Bead Table Wednesday: BTWW 10/8

August 10, 2011 § 3 Comments

This week’s BTW has an extra W.

That extra W stands for WISH and it’s what I would love to be on my bead table this week! The bead table is looking a bit bare as everything has been put on hold for dreaded dissertation writing, so I thought I would take a little trip into dreamland…

I discovered the joys of online newsletters when I first started buying beads online: it’s a great way to get a heads up about discounts, cool projects, and all sorts of news about the ever-enthralling subject of beads. I signed up to the Beads Direct newsletter a while back and they haven’t disappointed in letting their customers know just how much they’ve got going on! They’re having a fabulously huge sale at the moment and I decided to feature some of my favourite pieces, mainly from the semi-precious selection. Think I must  be having an autumnal moment because they’re all shades of cream, browns, and black!

Mystic agate faceted round beads

Magnesite free-form slabs in inky black

Czech glass mix in dark brown (ok, so not in the sale but I liked it too much not to include it!)

Crazy lace agate pendant

Bowenite octagons (like tiny little landscapes)

Frosted tortoiseshell glass bead mix

Bowenite faceted nuggets

Aren’t they just beautiful? I can imagine these strung up with some leather cords and antique gold chain, with some gold and brown beaded beads inbetween. So far the Summer Sale from Beads Direct has been taking up most of my time…I need to explore the rest of the website and have a look at everything else!

What’s on your bead table – and bead table wishlist – this week? Check out the rest of the BTWs over on the Flickr group.

PS I have some wonderful earrings waiting in the wings to show you, but as they’re a present I’ve got to wait until the receiver has got them before I show them to the world!


Bead Table Wednesday: 3/8

August 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

It’s August already! I can’t believe it.

The weather here is humid, and occasionally thundering, so everyone is very hot and sticky. I wanted to take some photos of my works in progress and finished pieces outside and found that venturing out into our yard at 8am, before the sun had got too hot and there was still coolness in the air, was incredibly refreshing. And helped me take some great photos!

Some of these pieces I am thinking of submitting to a magazine. Erin had a fantastic post on her blog the other day about submitting to magazines (her work was on the front cover of Stringing – well done Erin!) with some very helpful advice. So, with that in mind, I am not showing the whole piece this week, just some small snippets – not all of these are for a magazine but enjoyed the macro too much to not show all of them like this.

Amazonite stick with embellishments

Crazy ball pendant

Czech glass: yum yum yum. Cannot get enough of these beauties!

Those peanut beads look huge!

Iris and flowers

It makes such a difference taking photos outdoors with the early morning light, rather than indoors. Will try and do this from now on for all my jewellery. Although maybe not in winter when it’s snowing!

There’s three challenges on this month – one I am taking part in already run by Amy over on Copper Diem where she has selected Etsy treasuries for her readers. You are sent the treasury and then respond to it in jewellery! Very cool idea.

The other two are Operation Tackle That Bead Stash, with this mystical palette:

And Art Bead Scene, who have this oh-so-cool cycle-centred art!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the BTW photos over on Flickr. Hope you’re having a great August so far!

Bead Table Wednesday: 27/7

July 27, 2011 § 4 Comments

This post is more of a recap than anything, although it does have a completed piece which I photographed in some previous posts.

Last weekend I took part in a local handicrafts show. It was the first time I’d entered my work into a real life competition (rather than on a blog!) and I dreamt up a specific piece just for the show. I worked really hard and used a lot of techniques I’d  never done before, including encasing buttons like cabochons and freeform bead weaving. Here’s the final piece:

And some closeups of the little details on the clasp:

…and on the peyote stitched tube that holds the chain together:

I entered three pieces into the show: this one, last month’s ABS necklace I made, and then a pair of traditional-looking cream and lilac earrings. There were a couple of other entrants who had made some sweet strung necklaces.

When I went round after the judging, I saw that my earrings had got second prize, which was really good. However, I did feel disappointed that I had worked really hard on the colourful piece above but hadn’t received any prizes. Maybe it sounds like I’m a bad loser but it was a little disheartening! The piece that won was a tiara with crystals and pearls – traditional but well made. I think this was a case of not judging the audience properly, instead putting in a piece that was maybe a little too outlandish for the show. But I’m pleased I made it and I think it looks fabulous just the same. Plus the whole show was great! Originally it was an agricultural show but has grown to include lots of other things, like handicrafts and stalls for local producers and businesses. They had a show of prize animals, including llamas and baby kid goats which were adorable! Him Indoors also enjoyed himself:

Not sure how safe it was to pet the cow…but they seemed very gentle. They also had a display of vintage cars (loved them) and engines (also loved them). It was a very fun day and instead of worrying about the prizes, enjoyed everything else!

