Sunday, June 30, 2013

Freya's Cat

Freya, Norse Goddess of Beauty, Love, and War- loves the moon(his real moonstone crown), spirals (on his back), tritek (the symbol on the back of his head), and the Rune 'Cen' or Torch, symbolizing magic and knowledge. Her cats pulled her chariot, or cart, sometimes flying if needed.
Strangely enough, there are images of cats with vestiges of wings, and these real, everyday cats have extra bones at the shoulders, and their feathery fur looks much like the Angelina fibers shaped for this cat.

Created for the Stone Goddesses and their Winged Creatures Challenge at Beaded_Art_Dolls yahoo group, he started out as an ordinary Mickey D toy, that was rescued from being pinned to a wall as a joke at an art exhibit. Now he is his regal self, ready to serve the Goddess Freya, as needed.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Update and Spring

This is a completed piece, from my free pattern a few weeks ago.
It is always interesting to see what direction a particular piece of beadwork decides to go. I thought this would be a nice bracelet, and it would, for someone in cooler climes, or who doesn't sweat like a racehorse! I was afraid the dyed purple Delicas would not stand up to it.
But I just couldn't stop. There was all that warping that would be wasted, and the nit-picky needling through the beads, avoiding the warp threads. Soooo
One day, it struck me! This is to be a bit for the center of a piece that will be a wedding gift. It will be sewn to a fabric-fronted piece of heavy Pellon, then bead-embroidered around the edges of the loom piece, then open space all around, then bead around the edges of the Pellon. Sort of like a double frame, is how I see it. My DH will do some nice calligraphy with their names and wedding date on a piece of hand-made paper, and that will be appliqued to the bottom, and bead-embroidered around.
Now came the fun part; picking the beads that will embellish this.
Why, oh why do I always want to pick the beads at night, when it's dark in the house, no matter how much light I shine?? At least I had sense enough to go to bed afterward, and play Let's Triage This Project's Beads in the morning on the deck.
This is what I started with- lots and lots of colors and styles I thought would work.
This is what was left after triaging, and will probably be further culled, but I like that each of the colors in the loomed piece is represented in each seed bead size.
I can't show you what the fabric looks like, because I used a spray glue to attach it to the Pellon, and it needs an hour to dry, so that will be later.

But, in case you thought this was all I was doing, here are a couple more projects;
A pair of wire and lampwork earrings- Sharon 'Harry' Solly made the lampwork- I did the rest. Tracy Smith of the UK designed the original. I played with it, and made these from her photo.
Also did a bracelet from one of the bits that got torn apart in my cleaning and clearing frenzy!
Embellished it to within an inch of its life!

Then, there is the 3-4 mile walk around our loops every day with TippyDogg, who also got a bath and a haircut. Lots of wildflowers to see and learn where they are. Here are just a few- more at another time.

I know these are the more common ones, but they are the only ones I have ready to go!
Happy Beading, Walking and I hope your Spring is wonderful!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Snip-snap! Free patterns out of all the cut up beads!

Just click on each photo to make them singular for printing, and full size, so you can see the beads. The top one is about 3" wide. The bottom onw, who know? Probably best for an amulet bag cover.
They both came from a pattern I found on the internet of free Moroccan patterns.
Here it is:
I had a bunch of beads that just wouldn't behave to be lengthened from a flat pendant into a bracelet. Sigh. That odd count peyote with cutouts and straps is best done all at once.
So came up with this pattern, using those colors.
The purple is Delica 1345, the bright pink is Delica 56, the softer pink is Delica 1066 (matte), the green inside the 'skirts' and hearts is Delica 122, The white is Delica 883(matte), and the background is Delica 332(matte).
I think it looks like a magic carpet. Hope it takes you for a nice ride!!
Hppy Beading!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Create, copy, or what?

Orignal design by Genny Smiith.

