Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just Goofing Around

Rather than be productive, I spent my Sunday morning playing.

I made a video of my peach flower which was altered by using a kaleidoscope program. It took a really long time to load up, so I'm not sure if it will come over or not. And it looks a bit blurry. If you can't read the credits, the program is it's so cool - check it out! But with a word of caution - it's highly addictive.

And the picture on my title is of the butterfly I made which is now living at Tracey's home, also altered by the same program.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting Started

After procrastinating a few days, I have finally started working on a wallet for my hairdresser, Renee. Once the pattern is cut and the pieces assembled, then I finally get to start the embellishing!

I began with the pockets that will hold her credit cards and such. The beads are from ArtGems, Inc. and I just love the colors. The darker beads are called fancy grey color lined gold AB. I am assuming the AB refers to aurora borealis finish, but they really don't have the purple-y blue typical AB look. They are just beautiful. I accented with a fancy topaz color lined beige (also from Art Gems) and then edged the pocket in a metallic gold bead I picked up from the Historical Society here in Lockport.

All my wallets and coin purses have a vintage coin. Renee's features a regal looking lion and is dated 1950. Looks like it has Russian letters, but I really don't know where it originated from. I have it surrounded in peyote stitch and now I am finishing that off with the sunburst pattern using grey faceted rounds (I think 8 mm) and really pretty Miyuki beads from Joggles in 11 and 15.

Although these wallets make up so beautifully, they are somewhat limiting to me, since everything that goes on them has to be able to withstand being in a purse. That means no fun stacks or fringes or larger beads that stick up. Bummer.
You can click on these pics to get a close up view. I realized that if I crop the picture before I post, you can't zoom in (at least I think that's the reason). So I purposely didn't crop any of these. If anyone can determine the origin of the coin, I would love it if you would let me know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ornaments II and III

Before I get to the beading babbling, I have to give a big shout out and hug to Paul Grabowski of Earth & Beyond Photography for fixing my camera ! Another reason to be thankful this season (and always) for friends like him.

My second red & white ornament started out with red rings that I tacked down using a size 8 and then came back up through the 8 and added some size 11s to go over the edges. Well, once I did that I said "that reminds me of a peppermint candy." And it grew from there. It's hard to see in the pic (try clicking for an extreme close up, sometimes it works sometimes not), but I used two different shades of pearl white and red. I varied the edge too, the red is worked in a two bead edge and the white just a single edge.

The smallest of the ornaments gave me the most difficulty. I did a star pattern that I use (alot!) in my coin purses and wallets that I normally love. But this time I used the wrong colors (clear and pearl white) and it turned out to be pretty much invisible. And then when I went to fill in around the center pattern, it was all uneven and just yucky. So I ignored it for a few days and worked on some knitting.

After I got over pouting about it, I decided to take red thread and go through the clear beads. Hmm, although still not great, it was an improvement. Now, how to camoflauge (gee, I should know how to spell that word, considering my husband is a hunter, but I guess I don't because it doesn't look right to me). Anyway, I finished the edge in a sort of a lacey way and I think the overall effect takes your eye away from the uneven edge. All three ornaments have a different edge, which again, really wasn't planned, the beads just showed me the way.. (I just love how that happens!)

A Family Photo:

All are backed in red ultrasuede. I tacked a folded ribbon for the hanger out the top before putting on the ultrasuede.
I sometimes feel a bit sad and anxious too when a project is finished and I clear off my table to get ready for something new. I don't know why. It's almost like I'm clueless as to what to do. My hairdresser wants me to make her a wallet in earth tones (my fav), so I should be all excited and ready to go since I know what I'm going to do, and yet, I have this weird nervousness. Perhaps its the empty beading mat that freaks me out - I guess I work better with the beads all scattered about!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ornament # 1 (my favorite)

This ornament truly created itself. I had no idea where I was going with it. I started with a row of sequins and worked my way out from there. I love the overall effect.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shannon's Dress Motif

Here is the reconstructed motif for Shannon's dress. I was able to re-use the white bugle beads and the studded rhinestones. The cream seed beads were next to impossible to get off the organza-ish original material and I just didn't have the patience to snip away at them.
I kept the basic outline of the original design and just filled in with sequins and boucle stitch, adding some gold at her request. It is sewn on a heavy-ish weight of pellon. I hope she likes it.

I loved those studded rhinestones. I had never worked with them before. Hmmm, something else to add to the shopping list!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Latest Challenge

My friend Shannon just bought a dress for an event next weekend. She washed it following the instructions and this is what happened to the beaded motif. Ouch. Time to work some magic!

