor kvar. Allt ska bort!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Drops of autumn

Posting daily right now, I think...

Anyway, this is just a short post, showing my latest bead crochet test. This time I used nothing but drops, three in each loop. I ran out of beads as well so this strip is just long enough to make half a bracelet. Not sure if I'll make it in to some sort of bracelet or just keep it as a sample.

The drops are from a Miyuki mix called Golden Grains.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Colour addict

With the new tila beads and 2,8 mm drops out I'm of cause planning to order beads soon. (Yepp, I haven't got my hands on any tilas yet.) And that got me thinking about how often I buy beads just because of a tempting colour name. Many of the seed beads I have are in special colours, often lined, frosted, marbled or i some other way treated with one or several finishes.

I love colour and especially seed beads and czech fire-polished can be found in so many interesting colours and finishes/effects. When I buy those beads I often end up buying a colour instead of a bead, i.e. the want to get this specific nuance is bigger than my need or want for new beads.

Of cause there's a risk, buying beads this way. Some colour names are more attractive than the actual colour. It's easy to be disappointed or end up buying beads that look nice in the close-up photos on the bead shop's website, but are too bland IRL. But who can resist names like rose bronze silverlined alabaster, gold metallic plum, copper pearl-lined olive, gold lustered green tea, crystal champagne orion, opera mauve copper, gold lustered dark rose, tropical topaz, alchemy and crystal moonlight?

I got some chaton montes in rose water opal just because the name was so lovely. Despite the fact that I'm not that fond of cutesy pinks or -- at the time -- opaque opals.

Apart from that there are even more colours I buy or want to buy after acutually seeing them (usually in an online shop or directly in the manufacturer's colour charts online).

As for Swaroski custom coatings I like the fact that some shops still sell bicones by the each so I can get a colour without ending up with a lot of beads I won't use as sparkly crystal isn't my style (also, I think the sparkle makes it harder to see the actual colour, the one feature I love, as it just reflects light). Now that you can find so many gorgeous rivolis I enjoy buying that as well instead of a bunch of beads -- plus, with the depth of the rivolis you get a more intense colour than in the regular 4 mm bicones. As I've already discussed here.

You can't really do the same with seeds, but then again, the size of the beads means that the colour looks better when you look at a pile of beads together rather than a single bead. [BTW, that's the reason you sometimes get disappointed when you use your beads: they can be so much paler in your beadwork than in the vial or the close-ups online as you use fewer beads and they might blend with the other colours.]


Curious about the colours in the beads above? In the first pic you see czech charlottes in denim blue with picasso finish and Miyuki hex cuts in matte metallic patina iris. In the second pic I've got Toho SuperNova Hybrids in matte crystal apollo gold, Miyuki silver-lined milky light topaz (dyed) and Miyuki Duracoat galvanized dark berry.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Cindy Gimbrone's lampwork giveaway

Cindy Gimbrone is giving away a whole bunch of lampies, celebrating her (forgotten) blog anniversary. It's an ecclectic mix with everything from frosted diamond-shaped beads and millefiori to a flowery skull and a hand bead.

For a chance to win these goodies (as seen in the photos here), check out this blog post.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Crimp cover bracelet

I'm not a big fan of ball chains, but sometimes I see an idea that I like (as braiding with them) or I get an idea of my own. This was the case when I recently bought some solid copper ball chain. With the new texture styles and various colours in crimp covers, wouldn't it be useful as more than just crimp covers? Couldn't they be nice as "proper" design elements too? And aren't the balls in the ball chain the perfect size to be covered by a crimp cover? This is my first try at finding an answer for those thoughts. Very simple, but then again, I just wanted to test a theory and didn't have any plan for what to do.

Some day I'll have to try a few different designs like mixing colours and sizes of crimp covers and/or adding more covers -- perhaps even covering every other ball.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Rusted brass

I had a productive computer-free day yesterday. Not just crocheting all Saturday long, but also had time to test my (relatively) new "rusting paint". It's a acrylic-based paint with real steel particles and when painted onto a surface and sprayed with Rapid Rust, it begins to do just that. Rust. It's not a faux patina, it's real rust.

Above is my first test on a brass ox stamping. I painted it with the steel paint and then wiped it off the reliefed parts. The same way you make a painted "oxidization". When it had dried a bit I sprayed the rusting liquid on it and waited a bit for the rusting to begin. The process was then stopped by applying a sealant.

