Saturday, 22 March 2014

Be a Phoenix and Rise!

This is my BJP piece for February 2014.  Better late than never.

I couldn't share this piece before now as it was created specifically for one of my best friends and I have only just been able to give it to her.

My friend had a very difficult end 2012 and 2013.  I know that we all go through trials and tribulations but some people just seem to take knock after knock.

Anyway - my very good friend wanted to start this year with a theme and I suggested she use Phoenix as her mantra for 2014.

To me this represents more than just rising from the flames - it is rebirth, remembering your inner strength and believing in your own power.

This applies to so many of us.

 When things get difficult - remember your Phoenix and Rise!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ssshhhhh - let me think!

Wow has it really been that long since I last tried this blogging thing? Oh well that's in the past and 2014 has to be about looking forward.

For that reason I decided to join in with the Bead Journal Project on Facebook this year(!/groups/177095035820297/).  The project was conceived by Robin Atkins and the idea is to produce 1 piece of bead embroidery each month that expresses how you are feeling or just what's going on in your life at that time. 

My January BJP piece is called 'Ssshhhhh - let me think!'. 
In November 2013 I experienced one of the top 5 stresses in life - I lost my job.  I was made redundant from my job of 10 years.  It hurt and I am still recovering both emotionally and psychologically from this life event.

What hurts most however is what I am doing to myself.  My inner voice of self-doubt and self-criticism just keeps getting louder and louder.  Now she was always there - my little voice - but now she has pom-poms and is doing a constant cheerleader thing through me.  She is my constant companion.  She invades what little sleep I get.  She is relentless.

I don't want to silence her completely, but I need to work towards lowering her volume and 'Ssshhhhh - let me think!' is my first step towards that.  I am hopeful that she will let me follow new paths this year, be they beading, career or life choices.  I am hopeful that she will let me shine again.

I have also made her heart shaped as a reminder to love myself - something that I am not good at just yet.  
Well that's my January out of the way. I hope you have enjoyed seeing her and please visit the Facebook page to see the journeys of others.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Straight up - its the Verticals Bracelet

Wow I bet you guys thought I had quit already - but no as they say you cant keep a good beader down (or words to that effect).  I do confess to being a mite distracted recently but am still happily beading my way through the Book!

My second project of choice is on page 33 - Verticals Bracelet.  Now its a funny thing - I very very rarely use bugle beads in my beading - I just dont like them.  They cut the thread, they break - all sorts.  Funny then that I have a ready supply of these in my bead stash. 

I chose colours similar to Sabine's - this is how my beading tray looked with my selections:

At first glance these colours dont seem to go together at all but actually beaded up really well.

In step 7 of the project it explains that you have to build up additional squares onto the bracelet - I just wanted to say that these addiitional squares use existing bugles so you will only thread enough beads to complete a square - I know that doesnt make any sense at all but here are the photos:

I absolutely love this bracelet - one thing that is not mentioned in the book is that the bracelet looks just as good on the reverside side - have a look:

So anyway thats project number two beaded up 

Wanna see what I've been distracted by?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Buttons, eyeballs and clay!

Hmmmm buttons. I was lucky enough to receive some lovely buttons for my birthday last year. Bought for me by work colleagues. I don't usually use buttons in my work but during a recent tidy up; came across these in a bag. After tidying I wondered how I could use a button in a quick design. A clasp I hear you shout - yep that's a start.  So here is my small stash of buttons - you can see that I have stuck one down to bezel around (but thats another blog post).

Here is my bracelet complete with button clasp - a simple tubular herringbone stitch with crystal accent beads - have to say that I really like this one.  I haven't yet listed this one for sale but you can always message me if it takes your fancy!


The other thing I have been playing with recently is eyeballs and spikes.  Whilst a lot of my beady buddies are taken with the latest glass spike beads - I travel a different path.  I have a few variations of these pendants - different eye colour and spike combination and am having a lot of fun with them.


 Sneak peak on what I have been up to with my polymer clay cabs - big reveal in another post:

Just gone to a new home:

Keep reading me - next post will be my second Sabine make!!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Fairy step one - where to start?

