Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beading Babes January Challenge

In the midst of the Earring a Day Challenge, I have also been working on the projects for the January Beading Babes Challenge, which I just joined at the end of December.

Since this is my first challenge with this group, I decided that I would make both projects and follow the directions as well as the materials list...which is something I never do. I always find something that I want to change if I am working from a pattern, even if it's just the shape or size of the beads!

But I want to play nice, and the whole point of this challenge is to try something that you may not choose to do on your own!

The projects that were chosen are Runway of Pearls designed by Barbara Falkowitz in Beadwork Magazine Dec 2011/Jan 2012:

and Ravishing Rosettes designed by Smadar Grossman in Bead & Button Magazine Dec 2011/Jan 2012:

I started with Runway of Pearls....which is complete except for the final row of embellishment Pearls and the clasp.

To make a 7" bracelet the base is supposed to be 5 rows wide by 43 rows long of RAW units stitched with size 11/0 triangle beads. Then every RAW unit is embellished with either seed beads or Pearls, the base is folded in half lengthwise so that you can zip up the remaining long edges, after which you add the final embellishment of Pearls over the zipped edge. 

After stitching 43 units, the base strip was just under 7 inches long. So I decided to add a few more units because the embellishment will shrink it by about an inch...not to mention that folding this thick strip in half lengthwise will add some serious bulk which will also alter the length of this bracelet.

I have 6 inch wrists and it is still not quite long enough so if I decide to finish the project, I will just compensate for that with the clasp. But you definitely have to play around with the measurements and understand how the embellishments and ultimate girth of the 'tube' will affect the length and the fit of this bracelet!

This bracelet is definitely not my personal style, but I still wanted to try it out since it is something I would not have chosen to do if not for this challenge. And now that it is basically done, I am liking it even less than I did before. The project itself was fun to work on, it's just really not my style!

So now I have to decide whether or not take it apart and salvage my beads! RAW is a serious bitch to rip out, so I think I will probably leave the triangle beads and just try to save my beautiful Metallic Raspberry Bronze seed beads and Black Pearls.

I think it would have been best to just stop before folding it over and zipping it up! Even though it would just be a strip of embellished Right Angle Weave, it would be more my style and I would probably even wear it!

All in all it was a good experience and most definitely not a waste of time, so I am fine with that!

I have also started on the Ravishing Rosettes project which is more my style while still being something that I would not have chosen to do if it were not for this challenge.

No pics for now...but I will post an update as I get further along with the second project!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beading around the clock!

Wow, it has been a long time since I posted here but I have actually been very busy beading!

I have been finishing up so many projects for Christmas and Birthdays that I got seriously behind in the Earring a Day Challenge at Beading Daily! But I have been working over time to get caught up...I still have about 8 or 9 pairs to go before I am caught up to today...but I get behind with every day that goes by!

But here are some of the pieces I have completed in the last month:

Medici Drop Earrings Designed By: Marcia DeCoster from her book "Beaded Opulence"

Medici Drop Earrings in Black Crystal

Medici Drop Earrings in Olivine & Light Metallic Gold Crystal

Medici Drop Earrings in Hyacinth, Crystal Red Magma and Crystal Bronze Shade (18mm drop)

Medici Drop Earrings in Hyacinth & Crystal Red Magma (28mm drop)

And here is a pair that I made as a Christmas gift and sadly I only have this WIP photo. This pair is made with Hill Tribe Silver tiny beads and Crystal Red Magma bicones to go with the Ruby Red CZ Drops. These were for someone who doesn't really wear long earrings, so I made them with smaller 18mm CZ Drops and only one beaded component!

Medici Drop Earrings in Ruby Red (WIP)

This pair is another Marcia DeCoster design from Beaded Opulence...obviously I love that book! Marcia is an amazing bead artist and I am always inspired by her designs! She is the reason that I actually learned how to do RAW and learned to love it!

Whitby Earrings in Black Crystal with a little accent of Metallic Blue
Design By: Marcia DeCoster

The following 2 pairs are Herringbone with seed beads and Tila beads with a Crystal Pearl drop. I wish I could remember where I saw this design so I could give proper credit but I saw them a while ago while browsing the Internet at 3:00 in the morning! So these earrings were inspired by someone out there...if anyone recognizes the design, please leave me a comment!

Tila Herringbone in Bronze

Tila Herringbone in Black

And finally, the following pair is not woven with seed beads...I actually did some wire wrapped loops and attached Dark Red Coral Crystals to some Filigree Flowers and I attached them to the earwires with some chain.

