Sunday 20 April 2014

Yes, I am still here...

I know, I know, I have been horrible at keeping up with my blog posts.  My New Year's Resolution is to be more consistent (I promise!). being said, I have started a new blog....hehe.  And yes, I will be keeping both of them up to date.

My new blog will be used to showcase my love of paper and color, and all things crafty :).  You can find it here.

Currently I am working on Andrew Thornton's Deep Waters challenge and have many other new things to show you.

In my last Beady blog post, I mentioned the Bead & Glass Boutique For the Love of Beads Challenge, which I never did finish.  I am one of those people who can't do something with beads if they don't speak to me.  And, so sorry Amy, these ones did not speak to me.  I even tried to add to them, take away from them, and to no avail.  So, they sit in my bead-soup stash, awaiting further inspiration. :(

On another (lighter) note, I have finished a few pieces in the meantime:

Thanks to Amy at Bead & Glass Boutique, I managed to get my hands on Amee K. Sweet-McNamara's newest book, Soutache & Bead Embroidery.  Such beautiful designs!

I have tried my hand at soutache a few times, and really love the flow of the braid and the textures when mixed with glass beads.  So, I had a thought...I emailed Amee K. and asked her if I could showcase her book and pictures of the finished pieces in her book (NOT the instructions of course, let's make that clear right now...) as I bead along with the book project by project.  Her response :  "You bet your sweet bippy you're allowed to do that! Blog away Fabulously Crazy Girl!"  Ha!  I love Amee, she is just so...loveable.  

Here is my first project from the book:  page 79, Blissful Abundance Necklace.  Being a creative person by nature, I tend to not follow instructions exactly, and like to make the overall piece a little bit  As you can see in the comparison pics, I varied from the overall construction of Amee's piece by not including the smaller focal piece.  This was mainly because the bigger focal cab is a lot larger than was intended for Amee's necklace design, and therefore, another smaller focal would have been too much, in my opinion.  I am so thrilled with this piece, I am seriously considering keeping it for my own :)

Amee's piece

My piece
Closer up of my piece

My second piece from the book, page 19, Princess earrings, is still in the works.  But what a fabulous pattern to use as a base for soutache knowledge instruction.  Yes, I should have started at the beginning of the book, but, I am that "fabulously Crazy" girl, as Amee so politely puts it...heehee.  Thanks Amee!

Amee's beautiful Princess earrings

my "in-the-works" Princess earrings

I will post more pics when I get them finished of course!

And lastly, for this fabulously long blog post, my mystery kit reveal from Amy at Bead & Glass Boutique !

This is my mystery kit from Amy for the month of February:

 Between life happening, and well, life happening, Amy and I both forgot about March, but I know that April's mystery kit is on its way as we speak.  So excited to get it...I could use some beadspiration!

Thursday 27 February 2014

Bead & Glass Boutique For The Love of Beads Challenge

My second Bead & Glass Boutique Challenge kit included lots of pink.  Pink, pink, and more pink.  Not one of my favorite colors, but I ran with it.  Had a great idea right off the hop, and started to get into it right away.  Then, of course, life happens right?  The kids have to do this or that, the hubby needs this or that, and then there's work, and my other crafty adventures.  I blame Shelley Graham Turner for this one.  She got me into this Ning Community called My Paper Pantry, and its all about paper crafting, which I also love to do.

That being said, my original piece didn't turn out the way I wanted it to.  So I revised and ripped out, and started again.  HA!  Then I realized that Andrew Thornton's Radiant Orchid Challenge was due the day before this one.  O Boy!

I managed to get the Radiant Orchid Challenge piece finished, but hadn't been able to find the time to finish the Love of Beads Challenge piece.  I am sorry Amy.  I just couldn't get it done in time.  Even after I ordered extra seedies to go with the kit, it still isn't finished.  I know, I am a  I will finish it, it just won't be this week, or this weekend.  I will post when it's done and hopefully Amy and the Bead & Glass Boutique can forgive me.  I just love them to pieces.

Bead & Glass Boutique Dreamweaver Challenge

My first ever Bead & Glass Boutique Dreamweaver Challenge was a challenge.  I wasn't sure what was going to happen with this kit.  Again, I mulled it over for a long time.....before I finally nailed down what I wanted to do.  In fact, this is only the second ever piece that I actually planned out and sketched  I joined this challenge because I loved the colors of the kit (this happens a lot :)).

