Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Summer of Earrings

I made a lot of earrings in the summer of 2012. Here are the ones I took pictures of. 

Sold these right out of my ears while out to lunch with friends.

Love these so much they ended up as keepers!

These kind of remind me of the feather earrings the kids are wearing these days.

Embroidered Pieces

Man I wish I still had this brooch now that Valentine's Day is coming up.

Pendant with dichroic glass pieces

Pendant with dichroic glass and Swarovski crystal rivoli


I never really got the idea of a UFO (unfinished object - in this case) until I made this cutie. It's a ring that goes all the way around with 4 more of these same stones. It's too small to be an actual ring and too small to be a pendant, plus it would look weird. So it remains somewhere in a baggie waiting for additional inspiration.


Last spring I was loving links and making chains of them. I wonder what happened to this necklace...As it turns out, not only is my beading supply area a mess, but my dresser is a mess as well. Hm, perhaps I'm...messy? Nah. It's just semi-organized chaos. I also made the earrings below during the link love phase.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Because I have time for this...

I believe back in 2008 (wow!) when I started my first blog - dedicated to family pictures and updates after the birth of my firstborn - I started with a similar first blog post. Of course, then there was only one little one, I was home on maternity leave, and it was winter, thus my gardening hobby was on hold. So I did, actually, have time for this. Plus it was fun and an easy way to keep the family updated without having to send out mass emails to people who may or may not be actually interested in every adorable thing my child did.

Bead tray on the kitchen island. My current work in progress is a giant embroidered star. It will be a tree topper for the Christmas tree. It will be a pick up and put down project over the year since I obviously have some time before the next Christmas tree!
Now, five years later, I'm not certain I do. I've thought over the past few months about starting a blog to highlight my progress out in bead land. I used to think that I was crafty - and still do mostly, thanks to the amazing headache inducing 'I can do anything' glory of Pinterest - but mainly I'm a beader. And, as it turns out, I'm not into the bead stringing I was into as a kid; I do mainly beadweaving and bead embroidery. For me, it is the perfect combination of playing with the beads I've always loved and doing the sewing/needlework I also love. Time in my life seems to be on the short side. In fact, most people I know who comment on my bead work are amazed that I have time for it at all. However, despite a full time job teaching high school, taking courses during the school year toward my master's degree, two young kids, a husband, and a house, I fins the time for this bead love of mine and am now hoping to blog about my progress. To be fair, though, my husband does (probably more than) his fair share around the house, but still, Phew! That's a lot!

Just over two years ago I had only a tackle box full of beads left over from childhood and college sitting idle in our home office. My last project prior to my bead rediscovery had been back in 2004 when I made necklaces for all of my bridesmaids to wear at our wedding. Even this was a simple stringing project based off of a necklace I had purchased at Ann Taylor. As it turns out, my mother-in-law caught the beading bug probably around the same time Chris and I got married. I have always been impressed with her work and her sense of color, so for Christmas 2010 she gave me a copy of Mastering Beadwork my Carol Cypher, I headed off to my local bead store and was re-bitten by the bead bug.

My stash this morning doesn't actually photograph that poorly. I'm not sure the picture does justice to how much there really is.
I had stopped beading in college mainly because stringing wasn't my thing and I didn't know other techniques existed out there. At the time it was also hard to get beads. The closest big bead store I knew of was in Boston, and I couldn't get there often enough to support a hobby. Now, beads are everywhere! I have a great little store close to my work, you can buy beads at Michael's, and Oh, the internet! What a source of beady amazement! Now, my bead stash has grown to such monstrosities that it has taken over the office desk, and I typically have beads strewn all over the kitchen island where I do most of my work. I have had New Year's Resolutions both this year and last to  "bead my stash" so hopefully I can use up some of what I have instead of buying more.

At any rate, though I have been thinking about starting this blog for awhile to showcase my work, the impetus for starting today is because of this fabulous thing called "The Bead Soup Blog Party" put together by the talented Lori Anderson. I first stumbled upon this party of sorts a few years ago and loved the idea of it. Since then it had been on my future "to-do" list. This morning I saw that signups for the 7th edition of this party end today, AND that it is the only party she's doing in 2013. So, if it's not now, then I have to wait for at least a year! What happens in the blog party is that beaders with blogs who wish to participate get paired up and send each other a "bead soup" mix of beads and other certain items for the other beader to make something with. Then on a specified reveal day, they post on their blog what they made with what they were sent and everyone who participated can hop around via links to each others blogs. Hundreds of people participate from around the world. So, later today my plan is to sign up and also maybe post some pictures of my work (and fold laundry, shower and get dressed, feed the family, do some lesson planning for the upcoming week, clean, read to prep both for teaching and for the my master's courses that start up again this week...)

Peacock Cuff

I could be perfectly content keeping all of the things I make. When something takes a long time to make I tend to fall in love with it over the hours and I work. I would have kept this forever too, but managed to find a buyer before getting too attached.

First Star

I made this first start ornament as a present for the kids' daycare provider. The photo is blurry because I'm still learning to use the camera on my phone, but it is bead embroidered. I love it so much I almost kept it. Instead, it became the inspiration for the giant tree topper start I'm making.

Lucky Lady

My biggest beady supporter has to be my mother-in-law. She had great color and design sense and talent, and she also encourages my work and is always interested in what I'm making. Since I know she likes my stuff so much, she often ends up with beaded presents. Here is some of what I've made her over the past two years.
Birthday 2012 - From a design by Jean Power in Beadwork magazine.

Christmas 2011
I also made her a bead embroidered brooch for Mother's Day last year.  I'll have to look again later for a pictures of that if one exists.

Here is this year's Christmas necklace. It has really nice blues, but obviously the lighting was not good when I took this picture.

Celini Spiral

My second celini spiral attempt. I love the flow of various aquas in this necklace. I ended up giving this to one of my oldest and dearest friends.

Freeform Attempt 1

I really like the look of freeform peyote, and this was my first and only attempt. I had a hard time keeping it relatively flat, but it ended up looking ok anyway, I think.