Bronze Floral Filigree

I still have a ways to go in getting caught up for this challenge, but I am pleased with the amount of work I have actually completed lately!

I have also been busy working on pieces for my family's Secret Santa exchange...I drew my sister's name this year which made it easy! I made her several pieces in Silver with Swarovski Crystal Silver Night bicones for embellishment. Very much her style!

I was literally working down to the wire on this set so I still have to get photos one of these days! But here is a photo of the cuff I made for her.

Design & Creation By: Me
Inspired By: Erin Simonetti & Jean Upton
Techniques: Loomed with Cube Beads, Weave in Warp Management, Picot Edging, Fringe and Surface Embellishment
Materials: Miyuki Duracoat Silver 1.8mm Cube Beads & 11/0 Seed Beads, Miyuki Silver 15/0 Seed Beads, Swarovski Crystals, Toho One G Thread, Ribbon End Clamp, Clasp and Chain.

Silver Cube Cuff with Fringe

I also made several simple bracelets for Christmas gifts. This design is from the Aug/Sept 2011 issue of  Beadwork Magazine and it uses Tila beads! I made one in Matte Metallic Bronze, Matte Metallic Tarnished Silver, Matte Black and Matte Metallic Copper AB. And again, I only have photos of two of them!

Moroccan Tiles Bracelet in Matte Black & in Matte Metallic Copper AB
Design By: Heather Kahn

And finally, here is a choker that I made for myself. This is a design from the Dec/Jan 2008 issue of Bead & Button Magazine. It is worked in regular and reverse St Petersburg Chain stitch.

Regal Reiteration
Design By: Hatsumi Oshitani

I am also currently working on a Bead Embroidered eyeglass case for my dad (a very late birthday present) and a Bead Embroidered key chain for both my brother and for my brother in law! Hopefully those will all be done before their birthdays! There are several other Works in Progress going on here and I will be back with photos soon!

I am just so excited and impressed with how much beading I have actually accomplished lately! I have been beading around the clock instead of reading blogs and posting in forums and stalking on facebook! It's amazing how much you can get done when you actually sit down and do the work!

So, what are you all working on?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Secret Santa Revealed

I am so excited that my Secret Santa finally received her package! I had to mail it to Australia so it took a while to get there...especially with the holidays! But now I can post some photos of the choker and earrings that I made for her:

The choker is my own design that I just sort of made up as I went along. I knew I wanted it to be black and purple for Emma so I just started playing around with my beads and picked out some 3mm Fire Polished Rounds and Czech 13/0 Charlottes for the RAW chains. I also embellished the RAW with Bicones and Charlottes on the chain connecting the 3 Rivoli Focals.

These Focals are Swarovski Amethyst Rivolis that I bezelled with Peyote Stitch using black Delicas and Charlottes with a few Metallic Purple 15/0's for a touch of color. I embellished these with Netting and some Swarovski Amethyst Bicones.

Then I connected all the pieces and added some Fringe and Drapery with Charlottes, Bicones, Fire Polish Rounds and Daggers...

The clasp is a simple Button and Loop closure...the button is a bezelled Rivoli and the Loop is several rows of Peyote embellished with some of those Metallic Purple 15/0's for a little extra color.

The earrings are a simple design I saw in an email from Margie Deeb. I don't remember what they were called was a photo for an online class I think! I used Crystal Rondelles in a Metallic Purple, Black Charlottes, Swarovski Bicones and Czech Daggers in a Metallic Iris color that went well with the Metallic Purple Rondelles.

I also added some tubes of Miyuki 11/0 and 15/0 seed beads in colors that I knew Emma would like...and some Swarovski Rivolis and Bicones and I think some Miyuki 1.5mm Cube Beads...and some Czech Pressed Glass Beads in a beautiful Cobalt Blue color.

I totally went over the $10 spending limit with this but I had so much fun with it! When I found out who's name I had, I was so excited because I knew we both had very similar it would be easy to make something that she would love! And she sent me a photo of herself wearing the choker and it is a perfect match! So that made me very happy to know that she loves my gift and that it looks so pretty on her!

I love these swaps...they are so much fun, especially when everyone participates and follows through on their end of things!

Now I am off to finish up some Christmas presents...I know it's really late for Christmas but my family still hasn't celebrated yet! Our schedules are just too maybe this coming weekend we will finally have our family Christmas get together!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Finally, 2011 is gone for good. I just hope 2012 is a better year for me and my loved ones!

