Bead Soup Blog Party 2017 Reveal – Hoarder’s Edition

BSBP is back!

Hello, everyone! It is finally reveal day and I am so excited to show you all what I made.

Thanks again to Lori Anderson of Pretty Things for hosting and organizing this blog hop. I can’t imagine what a chore that must be.

Previously, I posted about what I sent my partner, Pam, and you can also read about the tons of goodies she sent me. You’ll notice that she sent me SO MANY focal beads – so I had to get busy!

I didn’t quite make something for every focal bead, but I’m proud of what I accomplished.

May I present, my three complete necklaces for the 2017 Bead Soup Blog Party!

So, I ended up with three long necklaces, all with some ribbon somewhere.

So, the first one I finished was the ceramic button. I wanted to make it a pendant, so I used leather to make loops and glued a fabric flower (meant for scrapbooking) on the back.

The necklace portion features some asymmetrical stringing of “beaded beads” made from filled netting stitch and Czech druks in fall colors. I them used brass rings and sari silk ribbon to finish off the necklace.

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The next one I made was for the delicate glass drop. I made a beaded bezel for the Rivoli using an adapted Gail Damm technique in colors that I saw in the drop.

I thought the long delicate nature of the glass drop would be best served in a long necklace meant to hang mid-bust, so I strung it on a loooooong length of Sari ribbon. I used copper chain to attach drop to bezel and bezel to ribbon.

My last finished necklace used this gorgeous gold-leafed bead. I fell in love with the colors under the gold leaf and the finish reminded me of some Czech drops I had in my stash. The color treatment was a perfect match, so I had to use them.

I always struggle a bit when using handmade focal beads because they tend to be very large and I have trouble making my signature stitched pieces match the scale. With this one, I threw stitching out the window and focused on building volume with the drop beads.

I finished it with yet another silk ribbon (I couldn’t help it – the color was PERFECT) and then decided to add a second strand of gold with a single drop to hover above the focal.

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Overall, I am really happy with these three necklaces. I think they utilize the beads so generously gifted to me by Pam and challenged me to step outside my comfort zone. I did have some beads that I didn’t get the chance to use, but since my wonderful partner sent me FOUR hoarded beads and change, I think I can consider this a victory, haha.

I did have one necklace that I’m still brainstorming on. I think I’m going to make these coordinating beads Pam sent me into a bib necklace.

Since that one isn’t completed, though, I am happy to celebrate the three that I did finish. It’s way more than I expected to accomplish.

Be sure to check out what my partner made at her blog and then continue with the blog hop! There are so many amazing artists to explore. All the other participants are below the Read More. Happy Hopping!
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New Design – Norelle Bracelet! (Plus, a Quick Book Rec)

Good morning, everyone!

So, I just read a really, really great book – Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. There’s a new Netflix series based on it (which is also really good!), but the book was published back in 2004, which blows my mind. I really feel like I should have heard about it before now, because it is right up my alley.

It’s a really fantastic blend of historical fiction (it’s Regency era England with a bit of Napoleanic war stuff) and fantasy (think amoral faerie types and magicians and Books of Magic). It was an absolutely amazing read and I finished it around the same time that I designed this new bracelet.

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It’s a sort of adapted RAW stitch. I don’t usually make designs that are so geometrically simple, but the neat orderliness of the bracelet, reminded me of uptight and precise Mr Norell, so I borrowed and tweaked his name for the design name.

Originally, I made this design with one color of 6mm Druks or one color of 6mm Swarovski pearls and then 4mm Fire Polished crystals , with 11/0 Miyuki seed beads. The results were very elegant and a bit dressy.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with dressy jewelry, but I wanted to see if something more casual would come of using more colors, so I dove deeper into my stash. I tried making a bracelet with as many different beads as I could. Every set of 6mm rounds and 4mm FP crystal is a different color – it was a GREAT stash buster.

I also have two wonderful friends at my local bead shop, who tend to miniaturize my new patterns, so that they don’t overwhelm their dainty wrists. With them in mind, I decided to go ahead and try my pattern with 4mm rounds, 3mm Fire Polished crystal, and 15/0 Miyuki* seed beads. It worked and I got a mini-version! The pattern for sale includes both versions.

(I also discovered that Toho beads will not work for this pattern. It must be Miyuki.)

I also included a blank-version of the design on the last page of the pattern, so you can color in and plan your own color schemes and designs. I’ve done mostly stripes of colors, but the possibilities are endless.

