Monday, August 30, 2010

Blog Spotlight: Artful Living on the Bluff

This blog feature segment began as a way to say Thank You to all of the wonderful bloggers that visit me every month. Today I want to share a very special blog with you: Artful Living on the Bluff, by Cindy Caraway.

I’m not usually a fan of fancy HTML graphics and layouts, but there’s always an exception to the rule. Artful Living is gorgeous, without being over the top. I love the rustic blue background, and there are always plenty of inspiring images to see.

With just one glance along the top of the page, it’s pretty clear what this blog is all about: Live Simply, Make Stuff, Play Music, Save the Planet. I can certainly relate, and plenty of other faithful readers do, too. Although Cindy is from Iowa, near the Mississippi, there is a real beach bonfire/Saturday farmers market vibe to her blog that reminds me of the locals here on Vancouver Island. West Coasters like myself will feel right at home.

Artful Living on the Bluff with Cindy Caraway



There are plenty of topics to please just about any visitor. Cindy uses this space to share news from her beadwork and vintage Etsy shops, her creative process, plus treasuries, nature and landscape photography and more! The Morning Coffee segment is a fun way to get motivated for the day, and features inspirational quotes and other great tidbits.

If you’re looking for some great new blogs to read, you’re sure to enjoy Artful Living on the Bluff!

Need more? Here are a few great blogs to try:

soapstar
Windy River
r-anne-dom
Designs by Dawn Marie

Happy reading!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Cindy Caraway


Friday, August 27, 2010

Beading Tutorial: Spiral Peyote

Ocean Mist Bangle

Any technique that has a spiral is usually high up on a beader’s list of favorite stitches. Not only are the projects beautiful and eye-catching, but they are lots of fun to do.

Spiral peyote is one of the most adaptable forms of spiral beadwork. Just by changing the arrangement of the beads, you can create nearly endless looks and patterns.

The technique is simply a variation of tubular peyote, worked best in even-count with a step-up at the end of each row. Using different sizes of seed beads doesn’t so much create a spiral, as accentuate the pattern that already exists in a peyote tube.

To Stitch Spiral Peyote:

The first thing you want to do is determine a pattern for your spiral. You can use almost any combination of seed bead sizes that you want, but it is important to gradually increase the sizes. If you are using 3 or more bead types, you will need to decrease as well, so that the tube can close neatly.

For example, traditional Cellini Spiral begins with 11/o seed beads, then increases to 8/o and 6/o. A final row of 8/o seed beads are needed to close the gap between the 6/o and 11/o bead sizes.

Spiral Peyote Pattern Variations

Like other types of peyote stitch, you must string your first two rows at the same time. Once you have decided on a pattern for your spiral, double the amount for each bead type. Attach a stop-bead to about an arm’s length of beading thread, and pick up a that first set of doubled beads.

For Cellini Spiral, you would begin with six 11/o, four 8/o, two 6/o and another four 8/o.

Stitch through all of the beads again and pull tight to form a ring. The stop bead is only to help keep the tail thread from slipping back into the beadwork. Stitch through the first TWO of the smallest beads again. You must begin your spiral here, or the first row will not be aligned with the following rows. This step is especially important if you wish to connect the ends of your tube together using the zip-up technique.

Basic Peyote Stitch Tutorial

Once you have your first row ready, the rest of the stitch is very straightforward. Like any other peyote stitch technique, you pick up a bead, skip a bead in the base row, and stitch through the next bead. Pull tight so the beads are snug.

Continue adding beads with peyote stitch, working around the ring. With basic spiral peyote, there’s no need to count beads or stitches. Just remember to always pick up the same type of bead that your thread is exiting.

After you have added the last bead of that first peyote row, you will need to step up. Stitch through the first raised bead - also the first bead you picked up in the last round.

Even if you stitch with good tension, the first few rows of tubular peyote can be a bit kinky. Before adding the next row, turn the peyote ring through your fingertips, gently pressing to help snug up the beads and form a neater tube shape.

Using a Mandrel Creates Better Tension with Tubular Peyote

Slide the bead ring onto a mandrel or makeshift form like a pencil or knitting needle. Make sure that the working thread is exiting near the hand that you want to stitch with, and that the thread is pointing up and away from you.

Using the form will help you to keep even tension during the first few inches of beadwork. You can use anything as a form, and it does not have to have a snug fit. It’s not there to create the tube shape, but to free you from having to grasp the first few rows of beadwork with your fingers. It also helps to keep the tail thread from getting in the way. You can wrap the tail gently around the form, and it should keep itself coiled there.

