Playing with Potomac’s new AVA beads!

Hello, everyone!

So, a few weeks ago, I received a delightful surprise in the mail!

 

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Potomac Bead Company was kind enough to send me some of their new AVA beads! They should be available in October or November and they’ve been teasing us with previews and photos in their facebook group for awhile now.

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Isn’t the name so clever? 

Basically, AVA beads are V-shaped beads with three holes. One goes through the tip of the V and the other two go through the two “wings”.

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Since I had a day off last Sunday (which rarely happens), I decided to get up early, grab my coffee, and try designing with these fun new beads. My bead room is a mess, but the sunlight was SO pretty and bright. It was a perfect morning for beading.

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Bridget, of course, settled down in one of her favorite boxes to supervise.

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When I laid the AVA beads out on my Bead on it Board, I decided to go ahead and just arrange them in the first shapes and configurations that came to mind. My first thought was, “Duh, Chevrons”, but it actually looks like you could do a lot with these funky beads! I was surprised by how big they are, but with the sides of the “V” already being so delicate, I doubt you could make them any smaller.

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My first instinct, whenever I get a new shaped bead to play with, is to try outlining it with seed beads. (You’ll notice that as the base design for my Tracery Trinket, Backsplash, and Two Years Cuff designs). I tried that with these guys, but quickly ripped it apart. Not a very sexy look, I must say.

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But then I started messing around with other beads and came up with a few configurations. I stopped for a bowl of Fruity Crisp Rice and to photograph my lovely cat and then kept right on beading!

The bottom design is a bit frilly for my taste, but I might revisit it in different colors at a later time. I like the dagger design in the top corner, but I need to get some coordinating chain and wire thin enough to go the the AVA bead to make earrings.

Eventually, I did get around to trying my chevron idea, which I do like. I might revisit this one as well. Again, I think I need to change the colors around before I decide.

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Silky beads are a bit too wide to fit in between AVAs, but DiamonDuos are a match made in heaven. (I actually think Gianna Zimmerman is working on a design with DiamonDuos and AVA beads – hold onto your hats, because I’ve seen preview photos and it is going to be STUNNING). I still want to play around more with Dagger beads and AVAs as well.

I have an idea or two swirling around in my brain for patterns, but so far they have already provided me with a delightful day of sitting in the sun, sipping coffee, and beading to my little hearts content. I love all the new imaginative beads coming out and can’t wait to see what people make of these silly little V’s.

 

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Caribbean Color Palette Challenge!

Hi, everybody!

So, you may remember a few months ago when Sherri Stokey challenged everyone to try using her favorite beachy/starfish color palette and I made a whole bunch of pieces. It was so much fun that, when Sherri announced her new Caribbean Color Palette Challenge, I jumped right on board.

Phew, that’s bright!

So… yeah. It’s a LOVELY color palette, but waaaaay outside my comfort zone. I just don’t usually use such vivid, summery colors. But, hey, that’s what makes it a challenge, right?

When Sherri issued this challenge, I had just developed my Compass Star pendant, so I decided to start with that design in white, with some green Crescent beads and a bright blue Rivoli. Then, I used some thin strips of dyed leather to make a summery, bright necklace.

After that, I wanted to use more of that lime/chartreuse green and I hadn’t made a kumihimo necklace in forever so I made this! The braided portion is all magatamas and then has bronze findings and a few random coordinating beads for the chain.

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Then, I ran into a bit of a dilemma. I made the first bracelet (using my Rulla Brick Road design), but when I used the silver-lined chartreuse 11/0’s they blended right into the gold I had chosen. So, I swapped them out for the same color in an opaque finish, which you can see in the second photo. Can you see the difference?

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After that, I thought I was done. But then I found some frosted aqua crystal drops and just had to whip up some Dainty Duo Drops.

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So, I would definitely consider this a success! I made a whole collection of pieces and I think I’ve begun to conquer my fear of bright colors. And, surprisingly, I discovered that I LOVE working with white.

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I am so pleased. Thanks again for hosting a great challenge, Sherri! If you wanna see the rest of the pieces everyone made, head on over to LoveMyArtJewelry and check out all the other lovely interpretations!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

 

 

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Secret Bead-Along with Jean Powers – Summer 2016

Hello!

