Saturday, July 14, 2018

Spark and Blaze

Why am I creating new colorways and kits for older projects?

Because my Fall Flame rope was included in the 13th edition of "Creative Beading" from Kalmbach.  I have been meaning to have kits available for every project in my Etsy shop, and this seemed like a nice opportunity.  (Yep, that is a preview of one of my hubbies beautiful new art tables too!)

So there are two newbies!

I've been wearing Spark on white shirts for the last few days and I just love it.  I had originally named  it "Inferno", but although it is metallic and shines like crazy, it has this summery softness that I just adore.  So, "Inferno" was somehow just too much for it, and I devolved the name to Spark.  We are both happier, LOL.

Eight kits are available in my Etsy shop here:  (oops, they sold out, but I will have more next weekend!)

While I worked on these new colorways, I also re-colored all the leaf illustrations in the tutorial, to move the colors further apart visually from each other, and make the diagrams easier to read at a glance.  If you have purchased this tutorial, and want the new version, you should be able to get that from your Etsy receipt. If not, convo me and I can e-mail you a copy. If you are just now buying the pattern, the updates are included, along with the materials lists for both new colorways.  Find it here:

Which brings up the other new colorway!  Meet "Blaze".

I have not worn "Blaze" yet, because it just screams AUTUMN.  I want to wear it with black corduroy, and tweedy wool.  It's July, and hot outside, but in a couple months, I know this will be my go-to piece.  Find this kit here:

While I was at it, I re-kitted my favorite from the original group of colorways, "Psychedelic Scarab".  For me, this one is a year-round piece and I hope you will find a general purpose place for it in your wardrobe too.

The colors came from the pretty little Swarovski Scarab bead that sits on the bail.  I think it looks both the iridescent beetle and peacock-esque, and I love it with all deep cool colors.

You can find it here:

HUGE thanks to my sweet friend Ann, who came to help me label and fill baggies for this project in the midst of preparing for the Minneapolis Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour, which I am going to see this morning.  She was cool as a cucumber with this big event approaching and is always a huge help to my kitting process.

If you are a Minneapolitan, here is a link to the event taking place TODAY!  
Maybe I'll see you in a beautiful garden!

I promise to ship kits as soon as I get home.  :)

I have not forgotten I promised a new video with Bead Embroidery tips and techniques, and that is up next along with a new set of bags...
Plus a beautiful new Fall Jasper piece and a Holiday Rose Bud necklace, coming soon.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Blue Morpho

I have a new offering today in the beaded silk butterfly bag series.  I'm calling it Blue Morpho.  It creatively represents a female of the species, with a really yummy color gradation from the palest turquoise to a deep and rich cobalt, accented with black and white edging.

One of my sweet buyers asked some questions yesterday about the project, and I want to answer them in detail here, for everyone.

I will release the bag and bead kit together, in one listing, and here is a link for you.

First, some bag information.  This bag was produced in two sizes.  Each piece of this quilted silk fabric varies in terms on how large the quilted squares are, from under an 7/8" to 1-1/8" and multiplied by 8 squares, you can see how large a difference that makes.  It also affects how many bags can be cut from a width of fabric.

Consequently, there are 10 bags available, and seven are about 9 x 6 x 2.25" and three are 8 x 6 x 2.25".  So you can choose your preference.  These bags are essential light capacity, and comfortably hold my wallet, big cell phone, sunglasses, keys, and lip gloss.  They are really not suited for carrying much more, although I have added a little packet of tissue and some tubes of beads at various times.

The bead kit includes a spool of black One-G thread this time, and I stitched half of my sample all in black which looks no different from the side where I carefully matched colors.   Below is a snap of the assembled kit, and the entire bead list.

Then, there were some questions about the tutorial.  Like, if you already own one of the other project tutorials, so you need this one too? Again, here is a link for you.

I have tried very hard to make this project easy and painless.  I have done many samples and ripped repeatedly to get my own results, and I have tried to show you what I figured out in a simple to understand way.  Do I think you NEED each tutorial?  No, but I know for a fact that it is lots easier with these guides.  So I am putting in chunks of two pages from the tutorial for you here, so you can judge for yourself. They are .png files and a little fuzzy in this format, but you get the idea.