Hold the mandrel or form against the heel of your hand, and use your thumb to steady the beadwork near the opposite end. Now you can easily rotate the tube to add the next bead.

Step Up to Begin the Next Peyote Row

Continue adding new rows. Remember to pick up the same bead that the thread is exiting, and to step up before starting a new row. Because spiral peyote can create a tight space for adding the smallest beads, it is wise to do the step-up one bead at a time, rather than try to force the needle through two beads.

Once you have a few inches of beadwork, you can remove the spiral tube from the mandrel. Now the beadwork is long enough to be held steady and comfortably without squashing it.

Spiral Peyote Tips:

If you are making a bracelet, it is tempting to try and bend the beadwork to get a curve. Any tubular beadwork will appear very rigid when it is short, but it will become more flexible as you add length. Don’t try to force the beadwork into a curve. When it’s long enough, you will be able to bend it easily.

This is one of very few techniques where highly uniform seed beads can be less desirable. Using Czech seed beads, with their minute size variations, can create a much smoother spiral. As you work, look for beads that will help transition each new size from the previous one.

Multi Color Spiral Tubular Peyote Stitch Bracelet

Multicolor Spiral Bracelet
by Pocket Full of Treasures



Share your spiral peyote tips or questions in the comments!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quick Inspiration: Contests and Catalogs

Auntie's Beads 'Battle of the Beads' Design Contest

Battle of the Beads

Joining in beading contests can be a great way to ignite your imagination. When you’ve been stuck for new ideas, being given a theme to work with for a challenge can open up new design possibilities, and inspire you to use new color palettes, techniques or materials.

The Auntie’s Beads blog team recently announced an all new beading challenge for designers called Battle of the Beads. Anyone can submit an entry of a beaded creation made primarily with products from Auntie’s Beads.

The entries will be paired off to compete in a tournament style voting process, where readers can choose their favorite and send it off into the next round. The last two designs standing will compete against each other for the top prize - a $250 gift certificate for Auntie’s Beads! The runner up will also receive a gift certificate worth $100.

To enter your design, send in a 400 X 400 or larger JPEG image, along with your email address, name and materials list. To learn more about the contest, visit Battle of the Beads on the store blog. The deadline for entries is September 30th, 2010.

Pendants from Auntie's Beads



New Etsy Backlinks

SoopSee - Turn Your Etsy Shop into Your Website

Savvy Etsy sellers know that having plenty of quality links pointing to your shop is a great way to stay visible with search engines. And if those links are also associated with fantastic pictures of your product, that’s even better.

Many of Etsy’s Storque articles tell us that blogging can be a great way to create some of these backlinks, as well as establish an online persona that will create interest in our designs. We also use Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and other social networking sites to spread the word about what we make.

With so many different sites to maintain, it’s hard to step back and get a good look at our Etsy business from all viewpoints. Luckily, that is all about to change.

An interesting new seller tool called SoopSee is making it easy for Etsy sellers to gather up all of their online activities into one place. With just a few simple clicks, you can import your blog RSS feed and all of your current Etsy listings into one place, plus provide contact information for any shop or venue that you sell from.

Your SoopSee profile is like a landing page for your business - a place to see everything that you do in one glance. The developers are hard at work, planning new features and sites to include, like Flickr. Anyone can start a SoopSee profile for free, or take advantage of some extra features with a pro account.

SoopSee Profile for UglyBaby Shower Art



Have you been inspired by something new recently? Share a link with us in the comments!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading
Auntie's Beads and SoopSee


Monday, August 23, 2010

Poster Sketch: Lakeside Morning

Congratulations to Debbie of Abracadebra Designs, who has won the Cobalt Blue bead draw! I am so pleased to have found a good home for this collection of delightful beads! I can’t wait to see what she does with them.

I asked each entrant to describe a perfect memory to capture with beads, and here’s what she said:

If I could recreate a memory in beads it would have to be of the view from my hotel balcony of Lake George, NY. I have never been on a tropical vacation, so to me Lake George is the most beautiful place on the planet. Anyhow that view was in the early am, sun just coming up over water, mountains in the background. The various shades of early am sky, water, foliage and distant mountains was absolutely breath taking. I swear it almost made me cry, if you know what I mean. It was just so beautiful and peaceful.

To celebrate this marvelous inspiration, I created a treasury of picks reminiscent of morning on a mountain lake. To learn more about the artists featured, visit Lakeside Morning.

