Monday, 27 February 2012

New Range - Beadwoven Crystal Bracelet Charms

Yes, after a little wait for the Sterling Silver findings to arrive, I listed the first of my new range of beadwoven charms for charm bracelets over the weekend. 

The challenge with these little sparklies is trying to keep them to 2cm or less in size (otherwise they'd be larger than most other charms available for this style of bracelet - I did my research of well known brands and 2cm is the biggest they seem to get). The first couple that I made use Swarovski crystals that are 8mm in diameter, which is pretty small - the beadwoven setting is surprisingly time consuming to stitch in contrast to its size, because great care is needed to ensure the stone is securely captured in such a small bezel.

I created a 'stunt' charm bracelet to use when photographing these charms as I don't own one of these bracelets myself; I suspect this may change soon since I would love to have my own packed full of these charms. They've also proved a challenge to photograph due to the crystal sparkle and the metallic silver seed beads used. 

The first one is now up on Folksy - featuring a gorgeous 'montana' blue Swarovski stone in its centre. You can click on the photo of it below to be taken to its listing in my Folksy shop.

I'll be listing the other crystal centre charm (the 'flower' one in the first picture) shortly. This weekend I remembered I had some tiny semi-precious gemstone cabochons in my bead stash and I've now completed two more charms; one using turquoise & Swarovski, the other rose quartz. They'll be going online too once they've been photographed. 

I am always happy to take on custom orders - if there is a particular colour of crystal or semi-precious stone you would like a charm created with, please get in touch.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

BTW - What's on my Bead Mat....22nd Feb 2012

Why is it that lately whenever Bead Table Wednesday comes around, it is always a grey, rainy day i.e. rubbish for trying to take photos of beadwork! Today is no exception, however, I took the opportunity to play about with some of the fun effects my image software has to offer and so what initially looked like really rather bad pictures are now looking quite fun and colourful. 

A wide shot of the bead mat I've been working off of this week - lots of gunmetal grey & metallic purple seed beads, plus purple glass pearls.

So in this corner of the bead mat is another of my teeny tiny beadwoven charms awaiting the last thread end to be woven in. This one has been beaded around a tiny Swarovski rivoli stone in (colour = crystal) and embellished with galvanised silver delicas and seed beads. I've had the email to say my Sterling Silver findings are on their way, so the charms should be making an appearance online very soon.

In the other corner, I started working on another necklace like the one in my last blog post which I created for the OTTBS February colour challenge. I decided I wanted to keep the original for myself, but I really like the design so I'm now making this gunmetal and metallic purple version for the shop. I'm thinking of doing one in bright metallic silver too. 

I've also added several new pairs of very glamourous, sparkly 'Halo' earrings to my Folksy shop in the last few days; one pair in classic jet black, the other, bright summery turquoise. 

Hope you've enjoyed this week's bead table Wednesday - fingers crossed for better photograph taking weather next week though, eh?


Monday, 20 February 2012

Operation Tackle That Bead Stash - February Challenge Piece

I recently joined the Operation Tackle That Bead Stash (or OTTBS for short) group over on Facebook; a very active group of like minded jewellery makers sharing their creations, beady purchases & general chitter chatter. Each month there is a colour challenge run on their blog, with the aim of getting people to use up some of their 'stash' - because all beaders have a LOT of beads! 

This month's challenge is to create something in blue and green - with a bonus entry into the challenge prize draw if you also incorporate 'rounds' into your design. 

For my piece I decided I wanted to combine two of my favourite motifs - my peyote ring 'Halo' and my newer 'Starflower.' I picked out seed beads in teal and metallic blue (normally I'd have picked crystal beads to go with the teal, but as I was sticking to the challenge colours I opted for the blue and I love how this changes the whole feel of the piece). I added in glass pearls in bright teal green and deep petrol blue as my accent beads.

My 'Starflower' motif ended up looking quite different because I had decided I wanted it to link to a halo on either side and have a chain tassle - from the thread tension it is now a distinctly triangular of those 'happy accidents' that gives you new ideas you hadn't even thought about. When I finished it I thought it looked like a little embellished shield. 

Here's a few pictures of the finished necklace - ordinarily I'd have used bright silver findings, but the darker feel of the beadwork had me reaching for my gunmetal coloured findings instead. This piece is going to be mine to keep - I very rarely keep anything for myself these days so I thought it was about time I had a new piece for my own. I definitely think I'll be making a few to go in my online shops though.

One thing this necklace design doesn't have though is a name. At first I thought it might need a 'warrior queen' esqe name, since the central motif reminded me of a shield. Having photographed the piece however, it also reminds me of a bird spreading its wings in flight. Any suggestions?