SO you can judge for yourself, whether you wish to purchase the $10 tutorial.  The bag is priced at $47, and the kit at $18, combining to $65, and if your purchase the tutorial, the total bag price is $75.

I don't know if I will do another series of these bags or not.  I have fabric, but I also have another interesting idea that combines fiber and beads, and may pursue it next.

Watch for a new quickie video from me, in the next blog post, and on YouTube.  I tie off really frequently when doing bead embroidery.  I know may beaders carry threads a long way across the back of their BE, but in this case, since there is no glued backing, and minimal support for the embroidery, I recommend you tie off frequently and not carry your thread more than a quarter inch.

SO, I want to show you how to tie a professional dressmakers knot, which is super fast and stable.  It also makes it really easy to remove a row or small section you might wish to change or improve, with out jeopardizing the stability of neighboring work.  A nice technique for your collection.

In the mean time, back I go, to finish off the last 4 bag linings.  I'll release these 10 kits around noon today.

Happy beading!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sunset Butterflies

I learned SO much last week, when I published my first group of Silk Butterfly Bags!  Today I am posting what is left, four "Sunset Butterflies" bags.  I have made things simpler for both you and me.

I will publish a kit of beads with each bag, combining the costs of the bag at $47, and the kits around $18, so there is just one listing to buy to get both things needed to make the bag.  This kit of Bag and Beads costs $65.00.  Here is a link to that listing.  And here is what the butterflies look like in my samples, fully embroidered.

They sit up beautifully off the quilted silk surface, and I find the black outline makes them pop! 

This is a different bag, but, I have loved wearing it this week!

I am also creating a simple photographic tutorial for each bag variation.  It includes diagrams of the bead embroidery stitches I use in each applique cover, and a photographic progression of the process, from outlining to finishing the lining on the back of the embroidered flap

Because the project is about painting with color, there are SO many different beads in each kit!  Trust me when I tell you the kit is a TOTAL bargain.  It comes packed inside your bag so there is just one easy shipping fee.

If you count all the different sizes and finishes of the black beads, plus the firepolish and drops, there are 22 different beads in this kit.  You absolutely could not buy them for $18!

SO if you are interested in this project, and want one of these bags, there are just four available today, in a much simplified format.  And up next, maybe in two weeks or so, some Silver Silk Bags! 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Butterfly Bags Released into the World

I will release the Butterfly Bags I have made today around noon or 1pm, depending on how fast I can finish writing all the listings and this blog post.  It's COMPLICATED!  And you will have to make choices and I want you to be informed.  This is an easier, more pictorial way to show you what is being offered.

First, I want to show you my sample, using Applique A.  It's not a great applique, because the sides are not perfectly symmetrical. All the other are perfectly symmetrical. I have been hunting butterfly fabric for a year for this project!  I think the primary purpose of having an applique to bead is for inspiration, easy filling, and symmetry.  If you choose this applique, you will need to be sensitive to the lower wing area and make the two sides as similar as possible.

Having said all that, I want you to see my process.  I have a tutorial, for a slightly different Monarch without the pearls, but the possibilities are endless, and I want to give you a sense of how to make choices and move forward.  I think the tutorial is a good buy in terms of guidance in the process, even if you choose a different applique, like this one.

Here's the applique. Notice the flaws with me.  The upper wings are great, but they sit behind the lower wings, and on real butterflies the opposite is true.  Also the lower right wing in larger than the lower left, and patterned differently.  I did my best to ignore the stuff I didn't like as I started beading.

The first step with EVERY bag is to cover the body.  I like large matte black beads for this purpose.  Then the edges are outlined, to mask and protect the stitched and fused raw edge.  When that is done, the fill can begin.  I like to start with wing borders, and use a 3mm pearl and 8/0 matte black on the bottom, with more sizes on the top.  See how I corrected which wing lay over which? I didn't care for the green tones at the bottom of the butterfly and wanted to add a touch of pink and purple at the top, so you can see the start of that here.  Always work do what you do on one side to the other side before moving on, to help with symmetry,

Next, I added veins to the upper wings, with matte 15/0.  

Sharp contrast veining is really pretty, but if your applique is small, you need to skip the veining and just do directional filling, to indicate the sections of wing.   See what I mean on the previous post, called  "A Happy Little Bag" where I did no veining, but you can still see the shapes.