So after having announced my idea; how to go about choosing which project to start with?  Lots of my beading buddies have been making the Granada Brooch (page 115 of the book) and although I really want to do this one it didnt make sense to start there.

Should I just start at the beginning of the book and keep turning the pages? Rejected this idea for two reasons; firstly if I did that you would all know which project was coming next and secondly I dont have any pearl drop beads!  I have skim read a few of the projects and pearl beads feature in a lot of them - guess I will need to go shopping soon.

So even with all that said I could only ever have started with one project anyway and that's the Queenie Bracelet (page 48 of the book).  My FB buddies will understand this choice.

Sabine uses fireline for her projects and this is something that I always use too.  So if you dont have any fireline head down to your nearest fishing tackle shop and get some.

Having rummaged through my box of Rivoli's; the first thing that was apparent was that I dont have many same colour sets of 7 x 14mm rivoli crystals.  Ho hum...........Only had 7 black rivolis and started the project using those but then stopped halfway through as didnt like the overall look.  I therefore had to improvise a little as you will see from the photos.

Onto the project and one slight problem with the project is that the list of supplies doesnt say what size crystal bicones to use so on my first try of the bezel I used size 3mm and then tried 4mm.  It actually doesnt matter what size you do use as the bicones are not the beads that secure the rivoli in the bezel but checking the project photos I think Sabine has used size 3mm.  I had to use 3mm fire polished as I dont have many 3mm bicones.  I think the bracelet looks fine with this small change.

The bezel is quite simple to make but I had a time of it trying to get the rivoli to stay put whilst I was tightening the stitching.  It kept wanting to pop out and did a few times.  Arggghhhhhh! I found that by 'pinching' the beads between my fingers as I tightened helped with this.  Can you see what I mean in the photo? (excuse the nails - manicure long overdue).

This is step 4 of the project.  I actually went through the beads more than the two times called for in the book as I was terrified of the rivoli popping motion.

In step 5 Sabine instructs to add four size 11 beads as an inner layer - however I found that I got a better result using just an additional three size 11's.  Not sure why this is really as I did use good quality seed beads - maybe something to do with my tension.

Also note that in step 5 the project mentions a bead 'outlined in green in figure 3' - in my copy this bead isnt outlined unless I am colour blind which of course is a possibility but you can still work out what Sabine means anyway.

And here it is; the finished bracelet.  I think I would like to make this again but using 7 different coloured rivolis - need to order some 3mm bicones first though (unless someone would like to donate some?).

What do you think - did I do it justice?

What should my next project from the book be?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

First fairy steps on a magical journey

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Ira Glass

I read this quote on another blog a few weeks ago and it really struck a chord in me.   My beading mojo comes and goes but mostly stays gone so I do what I bet most of you do when that happens - you buy more beads hoping for inspiration!

Well enough of that - I have decided to set myself a beading challenge and I am really excited about it.  There is a book that has been causing a bit of a stir in my beading circles - Sabine Lippert's 'Beaded Fantasies'.  Its a wonderful book filled with all the bling a girl could wish for.

My challenge is this: I am going to bead my way through this book one project at a time and will blog about my experiences as I go along; searching for beads, mishaps, etc.  What do you think? I contacted Sabine for permission and she thought it was a great idea so I am all set.

I do want this to be an interactive challenge though and would love to hear from you which project you might like me to tackle first / next. 

Wish me luck.....................................and watch this space!

ps - I can swim!

pps - latest designs from me:

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

On a personal note

My first post with no beady pictures!  Have you stopped reading already?  LOL

I am very excited and a little bit scared as I have just booked a course of swimming lessons and scheduled my gym induction!  First steps on the long road to physical fitness I hope.  I will be blogging about my swimming experiences and hope you will be 'swimming' along with me.  My next major decision will be do I get goggles and a swimming cap or not?  Hmmmmm...................

Its so weird - I told my OH that I had booked the classes and hoped to get fit and lose a little weight and his response was 'but I like you the way you are'.  I took that to mean 'overweight and unattractive' and told him so.  I was hoping for some encouragement but maybe he feels a bit threatened at the thought of having a superfit, toned up, sexy as hell girlfriend - hang on I already am as sexy as hell - who is he kidding?!
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