September Jewellery Challenge

When you make jewellery you do inevitability end up with rather a lot of it…but do you ever wear it all? Not all at once, but do you find that when you’re getting ready in the morning you always reach for the same few necklaces, those key pieces that seem to go with most things in your wardrobe, whilst the rest of your creations languish at the bottom of (one of your many) jewellery boxes?

This most certainly applies to me so far as wearing my handmade jewels goes,  which  was why I was keen to join in with the  #septemberjewellerychallenge set up by Chloe of Pinkhot Jewellery. The challenge was to wear a different piece of handcrafted jewellery every day throughout September (or more than one), but no wearing the same thing twice during the whole 30 days.

Did I succeed? Pretty much so! Apart from a couple of Sundays when I didn’t actually really get dressed properly and definitely didn’t get round to putting any jewellery on, I surprised myself by having enough necklaces to wear a different one almost every day. 

I had a real mixture of my own designs as well as pieces created using tutorials from other beadwork designers  (I have quite a few Sabine Lippert designs and they’re usually amongst my ‘go to’ jewellery for day to day wearing).

I was also quite surprised/embarrassed that I really do have quite a lot of pieces that I’ve designed myself and been meaning to write tutorials for ages (aka years!) so I’m hoping that wearing them has refreshed my brain a little and will spur me on to work out how I can fit in some tutorial writing over the next few months.

All in all, a great challenge – if you’d like to see more of the awesome beadwork and handcrafted jewellery worn by other people, check out the #septemberjewellerychallenge over on instagram. My own instagram is @nicolejstanley if you want to follow me there too.

TTFN

Nicole 

Pattern Review – Joan of Arc bangle

Howdy folks. I thought I’d start up something new on the blog by reviewing a beading pattern. The first tutorial I am going to review for you all is the Joan of Arc bangle by Sabine Lippert.

I was going to say that I thought I’d only ever made one bangle in my beady career and then I remembered that the one I was thinking of was a turquoise cellini spiral and it never actually became a bangle in the end because a) I was still quite new to beading at the time and I got a bit confused about how to zip it up, and more importantly b) it had just taken FOREVER…yup, you guys know the deal with cellini spiral (aka looks amazing but grows soooo sooo slowly). So in summary, I can’t actually recall having ever made a fully beaded bangle.

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I bought this pattern as a PDF, which has been super handy as I can then have the instructions up on my phone and bead whilst watching Netflix, which is a definite win in my book. Sabine also offers printed copies of her patterns though, as well as kits with all the beads you’ll need – there are seven different colourways to choose from for Joan, which means there’s surely something to suit all tastes. I was able to put my own kit together for this pattern from stash – here’s the colours that I used in case you’re inspired by my selections.

  • Size 11 seed beads – Toho rose gold PF551 (I loooove me some rose gold)
  • Size 15 seed beads – Miyuki galvanised duracoat seafoam 4217
  • 3 mm firepolished crystals in blue and purple suede (I alternated these as I didn’t have enough of a single colour)
  • Swarovski bicones in rose gold 2x and one of the AB2x colours…I think these are purple velvet AB2x
  • Druk rounds in blue suede – I am very keen on all the lovely matte metallic shades that have come out recently
  • Swarovski crystal chatons – bought from an Etsy seller who has lots of custom coated chatons for sale. The ones I used are light turquoise based but with a ‘glacier’ finish.

This pattern introduced me to the new (ish, new to me at least!) elastic beading thread by Sonoko Nozue. Now I am an exclusively Fireline kind of girl. If I so much as look at Nymo or anything along those lines, all I end up with is a big old fraying mess. I don’t bead with crazy tight tension, so I find Fireline works for me for the majority of projects. Still, I was definitely intrigued by an ‘elastic thread,’ especially given I was beading a bangle. The verdict? I really like this thread! It definitely feels quite similar to Fireline (to me at least) in a lot of ways, so I found that I got the same tension as usual, but with the added bonus that the finished piece has some give in it for taking it on and off.

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Sabine writes great instructions. This one works particularly well by combining computer drawn diagrams, which show you the rounds and detail of the embellishments, with photos of the actual beadwork in progress so you can check that your work looks right and also make sure you’re starting your embellishments in the right place. I found them very easy to follow and once I got into the flow of the repeated sections I actually found it quite quick to bead.

There are also instructions advising you how to create different sized bangles which is a helpful addition, rather than leaving the beader to figure out how many rounds they should add/leave out to make it bigger or smaller. I went for the medium size, but I actually probably could have made the smallest size factoring in the elasticity of the bangle from the Sonoko Nozue thread.

