Friday, 28 February 2014

Little Bits of Whimsy

Back in October last year I was busily making new things for a couple of fairs I'd got coming up and found some pretty metal badges in my stash that I had once bought in error as they were listed as cabochons.  I'd used a few of them in bead embroidery before and decided that they would be quick to make up into pretty necklaces.

They are all done in the same way but embellished slightly differently.  The birdcages have simple flower beads to echo the flowers on the picture.

These cute bird ones I left plain.

And the hearts I turned into heart shapes with the addition of some fire polished crystals.

I added a ribbon in place of a chain to keep the 'pretty' theme going and make them easy to wear at different lengths.  Because they are metal blanks instead of glass cabochons they are really light so don't need anything more substantial.  I think they are perfect for the Summer and shall be making myself one or two soon.  I still have some of these in my Etsy store if you'd like one too.  :o)

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Eastern Treasure Earrings

I've just finished these earrings this week as my entry into the Operation Tackle That Bead Stash monthly challenge.  The colours for February were red, black and metallic gold and when I found the beautiful crystal components in my stash while I was looking for something else last week, I knew they would be perfect.

I stitched the components down onto the backing and beaded a row of gold right around the edge then added a couple of fire polished crystals and more seed beads in the other colours.  I finished the embroidery off with an ultrasuede backing and added a loop to the top for the earwire.  I had to wait over the weekend for some more crystals and daggers to arrive so that I could bead the fringe along the bottom edge as, unbelievable as it seems, I didn't have black daggers in my stash! :oO  I know.  Shocking, right?  Luckily the postie brought them to me just as I was finishing the edging on Salacia, Queen of the Ocean so I sat right down and got them done as well.  All in all a productive day.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Salacia, Queen of the Ocean

Searching through my bead stash the other day I found a lovely mother of pearl disc bead that inspired a sea-theme for my next Goddess.  The disc became her belly and I found a mother of pearl heart and a pale blue swirly polymer clay face to go with it.  Along with some tiny shells, a paua shell disc bead, a couple of freshwater pearls and some stick coral I created 'Salacia'.

Salacia was the wife of Neptune, God of the sea in Roman mythology.  My version is finished with swirls of blue and silver seed beads and some twisty 'seaweed' strands.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Freeform Bud Vase

Last Summer on a visit to Ikea I discovered some very cute little bud vases and thought they would be great for beadwork.  I bought one in each colour and, inspired by my friend, Nancy, decided to break out of my comfort zone and try some freeform RAW.

I picked this vase to work on first as it is my favourite colour to use and I have LOTS of beads in my stash to match it.

Firstly, I had to mix a 'soup' to work with.  Anyone that knows me well knows that that was a major challenge!  I hate anything that is not ordered and neat.  Soup is a mix of bead shapes, sizes and colours so totally freaks me out.  I added lots of different sized seed beads, some glass pearls, fire polished crystals, bugles, gemstone chips and gemstone beads and ended up with this:

To add the beads I needed a base row that wouldn't move so used the bumpy bit of the vase and created a ring of beads above it, then strung some more beads to add a ring below it too.  Working between the two rings gave me a great start.

I kept adding beads until it was covered, then started to work my way up towards the rim of the vase.

When I reached the top I drew the beads in over the edge using peyote stitch to stop the beadwork from slipping down the vase.

I then worked my way down to the bottom edge of the vase, adding in a bezelled signature cabochon which I'd just come up with as a way of identifying my work.

 Again I worked over the edge to keep the beadwork in place.

I was really pleased with how this turned out! :oD

It is destined for my bathroom once I get my new suite put in and I still have a few more colours and shapes of these vases to play with.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Lillies for Lillian

I've been looking back through my woefully sparse blog posts and realised that I haven't shown you an awful lot of the work I have been doing so I will try and find some of the things I am most proud of to post in between Goddesses and other new work.

This is the brooch I made in memory of my Nanna yet.  It took me over 3 years to finally get the design and construction right but I am finally happy with it.  Her name was Lillian so I though a lily would be appropriate but had terrible trouble getting first the shapes of the petals right, then the colour.  In the end I was saved by participating in Pam Kirk's 1914-2014 Memorial Wreath Project.  I bought the tutorial from Pam and found that I could use the same technique that she had used for the poppy brooch to construct the lily.  I emailed Pam and asked her if she would mind as I wanted to create a tutorial for it and she very kindly gave me permission.  My tutorial is now in my Etsy store with proceeds going to my Nanna's favourite charity.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

'Spring' Goddess

Finally, before I started on my February piece, I stitched 'Spring'.  Again, I made the cabochon using a digital image and added lots of baby bell flowers to echo the roses in the cabochon, then embellished them with tiny green seed bead leaves.  I picked out the background colours of the cabochon to complete the stitching and added a flower and leaves as embellishment on her head.  I think I was needing to stitch something pretty after all the darker/wintry Goddesses I had made before and she is.  :o)

I wonder what will come next?