If you'd like to know more about the OTTBS group and this month's challenge, their blog can be found here.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

BTW - What's On My Bead Mat, 15th Feb 2012

I really must make the effort to blog more than just bead table Wednesdays! I always say I will plan ahead and schedule posts, but this rarely happens...too much on my plate at the moment, beady and otherwise. 

Apologies for the rubbish photos today - it's horribly grey and dreary here in Cambridge today so the natural light was pretty much non-existent...not the best thing when you want to take pictures of something sparkly!

I came about the idea of making beadwoven charms for charm bracelets (which seem to be very popular at the moment) after a friend suggested a charm bracelet as a leaving present for another friend who is off on an exciting new job adventure for 6 months, and that everyone could get a charm to put on it to remind her of us. Well, I thought I would best remind her of me if I made a charm myself, so I rooted around in the sparkly section of my bead boxes and found a gorgeous tanzanite purple Swarovski rivoli. Size was a key factor as I'd looked online at some of the other charms my friends were planning on buying and realised my finished piece couldn't be any bigger than 2cm! Fortunately the tiny rivoli I had proved to be just the right size and I was really pleased with the finished result - and, since have several more rivolis in this size that I bought for a different idea that didn't work out, I have decided to make some to try selling in my online shops. Today's bead table Wednesday photo shows last night's first attempt at making another - this time with a rivoli in a beautiful 'montana' blue.

I've added a little more embellishment around the crystal itself on this latest version and I'm trying to decide which I prefer. Here's a quick snapshot I took of the first one before it went off to join the other charms on the bracelet.

Once I've thought about which style I like best, all I need to wait for is the Sterling Silver clasps and jump rings I've got on order so they can be attached to a charm bracelet, and they will be available online. The rivolis used come in all sorts of colours, so they could be completely customisable if you wanted to give one as a gift - perhaps a birthstone colour for a birthday present?

Hope you enjoyed this week's bead table Wednesday - I am still working on the necklace I showed last week but I haven't got much further with it so I decided to show you these new charms this week instead!


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

BTW - What's On My Bead Mat, 8th Feb 2012

It's bead table Wednesday again, and I am so glad that I took some time over the weekend to clear all the random beads, thread clippings, headpin ends and other stuff that was on my big bead mat before I started work on the new necklace design in today's photo.

After years of never really using it as a stitch, I've suddenly become addited to right angle weave - I've made several crystal embellished bracelets using this stitch in the last couple of weeks, not to mention the flowers I showed you last week. I decided I wanted to bead a bib/collar style necklace using right angle weave, and this week's btw photo shows you what I've got so far.

At the bottom right is what I've just finished and what I intend to be the front of the necklace - that's about 200 glass pearls in RAW, a bottom layer of rounds in a mid-grey colour and embellished with some lovely dusky lavender blue hearts that I've had for ages. I love the feel of this piece of beadwork, it's so supple and slinky in your hands. 

You might be able to spy a couple of my 'Halo' motifs nearby - these are hopefully going to be what links the front piece to the neck rope/chain...I made one using my favourite metallic pewter grey seed beads but I decided that the ring needed to be a bit darker to match the pearls, hence you see several bags of different shades of grey seedies on my board. Last night I decided the silver-lined black diamond ones looked to be the best match so started another 'Halo' using them. 

Now I just need to bead a second one and then decide on what form the back part of the necklace is going to take, I have a few ideas but I might have to try a few and see what works best. Hopefully it'll be finished by next week's btw!


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

BTW - What's On My Bead Mat, 1st Feb 2012

I took the pieces I've been working on off of my actual bead mat in order to get them to photograph a little better today (thankfully the weather, although extremely cold, is sunny today so I was able to get a not too bad photograph this week using my proper camera).

In the top left hand corner is a bangle which I started and finished last night using this tutorial by the lovely Debbie van Tonder. Her bangle design is called 'Zoe' and uses Miyuki tila beads, of which I had some left over to use and since lots of people on a Facebook group I am a member of had been posting pictures of their versions of this bracelet, I decided I wanted a go. Alas, I should have checked the measurements beforehand because it is sadly about half an inch too big for me (i.e. the bangle practically slides off my hand when my hand is down by my side) - it was so quick to do that I know it won't take me long to undo it and take a few tilas out of the base, but I didn't have the heart to do it last night!

The other thing I've been working on are more of my new floral motif design. I'm still trying to work out what kinds of finished jewellery pieces I want to incorporate these flowers into so I've made a few in different colours to play around with. My favourite is the silver one - the matt silver fire-polished crystals in it are so lovely.

That's it for this week!