It’s Time for a HandmadeHoliday!

Hello, my dears!

I hope it was a wonderful Thanksgiving for those celebrating and a lovely weekend for those who didn’t. It’s Black Friday weekend again! (And Small Business Saturday AND Cyber Monday… am I missing anything???)

You know what that means!

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25% off EVERYTHING in my Etsy shop – including patterns and finished jewelry. Just be sure to use the coupon code “HandmadeHoliday” (one word!) during checkout.

Happy Shopping, everyone!❤

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New Beads – the Super Duo Duet!

Oh my gosh, you guys! I have been holding on to the coolest secret!

Since, I work at an online bead store, I’ve known about this new product for awhile now (and I have been package them with the swift fury of a thousand angry bees, let me tell you), but today is the official launch day!

Behold, the SuperDuo Duet!

Basically, these guys are SuperDuo beads that have two different colors on each side. Some of the combinations are really stark, like the ivory and navy combo, and others are much more subtle. Pretty much all your favorite effect finishes get applied to them too – I’ve seen AB, Picasso, Travertine, Matte, Nebula, and all the assorted Lusters.

Guys, they’re goooooorgeous. These are the ones that I bought for myself. I only have three so far, but I have my eyes on several of the other combo’s as well.

We’ve worked really hard at Beads Direct USA to get these guys packaged, photographed, and all ready for today’s big reveal. I even think my boss wrote in the description for each Duet what SuperDuos can be used to match each side of the Duet! You can find all our available Duets here.

So, now for the big question – what do I do with these?

Well, I am glad you asked! One of the most fun things to do with these beads is make a peyote bracelet that will change colors depending on which way you look at it. But my first thought when I saw them was to use them in a SuperDuo Rosette bracelet.

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My thought was to line them up almost like little flowers that have a bloom of color in the center. As soon as I finished, though, I realized that an even more fun approach would be to change the direction of the Duets with every rosette, so that the inside and outside colors alternated. So then I made this!

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How fun, right?!?

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So, then I decided to experiment with earrings. I really enjoyed making these little flower motifs for the Catherine Bracelet in Lisa Kan’s Bead Metamorphosis book, so I decided to whip up some little flower earrings with two-sided petals.

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Aren’t they precious? I cannot wait to see what everyone makes with these Duets. They are going to add so much spice to everyone’s favorite SuperDuo patterns. I am in love. So, what do you guys think? Are the Duets a hit?

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I certainly love them.

 

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Watercolor Leaves (and my Incredible Forgetfulness)

Hello, everyone!

So, last fall I got to take a fun class at Beaded Bliss from Brenda Meyers (You may remember her from this post about a certain gorgeous painted rose.) The class was on using watercolors to paint leaves on heavy paper to make a gorgeous necklace like this!

Photo Credit to Cathy Feist     Necklace by Brenda Meyers

I took the class and OH MY GOD, you guys, painting is REALLY hard! Watercolors are a mess of water-bending and pigment-focused telepathy. If you give your paint brush so much as a funny look, paint will end up in your hair and down your cleavage and, my friends, I have never been so bested by painting supplies. Watercolors are temperamental. And I’m pretty sure they distinctly disliked me.

I had so much fun, though. I got to make a whole bunch of leaves and then we did line work to fill out the details and covered them in what was maybe modge podge to make them stiff and preserve the paint.

I took them home, let them dry… and then forgot about them.

For a year.

I am so bad at things.

So, I was cleaning off my table last month and found a little container that I had completely forgotten about. It was full of my little painted leaves. So, I made this.

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My painting is still a bit amateur, but I really enjoyed putting this necklace together. I decided to opt for silver chain, because copper and bronze are my go-to metals and I thought using silver for a fall necklace would be a fun challenge.

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I used twisted jump rings and little silver leaves to add some texture and then a mess of Czech glass beads in earth tones and Swarovski crystals in bright padparadscha and topaz AB. Brenda also provided little yarn scraps, so I tied that in here and there.

I made it extra long so that it would fit over sweaters this fall and winter. And when it’s worn long, the leaves tend to jumble in and have a wonderful, jumping-in-to-a-pile-of-leaves feel to it.

It was a really, really fun project and took me completely out of my comfort zone. Incorporating watercolors into my jewelry would never have occurred to me and I’m so glad I got to experiment with something fun.