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I am very pleased with how this piece has turned out. I finished it last weekend when I was visiting my parents and even my Dad (who really, really knows nothing about jewellery or beading) was very impressed by it. I am not necessarily sure how much I’ll wear it – I am not big on bracelets in terms of remembering to wear them and also it’s relatively big so I think it would probably get in my way a bit if I wore it to work when I spend most of my day using a mouse/keyboard. Hopefully I’ll find a suitable occasion to show it off soon. I would definitely recommend this pattern for intermediate level beaders and upwards – a newer beader might struggle a little if you’re not quite there yet on achieving consistent tension.

I hope this review has been of some interest and assistance if you were considering purchasing the Joan of Arc pattern. You can find the pattern here http://www.trytobead.com/en/Patterns-and-Kits/Bangles/Joan-of-Arc.html

Let me know if there’s any particular patterns you’d like me to review on the blog and I’ll do my best to see if I can accommodate your suggestions!

Happy beading!

Nicole x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Week Earring Challenge – Week 1

Hello all. Yes I have blogged twice in one week! Once you’ve all picked yourselves up off the floor from the shock, I’ve got my first pair of earrings to share.

I decided to join in on the 52 week challenge fun as another way to motivate myself for beading and design. If I find myself without a lot of time, a pair of earrings can be a very quick make. Or on the other hand, if I find myself more inspired or with an idea I want to expand on then my earrings can be more elaborate and involved, with the possibility of spawning a tutorial.

I want to try and use stash I already have for the most part of this challenge.  However, when having a good tidy and sort out of all my bead boxes last weekend I realised I actually didn’t have a lot of earring findings, so I have had to cave a little and place a wee order for hooks and headpins.On to my week 1 earrings then!

I wanted to start relatively simple. When tidying my stash I found I had quite a lot of pressed glass flower beads. I chose two shades of jade and seafoam green flowers and added some similarly colour Picasso finish fire-polished crystals to the mix.

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My finding colour choice to set off the pale greens was antique copper. I also decided to go for a slightly more free-form approach to my wire-wrapping rather than do normal neat coils and I like the effect this has when I used my wrapped beads to create cluster dangles.

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The bottom of the earrings features a small tassel using two different styles/sizes of chain and I added a little lentil and Matubo wheel bead (I bought these ones in a little bead shop when I visited Prague last year) for a wee bit of colour in the tassel.

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Overall I’m pleased with my first week’s make – I wore them to work today and they’re dangley and jingly enough but not heavy on the ears for a whole day’s wear.

Hope you like them. Please do comment if you are joining in on the 52 week challenge so I can follow your makes….you don’t have to do earrings, other people are doing rings and other things, whatever you think will inspire you to create.

TTFN
Nicole x

Planning Ahead for a Super Crafty 2016

A happy New Year to one and all. Yes, it has been a little while since my last post, but hopefully some of what I’m going to talk about today will help to change that.

The end of 2015 got quite hectic life and craft wise and I really didn’t do much beading at all in the last few months. I bought a sewing machine last year to start learning to sew my own clothes which has also taken time away from beady activity and often, due to the busy state of my day job, I would come home and just want to be ‘told what to do’ rather than design, so I ended up knitting on these (many) evenings.

I don’t want 2016 to be the same. I want to have time to bead, knit and sew. A plan of action was definitely required, but not so stringent a plan as to take the fun and spontaneity out of making. I’ve started a list of dressmaking patterns, knitting patterns and beading projects that I want to make in the next year so hopefully I can stop myself from veering off tangent when new things catch my eye or flitting between multiple things without finishing any of them properly. I’ve also imposed some small restrictions about how much I take on at a time.

1.) Knitting projects are going to be limited to a new piece every three weeks (at most). I’m putting together a wishlist of patterns from Ravelry and trying to think a bit more about when I might make them according to the type of garment i.e. so as not to end up knitting a big fluffy winter jumper in the middle of summer as happened last year!

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2.) I’m aiming to sew one garment every fortnight. I find sewing often needs me to spend a whole afternoon with the machine out, especially since it’s still very new to me as a hobby, so finding one or two evenings or afternoons worth of time in the space of two weeks seems reasonable. Again, I’m putting together a list of patterns I want to try so I can be a bit more focused in my efforts.

