Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sunshine Daydream

When I first started beading, I had a very specific goal in mind, very specific clientele, and a very specific idea of what kind of bead artist I wanted to be when I grew up. None of that ever happened. I never met those clentele (or any clientele, really) but the bead passion didn't decrease.

I wanted to make hippie-style jewelry, for hippie-style folks. I wanted to follow bands around the country and pay my way through beads. It never happened. I never had the time or money to realize my goal. What is interesting is that the life I wanted, that beautiful vagabond life, is a part of my life now, but instead of following the music, I follow hazardous waste(and help clean it up).

One of the fruits of my then-dream was this little necklace. I made it while working as a security guard (after I'd finished my engineering homework, or maybe it was during summer break). I'd hoped that one day some happy carefree person would wear my necklace and be as carefree as I wanted to be.

Friends, this is my daydream-

It is made from Japanese 11/0s, in a combination of herringbone and netting, the focal is a quartz point, suspended in peyote stitch.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Trash to Treasure

Today's From the Vault was picked because today is Earth Day.

This necklace stemmed from the focal. The focal is a recycled Noxema jar. How cool is that? I found it in a bead store in Helena, Montana. It's got this primitive/sea glass look to it. I didn't want to detract from the bead, so I did a very simple wire-wrap, and added a few dangles.

The necklace is two-drop peyote using off-white matte Japanese seed beads. I beaded four tubes, added some bead caps, and connected the components with wire, and a few sections of gold and blue beads.

This beader has had very little time this week to do much other than work, and try to unwind. I hope things calm down before too much longer. It's not easy to get a big construction project underway...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tree's Company

I know, I know, I'm punny :)

I made a tree. I'd lie to you and say it is in honor of Earth Day, but it isn't. It's in honor of the sparkly acrylic flowers and leaves that I couldn't leave behind at the craft store.

Later this week I'll post a tree tutorial, with pictures and alternate options for flowers and leaves.

This was also the perfectly portable project for my temporary relocation to New Jersey. If I try to bring a seed bead project on the road, I generally end up with more beads spilled on me, under my butt, and on the floor of the truck than I do We just started up a six month project in Secaucus. That means that I had to pack 6 months worth of beads and bead accessories in a tackle box.

It took me somewhere between 4 and 6 hours to pack my beads. It took less than 20minutes to pack my clothes. You can see where my priorities lay.

However, I am a mere 26 miles from one of my two favorite bead stores, however. Beadwildered Women in Nyack, NY. I really, REALLY wish they had a website, so I could plug them more thoroughly. That place is stuffed absolutely full of the coolest, oddest, most wonderful things you sould ever bead, use, look at, wonder what to do with, etc. and the women who work there are so sweet. It really is like your Granny's attic, if your Granny's attic were full of beads. (PS my second most favorite bead store is Beyond Beads North in Spokane, WA, so I'm entitled to 2 favorites if they're 2500+ miles apart. Their seed bead/crystal selection is unmatched in my travels. LOVE THEM!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The very first

Today's From The Vault is the very first beadworked necklace I completed waaaaaaaaay back in the day. I think I might have been either in my first year of college, or possibly still in high school. This was back in the day before 11/0's, 15/0's, WAY before delicas, before gemstones and crystals.

Friends, this is Stormy Night

It is peyote stitch and tubular netting in silver lined blue and black 10/0's, or whatever the craft store baggies of beads are. They are marketed as 10/0's now. There are some silverlined gold beads scattered throughout, and the focal is a 1" round mirror.

I'm not sure what the bead caps are, but they are superglued in place, and are a gold metal. I was so proud when I finished it.

What was your first beadworked piece? Can you see similarities between that piece and your most recent? Is your white thread showing (mine totally is!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hexagonal Sophisticate

This necklace was inspired by the Contest at My Lovely Beads. My blue is a little too dark, but the pink is spot on, in my opinion. I don't think I would enter the piece, but it gave me an opportunity to make something...different. I can see the possibility of working with angular donuts in the future. Also, if anyone knows what is meant by "more than 50% seed beads" please enlighten me. 50% by weight? Length of finished piece? Costs asociated with? I am really clueless. I had my share of problems with this one. Those dastardly pink Delicas really tested my patience. They cut the thread at least 3 times per donut.