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I am really happy with this design and hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. Whether you’re trying to cement your understanding of RAW or just want to bust through your stash of rounds and crystals, this is a very relaxing pattern that you can stitch up in one sitting.

What do you guys think? Have a favorite?

 

 

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BSBP 8: What I Received!

Hello, everyone! I told you I’d be back!

So, last week I received my beads for the Bead Soup Blog Party this year. My partner is Pam Farren of Re-Maker and you can see what I sent her here. I have been so excited to swap with her because we use such different techniques to create things.

So! Pam has overwhelmed me with beautiful beads. The challenge dictates we each send one hoarded bead and then we can add coordinating beads if we want. Pam, with generosity I cannot comprehend, has sent me FOUR hoarded focal beads and a ton of coordinating pieces.

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I received this adorable package in the mail and opened it to find THIS.

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You guys, there is SO much lovely stuff in here. The first two hoarded beads are very precious ceramic pieces made by Birgitta Lejonklou, who passed at the beginning of 2016. I am astonished that Pam would be willing to part with two of her lovely ceramics. The first is a bracelet bar. The scrolling handwriting is lovely… I just wish I could read what it says! I know Birgitta believed her pieces were infused with healing energy, so I’m sure it’s some sort of well-wishing or encouragement. The second is a gorgeous ceramic button with little rose imprints. I can’t et over how gorgeous the glaze is on this piece.

The next hoarded bead is this lovely glass drop made by her student, Sarah Hudson. There are so many pretty colors in this delicate-looking drop! I love how the loop is just the tail of the drop, so daintily curled over.

I have to say, this fourth hoarded bead is my absolute favorite. It’s a copper bead with glass over top and 24kt gold foil, by Jannifer Davis Carey. I am in LOVE with it. Every time I look at it, it seems to be a different color and the shape reminds me of a Faberge egg.

Then, Pam sent me a whole bunch of coordinating beads, including a bone focal, seed beads, wooden beads, and some stones. Ooh, and a fantastic toggle clasp!

Overall, I am super overwhelmed and so excited to design with these beads. Now I just have to decide where to start!

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BSBP 8: What I sent!

Hello, my darling beady friends!

I am so excited to share that I am participating in Lori Anderson‘s Bead Soup Blog Party this year!


So, Lori has been hosting this insanely large blog hop for years and I used to read them religiously. Believe it or not, I actually created my own blog here at Wescott Jewelry so that I participate in hops like that. I never had the chance before, because Lori stopped hosting them for awhile because of health reasons (which I TOTALLY get – these hops must be SO much work to organize). But she’s reviving the hop and doing a special version this year – we have to share our hoarded beads.

So, here’s the idea. Basically, I signed up and Lori paired me with another designer with a blog. The two of use will swap special beads that we have been hoarding for awhile (and coordinating beads, if we want) and then post about what we make.

So, my partner is Pam Farren of Re-Maker and I am SO excited to swap with her.  You should go check out her blog. She does so much cool updating of old things and metal work and riveting and it is SO different from my style and I love it.

I picked out my beads before I knew who my partner was, so that it would be truly random and challenging and now that I know she has received them in mail, I can share them with you!

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So, the only part of this pile that Pam has to use is the large lentil bead with the gorgeous swallow on it. It was made by Caroline Dewison of Blueberri beads using a combination of screen printing on ceramics and raku firing. You can read about how it was made here. I absolutely love it and have been hoarding it forever and never using it because I couldn’t imagine a design pretty enough for the bead. Especially, since this particular lentil bead isn’t for sale any longer. So, now I am letting Pam have a go!

Then I decided to throw in some coordinating beads because I had some that looked nice with the lentil bead. The large ones are ceramic (and the crackling looks SO good with the raku lentil bead) and I have NO idea what the tiny beads are. No idea. They’re vaguely fuzzy??? It is a mystery.

Finally, I included a clasp (which Pam also doesn’t need to use) and it might be useless, because of the three-strand loops, depending on what Pam decides to make, but I loved the moonstone. Check out how it looks in different angles.

Isn’t it neat? I can’t tell if it matches or completely clashes. But I decided to toss it in and see if Pam wants to use it. I am so excited to see what she makes.

I just received Pam’s package in the mail yesterday and let me tell you, it is an embarrassment of riches! She sent me so many beautiful beads and I don’t want to post them until I can get really good photos. So, look for a second post in the next week as I share what Pam sent me!

And the big blog party reveal will be on March 25th! Mark your calendars!