Here I have begun filling the upper wing, Notice how I do a section at a time on each side

Upper wings are finished, and I am ready to vein the lower wings.

I am using both 11/0 and 15/0 beads to do my fill.  I am careful not to overfill.  There can be small spaces between beads and they will not be noticed.  The fabric below is in deep shadow, and no one will think about what is down there except you with your magnifiers on, holding the fabric 6" from your nose.  RELAX.  Small gaps are fine, and too many beads is bad.

I added a little bead at most of the intersections of the quilting, to give it depth, but I avoided the two at the top of the wing, knowing they would mess with the nice clean outline.

Here is my recommendation for you.  Maybe just buy one bag.  I really want everyone who wants to try this to have a chance to do it.  You can only do one at a time, and I really will do more.  The next set will be silvery silk, and I have a pale green and rich bronze planned too,  And I will come back for more gold as well, if there is sufficient interest.  

Here's a link to the bags, and you can choose your favorite applique. 

Here's a link to the tutorial, helpful whether you plan to make one of these two options, or "bead by number on a different applique.

And here is a link for the monarch kit I have available.  If you want the Fantasy Butterfly, or possible beads for one of the other appliques, ask me.  I can probably help you.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Happy Little Bag

I am close to releasing the first set of Butterfly Bag bead embroidery projects and tutorials! If all goes according to plan, I will post a few of them next weekend in my Etsy shop.  

Carl walked past my bench yesterday as I was finishing up my original sample and said, "That's a Happy Little Bag!"  I loved the Bob Ross reference, and so this sample has a name!

Making this little bag, helped me figure out what might constitute a good size, shape, and expedited construction.  I carried it around with me over the last couple weeks, unfinished, just to test how it worked and felt, and I have made several design improvements as I worked my way along.

This idea grew out of wanting to pass along something I have enjoyed in the past.  I began using fabric applique about 10 years ago in my dancewear, and the idea translated really well to bead embroidery.

A little history...   Among of my first projects along this line was my "Falling" vest.  If you want to read more about this project, you can do that here

And after this, I made my Urban Safari Coat, again done with applique, and the same yummy quilted Dupioni Silk.  This was a competition piece for Battle of the Beadsmith, and if you like, your can find more pictures here, and read about the construction and beading process here.

I have to confess, the idea of creating clothing in all sizes imaginable was overwhelming.  So instead I decided upon a "wearable" handbag to serve as my offering to you to try out this technique.

I am planning a release for next weekend (June 19-20),  and will continue to make these for a while, as long as there in interest, I have stamina, and until I use up the fabric I have for the purpose.  I have gold, silver, and limited bronze and celadon silk.

First release will be bags made up in gold silk, with the two versions of the tutorial.  One will include instructions and approximate charts for two options, a Monarch butterfly and a Fantasy butterfly, based on the applique.

Here is my sample for these two options, and I will assemble kits for these.

There will also be a couple different applique options, and a minimal guide tutorial for those who are experienced bead embroiderers and would like to try filling the printed lines with beads of their choosing. You are also free to add anything else of your want; flowers, scrollwork, or filling the ditch in the quilted fabric with beads as below.

So if you enjoy bead embroidery, or are interested in a gateway to the craft,
stay tuned for a more detailed blogpost, and keep an eye on my Etsy shop next weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Spring Acorns for Caramel

Teaching Caramel's Acorn Earrings at the Upper Midwest Bead Society (much better than my first teaching effort, but still not what I would consider to be flawless) wiped out my stock of Acorn Earrings kits, so I have begun re-stocking.  A wonderful friend has volunteered to help with these kits, which are crazy labor-intensive!

I have a new color way, called Spring!

  I had hoped that by the time I was ready to publish these new acorns, there might be some real ones to shoot.  Some oaks set acorns early in the year to mature slowly through the summer.  I had hoped to have some photos to show you when I published these, but the Oaks here have only just stopped shivering. They really are amazing, and flower first, with long dangly catkins of golden green pollen-producing tassels.  I promise to add some images to this post when they finally appear.  EDITED TO ADD here is a starter! I found the twig of new oak leaves blown down on the path during my walk yesterday and the color was so fresh and similar to the acorns!