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3.) Beading tutorial writing is an area I want to focus on. I’ve already got a couple of magazine projects in the pipeline so those are top priority and then I’d love to add to my Etsy tutorial selection too. I have a Peter Pan pearl necklace that’s been waiting to have it’s tutorial finished for quite a shameful amount of time, and there are several other designs of mine I have been wanting to write tutorials for and just haven’t gotten to yet. Outside of writing my own projects, I’ve also got a wishlist of patterns from other beadwork designers that I’ve bought and not made anything from yet to tackle. Additionally, I’ve set my sights on joining some beady friends in a 52 week challenge. My aim is to bead one pair of earrings for every week of 2016. I’ll be blogging these as they are finished and maybe doing some mini blog tutorials for them depending on how involved the design is.

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Well there’s my main plan. Hopefully now I’ve written it down somewhere in full it might help me with the tricky part i.e sticking to it! Perhaps you can help keep me in check too or maybe you’d like to join in the 52 week challenge as well as part of your own 2016 creative plans.

If you don’t see another post from me by Friday picturing a pair of earrings, you have my permission to give me a virtual kick up the bottom!

TTFN

Nicole x

 

A Weekend With Sabine Lippert

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to meet up in person with a number of lovely UK beaders from around the country. In the past, the couple of workshops that I had been to I went by myself, but at the end of August I was lucky enough to have booked on to three days of workshops with one of my beady heroines, Sabine Lippert, a the The Bead Shop Scotland. Five of us (plus one labradoodle) had arranged to stay in a gorgeous beach chalet in Bellehaven with a glorious view of the beach to wake up to each morning.

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Friday’s class was the Flip Flap bracelet which I’d seen a preview of at the last class I did with Sabine and definitely knew I liked as it was very fun and tactile. I had opted to pack my own kits rather than go for one of Sabine’s (just my own person choice to use up some stash, all the colourways Sabine had put together were stunning and well chosen). I’d plumped for some matte blues, purples and hot pinks…colours very similar to my Battle of the Beadsmith piece.

The Flip Flap design is very clever, but I think it’s fair to say initially certain elements were quite tricky to get your head around – one of those ‘a-ha’ moments when suddenly it all clicks and you know where you are and making the multiple units is quicker each time.

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I have essentially finished this one (I almost finished it over the weekend as I picked it up again during the evenings and on my train journey home) but not 100% yet. I only had lobster clasps in my stash but I think it probably needs something sturdier, so I am hoping to pick up a good clasp for it at next weekend’s Big Bead Show.

The second day’s class was the showstopping ‘Lily in the Pond’ necklace, a design with real wow factor bezelled crystal motifs and lashings of drapey ropes. Again, I packed my own kit with some delicious Bermuda blue Preciosa rivolis and a mix of silver and metallic blues for the rope and embellishments.

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I completed one bezel element during class and its accompanying tassels. I love the mix of textures Sabine has created using different accent beads, especially the one-hole lentils as these are beads I’ve used very little.

This project remains a WIP at the moment. Here’s a snapshot of how far I’ve got – I guess it’s just about halfway to being complete now. Hopefully I can get it finished for Xmas as it would be a lovely special party necklace.

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Our final day with Sabine was the Garland bracelet. I’d not been so sure about this project, but once I got going on the tubular base I loved the effect. It really made me think about how two different types of stitch can be combined. I’d been a bit limited in my choice of tulip petal bead colours when I was sorting out a kit for this one, so I’d opted for midnight and petrol blues, with a dark gold base.

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This piece hasn’t had any further work done on it since the workshop, but I’ve taken it on holiday with me this weekend, so hopefully an hour or so’s beading for a couple of evenings will see this completed very soon…I’m planning on joining my base up at the end so that I have a bangle instead of a bracelet.

It was great to have several days focussed on beading as I’ve been quite busy with my day job lately. Sabine is a lovely warm and funny lady and it was a pleasure to be taught by her. The only other thing I have to show you are my beady stash additions from Bead Shop Scotland (I think they’re quite modest compared to some people though!)…some new bead shapes in the super 8s and Emas, plus some tiles and some gorgeous dark bronze Czech Charlottes.

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Hope you enjoyed my snapshots of the weekend… I’ll definitely be sharing pics of my projects once they’re complete!

Nicole
Xoxo

Star light, star bright…Polaris Pendant Tutorial Review

Whilst I generally enjoy creating my own beadwork and coming up with my own designs, I still like to have a go at other people’s tutorials. I find it quite useful and interesting to ‘bead in someone else’s shoes’ for a bit. Some beaders, you discover, work in a similar way to yourself, whilst others follow a totally different way of construction or thinking. Plus, when you’ve had a long day at the office, sometimes you really do just want to follow someone else’s instructions and end up with a pretty finished piece after a few hours work, rather than spend that time making tiny UFOs/false starts and frogging as much as you’ve beaded. A little instant gratification project-wise can go a long way!

