Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Work in Progress: Catch Up

Do you ever have major creative slumps? I find that whenever I’m pouring a lot of energy into a project that doesn’t work out - or turns out to be just plain boring - I get completely drained of creativity, until I don’t want to do anything productive at all. This happened to me at the beginning of September, and I’ve been really struggling to get around it for the past week or so.

It took a little time, but I finally figured out a way to work around the creative blocks I was having, and got to working on some new projects that are exciting to sit down to. Right now I’m putting together a secret something using a Swarovski cosmic pendant, and it’s going very well. It feels great to be back to normal again!

Cosmic Crystal Necklace in Progress

My top secret project is still on schedule, despite some setbacks and a lot of timing issues. Normally I’d have hours of beading time to myself on school days, but all of our schools are still closed due to an ongoing strike. Hopefully things will get settled - with the appropriate funds going where they are needed - and we’ll be able to resume the ordinary timetable once again. The big reveal is still a few months away, and I’m very excited about sharing the news with you when it’s time.

What are you working on right now?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giveaway: The Best Beads

Greetings, beaders! I’m back from my creative break, and things are now back on schedule. What better way to celebrate than with a fabulous giveaway? Inspirational Beading’s favorite sponsor, The Best Beads, has recently made a move to Etsy, with a gorgeous selection of new beads direct from the Czech Republic. In addition to lovely seed beads, buttons, lampwork and pressed glass, The Best Beads also carries some of the exciting new shapes like pellets, pips, and Super Duos.

New Super Duo colors and finishes have recently arrived, including chameleon and metallic suede. The brushed metal look is gorgeous and colorfast – perfect for your favorite two-hole bead designs. If you’d like to try them out, The Best Beads is giving away a $30 gift certificate to one lucky reader!

Chameleon and Metallic Suede Super Duos from The Best Beads

How To Enter

For a chance to win, visit The Best Beads and check out their selection of glass beads and buttons. Then head back here to Inspirational Beading, and leave a comment letting us know which pieces are your favorites. Anything goes!

One winner will be drawn on Monday, September 22nd. This giveaway is open to international readers.

Important: Comments must be posted here on Inspirational Beading to qualify, but no log-in is required. Please make sure to leave a contact method in your comment if you do not have a profile with a public email address. For security, you can type your email like so: username AT yourmail DOT com. Incomplete or duplicate entries will not be included in the draw.

Good luck!

Update: This giveaway has closed.

Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading and The Best Beads
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Work in Progress: Fall Fail Cuff

I’m way behind in my goals this week for beading and for blogging. It’s one part day job overload, one part back to school shopping, and one part beader’s block. (It’s a good thing the shopping part was really fun, because our teachers have been on strike since June and the actual going back to school is postponed until further notice).

Over the past week or so, I’ve been trying to recreate the semi-freeform mosaic cuff from a while back, using Java glass, vintage white hearts, and 8/o seed beads. I don’t know if it’s the materials or just bad luck, but I haven’t had any success. Last time, the beadwork just fell into place, but this time around I’ve had to take apart several attempts and start from scratch. I’ve still got two of my four failed starts to frog before moving on to something else.

Fall Color Cuff Frogging in Progress

This project has taken up so much time, and I don’t want to continue fighting with it when there are more exciting projects to make. I’m hoping that I’ll find my motivation again once I get some new beads on the tray. It’s too bad, because the colors are pretty awesome. I’ll have to keep them in mind for a fall themed project in the future - probably a necklace.

What are you working on this week?

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Spring Bead Mix

This week at Bead & Button, I shared some ideas for using bead soups and seed bead blends without doing any freeform stitching. Even if you’re working with a structured stitch, you can still get amazing, organic looking designs just by using a whole bunch of beads together.

Thinking about some of my favorite custom bead soups reminded me of a packaged seed bead blend that I was once head over heels for. Way, way back when I first started bead weaving, I had two choices for bead shopping in town. One was a small indie craft store, and the other was a dollar store that stocked such nice things it was more like a boutique. And they carried Czech seed beads, which was incredibly awesome. Both stores sold their beads in tubes, and one SKU in particular was always in stock - much to my delight.

Spring Rain Bracelet with Copper-lined Earth Mix Cuff Bracelet with Color-lined Earth Mix

The mix was called Earth, and included copper lined: transparent dark gray, crystal, Montana blue, mauve; and a gorgeous, stunning, copper lined green. If it weren’t for the metal lining, I would still be using that color today, because it is amazing. The mix that I liked also included color-lined crystal seed beads in Montana blue, pale blue, pink, and sometimes mauve. I’m a big fan of the color-lined crystal finish, and on occasion I used just the color-lined beads and left the rest of the mix for other projects. At some point, the recipe changed, and the color-lined beads were replaced with copper-lined blue and pink.

I lost access to this mix when both of the stores I shopped closed, and then I gave up using metal-lined seed beads. Even when I went back to ordering Czech seed beads online, I never thought to look this mix up and see if it was still available. It turns out you can still get the earth mix, but it doesn’t quite have that pop that I loved way back when.

Do you have a favorite bead mix or blend?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Work in Progress: Dragonfly Bracelet

This week I’m experimenting with some different treatments for lovely 22 mm Czech dragonfly coins. I’ve got a selection of beads that I want to use, including Rullas and Miyuki drops. Luckily, I just happened to have some in nearly identical colors.

I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to use both my green and blue coins, or stick to just green. I’m definitely kicking myself for not purchasing more of the blue! With the right back up colors, both coins could look great in an alternating pattern, or with just one as a focal. Maybe asymmetrical. I’m going to have to play a bit and see what happens.

Czech Dragonfly Bracelet in Progress

I’ve also got a bunch of Java glass laid out in my workspace, drying after their water baths. I’ve got two more secret bracelet experiments coming up, which will revive and old favorite design. Eventually, I’ll also get around to stringing the last three embroidery pendants we made, so I can show you how they turned out.

What are you making this week?

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