It has been a very slow Spring in Minnesota!  Yesterday, I dragged the deck chairs up from storage through my house, because it was finally warm-ish!  And the Best Man Ever put on his snow boots and brought the table around the house through the melting drifts for me.  I am so starved for sunshine!  And all my outdoor critters, including Caramel the squirrel, are very hungry  I keep my feeders full to meet demands.

In the mean time, you can check them out here.  My personal favorite acorn is from this site:
Scroll down to the Valley Oak/Roble, and check out the color in that acorn!
Or take a look at a range of images of catkins and Spring acorns here.  

The Canopy Melon beads in this colorway have a pinky sheen, and the colors I used are both from nature, and in support of that sheen.

If you want to duplicate my results, here is the bead list, and if you want a kit, visit my shop through the linked photo below, and choose "Spring"!  

A - 12 pcs CzechMate Crescent Opq. Rose Gold Topaz Luster
B - 12 pcs Toho 8/0 Hex #262 Light Bronzer Lined Crystal Rbw
C - 25 pcs Toho 15/0 #764 Rose Chalk Matte Opaque
D - 38 pcs Toho 11/0 #764 Rose Chalk Matte Opaque
E - 38 pcs Toho 8/0 #169 Light Rose Transparent Rainbow
F - 24 pcs Toho 11/0 #PF551 Peach Galvanized PF
G - 14 pcs Toho 11/0 Demi #PF551 Peach Galvanized PF 
(plus 2 pcs #994 Bronze Lined Crystal Rainbow)
H - 2 pcs Czech 14mm Melon Bead Canopy
J - 2 pcs Toho 8/0 Demi #PF551 Peach Galvanized PF
K - 2 pcs Toho 6/0 #PF551 Peach Galvanized PF

3 yds One-G Thread 
3 pcs Copper 2” Headpins
2 pcs Copper Fishhook Earwires
2 pcs Earring Nuts

Find the new kits here, and the tutorial here.  I am in the process of getting most of the colorways re-stocked, so I'll keep you informed as they appear.  And the Silk Butterfly Bags are in process!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rose Gold Caramel's Claws

I have a rose gold phone.  I have a rose gold wallet.  I have a rose gold cardigan sweater. (There is one in every shop at the mall, I swear!)  So I needed a rose gold necklace.  I thought you might like one too.

I also admit, I did this because I wanted to make video support for this design.  So I filmed as I worked the sample.  I have not yet finished the editing.  So maybe, one day, I will do that.  But to be honest with you, I just want to bead, and I have a couple designs begun that are calling my name.  REALLY LOUDLY!

But I do love this necklace. I especially love how the contrast between the matte onyx focal bead and the vibrant rose gold makes the shape of the bezel edge pop!

In the process of designing this colorway, I also designed an acorn cover for a 12mm round bead.  I remember when I published this tutorial, there were questions about whether it would work with a 14mm round, and it did.  But I could not find a 14mm round matte onyx that I liked, and there are no black 14mm Melon beads.  So I re-designed the acorn cap for any 12mm round bead.  It's different enough that it requires new illustrations and instructions.  I really like the earrings because my face is small.  :)

If you own the tutorial for the Caramel's Acorn, or for the Caramels Claws Necklace with Acorn Component, I have added this new tutorial to my Etsy listing and you should be able to download it from your purchase receipt.  I'll include some specific instructions at the end of this post.  :)  Because those 14mm Melon beads will not be available forever. :(

I feel I should apologize for my fuzzy-edged photos.  My camera is glitching, and keeps re-setting itself to tiny Fstops at random, and I seem unable to remember to reset for each photo, so off it goes to the repair shop this week!

In the mean time, I am packing kits, to ship tomorrow and the new kit is in my Etsy shop at this link. 

Lots of parts in this one!  20 different baggies, (some inside others) and an insert to boot!

But it all goes fast when you are dressed for the job.  

And when I am done, I get to go the Gem and Lapidary Workers Show.  I'll stop at the Post Office on the way, with the orders to date.  I listed last night and co-incidentally one of my favorite buyers checked my shop, knowing I list on Saturdays and bought it immediately.  The little cash register noise from my phone nearly scared me off my chair.  But today I am prepared!

If you have purchased the Caramel's Acorns tutorial previously, and would like the 12mm Adaptation, just send me an Etsy Convo from your purchase receipt, and I will send it along to you, at no additional charge.  If you are just purchasing the tutorial, the 12mm adaptation is included in the available downloads.  :)