I in my head, this necklace was a show stopper with lots of hexagons and artistic expression, but instead I got something simple, potentially wearable, and just a little bit sophisticated. It's like the clothing line inspired by the fashion show.

I used a 16mm Swarovski Rivoli, pale lavender Swarovski 3mm bicones, pink satin and silver-lined dark blue Delicas, silver lined clear Japanese 15/0s, silver chain, silver jump rings, and a silver barrel clasp.

Monday, April 12, 2010


So, my weekend was more hectic that necessary...meaning, not as much beading as I would have liked to happen happened. I had fully intended to finish the project I'm working on and move on to something new and exciting. Yep, that was the plan...

Consequentially, I have new nothing to show you on a Monday :(

I will have something (hopefully) sophisticated later this week and possibly something ugly...we all have those projects, there is no sense in denying them...

All I can say is one project uses these beads. Those satin pale pink Delicas at the bottom right are the bane of my existance. I have never had the displeasure of working with beads that enjoyed breaking my thread as much as these did. They were almost worse than bugles. At least when working with bugles, you expect your thread to break a few times, and do things to prevent the occurence. Also, the crystal vitrail rivolis are much less purple/clear in real life, and a whole bunch more pink...ewwww...

Also, I want to review some new beads

These are Thunder Polish Crystals. These are a fairly new line of Chinese crystals They dont have quite the sparkle of a Swarovski, but they are cheap, and they come in friggin adorable tiny bottles. (Not the only reason I bought My local bead shop stocks them in 4mm bicones. The color selection is nice, I would say approximately 25-30 colors, with AB and non-AB finishes. The cut is definitely less angular(? Rounder? Not as pointy?) as a Swarovski, so they really don't have that extra POW. However, I like them, thus far(meaning I haven't sworn at them yet). They make doing those projects that require seven billion crystals affordable, and still nice looking. Did I also mention that the bottles are super cute?

Friday, April 9, 2010


This is a beaded ball, or squareish, not-particularly round thing...done with 15mm paua shell cabs, bronze-color Delicas, and size 15 seed beads in black and silver lined turquoise, and 3m Swarovski bicones.

These are the cabs I wrote about a few blogs ago. The ones that decided that they would make a break for it. As I was forming the beaded cabs into the "ball", one popped out, then his neighbor decided to join him. Then I swore heartily at them. Then I ripped apart half the smiling damned thing and stitched them back into place.

Worth the trouble? Totally :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Labradorite squared

It's Thursday! Which means only one more day until Friday! Woohoo!

And it also means that it's time for Thurdays-From the Vault! Dum dum DUUUUUM! (you also get interesting sound effects on Thursday )

This is a necklace I created in 2008. The focal is a wirewrapped Labradorite bead. I had fully intended to use silver wire for this one, but I practiced with non-tarnishing silver craft wire, and I was so pleased with the result that I never changed it...

It is REALLY hard to capture the fire of labradorite. The photo above gives you a nice view of the fire in the labradorite round to the left of the focal, and a tiny bit of the fire in the center bead. It's like trying to capture a photo of some weird blue-green fish swimming in murky water...

The color in this photo is all wrong. The labradorite substantially less green in real life, more like the first photo. The necklace colors were picked to reflect the colors of the labradorite, and their fire. They are a transparent grey and a color that can best be described as dirty dark turquoise. I used 4-sided African Polyginal stitch, and that kicked off the square thing going on in the jump rings. I used labradorite rounds and silver "stardust" beads to complete the necklace. It is finished off with a handmade clasp.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Raspberry magic

Remember those cabs made from Magic Cards I posted about a week ago? Well, I made something from some of them. Initially, I wanted to make another Laura McCabe ball, but, the cabs said no, they wanted to do something else.