I happened to be poorly about 6 weeks ago, some crazy 48 hour thing  (which typically happened over a weekend, thanks very much immune system) that made me feel terribly fluey, achy and generally awful and not really up to doing that much, but equally not able to sleep it off. So having managed to re-locate myself from bed to the sofa, I set about browsing Etsy for some new tutorials.

I’d seen several examples of the beading of Justyna of Eridhan Creations in the flesh at the bead retreat I went on in May. I’m not normally one for lots and lots of peyote, but their clever structural design twists based on bead size increases and decreases definitely intrigued me and I ended up buying two of her patterns, Desert Rose and Polaris. Once I’d recovered from my odd lurgy, I decided to try Polaris first and duly scoured my stash for appropriate beads, plumping for some of my favourite metallics (higher metallic grape and duracoat seafoam) plus some light transparent silvery delicas. I didn’t have a large enough rivoli in my modest Swarovski stash, so I picked a slightly smaller size and hoped that it would fit.

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Slightly wiggly!

I found the instructions simple to follow, although I did have to make sure I kept a good handle on which round I was up too, with a mixture of text, diagrams and photos of the beading itself at key points just so you know what your work should be looking like. This design relies on good tension and bead sizes, and I definitely had a little bit of wonkiness going on, which I’m not sure how much was down to my tension (I bead quite tightly, although not as tightly as some) or the metallic beads which I sometimes find are a bit bigger/different shaped compared to other finishes. By the time I got to the stage of inserting the rivoli and zipping up though, most of that had sorted itself out – I did have to add a few round to secure my smaller rivoli and it still does move a wee bit, but that’s definitely my fault for not using the correct size!

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Check out those twists

I am very happy with my finished pendant – I wore it to work today and got lots of compliments. People often ask when I wear structural things like this ‘what’s inside it?’ and are then surprised when I tell them ‘nothing!’ It really is a lovely and clever pattern, and very striking. In darker colours I’m sure it would make a fantastically gothic necklace too.

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Wearing with pride

Sadly, I found out through the online Facebook beading group OTTBS that the designer, Justyna, very sadly passed away this month. I know many others including myself have enjoyed her design work and tutorials and are sad that we will not be seeing any more of her wonderful designs. Her Etsy shop has been closed, but if you would like to see more of her beadwork, her blog (http://eridhan.blogspot.com)  is still online and I believe there are some free tutorials still available there.

RIP Justyna.

xxx

 

 

 

Beading Competitions Vs Wearability

I think many people who have entered a beading competion have a least once stopped and sat back after their piece is complete and the results of the contest announced and thought….”well, what on earth am I going to do with this?!”

It’s not that you aren’t pleased with the finished article necessarily, or that you feel like you could have done better (although I have thought both of these  things at some point with my competitive beading efforts), just that the finished article is a lot bigger than most day-to-day wear jewellery that you might be able to don for work. That said, I think at my workplace no-one would be surprised if I came in wearing an enormous necklace – I’m not exactly known for saying ‘oh I couldn’t possibly wear that to the office’…case in point being my fave jersey dress that has pink and yellow T-rex’s all over it! But I digress…

So what does one do with a big competition piece that has had a lot of time, and often a considerable amount of money put into it once the competition is over? I know many people who have participated in the Battle of the Beadsmith contest have sold their pieces, either online or at shows. This is great if you aren’t overtly attached to the work and would prefer to recoup some of the making costs for pennies to spend on new beads for future designs. I do wonder of anyone has ever gotten truly what the piece was worth in both materials and time, but if you’ve enjoyed the making process then I know some are happy just to make back what they spent in supplies. Me personally, I’ve never sold a competition piece. Generally I’ve either got too attached to it, or felt it wasn’t good enough (or likely to) sell. But I have done the next one which is….

Frog it! 🐸

Yep, I know you put hours of work into it, what on earth am I doing suggesting you consider cutting it up!? Well sometimes it actually can feel the best thing overall. The piece I cut up was my 2011 piece Flora Argenta that reached the finals of the British Bead Awards.
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Flora Argenta pre-frogging

Why did it take the scissors to it? For one, I really wasn’t happy in the end with the quality of the beading and that really bothered me. Secondly, some of the beads in it started to seriously tarnish/scratch, and this was on a piece that was just sat going nowhere on a display bust – no way could I have sold it. These two factors, combined with the value of the Swarovski rivolis and bicones which were in the piece meant that frogging really was the best option. And do you know what *whispers* I actually really enjoyed cutting that necklace to pieces.

