Monday, March 31, 2014

Playing with my beads...

I made three samples of Sidonia's "Little Dots" motif as earrings last night. Since earrings have a tendency to turn around while you're wearing them, I added the same embellishment to the backs as on the fronts. She explains how to do that in her YouTube tutorial for the "Art Nouveau Style Earrings" which you can watch HERE. It's quite easy to figure out though. After embellishing the front of the earring, you weave your way down to the side, flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. However, I found a way to do it more easily with this particular pattern. I had a little trouble getting back through the fire polished beads the second time when I embellished one side at a time because they'd been pulled very close to each other. In the Art Deco Style Earrings video, she adds a seed bead between each bicone which gives you a little extra wiggle room for your needle. So, all I did was create the netting arches for both sides at the same time. As soon as I made an arch, I right away made the one in the same position for the other side.

I tried three different things with each of my samples. I knew that I liked the vintage grunge look of the pattern done with matte bronze seed beads but I wanted to see how well I would like the earrings with shiny bronze seed beads. I don't think I care for that version very much. I think that the shine of the beads overpowers the subtle colors of my other beads too much. When I have that earring on, all I see are the shiny seed beads and the rest of the beads disappear.

The other thing that I tried was adding a 15/0 seed bead between each fire polished bead like Sidonia did in her Art Deco Style Earrings to see what effect that would have. I got a slightly larger motif that looks almost square and it's a bit flatter than the other two samples. I prefer the more round, compact appearance of the motifs done the "Little Dots" way.

So, I will make myself a pair of earrings like the sample on the far right. I plan to use a different bracelet pattern to go with the earrings and it will have the same matte bronze seed beads and 6mm "Champagne" fire polished beads as the earrings.

For the grunge version I used:

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Metallic Matte Bronze" (15-2006)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Metallic Matte Bronze" (11-2006)
  • 3mm fire polished beads "Champagne" (Nirvana Beads)
  • 4mm fire polished beads "Smoky Topaz Luster"
  • 6mm fire polished beads "Champagne" (Nirvana Beads)
For the shiny bronze version I used:
  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (15-457D)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (11-457D)
  • 3mm fire polished beads "Champagne" (Nirvana Beads)
  • 4mm fire polished beads "Smoky Topaz Luster"
  • 6mm fire polished beads "Champagne" (Nirvana Beads)

Bracelet of the Day: SuperDuo Rosette Bracelet - Black & Mint

  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Antiqued Metallic Black" (TY-11-Y0503) *
  • SuperDuo beads "Jet Bronze Picasso"
  • 3mm Druks "Mint Picasso" (Nirvana Beads)
* These also go by the name "Jet Bronze Picasso" (TY-11-0506). I have both colors and they're identical.

Time for another SuperDuo Rosette Bracelet. I used all 11/0 seed beads for the netting on this one. Pardon the poor photos but I sent this to a friend for Christmas and can't re-take them. You can buy this pattern in Sam Wescott's Etsy shop HERE.

Organization Inspiration - Part IV: My Beads - Part 2

I bought these stacking Sterilite drawer units at Walmart. I use the shorter tower for storing my main seed beads and the taller tower contains mainly my backup supply for refilling the tubes in the other tower.

Starting with the beads in the shorter tower:

This drawer contains my metallic seed beads, mostly 15/0's. I like to store my 15/0 seed beads in small tubes rather than the large ones. The ones on the left side are all 15/0. The ones on the right are other sizes that I only have small amounts of.

These are my colored seed beads, somewhat sorted by color. By the way, the tubes fit quite well in the drawers because the little hang tabs on the caps are able to overlap in the center.

This drawer holds my metallic 11/0 seed beads in various shades of bronze, copper and silver. I found out the other day that I need to be VERY careful when pulling a tube out of the drawer. I apparently caught the edge of the cap on the underside of the frame of the unit and it pulled off the cap. Luckily, the beads all went into the bottom of the drawer and not on the floor. The crazy thing is that I'd never done that until just recently and then I did it twice. I suspect that the caps are starting to get looser over time. In any case, this drawer is getting a little too full but I don't have space for another drawer unit.

This drawer contains my metallic 8/0 and 6/0 seed beads as well as any other colors in those sizes. There are also a few non-metallic colors in 11/0. This drawer is very full too.

The bottom drawer contains a big assortment of seed beads of all sizes. Because they are medium size tubes, I had to arrange them in the drawer differently than the large and small tubes. I also had to put something in the back of the drawer to keep them from moving around too much. I got all of the beads in this drawer from Deborah Roberti. She was cleaning out her bead stash a while back and wanted to get rid of anything that wasn't labeled with the brand and/or color numbers. So, she graciously sent them to me, all 8 pounds of them! 

This is just a small sampling of what she sent me. I have a few others in bags in the other drawer unit and I sent a bunch of them to Teejay. Deb did label the bags she sent them in with the sizes and I've come up with my own names so that I can remember what I've used in my projects. So, whenever I post the "ingredients" for a beadwork project here and say "no info available" for the colors, they are probably from this stash from Deb.