Below is a comparison between an untreated and a rusted version of the stamping. I bit harsh in the colours, at least on my screen, but I hope the photo is not too bad. Some probably prefer the oxidized look of the original stamping while others like me hopefully like the rusted version.

More bead crochet: autumn bracelet

This bracelet is made using bead I thread the same way as in the pink lustre sample I wrote about earlier. For this bracelet I used the same light amethyst copper-lined czech seeds, but added brown dancing FW pearls instead of oval beads.

Being top-drilled, the pearls sit differently than "straight drilled" pearls in the same shape would. I really like that result, though most of all I like the colours and the fact that I finally ended up using these pearls that I've had for ever (and which doesn't look as pretty on their own as mixed with the pinkish amethyst seeds).

Bead blog recap weeks 34-36

I keep forgetting that I'm supposed to make weekly recaps of my posts over at my Swedish bead blog... So here's a long list of post from the last three weeks.

The charm group project
We're making charms for a charm bracelet, which will be raffled at the PUSS bead meeting in October. All proceeds will be donated to Cancerfonden. Do you want to be a part of our project?

Cute flower charms
Learn how to make easy and sweet daisy bead charms at Beadsmania.

Fireline is a very popular beading thread, used primarily for bead weaving.

How to tumble glass
With a stone tumbler, you can also tumble glass to make beads and pendants for your jewellery. You will get soft and frosted glass, similar to beach glass. No tumbler? Grind down the sharp edges and etch the glass instead.

Faux pearls
Faux pearls have been made for centuries -- and at times they were reserved for royalties. Includes a list of diffrent types of pearls/pearl names used for imitations, from shell pearls to Majorica.

Sharp triangles from Miyuki
Miyuki is know for their chubby, rounded triangle beads. Now they're about to launch a new version with sharper edges.

Harmony theme for bead contest

Swedish bead shop Sirlig is presenting a new jewellery-making contest on the theme harmony.

Art Bead Scene September challenge
This month's inspiration is Persia, an illustration by George Barbier.

Vitrail is a colourful finish that can be found in several version: vitrail medium (or just vitrail), vitrail light, vitrail dark (vintage) and vitrail green.

Bellatrix beading contest
Perle4U is having a small contest based on the pattern Bellatrix: make one or more of these components and incorporate it in a piece of jewellery.

International Bead Awards 2010
IBA is a new international design contest by Best Beads Verlag, the publisher of elegant bead mag Perlen-Poesie.

New from Swarovski for autumn/winter 2011-12

Swarovski Elements have released their new colours for the nex autumn and winter season. New colours is Sunflower, latest effect is Crystal Silver Night and for pearls there's the Light Gold Pearl. New shapes includes a beautiful new heart and cute clover beads as well as a flatback butterfly and more.

Shrink plastic jewellery
Projects for making jewellery from shrink plastic -- includes some lovely silhouette jewellery not to be missed!

Cross stitch your own metal pendants
Among the autumn news from Panduro, you'll find partially perforated metal pendants and bracelets, ready to be cross stitched by you.

Texture hammer with interchangable heads
I love hammers and this is no exception. Instead of getting just one or two textures when you buy a texture hammer, this one comes with nine different heads you can mount of the hammer.

Elytra from Sternocera aequisignata
Elytra is the hard outer "shells" that protect the wings on beetles. In this case the colourful jewel beetle, which has traditionally been used in thai arts and crafts. Unusually but striking components for jewellery (includes examples of finished jewellery).

How to use two-hole beads
Stringing, wirework, bead weaving -- there are many ways you can used two-hole beads. Here you find a long list of projects to be inspired by.

Two-hole beads
As you probably guessed, two-hole beads are "double drilled", having two parallel or crossing holes.

Win beautiful glass beads
In association with Bello Modo, I'm giving away 18 lovely German two-hole beads.

Pearlized autumn contest
Swedish bead shop Pearlized is hosting a new autumn jewellery-making contest.

How to use scallop-edged settings
I show how you manipulated the edge of these simply but useful settings to make pendants and links.

How seed beads are made
Learn how seed beads are manufactured in Japan and the Czech Republic, from the melting of the raw materials to quality control and hanking.