Etsy Treasury: Lakeside Morning



Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway, and happy beading!

Cobalt Blue Vintage Beads



Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Etsy.com


Friday, August 20, 2010

Giveaway: Cobalt Blue Beads

Cobalt Blue Tang Fish Bead Palette

Sometimes when we see a certain style of bead, we instantly see the perfect project to use it in. Something about the color, shape and texture calls out, providing inspiration before the beads are even out of their package.

That is the way I see cobalt blue beads. Unlike most blues, which are cool shades, cobalt has a mysterious warmth to it. Even turquoise, which can be used to represent a tropical ocean, can’t compete with the heat of cobalt blue. I like to combine them with bright, electric colors, like toxic chartreuse green or sunny opaque yellow.

In my large collection of vintage beads, I have a stash of round cobalt blue lucite that I’ve been hoarding for years. Even when I still used plastics, I could never bring myself to work with these beads, because they were just too beautiful to part with. The 10mm rounds are perfectly clear, and when they catch the light just right, they seem to amplify it, like a fiber optic cable.

It seems like such a waste to let these beads hide away in my stash, never to be seen in a piece of jewelry. So I’ve decided it’s time to pass them on to another beader who can appreciate their beauty. Will it be you?

Vintage Cobalt Blue Beads



How to Enter the Cobalt Blue Giveaway

For a chance to win my collection of vintage cobalt blue beads, just answer the following question:

If you could capture and recreate any memory with beads, what would it be?

Cobalt Blue Bead Giveaway

Leave a comment on this post with your answer, and you’ll be entered in the draw! There are 161 beads in the set - about ½ a cup of gorgeous cobalt blue rounds. The draw is open to residents of Canada and the US.

Receive a second entry by Tweeting this post. Leave a link to your Twitter account, or your Tweet, along with your comment.

You can also receive an extra entry by mentioning this giveaway in a blog post, and link back to Inspirational Beading. Leave a link to your post with you comment!

The winner will be randomly drawn on Monday, August 23rd.

If you do not have a public Blogger profile with email contact enabled, you must include your email address with your comment. You can type it spam free like this: beadlover AT yourmail.com.

Good luck, and happy beading!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Inspired Beader: Hypho

Red Ravel Knitted Necklace by Hypho

Having an incredible tool like the internet allows us to explore any art or technique we desire, from free tutorials to amazing books out our fingertips. Although all of this information gives us freedom, it often seems to encourage sameness in our designs, when we all draw from the same sources. So it’s very refreshing to discover a fellow artist who is creating something totally unique.

One of the most exciting jewelry makers I’ve seen in a while is Angela Roest of Hypho. Not only are her materials and techniques beautiful and unique, but they are handmade from start to finish. Necklaces are knitted by hand; stones and pearls are incorporated as the piece is formed. Weaving, braiding and sewing are also used to achieve certain effects. Even the jump rings are created in the Hypho studio!

Inspirational Beading: How did you first become interested in jewelry design?

Green Knitted Scribble Wire Earrings by Hypho

Angela: When my daughter was born, I had just finished my master’s degree and I was aching to make things – it was a vague but desperate need ! I explored hardware stores and experimented with some unusual materials and techniques – wire and knitting became the most satisfying combination. An added bonus was that I could knit while nursing (soldering just wouldn’t have worked)!

Inspirational Beading: What‘s the number one material you can‘t live without?

Angela: Wire.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite style of bead?

Knitted Wire Choker with Miyukis by Hypho

Angela: I don’t have a favourite, but I have an ongoing series of ‘bead-crushes’ – a period of utter infatuation with a particular style of bead. Right now, I’m obsessed with Miyuki beads, (seeds 11/0 or smaller). When I began going to bead stores I looked at these and, with a sigh of relief, told myself that there was at least one kind of bead that would never tempt me – such fussy little things ! Well, years later, I’ve developed a dangerous addiction to them and the tiny burst of colour each individual bead gives in a large piece.

Inspirational Beading: If you could master any new technique, what would it be?

Angela: Something entirely different – I’d love to work with resin. For years, I’ve made sketches of various projects without really knowing how resin ‘works’. I’d love to start experimenting with it soon.

Golden Bird's Nest Pendant by Hypho

Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

Angela: I don’t really hope to inspire anyone, but I do hope that my creations are enticing enough to encourage women to be experimental with jewelry – to wear things that are a little daring and unexpected.