Purples and blues, what a great combination!  So, I managed to use almost all of the kit.  If you're familiar with their challenges, you have to use 77% of the kit in your piece and only one piece is allowed.  My issue is this:  in all of these challenges they never include enough seed beads for me :P.  I ended up ordering extra waxed linen, and used it to crochet part of the bezel around the cab. So, this is my piece I call it Flight of the Dreamweaver.  Not one of my better pieces (and I'm sure that's because I planned it out hehe), but still I think it's a worthy piece.  The only things I didn't use from the kit were two colors of rat tail cord.  And I used a lampworked dichroic cab made by my friend Judy McCourt, of Annoyed Artist Beads.

Bead Journal Project February 2014

I wanted to do a piece that reflected something in my life, and I wanted to use Shibori Ribbon to do it...hehe.  I had received a gemstone pendant in the BS USA Chinese Auction last month and loved the color, and it went really well with a scrap of ribbon that I had got from Glennis Dolce of Shibori Girl Studios (Beautiful ribbon she has!)

As I was pulling beads and colors, I realized that these colors alone remind me of my parents.  The earthy tones and flow of the fabric shouted to me the name, and the rest came with the flow.  I do a lot of intuitive beading.  I find I have trouble planning things out.  What I see in my head and what shows up on the paper (when I try and sketch things out) are two very different things.  However, I find that once I pick my focal and some of the major beads to go with it, everything else just seems to fall into place.

More on my inability to plan a project later...tomorrow in

For now, let's discuss this piece.  I call it the Pillars of the Earth.  For a couple of reasons.  One, the colors, obviously.  They are beautiful earthy tones.  Secondly, the colors and the stones reminded me of my parents and I thought about them the whole time I was creating this piece.  They are MY Pillars of the Earth.  They are my pillars of strength, of creativity (mom is a painter, dad a woodworker, and both are very musical), they are my grounding influence and have taught me to be the same.  They are love and light and all things good, warm and fuzzy.  So, in closing,  This piece is my tribute to my mom and dad.  Thank you for being who you are, and for teaching me the things I needed to know to be a lot like you.

I love you.

I will be putting this piece in a shadow-box frame for them to hang in their home.

Radiant Orchid Challenge - Allegory Gallery

When I heard Andrew Thornton was having a beading challenge, I jumped right in!  I love Andrew, and although I have never been there, given how Andrew speaks about it, I imagine Allegory Gallery is definitely on my bucket list! So is the Bead & Glass Boutique in New Jersey, but that's another blog post (which I am also writing tonight :)).

Let's get down to business....Andrew sent all the challenge participants a kit which included all kinds of purply goodness.  Purple happens to be my all-time favorite color, so how could I not?  Now, those of you that know me, you know that I am a seed-beeder through and through.  SIGH.  So many challenges I want to be included in, but alas, they focus on a lot bigger beads than I am used to.  I have tried and tried and TRIED to work with the bigger beads, but they just don't speak to me.  So I mulled over this challenge for quite a while.  I spilled the beads on my mat, mixed them, separated them again, sighed a few times and put them away again.  I did this several times, lol.

Lots of big beautiful purple beads!
Lots of medium sized beautiful purple beads
And a few seedies in there too!

Then I received my birthday present from my loving sister who remembered how much I wanted some cameos to try working with.  I received a big baggie full of antique cameos just waiting to be remade into something vintagely modern (yup, it's a word in my world :P) and beautiful.  So I pulled out this gorgeous purple cameo and spilled out the beads again, and ALAS!  This simple but pleasant design came to me.

And as I was putting it together in my head (I very rarely sketch things out -  I can't get the design from my head to the paper), all I could think about was my wonderful mother, and that her birthday was coming up, and that cameos remind me of her.  She is timeless, and beautiful and absolutely an amazing person.

AND, purple happens to be her birthstone, and one of her favorite colors too!  This was perfect!

So, here is my challenge piece.  I used all of the beads that I thought I could use, which was way more than I thought at the beginning, and the really big ones I gave to a very good friend of mine is in love with big beautiful beads.  Win-win!

My mom loved the cameo piece and of course showed it off on her FB page :)

I am anxiously awaiting Andrew's next challenge and what it may entail!

In the meantime, don't forget to visit all the other participants' blogs, as well as Andrew's blog , and Allegory Gallery too!
Thank you Andrew for including me!   I love a good challenge.

Andrew Thornton
Allegory Gallery

And the participants' list:

Andrew Thornton, Alison Herrington, Laurel Ross, Joanne Goldberg, Julie Katz, Irene Leniham, and Linda Starosciak

Wednesday 26 February 2014

New friends, new ideas...
I met a new friend on Facebook.  Her Name is Amy, and she owns the Bead & Glass Boutique in Pitman, New Jersey.  We have become fast friends, and seem to have a ton of stuff in common.  I took an idea that I had to Amy and she has run with it's sooo much fun!

