Thursday, December 15, 2011

Taking Crafting From Hobby to Business



 Hand Made Jewelry for Fun and Profit is a new E book published by Marie Starr, a long time seller of beaded jewelry and jewelry patterns, and owner of Bead Patterns Boutique.  We at Bead Patterns  Boutique (shoppers and designers alike) call her "our fearless leader" with a big smile.  She has many years of experience in the business of crafting and marketing and eagerly shares much of her knowledge with us in the users forum as well as the designers forum.




In her latest E book you will find detailed information on how to:
Build your stock & Decide what to carry
Prepare to sell your work
Price what you have made
Find and approach your potential buyers
Close that deal
This information can be applied to any  hand made craft and is sure to help you get started in turning your hobby into a business, or if you're already running a business it can help you find customers and close the deal and increase profits.

On the same topic, I was doing some research for a friend who was wanting some information on bead programs.  As usual, I got sidetracked on something else.  At least this time it was related.

I found this free Jewelry Pricing Calculator Software. Yes, I said free! This calculator is free to download and will walk you through, step by step,
Working out the EXACT hourly rate you should be charging.
Calculating your overhead costs.
Totaling ALL material costs for your pieces.
Instantly calculating your Wholesale and Retail price.

If you're considering taking your hobby to the next level and turning fun into profit I hope these two items will help you get started and enjoy a profitable business.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Twin Cross Earrings and Twin Seed Beads

I've finished another pattern using the new Preciosa Twin Seed beads. Here's my Twin Cross earrings. The pattern is available at BeadPatternsBoutique and The Bead Coop.  Although I'm finding handling these beads a challenge, I still have many designs going through my mind.

There are just so many stitches and techniques that lend themselves well to these beads that the possibilities seem endless.  The main problem I've had so far is finding a variety of colors available by retailers and I'm not in a position to buy in wholesale lots.


I did find that Sparkle Spot has added some more colors, mostly metallics, to their inventory.  A friend from South Africa provided a link to West Coast Wholesale Jewellery.  I found that they are located in the UK, but ship internationally for reasonable prices. They have 59 colors available.  Viki Szabo, from Hungary provided this information:
"The shipping is 2.45 GBP flat rate for domestic shipping, but if your package is small, they won't charge you more for the international shipping either. If the shipping to your country cost more than 2.45 (it depends on the weight of your package) they will contact you with the information and the actual shipping cost. The twin beads are on pre-order, it takes about 1-2 weeks to arrive to their shop. If you have any more question, you can always contact the shop owner, Pam, she is extremely helpful and e-mailed me back very fast."
Although they are a wholesale company they have no minimum order size, their products are available to individuals, and the really big bonus for me. . .they accept PayPal!  If you need a currency converter to determine cost you can find one at http://www.currency-converter.com/ .

Now I'm off to clear my bead area.  School will be out for the holidays next week and my 6 year old granddaughter may want to come bead with me.  I need to clear a space so we can both sit and bead at the bead table.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Make it a Hand Made Christmas

'Tis the season.  It's time to start that mad rush of holiday shopping. . .unless you're one of the well organized who shop and craft all year to avoid the shopping crowds.

This year across America the theme seems to be "buy American", but I'd like to suggest having a handmade Christmas.  Of course if you're not a crafter, you can buy hand made from small, independent businesses who sell online or at craft shows.

Here are a few suggestions, mostly for the ladies, of bead patterns that make up quickly and would be great gifts for those special people on your gift list.

Debbie, of Debger Designs, has been on a roll with her tila bangle designs.  Her latest, Tiara, is a big hit with the beaders of the BeadPatternsBoutique forum.  Here's a picture of one beaded by Bethel Anthony.  Isn't it beautiful?
The pattern for Tiara is available at Bead Patterns Boutique.






Lori, At Out of the Flames, has gotten her website back up and running with a completely new look.  She shares a picture of her Snow Blossom Necklace.  She hasn't decided whether to make a pattern for it or not, but it's a real beauty.
Out Of The Flames: Snow Blossom Necklace

Marie Starr, of Starr Design Studio, and also the owner of Bead Patterns Boutique, is revamping some of her older designs and has posted her Southwest Diamond Bracelet pattern to the Boutique this week.

Tila beads and the new Preciosa Twin seed beads seem to be all the buzz.  Many of the designers at BeadPatternsBoutique are busy designing with them.  Like their fan page on FaceBook and keep up with the new designs being listed.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 Christmas Ornaments

Almost finished with ornaments for my grand children and great grand children. Only 6 more of the little ones to go and I'll be finished. They are so simple to make I can't believe how long it's taking me to finish. Co-ordination and focus seem to be a problem, but hopefully I'll have them finished and ready to mail in plenty of time to miss the big Christmas rush.

Patterns for all of these are available at BeadPatternsBoutique.  From left to right they are Lacy Snowflake, Triple Picot Spiked Snowflake, and the blue and gold on the right are Twinkle Star. Some of those in the twinkle star stack have an extra round added and the pattern doesn't show how to do that.  I also have an e book of snowflakes available with four different snowflake patterns, as well as the On Angel Wings  ornament cover that I showed you last month.  That's all my ornament patterns for this year.

On another note, many of you will be doing craft shows this month taking advantage of the holiday season. Before you start pricing your goodies for sale, read Beading Daily's article on pricing your hand made goods for sale.  The common misconception seems to be that NO one will pay that much for an item.  My great aunt taught me many many years ago that you charge more for your time and what you know than you do for the materials.  Don't sell yourself short when pricing your items. You are an artist.  You should not work for free!

Now back to the bead table to finish those snowflakes so I can get on with a design that's spinning around in my head.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Nov. 19 2011 Share Saturday

Jaycee has done it again with two versions of her new Moana Pearl Bracelet. Check out her blog for full discription and where you can buy this beautiful pattern.

Inspirational Beading is featuring a bead give-away. Check out the faux gems featured.

