Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Work in Progress: Lazy Collar

It is taking quite a bit longer than I expected to get back on track after my recent hiatus. There’s something about a long to-do list that’s easier to put off than a short one. Plus I’ve really been enjoying some quiet time for reading and other hobbies. It was nice to take a break, even if I did feel things looming in the background most of the time. We’ve missed one week of the mini collar challenge, but I did manage to get one started for this week.

Easy Mini Collar in Progress


I really want to take things slow and get back to something resembling my old routine a bit at a time. For this week’s collar I’m going with a super simple design in some favorite colors. I have been saving the Autumn Tucson Gold for an upcoming peyote stitch tutorial, but I think I can spare enough to make this quick collar.

What have you been making lately?

Mortira

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mini Collar a Week: Blues and Greens

Last week’s mini collar was a complete success, and a very welcome one as well. A spot of illness totally ruined my timetable, so it was fortunate that this collar turned out just right, and I was already finished stitching it before things got derailed. With a new week beginning, I can use the start of a new collar to help me get back on track.

Blue Green Mini Collar


The design process for this collar was a lot more difficult than it would seem from the simplicity of the piece. I wanted to use an as-yet uncut strand of glass drops, but I also didn’t want to use all of them up in a single necklace. At the same time, I wanted to make sure that their presence in the piece would be worthwhile, so it was important to use them well. It was also important not to repeat the focal design that I’d used for the previous two collars, so it took some time to decide exactly how to balance out the drops. Although there isn’t a lot of complicated pattern work in this collar, it showcases the drops very well, and has just enough color to be interesting. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Dragonfly Drop Bead Palette


I haven’t begun to work on the new collar design just yet. I did want to work on something without drops for a change of pace, so I’ll have to spend some time with my beads and see what happens. Cleaning up my workspace, which has been accumulating bead packets for a while now should prove inspiring!

Mortira

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Work in Progress: Satisfactory Necklaces

My beading trays look much the same this week as they have for the past month or so. I’m making good progress on this week’s mini collar, using some of the greens I experimented with for a recent bead color challenge. I’m very happy with how this collar is coming along, although it is pretty tame compared to some of the previous projects that held a few surprises. I think for the next piece, I’m going to have to try something a little more exciting. So far I’ve tried to choose accents and build patterns on a whim, just to see what will happen, but I think a little more planning is in order for the next project.

Green Mini Collar in Progress


I’m also nearly finished with the blue dagger necklace, at last. I have a whole bunch of tutorial projects lined up for my days off, so I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to finally finish this necklace before another week begins, but I’m certainly going to try. I have a feeling that it’s going to turn out great. Because the daggers have a curved shape, they don’t drape in a uniform way; I would have preferred a more even look, but in the end I think it will look great anyway. Only a few more hours of work and I’ll know for sure.

Blue Coconut Necklace Still in Progress


What are you working on at the moment?

Mortira

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Spotlight: Convertible Crystal Jewelry

One of the best things about making your own jewelry is the ability to make it versatile and even interactive. It can be as simple as designing three necklaces to be layered together, or making a variety of focals to pair with a favorite rope stitch. Once you’ve finished making a piece, the real adventure is in how much fun you can have wearing it. In Convertible Crystal Jewelry,author and Swarovski Elements Ambassador Diane Whiting offers a beautiful selection of adjustable, mix-and-matchable projects for beaders of every skill level. Each one features gorgeous crystals and new ideas on how to make the most out of your beads.

There are 25 projects in all, each one using a mix of components and techniques to help you build and test your skills. There are designs for stringing, knotting, wirework, ladder stitch, peyote stitch, and so much more – each one more inspiring than the last. Diane’s projects make great use of the crystals and other components to create beautiful, versatile jewelry. There are beaded focals to wear with your favorite necklace base, necklaces that can become bracelets, tassels that can go anywhere, and two-tone bracelets that you can flip to match your mood. Many of the projects are created with ingenious techniques that spark so much inspiration, such as layering pairs of crystal flatbacks to make two-tone rivolis!

After a quick overview of materials, the projects begin, starting with a super easy lark’s head necklace for showcasing your favorite big-hole beads and Swarovski Elements fancy stone pendants. The difficultly increases as you go - the final projects feature more advanced techniques like beaded bezels and tubular right angle weave. Each project includes a materials list and step-by-step instructions with clear photographs to guide you through the design. There are also tips for adding even more variation to your finished piece, including ways to mix and match components from other projects to create something totally new. My favorite design is the Tila for Two x Two reversible cuff that looks gorgeously slinky and fun to weave.

If you’re looking for ways to revitalize your jewelry stash, Convertible Crystal Jewelryis sure to provide lots of inspirations. Many of the projects can even be converted to dress up your existing pieces and make them new again.

Happy beading!

Mortira

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Copyright 2016 Inspirational Beading, Kalmbach Books and Diane Whiting

Inspirational Beading has not received compensation for reviewing this title, however, actions you take from this post can result in a commission for Inspirational Beading.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mini Collar a Week: Black Lotus

This week’s mini collar was a bit of a whim. When I opened my tray of daggers and drop beads to plan the next design in the challenge, I was once again a bit overwhelmed by how many choices I have. Although I have months to work through and try them all, deciding each week where to go next isn’t always that easy. Eventually my gaze fell on the last 5 jet black daggers from a strand that I picked up ages ago, and I thought it would be nice to finally finish them off and remove one entire option from the list.

Black Lotus Mini Collar


Choosing colors to go with the daggers wasn’t easy either. Whenever possible I want to stick to Egyptian palettes, while also trying out new patterns in the chevron chain. Although I wasn’t sure how well the finishes would mix at first, I finally settled on opaque slate blue and dark cream Ceylon to get a faience and alabaster look. For pattern I went with some simple blocks of color to get a horizontal stripe effect.

Faience and Alabaster Palette


For next week’s collar I’m going to try out a recent bead color trio, and then perhaps it’s time to go for some smaller accents like my teal magatamas.

Mortira

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