I had been ordering a few things here and there from Amy's store, but there are so many more things I want!  I made a list of things that I love, need, or want.  Yes, it's a long list :)

Then I gave Amy a budget to stick to every month.  Now every month, Amy picks out a few things on my list (within the budget of course) and sends me a mystery kit.  The kit consists of things I want, need, or love, and come from my list, yes...but, I do not know what's coming every month :)  It's a like a Christmas gift for myself every month.  I love it!  I am currently waiting for my second package to be delivered.

My first package came in late January, and consisted of ultrasuede, glue (E-6000), some beautiful Shibori Ribbon, and some superduos in awesome purply colours.

So, some of these items I have used already, the others have been put away for future use, but all of them were on my list and I love them!  Amy has been so receptive to this idea, and I suggested she use this as a marketing tool.  She is marketing the mystery kits (after I receive them) on her stores FB page at

Every month or so, Amy holds an online sale on her FB page, and of course it's very VERY tempting to purchase new beads, they are all so yummy.  But Amy will take orders and mail them out quickly.  She is very good with customer service and is so easy to talk to.  I just my new friend!

Saturday 4 January 2014

The Bead Journal Project and other fun things!

I have recently joined a Facebook page called "The Bead Journal Project".  OK, when I first caught wind of this, I was naturally curious...what is that all about?  So I requested to join the page, and lo and behold!  What a great place!  The Bead Journal Project page is full of wonderfully helpful and insightful people who make a bead embroidery piece every month, either around a theme or what they are feeling at that given time.  The pieces are reflected upon throughout the year and as they are made, and sometimes put together at the end of the year to form a "calendar" of the past.  What a fabulous idea!  I have tried to start journals before, either in writing or in art, and always have a really difficult time getting them started.  This one wasn't so hard!  And if you decide on a size, to follow all year, that isn't so large and intimidating, it can be a quick project or a month-long one.

I chose to go with the ATC card size (2.5 x 3.5), which is a nice small size and easy to bead as it is a rectangular shape.

The hardest part for me was the colours to choose.  Wow, I am a colour nut.  I love colours...ALL of them!
My kids always laugh at me when I can't decide on

So, here is where I started:
wow, my picture is upside

I love these colours, but it wasn't until I was many rows in that I realized my beads weren't all the same shape.  All were size 8, but different companies, different know the story.  So I proceeded to pick other colours, although none I was totally happy with until the I grabbed the teal :)

3 drop peyote background
I wanted to start with a background of beads, using the beads as a canvas for some kind of focal.  This idea for the background came to me from reading a post on the FB page for Bead Embroidery Forever (what a great name!).  Plus, I have never done 3 drop peyote before and wanted to give it a try.  I liked this gradual changing of colour because it represents making order out of chaos.  I find in my beady adventures that I am in a state of chaos for most of the time, until I really nail down the project idea.  This is not where I want to be in my Bead life.  I want to be orderly and decided and goal-oriented, just as I am in other aspects if my life.

working on the focal
After the background was finished, I began working on the focal.  The focal was started with a vintage swarovski topaz rectangle.  I bezelled it and then decided to adhere it to the background and add vines.  This of course represents the coming together of the chaos into a neat little package, which is where I would like to be all of the time :)
putting it all together
So, all three pieces ready to put what is wrong with this picture?  Do you see it?
That's right....I should have adhered the background to the embroidery backing BEFORE I sewed the focal on.  THEN I wouldn't have had some much darned trouble with the vines and such, and the thread slipping between rows of 3 drop peyote size 8!  Oh well, life is a learning curve right?  Right!
So, lesson definitely learned!
After putting the three pieces together, I backed it with sierra suede (yes, I know, not ultra suede, cuz I can't get the stuff here :S), and edged it with a modified picot using 8s and 15s.

side view...and yes, I know it's not a car... 
Close up
And so begins my journey into the wonderful, yet challenging, world of the Bead Journal Project.  I know it will be a fun and fulfilling year!

Oh yes, let's not forget about other fun things coming up...

Allegory Galleries Radiant Orchid Challenge has begun!
Pine Ridge Treasure's Winter Sparkle Blog Hop on the 22 of February!
Bead and Glass Boutique's Dreamweaver Challenge has just ended...
Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Hop will be announced soon, along with some other challenges she has planned!

That is all for now (isn't it enough!)   Actually, I do have other things planned for this year, but all can NOT be revealed just stay tuned!