Check out Art Bead Scene for Holiday inspired jewelry. Ceramic bead maker, Gaea has partnered with Vintaj for some remarkably inspiring pieces.

Ex Post Facto Jewelry shows us her new hand made display plus some of her newest jewelry items.

Bluetina has some lovely stone and chain jewelry to show.

And of course don't forget to check out all the new patterns at BeadPatternsBoutique
and The Bead Coop.






Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Czech TWIN Seed Bead Pattern

I have finally found a limited supply of the new Czech TWIN seed beads. Well the supply isn't so limited, but the color selection is. Sparkle Spot carries black and crystal, so I got some of each. I've just finished my first pattern with these beads.
Working with them takes a bit of getting used to. The holes are large so they'll accept multiple passes of thread easily, but they tend to flip around and show the "wrong" end until you get the pattern going. I've got designs spinning in my head, but when I try to figure a thread path, I'm finding you just "can't get there from here" in some situations. I'm loving the challenge! I don't know how many years I've said "If only there were small beads with two holes!"  Now there are and I'm having a blast.

The pattern is available at BeadPatternsBoutique and The Bead Coop.


Friday, November 4, 2011

On Angel Wings Ornament

I have finally finished the first ornament cover I've made in over five years and the first one I've made a pattern for. Four Angels with hearts between them circle this 2 inch globe ornament. The 2 inch luxurious fringe is capped with sparkling 4mm Swarovski bicones.

The angel wings are pulled into slight scallops which give them the feel of motion. All in all I think this ornament cover will add eye catching sparkle to your holiday decorations, whether you hang it on a tree or on an ornament stand.

The pattern is now available at BeadPatternsBoutique, and I hope to have it posted to The Bead Coop And Zibbet by the end of the day, so whatever your shopping preference there's an option.

Now on to the next challenge.  Happy Beading All!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Share Saturday - News of other bead designers

Well, so much for a blogging schedule. Life etc. got in the way last week, but here's this weeks Share Saturday.

jayceepatterns.com: FEATHERS NECKLACE

Lori has finished a beautiful beaded business card sleeve and shares pictures of it.  You can find Lori's bead patterns at
Out Of The Flames: Feather Star Business Card Sleeve

Wendy reflects on a day at a bead show and shows the beads she bought there
Bohemian Heart: Focused Shopper

Iliana shows some of her new ceramic pieces.  She's getting ready for Christmas!
Iliana's Unique Beaded and Painted Jewelry

Lori has also deviated from her usual loomed designs and created this beautiful, sparkling Winter Ice necklace with rivolis and crystals.

Gail Devoid of Need for Beads has joined the design team at BeadPatternsBoutique.com. She's still learning how to post her designs, but keep checking back. She'll have some up soon. Welcome to the BPB Design Team, Gail.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Preciosa Twin Seed Beads

Have you seen the new TWIN seed beads from Preciosa? They come in 80 different colors.  I'm drooling over the design possibilities of these two hole beads in combination with seed beads and crystals.

I contacted the representative for the continental United States and Canada about availability.  I found out that they should be available from distributors around the end of this month. I was very pleased to learn that Shipwreck Beads and Fire Mountain Gems will be distributing them, as those are two of my favorite online bead sources.

OK, now it's time to get back to pattern making.  I'm almost finished with the Christmas ornament cover pattern I mentioned.  I'll post as soon as I've finished and published it for sale.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

News from Other Bloggers


I'm trying to set up a blogger schedule and get back on track with blogging. I've decided I'll try a Share Saturday to show what other bloggers in my network are doing.


Bead Oragami will be teaching 4 of her beaded bead designs at the 2012 Bead&Button Show, including the one in the picture. You can view full details on her blog by clicking the link above.

The 2012 Bead & Button Show will take place in Milwaukee, WI from June 1-10, and class registration will begin online on January 10. If you're anywhere in the area don't miss this show.


Bohemian Heart owner, Wendy shares frustrations over not being able to find items she knows she's made in her blog, Ramblings of a Beader. I think many beaders may share her frustrations. I know I've been looking for some small cabochons and Swarovski elements that I know are around here somewhere. That's what happens when I "organize" my bead space.

The designers at BeadPatternsBoutique have really been busy lately.  Check out the beautifully unique creations recently listed.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Time for Reflection

Over the past years as a designer, I've explored many stitches and stitch variations, creating my own unique patterns. I find that my "crowning glory", if I may brag a bit, is still my very first pattern.

I was exploring one of the many ways Right Angle Weave could be executed and/or embellished. I finally figured out a thread path that would allow me to make this necklace in one pass with the addition of 3mm crystals around the neck and the clasp added in another pass. After making about three repeats and having to loosen the thread and retrace the thread to see how I'd woven the previous step, I finally sat down to the computer determined to draw it and explain it.

Once I finished the pattern, I returned to making the necklace. When both were finished I was so excited I took it to work to show what I'd done. My boss promptly ordered one in black and white to wear to the next formal event she was attending. She also wanted earrings.

From that moment my beaded jewelry design career was launched. Although I've created patterns in many different stitches, and in varying intricacy, In my opinion, I've never topped the first hurdle I jumped.

The pattern is available at:
BeadPatternsBoutique
The Bead Coop
The Bead Doodler/ Artfire Studio

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Christmas is Just Around the Corner

Oh my, where did the time go.  I haven't posted in a very long time.  For a while I was getting many How-To article titles to write and didn't have much time for crafts and beading.  My muse has my head reeling now with ideas.

I am working on a beaded ornament cover and have an idea (and a start) on an embellished RAW ring/bracelet.  No pictures of either just yet.  I'm working on the pattern for the ornament cover as I complete each step, band, fringe, attachment.  I haven't gotten to the attachment yet.  I still lack about 1/4 of the fringe. It has been several years since I made an ornament cover and those were just make it up as you go type of designs that I never made patterns for. I'm finding that calculating how many rows it takes to go around the ornament to be a challenge. 

