Saturday, February 28, 2009

Beaded Box Class

Since I can't post anything about my Beader's Muse Challenge until the big reveal on March 16th, and my pincushion is no further than the last post, I thought I would share some pictures of a class I took back in August 2006.

The beads were provided in the class, so don't think I am completely color blind. That was part of the fun of the classes, the bead colors were always a bit of a surprise.

The box was just a simple paper box that you can find in Michael's, Joann's etc. Then we had to construct velvet overlays that we beaded to completely cover the box. These velvet pieces were glued to the box and then we stitched the edges closed.

The flower always looked like a daffodil to me, but who has seen a blue and white daffodil?? And what's with all that fringe? It reminds me of Niagara Falls, so I like it anyway.

And just for the record, my pincushion is no further along because I had completely forgotten to go to the class until about an hour into it! I must be getting senile. ME, forget a beading class! I never would have believed that would happen. But it did. I guess I'll really start to worry when I begin to "forget" to eat.....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Homework Done

I am so happy to be done with my pincushion class homework. Definitely NOT my favorite project. This is a black and white copy of the picture we were given along with our velvet and calico.

Its an odd layout. I just don't get the leaves stuffed in the corner. We were instructed to put the leaves wherever we wanted and in the center we could put the year "2009" or an initial. One woman who always takes classes and never finishes anything, jokingly asked if she could put 2010 on hers!

First step was to place the outline rows along the perimeter which is a 5 x 7 rectangle. Then a foundation row of size 8 beads in an oval shape which was then covered with size 11 making a very tight raised rope effect.

The center oval is two rows of 'chase me around' stitch which is then outlined with a straight row, all in size 11s.

I hunted through my bead stash and came across this very large cabachon, so I put it in the center of the oval and surrounded it with peyote stitch to hold it in place. LOVE IT!

The paper leaf is tacked down with a spot or two of glue and then four size 6 beads are placed in the middle of the leaf. After adding some foundation rows to make it nice and firm, the tip of the leaf is worked first and you work your way to the bottom. I alternate side to side so I can keep the center point more centered.

I put on five leaves to represent my family of 3 daughters, my husband and myself.

It still looks plain to me. I want to add some vines or something. Our instructor didn't have hers finished beyond that top photo, so maybe in the next class we will embellish it some more. She did bring a sample piece that she based the pattern from, and it had lots of beading along the pillow edge and fringe at the corners. Maybe once all that is put on the simple-ness of the top will balance it off. Next class isn't until the 26th. Bummer.

With my homework out of the way, I have started on the Beader's Muse challenge. It is so much fun to be given some beads and only told to make wearable art. I'm sworn to secrecy until the big reveal, so my lips are sealed on what is taking shape.

Tomorrow I am spending the day with my friends Cindy and Diane exploring a few of the many art galleries Buffalo has to offer. We are hoping to make this a regular event, as there are dozens of galleries around the City. We are meeting at Diane's place for breakfast and to map out our route for the day. And after we have taken in as much as our eyes can stand, we will finish the day over dinner somewhere. I just hope the weather cooperates........

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on Pat

Oh Goodie, so far so good, the pictures are loading. So, where was I, oh yes, the lampwork beads....

I love the colors in this one.

I could almost smell a lilac blossom when I look at this one. And some great vintage buttons from Etsy.

And just when I thought show and tell was over, Pat brings out this !

(yes, those are my knitted socks in the background, 'cause I'm sure you were wondering. Ok, admit it-- you didn't even see the socks, I know!)

The chain maille is my very favorite - it is so fluid and yet solid. The patterns are just fascinating and unfortunately the pictures are horrible. Pat has an Etsy store where you can get these beauties ( and see much better pictures of them too.

Look at this gorgeous piece of work--aren't the colors wonderful?

We had lots of fun and actually managed to get a little beading (pat) and knitting (me) done. Tonight we had the first session of a pin cushion class over at the Niagara County Historical Society. Not worth posting a pic of the progress - so far nothing but a single line border. T-e-d-i-o-u-s, to say the least! AND I have to do another single line border next to that one! Funny how I get so used to beading just what happens to come out of my brain and then when I'm told to follow a pattern, I get a little cranky.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meet My Friend Pat

Pat and I used to work together (she has since changed jobs) and now we take beading classes, have lunch and just 'visit' each other when we can. This is her with Diesel, her lovable rescue pup. You can see how big he is - look how his head is to the table top! He's a love!

First up I got to wonder at the beautiful crewel/stumpwork Pat has created (she is a member of the local Embroiderer's Guild). She is taking some on line classes and it will be a whole series of floral scenes. This is the first one in the series, already framed:

I love the 3 dimensional flowers - and look! even a spider!

This one is ready to be framed:

It's hard to tell in this picture, but the butterfly's wings are 3 dimensional too.

Here is the next one in the series, just in its beginning stages. The colors are warm golds and blues and purples - and the flowers are going to be filled in with various open stiches - reminded me of battenburg lace filling stitches.

And if the crewel work wasn't enough, look at this ribbon embroidery piece

Now for some Beads!!!! Some spectacular lampwork beads just begging to be strung...

