Thursday, December 31, 2009

Beadwork Challenge

A month or so ago I was contacted by Beadwork magazine to let me know I was chosen to be the reader participant in their beadwork challenge. I was just tickled! They sent me the kit, which was provided by fusion beads. The day I received the kit in the mail we had our first snowfall here in Michigan, so it was a surprise to open the package and find lots of bright flowers and springy colors.
I instantly thought about gardens, and when I think of gardens, I think of ponds of water! I knew that I would need some water to bead around so I thought up a design and took it to work(Purple Sage Beads, Saginaw, MI) and had one of the owners, Vicki Hubbard, make me some custom fused glass pieces. They were perfect(and exactly the way I drew them)!
The finished piece actually turned out different from what I originally planned, but it worked out all the same. I bezelled the glass pieces with seed beads, and knew I needed fringe with leaves to cascade below...
I planned a flower sequence that I liked (leaving out some of the brightest orange flowers) and then made fringe with leaves for all three sections.
I added the metal branch pieces to all three sections. I was amazed that the curved pieces on either side fit so perfectly considering this is not where I had planned on putting them when I ordered the glass.
Next I connected the three pieces with swarovski crystals in blue zircon, lime, and mocca. To each connector strand I added a jump ring which holds the flat backed, sew-on, mocca, leaf crystals.
The hardest part of this piece was trying to decide what to make the straps like. So many little time! I finally stumbled upon something that I thought worked. It is RAW, 4mm blue zircon swarovski crystals with some of the seed beads for embellishment. I added some wire guardians to the ends of the strap so that I could have a nice sturdy connection with the toggle from the kit.
I was told that this challenge will be published in the April/May issue of Beadwork magazine, so keep your eyes peeled! It was so much fun to do, I encourage every serious beader to apply to participate in one of the future challenges.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cubic Zirconia, fish, and going in circles!

Have you ever heard of blogging for beads? Well, its a program put together by where they let bloggers try out their products (free of charge too! woohoo!) in return for their opinions of the beads. I have lots of opinions...and they asked me for mine! So over at Artbeads, the declared November and December "cubic zirconia months" and asked what I might like to try out...I fell in LOVE with the stars that they had, and for good reason. I really liked them, before I even saw them, but boy oh boy, when they came in the mail, I was thrilled! They feel nice and heavy, more like a natural stone then a crystal. I liked them so much, I bought some more with my own money to finish this necklace off!
I whipped up this nice beadweaving lace pattern by Sandra Halpenny, using the stars in place of 4mm crystals (like the pattern called for).
I added the teardrop cubic zirconia in the center for a focal piece. What a nice hunk of "laboratory grown crystal created to be a diamond substitute" as they say on the website. Very clear, and faceted nicely too, I might add!
The stars are 10mm and 5mm, and again are faceted, and the clarity is amazing! All I needed to do was to add the beadweaving, some seed beads, and a few swarovski 4mm crystal AB bicones! I'm thinking of entering this necklace into the Etsy-Beadweaver December challenge as a "peace piece", I just need to consult with some beady friends first!
Now this next bead, was a present from my very talented glass blowing brother, Anderson Coats of "Like a Moth to a Flame". He went through a period were he was making fish, and they are so realistic you can just about feel the scales on their sides! This fish is a female Rio Grande Cut Throat, and although I haven't done my research, I imagine it looks just like the real thing!
Now, when making a fish necklace all I figured I needed to add, was some waves! So I did this necklace in Oglala stitch, with 4 shades of blue...
Then I added some 6mm pressed glass rounds, and this is what it looks like! Its a bit longer then I planned, but I haven't figured out how to properly guess how long the oglala stitch will come out in the end.
I added a beaded toggle, because I feel that a beadwoven necklace should be finished, in the same manner it was started! With seed beads!

This last one was a necklace I made when I recently had an obsession with square stitch. I have a skirt that is pink and brown tie-die, which was the color inspiration. I started with round swarovski crystals, and square stitch medallions around them.
The rest of the length of the necklace is done in daisy stitch. And of course again, finished with a beaded toggle. This time it is a beaded ball with a loop.
Sorry I save up so many things to post at once, but I will admit, photography is not my favorite part of beading. I like to get it all done at the same time!

Stay tuned for an upcoming contest I plan to run...I just need to think of a theme!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What a Good Weekend I'm Having!