There has been an interesting discussion on copyright, with a new twist, over at the Beaddreamz yahoo group. It all began with a member sharing the link to Jean Power's blog post over this, and two articles in Bead and Button magazine.
Here is her post:
"If you've seen the Bead & Button Feb. '13 issue, you may have read the article
(yes, another one!) on copyright thoughts by famous designers. The same issue
included a pattern for a 'knock off' of an Elizabeth Taylor necklace. This
bothered lots of beaders, including Jean Power. Jean has just published her take
on the issue, and it is a long but good read for ALL beaders. Here's the link to
her blog post:
This has also been linked on her Facebook page where scads of beaders have also
 left their comments. Put the needle down for a bit and please read"

This was my reply, mostly in agreement.
"Here is a photo of a bracelet variation on a pattern by Smadar Grossman. I am
lucky (or anal enough) to be able to see how to do many patterns by other
beaders, after years of beading.
So, this bracelet is a variation on hers- I made it thinner and put crystals
down the center bits, and used two colors in a different design.
Would I write out and sell this pattern as mine, now?
Do I give Smadar credit for both inspiring me and the original design?
If someone wanted to buy this off my wrist, would I turn them down?
Would I make a lot of them and sell them on Etsy or Artfire?
The latter would be more because I am not fond of making the same thing twice,
but still, if I wanted to make and sell them, I would contact the designer and
ask if it is OK.
That is just common courtesy.
After watching a friend, who is struggling to support her family while holding
down a full time job, and creating, then spending hours and hours getting a
pattern with photos and diagrams just right, to supplement what her family
needs, I can understand the teensy extra she adds for commercial use patterns.
If someone is going to be teaching a class, making way more than the extra $
paid for the commercial use pattern, why would they complain? They don't have to
figure out bead counts, thread paths, etc. The students that don't finish in
class end up with a pattern they can take home (that was NOT purchased from the
designer!). I don't understand why this is a problem.
I do not see a problem in teaching a friend who loves something I am wearing how
to do it, though. I am not making money on it, and they probably would not
purchase the pattern.
This is Earth, not a perfect world, and so we have to accept that people are
what they are; some nice, some not, and try to not get our knickers into twists
over it. That takes our attention from beading, enjoying our lives, and being
nice, ourselves.
I do have to say that if someone sees a design of mine, and takes the time to
figure it out without purchasing a pattern, I am more than flattered! That is an
awful lot of work, often involving much frog stitching, and that they would go
to all that trouble means they really like what I created. I hope they would
give me credit for the original design, but if they don't, the Universe is not
going to stop spinning, I will not stop designing, and Life will go on being
happy for me, because I decide to make it so.
Karma is a b*tch with a long memory, so I do my best to play fair, I give the
others the benefit that they will do the same, and don't worry about the ones
 who don't. It will all catch up to them eventually."

The photos above are:
Earrings, my design after seeing a photo of some a friend made, using a different style hole crystal, and a different stitch altogether.
A bracelet I watched a friend design, that I understood the principles behind how the stitches went together, and had a photo she shared that helped with bead counts.
A bracelet I figured out from seeing a photo online.
In all three, I give the original designers credit.
Why would I not?

But, bottom line is, if you put it out into a public venue of any sort at all, even just wearing your creation to the grocery store, you run the risk of someone copying it.
Realize that, and let it go.
Life has many more challenges that require our attention.
Be happy. Be nice. Play fair.
You will sleep well at night and your friends will love you.
Happy Beading AND Creating!