The grandchildren and great grand children won't be getting these elaborate ornaments.  I just don't have the time or patience to make 25 of them.  Sorry guys and gals. 

Now it's time to get back to the bead table.  I hope to have some pictures to show soon.



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Crocheted Mobius Scarf

Last week I agreed to write an article about how to crochet a Moebious Scarf. Well, no, I didn't know how, but it's crochet. I've been crocheting for over 60 years, and the internet is overflowing with information. Sure enough, I found several "how to" tutorials and wrote my article featuring the easy way, crochet a strip the length and width you want the scarf, Bring the right top end to the left bottom end and vise versa and sew the ends together. I also discovered that Moebious is the correct AP spelling even though the three dictionaries I checked said it was Mobius. Ahhh, I love writing articles. I learn so much!

OK, article submitted and approved, but the other way kept bugging me.  In my head I couldn't picture it.  I found several free patterns, but when I tried to work them up I didn't like the way they turned out. The one thing all the patterns had in common was "choose a stitch that looks the same on both sides" and none of the patterns did. I decided to use a basic eyelet stitch.  I crocheted the base chain to the length I wanted the scarf, turned and worked in eyelet stitch one row. Then I laid the first row out flat making sure there were no twists and joined the top of the last eyelet stitch to the bottom of the first stitch of the first eyelet chain.  I didn't bother to try to sew up the end at this point.  I just worked the second row along the bottom the the starting chain.

When I reached the end of the starting chain, I was on the outside of the strip directly across from where I started. It finally sunk in! You go around the "circle" twice before you come back the starting point.
In the picture I've shown you three rows.  Two done in gray, one on each side of the starting chain, and one row of black.  Every time I come back the the starting point I'm so pleased with myself I just can't wait to crochet another round.  Yes, I'm easily amused.

Here's a link to the directions that started my quest.  She says she had to turn at each row to keep the Moss Stitch from curling.  I think NOT turning is half the fun, so I just chose a different stitch.  Oh, and I didn't sew up the end of the start row, I just crocheted the other side of it together when I got there.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

News Designers at BPB

BeadPatternsBoutique has two new designers!. Come on by and see what they have to offer.

Valerie of Romina Designs has a beautiful bracelet and fabulous ring pattern to share with you.

Bethel of Bethel's Wild Wanderings doesn't have a shop set up yet, but she's shared a beautiful Autumn Leaves Cuff pattern. She's working on more patterns.

Debbie, of Debger Designs has been a busy little bee and graced the site with several new patterns over the last few weeks.

Stop by and see the patterns of all our designers at BeadPatternsBoutique.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Beaded Snowflake Collection

I've wrapped four beaded snowflake patterns into one collection plus I've added a free mini snowflake surprise as a bonus.

The snowflakes are Bugle Snowflake, Lacy Snowflake, Triple Picot Spiked Snowflake and Herringbone Snowflake.

The pattern for the Triple Picot Spiked Snowflake is made with a single color, but I've added a graph showing the placement for a rainbow of pastel transparent colors to accent it.
You can find this collection at Bead Patterns Boutique or The Bead Coop.

If you bead any of these patterns, I'd love to see your work.  Send a picture to the contact e mail on the pattern and I will feature it on my FaceBook Fan page and on my personal FaceBook page.





Monday, September 5, 2011

Triple Picot Spiked Snowflake

I've finished another beaded snowflake ornament. I worked this one with a rainbow of accents and alabaster white beads, but it can be worked in any color you choose.

 The pattern for this Triple Picot Spiked Snowflake is worked in modified netting and the pattern is available at BeadPatternsBoutique. There is a picture of it in all white there too.

The pattern is fully illustrated step by step with text to explain the illustrations.

Now I'm working on compiling all four of my snowflake patterns into an e-book which will be available in another week if the weather stays cool enough I can stand to be at my computer.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Twinkle Stars

It's still hot and dry here on the High Plains of Texas. I'm trying to stay cool by thinking about Winter and the holidays to come. I've finished this six pointed star pattern. It's my first ornament of the year. It measures 1 inch by 1 inch.  I think it would make a beautiful decoration for tree, wreath, packages and more.  Or you could make two for earrings.

I've made it in several different colors of size 11 seed beads, but have used 3mm rainbow clear bugle beads in all of them. The bugle beads reflect the color of the beads around them, giving a little extra sparkle.

The pattern is available at BeadPatternsBoutique and The Bead Coop.

I have a snowflake pattern in the works.  I don't know if I'll get to the free form brick stitch "toys" decorations this year or not.  Right now I have no ideas floating on the surface of my creativity.  We'll see how that progresses as the weather cools.

Happy Beading!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flowers From Nylon Hose

This has been a week of nostalgia. While researching for a craft how-to article, I came across flowers from nylons. I remembered some corsages my Grandmother had made way back in the late 1940's and early 1950's, so I looked into that subject a little more. I had most of the materials on hand (with some improvising) and here's the result of my second try at a tulip.  Let's just say pliers and I form an alliance for necessary household repairs, but when it comes to crafts, they are not my friends, so this was a struggle. It might have been easier if I'd had forms to shape the petals over.

I have a big bag of old pantyhose with runs in them.  I kept them when I was working in an office because they're usable for a lot of different things.  I knew my Grandmother had died her old nylons, but I didn't know what she used.  I found some red food dye in my cabinet and decided to try that.  I wanted two different colors of petals, but having only one color dye, I chose a pair of coffee colored hose and a pair of nude ones. I brought some water to a boil and put the coffee ones in it to soak some of the color out so it wouldn't run when I tried to dye them.  The water turned very dark, but the hose didn't seem to loose any of their color.

I refilled the pan with clear water and added 1/2 cup vinegar and about half of the bottle of food dye.  Brought that to a boil, wet the nude hose and put both pair into the dye bath.  I let them set in the dye bath about 15 minutes then rinsed until the water ran clear.  I blotted them with an old towel and let them air dry.

