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Thursday, October 29, 2020

A Purplish Day

  I have spent this week replenishing some of the kits that have sold out in my Etsy shop.  First, there is the popular Fuchsia kit for Pineapple Blossom necklace.  It really is elegant.  I've worn it twice this week and it's only Thursday.  

I also finally got the focal jewels for the Orchid Mist kits and got them listed too.

What a different feel the two necklaces have!

Since I was in Purple land, I also finished up a few more Grape kits for Caramel's Claws, using a new acorn bead.  The silver one is just no longer available, so I have found a pretty good substitute and am happy with the result.  

I think the lavender references the strung purple beads in the yoke nicely.

I am putting the focal bead images from that listing here, so you can have a closeup look.

A is evenly mottled with light and dark purples, only very minor pitting.

B has lots of lighter color, with minor pitting near the edges.  I like the concentric lines.

C has especially nicely arranged color, lighter at the center, and darker at the edges.  Quite smooth.

D has really interesting markings and the two sides are quite different, giving you a nice option.  One small nick on a long edge will be covered by the bezel.

I don't know what happened to the other image of E!  It has deep rich color with flashes of light.

I have to paint the dragons for Paradise Dragon Necklace tomorrow, and should get them listed sometime tomorrow, with a little luck and stamina!  Still in the Purple theme!

Thank you so much for keeping my busy during these crazy times.  
Stay SAFE, and GO AND VOTE!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

That Sweater Needed a Necklace

 It came from Target.  It's a color that is in the Pantone array for Fall and Winter this year. I had the Orchid Mist Pineapple Blossom necklace that worked with it.  But I had made that necklace shorter to wear on my skin with an orchid summer top, and it felt not long enough.  

Here's the original (but short) Orchid Mist.

So I made a new, longer one, with a silver demi bead.

I really like the result.  It has a dressier look than my original, because of the silver framing and the richer finish (Pink Metallic Suede) of the Czech round accent beads.  I designed the original colorway to work with a range from Orchid through Purple, but somehow, this lively Magenta wanted a different feel.  I'll show you the two together so you can compare and contrast.

This necklace sold out in all of its colorways last month after a kind gentleman posted his finished work in Seed Beads and More on Facebook.  Then another client posted her beautifully finished work and I have been scrambling to get some kits in stock! 

I now have all the colors available except Orchid Mist, and I am just waiting on the focal jewels to assemble those kits.  

Please visit my Etsy shop for the Pineapple Blossom Tutorial and the many kits available. 

Stay safe in this crazy weird year of chaos and surprises!  

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Leaf Adaptations from Joni

Joni, a buyer of my Fall Flame Leaf tutorial, contacted me a couple weeks ago and told me she wanted to work out her own colorway for the leaf.  She asked very kindly if I could possibly create a blank chart for her to make that possible. I did so with reasonable ease, and sent her a .png file.  Above is her first result, and I really like it!  My buyers often show me things that stretch my own imagination, and Joni surely did.

I pick up leaves as I walk each day, and this pile was from last week.  I think Joni has worked in a more realistic way than I have in any of my own stylized colorways.  Although those of you who own the pattern know I encourage the occasional moving of colors in each row (especially on the second side) to tend gently more toward Mother Nature's results, Joni is full on Au Naturel!  The two sides of Joni's leaf are totally different, as often is the case in nature.  She has even gone to the point of creating a bug or hail hole on one side, the whimsy of which I find delightful. She has also used a different vein color from the edge color, a further step into realism.  

Then yesterday, she sent my photos of the complete necklace.  It's so similar to the lower right leaf in my pile!

She has also substituted my rope base with a piece of 3mm tubing and found the PERFECT button to use as a clasp.

Here's how it looks in use.  I love it when people use my designs so innovatively!

Pretty cool, huh? Joni has also messed with the gradation a bit at the rope ends, and to great effect with the button.

When I modified my tutorial to include my most recent "Conflagration" colorway, I added the blank chart to the tutorial as a final page. I am encouraging you to enjoy yourself and design your own results as Joni did.  I'll post it here too.  

In a way, I suppose you could think I am handing out my tutorial, but I believe my text instructions and step by step diagrams are necessary to success with this project.  If you want the updated version of the tut, you may be able to download it from your receipt, and if not, just ask and I will send it along if you convo me from your purchase receipt.  You also have my permission and blessing to steal it here, from my blog, if you have purchased the tutorial.  

If you don't own the tutorial, here's a link to my Etsy shop, where you can purchase it and several kits currently available:

Happy Leaf Season!  Stay SAFE!