If you’re near the Cincinnati/Southern Indiana area, Brenda is teaching this class at Beaded Bliss this Saturday (November 12th, 2016), in the afternoon. You can read the details here. I had a really good time last year and highly recommend it.

But… if you take the class, maybe don’t take a whole year to make the necklace.

 

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Babysitting Beaded Bliss!

So, at the beginning of the month, my dear friend Cathy (who owns Beaded Bliss) asked me if I could run her shop for a day so she could take the weekend off to celebrate her wedding anniversary. I gave a whoop and a resounding yes, and then promptly panicked.

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So much responsibility, you guys. 

Those of you who have read my About Me page might already know that I used to work for a bead shop before Beads Direct went online. I was a shop girl for about three years and loved working the counter and getting to know all the customers. I worked there all through college and did everything from running the register, to stocking, to teaching bead weaving classes and designing displays.

But… that was three years ago! I have since completely become an efficient, but very independent office working. I run an entire stock room as if it were an unruly empire and can ship packages like the wind, but I haven’t had to handle basic customer service for what feels like eons.

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Plus, we used a laptop for checkout. This monstrosity of a cash register was terrifying.  TERRIFYING.

But, I missed doing the retail thing a bit. I ADORE my job, but sometimes, I miss hanging out with beaders and helping people with beady problems in person, instead of occasionally over the phone. So, having a chance to very rarely sub at my local bead store was perfect!

So, the Saturday rolled around and I grabbed my comfiest shoes and went to work!

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Pro-tip: Wear comfy shoes! Always!

I got in super early and ate breakfast in the darkened shop. Then, 10am rolled around and I unlocked the door and switched the sign to “OPEN”.

And promptly ruined everything.

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Notice a few letters missing?

Apparently, there are two levers (one on each side) to change the sign. I only thought there was one, so when I struggled to change the sign, it slammed into place and a bunch of letters fell off. I could not get them back on the sign. I had broken the store.

But, despite this dramatic beginning, everything actually went really well! There weren’t many customers before lunch, but after that a bunch of regulars came in and we all hung out. I even used the register correctly.

Plus, I looked really cute.

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Yeah… I don’t have a smart phone, so my selfies all still have a camera in them. 

It was a really good time and I am happy to have the occasional opportunity to sub at my local bead shop. But, goodness, give your local shop owner some love because it is a grueling way to spend the day! I’ll take my comfy office job any day!

Much love to all the brick-and-mortar bead shops and the people who run them! You guys are such a valuable part of the beading community and your jobs are hard. Thanks for keeping your doors open, your shelves stocked, and your beaders enabled. We love you!

And thanks to you specifically, Cathy, for letting me pretend to be you for a day!

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New Design – Tetrabella Bracelet with Candy Beads or Tipp beads!

Hello, everyone!

I have a new pattern for you. Allow me to introduce my Tetrabella bracelet! You can use either Candy Beads (the rose and chocolate version) or Tipp Beads (gold and cobalt). I call it Tetrabella because “Tetra-” is a Greek prefix for four (for the four-sided units) and “bella”, of course, means pretty. And I am more than vain enough to name a design of mine with pretty in the name!

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You’ll notice that the way the beads sit varies a little bit between the two. The Candy Beads tend to sit on top of the seed beads, where the Tipp beads tend to sink under the seed beads a bit. I think it’s because of the hole placement and how steeply the sides of the beads are beveled.

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This is definitely not a pattern for people who dislike making picots and doing intricate unit work, which is why I only have two samples this time, haha. It is a rather time-consuming piece. But I did discover that a single unit makes a good pendant connector! Isn’t that piece of black labradorite to die for?

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I’ve been particularly in love with this bracelet. This autumn, mustard/gold and cobalt has been my favorite color combination. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve been loving the warmth and brightness of this color palette.

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Usually, I try to design simple, quick things around this time of year because I know everyone is trying to whip up Christmas presents and stock up for holiday sales, but sometimes a design just demands to be made. (Besides, I just did my Compass Star pendant, which is super quick to make!)

Click me for the Pattern link!

So, I’m pretty happy with this pattern! What do you guys think? Do you like the Tipp Beads or the Candy Beads better?

 

 

 

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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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