Pat assures me she has no interest in learning lampworking - she's content just to buy! (I think I heard her husband let out a sigh of relief)

I have more to show and tell, but for some reason every time I upload more pictures, blogger tells me it's 'done', but no pictures appear. I have tried a few times, and still nothing, so I am giving up for now, and will try again later. I want to share with you the gorgeous bracelets Pat makes - my favorite are the chain maille, they are so amazing. Until next time, happy beading!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gray Skies are going to clear up

I worked up a smaller pin as a proto-type for the sampler class I'll be teaching in April. It's rather dreary looking and I'm less than happy with the results, but I am running out of time to get it up to Studio 34, so it will just have to do. I am also sending along a coin purse, wallet, and bracelet, so that will give any potential students an idea of what else they can create with the stitches taught in the class.

I'm going to spend the day at my friend Pat's house. She is the one who introduced me to bead embroidery and we are going to spend the day catching up with each other's projects. She is also a big knitter, so I am bringing some patterns to her and showing off my socks and cable scarf. I'll be bringing my camera along so you can see what a talented lady she is!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Nothing but sadness today

My heart is heavy for the loss of so many today. Although the crash site of Flight 3407 is about 15 miles from my home, for some reason, I feel as if it could have been on my street. I don't know how that neighborhood will recover. My heart goes out not only to those on board, but for the family whose home was destroyed in addition to their father/husband taken. How do you get beyond that? One minute its just another Thursday evening and then --- how do you process the loss of your husband and the home you made, the memories of everything in that home just gone in an instant. Your life completely turned upside down and inside out. It makes my head hurt and my heart cry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jeanette's Necklace

A big thank you HUG to Deb for providing the inspiration for Jeanette's chain! I'm really happy with the results. I've been holding it hostage for awhile until I could get some pics, but will zip down to her office right after my work day and return it to her.

OH, and I'll be 'zipping' down there in my new ride! After many months of searching (by my husband), we have finally purchased a different vehicle - not the VW Bug (lucky Tabby) or the Mini Cooper that I wanted, but a nice 2004 GMC Envoy. Now I just have to pay attention to what it looks like so when I come out of the grocery store I know my car! It's pretty funny I park next to an Envoy everyday in the lot at work and it wasn't until after we decided to get mine, that I even realized what it was. All those SUV things look the same to me!

My friend Paula continues to clean out her yarn collection and has now given me even more goodies!

Self -striping yarn - more socks !!

A hat kit all the way from New Zealand (Paula takes fabulous trips every year)

And a beautiful beaded purse kit - even with the first tube of beads already strung :) I've never knitted with beads before, so I am really looking forward to tackling this project.

Speaking of new things, here's my cable scarf I'm working on, also using yarn from Paula. I'm making it extra long so I can wrap it around my neck. I've got about 28 inches so far, and am thinking I want it about 60 inches long - almost half way done :)

And if I don't feel like I have enough to keep me out of trouble, I just jumped into my first beading contest sponsored by The Beader's Muse. I couldn't resist when I saw the beads in the kit - they are so pretty. Not quite sure if I will actually enter my finished piece, but I thought it was a fun idea, plus those beads.....yum!

My wish for green has been granted. Our temps have 'soared' into the 50s and today they are predicting 62! Its very ugly outside now with the decaying snowbanks, but the grass is showing and the birds seem to be singing a bit more. I do love the snow, don't get me wrong, but it has been so nice to go outside and not have to scrape the ice or brush the snow from the car and I actually didn't wear gloves yesterday-no gloves in February?? that's unheard of! The moon on Monday night was so amazing. It had this pink halo around it - I took a picture, but of course it was much more spectacular in person.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Making a Commitment

For years, I have been in on and off again contact with a bead studio in Rochester, NY, which is about an hour or so away from where I live. Various times I have been asked to teach a class, but could never commit to take on the challenge. Me teach? I don't feel like I have the level of expertise to classify myself as a teacher. Plus everything I make is very time consuming and with it being quite a commute to the studio, I would need to come up with a project that could be accomplished in about 2 hours, limiting the project options.

Well I got another email from the studio asking me to consider teaching a class this spring. I took a leap of faith (or blind stupidity) and said yes. I've decided to teach 5 basic bead embroidery stitches to demonstrate how you can add texture and 'movement' with just these few techniques. I worked up a sample (see the pink pin above) and realized it was too large at just 2" x 3" to finish in a 2-hour time frame. But I got the basic idea of keeping with the few stitches. I am in the middle of making another smaller piece (about 2" x 2") and I think that will be the size for the class.

And here is a necklace that I had made for my friend Jeanette a few years ago that broke. I could just restring it, but I really would like to do something different. I tried a peyote stitch tube, but that didn't look right, so I'm waiting for inspiration to strike. The single bead strand just looks too whimpy to me.

I just learned how to knit a cable pattern! I am so fascinated with it. It's the coolest thing. My friend Elrene showed me how to do it and my other friend Paula just happened to be cleaning out her overflowing yarn stash, and gave me a bag of 7 (!) skeins of hand-dyed wool in the creamiest vanilla colors with just subtle hints of beige and rose - scrumptious! So I have knitted myself into a frenzy and feel like my right arm and hand are about to fall off. I'm assuming this is a full-blown addiction when I continue to do something even when it hurts!!! My plan is to make a cable scarf with a matching pair of socks and fingerless gloves (which will be a new challenge for me). Better start popping the ibuprofen!!

My Hearts to You Bracelet is off to its new home in Seattle Washington. I will miss it. Isn't that ridiculous??? I make it to sell, and yet when it does sell, my heart is a little sad :(