Friday, September 18, 2020

A Tale of Four Bails

EDITED TO ADD: I am having a 20% off sale on the tutorial for this project this weekend, Sept 19 and 20.  In fairness to those shopping for the tutorial because of the sale, I am posting the new kit at 8:00 am, since I feel the need to tell those buying other kits that this one exists.  If you want one and did not get one, I will make more this week.  Sorry for my change of plans! 

I have a new colorway for my Fall Flame Leaf kits.  I wanted to capture the full color of the Sugar Maples, and ended up also realizing imagery of the Forest Fires on the West Coast in this 2020 edition.  I think this particular color scheme is especially dramatic worn on black clothing

I have added this colorway to my tutorial and if you have an older edition and want these color names and numbers, please just Convo me on Etsy and I will send the new version along to you.  I also found an F near the end of Row 4 of the original tutorial that should have been an E.  So amended, AND corrected.  

As most things Pandemic, this was a little struggle.  I made four leaf samples to get one I liked, and them also created 4 bails to find one that supported the rope and leaf without taking too much focus.

Here are the leaf efforts.  I wanted to use silver-lined beads for their luminosity, and found many I liked.

I saw a little pink in the leaves I was collecting as models, and used a Toho #2226 Raspberry Silver Lined (Raspberry Fade above) at the very edge in my first sample.  But it was a dyed bead.  I rarely have trouble with those, but in this case, the color rubbed off, leaving silvery blue glints I kinda liked, but I worried about long term wear and durability.  So I switched to a Matsuno #638JS Silver Lined Rainbow Ruby, which had the blue and pink flashes I liked in the original.  I thought it looked BODACIOUS! But the work was extremely curly, given the larger size of those Matsuno beads with the tiny shiny black Miyuki Delicas I was using for the vines and edges, the Matsuno beads really pushed forward, both visually and physically.  That leaf was amazing, but more challenging to bead and very curvy indeed.  So I thought I would switch to Miyuki beads for the entire project., but the yellows (Lemon-Lime above) were a little too lemon-lime yellow, and the orange and flame red too close to each other in hue.  So I thought I could switch to Toho shiny black edges and veins, but I needed wholesale quantities and could not find them at my local supplier.  So I switched to Toho Jet Black Matte for the veins and their Semi Glaze Black for the edges and Went back to some of the Original Matsuno colors I loved, with a Miyuki Ruby AB E bead, and finally!!!had a leaf I thought was good.  

Let me say right now, if you like the Bodaciousness of the Matsuno S/L Rainbow Ruby, just tell me, and I'll replace the Miyuki beads in the kit for you with the Matsuno.  I have made the kit I think it easiest to bead and representative of the results I was aiming for. 

 I really like the matte black beads over my original shiny choice.  It looks all the more like flames and forest fires to me, and that seems so right for this year.

Now, about those 4 bails.  Most of the other kits have a rainbow finish Aiko or Delica as their bail, and some have a mix of beads.  My first two guesses for the bail failed to belong to the work in any real way.  I used both colors in the original sample, one in the first few rows and the second in the last few, to equally poor results!  GAH!

Then I tried a black matte bail.  It became complete focus of the necklace to my eye.  Nope.

Then I mixed Delicas in the B, C, and D colors of the leaf.  This was a step in the right direction and seemed a part of the whole.  You could choose to do it with the kit as provided.

My final bail choice was to take the three BCD colors from the leaf and organize them into a gradation similar to the leaf.  I felt like it pointed at the leaf, and put the focus where I wanted it.  I have included a closeup photo of this work in the kit, and I was not super strict with where the beads went exactly, just tried to put as close to the same number beads of each color in each row as I could, given row counts.  The color shift is subtle, and gently random, but I really felt it was a good solution to the problem.

The pile of beads purchased and not used is ridiculous.  BUT I am at peace with what I have to present and that means more to me than anything else.  I might also feel a new beaded Autumnal Bag coming on.  I might need all those rejects after all!  I am so spoiled by the two great Twin Cities Bead shops Bobby Bead and Stormcloud Trading.  Thank you for being here!

Kits for the new colorway will be available in my Etsy shop tomorrow, September 19th, probably 10:00AM CST.  I doubt there will be a huge rush, but if I am wrong, I can re-kit fairly quickly, now that all the hard work is done.  Stay safe, my beady buddies, and enjoy this beautiful autumn! I'll drop in a link tomorrow for the kits, and if you want the updated tut, just convo me and I'll be sure you get a copy.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Back In Stock Fall Flame Leaf in "Singe"

Yup.  Singe is back in stock.  It's been a long time since this one was available.  Find it here in my Etsy shop:

I was planning to restock this using the new Toho Permanent Finish gold beads, but Covid seems to have robbed me of that opportunity.  There are few to be found and the kit requires 11 grams.  So it's back to the original 24k gold finishes.  This makes it a more expensive kit that the others, but honestly, it is also REALLY elegant in person!