Angela has lived in France, Belgium and Spain, and completed a Master’s Degree at Nantes University for her research on French fashion of the 1920s. Her beginnings as a wire artist may have stemmed from rummaging through her grandfather’s scrap metal pile, but her techniques have evolved into inspiring creations.

You can see some of Angela’s latest designs in her Etsy shop, Hypho. Her work can also be found in various artisan galleries, as well as in the boutiques of national museums and galleries. Her pieces have also been featured in FASHION and Back magazines and in the premier issue of Jewelry Affaire.


Lacy Mother of Pearl Collar by Hypho



Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Hypho


Monday, August 16, 2010

Cornucopia Lariat

Cornucopia the horn of plenty

As I write this, I think I may be sitting right between two of the hottest days of the year. Even in the wee hours of the morning, the heat from the previous day still lingers while the sun makes it’s way back up the sky. Yet despite the summer’s last attempts to melt everything in sight, fall is closer than ever.

You really can’t beat fall. It’s always a favorite time of year, because so many wonderful things occur in autumn. The weather is mild and bearable - you can do what you want and wear what you want while doing it. There are wonderful holidays, with even more wonderful treats. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are in abundance, and the air is fragrant and crisp.

Perhaps I’m letting go of summer too easily, but I can’t wait for fall.

The Inspiration:

Sometimes ideas come from the most unusual sources. While I was working on a herringbone lariat using a mixture of red and pink seed beads, my husband walked by, and asked me why I was making red corn.

I had to look at the rope again with new eyes to see what he meant, but sure enough, the assortment of tiny red beads arranged in a neat tube looked just like a dried cob of corn. I was instantly overcome with a need to create a new lariat using fall colors and shapes.

Fall Harvest Bead Palette

The Beads:

It took awhile to collect enough beads for the project I had envisioned. I wanted to include a variety of accents that would represent different types of fruits and vegetables. I also started collecting leaf beads of different shapes and colors.

For the corn itself, I started with a hank of yellow charlottes. I wanted to make sure that the rope had some natural-looking texture, and hoped the facets would add a natural look. I mixed the charlottes with Japanese seed beads in oranges, browns, and rusty reds. I thought the minute size and shape difference between the Czech and Japanese beads would also add a more organic look to the design.

Cornucopia Lariat
Cornucopia Fringed Lariat

The Beadwork:

This necklace was several months in the making, mostly because it kept getting put on the back burner for other things. Before I knew it, the end of summer was approaching and I had to get in gear and finish it. After a few weeks of stitching between trips to the beach and the pool, it is finally complete.

The corn rope turned out exactly as I had hoped, and although it comes in at over 40 inches, it was the easy part. Planning out each strand of fringe, and trying to evenly distribute all of the accent beads was the real challenge.

Each side of the necklace is basically the same, with different amounts of each seed bead color, and a different pattern of fringed strands. To keep things simple, I paired up the same beads each time: purple cat eye grapes with shell oranges, glass tube zucchinis with vitrail leaves, chocolate pearl potatoes with vintage amethyst leaves, and so on.

Although I used fewer strands of leaf fringe that I have with previous lariats like this, the fringe is full and lush, thanks to all of the beautiful accents. Because Cornucopia turned out exactly as I had hoped, it was totally worth all of the effort.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and The Sage's Cupboard


Friday, August 13, 2010

Bead Color Triads: Blue Tang

Blue Tang by Charlene-SJ, on Flickr

With fall quickly approaching, August is a time for getting in a few final tastes of summer. We’re all taking last minute camping trips, and dashing to the beach, hoping to make the most of the season while it lasts. Even though the weather is still warm, little signs are warning us of cooler times ahead. Even some of the leaves are turning early, as if to say “Store some food or you’ll be next”.

For this month’s color palette, I wanted to focus on something colorful, tropical and warm. Something that would help carry summer heat and light on into the darker autumn months.

Blue Tang Color Palette

The blue tang is a boldly colored reef fish from the Indo-Pacific, also called the palette tang. It has long been a popular aquarium species, but especially since the appearance of Dory in Pixar’s Finding Nemo. I thought that a stunning tropical fish would make for some wonderful summer palettes, and the blue tang does deliver.

The first palette I created was quite literal. The deep yellow and blue of the fish easily translate into beads. To create Splish Splash, I used Miyuki seed beads in transparent cobalt and opaque yellow. For black I added a pair of CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski pear-shaped pearls. Although the colors are borrowed directly from the image of the blue tang, they remind me more of scuba gear than a fish.

