Saturday 26 January 2008

Spring Break EBW Challenge

I had to temporarily abandon the beaded collar (Sunflowers)... I just need a break, a change of pace... I left all my beads as they were on my beading table and moved with a new palette of colours to my dining table.... only temporarily!!!
I thought I would tackle the new EBW challenge.... Spring Break!!!

Well... all I can think of is loud, drunk, semi-naked college students.... or ... flowers... guess which one is easier to portray.... yes flowers!!! I love flowers, even though most people wouldn't make me for a flowery type of gal.... maybe it's the twenty tattoos that throw people off :-) although 3 are flowers, 9 are butterflies and my Japanese koi carp on my leg has flowers all around it!!! :-) I also used to work in a flower shop (I've done a lot of things in the last 20 years, searching for myself) which I loved to death.... but not as much as beading, although a very close second!!!

So I took a couple of books, I decided to try a new technique... brick stitch... although I have used it in my bead embroidery to attach the back suede to the beading, I've never used it to build on.... I had a little bit of a mental block over this stitch, am not sure why, it's not any more complicated than any of the others, but that's how I felt....

Armed with books, cream pearl seed beads, some purple ones, my Swarovsky crystals boxes and these great 2-toned green and purple glass pearls I moved (much to my son's delight, as he was drawing at the dining table) and I started messing around with the stitch.... and after a few hours of not really getting anywhere I finally got something I liked and as I've never made a pair of bead-woven earrings, decided to make some! I've been meaning to make some earrings for a while, but to be honest I like working on big pieces... the bigger the better!!! :-)
So here are my first bead-woven earrings... and I'm really pleased with how they turned out! They are elegant, cute, funky and I absolutely LOVE the colour combination!!!!

The photo is not brilliant, it's been pissing down with rain here all day, so I had to take them inside under my dining table light, not ideal, but I really wanted to share :-) will post better pictures as soon as the sun comes back out!!! :-)

Now I have to go and deal with my huge pile of overflowing unwashed dishes!!! at least I caught up with all my clothes washing for the week!!! well... a choice between chores or beading, which one would you go for?!?!?! :-)

Thursday 24 January 2008

Creative Process - Bronze Embroidered Collar - Part 2

OK!.... this has been one of my most challenging pieces ever!!! and not because of the technique, but because of the design.... so here is an update on the piece, which has now been renamed Sunflowers.... you will see why... or at least I hope you will :-)

All was going well.... I was enjoying it, I knew where I was going.... I liked how it was turning out.... but then I went to pick up my order of beads, including the grey ones which I was running out of and..... Nooooo, they had run out of stock!!!! :-( panic attack!!! :-)

Never mind, think out of the box.... and within my new order of beads there were some gorgeous Czech Baby Pillow beads mix.... and I thought they would look lovely with the shell... so I started changing my design.... (see top right and below) also, this month's EtsyBeadweavers' Challenge was on my mind... the challenge is "Spring Break" ... so I'm thinking, spring... flowers.... sunflowers.... and the baby pillows naturally fit in.... I've found a solution for my lack of grey beads problem.... all is going well.... or so I thought :-)

I really was unhappy!!! I liked the effect that the baby pillows gave, but something just wasn't working!!!! so I unpicked the cause of so much misery :-) and took a deep breath... and re-thought the design....

and as you see above right.... a vast improvement.... I have this tendency to buy beads just because I like them... not because I need them.... am so glad I do that, because I really didn't know how to finish off.... so back to my stash.... I found these great transparent matte brown seed beads, that I probably bought 2 years ago and have never used before.... and they are just perfect!!! I wanted something to tone down the shine and sparkle at the same time as compliment it.

Now comes the next challenge.... coming up with the perfect (or close enough) closure....

till the next time.... I'm hoping I will have finished it by Sunday or Monday... always hard to tell how much beading I can do at the week-end.... depends on how long my son's nap lasts :-)

3 Treasuries!!!! Thank u!!!

Wow!!! I woke up this morning around 5 am... best time to go check out what is happening in the land of Etsy... and first I find a convo from Carol Dean of SandFibers, who is unbelievably supportive and helpful (and I just saw, is running a contest on her blog), with the link to Beautiful Treasury compiled by Modesign who makes beautiful organic original jewelry... check her out! very different! Thank you for including my Black Medusa! I guess re-listing items on Etsy helps! ;-)

The second.... I found just browsing through the treasury list.... although after finding it, I discovered a message from Jean directing me to the treasury, thank you Jean! :-) This beautiful treasury, which expires on Saturday, was compiled by Jean Hutter.... Thank yo so much Jean for including my Ancient Cuff... Jean is the creator of Totally Twisted, she also has a great blog, actually more than one, but as my blog is as about my obsession with beading I will only link the beading one (you can find the links to her other blogs on there:-D)

and the third, I actually found yesterday... but had such horrible PMT that I really didn't feel like writing.... Thank you Emmapardos for including my Silver Snake Lariat. I think this treasury is on page 1... so that's cool!!! :-) this treasury expires in less than half a day... so go check it out quickly!!! ;-)

