Sunday, 25 May 2014

Beaded Bead Release Tonight

I wasn't sure if I was going to do it, I ummm-ed and aaaah-ed.....but then I decided that I would dip my toe into the water and give it a shot. 

What am I talking about? Selling my handwoven beaded beads!

I am unlikely to offer these up terribly often, but I am really enjoying making them right now, and as there was such enthusiasm for them on Facebook, I decided to offer some up to you lovely people. They will be available in various sets, pairs and some even singly over at The Curious Bead Shop tonight, and there are small, medium and large rounds, decorated rounds, and even a sneaky experimental rondelle that snuck into the listings. 

Here's a preview of some of what you can expect.....

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Irish Waxed Linen Cord Blog Hop

I admit it. I absolutely love Irish waxed linen cord (IWL). I know I am not alone! But I believe I am the only person taking part in this blog hop who lives in the country in which the waxed linen that most of us work with is produced, so the designs I create with these threads/cords are particularly Irish! (Despite Northern Ireland being tiny, I have yet to track down the elusive Crawford Threads HQ - I only have two more months living on this side of the UK so I need to get cracking! ;-) ) 

I have worked with IWL for a number of years now. It's a beautiful fibre - strong, supple and available in a range of colours and thicknesses, with a protective waxy coating that helps to slightly stiffen the cord and aids with placement of knots. At first, I spent a whole heap of money buying it in from America. Yes, ironic when you live over in the UK that you have to get Northern Irish products shipped in from the US, but it is often the case that things are wholesaled over to the US and then we have to buy them back. 
My problem was that I wanted ALL THE COLOURS. These waxed cords come in a myriad of absolutely beautiful shades and I am a self-confessed colour-aholic. I also got fed up with buying in relatively small quantities and paying customs and handling charges every time. Surely I wasn't the only one in this predicament? I thought to myself. And so, The Curious Bead Shop was born. Yes, it really was the desire to work with all the beautiful colours of IWL that led me to set my little shop up! 

As I have such a range of gorgeous colours and plys available at my fingertips, I really am spoiled for choice. So that I have a good selection on hand at my own work/design area, when a spool gets near the end, I take it out of the Curious Cabinet, and stash them on my desk. 

Really, just look at these beautiful, saturated hues! Yum.
When Suburban Girl Diana P organised this blog hop, I knew I wanted to play along. But because I work with IWL often, I wanted to try and do something a little different. So, I gathered all my little end spools together to see what they looked like. I decided not to include the Denim, Lemon or Olive cords from the picture above, but the rest I gathered together in one gloriously, chaotically joyous colour scheme. I also grabbed a lampwork ring from Earthshine that I'd been hoarding, in a juicy orange....

How delicious do these colours look together? If I do say so myself.
 I grabbed some lovely dark wooden rounds from Smitten Beads to really show off the colours of the cord, some ceramic beads from Grubbi and a few tubes of seed beads (something else I always want in *All*The*Colours*)....

...and here's the finished piece.

I am pretty pleased with this! It's a riot of happy colour and has a pleasing bohemian, rustic feel. I added a central strand of coral reef 7ply to the main mix of 4ply, drawing these over each wooden/ceramic bead in a swath of stripy colour. 'Ply' refers to the number of twisted strands that the cord is made up of, so 7ply is almost twice as thick as 4ply. It's my thickness of choice when I'm knotting bracelets, as they have to stand up to a little more wear and tear than necklaces or earrings. 

I finished the cord tails by simply knotting on a few seed beads. Pretty, textural and easy to do. It's often my favourite way to finish cord tails - no chance of trimmed knots coming undone and it looks good too. 

...I even managed to inject some colour into the toggle bar, by choosing this creative component from Vintaj. They are hard to photograph, but you can hopefully see here the coloured seed beads (same palette as the cord tails) that I've slotted inside. {And it's now available over on etsy!}

To give you an idea of just how versatile IWL is, here are a few more of my designs featuring it:

I love knotting with coin/disc beads, so that the cord is exposed. Pretty and tactile, and this gives you lots of colour opportunities. 
(Art beads - Swoondimples and Helen Chalmers)

I've used a similar technique here as in the bracelet I made especially for the blog hop, but kept it simple, using only two lengths of cord - one to go inside the beads and one to go around. I then did a little macrame to create the loop for the button closure. 
(Art beads - Mamacita and Helen Chalmers)

You can even use IWL in earrings - and these were great, as they just used up a few tails I had left over. 
(Art beads - Pips)

Here, I've just used it as a simple stringing material - a subtle charcoal grey in this particular necklace. But if you wanted vibrant pops of colour, you could achieve that too! 
(Art beads - Elukka, Golem and Thea Elements)

And here, sweet and simple multi-layer stackable bracelets. Easy to wear and fun to make!
(Art buttons - Bo Hulley)

Thanks to Diana P for organising this hop! I hope you will be inspired to try working with this beautiful material (and if you like, you can check out the range I have available over at Curious).