Splish Splash Summer Bead Palette



To create this Sea Monster palette, I had to turn down the brightness a bit, and started with some smoky blue shell coins. With their obvious aquatic nature, it’s still easy to see the summer theme. I matched them up with yellow cat eyes, like little orbs of sunlight, and shiny hematite black 8/o seed beads.

Sea Monster Bead Palette



The final palette was an odd one. I started with some transparent yellow seed beads, and opaque blue Czech fire polish rounds. After adding shiny black bugle beads, I thought that the group would make a wonderful sea anemone. But the beads began speaking for themselves as I drew the palette, and ended up with some kind of psychedelic palm tree.

20,000 Leaves Tropical Bead Palette



I had trouble finding a name for this palette. The best I could come up with was 20,000 Leaves. What would you call it?

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Favorite Beads: Faceted Glass

Amber Verdigris Necklace by Dark Ride
Amber Verdigris Necklace

Today my guest, Caroline of Dark Ride Jewellery, shares insights into one of her favorite beading materials.

Inspirational Beading: What is your all-time favorite bead? Why do you like them?

Caroline: You’d think this’d be any easy question. Well, I can’t choose! There are too many glorious beads out there! I’m crazy about translucent faceted glass beads, though, with Picasso finishes and/or a fire polish. I like the rusticity and the diversity among beads of a similar type. For example, the beads in both my Amber Verdigris Necklace and Amber Verdigris Earrings are from the same series, but they really exemplify the range within one series.

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite technique or method to use them?

Caroline: Most often I embellish with either a very simple bead cap or just a wrapped loop. I hate to cover even a millimetre of them! I also tend to use them as charms, so that they can move and catch the light.

Pond Drops Bracelet by Dark Ride
Pond Drops Bracelet

Inspirational Beading: Of all the creations you’ve made with these beads, which one is your favorite?

Caroline: I really like the Pond Drops Bracelet and would probably wear it everyday if it wasn’t in my shop. For nighttime glamour, though, I’d choose the Moss Green Choker. Actually, these two pieces also display another aspect of Picasso finishes that appeals to me -- on one hand they can be appear rustic and earthy, and on the other they can be glamorous and elegant.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have any tips for making the most of these beads?

Caroline: I’m a relative newcomer to jewellery making, so I feel I’m in the taking tips stage, not giving them! I tend to follow my own design instincts.

Inspirational Beading: What is your favorite bead or material to pair these with?

Caroline: I work almost exclusively with antiqued brass or bronze chains and findings. I’m drawn to vintage or period styles, and these materials, combined with gorgeous glass, allow me to access those vibes.

Inspirational Beading: If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could have only one kind of bead with you, would you choose these?

Moss Green Choker by Dark Ride
Moss Green Choker

Caroline: I’d definitely choose a Picasso finished and fire polished bead so I could rearrange them and pretend they were different everyday. Some of them are even translucent enough that they could be rigged into a signaling device (like, if the island was boring and I wanted to leave).

Inspirational Beading: In your opinion, what is the best source for these beads?

Caroline: Etsy! I do occasionally purchase beads from a local store, but this is generally the result of a beading emergency, and not the norm. I have a couple of Etsy shops that I return to over and over again, and I have always been more than satisfied by the quality, the value and the speed of delivery. Two of my favourites are Arte Bella Surplus and Treasures by Karen.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Dark Ride


Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Spotlight: The Beader’s Color Palette

Margie Deeb's 4th Book The Beader's Color Palette

I recently borrowed Margie Deeb’s The Beader’s Color Palette from the library for the second time. I wasn’t at all surprised to discover that it was just as inspiring as the first time I read it. Of all the beading books I’ve read over the years, this one is the most exciting.

Unlike a typical beading book, The Beader's Color Palette can never really become obsolete. Even if one master’s all 20 of the projects, the amazing color combinations and ideas are always there to eliminate beader’s block.

Margie’s 220 color suggestions offer invaluable inspiration for all types of beadwork, expertly designed with a professional eye for color. Each of the palettes uses standard Delica colors, and includes the numeric color values to make shopping a breeze. And with helpful tips on creating and adjusting color schemes, it’s easy to add accents like glass and gemstones for endless design possibilities.

In the introduction, Margie Deeb tells us “Color is so many things: an energy, a language, a means to discover yourself, a vehicle for expression, pure magic. Above all, color is, and should be, fun.”

Rainforest Cascade Necklace from The Beader's Color Palette by Margie_Deeb

The first chapter of The Beader's Color Palette gives effective instruction on understanding the combinations given in the book, how to create and adjust your own palettes, and how to translate the colors into beadwork. Margie guides the reader through the process, all the while encouraging us to trust our instincts and experiment.