Bolo ties -- not just western jewellery
Bolo ties are mostly associated with cowboys and other American Western styles for men, but here you find necklaces in a variety of styles for both him and her.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Bead crochet tests

Reading Beads Bee vol. 22, I found this necklace (p. 16) that seemed to be made in the type of "loopy" chain stitch bead crochet I like. Made by this beader, if I "read" the text correctly. So of cause I had to test this -- for me slightly different -- way of making chain stitched jewellery. It's rather similar to turkish bead crochet in that you alternate between seed beads and larger beads -- in this case rice pearls -- and make loops consisting of one pearls and a row of seeds. But unlike in the turkish style, you don't stitch the loops onto the next row, meaning you get a rather different look.

As usual I work with what I've got and not wanting to string loose seed beads, I had two colours of 10/0 czech seeds on hanks to choose between. I went with light amethyst copper-lined, which worked with the twisted glass beads in pink (topaz) lustre I choose as my large beads in the absence of any rice pearls. I love the colours and overall look, but it's way too chunky and heavy -- for a wearable piece of jewellery you can't use beads this big I think. Below you can see it photographed next to a ruler so that you can estimate the size of this little sampler.

Inspired by the same Japanese bead mag as above, I also wanted to try mixing in chips in the seed bead loops. Again, had to use what I could find, which explains the somewhat iffy colour scheme (I guess it's not hideous, but I don't like neon pink in these glass chips).

This also turned out to be a pretty chunky piece, but lighter and more wearable that the pressed-glass bead test. As a reference, this bracelet-to-be is approx. 17-18 cm long. I will use chips again, but I believe I'll probably try to decrease the number of seed beads for each loop -- or, better yet, opt for smaller size chips and seeds. Making it less chunky. As for colours, I do believe it'd look more attracting in a different colour scheme. I have some tumbled rock crystal chips that I think would look nice paired with white or frosted seeds, but I don't have any white thread so I couldn't test it.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Top 5 things I'm not good at

1. Answering blog comments -- but I do read and enjoy them all!

2. Answering e-mails -- I do it, but it takes time...

3. Remembering people -- faces mostly, but also names

4. Not waiting to the last minute to do something

5. socializing -- which kind of explains my top 3...

Yupp, just a top five of bad excuses and a way to say "it's nothing personal" if you're waiting for me to contact you... I do this to everyone when my energy levels are low or when I'm unsure about the socially correct way to talk to someone. I've been a bit tired lately so I'm trying to sort out what things are top priority and work with those even if it means I'm letting other things drag on longer that I'd prefer. Like replying to e-mails that aren't a matter of life and death. Sorry if that is happening to you right now, but rest assure: I haven't forgotten you! It'll just take a few more days for me to get back to you....

PS! That's our Figaro (yes, named after Figaro and Cleo) in the pic. My sweetie.

Monday, 6 September 2010

A crocheted necklace for mom

Right now I'm busy judging entries in a beading contest, but I thought I'd show you what I did last night (literally night, I finished it around 1:30 AM). Mom wanted me to make her a necklace similar to one I'd make for myself in czech 10/0 seeds. I said ok, but as she's just paying for the supplies she had to string the beads. I hate stringing beads, which is the reason it took such time for me to find the right beads for her: I wanted 10/0 (not 11/0 or 9/0) seeds on hank and mom wanted them to be blue. A slightly difficult combination to find. Anyway, I want them hanked as it makes stringing them easier.

The necklace is made in my favourite bead crochet technique: chain stitch with loops. It's a very easy method for making crocheted jewellery and I like the bead loops. Normally, I make rather small loops (5-7 beads), but you can make much larger ones of a very different effect. Bead looops can also be used together with single beads on a chain stitch or made using different bead sizes and/or shapes. Very versatile, in other words. But this time I kept it very simple as per mom's request.

Want to see a pic of the whole necklace too, don't you? I'm thinking of making something similar on a winter theme: the texture kind of remind me of rime/hoar frost.

BTW, this was also the first time I used Gütermann Top Stitch (knapptråd) for bead crochet. I've mostly used YLI and pearl silk before. The Gütermann thread feels very similar to YLI so I'll probably buy a few more colours of it in the future, not least since this thread is easier to find in Sweden.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

3x giveaways and contests

As usual, Andrew Thornton presented a new giveaway a few days ago. This time you have a chance to win sparkling chinese crystal beads from US bead shop Auntie's beads. A lucky winner will get three strands of crystal beads and four pendants -- as seen in the pic above.

