Sunday, March 29, 2015

Partially Elegant

For the Winter Blues reveal, go here!

Once upon a time, there was a small container of lovely purple druks that got set down next to a small container of light blue faceted crystals. No one expected that they would play nicely together, but surprisingly enough, they were kind of elegant together.

Sometimes a serendipitous discovery, or a junky bead table, can lead to some surprising combinations like this one.  So I whipped out the seed beads and the needle, and brought them together in a netted necklace.

Except that there weren't quite enough beads to make a complete necklace. At least not a complete necklace for a grown woman with a neck bigger than 12" around.


So I toted the partially completed necklace to every shop in town, and even a couple of bead shows, trying to find purple druks that matched to add enough length at the back.  Here's a revelation -- apparently, a 6mm druk in a nice rich purple is scarcer than hen's teeth. 

What I ended up with is close. Not perfect (the new purple's a little too blue), but close enough for me to wear since the back will be hidden by my hair.  If I want to sell this, the search for the perfect purple will continue.

Until then, it's partially elegant.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Winter Blues - The Reveal!

Liz E of Bead Contagion found some very cool blue goldstone donuts, and like any good friend with a box of goodies, she offered to share. Beads, donuts, blue, sparkly?  Um, yes, please!

These beads, as you might guess from the name of the hop, arrived in the mail in the dead of winter.  And like a clear, dark winter night, they turned out to be a delicious deep blue with the sparkle of a million stars. So pretty.

Recently obsessed with chances to improve my budding soutache skills, I whipped out my soutache, my seed beads, and my dandy new scissors, and decided this was the perfect chance. And boy, howdy, did I have fun with this! I don't usually name my pieces, but I think this one has named itself "Night In The Kasbah"...

You can just glimpse the jump ring that will eventually connect this pendant to a necklace,
but wowza, look at the goldstone sparkle in that donut!!
Liz, thank you for the beautiful blues, and thank you for the chance to create! These beads were a bright spot in the darkest part of a long winter.  And now, to wait for the breeze outdoors to warm up enough to evoke the warmth of the Kasbah...

Now, go see what everyone else made with their sparkly blues!

Liz (host):  Bead Contagion
Christine:  One Kiss Creations Beaded Jewelry 
Jasvanti:  Jewelry by Jasvant 
Cynthia:  Antiquity Travelers    
Bobbie:  Beadsong Jewelry
Therese:  Therese’s Treasures 
Amy:  Amybeads

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Surprise Behind The Door

There's a little hole-in-the-wall shop near my office that has an unassuming little sign out front saying, "FABRIC".

I needed a new pair of embroidery scissors for my new soutache adventures (ok, who am I kidding -- any excuse for a new tool!), so I dropped in, hoping to find something.

Behind the unassuming door to the narrow little hole in the wall shop, this is what I saw:

This was half of the store. The other half of the store is REALLY full.  And you should see
the back wall (actually, there's no way to see it -- you just have to assume it's there behind the trims)!

Holy cats, I found fabric heaven.  The whole place was packed - PACKED - with fabric from floor to ceiling, front to back, with only the narrowest of paths between the three towers of bolts of awesomeness. It was amazing!

As in "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe", where the children open the door of a wardrobe and discover a fantastic new world, I felt like I'd fallen into a magical place. It's a good thing I don't sew anymore, because I'd have rented a UHaul and backed it right up to that unassuming little door and cleared the place out.  Some lunch hour soon, I'll be back over there, digging through the stacks in search of the treasures you know must be there.

Oh, and the scissors? Yep, I got some.  They look like a tie dyed rainbow stork, they're just the size I wanted, and they're weird unique enough that no one will walk off with them by mistake!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Melting Lakes and A New Bracelet

The weather around here has been absolutely glorious for the past few days.  Temperatures warm enough to go out with fewer than ten layers of clothes on. Actual, honest to goodness sunshine. Ground visible where before there were waist-high piles of snow.  Spring is truly on its way.

So I went out for a stroll yesterday down to a little park on Lake Michigan that's near my place. It's always a little colder next to the lake than it is a few blocks away, so there was snow on the sand, and large shards of ice being pushed up to the shoreline by the waves of the thawing lake.

Those are thin sheets of ice, each about the size of a poster board, piling up on the
shoreline as the lake melts
and the waves push the surface ice to land
The sky was blue, the ice on the water was sparkling, and people were enjoying the promise of spring.

A week or so, when the snow was still deep on the ground, I finished this bracelet, and to me it just screams "spring!!!!" It's a pattern that came from just sitting and playing with the beads.  With the recent thaw, it seems right to show it now.

You'll see it's kind of the next step in the patterns I developed here as part of one of the Time To Stitch challenges.  I was having ninety-three kinds of fits trying to figure out an appropriate clasp, but I found the cute little citrine colored mushroom-shaped beads, and ta da!

Here's a little video I shot on my phone at the lake.  Ignore the sounds of the people who were behind me and enjoy the gentle sound of the waves under the surface of the ice, whispering the promise of warmer days. (That is, if the video works -- it's behaving very strangely for me....)

Friday, March 13, 2015

She Who Should Have Been Shared Earlier

This little darling existed in an unfinished state for a while, but she finally got herself together.  Or rather, I finally got myself together to finish her and take pictures!

When I moved in October, she traveled in her incompleteness in a UFO box. When I started getting settled in, she was the first thing I reached for to work on.  The ocean jasper cab is one of my favorites -- but then, I'm a sucker for that gemstone anyway.

The challenge I set myself on this piece was to attach the neck strap to the pendant without weaving a bail or loop.  I incorporated the edging of the pendant into the tubular herringbone of the neck strap as I wove it, and I'm very happy with the result.  (Of course, I forgot to take a picture from an angle where you can actually see what I'm talking about....) Each time I used an edging bead in the strap, I did the whole round in that kind of butterscotch color.  You can kind of see the variegation in the part of the strap that is visible, showing that every other round is where a pendant edging bead was used as an attachment.  The result is particularly nice when wearing the necklace, because the clasp can't come squirreling down to the front of the necklace, and the pendant always hangs the way it should.

The picasso glass daggers were a serendipity -- I bought them "just because", and only by chance did I put them near this piece on the worktable.  They matched so beautifully, it was meant to be.

I ought to have shared her here before, but better late than never (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)