So, a few posts back, I mentioned that I was participating in this summer’s Secret Bead-along, hosted by Jean Powers. You maaay have noticed that the bead along was almost a full month ago and I am SO sorry for keeping you all waiting. Without any more delay, here is my finished result! DSC01813

So, I did do a teensy bit of tweaking. Jean did provide a beaded rope that I decided not to do and I did leave out one or two beaded beads that I just didn’t like. I will elaborate!

The first task was to make fifteen peyote tubes, which we then turned into beaded beads. Here are all 15 beaded beads on the Harry Potter wand my best friend made me!

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The beads were divided up into five days worth, doing three a day. The first day’s beads were made of all seed beads. Day two was MiniDuos and day three was Czech beads. Day four was Brick beads and the day five was crystals.

Two of the beads with MiniDuos did not work for me. Jean mentioned in the pattern that some of the beads may come out wonky because of different brands and finishes, but honestly, they were just NOT fitting together. Even the pictures in the pattern that Jean used to illustrate the steps had lots of thread showing and ill-fitting beads, so in the end, I decided to cut them apart and leave them out of the final necklace.

The other decision I made was not to make the beaded rope. I started to stitch the rope up and I must admit, I found the directions to be VERY difficult to follow – there were not enough photos and the written description was very confusing. When I finally got the rope going, I liked the look of the filled netting, but there was too much visible thread for my taste. So, I decided to try a different rope.

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The other reason I wanted to try something different for the rope was because my piece was turning out to be very monochromatic. I stuck to colors I was comfortable with, since I didn’t know what the finished project was going to be when I picked them out, but the piece was coming out a little too clay colored.

I decided to use ribbon to bring some color into my finished necklace. I used sari silk in black, dark rose, and a desaturated green to string my beaded beads and then used some pewter end caps to finish it off.

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Overall, I am really happy with my finished piece! There are four or five of the beaded bead designs that I absolutely love and plan on using again in future projects. I haven’t decided if I’ll participate in next years Secret Bead-along, but I am considering this year’s to be a success!DSC01816

 

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New Design – The Compass Star Pendant with Crescents and Twists!

Hello, again, my dears!

I have been a busy bee this past month and have another design ready to show you!

I’m calling these little babies my Compass Star pendants, because the eight-points reminded me of old compass roses, which apparently used to be called Compass Stars.

These pendants are definitely a creative reach for me. I don’t do pendants very often, but I’ve really been enjoying the stark flower shape and simple construction. It uses Czech Twist beads for the petals, a shining rivoli for the center, curving Crescents, Druk beads, and 11/0’s to build the bezel. I’ve made a few samples so far, and I have been having a blast!

DSC01783This first once is full of rosy goodness. The petals on this one are matte, so the Crescents and Rivoli reeeeally pop!

Czech Twists:White Matte Trav Red
Crescents: Saturated Metallic Copper Pink
Rivoli: Mahogany
Druk: Rose Topaz Luster
11/0’s: Ruby Gold Luster

 

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This one is something I would definitely wear. White matte with khaki and olive are delightful, clean colors that I love to wear.

Czech Twists:White Matte
Crescents: Matte Metallic Khaki
Rivoli: Olivine
Druk: Rose Topaz Luster
11/0’s: Matte Khaki Iris

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These blues might be my favorite though. The Crystal AB is so reflective and shiny!

Czech Twists:White Travertine Blue
Crescents: Metallic Suede Dark Green
Rivoli: Crystal AB
Druk: Crystal Green Luster
11/0’s: Silver Lined Emerald AB

I cannot wait to play around with this pattern some more. Once you get the design down, it only takes about an hour to make one, so I bet I’ll be using this design a lot for gifts this year!

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Now, I just need to decide which colors to do next!

 

 

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New Design – The Odessa Cuff with DiamonDuos!

Hello, dear friends! I am so excited to share my newest pattern with you!

Behold! My Odessa Bracelet Cuff!

 

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Click me for pattern link!

I am so excited about this cuff! First off, I have been absolutely in love with these DiamonDuo beads lately. When we got them in at work, I’m pretty sure I spent at least ten minutes just staring at them instead of actually weighing and packaging them like I was supposed to.

I wanted to make a bracelet to really showcase their unique shape and gorgeous color finishes, so I built a base of Tilas and Half-Tilas and used some netting to create this structured cuff! It reminded me of some photos i had seen recently of an Ukrainian opera house – so I named it my Odessa cuff!