Via Andrew, I also found a lovely giveaway by Janet Macdonald at her blog Singingwoods. She offers an inspiring lot of beads including eight Green Girl Studios charms, six beads by Gaea and a lampworked rose focal by Helen Simon. If you like fairy, don't miss her giveaway post, showing pics of "fairy doors" -- something I'd never heard about before.

Last giveaway tips is a book giveaway hosted by Melanie Brooks at Earthenwood Studio Chronicles. She is giving away a copy of Dafna Yarom's book Creative Paper Jewelry, celebrating September and the memories of going back to school.

I'm not good at remembering to post tips about contests and challenges here, mostly as I write about those in my other blog (check out the label tävlingstips to find info on all sorts of beading contests and challenges). But this time I'll try to mention some current ones. Sorry if the info is a tad short.

Art Bead Scene Blog features monthly challenges and this month the artwork your entry should be inspired by is Persia, an illustration by George Barbier.

Simone, AKA Perle4U, challenges you to make a piece of jewellery using her Bellatrix pattern (free for contest participants).

The September theme for Vintaj's challenge this month is Family Tree. Note that the deadline is coming up soon: September 10. For inspirational creations on the theme, check out their blog.

Publisher of Perlen Poesie bead magazine, Best Beads Verlag, is hosting the new International Bead Awards, where you can enter as hobbyist or professional beader/jewellery maker in nine different categories.

You can find links to more current American beading contest in the end of this post.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Out with the old, in with the new

I'm working on a destash right now. As per usual, really: I tend to go through my bead stash once or twice a year for several reasons. I do it to make room for new beads, to get a bit of cash to finance those beads, to see what beads I have but are unlikely to use. And so forth. But the best thing about cleaning out the bead stash like this is that it's such a cleansing experience for me as a person too.

Destashing is one of the ways I work through a periode of low creativity. By sorting and "culling" my beads I find old beads I've almost forgot about and sometimes I end up putting different beads together in a way I hadn't thought about before. It gives me new ideas and that's a great side effect. My aim is most likely not to be inspired as much as it's just about "getting rid off" beads that lay there in the storage, year after year. Some of them haven't seen daylight since the day I bought them. So why keep them when I can sell them and buy things I want more instead? Not least since I know how good I feel when I sort out the old beads and make room for the new.

Of cause, it's a fine balance between sorting out beads I'm unlikely to use and keeping beads that might inspire or attract me in the future. I'm sure all beaders that have been in the game for a couple of years know what I'm talkning about. We evolve, our preferences change and we learn new things. Suddenly one day we find an old bead or finding we bought as newbies, but never used -- and this one day it's exactly what we need. Some things are best to keep. But others just add to the clutter, physical and mental. Knowing what things to keep and what things to sell isn't easy.

I tend not to sell newer beads unless I have many of them or there's a special reason I believe I won't use them in the near future. It's not like the beads I prepare to sell this time wasn't in my stash the last time I went through it. They're just beads that had to wait six or twelve months more for me to see them as expendable -- or for me to go through that specific bead box, I don't always go through my whole stash at once. Now I feel more secure about my decision to sell them.

It's also a question of how brave I am: how much do I dare destash? Destashing is not for the faint of heart -- it can be a bit of an ordeal for a horder. But I know I have to do it sometimes. I know I feel relieved when I have sorted through my beads and have just the ones I actually want left. The beads that was just there, like meaningless fillers, are gone and I can see the rest of the beads more clearly. It's like I've had all the weight of those beads on my shoulders and now it's lifted. I also feel good knowing I can buy new and inspirational supplies without guilt when I've recouped some of the expenses by selling my "leftovers".

So even though it can be difficult to choose what beads to keep and what beads to sell, even though it's time-consuming at times, I keep doing it because it feels good. I need my spring and autumn cleanings to not drown in beads and a never-chaning, stale bead stash. I don't sell my jewellery so a destash is really also my only way of "making" money from my beads to finance my hobby. One of a few ways the beads I buy can leave me and my home.

To conclude, all I can say is: cleaning out the old and making room for the new is a freeing and inspirational experience. You should try it too if you haven't already.

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