The 220 beading palettes are organized into 5 main categories, with 28 delightful sub-categories to suit any taste or style. My personal favorites are Elemental Fire, Ancient Egypt, and Tropical Rainforest. The step-by-step projects help readers to understand how to combine the palettes with shape and form. Contributors include Heidi Kummli and Robin Atkins.

The final pages of the book are just as valuable as the rest. There is a gorgeous gallery of color-inspired beadwork designs, helpful beading tutorials, and shopping guides. In addition to an alphabetical index, there are also indexes for Delica colors and gemstones, so you can find palettes and projects for the materials you’d like to use.

Reading and understanding this guide is only half the fun. There are so many ways to use the palettes for inspiration. Sometimes all you have to do is close your eyes and pick one, to imagine your next great project.

The Beader’s Color Palette is published by Watson-Guptill Publications.

Festival of Fringe Necklace from The Beader's Color Palette by Margie_Deeb



Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading, Margie Deeb and Watson-Guptill


Friday, August 6, 2010

Wear It Twice: Peridot Paradise

An everyday necklace is really only as good as the number of things you can wear it with. When we spend our hard-earned money on something, we want to know that we’ll be getting a lot of use out of it. So a necklace that can go from work to dancing to brunch, is a good investment.

Today I thought I would examine the versatility of a simple birthstone necklace. August’s birthstone, peridot, has such a fresh green color, and it begs to be paired with other pure, exuberant shades. After finding a pretty strand of peridot beads, I started to see a palette of beachy colors - green, white, aqua and gold.




For the first outfit, I started with a fun asymmetrical ruffle tank top in a vibrant, almost peacock turquoise. I added a pretty white pencil skirt, then topped it off with gold strappy wedges and a pair of vintage Dior sunglasses - perfect for a day on the boardwalk.

To create a more casual ensemble, I found a lovely belted tunic in white, and added a cute pair of sandy denim shorts. Teal gladiator sandals and a floppy sunhat complete the look, for a lazy day at the beach.

And of course, you can get these looks - or something like them - on Etsy!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Polyvore.com


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bead Spotlight: Shell and Pearl

Shell and Pearl Beads

Summer is a wonderful time of year for the found object beader. The weather is perfect for spending hours combing beaches for beautiful sea glass, stones, driftwood and shells to use in jewelry. These little treasures are even more wonderful when found at a favorite vacation spot, and make for great keepsake designs.

The difference between beach shells and typical shell beads is that the latter is usually man made, and created from the inner layers of certain shells. Mother of pearl, or nacre, is a common material for jewelry, not just as beads, but also as inlay for elaborate luxury components.

Shell and pearl beads come in an amazing array of sizes, shapes and colors. Most natural and man made types of shell can be bleached and dyed to achieve any color, giving beaders an endless supply of inspiration and design freedom.

Charcoal and Turquoise Shell Bib Necklace by Leanne Designs
Shell Bib Necklace
by Leanne Designs

Because we can instantly recognize mother of pearl by it’s iridescent finish, shell jewelry in any color palette often has a summery feel to it. We see a strong emotional connection between shells, and beaches, and sunshine.

Here are a few fun projects to try using different types of shell beads and pearls:

Something Blue Bridal Hair Pin from The {NewNew}
Falling Water Necklace from paper n stitch
Pearl and Starfish Necklace by Irina Miech and Bead Style Magazine

Happy beading!

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Leanne Designs


Monday, August 2, 2010

A Flicker of Inspiration: Sunsets

August is here, and that means summer is nearly over. Although we may rush to try and fit in a few more summer activities, the days will grow shorter, and lazier. One of the most telling signs of summer’s end is our reluctance to head indoors. Sitting around the campfire or on the patio until the sun goes down is a great summer tradition, and makes for some beautiful memories. Perhaps these colorful sunsets will inspire your next great beading palette!

Sunset Mosaic

1. Post-storm sunset, 2. Palm Tree Sunset, 3. Purple Sunset over Toronto,
4. Pirate Ship Sunset, 5. Spring Storm, Sunset, 6. Fiery Sunset Over Snow Fields,
7. Field at Sunset - HDR, 8. Field Sunset, 9. Mountain Sunset,
10. Simien Mountain Sunset, 11. Mountain Sunset, 12. Gun Beach Sunset, 13. Landscape



Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Big Huge Labs


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