Wow excellent timing!!!! my son just woke up... so time to say goodbye for now! :-) Again thank you all for having included my pieces in your treasuries.... really appreciated!!! Go check out the treasuries.... click on the photos.... leave a message.... just remember they all have expiry dates, so don't put it off.... and if you have missed the treasury, you can still go and check out the wonderful works of the 3 people who created these treasuries!!! :-) will post soon with my advancement on the bronze embroidered collar.... now re-named Sunflowers.... there's a hint!!! :-) you will not recognise the piece from the original photos posted earlier... I don't! :-)

Saturday 19 January 2008

Ancient Cuff

Here is my first bead embroidered cuff!!!! this is the reason why I bought the book "The Art of Bead Embroidery" by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini!!! I always wanted to make nice chunky beaded cuffs and didn't know how :-) and, again thanks to this gorgeous easy-to-follow book, now I do!!!

When I first finished this cuff, I wasn't quite sure about it... I think in my mind I saw it differently... and found it a bit challenging to begin with.... so I put it away for a few days, and looked at it with fresh eyes and now I'm very pleased with it.... and as soon as I finish my Bronze Embroidered Collar (am not sure of the name yet), can't wait to start another one!!! Stay tuned! :-)

For more information see:
Ancient Cuff


Well.... results are finally out.... I did relatively well and therefore thank all of you who voted for me... and to all who didn't yet.... well... too late now!!! :-) but there is always the next one! :-)

2 out of 3 of my pieces made it into the top 10:

4th place - Magic Red Carpet (Below Left)
6th place - Beating Heart Necklace (Below Right)

not bad out of 42! :-) I'm pleased!!! :-)

if you want to see the results go to

Again, thank you all :-)

Friday 18 January 2008

Creative Process - Bronze Ebroidered Collar - part 1

I decided to keep a photographic record of my thought process while designing some pieces, because I find myself forgetting too many ideas that I get whilst working on something.... so I now keep my digital camera on my beading table and click away! :-) so here is the latest piece I'm working on.

Preliminary sketches: you will see how it changes and how I sometimes get ideas for possible future pieces.

Below: I sketch out an idea of what I'm aiming for, not necessarily using those stones... I just try and get an idea of proportions. Picture on the right is now my template.

Below: I actually badly-placed the right bead, unfortunately didn't realise it until I finished stitching both (and I don't mean only the actual bead, I mean all the work on top!!!) .... so had to un-stitch one and start again... next time I'll double check! :-) the photo on the right shows the corrected version.

When I get a bit stuck, I go through my bead stash and pull out more beads just to give myself a new perspective and usually it helps and new ideas come up, some good, some less good :-)

Right photo: I decided to include the shells and grey square beads, but not the pearls, although am thinking of using these colours with the pearls for a future project.

I have progressed a bit more, but now it's almost midnight and I don't have enough light to take the picture, it will go in the next installment :-)
So, if you are interested to see how it develops and turns out, come back in a few days! or sign up to my monthly newsletter (above right ) :-)

My Workspace

This is my office, my workspace, my retreat! It's where I go to be me!!! It's part of my living room, but the way I'm going... soon I'll need to enlarge it, find better storage solutions or move :-)... I've already expanded it by about 60%.... it used to be just the one small blue desk for the computer and 3 shelves above it... therefore, I used to bead at my dining table and eat in front of the telly (don't like that!). Now it's 2 desks and an extra shelving unit, which acts as partition from the rest of the room, that way when people come to visit they are not subjected to the mess that is my beading table :-) as you can see from the photo :-)

oh yes... and the picture on my computer screen is of a painting by my good old (from school) friend Michael Onona, whose work is amazing!!!! and who has painted my son Ethan, so I have to love him! This painting was part of the 'Babysitting' exhibition which took place in London at the Old Truman Brewery (20-25 October 2005). Ethan was about 8 months old. This painting was also used for the cover of the exhibition's catalogue. My son is famous! :-) Go check out Michael's work! Love him or hate him, his work is amazing!!! ;-)

Wednesday 16 January 2008

A new friend made

Whilst finally figuring out how to use Flickr I met a lovely Italian gal... and somehow we've connected and a friendship of sorts has started.... for those of you who don't know me yet, I was born in Italy and lived there till I was 12... and I hold a special place deep in my heart for both the country and the people!! and here is one of those beautiful people... Alessandra from Turin.... please go and check out her blog.... she features different artists every day... and today is... yours truly!!! :-) v. honoured!!!
She also makes really lovely jewelry and sells it on etsy her shop name is ixela
So far I've met some really lovely people on etsy and on flickr, so I've decided to add a list of links to my faves... and will do so later... that's all for now.... :-)