I'm having such a fabulous weekend, I thought I would share with you why. I had a contest entry due yesterday. A Haute Couture Contest where you had to make a piece of jewelry that was inspired by one of the many photos posted on the site. All the photos were giggle worthy, the kind of "fashion" photos that make you say" who on earth would wear that?" I picked photo number eight, which you see here...
Isn't that a lovely outfit? We were to make a piece of jewelry that was inspired by the outfit, not necessarily to be worn with the outfit. This photo made me think of a weird pod type thing, so I made a "fringe pod" for my necklace. It has three shades of green in it, splattered with crystals, also in three shades. The bail is done in yellow, with amethyst highlights, just like the dress. The necklace is done in herringbone stitch, also done with the same color graduation. Darkest green in front, fading back to yellow with amethyst highlights. It also has crystals in coordinating shades scattered throughout. It measures about 19 inches in length, and hangs very nicely.
I think I will list it on etsy, so if you are interested, pop on by to my etsy store and check it out.
I also got some very exciting news yesterday evening from the staff at Beadwork magazine. I'll tell you more in a week or so....but Im excited! YEAH!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pink Ribbon Turtles

The Pink Ribbon Turtles or now on eBay, for your viewing and bidding pleasure!
Of course you've seen pictures of my "Basking in the Sun" from a few weeks ago. Here are some pictures of the other things that are available for auction, with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society for breast cancer research.
"Swimming for Freedom of Fear" was created by Karen L. Cohen. It is a 5.5" X 9.5" wall hanging that is bead, machine and ribbon embroidery on cotton.

"Bubbles" was created by Maria Teresa. It is a professionally framed bead embroidery picture in a 6" X 6" shadowbox frame.
"Fiona" was created by Jena Tuntas. She is a teeny beanie baby that is completely covered in bead embroidery.
And "Montees in Pink" is made by Bev Moon. An original design made with pink swarovski montees, and sterling silver beads.
There are only a few days left for the auctions, so I urge you to run over to the pink turtle website!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Fall Goodies...

I added some new things to my etsy page today! Yeah! What a sense of accomplishment...I don't add often, so when I do, I feel good. This lovely necklace was sparked by the chunk of agate that is the centerpiece. We got a nice load of stone beads at Purple Sage, and lots of nice big chunks were part of it. I just couldn't resist the color of this one...
I wanted to go pretty simple with it, and let the stone BE the over to the seed bead department I went. I couldn't decide between these three colors for it, so I decided to use them all, and try my hand at a triple spiral (Ive only done single, and double before...). What fun it was! A tight fit for all of those size 11's, even with a size 6 seed bead base. I bent my needle all up (and broke one also).
I couldn't decide which side of the stone was the right one(after discussing with my hubby and realizing we had a difference of opinion about which side was meant to be in front) so it is now labeled "reversible"! I also made the bail big enough that it could be taken off all together, so just the rope can be worn.
A beaded bead makes up the clasp, with a RAW loop to secure it. The bicones I used on the beaded bead are glass, but have a texture to them that is very similar to the stone.
I also finished this lovely spiderweb necklace that I made last year. I made this necklace because I wanted to try something out that I had seen in a magazine right around that time. I believe the article was by Dustin Wedekind, or "bead boy" as he is sometimes called. Anyway, it was right around Halloween, and the etsy-beadweaver challenge happened to be "animal instincts". I thought this necklace would be perfect, but let myself get talked out of it by people who said "spiders aren't technically animals...". Another women entered a spiderweb necklace made with bugle beads, and hers sold very quickly. I had missed the entry deadline, and was then so discouraged, I didn't even finish it. It was tossed aside to the UFO pile until just recently.
Well we all know that Halloween comes around only once a year, so my window of opportunity on selling this one is closing quickly...
I already had all the spider "bodies", which are swarovski crystals. So I finally sat down, and put the spiders in their webs, and I must say, I think they look at home there!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Star light, Star bright...

