Friday, 14 October 2011

Marshmallow Daisies

Marshmallow Daisies
I have been doing virtually no beading for the last two weeks as I damaged a tendon in my ‘beading’ hand!  This made any plans that I had for making Christmas presents or cards impossible (that’s my excuse, anyway!).
 I’ve used polymer clay before, many years ago but, seeing that it is still a popular medium at craft fairs and in gift shops, I thought I would experiment with some new designs.  Continuing my ‘daisy’ theme I have just finished an earring design using polymer clay (The first attempt was ruined when I confused centigrade for Fahrenheit and ended up with what looked like Pontefract cakes and a kitchen full of fumes!). 
I think these daisies look really cute so I am planning to make my ‘marshmallow daisies’ complete with threading holes so that they can be strung together. 
Hope you like...

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Daisy Chain bracelet

As the days get shorter, my beading output decreases – beading by artificial light is impossible!  Consequently my latest design has taken me two weeks to complete.  I seem to have had a bit of an obsession with making daisies at the moment.  I’ve even made a polymer clay version – a kind of Magic Roundabout type of daisy (although I did confuse centigrade with Fahrenheit on the first attempt...resulting in an alarming miasma in the kitchen!).
The base uses a new stitch to me: Pebble stitch.  I used some lime size 10 beads which were misshapen – no good for bead weaving but perfect for this stitch as it takes on an uneven appearance.  This stitch also grows quickly which is always a bonus!
The daisies are made of tiny pearl Delicas with gold bead centres stitched onto the base at irregular intervals.
Hope you like...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

'Hollyhock' necklace

As my crafting friends reliably inform me,  they have been busy for the last couple of months making gifts and cards ready for Christmas (in fact I suspect some have already finished! You know who you are!).  So I decided this week to make a start on my gifts.  I’m not the most organised of people – I confess to being quite fickle with the concentration span of a goldfish: when it comes to ‘sparkles’ I get very distracted!
But this year it’ll be different! This week I’ve been working on a real statement piece of a necklace.  I’m using a pattern that I’ve had for a while but never felt that I had the patience to complete it.  I’ve tried making the flowers before but without much success.  But I like a challenge and have persevered.  This time it’s been much easier (probably due to experience). 
At the moment I’m about two thirds of the way through the band (which is more like a flattened rope in appearance).  Even though it uses herringbone weave, it seems to be taking an age so I keep stopping to make the flowers which I think look like Hollyhocks.
Now that I’m on the home straight, I’m already making plans for scaled down versions and maybe corsages.  Anyway, I’ve made a start...Christmas: bring it on!
Hope you like...x

Monday, 22 August 2011

Little Geisha

Some time ago I made a mini kimono using Japanese beads.  Although these beads are slightly more expensive than regular beads they are perfect for weaving with as they have flat edges, sit square on to each other and create no gaps.
The kimono stands about 5cm high and has a cherry blossom design (can’t quite remember but cherry blossom is significant in Japanese culture).
This week I varied this design by producing a one-dimensional kimono; tiny blue flowers on a black background.  I often use black as a background as it seems to have more of an impact on the other colours.  I intended to make it into a necklace but, after struggling to decide how to attach a cord, I added a face.
Now that it’s finished I’m thinking it would look better as a brooch; either backed in leather or on a large brooch back.  Either way I’m pleased with the design and it makes quite a cute piece.  The fact that my Geisha is made from Japanese beads seems very apt!
Hope you like...

Monday, 15 August 2011

'Summer' ring

I’ve been working hard this week building a new website to show off some of my bead work.
I’ve also started selling a few items through the online craft site ‘Folksy’.  At the moment there are only three of four items for sale but there’ll be more very soon!
One of the items I’m selling is my beautiful ‘Summer’ ring.  I’m not really a great wearer of jewellery – I prefer to make for others, but this piece is gorgeous (modest? Me?).  It’s quite a chunky ring embellished with crystals, pearls and glass on a red/green/blue theme (a theme which I tend to gravitate to quite a lot).  It earns lots of comments when worn!
What I love about making rings like this is that, when I start, I never quite know where I’m going with it or how the colours will work together.  I just follow my instincts. 
If you have time, check out my shop on Folksy and tell your friends!
Hope you like...

Friday, 5 August 2011

Right Angle and Ribbon Cuff

I’ve spent lots of time this week trying to get to grips with my ever-expanding work box!  The problem with beading is that many projects require only a few beads of a certain shade for which, however hard you try to find existing beads from your stash, you never quite have the right shade/size so end up buying new tubes of beads.  Consequently, I have many opened tubes of beads languishing in my work box.  There are projects which use mixtures of (usually) left over beads, known in the beading world as a  ‘bead soup’.  My ‘Ribbon cuff’ is such a piece.  I started with a right angle weave base (dead easy ‘cos this stitch is mainly space!) using shades of blue, green and yellow, then wove thin ribbon along its length.  A recycled button and cube bead to secure the ribbon and ‘Bob’s your proverbial’!  May even make another one, seeing as my work box is on a diet!
Hope you like.. 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Lily earrings

Still working outside of my comfort zone, I have been experimenting with polymer clay.  I’ve had a few blocks of it lurking in the bottom of my work box for years now.  I did recently attempt to make some millefiore beads but wasn’t very happy with the result.
Being able to sit and bead outside, in the garden, I seem to be making lots of flowers with my seed beads so I thought I would try a different medium.  I remember, from years ago , taking my class to a pottery in Stoke and them getting the opportunity to make clay flowers using proper techniques.  So I just copied what we had learnt then and produced a lily (my favourite flower) . 
The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but the clay is marbled blue and green.  I noticed the colours seemed to darken with baking  (can anyone explain this or how I can avoid it?) I made a larger lily intending to use it as a pendant – I’ve just been working out how to incorporate blue wire into the stamens but that’s a work in progress (to add to all the others!)
Hope you like.. 

Friday, 22 July 2011

My first piece of chainmaille!

A friend said I should make a piece ‘outside of my comfort zone’ – (here it is, Doll!).
I followed a design by Sarah Austin from ‘The Bead Sisters’. I bought jump rings from their company in Stranraer who, it has to be said, have an enormous collection of jump rings in metal and rubber!

The weave is known as ‘The King’s scale’ or ‘Vertebrae Weave’.  It looks complicated but is surprisingly quick to make.  It is a variation on the most common form of chainmail; the "four-in-one" pattern in which each link has four others linked through it.  This is the way chainmaille was made in Europe in the Middle Ages.

I spent the morning at a local gallery getting inspiration for my next project: polymer clay, methinks.
Hope you like..

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Summer Border Cuff

This is my latest item.  I was surprised that it didn't take as long as I thought to embellish.
Best thing is, making this cuff  has eaten into a chunk of my 'left over' beads I thought I would never use!
Hope you like...