Here's a picture of my first six petals. Three burgundy ones and three red ones. You can see the hose on the right. I was a little surprised at how much red the coffee colored hose soaked up, but very pleased.

When I got these all put together, the result did somewhat resemble a tulip. . .badly beaten by the West Texas wind. It stayed together long enough to get a picture, but fell apart when I laid it down.

I tried again with bigger petals.  Making the petals isn't too hard, but putting them around the stem seems to me like a three hand job.  The first picture in this blog is of the second tulip.

The instructions say to arrange the large petals around the stem wire and wrap tightly with thread, then arrange the small petals and fasten them with floral tape.  My track record with floral tape isn't good.  I either pull it so tight it breaks or don't get it tight enough to hold, so I wrapped the smaller petals with thread before I taped them.

Well that all took the better part of a day, but gave me much greater respect for my Grandmother's talents. It will take a lot of practice for me to make beautiful flowers from nylons, but I'm glad to see the craft revived.

It has gained so much popularity that you can now buy everything you need including nylon tubing in a wide variety of colors. New Sheer has everything from the stems and stamens to the colored nylon, petal forms,  wire for the petals, petal forms, tools and free tutorials all in one place.

I think I'll stick to beads for my main craft, but learning something about this retro craft was fun.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Illusion Square

I've started on a new design. As usual, it started out as something else and just evolved. The illusion wasn't planned, but when I saw it, I enhanced it.

I like the way the light blue fades between the bisque and cobalt but seems darker between the cobalt and silver-lined purple. Yes that's the same color. Somehow a white iridescent bead got in with my opaque light blue.  You can see it in the top right side of the blue line.  It picks up the color from the two cobalt beads above and below it and looks lilac.  I had started using that color as the background, but as you can see, it just made the whole design fade.

I call this design "Illusion Square".  I hope to have the pattern available by the end of the week.



I finished the blue Butterfly Fantasy with a pretty antiqued gold butterfly button I found in my button box.  I think a flower would have been more appropriate, but my flower buttons were bronze and copper and just didn't go well with the gold beads in the bracelet.  I laid the green one aside when I ran out of the background green.  I decided anything I had to improvise with just wouldn't blend with the rest of the beads, so I'll wait until I get more beads to finish it.  I'm going to close it with a round magnetic clasp.




Friday, July 15, 2011

Butterfly Fantasy

My beading muse has visited me briefly and deposited this cute design into my mind. It's been a while since I've created a sculptured peyote design and this one actually evolved from something much more abstract.

I worked this one with size 15 blue seed beads, size 8 pink lined crystal seed beads and three other colors of size 11 seed beads. I like the way the design works up with the size 15 background, but I have many customers who have a problem working with such small beads, so I decided to make one with size 11 Delicas as the background. The colors in the green one actually go better with my wardrobe.

I haven't decided what kind of clasp I'll put on the blue one yet.  I don't have anything on hand so it either has to be a beaded closure, or I'll have to buy an appropriate one.  The green one will be tapered on the ends with a magnetic clasp.

The pattern is available at
Bead Patterns Boutique
The Bead Coop
ArtFire

Well I haven't posted in a while and Blogger has made improvements to it's platform.  I have to learn how to use it all over again.  Perhaps my next blog will look a little more professional.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Spinner Earring Pattern

I've been distracted from my beading and blogging for quite a while, but I've finally managed to finish one bead project.
These Spinner Earrings are worked in brick stitch with size 11 delica beads.  I've worked them in a combination of opaque and transparent beads to give them a demensional effect.

For your shopping convenience, they are available at
My ArtFire Studio
The Bead Coop
BeadPatternsBoutique

I hope to get back into my blogging routine soon and bring you more beading technique instructions and pictures of new beadwork I've made.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Random Sale

Attention Shoppers! I'm having a random sale in my Bead Patterns Boutique shop. This applies only to The Bead Doodler's shop. The number of items will be random, the length of time they are on sale will be random and how many are changed out will be random. The only thing that will not be random is the discount. Each item on sale will be discounted a whopping 25%.

Bookmark the link and stop by often. If you see your favorite pattern, grab it now! It may not be on sale tomorrow. Get your favorite patterns and start on your Christmas list early.

Again this is not for the whole Bead Patterns Boutique site, it is ONLY for The Bead Doodler's shop.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I hope this Memorial Day Weekend is a pleasant one. In honor of Memorial Day, I'm having a store-wide sale at my ArtFire Studio. EVERY thing is 30% off through Monday, May 30th. Come on by and take a look!


Friday, May 20, 2011

BPB Member Tips

Candy Williams has submitted some tips for doing home shows for hand beadwoven jewelry in the BeadPatternsBoutique Shop Blog. Stop by and take a look.

Beth Rudy of Bouncing Wolf Creations Writes the Shop Blog for BPB and includes news of our designers and members on a regular basis.  For more news and to find out what's happening in our little corner of the bead world be sure to bookmark the Shop Blog and visit it often.

Join the BPB forum and share your tips, ask beadwork questions and glean loads of information on beadwork. Just scroll to the bottom of the BPB home page  and click on the Yahoo! groups icon to join the forum.

Nothing beady going on in my world right now except for rearranging my work space.  My children gave me a total of $75 in Amazon coupons for Mother's Day so I bought a 64 draw organizer and have been busy filling it and emptying my old bulky chest type storage units.

I've also been sorting through my other craft supplies and organizing them (they're scattered from one end of the house to the other) in the chest type units.  

I'm a pack rat and having lived in the same house for 20 years ( a new record for me) I've accumulated things that in the past I would have found new homes for when I moved.  No more moving!  Now I just have to get in the habit of clearing out no longer used items once a year.  This 20 year accumulation is ridiculous!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's Old is New Challenge Finished!