So after selling on or scrapping, what other options might there be for your creation? Well, one step down from frogging the whole thing is breaking it down into smaller, wearable sections. This is something I have done quite a bit, assisted by my preference for including jump rings in my larger works. For instance, my 2012 British Bead Awards piece The Jewels of Viridia has been split into 2 pieces – the main front section of bezelled stones is on chain so it can be worn as a shorter necklace and the long necklace rope is a double wrap around bracelet.

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My 2014 Battle of the Bead Smith piece ‘Andromache’ has just undergone a similar restructuring. Again, I like this design, but it’s way, way too big (and heavy with the freeform netting section) to wear day to day. Here’s how it got reshuffled into 2 new necklaces with no frogging, just re-linking different elements with jump rings and chain.

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Ready for the pliers to get going!

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Taking apart and trying new layouts.

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New necklace number one, a wavy CRAW collar with the electroplated rock crystal drops.

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New necklace number 2 using the main bezelled element with links, plus a rock crystal mini tassel.

There are some leftovers…I think I will keep the netting piece intact for now. I think it would be interesting to display on a shelf/table should I have one that isn’t full of other stuff!

The other way to use your large competition pieces is to think of them as a showpiece like designers who do runway shows do. Your competition piece is your showstopper, the one that lets everyone know what you’re about and what you can do. Then your ‘wearable’ collection is drawn down from that centerpiece creation.

I did this in 2013 with my British Bead Awards finalist piece ‘Fallen.’ I was asked if I could do a project based on that piece for Bead magazine, and so I took that central element and added some smaller links and chain to leave it as a larger pendant design. I’ve got plans to do similar things with a number of ideas/motifs from my larger pieces in hopefully the not too distant future, including my necklace from this year’s Battle. Watch this space for details!

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From competition collar…

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…to a starring role on the front cover.

I’d love to hear how other beaders have used their competition work. Have you frogged something that had taken you a long time to make? Have you used your competition creations in other ways I haven’t mentioned? Please do leave a comment 🙂

TTFN

Nicole

Battle of the Beadsmith 2015

It was my second year as a participant in the online Battle of the Beadsmith contest and once again I was fortunate enough to reach round 2 before being voted out against Ann Braginsky’s amazingly detailed beaded hat. No hard feelings whatsoever, for me I was actually just relieved to get my piece finished on time and even more surprised to get through round 1 due to major camera fail when it came to taking photos!

So what juicy tidbits can I share with you nowh my piece has left the contest? Well, for starters, I initially had a design idea that is completely and utterly unrelated to my actual finished work. I tried some prototype beading on it, but ultimately decided that it really worked better as a single pendant design.

With that idea out the window, but still with a very definite idea of the colours I wanted to use – greys mixed with electric metallic blues, pinks and purples, I did what I always do when I’m trying to think up a design…I picked up my sketchbook and started doodling. I’d recently visited the amazing Savage Beauty Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V & A museum which proved to influence the clasp of my design. The other image I had in mind was of a necklace I have which belonged to my grandmother. It is in no way expensive (I expect the stone is glass), but if I picture my nan, this is the necklace I always remember her wearing, so she must have really liked it.
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So here’s some snippets from my sketchbook for you – these are actually quite in keeping with my actual finished design which makes a change for me in BOTB!
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I was quite fortunate that the floral pearl and crystal motif came quite easily and once I’d got it worked out logically in my head, it was just a matter of how many I wanted to bead to incorporate into the design.

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The McQueen influence is in the clasp…I really wanted to create a bird skull, but wasn’t sure if I could do a fully 3D one, so settled on bead embroidery with raised crystal rivoli eyes. And since this particular bird is ‘the jewel thief’ in the title of my piece, I wanted to bead him a key to form the other half of the clasp. I had also been thinking that the Swarovski double spike beads that were from a recent innovations release looked quite like vertebrae, so they form the “spine” strap that leads to the bird skull side of the clasp.

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The focal pendant is a magnified version of the smaller flowers, but with a large Swarovski crystal oval centre, it packs a real punch – I think it would work well as a brooch too. I love to add a bit of chain to my designs so the pendant came with added tassel and wire-wrapping, plus a beaded feather motif that I had had on standby to use at the back in case the weight of the pendant needed balancing, but in practice it actually drapes rather nicely.

