Monday, February 28, 2011

Cyber Monday: Lariat Necklaces Plus Some Easy Peasy Pieces

I can't believe it's the last day of February already - time flies so fast! These are what I accomplished last week - simple necklaces with chains. I've always wanted to make lariats with leaves as focals in assymetrical style so I finally prioritize them recently.
Here's in bronze/brass tones - a combination of (12mm & 6mm) turquoise howlite and (4mm) garnet rounds. I thought of using a lobster clasp for closure at the back but changed my mind at the last minute and made a (delicas & czech seedies) peyote tube as toggle bar instead. The leaf focal was from Helena. The matching earrings hangs on vintage brass earwires.
This lariat in antique copper tone ranges up to 21" in length as I added a 2" extension at the back, closes with a lobster clasp. It has jasper, carnelian, carved flower, and czech leaf. I've had the chain for a while - purchased at Walmart - am sure glad I finally able to put it into good use.
And here's a simple necklace that I find fun to wear - with jasper cabochon focal, hematite, hemalike and purple glass beads.
Finally, commissioned earrings with a "Red Hat Society" theme. I just have to make a pair but decided to make a long and short version. I'm drawn to the long ones though, they sway so nicely!
Happy beading all!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Won Another GiveAway

It must be my lucky year! I'm still enjoying my recent "blog giveaway" wins, here comes another one. This morning, a "Congratulations" email is waiting in my inbox - I won a custom photo coaster set from Blueblossom Designs. Needless to say, I was busy earlier choosing photos for my fun personalized coasters. After too much contemplation, I settled on a photo of me & DH together (1 coaster), and a family farm photo (3 coasters) where MIL now lives. The farm photo was taken on 1955, and this is where MIL and her 2 siblings grew up. Majority of the structures had been demolished since MIL built a new house a decade ago, new building 3 years ago for her tractors (barn), and a new chicken house (2 years ago) even. LOL I'm sure the coasters will become a great conversation pieces - can't wait to show it to them!
Blueblossom Designs is an etsy store managed by Beccah & Sarah - they make custom handmade coasters and decorative switch plates which are great for gift giving or better yet "keep me gift"! Don't forget to check out their store to see what they have to offer!

Thanks again Beccah & Sarah! Enjoy your Sunday all!

Friday, February 25, 2011

EtsyNEAT Is Having Its First Challenge

As I already mentioned in one of my previous posts, I found a team at etsy that I felt I needed to join - Etsy NeedleArts Team aka EtsyNEAT (Please visit the team blog for further details about the team. Plus it has helpful tips to enjoy!)... hand embroidery and bead embroidery, what not to love? The team is getting active and is now having it's first ever creative challenge wherein the challenge word is "BLUE" - thanks to Spincushions for organizing!
To sweeten the challenge, I immediately whipped up this pair of beaded bead earrings as prize option to the winner. Yes, they're blue, but they're not my entry for the challenge. LOL I know that not everybody wears earrings nor like jewelries, so I'm offering a second option - a gold-tone 3.5" stork scissors. I don't know any embroiderer who doesn't like cute scissors. They're one of my addiction!
Third option is my first ever published pincushion pattern - Flower Garden Biscornu - which was published at an Australian based magazine. The pincushion design is mostly cross stitch with two sided design.
If you're an EtsyNEAT member, don't forget to join the challenge for a chance to win one of the above. The next upcoming event is a pincushion swap, due date sign-up is March 15th.
And lastly, I wanna congratulate the captain and all the leaders for updating the requirements on how to become a member.
Keep threading and needling all! Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Surprises! Surprises!

It looks like 2011 is my lucky year for give-away winnings! Last month, I won beading stash from Sweden (don't forget to check out her blog as she's having another give-away)... and this month, a yummy coffee from a fellow EtsyNEAT member who had a "The Land Of A Thousand Hills" coffee give-away on her blog. I got the coffee in the mail today and couldn't wait 'til morning to try it - now enjoying a cuppa as I write this post. Thanks so much to Gwyn & Ava for your generosity.