I've finally finished my What's Old is New Challenge piece. I haven't decided on a name for it, but I'm thinking of "Ravishing Ruby".

As I told you in a previous post, I've had to make several revisions on my original design due to underestimating the amount of the light bronze size 11 Tohos, but I'm pleased with the over-all look of the finished design.
The drop is made from a 15mm glass pearl capped on each end with fine filigree bead caps. This is the main part of the what's old.  I've place a twisted antique gold spacer and an 8mm glass pearl above and below the 15mm pearl, and attached the dangle to the center beaded bead with size 11 light bronze Toho beads.

The center beaded bead is formed from 4mm Swarovski Light Siam Xillion bicones, 3mm Swarovski glass pearls and size 11 light bronze Tohos.

The red beaded discs are made from the same beads as the main focal bead, but in a different configuration.  The white discs are made of 3mm Swarovski pearls and light bronze Tohos.  All these components are put together with Russian netting ropes made with size 15 silver lined seed beads and the Tohos and the same antique gold twisted spacers as I used in the drop.

To finish it I attached short pieces of chain from the original necklace to the rope with the bronze beads and the other end is attached to the antique gold KeepSake clasp with a gold jump ring.

This is the first time I've used Toho beads.  I've heard many claims of their quality and uniformity.  I'm very pleased to say that I was not a bit disappointed.  Their quality and uniformity is all I've heard they were and they were great to work with.

Swarovski components are one of my favorite bead types as I'm sure all of you who read my blog know.  I haven't seen a Swarovski bead or component yet that disappointed me.  I usually use the crystal AB bicone or colored AB, but the light Siam bicones without the AB coating are as spectacular as anyone could expect from a bead.

The KeepSake clasp is a sturdy toggle and ring but very delicate looking and the scroll decorations on it are beautiful.

ArtBeads sends beads free of charge to be used in challenges and projects from time to time and ask only for my honest evaluation.  I am not paid to blog about these supplies.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Random News

Good Monday morning.  I hope all of you who celebrate Easter had a wonderful weekend.  In spite of the cloudy windy weather it was a nice day for me.

As I don't have any news to report on my own beading (you don't want to hear my foibles, fumbles and frog stitch stories which are all I have at the moment) I thought I'd share a few things going on in the beading world.

Learn to Bead announced workshops by Huib Petersen sponsored by Be Dazzled Beads and The Center for Beadwork and Jewelry Arts in Nashvile, Tennessee on May 20 through 22.  If you're in that area it will be well worth your time.  Huib Petersen is one of the most innovative beaders of our time.

Bouncing Wolf deviated from beading to share her peanut butter eggs with her readers.

Inspirational Beading shared Easter Egg bracelet, made in tubular herringbone with graduated bead sizes. This is a technique I tried once way back when I was learning to bead.  I didn't have enough experience beading to get this technique down just from internet instructions, but I think in the near future I'll try it again.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Make it For Mom Challenge

Make it for Mom ChallengeI got this e mail from Duchess Erickson at ArtBeads.com today.

I'm excited to tell you that we have just launched our latest jewelry design contest at Artbeads! The Make it for Mom Challenge is all about creating that perfect design for Mom and having some fun too. The winner of this jewelry design contest will receive a $250 Artbeads.com Gift Card and their winning design will also be featured in the Artbeads Learning Center. All design submissions must contain at least 50% products available at the Artbeads.com website. Contestants must be 18 or older to enter and this contest is open to entrants worldwide. The winner will be determined by a public vote on Facebook starting at midnight (Pacific Time) on Mother’s Day. Make sure to submit a design yourself and tell all your beading friends, family and blog readers to enter this fun design challenge!

Make it for Mom Challenge

Artbeads is also having a special 15% off sale for your purchase of materials to make your challenge.  Just enter coupon code ZZ-MOM15 at checkout to take advantage of these fantastic savings. Hurry, this sale ends on Saturday, April 23, 2011
Make it for Mom Sale








Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Challenge Update

My What's Old is New Again challenge is becoming more of a challenge than I care to admit.

I discovered I had seriously underestimated the number of bronze seed beads I'd need, so I changed from a peyote rope to a Russian netting rope. I soon found the black size 15 seed beads didn't go with all the red and pearl of the focals, so I found some silver lined red size 15's in my stash and used those.

When I strung the finished pieces together I discovered the netting hadn't made a firm enough rope to hold its shape.

I think the overall design will still work, but I have to go back and either rework all the rope pieces or reinforce what I've made so far.

In spite of the set backs, I'm still pretty pleased with the over all design, and hope to have it finished by next week.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Fling Special Savings at Bead Patterns Boutique

Hello to all our beading friends!

Spring has sprung at the Boutique. New patterns are springing up in every category. The spring colors are in full bloom. So why not stop by and have a look?

This weekend through Monday, you can save 15% site-wide on any and all patterns at the www.BeadPatternsBoutique.com Just add them to your cart and enter the code BPBSave during check out. The discount will be deducted from your total when you click apply. Don't forget to register as a member! All shoppers at www.BeadPatternsBoutique.com receive a credit of 2% of their purchase that can be applied to future orders. This cash back never expires & has no waiting periods or restrictions.

While your in town, don't forget to stop by the all new Shop Directory! Now it's easier than ever to browse through your favorite Designer's work.

The Spring Fling Special Savings is available Saturday, April 16 through Monday April 18. So don't delay. Save some green today!

Click here to shop now! http://www.beadpatternsboutique.com

Hugs,
Marie Starr
& The BPB Design Team

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another Hexagon Angle Weave Pattern

OK I admit it. I'm obsessed with hexagon angle weave. . . for now anyway. It seems every time I look at the blank graph or even a pattern I've already made, I see a new design.