Lately I’ve returned to working with beaded semi-precious stones. Here’s a little preview of one of the pieces, but I want to wait until later this week to reveal them all!

There’s pearls, Swarovski, some beautiful Czech glass from Yashma Creations, strawberry quartz and a piece of … I can’t remember (and I only went in the shop today)! I will find out. It’s getting warmer here and my brain is frazzled (American readers, it is in no way as warm as it is in some of your states…I am just a weakling when it comes to warmth!)

I’ll be revealing some more finished pieces later in the week. Meanwhile, have a look at the other BTW photos over on Flickr!

Bead Table Wednesday (?): 19/7

July 21, 2011 § 6 Comments

Mis-timed this post so unfortunately going out on Thursday instead of Wednesday…never mind! I’m managing to fit beading in this week (somehow!) despite doing more hours at work and juggling a million other things. But that means I’m too tired to think of something witty and stimulating to write. You’ll have to have a look at these instead.

Slightly more developed piece from Saturday

Over the top? Me?

Love these pinks against the blue and orange.

Sometimes you want to make simple stuff, like a clustered necklace.

Glass beads, lucite flowers, metals, and sparkles.

Other times you want to make complicated, black and red, evil ruby eye of ancient god type stuff.

I ended up remaking that last piece and getting some better tension and shape to the whole thing, as well as changing the colours of the crystals slightly. Next is to work out how it will sit as a pendant or focal.

In other news, and related to beading, this week is my last week at the bead shop where I have been working for the past year or so. I’m sad to go because I really like working with our team, and I love the regular customers who always pop in, and of course I love the beads! But unfortunately I can’t survive financially on the hours I have, plus I need to concentrate on my dissertation. I would love to own my own bead and jewellery shop (an emporium!) one day – anyone who’s interested in beading I’m sure feels the same – but for now it’s time to stand on the other side of the counter for a while. Onwards and upwards! In the meanwhile, I have some more projects brewing, including a necklace for a gift, and a bracelet inspired by these flowers that are all over Yorkshire:

It’s called Rosebay Willowherb over here, but in America its name is Fireweed, which is a lot more explosive and exciting! Thanks to Leeds Daily Photo website for the wonderful picture and information.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the BTW posts over on Flickr! Have a good day and hope you are moving onwards and upwards too 🙂

Bead Table Wednesday: 13/7

July 13, 2011 § 9 Comments

I’m back!

After all the problems with having my laptop stolen (boo), moving  house (yay!), not having bed for over a week (boo again), but now finally sorted and back into the swing of things (yay!), I am back to beading! I’m very happy as I’ve been working on some great projects and now I get to show them to you with a well-timed BTW right when I feel good being back in the blogging saddle.

First of all, I’ve been working on my aunt’s bracelet – remember this purple disaster from before, right at the end of the post? Well I reworked it and re-jigged it and made it into something lovely! Unfortunately I didn’t get to take a photo before I posted it as I was already late for her birthday – but I’m seeing her in August so will get a snap then.

I’ve been working a lot more with seed beads lately (although I have rustled up some strung pieces) and working them round buttons like little cabochons. In the town where I’ve moved to I have found the most wonderful little craft shop that is like an Aladdin’s cave, full of fabric, beads, buttons, trims, and all sort of treats stacked up on each other in any old fashion. They sell mixed buttons by the scoop so I bought some of those – and in a charity shop nearby found some packs  of old, mixed buttons for 50p!

Nautical themed buttons for possibly a bracelet – yo ho ho

I am also using some buttons to create a couple of pieces for a local handicrafts show (more to come on that soon!) including this one which indulges my love of bright colours, brash gold glittery bits, and probably some other stuff thrown in there too:

I need to add a little more pizazz to these somehow. I was trying to find a tutorial for a frilly, fringey bead that I could use to embellish the pendant but having no luck – if you have any ideas I would love to hear them!

