Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Homework complete (well, almost)

I've got three out of the four sides completed on my lidded box class. I'm really happy with the colors. The last side is a small bird, which I will tackle in class today. And I mean 'tackle' -- I don't know what it is about bird shapes, but I always struggle with them. I'm hoping Anita, our instructor, will have a few pointers for me.
Time to pack my beads and hit the road!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No housework - just homework

The Niagara County Historical Society has again offered a beading class by the very talented Anita Greene. This time she is teaching us this beyond-adorable small lidded box that she designed. I love any type of 'vessel'--especially small ones! This piece measures a bit over 2.5" -- so cute!

It is always a bit of a mystery when you take one of her classes. She gives us a choice of velvet colors and then just a list of bead sizes needed (mostly size 11). Without knowing what the piece designs are, choosing velvet and beads is harder than you'd think. I hadn't worked with crushed black velvet before, so I picked that. For the beads, I knew I would have to have light colors or they would just disappear into the velvet. So I threw together a random mix of beads and hoped for the best.

First class is always the worst. Prepping the pattern pieces. T-e-d-i-o-u-s. Lots of tracing, cutting and mounting the pellon and velvet to the posterboard. Once we have our blank canvas, so to speak, it's finally time to get to the good stuff--beading! And by that time, there was only 20 minutes left to the 2 hour class. That's OK bead homework is always good :)

As it turns out, the box will be covered with flowers, vines and leaves, a butterfly and a bird all surrounded by my favorite raised rope outline (which the Tuscarorans call the 'chase me around' stitch).

I decided to do my entire outline in a clear bead - a very traditional choice for Iroquois Raised Beadwork.Here are the pieces laid out-the two sides are not attached yet. As you can see the flowers will be on the front and back, with a butterfly on one side and a bird on the other.

Here it is folded up to get a better idea of the final shape of the box. Once the sides are on, it will bow out a bit - kind of like a little trunk. It sure is a treasure :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The "JOYS" of Kittenhood

Well my sweetie is growing by leaps and bounds and he is now big (and smart) enough to figure but how to work his way up to my very crowded work table.

He is less than graceful and plowed over a photo on which I had hung a glass ornament my sister Laurel made me. Rats! It was filled with oh, let's see, perhaps, a million sequins and beads that were strewn on the table, the windowsill behind the table and the floor.

So much for getting any beading (or knitting) done today. Looks like its time to clean off the table. Which, truthfully, really needed it.

But I still love him - he's irresitible. And he is still nameless. What is up with that??! Meghan has started to call him Monty. I think that might be it.....for now. Here he is keeping an eye on what Meghan is doing on the computer.

We have another beautiful weather day on store for us here in Western New York. It has been a fantastic September. Today we are going to explore a long-neglected architectural masterpiece down in Buffalo-The Central Terminal. I'm really looking forward to it.

Regardless of what the weather holds in store for you, I hope you all get the chance to spend some time outdoors today. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kiss Me

~sigh~ It's done. My art-inspired cuff bracelet. After agonizing over the design and then construction, I never thought I would be happy with the results. But I am. Thanks to Artbeads.com, I had just what I needed to pull it all together.

I knew I wanted the left side of the cuff to represent the man's cloak using rectangular shapes and the woman's side to be circular shapes, like her dress. I also wanted to incorporate the bed of flowers that lie at their feet.

Artbeads.com stocks these awesome Swarovski flatback baquettes and rhinestones. Not only were those perfect for my cuff, I also found these adorable Swarovski margarita beads that are the perfect little faceted flower! I couldn't believe it -- I found the rectangles, circles, and flowers all in one place.

Then to edge the entire cuff I used Swarovski pearls in black. Although these beads are very lovely, I was surprised to see that on every bead, the one hole was rough, I'm assuming from whatever coating is put on them. But I just made sure the 'rough' side was against the edge, and it wasn't a problem.

The two Swarovski hearts (also from Artbeads) that dangle off the closure were actually left over from the supplies I used for my parent's 50th anniversary picture frames. I think they are perfect on this piece. The vintage glass button is one from my stash. It's really cute - though hard to see in this picture.
The sparkle of the Swarovski elements are so beautiful. I wish you could see it in person! I would highly recommend using Swarovski elements whenever you need a little glitz. (I hear that Artbeads.com has a Labor Day promotion if you sign up for their newsletter, you get a coupon worth 20% off a $60+ order. Sweet. But act fast if you are interested - the promotion will be over on Tuesday at 9 a.m. They carry over 5,000 Swarovski items!!)

Now that I have Poppy and my Kiss Cuff completed, it's back to my Life Box! It's been neglected for way too long.