2011 was a year full of loss for me.
I lost my best friend of more than 20 years in a bad car accident...
I lost my only year round job as a bartender due to ridiculous scheduling conflicts and personality defects...
I lost regular work at my theater job due to major mismanagement...
I lost a friend that I worked with at the bar because she was too stupid to know better than to drive drunk.
And a very close family friend lost a son who's idiot girlfriend convinced him to try Heroin just once! And that was all it took...just that once.

And now I am losing my home....I am not in foreclosure or anything like that. I don't even own a home. But we are in the process of having to another another another home far away from the home I have lived in with my husband for the last 7 the hometown that I grew up in and lived in for 29 years...

And with this move I will lose the only job that I have ever really loved (and the only one I still have) job as Backstage Manager in Concert Production for 2 local venues.

And I will lose the close proximity to my family...I will not get to see my niece grow up...or be there for every family function, no matter how crazy and dysfunctional those gatherings may be, I will still miss them.

Due to our last minute planning and decision making in all of this, we are doing this move the way most immigrants move to this country. My husband is going first...he already has a full time job offer...and he will send money back home to me. He will be staying with our best friends in their about going backwards in time. The last basement I lived in was in my mom's house after a really bad breakup in my early 20's and I really hoped to never have to do that again.

But we cannot survive here with both of us being unemployed. We have always had at least one really good job. But as it is right now, both of us have no real money coming in. And we both work in the concert production industry as well as having our own small businesses. But that is very seasonal work...which is why I kept that bartending gig even though I hated it. Just one night a week at the bar paid our bills during the slow winter season.

So we drove to Michigan on the 30th to spend NYE with our friends in our new "Hometown"...what a start to the new year! We packed up his important tools...the Consew, his Industrial Sewing Machine and lots of fabric and of course some of his clothing and personal items. He designs and makes messenger bags that are really popular in this area with all the Bike Messengers and the aging but still old school Punk Rockers...

His sewing machine is a huge money maker for us. He can do pretty much any size job with this machine! He makes and repairs theater curtains, scrims, pipe and drape, table linens, costumes and any other fabric item needed in the world of Concert Production. But this machine and all that industrial fabric is very heavy and takes up a lot of space when packing and moving!

But we got it all unloaded today and into the basement of our friends' house in Ann Arbor. His new workshop is all set up and ready for production! It kind of looks like any teenagers apartment in their parents basement...complete with a foldout couch to sleep on! Haha! But I am truly grateful for the friends who have this space for us. Without this, I don't know what we would do.

I will be heading back home in the next few days...driving through the Allegheny Mountain region in the snow, by myself, is not looking really exciting at the moment. As much as I love snow and look forward to the very cold and snowy winters in Michigan, I am not looking forward to this drive back to Virginia. Luckily my daughter let me borrow her 4WD SUV for this move!

It feels like we are just starting out as a newly married young couple just out of school or something...but with all the knowledge and jadedness of someone who has already done all of this crap before! I certainly don't feel like someone with a 23 year old daughter and over 20 years of professional work behind me.

I don't feel like a grown up.

I feel like everything just stopped working correctly and in order to survive I have to just start all over again. So it is exciting and depressing all at the same time. And these are all decisions that we had to make very quickly. We weighed our real options and put it all out on the table...and this is what we came up with. So I am really hoping that we made the right choices.

And I am really hoping that 2012 has much more to offer than last year!

So we are trying to figure it out on our own. We are trying to find a place that we can call home. A place where we can work to pay our way and build up our own businesses again. A place where we can create and be together and be happy.

But for now, I know that I am going home to an empty house...except for my cat, who I hope is not too pissed off at me for leaving him home alone and confused.

And we have lived apart before and I know we are strong enough to do this, but it does get lonely and we are both prone to being dark and depressing. At least he finally learned how to Text Message on his phone. Can you imagine living so far away from each other and not being able to text each other! Awful.

We both just got free iPhones too...when Apple came out with the new iPhone 4, AT&T decided to get rid of the 3GS models for free. This is our first foray into the world of smart phones and so far I like it. But I am always way behind everyone else when it comes to new technology. I just prefer to wait until they work out all the kinks and the prices drop to an affordable (or even free) level.

I am trying to have a positive outlook on everything coming my way...I just have to wait it out for now. But I do have some earring challenges and other fun beading projects to keep me busy...there's nothing like having all the time in the world to focus on my beadwork! It will just be really quiet and lonely at times.

So I am sure I will spend a lot more time beading and writing about it all here...and hopefully later this week I will have some photos to share of all the earrings I will be making this month!

I hope you all made it to 2012 safely and are looking forward to a better year! Even with the "End of the World" looming this coming December...a week after my 40th birthday! Haha!

Happy Beading and Happy New Year!