This is my latest. Spring Meadow. When my daughter visited me in March, she brought me 17 colors of seed beads, plus a lot of other beads from Istanbul. The seed beads aren't standard size 11 that I'm used to working with, but they do seem to be approximately size 10. They are very irregular and I thought they would work well for this design because, after all, nature isn't uniform. The colors and finishes intrigued me.  They aren't what I usually find here in the United States.  I chose 4 colors from what she brought me that I thought would represent the vibrance of new life in the spring. My camera doesn't do their beauty justice, but making the bracelet lifted my spirits considerably.

The pattern is available at BeadPatternsBoutique and The Bead Coop.

Now back to working on my What's Old is New Again challenge.  I've made one more component, am rethinking the pearl cube, and have worked about one more inch in the spiral rope.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bits 'n' Pieces

. . .of my What's Old is New Again challenge. As I mentioned I had some ideas that I started with.  I've been busy making components, taking them out, correcting the "oops that didn't look like I thought it would's".  Sometimes I wish I could get a clear picture in my head of what something would look like.  It would save time, but I'm a doodler and enjoy the journey as much as seeing the finished project.

Of course this isn't all I've been doing.  I have several things going at once, as usual. I can switch out and not go on auto pilot and mess things up that way.

I'm working on another hexagon angle weave pattern. The graph looked pretty straight forward, but after I got the written instructions done and started working the project, I found mistakes, so I'm correcting those as I go along. I hope to have that finished and ready to show by the first of next week.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Time to Brag



I guess the powers that be knew I needed a spirit lifter. On Monday my Arana (that's supposed to have a tilde over the n) beaded collar was featured in not one, but two, ArtFire collections. The WoW Factorby FluenteDesigns, and Seed Bead Mastersby bloomingvinedesigns.
This is one of the very few items in my ArtFire Shop that is not my design.

I had read of Saraguro beadweaving and set out to learn their technique by making up items from patterns by others.  This pattern is by Kathy Lightner and Alice Korach.


This morning I woke up to still another collection featuring my work.Invited to the Royal Wedding? Go Vintage part 2 by Jansart featured my Daisy Eyelet Earrings.  This design was a collaboration between my oldest daughter, Wendy Corley of Bohemian Heart, and I.  She had made jewelry similar to this for my youngest daughter's wedding, but she doesn't make patterns.  She agreed to let me make a pattern similar to her design to share with the world. . .but, of course, it isn't exactly like the original.

You can find the patterns for Daisy Eyelet Earrings and Necklace at BeadPatternsBoutique.  The patterns are available individually or as a set.

Thank you FluenteDesigns, bloomingvinedesigns and Jansart for making this a very special week for me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sneak Peek

I have a sneak preview for you today. I received the beads from Artbeads for my What's old is new again" challenge.
At the top left are 3mm Swarovski Pearls and next to them are Light Siam Swarovski Xillion bicones. In the next row are light bronze Toho size 11 seed beads and matte black size 15 Delicas. Below that is an antique gold Keepsake clasp set.

On the right you see my "old". Two each vintage 15mm glass pearls, gold toned filigree bead caps and gold toned metal 7mm beads from a necklace that has been in my jewelry box for over 30 years and I don't know how long my mother had it before that.  I'm not sure if I'll use all the vintage beads or not.  I have several configurations in mind.

ArtBeads never ceases to amaze me with their speedy delivery. I received e mail confirmation that my order had shipped on Monday and I got it today, Wednesday. From Washington state to Texas that's fast.

I'll keep you posted on progress, but I won't give too much away till it's finished.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hexagon Angle Weave Tutorial

I've completed a step by step tutorial for hexagon angle weave.  It's one of the bead stitches that I had so much trouble learning that I almost gave up. I'm glad I didn't.  It forms such a nice supple fabric it's very comfortable to wear.  I finished it and got it published to Squidoo yesterday, but it took a while for it to go live.

I've also put a link to Gwen Fisher's animated video so you can see the instructions in two different modes.




Friday, March 25, 2011

Hexagon Angle Weave Confusion Bracelet

I've finally completed my "Confusion" bracelet and pattern.

Learning hexagon angle weave was a great challenge, but once I got it into my head, I wondered why I had so much trouble with it. It does take multiple steps to complete a design, but it follows a completely logical thread path. Maybe that was my problem, I'm not a logical thinker.

Anyway It's done and I'm very pleased with how my design turned out. I haven't decided on a clasp yet, but I wanted to share my victory with my readers.

You can find the pattern in my BeadPatternsBoutique shop:
or at TheBeadCoop
or in my ArtFire Studio




I haven't decided what's next.  I've been looking through Gwen Fisher's tutorials. She has some interesting stitches as well as fantastic beaded beads.  The fact that they are all based on mathematics fascinates me, maybe because my brain usually shuts off when I hear "math", but these designs and stitches are so beautiful I'm drawn to them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Features at Bead Patterns Boutique

Have you been to Bead Patterns Boutique lately? Site owner, Marie Starr of Starr Design Studio, has been working overtime revamping the site,  adding new features and making navigation easier.

The site is now like a cyber mini-mall.  Each designer has a catalog. You can click on Shop Directory at the top of the page and see all the designers names, click on that designer to see all their patterns, or you can click on Catalog and shop all the patterns in the whole boutique.  Shop different designers and pay out with one payment to the boutique as you always have.

If you're not already a member of the BeadPatternsBoutique Forum, be sure to sign up.  Our forum is a very friendly place with beaders from beginners to advanced, and all the designers are participating members too.  It's almost like a great big beading party with everyone gathered around the same table.  Ask beading questions, discover new designs and stitches, contribute your own special knowledge to the group and have fun.


We offer special sales to forum members on a regular basis and have fun playing Beady Bling Bingo.  We'll have a new game starting soon, but you have to be a forum member to receive the notice of the beginning of the game and instructions on how to receive your Bingo card, so go sign up now and be prepared for lots of beady fun.

New Features at Bead Patterns Boutique

Have you been to Bead Patterns Boutique lately? Site owner, Marie Starr of Starr Design Studio, has been working overtime revamping the site,  adding new features and making navigation easier.
 