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Free Russian Spiral Tutorial – Wrangling a Six-Color Spiral

Hello, my dear beady friends!

I’m almost ready to come back from my Etsy hiatus – at the moment, I’m expecting to open back up on February 1st. But. in the meantime, I wanted to share a quick photo tutorial on doing a Russian Spiral in six colors. The Russian Spiral is a super easy stitch that you can find free patterns and tutorials for all over the internet, but I wanted to share my tips for using six different colors and keeping them all straight as you go.

So, first you’ll want to gather your beads. You will need three colors of 11/0’s and three colors of 8/0’s. I recommend bright colors that you can easily tell apart for your first attempt. I would also recommend pouring them out in a circle on your bead mat. Make sure you alternate between 11/0’s and 8/0’s around your circle.

To start, I want you to pick up one of your 8/0’s and go around your circle, picking up two 11/0’s from each 11/0 pile and one 8/0 from each 8/0 pile. Your needle should have one 8/0, two 11/0’s, one 8/0, two 11/0’s, one 8/0, and two 11/0’s.

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Great, now slide them to the end of your thread (you can either leave a tail to add your clasp later, or don’t leave a tail and then add thread later to attach your clasp) and go back through the beads, pulling them into a circle. Tie the circle off and then go through your beads until you are coming out from between two 11/0’s.

Awesome! Now, look at what color the next 8/0 is in the direction that you are going. My next 8/0 is the orangey/terracotta color and it is followed by two berry 11/0’s (because I’m stitching counter-clockwise). So, I’m going to pick up one terracotta 8/0 and two berry 11/0’s.

Quick Tip: Every time you pick up beads during a Russian Spiral with 8/0’s and 11/0’s, you’ll pick up one 8/0 and two 11/0’s. Big, little, little. Big, little, little. Try to keep that in your head. 

Then, I’m going to go through the first of the two berry 11/0’s after the terracotta 8/0.

I’m going to let the new beads lay flat against the circle, making a sort of wing. Then. I’m going to look ahead and see what my next two colors are. This time, I’m going to pick up one cream 8/0 and two terracotta 11/0’s.

Again, I’m going to go into the terracotta 11/0 directly after that cream 8/0, making  a second wing.

Awesome! Once more, I’m going to look at what colors I’m moving toward – this time it’s the purple 8/0 and olive 11/0’s, so I am going to pick up one purple 8/0 and two olive 11/0’s and go through the first of the two 11/0’s after the purple 8/0.

So, that is our first round. Now we need to step up. To do this, I’m going to go up through the terracotta 8/0 that I added as my first wing and then go through the first berry 11/0 immediately after it. When I pull, my three wings are going to curl up into a basket/bowl shape. You’ll want to hold in it your fingers from now on, encouraging that bowl shape, instead of leaving it lay on the mat.

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Alright, so now we’re going to look ahead again and pick up the colors that we are moving towards. Since I’m coming out of the berry 11/0’s and moving counter clockwise, I’m going to need to pick up one cream 8/0 and two terracotta 11/0’s. Then I’m going to go through the first of the two terracotta 11/0’s after the cream 8/0.

This time my wing is going to layer on top of my piece, instead of along side it.
Looking ahead, I’m going to pick up one purple 8/0 and two olive 11/0’s and go through the first of the two olive 11/0’s immediately after the purple 8/0.

Again, I’m going to look ahead and see the next 8/0, which is terracotta. So, I’m going to pick up one terracotta 8/0 and two berry 11/0’s and then go through the first of the two berry 11/0’s after the terracotta 8/0.

Now, we need to step up. Go through the next 8/0, which is the cream one this time, and then the terracotta 11/0 right after it. Then we’ll be in place to begin the next round.

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Quick Tip: Pay close attention to what colors you’re picking up. You can’t just go around the circle on your bead mat because the step-up makes you skip a set of colors. Always look ahead to what color you’re stitching into and choose that set. The color of the 11/0 you’re stitching into should be the same color as the 11/0’s on your needle. 

Alright, let’s do one more round. Looking ahead to the next colors, I am going to pick up one purple 8/0 and two olive 11/0’s. Then, I am going to go through the first olive 11/0 immediately after the purple 8/0.

Looking ahead, our next colors are going to be terracotta and berry, so I’m going to pick up one terracotta 8/0 and two berry 11/0’s and go through the 11/0 right after the terracotta 8/0.

Our next colors are cream and terracotta, so I am going to pick up one cream 8/0 and two terracotta 11/0’s and go through the first of the two 11/0’s immediately after the cream 8/0.