I love the rope in particular with the real gold shimmer guiding the eye through all the color transitions.

I have also made one change in the leaf beads.  I was never best pleased with the D bead, which was a soft gold transparent rainbow bead.  It's the one next to the smoke topaz at the edges of the leaf above.  All the other beads have a silver lining and this one did not, so I have replaced it with a silver lined topaz, which has better presence and punch.  You will have to take my word for it, since I did only a scrap of sample to be sure I would approve.

I have been spending my energies on finding a new colorway for this fall.  And yesterday, I thought I had it.  But when I finished the first half of the leaf, I noticed the Raspberry finish was rubbing off the bead, leaving some pale pinks and some flat silvers.  GAH!

See the Raspberry beads near the black edge?  See how some of they are pale pink?  There's one at the bottom center that has lost almost ALL of its color.  Sigh.  I looked the bead up on my favorite Toho suppliers website, and sure enough, there is a color stability warning.  So I have made another choice and a new sample is underway.  But I think you can see where I was going.  It screams October to me, and I think it will be good worn on black.

Yes, I do still have other design ideas, but the fall Gem and Lapidary Workers show was again cancelled like the spring one.  Until I have better access to unique and beautiful component shopping, I am kinda stalled.  Plus every other bead I decide I need seems to be impossible to locate.  SO... hang in there.  I am not done with beads, but the struggle is real, as they say.  If everything goes well and nothing is impossible to buy, this kit should be ready for next weekend.

OH!  And the 12mm Pearl Acorns are back in stock.  They went fast!  THANK YOU!! That tutorial is also half price again for this long weekend, through Monday.  I bet you know how to get there, but just in case:

Monday, August 31, 2020

12mm Pearl Acorn Earrings

EDITED TO SAY:  Kits are re-stocked in all four colors!

I am pleased to say that I have a tutorial in the FINAL Bead and Button magazine.  I made up a few kits and re-vamped my 12mm tutorial in honor of the event.  It's on sale half price (normally $5, now $2.50) for the rest of the holiday weekend.  I should have written this post on Friday!!!

The tutorial is very similar to the one I did for the Peach Caramel's Claws necklace, and if you own that version, there is no real need to buy the new one.  Except of course that I believe I improved the illustrations and layout just a bit.  But I am just like that. And it includes all the bead lists for the new colorways.  But I'll just give you that here. Not the best quality image, but the best I can do right now.

They are pretty, simple, and I like the scale with my smaller face and bones.  Here are the glamor shots.

I am also working on re-kitting my Fall Flame leaves.  Some are done and in my shop, and the rest, plus one new colorway should be ready this week.

I have done no beading this summer.  I have spent my time in my garden, community parks, and on our many lakes in my Covid kayak.  I have always wanted one, but have never before had the muscle to move one around on my own.  It's a wonderfully peaceful thing, and good for my soul.

I think about many of my repeat clients often, and hope that you are all weathering this year of challenges well.  I do have a couple new projects in mind, and maybe with the cooler weather, I will stay off the water and put some of them together for you.  Till then, a virtual, socially distanced hug to you all!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Blueberries in Season!

Holy Cow, my second post in a single day?  I have been working all week to collect supplies for more requested Blueberry Kits for the Caramel's Claws Necklace.  They are listed in my shop, although the last couple kits are still a few beads short.  Hopefully they do not sell out fast!  A reminder of the piece and a link below to the kit listing.


In any case, I wanted to use this space to post the focal photos, so you can take a good look and fall in love.  This time I have kitted with both the Polished AND Matte focal beads.  You can also choose whether you want a Blue Laguna acorn bead, or a Copper one, which would look very acorn-y indeed.

Here are the polished focals!

A nice soft blue with a little cloudy grey.  A small pit on the second side. SOLD OUT!

Great texture on the first side and a sweet little color ombre on side 2.  SOLD OUT!

Soft color with a cool fracture line.

Nice textural blend of light and deeper blues. Like an arial view of waterways. SOLD OUT!

Storm clouds rolling in.  Maybe that fracture line is lightning?   SOLD OUT!

And now the MATTE Focals.  I've not used these before.  
The colors are really vibrant and YUMMY!

OMGee it's just so pretty.  That patterning!  I'd have a hard time choosing a side.  
There is a little geode-ish pitting in the dark areas

Subtle patterning would allow the coppery prong setting to really shine.  SOLD OUT!

I love the swath of turquoise on side one.  Maybe I am beach lusting? Tide pool craving?

Deeper, richer royal blues here, with interesting patterns on both sides.

This last one has awesome patterning, but there is a little ding missing on the right side,
 near the drill hole.  I believe the bezel would fill it out without a problem.  
I've worked with similar pieces.  I may steal it for myself!