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Mayan Treasure

I just couldn't wait to post this necklace.... I finished it today, just in time to be able to still take photos outside.... I'm so, so, so pleased with how it turned out and with my photos!!! I absolutely LOVE this colour combination... bronze and grey.... the crocheted necklace is nice and chunky and I just love it to bits!!!! I actually started making it the day after I finished Ancient Bronze Treasure... but between work, my son, the Etsy BeadWeavers Red Challenge, where I've entered 3 pieces, Judy's birthday necklace and a few other prior commitments, I only just managed to get back to it yesterday.... I thought I loved the other one, but now I look at both and there is no competition.... this new one is definitely the winner in my eyes!!! but then again I seem to feel that way about each new piece that is completed... at least the ones posted on here... the ones I'm not happy with don't make it for public viewing :-) If I don't like something because of some element of the piece doesn't (in my opinion) work, I usually put it in my "see-what-can-be done-with-that" box (if I think the original idea behind it has potential but needs to be re-calculated) or it gets cut up (when the piece has no potential)... In the case of this necklace, I got stuck half-way through, hung it in front of me so that I would see it every time I sat at the beading table.... and I'm so glad I didn't scrap it!!!!... I guess inspiration hit.. I started thinking of Aztec and Mayan images... which I'm fond of (I even have an Aztec-inspired armband tattooed on my upper left arm) and the piece started speaking to me...

Above: Back view

For more info on this piece, please go and visit my Etsy shop

Mayan Treasure


Go vote for your favourite piece!

Monday 7 January 2008

EBW RED Challenge

Look at this fabulous collection of beadwork!!!!!

Will be tough for anyone to pick their favourite....

My entries:

Beating Heart necklace # 7 in the list

Magic Red Carpet bracelet # 17 in the list

Royal Flash bangle # 24 in the list

Voting starts on the 7th January US time

Go vote for your favourite piece!

Sunday 6 January 2008

Treasury EBW Red Challenge

Woke up this morning and found my EBW Red Challenge Beating Heart necklace in one of the treasuries created by Totally Twisted on Etsy... which is very nice.... but look at how lovely all the red pieces look together these are only some of the pieces.... Tomorrow, 7th January, please go to the Etsy Beadweavers' Blog to see these and the other amazing entries and vote for your favourite....

and thank you Jean Hutter (Totally Twisted) for including me in your lovely list.... go and check her out.... amazing beadwork!!!

and!!!!!!!!.... I almost forgot.... all this red challenge excitement! :-) but yesterday I found 2 of my pieces in 1 treasury created by myfairladyvt4, who also makes beautiful beadwork.... go and check her out!

Thank you Ann Burke for including my Pearl and Gunmetal Jellyfish and my Elizabethan Cuff in your treasury.... I feel very honoured!

Friday 4 January 2008

Red.... amongst so much grey....

What a miserable day it turned out to be..... grey, rainy, cold, miserable.... thankfully it started off beautifully, with blue, clear, sunny skies, and was therefore able to take some decent shots of my 3rd and last piece for the Etsy Beadweavers Red Challenge (Go and vote! :-D)

I finished it late last night.... this challenge has really inspired me.... and although this bangle was inspired by a previous bangle I made ("Funky Lifesaver") it is quite different both in design and in execution, yet it is based on the same principle of tubular RAW (Right Angle Weave) and embellishment. They take a bit of concentrating, but I love making these bangles.... very meditative and therapeutical.... you constantly have to think of which way to turn, but at the same time it has its own momentum.... it's not my first stitch of choice when I make a piece, because I know I need to be 100 % mentally there... no distractions, no interruptions... but once I start a project, I get really into it and love doing it!!!...

and here it is:

This tubular Right Angle Weave (RAW) bangle is warm, luxurious, rich, elegant and flash, it reminds me of the Queen’s jewels. Stitched using "antique-gold", garnet red and frosted red Czech seed beads, embellished with tiny pearl seed beads and purple, green and blue Swarovsky crystals. Looks amazing with a black evening dress and just as great with jeans.... Funky chic!

I don't think the picture does the actual bangle justice... it's so much more... hmmm... delicious, in real life.... much deeper colours, especially the reds.... but it's the best I could do.... but I am definitely improving! :-)

Photography by Patrizia Tager

Don't forget, the voting starts soon!!! :-)

Please visit from the 7th January and view all the wonderful entries at the EBW’s blog and vote for your favourite piece from a selection of very talented bead weavers.

Wednesday 2 January 2008

Magic Red Carpet - EBW Red Challenge

Photography by Patrizia Tager

I'm seeing red everywhere.... particularly around my nose.... I've got a stinking cold.... the sort that makes you dread every sneeze.... :-)
And speaking of red.... here is my 2nd entry for the Etsy Beadweavers Red Challenge.... love this herringbone-stitched bracelet!.... I love the texture and the deep red and purple together with the matte antique-gold.... it feels very rich and luxurious.... and..... I'm so pleased with the photos, which I took myself..... thank you Avia for letting me in on the ins and outs of jewelry photography.... not as good as Avia's, but seeing that I had to take them with my crappy digital camera, and I literally had 5 mins of batteries..... I'm very pleased with the overall result... yeah!!! :-)
Again, let me remind you that on the 7th January voting starts at the Etsy Beadweavers Blog. So please, please, please :-) go and vote!
Better get back to nursing my runny nose.... and back to my beading.... a few projects on the go.... soon to be revealed ;-)
Happy new year!

Please visit from the 7th January and view all the wonderful entries at the EBW’s blog and vote for your favourite piece from a selection of very talented bead weavers.