What I am doing now- a couple great thread tips

Do you ever get tired of grabbing your Fireline or other large, flat spools, and finding the little pieces of tape that hold the thread from coming off have given way, or disappeared altogether?
Do your spools tangle?
Are you disappointed in the spool holders you got in the fishing department, that are supposed to keep the spools in place, with little rubber-lined openings for the threads to be pulled out? Do these work fine as long as you keep them at home, and don't knock them around, but as soon as you take them somewhere, the threads come off their spools as they rattle around, and tangle when you pull the threads? Do you gnash your teeth when you have to open the box and once again tighten the thread around each spool?
Do you throw the entire thing across the room?
Do you have regulation-size thread spools of Sono or other threads, that the thread end just won't go into or stay into the little cut on the side of the spool?
If you can claim any of these, there IS a solution.
I have to give credit to Sherry Grove, for first showing me this.
I must hang my head in shame for waiting 3 YEARS to implement this wonderful tip.
Sigh. I don't know if I am stubborn, or just lazy.
But, I am glad I started now. That little purple pencil box now holds over 900 yards of various threads, with room for about another 600!
And, the thread will never, ever, EVER tangle again!
The trick?
Kumihimo bobbins!
These are the smaller bobbins, though I did purchase some of the larger ones to try, this past weekend.
I used our cordless drill, two children's paintbrushes, and a nose tissue.
Put the spool you wish to empty onto the wooden end of the paintbrush, and hold it upright between your legs, while you are sitting comfortably.
Put the empty bobbin onto another paintbrush, sliding it down the handle toward the bristles until it is firmly in place. You can use a dowel, or whatever the bobbin fits snugly onto, that will fit into the end of your drill.
Place the wooden end of that paintbrush with the bobbin in place into the drill end and tighten firmly.
Wrap the end of the  thread around the opened bobbin in the direction that will allow it to fill. You will have to redo this if you wrap in the wrong direction.
Holding the thread that is stretched lightly between the drill and the spool on the paintbrush between your leg with the tissue, start the drill with your other hand. Watch to see if the bobbin is filling or unwinding. Use the tissue holding the thread to both clean off the black and to move the thread up and down the bobbin you are filling, so that it is filled evenly from top to bottom.
The 125 yard spools of Fireline, Dandyline, Power Pro and SpiderWire Stealth all fit perfectly onto the spools, up to the 10# size.
The 300 yard spools of Fireline fit onto them, up to the 8 # size.
If your thread is 20# or more, you may need two or more bobbins.
This is the opposite of what you do, if you use the thread from their original spools.
Otherwise, you risk more tangles.
Remove the paintbrush from the drill, take the bobbin off, make sure the thread is near the inside of the fold, then fold over the other edge.
Voila! No more escaping thread ends! You can toss these into any container without worry.
Now, for the smaller, regulation style spools of thread, like Sono, KO, etc, I put them onto my sewing machine and used bobbins from a machine that I no longer own, that will not work with my current machine. A full spool of 125 yards takes two sewing machine bobbins. I wish I had had enough kumihimo bobbins to put these threads onto them, but I didn't, and was impatient. I did give each their own TINY plastic bag, with the thread coming out of a hole I poked into it. The bobbins just fit and turn inside the bags. I don't know where I got these bags, but they were perfect. So far, the thread comes off without tangles, but I will put any new threads I buy onto the kumihimo bobbins, as they are more easily purchased, and self-close.
These threads you will need to put onto the end you cut, just the opposite of what you did on their original spools, for the same reason listed above.

Now, for the past tip, and I do not remember who first told me this. Again, WHY did I WAIT so long to try it??
Geez Louise!
Here it is, and it is so simple. Please don't disregard it like I did, for so long....
Use beeswax to run your Fireline through before using, especially the smoke!
The black won't come off on your hands (and no amount of running it through cloth, paper towel, etc really gets it clean) and it will tangle much less.
So, there you go.
Have fun playing with these tips, and Happy Beading!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Work sure puts a crimp in creativity

I don't know about the rest of you, but working takes the starch right out of the creative process for me. Even though I love what I do, and who I work with and for, by the time I get home all the ideas that have been cooking in my brain all day have vanished!
I asked my fairy godmother for help, and you see by the photo what the answer was...or not, as stupid server keeps rejecting my photo, which is within parameters! AAARRRGGGHHH!