Every time I post a new bracelet design, I get a few people that purchase the pattern and then want to know what exact color I used, so I decided to start writing out my color choices for each sample bracelet that I’ve made so far.

DSC01717 So, this bracelet is the first one that I shared on Facebook and it got a lot of attention. (It’s my favorite so far!)
DiamonDuos: Chalk Lumi Green (CW65431)
Tilas: Matte Copper (2005)
Half Tilas: Matte Metallic Blue Gray (2001)
Main 11/0’s: Matte Metallic Silver Gray (2002)
Accent 11/0’s: Unknown (Sorry, guys!)
15/0’s: Sparkle Beige Lined Crystal (1521)

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Lots of silvers and grays – very sleek.

DiamonDuos: Concrete Gray (29566)
Tilas: Galvanized Gray Luster (1865)
Half Tilas: Matte Metallic Blue Gray (2001)
Main 11/0’s: Gunmetal (451)
Accent 11/0’s: Union Beads Silver (131-27000)
15/0’s: Steel (190)

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This one was an attempt to break into warmer colors. LOVE those deep blue/green Tilas.

DiamonDuos: Matte Gold (MGD)
Tilas: Matte Metallic Blue Green Iris (2064)
Half Tilas: Dark Bronze (457)
Main 11/0’s: Metallic Blue Iris (452)
Accent 11/0’s: Matte Opaque Lt Cream (2021)
15/0’s: Matte Opaque Lt Cream (2021)

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This pretty clasp by Elegant Elements inspired me to splurge on gold plated Half-Tilas.

DiamonDuos: Matte Black (FJ)
Tilas: Matte Turquoise AB (412fr)
Half Tilas: 24kt Gold Plated (191)
Main 11/0’s: Silver Lined Blue Zircon (1425)
Accent 11/0’s: Black (401)
15/0’s: Galvanized Gold (1052)

 
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After so much color, though, I wanted to retreat to my dark earthtones.

DiamonDuos: Jet Picasso (J434)
Tilas: Matte Bronze (2006)
Half Tilas: Black (401)
Main 11/0’s: Smoky Black Picasso (4511)
Accent 11/0’s: Matte Metallic Silver (2091)
15/0’s: Matte Light Olive (2033)

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And finally, I decided to try some modern fall tones in mustard and cobalt.

DiamonDuos: Chocolate Bronze (14415)
Tilas: Matte Mustard (2312)
Half Tilas: Dark Bronze (457)
Main 11/0’s: Picasso Opaque Cobalt (4518)
Accent 11/0’s: Galvanized Gold (1052)
15/0’s: Galvanized Gold (1052)

Phew! I do have a few more combinations set aside to try out, but I am super stoked by what I have tried out so far. Do you have a favorite? Any color combinations you want to try out? Let me know in the comments!

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Until next time, my dears!

 

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2016 Secret Bead-Along with Jean Powers!

Hello, everybody!

I am planning on participating in this year’s Secret Bead-Along, hosted by Jean Powers. Last summer, some of my friends told me about this really cool project they were all doing, where they received instructions for a secret beading project, and worked up a complicated beaded piece, without ever knowing what they were making. I was intrigued, but when they revealed that the prep work involved peyote bezeling a bunch of rivolis, I bailed. Bezeling is not my forte.

But this year, one of my friends showed me the materials list for this year’s secret project and there were no Rivolis involved, so I decided to gather up my courage and go for it!  This year’s project calls for seed beads in 15/0’s, 11/0’s, and 8/0’s, MiniDuos, Czechmate Brick Beads, 4mm Fire-polished Czech beads, and 3mm Swarovski Bicones.

These are the colors I picked. Lots of grays, dark silvers, and mottled pink/greens.

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Keep in mind that I had NO clue what the project was going to be when I picked these out. That was the fun part!

You can purchase the secret pattern from Jean Power’s here. Hint: You can get it at half-price if you join her newsletter! Then, you can purchase your materials and begin your prep work. This time, it involves tubular peyote, which is right up my alley!

It includes all the instructions, so you an begin beading whenever you want (I’m actually already on Day 3!), but you can’t share your work or what the secret project is, until the end of the project in early August.

I am so excited to share this project with you guys when the week of reveals finally arrives.

Stay tuned!

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Sale Extension!

Hey, everybody!

So, bad news – Etsy has been having a really hard time processing payments this week. They keep promising us sellers that they almost have everything sorted out, but people are still experiencing long delays before being able to access their patterns.