And now for the taller tower:

The top drawer in this unit holds refills for the tubes in the other tower.

In this drawer, I keep refills for the  tubes of beads from Deb plus a few colors that aren't in the tubes because I didn't have enough tubes for them.

This drawer is a hodge-podge of beads in unknown sizes, mostly sent to me from England by Teejay. The beads that they sell in the shops over there tend to be unusual sizes that I never see for sale over here. Some of those larger ones make nice center focal beads for bracelets such as "Russian Snake".  The gorgeous bright blue beads in one of the bracelets in that post are from Teejay.
This is a refill supply for my metallic beads. These came in tubes so I left them that way.
The bottom two drawers contain a wide assortment of specialty beads such as drops, cubes, 6mm druks, tube beads and more. Since I don't use those kinds all that often, I don't mind having to dig through them to find what I need. The drawback is that I tend to forget what all is in those drawers.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Playing with my beads...

Last night I tried a couple more things with Sidonia's "Little Dots" and "Sweet Romance" tutorials. I've decided that I'm not keen on "Sweet Romance" as earrings. I think it's because the motif is so flat. Either that or I didn't use the right colors perhaps. I chose topaz bicones because I had drop beads to go with that color. I've got a few other colors in drop beads so maybe I can come up with a nicer color combination. The topaz is pretty but the color is a bit too pale against my dark hair.

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (15-457D)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Dark Bronze" (11-457D)
  • 4mm bicones "Light Smoked Topaz AB" (#C29 - Beads One)
  • 4mm bicones "Light Colorado AB" (#C26 - Beads One)
  • 6x12mm drop beads "Champagne" (#C26 - Beads One - not available online)
I do like the sample of "Little Dots" below. The color is also pale and muted but in a grungy sort of way that I love. I'm still not certain if I'd like this as a bracelet because of the fat motifs but I came up with a slight variation that fills the gaps between them a little more. I think that my tweak helps balance the tiny connectors and large motifs a little better than just the "X's". All I did was go back around them and added three 15/0 seed beads on each side of the X to turn them into diamond shapes. I was using cheap Nymo D thread last night so I didn't risk trying to go through the diamonds again to shape them up better but I would do that when using FireLine or Nymo B thread. I'd also skip the point beads of each diamond to pop them out. I had a heck of a time editing this photo to get the color right but this is pretty close: 

  • 15/0 seed beads Miyuki "Metallic Matte Bronze" (15-2006)
  • 11/0 seed beads Toho "Metallic Bronze Antique Gold" (225)
  • 3mm fire polished beads "Champagne" (Nirvana Beads)
  • 4mm fire polished beads "Smoky Topaz Luster"
  • 6mm fire polished beads "Champagne" (Nirvana Beads)
I could have used "Metallic Matte Bronze" 11/0 seed beads in my sample but I decided to try the "Olive Bronze" ones to break up the monotony of all those matte beads a little. The difference is subtle though and I'm not sure if they made a difference or not. Below is a photo of those "Champagne" fire polished beads from the Nirvana site so you can see what they're supposed to look like. I actually edited the color of their photo a little to get it closer to how they look in real life.

Click HERE if you want to see how the photo looks on their website.

I may make myself a bracelet (I've got just enough of the 6mm fire polished beads for one) and wear it a few times to see how I like it. One great thing about beadwork is that you can always take things apart and recycle the beads into something else. I will at least make myself a pair of earrings from the Little Dots motif.


Bracelet of the Day: Dragonfly Bracelet

  • 15/0 seed beads "Metallic Chocolate" (no info available)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Metallic Chocolate" (11-461)
  • 8/0 seed beads Miyuki "Transparent Seafoam Picasso" (8-4506)
  • Miyuki Tila beads "Light Autumn Jasper" (TL-4505)
  • SuperDuo beads "Chocolate Bronze"
  • SuperDuo beads "Crystal Lazure Blue"

The pattern is from Eridhan Creations on Etsy. You can buy it HERE for $5.00. As I mentioned in my review of this pattern on March 21st, I really love this pattern. So far this is the only one that I've made but I hope to try it in other colors very soon. I love the look of it as well as the feel of it when I'm wearing it. It has the feel of "real" jewelry, if you know what I mean.

It was very difficult to get nice photos of this bracelet because of the dark beads that I used as well as the dimensional quality of the weaving. I hope that you can tell how lovely it really is in spite of the picture quality.

I made a pair of Kelly Dale's "Corundum Earrings" to go with this bracelet. I think they work very well together, don't they? You can watch Kelly's free YouTube video tutorial HERE. If you'd like to buy the pattern, she's selling it in her Etsy shop HERE for $4.00. I did change the pattern slightly by leaving off the little top motif.