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Now I can look back with fresh eyes, I really do like this piece and I’m looking forward to sharing some tutorials inspired by in the not too distant future. I also think, once the piece has had its last hurrah in the form of an outing to the October Big Bead Show, that I will have 3 pieces of jewellery I can wear separately – just one of the reasons I like to have jump rings in my bigger designs!
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I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little insight into how ‘The Jewel Thief’ came into being. I am looking forward to seeing more pictures of the Battle designs as the contest progresses and wondering which will eventually be crowned the winner!

TTFN

Nicole

What, no beads?

Hello folks, 

Yes, I did that thing where I said I was going to blog regularly and then didn’t. Shame on me, I know. But it had been quite a busy time since my last post so perhaps I don’t have to spend too long in the naughty corner?

And what to I have for you on my beady blog for my first post after months of radio silence..oh yes, no beads whatsoever (I’m so good to you guys!)

One of the reasons I’ve not been updating here is because  I finally, after saying I would each series I watched of the Great British Sewing Bee, bought myself a sewing machine and started to learn dressmaking. I’d just gotten quite fed up of high street clothing being made out of nasty cheapo polyester that generates enough static electricity to power a small country in combination with my long hair, or things inexplicably having weird holes in odd places (does the world really need to see a triangle shaped snippet of my rib cage?).

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Here’s my new baby (plus Jeff, he’s the dinosaur) just out of the box. As a generally crafty sort I have been going down the self taught route aided by a couple of books, Google and YouTube. The book Love at First Stitch by Tilly from the sewing bee has been especially useful in terms of keeping things simple – paper patterns seem to assume you already know everything even when they say ‘easy’ or ‘beginner’ on the envelope.

I’ve been mostly concentrating on trying to learn techniques, so the fitting of some of the clothing I’ve made is a bit off, but that’s for working on in the future. Here’s a selection of what I’ve been up to….

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Funky bird print cushion

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Fox top

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Deer dress

I also had this whoops moment as I didn’t take into account the fact that my fabric had a directional print when following the cutting layout, lol!

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Now don’t worry, sewing definitely hasn’t taken over from beading…it’s just had quite a bit of my time initially because I know nothing, whereas beading I know I can just pick up and do whenever I want. Plus I did take part in Battle of the Beadsmith again this year, which will get its own blog post shortly.

TTFN, I promise beads aplenty in my next post!

Nicole

The Awesomeness of Sabine Lippert

Well it’s now officially 2015 and with a new year invariably comes a new year’s resolution to keep a blog up to date, so here goes!

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to have a place on a workshop at Stitchncraft with the one and only Sabine Lippert. I got up at a ridiculous hour on a Saturday morning (and tripped down the stairs in the dark on my way out!) to get the train from Waterloo down to Dorset. I can’t remember when I first saw Sabine’s work, but I remember getting her first book ‘Beaded Fantasies’ and being super keen to make my own ‘Granada’ brooch.

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My Granada brooch in gunmetal/metallic purple.

The class I had booked onto was for Sabine’s ‘Rebecca’ necklace, chosen because I loved the double chain effect and the central crystal pendant. I’d chosen to bring my own beads for the class including a green sphinx rivoli for the centerpiece and some beautiful matt DRUK rounds that I’d bought at the Big Bead Show.

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My silver Scheherazade pendant – I wear it like this on a long chain and people are always asking about it.

Sabine is an awesome, fun teacher and one of the things I love about her designs is how she builds up such solid 3D structures by adding successive layers or rounds of beading. People are always surprised when I tell them that there is nothing solid inside my Scheherazade pendant when I wear it. The Rebecca pendant is no different and it was great to see it build up into a large, ornate bezel step by step. I also really love the extra ‘tripod’ units that connect the bezel to the chain stands – I think they’d make an interesting necklace on their own.

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We were also fortunate that Sabine had brought samples of the designs from her latest book to the class which made me even more excited about its release. I love beadwork with motifs, especially in published designs as I enjoy being able to try the project and then customise it by perhaps using a single motif as a pendant or as a central bracelet element. So far I’ve only made one piece from the book…my stash doesn’t have that many 3mm crystals in it at the moment, but I hope to rectify that soon as there are some truly stunning designs in the book I definitely want to have a go at.

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My finished Rebecca necklace – I’ve worn this quite a lot!

All in all a great day for beading and meeting a lady whose style of work I admire greatly. And definitely worth getting up at 5:30am for!!

Nicole
xoxo