Sunday, December 27, 2015

Joining the New Stress Relieve Rage

I decided to take a stab at coloring again. I haven't colored in many many years, but all the hoopla I've been seeing on facebook prompted me to download some free pages and just see if it was as therapeutic as everyone claimed.

The past 10 or so years, I have rarely used a pen or pencil. Everything was done on the computer. After I retired 8 years ago I wrote nothing in longhand except a grocery list (which I had trouble reading). It had gotten to the point holding a writing utensil was awkward and my hand would cramp in a very short time. I doubted I'd be able to color, but I had some colored pencils that I'd bought for my granddaughter five or six years ago and with the free pages trying wouldn't cost me anything.  

It wasn't long before I discovered that my fingers were much more limber and what hindered coloring more than anything was my eyes would get tired, but it was relaxing and I wasn't stressing as much over the trials of retired life.

As I was looking through some of the pages I'd downloaded, I did a double take when I realized, at least one of them was made with the kaleidoscope effect in a photo shop program.

I'd made a few snowflake brushes, so I had an idea of how the effect worked. I decided I'd try making my own coloring pages. I've spent most of the morning squiggling and adjusting and have found it just as relaxing as coloring. The picture shows four of the designs I've created and I'm getting a much better idea of how to make the initial "squiggle".

While I'm more at ease at the computer, I still need to keep coloring so I wan't forget how to hold a pencil.

I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays and are not in the path of these winter storms.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Flat Chenille Stitch

I had mentioned in a previous post the similarities between Pondo (African Circle stitch) and Chenille stitch.  Jean Powers posted a basic tutorial by Diana Balogh in Beading Daily.  It looked fairly simple except some of the turns were a bit complex. I spent several hours trying to bead the sample on the left from that tutorial and kept getting lost on the turns.  My solution, of course, was to make my own illustrations, breaking down the parts that confused me into different steps. 

While I was at it, my muse plunked some designs into my head so I made some graphs of those.  The heart on the right is the result of one of those.  I can't tell if the slight irregularity is a result of uneven tension (I know I got the start row too tight) or if the beads aren't as uniform as the yellow ones on the left.  I suspect it's a little of both.

Now that I've got the illustrations drawn and have sort of mastered the stitch, I hope to have an illustrated tutorial posted to my Hub Pages within the week.  Writing the accompanying article will be the hard part.

Wow! The year's nearly over.  Christmas this weekend.  I hope all of you stay safe on the highway if you're traveling, and that you have a very Merry Christmas. . .or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

How Do You Make an Oval Round?

Well, I really don't know. I guess you just follow your muse and let her do what she wants with the beads.

I showed you my partially bezeled flat oval bead in my Monday Ramble. I've now finished both sides and as I had thought, there's not much of the bead showing on the second side. What really blew me away was the shape. Yes, this is two sides of the same bead/cab. 

Maybe I'll come up with a really cool bail for it soon, but right now my eyes are very tired of looking at those transparent peridot superduos (which are almost invisible on side 2) and tiny, shiny, size 15 gold beads, so I'm going to lay this aside for a while.

Organizing the office and learning flat Chenille stitch are the next things on the docket.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Another Monday Ramble

From the first nasty winter cold spell/storm until the trees begin to leaf out in the spring, it seems that I go through what I call my winter blues.  It's a mild depression that saps my energy, inspiration and motivation to do anything other than what's necessary to stay alive.

I've attributed it to the weather, but really we don't have long stretches of bad weather or cloudy skies, so I reasoned that can't be the entire cause.

I was thinking this morning and once again remembered my ex-husband's parents both died during the month of December.  I loved them dearly and they were two of the best friends I ever had. BUT
December also is the month of joyous celebrations. There's Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and it is also the month one of my Daughters-in-law, who has been a wonderful addition to our family, was born and to top it off, it's the month she was born into our family when she married my son. 

My mother passed away during the month of January that is also the month she gave birth to me and my youngest daughter gave birth to her daughter.  It's also the beginning of a new year and we all look forward with hope to the coming year being better than the year before.

I'm writing this as a reminder to myself that during these months that usually bring me down I must look for the positive side of things.  I don't know how well it will work, but this is me fighting for normalcy.

On another note, I promised myself that when I finished making Christmas ornaments I would clear up and organize my bead space. So much for promises. In the initial phase of clean-up, wouldn't you know, I found a large 25mm X 30mm X 2mm bead. I thought "I should bezel that using some superduo beads".  Since it's flat it can be reversible and the two sides can be different. As you can see in the picture, one side seems to be fine, but the other side isn't going as I'd hoped. By the time I get it cinched in there won't be much of the bead showing, but I haven't given up yet.


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