Thursday, July 2, 2015

Operation Inspiration: Phase Four

At last my mission to find new inspirations is complete with the arrival of my first bead order of the year. I didn’t spend a whole lot, and did a bit of stocking up on important elements like jet black 8/o seedbeads and Fireline, but there are some pretty exciting new beads in my stash now as well.

My absolute favorite grab from this haul is a pair of dyed horn rondelles in red and amber. I first tried these natural beads in a round shape last year, and I absolutely fell in love. The natural translucent finish and warm colors are so fantastic, and perfect for the designs I like to make. I can’t wait to start using these!

Natural Horn Rondelles


I also picked up a few things that were on sale and just called to me for the fun of it, including a big bag of carved mother of pearl butterfly pendants. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, but there were some pretty great colors in the bag, including these turquoise, lime and black pieces.

Mother of Pearl Butterflies


Now I feel pretty much back on track, and I’m ready to start creating at my normal pace again. Although I’ll be working a lot throughout the summer – not to mention spending time at the beach – I know I’ll be able to make time for beading and sharing ideas, too. It’s good to be back!

Do you like to try out new beads for inspiration? What styles do you tend to go for?

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Work in Progress: Stripes and Rainbows

This week I’m working on two very different but equally fun projects with nothing but seed beads. One is an experiment with patterns in Potawatomi chain, starting with some simple stripes and hopefully getting even more elaborate from there. The palette is pretty simple with black, white, red, and turquoise, which makes playing with the patterns really fun. I’m always thrilled with the way this stitch comes together – it seems so complicated at first but reveals itself with just a few stitches.

Stripe Necklace and Cuff in Progress


I’m also making a new bracelet with some rainbow panels and a lot of lovely transparent mint. Since I don’t have any opaque purple – they tend to be coated and never stand up to wear – I’ve used turquoise and cobalt for the final colors in the pattern and it has pretty much the same effect as your average rainbow.

What are you making this week?

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bead Color Ideas: Tortoiseshell

Lovely imitation tortoiseshell has long been one of my favorite Czech glass finishes. The combination of transparent topaz glass and dramatic black flecks is gorgeous in any shape or size. And if you believe that animal prints are neutrals – which I do! – then they go with just about anything.

Awhile back I used up my entire stash of tortoiseshell druks, and I’d been missing them dearly when I came across a strand of tortoiseshell coins on sale. Naturally I snapped them up and added them to my growing stash of glass coins and tabs. I’d really like to put them to good use, but first I need a fantastic palette.

Earthy Tortoiseshell Bead Color Idea


My first approach was to go with something earthy, to match the lovely brownish hue of the tortoiseshell. Emerald green and black do the job perfectly, giving the beads a forest-like feel, or perhaps something serpentine. This palette would look lovely in a simple woven necklace or a collar.

Regal Tortoiseshell Bead Color Idea


Next I wanted something a little more regal, so I paired rainbow ruby with medium transparent topaz. The topaz beads are just a little lighter than the tortoiseshell, helping to highlight the black accents, and the red definitely adds an elegant tone. For this palette, I would almost certainly go with an elaborate cuff bracelet.

Aquatic Tortoiseshell Bead Color Idea


Finally, I turned to the remaining primary color and created a palette of lovely aquatic blues. Mysterious dark blue lined aqua and pretty Ceylon light green really bring out the amber hues of the coins. This palette is by far my favorite – possibly because I’m rather fond of the blue lined aqua – and would look gorgeous with something fringe-y.

What’s your favorite Czech glass finish?

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Work in Progress: Final Fringe

I am very happy to report that the new fringe necklace is just minutes away from completion. All it needs is one final strand – and some tying off of tails – and then it will be finished! The rope turned out really great, and it my favorite part of the piece. I’m definitely going to keep the stripe pattern in mind for future designs.

Striped Necklaces in Progress


I decided at the last minute not to include any yellow mother of pearl chips, and just put in a few blue ones for a pop of color and texture. The fringe itself sort of took shape as I went. After about 3 strands with chips and bone beads, I decided to add a second layer with just glass beads. The pattern is brand new – the plain strands are slightly longer than those at either side, which gives the fringe a really full shape, but still doesn’t interfere with the tapered look.

As soon as I’m finished with this piece, I’m going to work on a new multistrand necklace with lots of primary colors. I’ve got some white-hearts already set aside, and I’m hoping that the mulistrand design will allow me to be a little less choosy with the red vintage beads, which tend to be pretty wonky.

What are you making right now?

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Operation Inspiration: Phase Three

I’m heading into the final stage of my plan for boosting creativity in my workspace. The new ugly necklace is complete, and it turned out pretty fabulous, with a fun combination of herringbone strips and circular brick stitch medallions. I used a coconut flower button for the clasp, which not only added the finishing touch, but also allowed me to finally get one into a project after having such high hopes for them.

Ugly Inspiration Necklace


Apart from refreshing my workspace and using up old leftovers, one of my favorite ways to find instant inspiration is to buy new beads. I haven’t placed a bead order since last year, so it was definitely time to get some fresh materials in my studio. I’ve got a good sized bead order on the way right now, and there are some pretty exciting things in it. I’m trying out a few new seed bead colors, some new accent beads, and of course I stocked up on Fireline so I’ll be ready to make whatever comes to mind.

Now that the ugly necklace is finished, I’m getting back to favorite projects. I’ll be finishing the fringe necklace with black and gold stripes that I started ages ago - and then, who knows?

Striped Necklace in Progress


Do you have a favorite bead or material to purchase when you need a pick-me-up?

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