It takes me awhile to get into a routine, so that everything I want and need to do gets done; walk the 2 mile loop or more with Tippy and Kurt, clean house, bead, sew, read, make meals, catch up on groups and emails, and keep up with my blog.
I think I have it down now, so hang in there More is coming!
ps I would blog more if Google didn't make me use IE- HATE it, but they don't support Opera, and Chrome is just as bad with the advert sniffers, so half the time I get a post ready, try to add a photo and it won't work. So I just give up. Sorry for my lack of patience....

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rip it or not...that is the question, or is it??

OK, while the photo is smaller than I would normally make it, that's because I am still working on the tutorial.
I like the two darker versions, but the top was supposed to evoke Mardi Gra/Carnivale. Couldn't find the lighter color twin beads I knew I had. Looked in the box they were supposed to live in. Nope. Did I send them to someone....nope.
Of COURSE, after I get this far, I find them. I didn't like how dark the center twin iris purple green were, so need to decide- rip it, or just make another.
I won't wear this, so will probably just rip it out and start again...
Oh well, those who know me, know that's how it is.
Stay tuned for the better, more colorful version.
And those light purple and aqua twins?????
They were hiding out in the Boot's tray of beady things!
Durned Boot- always gotta have the best for itself :-)
Happy Beading!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lady's Boot- the Home Stretch!

 Click on any of the photos to see them original size...

Back to beading- that Feb 28 deadline is coming up!