And this goodies came as a total surprise from my dear friend Jodi of WI. She's one of those people who loves sending surprises and I'm such a lucky recipient of her generosity! These are soe of the goodies she sent me recently - she also gave me a GC from her fave etsy shop, which I used right away and now waiting for the stash! Thank you so much for your sweet gestures and making my day Jodi!
A sterling silver & freshwater pearls necklace
that became a fave instantly!
Have a great night all!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cyber Monday: Bead Embroidered Button-Style

All I did last week was bead embroidery - finished my BJP block first, then followed by itty-bitty pieces like the button styles below - I did these over the weekend. I can see myself doing more of these this week. My initial thought was to finish them as rings - but I'll gonna make some earrings and pendants out of them too. Most got a fancy jasper coin focal (only one got a button focal, the pink) but I'll gonna dig my small pearly buttons today.
Here's a crazy piece done over the week... was hoping for a ring but I think it will be better off as a pendant. I'm still in the quest of making a 2 or 3-finger ring.
Me and the in-laws had a girls domino night last Saturday in town, at Aunt R's house - but of course eating is part of the gathering. We had yummy cheesy brocolli soup with matching crackers, and oatmeal cake for dessert... and many thanks to SIL for a fruit assortment - strawberries, pineapple, grapes, cantaloup, watermelon, etc. Aunt R belong to a Red Hat Society group that meets once a month and go somewhere - a member host the party on each meeting... I was told that she'll gonna host their May gathering and she asked me if I can commission a necklace and a pair of earrings as door prizes on the said meeting.:) I'm more than happy to do so of course, since the main idea is to make them in either red or purple or both colors combo.

Happy President's Day everyone!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bead Embroidery: Foundation Preparation

I forgot to mention in my previous post that what I share here are my own techniques and experiences. Back in college, I lived at my paternal aunt with a dress shop & boutique in Manila. Me, my sister, and my cousins - who were also college students then - were in-charge on all the beadworks on wedding gowns, TV show costumes, evening & formal gowns, etc. We had the chance to do our own thing - design wise!
In this post, I'll show you how I prepare my beading foundation in rounds & square shapes as seen in the photo below...
FABRICS & STABILIZERS - I love stitching over patterned fabrics as I use the design on it as my guide - refer to my on-going March BJP block. If you're using ultrasuede and/or lacy's stiff stuff, you don't have to use fabrics really. In my case though, I often use stabilizer then cover it with fabric.
My on-going March 2011 BJP block
TOOLS OF THE TRADE - Measuring tools like footrule or tape measure comes handy when preparing your foundation. Also, I always have an assortment of needles, pins, scissors and pens (either ink pen or fabric pen) nearby.
THREADS - All purpose thread is great for foundation preparation. But of course, nymo and nylon (either quilting thread or fishing line) threads would work well too.
SHAPE TEMPLATES - You don't need expensive templates to draw or determine a shape, specially if you just want a circle. You can definitely find a lot of stuffs with round shapes in your home, i.e. a drinking glass for bigger rounds. Don't throw away those bottle caps, they're perfect for button-style pieces or pendants. Want a lil fancier shape? How about those cookie cutters in your kitchen? I love using them as I can get a great assortment of shapes at a fraction of a cost.
Again, please take note that this is my own technique as I always use stabilizer on my works.
I think the photos on both shapes are self-explanatory. The other tip I'd like to add is to always make at least 2 of the same fabric to make sure you have a matching set, so that the backing coordinates - unless you want to use ultrasuede. Making the round shape is similar to making a yo-yo, the only different is you have to insert a stabilizer inside. As for the square shape, it is like framing a miniature piece, while making sure the corners are mitered properly.
The backs should look like the photo below. A half inch allowance on all sides or from the edge of the stabilizer works great. Most of the time, my cuffs have rounded ends... in this case, I make a half yo-yo to get the rounded shape on fabric.
Since these are fast and easy to do, I always make a lot in one sitting - usually while watching TV - in all shapes & sizes I want... rounds, squares, odd shapes, cuff sizes, etc. You'll definitely save a lot of time by doing this. Ready made foundations comes handy when my embroidery muse is gone - they get me inspired!

I'm sure you'll find a lot of different ways online at how others do their thing... if you're just starting, find your niche - soon you'll have a technique of your own.:)

Next Topic: Basic Stitches

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bead Embroidery: Materials

Whether you just started beading or been beading for a while, chances are you got some materials available in your household already for bead embroidery. These are just few of the materials you CAN use on this technique.
CABOCHONS - You can't go wrong with them and they're must-have in my stash. Cabochons, also knows as cabs, have flat back which is great for laying. They come in different materials, shapes and sizes. Below are few of my collection, i.e. jasper, unakite, goldstone, bluestone, amethyst, etc.
SEED BEADS - A must have in bead embroidery! The more colors & sizes, the better... I have them in 8/o, 10/o, 11/o, 15/o, E, etc.
BUTTONS - whether they're old or new... shank or not... simple or fancy... they can be used as focals in bead embroidery.
OTHER BEADS - Coin beads are one of my fave focals as they work like a cab. For extra fling, freshwater pearls, chips, gemstones, or any kinds of beads (as long as it has a hole and will stay put when sewn on the beading foundation) can serve as extra embellishments.
OLD EARRINGS - Remember the 80's - where earrings are so bold, so big & so colorful? You might have some in your jewelry box and just sitting there for a long time. Take them out and use them in your next bead embroidery project. These are easily available on garage sales, auctions, flea markets, etc. I've made some embroidered pendants with old earrings as focals.
FOUND OBJECTS - Domino, scrabble tiles, left-over beads, etc. As long as it has a flat back and can glue it on your beading foundation, feel free to include it in your bead embroidery.
Bead embroidery is not as intimidating as you think - all you need is another pinch of patience plus extra time. Come on, look for those old earrings & buttons from your grammy's box so you can give them a new life.
Next Topic: Foundation Preparation