First star Ive beaded tonight! Well not actually beaded tonight, but you get the picture. I had a last minute rush job of making a tiara and barrettes for a bride who is getting married tomorrow. So in 2 days time, I designed and executed this star themed tiara. I was very worried that she wouldn't like it, but she said she loved it, and it was better then she imagined! I don't do a lot of custom orders, so this is all very new to me.
I made 1 large star with an 18mm rivoli bezzelled into the center of it, then made 2 smaller stars, and some crystal stars to go around it. The focal piece is on the left side, because this is how she wanted it! She really likes stars (not only the theme of the wedding, but in everything she does in life).
I wrapped topped drilled crystals (both 6mm and 8mm), 4mm pearls, and silver stars onto the rest of the tiaras length. Lots of sparkle for the day we all want to be the sparkliest (is that actually a word?).
Then I had these barrettes to make for the flower girl. I was told that she had very fine hair, so they needed to be small. Each barrette is about one and a half inches long, with 1 large star (same size as the smaller stars from the tiara) and 2 crystal stars. I don't know whether she will wear both, or just one. The hairdresser will get to decide that.
I am really happy with how it all turned out. I felt good when I went to bed last night(a little later then normal), and feel even better about it today after giving them to the bride and getting her reaction. The stars were not as easy as I had imagined, but easy in the long run. I used Diane Fitzgeralds' book Shaped Beadwork for the inspiration. I started with a pentagon shape, and added 5 triangles for the points. Easy as pie, right? Well actually, easier then pie (I hate making pie crust!)!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Basking in the Sun

Well Ive finally finished! I came up with this idea in January, but put it aside until it was almost to late. This is for the Pink Ribbon Turtle Project 2009. Many years ago Jena Tuntas started making pink ribbon turtles in memory of her mother. She would raffle off a picture that she had made of turtles, with pink shells... the rink ribbon turtles! Last year a story was published about the Pink Ribbon Turtles, and I contacted Jena to see if I could help.
This is now my second Pink Ribbon Turtle (I helped with a 4-way project last year). Jena really made it easy this year to get involved, by saying do whatever it is you want for a project, just remember the shells of the turtle must be pink. I'm a little late with my donation (its been that kind of year), but better late then never, right? The Pink Ribbon Turtles are already underway this year, so go and check them out!
I made my turtles out of Swarovski rivolis in dark rose, and fuchsia. I bezelled them, and then did some st. petersburg stitch around the rivolis to make their shells. They have top drilled bicones in peridot for their feet and heads, and regular bicones on their tails. I square stitched the lilly pads, and made a water lilly flower according to most of the instructions from Diane Fitzgerald's book, The Beaded Garden. I just changed the middle of the flower to one pale yellow bicone, instead of a beaded bead like in Diane's version.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Block Party 2009!

Once again, Monica Magness is doing a raffle to help raise funds for breast cancer. She is taking all sorts of donations, and there is an art block quilt that are all up for raffle. Please check out her site, Girl-gone-thread-wild , to read more about it! I have decided to donate this necklace that I made to the prize wheel, so if you like it, go buy a raffle ticket. Maybe you'll win it, and even if you don't, you'll know that the money is for a good cause.
This 20 1/2 inch long necklace features a pendant made by Anderson Coats (my brother) of GuruGlassworks . The necklace is a herringbone rope made up of multiple sizes of beads including size 15's, delica 11's, size 11 seed beads, size 10 triangles, size 8 seed beads, and 4mm swarovski bicones. The sizes are graduated to give the herringbone rope more visual interest.
I finished the necklace off with a sparkly wheel toggle made with 4mm swarovski crystals, delicas and size 15 seed beads. It really is a very nice necklace, in a golden lime color, which the pictures do no justice. The crystals are lime AB, and there are rose and olive highlights throughout the beadwork that are also in the pendant.
I really hope you all go over to Monicas' blog, and read more about this, and take a look at all of the goodies she has on the prize wheel (more then just jewelry!). Breast cancer has once again hit my family, and almost everyone I know has a loved one that is affected by cancer. Only together can we actually defeat cancer!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A couple of new things...

At work on Saturday August 8Th I had the pleasure of repairing a necklace that was just fantastic! It was a choker entirely made up of seed bead coral fringe. The texture of it was just amazing so I was compelled to make this bracelet(which takes less time then a whole necklace!) It was a lot of fun to make, and it feels great on. Very luxurious!
I just listed it on my etsy site, so if your interested, stop by and take a peak. There are more photos of it there also.
After fixing the above mentioned coral necklace, I had to make a few beaded beads for a customer, and decided I needed a couple of those for myself, so I bought some lime green pearls, some peridot crystals and made up 8 of them. Well, the dilemma of what to put with these beaded beads then presented itself. Green goes with turtles, and I haven't made a rivoli turtle in a while so I made my pendant a turtle with a brick stitch bail.
Isn't he cute? He's made out of an 18mm rivoli with a 10mm round crystal for his head, some 8mm top-drilled bicones for legs, and two 4mm bicones for a tail. I'm starting to think about writing up the instructions for making this cutie, and selling the instructions. Any thoughts on this, or advice?
After making the pendant, I still needed some length to this necklace so I made some peyote tubes. I added some more pearls, and crystals, and a bunch of sterling silver to finish it all off. This ones for my own collection, which is something I don't do often, but I thought I needed a new piece to wear to work and it got great reviews!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Use the Muse II