The site is now like a cyber mini-mall.  Each designer has a catalog. You can click on Shop Directory at the top of the page and see all the designers names, click on that designer to see all their patterns, or you can click on Catalog and shop all the patterns in the whole boutique.  Shop different designers and pay out with one payment to the boutique as you always have.  

If you're not already a member of the BeadPatternsBoutique Forum, be sure to sign up.  Our forum is a very friendly place with beaders from beginners to advanced, and all the designers are participating members too.  It's almost like a great big beading party with everyone gathered around the same table.  Ask beading questions, discover new designs and stitches, contribute your own special knowledge to the group and have fun.

We offer special sales to forum members on a regular basis and have fun playing Beady Bling Bingo.  We'll have a new game starting soon, but you have to be a forum member to receive the notice of the beginning of the game and instructions on how to receive your Bingo card, so go sign up now and be prepared for lots of beady fun.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SuJens BLOG: Finished pieces "Ready To Wear"

SuJens BLOG: Finished pieces "Ready To Wear"

This new Etsy shop belongs to one of my beading buddies, Susan Jensen.  She's also a member of the designers team at Bead Patterns Boutique

Stop by and check out her amazing beadwork..

Monday, March 14, 2011

Artfire Beadweaver's Guild: Celtic Challenge

This is the first ArtFire BeadWeavers Guild Challenge I've entered, and I'm really excited about it. We didn't have very many entries this time, but there are some very talented beadweavers represented.

Please cast your vote between now and March 21st.


Just go to ArtFire Beadweavers Guild and click on your favorite!



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Celtic Cross Pendant Finished!

I did it!  I finished the Celtic Cross pendant.  Thanks  to the encouragement from my facebook and blogger followers.  You made me believe it could. :)  Stephanie, I modeled this one after the picture from St. Andrews Cathedral.  I know Celtic Crosses sometimes have arms of equal length, but I liked this style better. 
The pendant has been entered into the challenge and uploaded to my ArtFire Studio.



Friday, March 11, 2011

Celtic Cross Project

OK, I'm not usually a quitter but I know when I'm whupped. Here are all the components of my Celtic Cross Project laid out as they should be joined. I've worked the cross four times and each design gets worse. This is the final one and it not only is warped, it won't attach to the halo without buckling. Into the UFO or salvage bin it goes.

The ArtFire BeadWeavers Guild Challenge is Celtic Symbols. I wanted to make the Celtic Cross because it speaks to me. In the Western world the Cross is primarily thought of as a Christian symbol, but the Celtic Cross predates Christianity. The four arms of the cross represent the four directions or the four elements, and the circle or halo represents the universal energy (Chi) that connects everything. That's just a very basic explanation of the symbolism of the Celtic Cross. This view doesn't necessarily contradict or interfere with the Christian Symbol, just adds some depth of history to it.

Perhaps at a later date a more workable cross design will emerge and I will be able to finish this cross.

On another note:

There is less then one week left before Artbeads picks the winner of the Artbeads Road to Tucson Sweepstakes! This fun prize package includes round trip airfare for two to Tucson, Arizona to attend the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase, 3 nights hotel accommodations and classes with renowned beading instructors. I don't want you to miss out on the chance to win this incredible beaders dream vacation so get on over there and sign up!  Entries will be accepted until March 16, 2011 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.


Artbeads.com 20% Off Luck of the Irish SaleIn other exciting news, Artbeads just launched a 20% Off Luck of the Irish Sale. As you probably can guess, these 20% off sales are super popular and people are always asking us when the next one is.  This storewide sale includes everything from gold-filled beads and sparkling Swarovski crystals to stringing materials and basic supplies. You can save 20% on your order of $60 or more. To take advantage of this sale, just enter the coupon code: ZZ-IRISH20 at checkout. But, don't delay because this sale ends on Monday, March 14, 2011.


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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sassy Sunflower Bracelet

Ideas are still pouring through my mind like a rushing river.  Unfortunately there isn't a pool to collect them in.  A few have managed to wash ashore long enough for me to capture them.  This Sassy Sunflower bracelet is one of them.

I've tried to push myself out of my comfort zone when it comes to working with colors.  Yellow is a color that I usually have a hard time combining with other colors, but I think this one turned out pretty sweet.

You can find the pattern for this bright perky bracelet at BeadPatternsBoutique and at The Bead Coop.

The bracelet is available in my ArtFire Studio.

I'm still working on my Celtic Cross pendant for the ArtFire Beadweaver's Guild Challenge.  I only have four more days to complete it.  If another idea doesn't present itself with too much force, I'll make it.

My daughter's visit from Turkey didn't help.  She brought me beads, beads, beads and more beads.  The seed beads are a little irregular but the colors are so beautiful I just have to find a way to use them.  She also brought me some more traditional Middle Eastern beads and I have some half formed plans in my mind for them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

ArtBeads New Products


It's definitely Monday!  I love Mondays.  I wake up with my head full of ideas and plans.  The only problem is sticking with one idea long enough to finish it.

I do have something great to share with you.  ArtBeads has a lot of new products for all their creative, beady customers.  Check out their new additions to Czech pressed glass, floral beads, Swarovski elements, new colors of Tila beads ( I have been drooling over these since I first heard of them) and many many more.

Don't forget to shop the weekly specials.  Follow their blog for updates and the latest news from ArtBeads.

Thanks for stopping by.  Now it's back to the drawing board.  The item I'm working on went together relatively smoothly, but drawing the pattern has me really frustrated.  Hmmmm.  I wonder what other kind of distraction I can find.  NO NO, I must finish that pattern.

 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cubic Flowers

I don't know if Spring is here to stay or not, but the warm, sunny weather has certainly gotten me into the mood to celebrate spring.

After working this design about half dozen different ways, I finally came up with a cute cubic flower. It's Cubic RAW stitch with a little side trip and some embellishment.