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Bead Soup Blog Party 8 Reveal

Welcome to the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, hosted by Lori Anderson! I know you will potentially have quite a few blogs that you are trying to get round today, so without further ado, here's what I did....

The soup I received from my lovely partner Kayla...
What I forgot to mention in yesterday's post, was that she also sent me a few extra goodies - some yummy chocolate, and also some turquoise nail varnish. Guess what colour my toes are at the moment.....

Here's the jewellery I created....
A sweet bracelet containing the barrel focal that Kayla sent me, amongst others. I somehow ended up using pretty much only beads that were in my bead soup, adding in findings and one of my new beaded beads. I do like the added splash of aubergine in this colour palette. 

And some very simple - classic, in fact - earrings. Again, I just added headpins and earwires to the soup. 

I still have quite a bit of soup left over (including the other focal, the large carved bird piece - you really stumped me there, Kayla! But only for now....;-) ) so I will be able to enjoy more creativity from my goodies in good time. Thank you so much Kayla for being such a great partner! 

I can't wait to see what Kayla made with the soup I sent's the pic....

and here's the link to hop over and see what she made.

Thank you SO much to Lori for organising this wonderful event for us. I'm so grateful for all that she does, even when her chips are down. Thank you!  

Friday, 9 May 2014

My bead soup, with a day to go...oops...

I have taken part in wonder woman Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party almost every single time she's thrown it......and every single time, I end up making my pieces wanted to share what my lovely partner Kayla of The Eclectic Element sent me before the big reveal tomorrow.....

....but you're going to have to excuse the short post, because I have to go and make some jewellery. Oops. Hop over to Kayla's blog to see what I sent her!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Beaded Beads - Success at last

What is it about beads that I am so drawn to? Is it their generally diminutive size and scale,  and therefore their distinct 'cute' factor? Is it the huge range of materials they are available in; their wide colour and textural variety? Their cultural and historical significance? 

For me, it is all of these. We don't often talk about the last one, but beads have been in existence for literally 1000s of years. Isn't that amazing? Bead stringing has been around for so, so long - a length of days beyond my comprehension. They've been used as currency, to indicate social status and of course, purely decoratively for as long as human beings have had the inclination for any of these things to exist. Mind-blowing!

I have meandered through different sorts of beading since I was 4 or 5. From my Grandma's bead box (full of tiny repurposed glass jars, cigar and pill boxes and wee tins full of beads and sequins), to friendship daisy chain bracelets as a young teen, to an obsession with bead-weaving from ages 16 onwards, to discovering bead embroidery, stringing and wireworkin my mid-twenties, to art beads (they deserve something grander I'm sure, ART BEADS perhaps) in my very late-twenties, there's just something about beads that I love and feel I have a deep connection with. I'm not particularly crafty in other ways - I knitted a very little when I was wee (my mum is a master/mistress-knitter), but I've never done any embroidery or general sewing, crotchet, scrap-booking, cake-making.....I *have* made some of my own Christmas cards in the past, and there are definitely some crafts out there - screen-printing, (non-bead) embroidery, ceramics - that I would love to try. I tend to get very obsessed with one thing rather than flitting between though, so I suspect that with me and beads, it's for life.

One of the things I've been trying to achieve with seed beads for literally years, is the beaded bead - specifically, a wooden round covered with peyote-stitched seed beads. I can't tell you how often I've had a go at one of these and how sorry most of my attempts have turned out. I did manage a good one about 6 years ago, but I couldn't recreate it for some reason - left too long between the original and attempting to replicate it I think. 

However, last night, I sat down at around 10pm, determined to crack the secret. (Helen is currently away, and I am *appalling* at going to bed at a reasonable time when there is no one else to suggest that perhaps staying up until 3am will perhaps not aid me to feel at my sparkly best the following day...!) I watched two episodes of Endeavour, and ended up with these little babies. Of course, there are also a small pile of false starts and baggy, awkwardly covered beads, but now I am happy that I have a formula that works for me. I really am ridiculously pleased with them and am looking forward to including them in my jewellery soon.

The colourful ones were my first successful ones - I used three colours so that I could follow my stitch path more easily for subsequent beaded beads, but I actually quite like the way these three colours muddle together! 


Related Posts with Thumbnails