Saturday, 22 February 2014

'Space Nebula' Goddess

'Space Nebula' did not turn out at all how I thought she would.  I made the cabochon using a digital image I purchased and a clear glass blank and again added eyelashes to the polymer clay face to define her eyes.  I stitched her on pink backing with the intention of using bright pink beads but instead ended up using matte purple ones with a sprinkling of metallic silver and some fire polished crystals to represent stars and galaxies.  I stitched the beads in spirals to add to this effect.  Although you can see the backing in some places I think maybe this adds depth to her so I am trying not to get too upset about it.

Friday, 21 February 2014

'Winter' Goddess

... an all white Goddess.  The weather while I was stitching her had turned particularly cold and we'd even been having a few snow showers so this one is called 'Winter'.  She has a rivoli for her belly which I bezelled and stitched down, then added more beads and turned it into a snowflake.  The short bugle beads that wrap around her face and swirl down her side represent ice and the two baby spike beads just below her face are icicles.  I had great fun stitching her and finding all the white/crystal beads that I used.  Although I am wondering if I should be worried that none of the Goddesses I have stitched so far have required me to buy any beads!  ;o)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

'Blackberry' and 'Sky' Goddesses

Why 'Blackberry'?  Because that's what she said to me while I was stitching her.  She is finished very simply with one of my polymer clay cabochons and just a few lines of beads and a couple of flowers for embellishments.  I added eyelashes to her face purely because the clay I used was so dark that you couldn't really see her features and I felt that the eyelashes would define her eyes.  I really like the clean lines of the beading round the cabochon and especially the bit round that green bead right at the bottom.

At the same time as I was stitching 'Blackberry' I also stuck/stitched down the main features for 'Sky'.  Her face reminded me of fluffy white clouds and I added lots of pale blues/white/crystal clear beads to continue the theme with the central bead being a really big crackle glass bead.  It reminded me of ice and sparked another idea...

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

'Citrine' Goddess

I was aiming to make a range of these for my Etsy store as 'Healing Goddesses', using the properties of the stones but I really struggled with this one so have decided not to bother with that and just go with the flow in future.  Hopefully people will see the beauty in them as art pieces and will want one (or more) to hang on the wall or to give as gifts.

'Citrine' is named after the lovely citrine bead on her belly which determined the rest of the colours and beads I used, including some really pretty carnelian rounds, fire polish crystals tiny flowers and glass leaves.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

'Butterfly' Goddess

Once I started working on my BJP pieces I fond I really enjoyed the fact that the Goddesses were 'art' rather than jewellery and sort of went a little bit mad making more.  I haven't included them in my BJP folder but thought you might like to see some of those too so I shall be posting them in between my BJP pieces.  I find them incredibly peaceful, both in the stitching and to look at once they are finished and can see me making lots more throughout the year.

'Butterfly' was stitched immediately after I finished my January Goddess and I made her with the intention of hanging her in my bedroom.  The butterfly on her belly is a small lace applique piece that has been beaded over and has a few sparkly crystals added.  I had to figure out a way to bezel a 3mm chaton for this which was a bit of a challenge but I like a challenge! ;o)  The colours are very 'me' and I am really pleased with how she turned out.  I used different stitches/patterns for each section to create visual interest and lots of different textures and her face is made from polymer clay using a push mould so that I could get just the right colours that I needed to match the beads.

For those of you mad enough to want to to bezel a 3mm chaton here is how I did it:

Pick up 10 size 15 seed beads.  Go through all 15 again, and the first one a third time and pull into a circle.

Work one row of peyote using Delica beads, place the chaton in the centre, pointed side down.

Work 1 row of peyote using size 15 seed beads.  Go through all five 15s again, keeping a tight tension to pull this last row in over the edge of the chaton to keep it in place.  Finish off the thread ends.

Monday, 17 February 2014

February Frustrations!

I did think that my February BJP piece would be a little softer and more loving than the January one, after all it does include Valentine's Day!  Unfortunately so far it has been a month full of continuing frustration so I chose to use lots of red and orange beads to signify this.  The frustration is caused by a number of things.  My panic attacks, of course, but a huge chunk of it is to do with Steven's job.  He is assistant manager at a local pub but the last few months have been spent with him doing the majority of the work without getting any recognition of the fact that he is spending so many more hours there than he is getting paid for.  His contract states that he should do 48 hours but he has been averaging 15.5 more each week.  One week he did 76!!!  As you can imagine, it is putting an extra strain on our family life that we could well do without and no amount of complaining about it will make it right.  It would be a different matter if he got paid for the extra hours but, as he is on a management contract, he doesn't.  It is just expected.

This Goddess really lived up to her theme too with me undoing enough of the beadwork for me to start to worry about the backing holding up!  Fortunately it did or I fear she would have been consigned to the bin.  The eye cabochon is from Liz Reed at TheCrimsonMoon and is me keeping an eye on his hours, represented by the two opaque red beads that are like the hands of a clock around the eye.  The heart has white 'lace' edging for Valentine's Day (had to include it somewhere) and the pink/yellow beads are to signify the clashes we have had over it all.  The black spots are, well, black spots and dark times and the crystal on her cheek is perhaps a tear.

Hopefully March will be a better month!