I've uploaded the earrings and pendant to my ArtFire Studio.

You can find the pattern for these bright sparkly little 1/2 inch jewels at BeadPatternsBoutique and TheBeadCoop.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

BeadPatternsBoutique SALE!


One Sweet Deal at the Boutique! 2/14 through 2/16

  • Posted on February 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm
Savings of 10% off site wide will be going on at http://www.beadpatternsboutique.com. Great savings on every pattern throughout the store! With 13 fantastic designers and new patterns being posted all the time, you are bound to find something you like. Your discount is applied at checkout. Enter the discount word “Sweet”

If you haven’t been to the Boutique lately, then you haven’t BEEN to the Boutique. There are some wonderful changes that I’m sure you are going to just love!
Register for a profile with the Boutique:
  • Access to your purchase history
  • Know exactly what the Boutique knows about you
  • Sign in before you shop so you can take advantage of our new express check out and immediate download
  • No more waiting for that receipt with the password, just log in, go to history and your patterns are right there.
Did I mention 2% Cash back on every purchase?
No wait time, no gimmicks, no games! It’s yours to use whenever you want!
Are you ready to register to become a Member of www.BeadPatternsBoutique.com?
The Boutique will never share your information with anyone, we hate spam just as much as you do. If you do not wish to be notified via email of sales, you can simply opt out in your profile.
You do not have to have a profile to shop or take advantage of our sale. Once you have gone through checkout, simply check your email for your download receipt. At the bottom will be a link, a password, and username to be used to retrieve your patterns. Click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page and enter the  information you were sent.
Sale effective 2/14/11 through 2/16/11

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Project/Frozen Brain

I've been working on a new pendant/bracelet pattern for the past three days.  Every time I think I've got it going my way, I think of a way to make it better, and of course, it's always something that has to be changed at the beginning, so I end up taking the whole thing out and starting over.  I don't know if my brain is too frozen to plan a design one step ahead, or if I'm just in that ol' second guess myself , , ,nothing's quite good enough mode.


I'm definitely ready for spring and this design will be bright and "springy" if I ever get it to the point I'm satisfied with it.  The temperature dropped 30 degrees in an hour or so yesterday and never got above freezing today. I know much of the nation is inundated with snow and ice, so below freezing temps may not sound too bad, but we rarely have weather this cold and this old body (and brain) just don't adapt well any more.


Hopefully I'll thaw out soon and get this design finished.  I'm really excited about it because it's not like any I've ever done before and I'm very anxious to show it off.

Monday, February 7, 2011

ArtBeads Winter Enchantment

I finally finished my project for ArtBeadsWinter Enchantment. I got the closure finished yesterday and have been trying all morning to get good pictures. I might as well have been trying to capture a falling snowflake, but here it is.
The bezel around this 30X40 cameo uses 3mm Swarovski pearls and 3 colors of size 11 delicas.

The double fringe, used to simulate ice cycles, uses the same three colors of delicas, more of the 3mm pearls, 3mm crystal AB druks and 4mm Swarovski crystal AB bicones.

I used crystal AB and pearl white AB delicas with 3mm crystal AB druks to make the snake chain strap.

 I had ordered two opals to transition between the cameo and the strap, but when I got one bezeled and set it beside the cameo I felt like the fantastic pink and gold fire in the opals overwhelmed the cameo, so I bezeled some opalite coins to add to the chain and to make the closure.
The Three Fates now dance merrily in the snow above a frozen waterfall, oblivious to the freezing cold.

The opals and opalite coins are items I haven't used before.  I found the fire in the opals fantastic as I mentioned before.  The opalite coins are very regular and have little to no chipping around the holes.  The holes are smooth and pose no snagging or cutting threat to the bead thread.

The Swarovski components, as always, are beautiful, regular and add fantastic sparkle to any project.  Although I haven't used delicas for bezels before because their cylindrical shape doesn't lend itself to curving around the cab, I found that with a little tweaking of my method they worked great.

I do not receive payment for blogging about ArtBead supplies.  ArtBeads supplies beads and beading material of my choice, free of charge,  from time to time for evaluation.  These statements are my honest opinion of all supplies described.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011



ArtFire

Did you know you can sell your handmade items on ArtFire.com with no listing fees and no commissions? ArtFire offers a basic seller package that is completely free!

Of course the pro members have many more promotional tools at their disposal for a small fee per month. Paying a monthly fee instead of listing fees and commissions allows you to build your shop inventory over time without having to pay relisting fees when items expire.

Experts say shops with 100 or more items do much better than those with just a few items, but sometimes getting that much inventory done can take several months, and the relisting fees can exceed the pro membership monthly fee at Artfire.

ArtFire has excellent support forums to help you build your shop exposure, and a special forum link to help you get started. If you sell on Etsy, you can import your entire Etsy shop into Artfire and with just a few key strokes have your ArtFire shop set up.

We all know exposure is the key to sales. I was a little hesitant about opening an ArtFire studio with the same inventory I had on Etsy, but it wasn't a problem.

Get your pro membership at ArtFire now and lock in the $9.95 per month rate. Hurry. Rates are going up soon.


Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 The Challenges Have Begun

It's been a while since I just talked about what I was doing. Sometimes I wonder why I seem to get so little done. Take a look at my bead mat. It's pretty clear. I started a Celtic Cross for the ArtFire Beadweaver's Guild Challenge "Celtic Symbols". On the left you'll see some of the failed ideas and bits and pieces I'll keep. I was trying to get it finished before my order for the ArtBeads Winter Enchantment theme came in. I didn't make it. I finally got a workable piece going for the cross last night. My ArtBeads order came in today. On the right of the mat you see the supplies for my Winter Enchantment project. The ArtFire Challenge isn't due until March, so It will be put aside while I work on the ArtBeads project.

Maybe I'll keep you up to date on what the Winter Enchantment project is and how it's coming along, and maybe I'll keep it all under wraps until it's finished.

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