  • 15/0 seed beads "Metallic Chocolate" (no info available)
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki "Metallic Chocolate" (11-461)
  • 8/0 seed beads "Metallic Chocolate" (no info available)
  • SuperDuo "Chocolate Bronze"
  • SuperDuo "Crystal Lazure Blue"

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Beadwork Samples: From Sidonia's video tutorials

Below are the samples that I made last night from Sidonia's video tutorials. The earrings were made from her "Art Deco Style Earrings" tutorial. I made those a while back and put them in the picture so you can see that they're similar to the "Little Dots" motif as she mentions in that video. You can watch the "Art Deco Earrings" video HERE. I used fire polished beads in my earrings because I liked how they looked better than bicones.

The blue "Sweet Romance" sample at the top was made with 4mm bicones and 11/0 seed beads. As you can see, it works perfectly fine in that size. I may even like it better than the smaller size. The sample below that has the sizes that are called for in the tutorial. 

The bottom sample is Sidonia's "Little Dots". The motifs seem a little too fat for a bracelet but they'd make cute earrings. 

If you view the photo full size (click on it), I think you can see that the netting in the center "Little Dots" example as well as the one just to the right of it, is a little neater than on the others. That's because I went back through it to tighten it up. She doesn't mention that you should do that but I think it's important. You can see how messy it looks in the two left examples. I found that it's easiest to do that right away as you add each "arch" of seed beads rather than going back through the whole bracelet later. Simply circle back around through them before proceeding as directed.

Bracelet of the Day: Tallulah Tila Bracelet - Olive & Rose

  • Tila beads “Metallic Mauve-Green Iris Matte”
  • SuperDuo beads “Crystal Pink Luster”
  • 11/0 seed beads Miyuki “LIght Bronze” (11-457L)  
If you recall, I posted about my sample of this bracelet on March 20th HERE. When I found the "Crystal Pink Luster" SuperDuo beads at Aria Design Studio on Etsy, I thought that they'd be perfect for making a bracelet to go with the my "Layered Tila Earrings". They are very close to the same color as the fire polished beads in the earrings. The bracelet pattern is my friend Teejay's creation. When I have a chance, I will write up a tutorial and post it here on my blog.

For my earrings, I adapted the free bracelet pattern that you can find HERE.

Organization Inspiration - Part III: My Beads - Part 1

I use two stacks of square Snapware containers to store most of my "special" beads. By special, I mean pretty much anything other than seed beads. In them I store beads that are in little bags rather than in tubes. As you can see, some of the trays are getting very full but I've got six more trays on the way from Amazon. They should get here sometime next week.      

SuperDuo beads (green and turquoise):

SuperDuo beads (everything else):

Both of those trays are getting too full so I need to add a third one.

6mm fire polished beads

I've got the transparent ones in one section and the opaque ones in another.

4mm fire polished beads
These will probably get a second tray when they get here.
3mm fire polished beads
Again, divided into transparent and opaque.
Bicones (all sizes)
I may split these up into two trays because this one is very full.
3mm in one section and 4mm in the other.
Specialty Beads
This tray has several different kinds of extra special beads: Rulla beads, Tila beads, Half Tila beads, CzechMates and CzechMates Bricks. I've got enough Tilas now that I think they deserve their own full tray.
4mm druks and pearls
I don't have many 6mm druks so I keep those in another location.
3mm druks and pearls
3mm druks aren't easy to come by but you can see that I've amassed a pretty nice collection of them. That required a LOT of internet searching and I also got lucky when the local shop got in a big assortment of them from Nirvana Beads a while back. They don't normally sell them in that size at Beadoholique. Please let me know if you are aware of a good source for them, mainly in opaque colors. I've seen bits and pieces here and there on Etsy but it's rarely worth the shipping cost to buy just the one color that a shop might be selling.

Friday, March 28, 2014

YouTube Video Tutorial: Sweet Romance Necklace/Bracelet

I just ran across Sidonia's video on Pinterest this morning and it looked like it would work perfectly as a bracelet even though she made a necklace. I omitted the large motifs and just used the small motifs and the diamond-shaped connections between them. It will make a gorgeous, delicate little bracelet. I'm also going to try making earrings with only the small motifs and a drop bead like Sidonia shows in the video. Here's a photo of my samples:
As you can see, I also tried the pattern using 3mm pearls and 3mm fire polished beads, and they both work quite well, but the bicones are my favorites. I will also try the pattern using 4mm bicones and 11/0 seed beads and see how that looks.

Click HERE to watch Sidonia's YouTube video. I also watched her "Little Dots Bracelet" video this morning and I'm going to try it out tonight. It took me a couple of hours this afternoon to get all of the instructions written down for both tutorials.

Bracelet of the Day: Diamond Chain

  • 11/0 seed beads Cousin "Antique Bronze" (AJM61215018)
  • 4mm bicones "Amethyst" (#C12 - Beads One)
This is another one of the very first bracelets that I made when I learned to bead. I can tell because I was still using the cheap Walmart seed beads. They actually work very well with this pattern. Because it's such a plain bracelet, the slightly larger sized seed beads give it a bit more character, I think. You can get the free pattern at Fire Mountain Gems HERE.