making the base for a standing art doll form

This is only one way to do it, and this tut is for what is commonly called a 'stump'doll, because it resembles (faintly) a cut-off stump, at the doll's base.
It is a great way to form an angel, tree doll, teapot, or other doll without legs, that you want to stand on its own once it has been stuffed and beaded.
See how nicely the teapot dolls stand up in the photo above? You, too, can learn how to make your stump or flat base dolls stand, and I will show you some tricks to do it!
Photo was shared with me, so I cannot give credit for whose dolls those are- but aren't they wonderful?!? If someone knows, please inform me via comment, so I can give credit!
Now, let's get started!
 First, sew your form, turn it right-side out, then iron a small fold up at the base. I usually make mine somewhere between 1/4 and 3/8", having left that much when I cut out the form after sewing. It must be ironed up to the seams on either side.
 See, here is the pinked, folded-in edge.
   You can use different objects to sort of eyeball how big to make the oval or circle. Jar lids come in handy for this. Trace around them on paper, once you find one to fit inside the bottom of your form, then draw it out into an oval on either side of the circle you just drew. Cut it out, then starting at one seam, match the paper to the cloth base of the form and see how close you got. Trim the paper if necessary. Then use your paper to draw the lines on the wrong side and sew.  Put right sides of fabric together, sew one half the long way, then turn and iron-making a fold on the unsewn half, like was done on the body in the  previous step.
 Here, double check your base after it is sewn. You can see the amount on either side where it didn't meet. That will be taken up by the circle, and seems to be the formula for making ovals fit, at least for me.
Now we need something inside the oval cloth base, so that when you stuff it, it remains fairly, if not perfectly, flat. I tried cardboard from cereal boxes, but even several layers of that will bend if you add enough stuffing. See the bottom of the Lady's Boot in previous posts, for that pooched look. That just won't get it, if you want your form to stand. It seems the harder plastic from the containers meat or deli chicken come in are just about perfect. If you are going to stuff REALLY hard, you can use several pieces. Just don't use styrofoam, as it will crack and break. If you cannot break the plastic with your hands, but can cut it with child's Fiskar scissors, that is exactly the right one. Be sure to wash and dry it completely before using.
I laid the cloth oval underneath the plastic, then cut the plastic out to match.
 I then took the plastic piece and put it inside the form base, to see if it matched in size, starting from one seam and measuring by moving the plastic along the ironed fold to the other corner. My plastic's corners matched both seams, so it is a go!
Now we have to be sure the plastic fits inside the oval fabric. The seams inside take up a bit of the room, so I had to trim the plastic to be sure it would fit inside. You can see the bits I trimmed off on the right.
Put it fully inside the oval base, and push your open edges together, to make sure it really fits nicely inside. If you cut the plastic a little bit short, either cut a new piece, or plan to add some beautiful round or oval beads, sewn in a line at the base of your form, once you begin to bead. This also helps if your form is top-heavy, like a tree!
 This is what I use to sew the edges together;curved #10 John James beading needle, size B Nymo, beeswax, and scissors. I finally figured out WHY I love those needles for everything; short needles, like sharps, are too small for my fingers, long needles bend however they want, not now YOU want, so the curved give me room to hold on and the curve goes right where I need it, plus it shortens the length between the top and end, so I get the point just where it needs to go. You can use whatever needle you prefer. I use Nymo here,  because it is easy to match colors, and it doesn't twist and fray like sewing thread does. Beeswax keeps me from cursing the Nymo LOL!
Make a knot at the end of your thread, put the thread onto the needle, then take your first stitch inside the area that has already been machine-sewn, This will help keep your piece from coming apart from tension, and your knot in place better than just through open fabric seams.
 Make two stitches in the same place, then start your blanket stitch. Blanket stitch takes the needle a short, SHORT way to the next place you wish to make your stitch, then make another stitch in the exact same place before moving in. It creates a diagonal line where you first move the needle, then a straight line around the edge with the second stitch. Make tiny stitches.....pretend you are sewing for the Queen!
 Keep your stitches to the outside of the folds, and try to not catch any lower folds, like seams, with your curved needle is especially good for this!
 Starting a the lower portion, see how the red line first makes a diagonal, then a straight line across the folded edges?
 Continue the blanket stitch, bringing the edges together with your fingers.
 See that pretty blanket stitch??
 Oh, dear! One side is longer than the other (the back side). No worries. You have two choices to fix it.
 One is to pull the edges away from the plastic and trim it a tiny bit. Do this if you cannot get the edges together by tugging....which is the second method!
 Tugging on the shorter side, the edges now meet and I can continue the blanket stitch.
 Once your bottom piece is sewn all the way around, you can continue with the same thread if you have enough. If you do not have much thread left, attach a new piece to the bottom on the inside, or where the stuffing will touch, near the outside of the oval or circle, but about 1/4 inch inside. You will begin attaching this to the top form near the seam, but not exactly at the seam. You can see where I took a stitch to connect the two just to the left of the seam on the top of the form in the photo above.
 More blanket stitch- and this is where it is crucial that your stitches be tiny and close together. 1/16" apart and tall is not too small. If your stitches are too large, either stuffing may come out when you stuff your form, or it may come apart altogether from the pressure of the stuffing. Large stitches can also cause your fabric to tear, your teeth to gnash and your mouth to wail! Tiny stitches, and the Queen will be proud of her seamstress!
 Match the edges as you stitch, and sew only through the cloth, not the plastic.
 Another 'oh dear' moment, but WAIT! No worries- this is fabric, remember? When you get 1/2 of the way around sewn, stop and put the other side's edge to your base. If the top form seems too large, like the photo above shows, or too small, just use your fingers to roll that seam in  or out a bit to match. That's why I leave a larger than normal seam- would rather have too much, than too little, to fix this with. It is also why I like to use pinking shears, so that all this rolling and moving doesn't cause my edges to fray!
 See, it matches up nicely, now that I rolled a bit of the top form's edge inside of that form.
 Continue your blanket stitch all around, going past where you  started, and easing in any little bit that might not exactly match up, as you go. A couple of times around in the same place, and cut your thread near the form.
 You can barely see the stitches on the base.
 But she will stand nicely, once stuffed!!
And here is her friend, Tree Goddess, who will undoubtedly need some larger beads sewn around the base area, to add width, as her top is so much wider than the base.
But still, they stand, and so will give it a go!
Happy Beading AND sewing!