Too funny

So I wake up to the first somewhat significant snowfall of the season. It's not much, but the car is sprinkled with ice droplets underneath about an inch of light fluffy snow. I attempt to open my car door and find that it's frozen shut. I bang around the frame in an attempt to break it free, cursing the fact that I had to disconnect my remote starter because it was causing other problems with my car.

I give up and go back into the house to get my back-up ice scraper.
(ok, a side note on this: if you want to use the most efficient easy ice scraper on the market check out this site and get yourself a Scrape-A-Round ice scraper. They are fantastic.)

So back outside I go and quickly rid the car of its winter crust. I look in and realize - the doors were locked. UUUUGGGGHHHH!!!! What an idiot I am.

Revealed! Beaded Butterfly IV

Now that I know the last (for now) of the butterflies has made her way safely to her new home, I can post her picture!

Here's the family photo!

Now---on to Christmas! I'm working on a series of three red and white ornaments. After I did Sue's red and white butterfly, I just had to make something else using those colors. They were just so cheerful. Unfortunately no pics this time, but a little preview is up in the corner of my blog.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Aunt Nancy (not really my Aunt, but my mom's cousin's wife) passed away suddenly. I hadn't seen her in probably 8 or 9 years. She was diagnosed with cancer 2 weeks ago and before they could even start treatment she passed. Her passing has opened up a floodgate of my childhood memories. I realized that although our families had lost touch over the years, she is so ingrained in my childhood memories and I wonder how it is that we lost touch.

They lived two blocks away from my old house. She and my uncle Jimmy had one son, who I used to babysit when they would go to the Sabre's hockey games. He used to love me to put him on my lap, hold his hands bounce him up and down and say "bring out the Hellman's and bring out the best" and when I would say the word 'best' I would open up my legs, so he would 'fall'. I was probably 11 or 12 at the time. No idea how that got started, but he loved it. I wonder if he remembers that.

I became a big hockey fan through them and they would sometimes get an extra ticket and take me to the games. I remember loving that and after the games they would take me to this Irish bar in Buffalo where all their hockey friends would go. I would fall asleep in a booth while they laughed and did those adult things.

The funeral home was in the neighborhood in which I spent the first 13 years of my life. Lots of memories driving down the road. How many hundreds of times I rode my bike along those streets and how small everything looks now.

Past the 7-Eleven where I found my cat Trouble. Named because when I brought him home my dad said "that cat will be nothing but trouble."

Past mean old man Becker's 'farm', now gone and in it's place a whole street of patio homes. I never saw old man Becker, but his reputation was frightening. I remember he always had chickens and I used to think how mean could he be? he's got chickens! But I sure pedalled as fast as I could to get by his place.

Past the piano teacher's home who always left a basket of full-size candy bars on her porch at Halloween and everyone only ever took one.

Past the spot where the milk machine used to be. Countless times did I ride my bike down to get a quart of milk and bring it home in my little bike basket attached to my handlebars.

Past my favorite house - it was brick and stucco (so unlike all the other 1960 ranches that surrounded it) and had a big lot full of trees. Now only one sad looking tree was left and the house looked too close to the road and a bit neglected.

Past the (now closed) ice cream shop "Hansel and Gretel" where my sister Laurel had her first job. I was so proud to be her little sister. Everyone likes Laurel.

Past my dentist's office and I can still picture what it looks like inside and the smell of it.

Past the place where the bookmobile used to come. That was the best day of the week in the summertime. Ride our bikes and get out new books and make a fort from sheets and blankets clothes-pinned to the front porch railings and read the day a way.

Past the Convenient store where we would buy candy cigarettes that we would 'carve' with our front teeth into bedposts. And buy juicyfruit gum and save the wrappers to make gumwrapper chains.

Past the McDonald's that was just being built when I lived there and we would hang out the school bus window and shout to the workers "I'll have fries with that!" and the bus driver would yell at us to sit down.

By the time we arrived at the funeral home, I was emotionally drained. And then the full on reality that my cousin no longer has his mom's voice to hear and my uncle will go home to an empty bed and have to sort through her clothes and everything I was mourning for in the loss of my childhood seemed trivial.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My other love

For years I studied bobbin lace through the Amherst Museum Lace Guild.

I was intrigued by the beautiful 'spangled' bobbins used to make the lace.

To spangle a bobbin is to add weight (using beads) to help the tension of the thread while weaving the lace.