Finally, and also a big HOORAY because it was some lovely news for me when I finally did get online: I won the OTTBS June challenge! Woohoo! I won a tutorial created by Sarah from OTTBS to make some Chrysanthemum earrings (you can see a pic here). She posted it very quickly along with some golden-toned beads, and, well, I made them up already. I only have one ear pierced so I decided to make up one for a bracelet focal by following her tutorial and then embellishing the Chrysanthemum with some more golden petals.

Sarah’s tutorial was very simple to follow and complete, and I think the complexity of the finished piece makes it look a lot harder than it is (of course, being me, I wanted to do it with different sized seed beads and three layers of petals…)! I’ve had some of the peanut beads knocking around for a while and wanted to do something with them, but found them to be quite hard to use because they’re so unusual. However, they work really well in this bracelet! The small beads she sent as the focals for the flowers look like tiger’s eye (I’ve used the other one between two peanut beads on the right hand side of the bracelet) and apparently tiger’s eye is meant to be a stone that encourages a positive attitude and increases prosperity. So hooray in general!

I’m hoping this BTW post doesn’t sound completely over the top, but I really am happy to be back doing things I love (beading and blogging) and able to connect again with the community I have been missing out on over these past few weeks. Our friends and family have been of a great help and Him Indoors continues to be wonderful (especially now he has to contend with my beading. All. The. Time) but it is good to get in contact again with beaders out there 🙂

Don’t forget to take a look at the other BTW posts over on the Flickr group – what’s on your table this week?

Bead Table Wednesday 15/6

June 15, 2011 § 4 Comments

There’s lots of different pieces on my table this Wednesday, including a few beads I recently bought from work:

Ceramic beads from work – remind me of birds eggs or little fossils

Freshwater steely grey pearls strung with #11 beads and peyote band (to be a bracelet), Tibetan silver bicones

More ceramic beads – these lemony yellow tubes are hopefully going to be used for the Margie and Me Challenge

Apricot and gold beaded components for earrings – need to find long, bright gold kidney shaped earwires (anyone know where to get these, preferably online and in bulk?)

Peyote tubes and Czech peacock beads as earring dangles (possible) – how great are those Czech beads! I love them

Purple and lilac seed bead and Czech glass pendant

Sigh. This last photo was going to be a present for someone. But, well, I spent a lot of time making it – and then realised that there were a couple of places where the thread had caught and extra was sticking out, and then also that it didn’t hang right, and then…argh! I was quite annoyed that I had done all this work for ‘nothing’. But then I remembered that to get very very good at something, you have to be prepared to make stuff that isn’t quite 100% to start with, as practice. I’m going to take it apart, play around with the components, and start again. And that’s ok!

Don’t forget to have a look at the other Bead Table Wednesday photos over on Flickr. What have you been making recently – final, polished, 100% awesome projects, or something that’s not so great and more of a ‘practice’ piece?

Bead Table Wednesday 8/6 Untidy/Tidy

June 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

I always put my jewellery making things back where they came from. Always. Because otherwise I can’t use my desk for studying. I tidy up so it’s all nice and neat, and I can get on with other things. Apparently.

Argh! You can see, all bundled up in the mess with everything else, the lovely lucite beads from Yummy Treasures and Reduction Nation, new seed beads from my trip to the Nottingham Bead Shop, semi-precious nuggets used as cabochons, works in progress for June’s Marcie and Me palette, and loads of other non-bead related stuff. If anything, this photo has made me realise keeping empty silicone cupcake liners in a place where everyone can see you had not one, but two, is just not on. And yes, I should tidy up.

I have now tidied up.

Here’s something readers might not know about me: I only have one ear pierced. It’s pierced twice, but only the one – so I never wear pairs of earrings, and only recently have started to make them in pairs. Here are some of the seed bead earrings that I’m currently working on:

Black firepolish beads with matte grey seed beads and black Swarovski crystals

Plum lucite drops and metallic/opaque seed beads

Matte black lucite drops with matte grey seed beads and Swarovski crystal

Pale lilac and mauve firepolish beads with cream and lilac seed beads

Nearly finished earring with lavender Czech flower

I’m taking a lot of time over these, checking and double checking and redoing them in they’re not exactly right. I redid and finished the first pair (the black triangular ones) as the Czech firepolish beads in one beaded component were slightly less iridescent that in the other. I think I’m going mad! What’s been on your bead table this week? Precision and perfectionism, or are you embracing the mess?

Check out the other BTW images over in the Flickr group!

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