I wrapped them in 11/0s, 15/0s and delicas, alternating a lovely raspberry color and grey tones, and a deep transparent plum and grey. I like the effect of the contrast between murky and HERE-I-AM color. The pink and purple also pull their colors from the cabs, which is nice.
The cabs had something of a lip at the base, not much, but enough that a ring of beads to encircle just above the lip wouldn't stretch over the lip for a secure closure. An increase on the third round of pinks solved that, and gave a really cool squared circle effect.
I also learned a new stitch, which I used for the necklace. Friends, may I introduce Dutch Spiral? It is actually a pretty easy stitch, one you get past the first two rounds. I didn't do any of the increases the tutorial mentions excepting the ones in the second round. I can see myself using this one again soon. The necklace is made from 11/0s in purple and pink, matte grey Delicas, black 15/0s and silver lined purple 15/0s.
I like the effect of the spiral tubes, with the cabs, and a few jet crystals thrown in. I'm pleased with it. I'm not so pleased with the way the pink is showing up as purpley in these photos. It's more of a Crayola Hot Magenta, than the weird purple you see here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Recipe for bird pot pie casserole

This is a great casserole-type dish, that isn't too heavy for spring, nor too light for winter. The great thing about this casserole is that it is easy, and everything is in "-ish"

Bird can be chicken, or turkey, I would assume. Not sure how much turkey you would need though...

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts(or equivalent amount of turkey)
2 packets bird gravy mix
1/2 box(ish) bird broth-(approx 24 oz broth)
1 lb mixed vegetables
1 Baking sized potato or equivalent in small potatoes
2 packages Bisquick Complete Buttermilk Biscuit Mix, or the equivalent of your own biscuit mix, or a couple of those peel-whack-pop-bake biscuits in a tube, but if you go this route, get the big fluffy ones, not the little ones

Preheat oven to 350ish

Peel and dice potatoes, cover with water and cook until just fork tender. Don't overcook! If anything, undercook slightly! There will be some additional cooking going on in the oven

Cook bird in manner of your choosing(great way to use up holiday leftovers if using turkey). For chicken, I throw on the trusty George Foreman with some salt and pepper, then chop once cooked. You can also chop, then sautee, it's up to you

While that is working, prepare biscuit mix according to package directions(you can substitute bird broth for the water for additional flavor)

Spread vegetables in bottom of 13 x 9 baking dish.

Drain potatoes and add to vegetables.
Chop chicken and add to vegetables

Prepare gravy using double the liquid called for. Half of the liquid will be water, half bird broth. This thickens up your in-casserole juices somewhat.

Add to vegetable mixture. Add remaining bird broth. If you feel your stuff is getting too thin, you can thicken with a bit of cornstarch. You know, you could probably omit the gravy altogether and just thicken all your bird broth with cornstarch. I'm going to try that next time...

Season with pepper, I don't think salt is necessary here, due to the broth and the gravy being salty, your mileage may vary

plop the biscuits by spoonsful on top of bird-goop-vegetable mixture, covering as much of the top as you can.

Spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick spray and cover the mess we just made

place in oven for 30-40 minutes or so. After 30-40 minutes , remove aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until biscuits are golden and fluffy.

*The foil is necessary, or else your biscuits will be done on top, and raw underneath, and your gravy, veggies, etc won't have time to mingle. That is pretty much the only part of this dish that is set in stone, cover with foil.*

Like most stew-type food, this only gets better the longer it hangs out in the also firms up a good bit, so there is less juice

Now, convince your significant other that, since you cooked, they have dishes...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thusdays-From the vault

Hmmm...I think I need to work up a blog schedule, you know, like so many other people have worked up?

So, I am going to invent some new categories.

Starting with-DUM dut duDUM Thursdays- from the vault

From the vault will showcase things that I have previously created

Today's From the Vault is a necklace that I created 2-3 years ago.

Its focal is a piece of beach washed asphalt that I found on the shore of Lake Erie. I captured the stone using a simple netting stitch, and added two beaded beads, some metal beads(don't ask what kind of metal, I haven't the foggiest idea. The two-part necklace is done in herringbone stitch, with color that compliment the stone.
Materials:Beach washed asphalt, japanese 11/0 seed beads in black, silver, matte grey, and matte black, silver(colored) metal beads, wooden cores for the beaded beads. Silver bead spacers, clasp. All stitching done with Nymo, finished necklace strung on Dandyline.