Scarlett Lansen has finally revealed the winners of the Use the Muse II contest! There is a great photo gallery of all the entries at her website, if you have time you should check it out. Since the muse has finally been unveiled, it now means I can share what I made with my kit.
The entry deadline for this contest was on July 18Th, which was also the day my youngest sister got married! What a coincidence that the wedding was on the beach at Fife Lake, and all the colors in the kit reminded me of water. It also had pearls and the 'muse' was a shell piece by Lilly Pilly. I bought a few more fresh water pearls, and some crystals to add to the kit, and just stitched until it said "done!"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Montana Sapphire

This is my entry to the etsy-beadweaver August challenge, First Ladies of Style. I got these BEAUTIFUL montana crystals from , and when I saw them, I knew they had style written all over them! I think one of the finest jewelry combinations of all time is the sapphire and diamond, so I decided to surround these beauties with crystal AB crystals(and lots of them!).
The focal piece for this necklace is a whopping 40X27 mm tear drop (or "fancy pear" as they call it) that is nothing less then drool-worthy. What a pleasure to work with! I don't know about the rest of you, but montana is not one of my favorite swarovski colors (its not bad though), but when I got this crystal...WOW! Most people that have seen it didn't even realize that it was montana! What a beauty! I surrounded it with 4mm crystal AB crystals, and then connected it to its little rivoli buddies (also surrounded by crystals )2 size 14mm rivolis, and 3 size 12 mm rivolis on each side of the necklace. After 2 days of contemplation (okay, really I was trying different ideas, and ripping them back out ) I decided to go with braided herringbone ropes to finish off the straps. Both the ropes, and everywhere else in the necklace I used size 11 delicas and size 15 seed beads in a silver-lined crystal.
For the toggle I used a sparkly wheel (original pattern designed by Nikia Angel) made with 4mm montana and 4mm crystal ABs and a peyote tube for the bar. I will say again, just how beautiful these crystals from are, and I cant wait to get started on the crystal copper rivolis (that also came from Artbeads!) I plan to use for the etsy-beadweavers September challenge, Indian Summer Dreams!
If you want to see the rest of the creations that the etsy-beadweavers made for this challenge and to vote for your favorite, got to the etsy beadweaver blog between August 9th and 15th !
If you are interested in buying this piece, please visit my etsy site at

Friday, July 24, 2009

Barbie goes to the Ugly Bug Ball

This is the Barbie that I made to send to The Beadin Path, in Freeport Maine. Every year they have a challenge to make something, and when you are done, you send it to The Beadin Path to be displayed for a month and then they send it back to you. This year they wanted people to make bugs of any kind, real or imaginary. The challenges official title was "The Ugly Bug Ball", not that my barbie should be considered ugly...
I beaded some wings for Barbie. I started with the big beads that are in the center sections of her wings, and then did brick stitch with size 11 czech seed beads until I felt they were proportioned with barbie. I put wire around the edges to make them stiff and not floppy, and then covered the wire with more seed beads.
I picked the colors for the wings because of the color of the barbies hair. Once the wings were made, I had to connect them to barbie, which I did with a wire "harness" that crosses her chest, and straps to the back.
Most of the harness is under her black velvet bodysuit, but there was some metal exposed, which I covered with some black seed beads to make them less conspicuous.
I added a butterfly necklace, which I used a lace pattern by Sandra D. Halpenny from her book. I used swarovski crystals though, not fire polished crystals, which changed it a little, but I wanted to match the fringe on her skirt. I also added some fringy armbands because they looked so bare!
Here's a picture of her skirt, which she doesn't need to keep her covered (because of the bodysuit), just to add more decoration. It is a netted skirt with swarovski and glass dagger fringe. I sure hope she has a good time in Maine!

I do want to thank my husband, Brian, not only for putting up with my constant "how does she look now" questions, but for constructing the base on which she stands, and talking me out of my own ideas, which would have worked, but his looks better!