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 2011 BJP

I decided to prioritize my "Bead Journal Project" this month and won't start a new project 'til it's done. Finally finished it this afternoon, so here it is! ... What do y'all think?
It didn't occur to me that I miss stitching sequins flower since I started my BJP pieces - so it looks like that's the bottom line of my blocks, I'll put sequins flowers in all of them (perhaps). It has been almost 2 decades ago since I made a lot of these - at my aunt's dress shop in Manila, where me & my cousins do the beadworks on wedding gowns, etc.
Happy beading all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birthday Swap Goodies For Ann

I organized a birthday swap at BD and my mark's big day is this month. Main rules are to make at least one handmade and a surprise gift nor stash worth at least $10. Below are the simple jewelries and stash I mailed in FL for Ann.
Beaded Bead Necklace & Earrings Set
Jasper Earrings & Bracelet Set
With Angel Charms
Metal Filigrees & Pendants Assortment
Assorted Beads & Findings
Happy birthday Ann... hope you had a good one!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Rings & Things Blog Partner

I've been contemplating for a while about this and I finally caved in last week. Just a few minutes ago, I got the confirmation from Dave that I'm in! Woohoo!
Rings & Things got a lot of yummy goodies and their new chains are to die for - come check them out! Simply click on the logo to go to their site. They also have a Facebook fan page and Twitter you can follow so you won't miss their new product announcement.

Cyber Monday: Jewelry Sets

All earrings were done a while back but the necklaces were completed the past week. Simple but I think they're great for everyday use.

Weather here has been nice since the last couple of days... lots of snow had melted!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Package From Helena Of Sweden

A fabulous package arrived in the mail today... all the way from Sweden! Helena had a blog giveaway last month and I was the lucky winner - my first win for such ever! She sent more than what I expected, and I'm so excited to try everything. Thank so much for the yummy goodies, but most of all to your generosity Helena.
The goodies were packed well!

Ta daaaaa... the yummy goodies!
All mark - so organized!

While on the topic of new stash, I thought I'll share some of the goodies I grabbed from my craft escapade with MIL & a family friend on January 28th. Would you believe that I never purchased swarovski pearls before? LOL I wanna purchase some sterling silver findings first befor I'll use them - they're still intact 'til now. I had to indulged myself with seedies (24? tubes) as I'm running low with them - I'm so bummed though that they're not on sale at HL. I got an assortment of goodies from all the 4 stores we visited:
@ Hancocks - hand dyed embroidery threads, suede fabric, beading threads, a bunch of sequins (for my bead embroidery, particularly BJP pieces), and assorted beads.
@ Big Lots - spring theme beads, a quilting book, and metal pendants.
@ Hobby Lobby - an assortment of czech seedies, swarovski pearls, cabochons, and jasper focals.
@ JoAnns - czech seedies, acrylic flower beads, display stands for bracelets & necklace/earring, quilting goodies & wooden birdhouses (to paint) for MIL's birthday.
Last Saturday (February 5th) , I got a call from SIL early morning and asked if I wanna go with her & MIL at the Fairgrounds' Flea Market - my answer was YES of course! By 7:30Am, we're on our way to Des Moines already. Despite the cold weather & crowd, the market was full of people of all ages - from babies to oldies with canes! I can attest though that everybody had a good time. I had to grabbed a bunch of vintage stuffs (i.e. old jewelries), bead assortment, embroidery threads, a couple of old embroidery books, some (new) nail polish that I'm planning to use on sealing my beading threads, and cards.
The necklace below is a 2-strand crinkled faux pearls with damaged clasp which I had to tear apart right away when I got home - and for some lucky reason, I found a rivoli in my stash that fits perfectly in the clasp (see lower right in the photo).
I had to have these earrings when I saw them... planning to use them as focals on my next embroidery creations.
We try to do some escapade despite the snowy weather here in IA, otherwise, we'll suffer from cabin fever! So do the same and have a good time! Happy beading all!