To compensate, I have decided to extend my sale until July 10th! It’s no fun to have Etsy struggling right in the middle of the sale, but at least this way people will have more time to shop!

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So… Yep! Get shopping and enjoy the discount!

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Happy Birthday to Me! (And also that other thing, I guess…)

Hello, my darlings! Guess what!

It’s my BIRTHDAY today!

Yes, my birthday is on July 4th and yes, I thought the fireworks were for me until I was about four years old. You can imagine my disappointment when I found out that I had to share my birthday with the entire freaking country.

But, hey. I vote that this day should be all about me and, since I am the birthday girl, I want to share my celebration with all my beady friends! Since I am turning 24 years old today, I am having a huge 24% off sale!

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Be sure to check out my Etsy shop and see if anything tickles your fancy! Then be sure to use the code “HappyBDay” during checkout to get 24% off your entire purchase.  I made the sale last a few days, so feel free to tell your beady friends and relatives.

And be sure to enjoy MY BIRTHDAY today! (And also that other holiday thing, I guess… )

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New Design – Daybreak Bracelet with MiniDuos

Hello, my dears! I have an origin story for you.

So, I woke up a few weeks ago on a Wednesday morning, about 20 minutes after my 6am alarm went off for work. I felt aaaawful. Nauseated and headache-y, all that fun stuff. My stomach tends to get nauseated when I’m stressed or have been burning the candle at both ends for too long, so this wasn’t alarming. Just really inconvenient.

I went ahead and showered and made myself some coffee, hoping that I could perk myself a bit before work. Unfortunately, after drinking my coffee and getting cleaned up, I was still feeling light-headed and a Dizzy Sam really shouldn’t be attempting the 30min commute to work, so I had to call in sick.

So, there I was. It was, like, seven o’clock in the freaking morning and I was sick and exhausted, BUT already caffeinated, so I couldn’t possibly go back to sleep.

I took shelter in my bead room.

Apparently, my muse works best when exhausted and queasy at the crack of freaking dawn, because this happened.

Like, seriously?!? Apparently, early morning sunlight and the quiet of my bead room are serious creative fodder. So, I decided to name this new design the Daybreak bracelet.

It’s my very first pattern to utilize MiniDuos, which is exciting. AND it only takes, like 10-15 SuperDuos, so it’s great for finishing off the almost empty tubes.

I also don’t have a lot of patterns that call for 6mm beads, so I have had a blast going through my collection of Czech druks and Swarovski pearls. The pink one below uses Swarovski pearls in the newest pearl color – Pearlescent White.

And you can use semi-precious stones, like Pyrite (Fool’s Gold)…

Or turquoise! (Yeah, this bracelet was WAY out of my comfort zone, but it was fun!)

I am really excited about this dainty, art-nouveau bracelet. I’ve started sleeping more and taking care of myself better, so the sicky feeling is gone, but I am definitely going to experiment with designing early in the morning. I’ll report back with my findings!

 

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Starfish Color Palette Challenge!

I LOVE reading beading blogs and Sherri Stokey’s blog, KnotJustMacrame is one of my favorites. She’s also writing for LoveMyArtJewelry and has issued the readers a challenge!

The challenge is to find inspiration from this color palette and go nuts!

Now, I am usually more into earth tones and metallic colors, but this turquoise and sand combo really spoke to me. I started by working up an Oculus pendant with these glass cabs. My Oculus design uses two cabs glued back-to-back, so this pendant is reversible with browns on one side and ocean blue on the other.

After that, I went crazy with as many coordinating crystals, glass beads, and metal bits that I could find in my stash. The result is a super long, reversible necklace that is a tidal wave of sparkly ocean treasure!

After that I thought I was done, but my muse was apparently still feeling the sun and surf. I swung over to the seafoam and cream section of the palette and made this Demoiselle bracelet.

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And then I dove into the sand with this Diadem bracelet. It’s almost entirely neutrals in cream and bronze, but I added little pops of Pacific Opal Swarovski crystals to add some life and sparkle.

As you can see, I REALLY enjoyed participating in this challenge and experimenting with this color palette. It’s a great group of colors and I felt inspired to try something new, without feeling like I’d abandoned my personal style. Thanks for a great challenge, Sherri!

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06/17/16 Edit : Sherri has revealed all the submissions for the challenge over at Love My Art Jewelry. Go see what everyone else made!

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