Here's a sampling of some of my bobbins that are spangled along with a very very old pair that I received as a gift. Most are wood and the bobbins that are hanging are bone.

I still enjoy making lace, but most of my pieces just ended up in a notebook, as I'm not a lace-wearing-type of girl. Some I have mounted on pillows -- like this Russian Lace piece below.

The lace is made by using a pre-pricked pattern (very time consuming!!) which is placed on a lace maker's 'pillow'. The pattern is worked by placing pins to support the thread as you weave it back and forth through the bobbins. OK, so that's a super watered down explanation. This particular piece represents literally 100s of hours of 'work'.
Here's what I have on my lace pillow right now. It is in the pack-up-and-go state, as I have yet to work on it since doing a demonstration at the History Center (truth be told the demo was Summer of 2007 -beading has consumed me so the lace making is in hiatus).

What you see is just a tip of a dragonfly wing and the bobbins are secured by holders which are held in place by pin holes through the sides of the holders. When transporting a lace project, it's not a good thing for the bobbins to get out of order and/or tangled.

I used just plain wood bobbins (no spangles) for this project, since there is a lot of sewings.

A sewing is when you have to join the lace in spots (the Russian piece is a great example of these joinings).

It is a very tedious process and requires you to sew through a pin hole sized hole and then slip your bobbin through the loop. So spangled bobbins slow this process down, as the thread has a tendency to get hung up in the beads.

Beaded Butterfly IV

Is a surprise! Until she finds her way to her new home, I can't show her off. Stay tuned.......

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nothing to do with Beading. . . .

Talk about feeling time slipping away. Hannah got her hair cut and colored it too. The change is freaking me out.

Hannah Before

Hannah After (is that MY daughter???!!!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Beaded Butterfly III

The latest to emerge.......

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Beaded Butterfly II

I just have fallen in love with making these! I asked Hannah (my 14-year-old daughter) what colors to use and she said peacock. So this is what emerged.

Next to take flight will be colors of my choosing. Soft golds, cream and beige. Here's the progress so far. I wish I could keep working, but I'm off to grocery shop and get Hannah a haircut.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My First Pin!

I love when I get asked to make something I never have tried before. This time, Sue ( a co-worker of mine) asked for a pin for a Christmas present for her grandmother.

She didn't have a preference to shape and only told me she wanted it red and white. Hmmmm. Red is not a color I work with too often. Not sure why, just don't. So I went to work and collected a variety of red and white beads that I had and once I saw the various shades of red, I was pretty excited. Red is a fun color!

My first thought was a fan shape with some fringe, but when I ran that by Sue, she didn't seem to enthused. OK, how about a star? flower? random shape? butterfly? Yes! she liked that idea. Butterfly it is.

Well, this little pin came together so easily. The only 'problem' is that it is only about 3" across at the wing tips and about 2 1/2" long. Bummer, so many cute red and white beads that didn't make it on the pin.

I started with two red rings I got from Robin Atkins and worked my way from there. The butterfly body was done by putting down two bead foundation rows side by side and then covering those lines on an angle. It worked up nice and firm.

I used pellon covered poster board for the base. I placed the embroidered finish piece onto a thicker piece of peltex and then used ultrasuede for the backing. The peltex gave it such a nice cushiony but firm feel.

I'm so happy with the end result (but not with the pics! It was too dark outside, so I had to shoot inside, and the flash was overwhelming and without a flash the varying shades just don't get picked up.)

I think I saw a caterpillar creeping across my studio table - I have a feeling another butterfly will be emerging soon......

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Flower Sampler Class II

Here are the rest of the Iroquois flowers. Our instructor told us these are traditional patterns that have been used for generations. They would have been worked in mostly size 10 or larger clear beads.

I found the paper pattern that we glued to the velvet difficult to work with. If I got too close to the edge, the paper tore and the beads 'slid' off onto the velvet. Too far from the edge, and the paper shows. Next time I will use pellon for the pattern.

Next class we add stems, leaves, buds, etc. to our liking. I'm really looking forward to that. It should 'ground' them so they don't look like they do now - just plopped down.

Working without an outline around the petals was different. I'm not very happy with the way that they smooshed into each other. The sides of this flower were pretty tricky to keep the outside line even. Two foundation lines, layed right next to each other give it a nice solid feel, but didn't leave much room for the top lines to go over the top without leaving the edge of the paper pattern.
I'm not quite sure what the point of the round bead in the corner of this flower is. I guess it's artistic interpretation!

I really like this flower. In person it gives such a 3 dimensional appearance.
This silly little thing reminds me of troll hair!