Then (second pic), I am going to go through the purple 8/0 and the olive 11/0 immediately after it to complete our step up.

Alright!  That’s at least three rounds right there, so I think you get the idea. After a nit more time, you should end up with a six-color rope like this!

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Russian spirals are very versatile and a common stitching technique so there are free resources for it all over the place. And, you can get a totally different look just by fiddling with the sizes of beads you’re using. Jill Wiseman has a great video here that uses only one color of 11/0’s and three colors of crystals. Fusion Beads also has a great free pattern here that uses 8/0’s and 15/0’s, instead of 11/0’s.

Have you guys had any experience with the Russian Spiral? Got any favorite versions? Let me know in the comments!

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2017 New Years Resolutions

Hi, everyone! Happy New Years! It’s a beautiful Saturday morning and my living room is SO bright from the refelcting snow outside. It’s lovely. And I want to talk about resolutions!

Last year was my first time making public resolutions, as you may remember from this post. I think I did pretty well on most things and then completely failed on one of them. So, yeah. Here’s a quick overview of how I did on my 2016 resolutions.

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Read 125 Books – A+

I actually ended up reading 150 books this year! I was a little worried that my numbers would be a little “cheated” this year, because I have been reading a LOT of comics. I usually read the trade paperbacks, which gather about five comics into a volume, which Goodreads then counts as a “book” even though it’s only couple hundred pages. But! My page count was actually higher this year than it was last year, so I feel pretty good about it. I even made a sub-resolution to review every book I read in 2016, even if it was only a sentence or two and I actually managed to do that too!

As always, you can see what I’m currently reading on the little Goodreads widget on the bottom right column on my blog. Or, friend me on Goodreads!

Complete Year of Jewelry Project – B

So, in 2015 I joined The Year of Jewelry Project on Facebook. Basically, joining means you’re committing to posting one piece of finished jewelry every single week all year – even if you’re not feeling creative and have to force it. They provide weekly themes if you need inspiration and it’s a really fun group of artists.

In both 2015 and 2016 I managed to share  one photo for every week, although they were rarely on theme and were occasionally late. Most of the time, the piece was finished on time but I either hadn’t taken the photo yet or added my watermark. So, I’ll give myself a B for completing the idea of the project, if not always nailing the details.

I don’t think I’ll be doing the YOJP in 2017, though. I’ve found that I don’t really need an outside force urging me to bead every week and I’m pretty self-motivated to create new things, even in creative slumps. But I highly recommend it if you need that extra boost!

Blog Twice a Month – A

I actually did this! Most months I only did two posts, but I’m a pretty busy girl and I’m not mad about it. I definitely want to continue this trend into 2017. I also want to try to be more creative about my blog post topics. If you have any suggests of things you like to read about, please let me know in the comments!

Finish Purse – F

Ok… So, remember this purse that I made back in November? of 2015??? Yeah. I know. I never finished. I think I picked it up once or twice this year, but I never stitched a single stitch on it and I still don’t know how I want to finish it. *sigh*

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I guess I’ll try again this year.

Try More New Beads – C

I gave myself a C on this one. I did end up developing and writing nine new patterns this year and they did all use new-to-me beads. But, I also had the opportunity to use a lot more new beads that I didn’t take advantage of. Potomac Bead Company, in particular, has been really great about putting out new beads this year and I had the opportunity to work with some of them before they were publicly produced, like the AVA beads. But, unfortunately, my muse has been on the fritz lately and lots of new beads have seemed more overwhelming than exciting.

I’ve taken a bit of a break the last few months and have actually closed my Etsy shop for the beginning of January. It’s been open for over three years with no break, so I’m hoping giving myself a breather will help refresh my creativity a bit for the new year.

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So, all in all, not a bad year! Here are my goals for 2017!

1. Read 130 Books and Review them on Goodreads

2. Blog at Least Twice a Month

3. Finish that Purse!!!

4. Try More New Beads

5. Get the Business Side of Wescott Jewelry Organized

6. Experiment More with Macrame and Bead Embroidery

This could be a pretty tough next few years, but I want to make sure that my craftsmanship and participation in the community aren’t hurt by outside forces. I am going to make it a good year creatively, even if everything else is out of my control. Setting and achieving goals is my way of taking control and making this new year how I want it to be.

How about you guys? Do you have any goals or resolutions for 2017? Tell me about them in the comments or link to your own blog posts about it!

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Upcoming Etsy Hiatus

Hello, my lovelies!

I just wanted to give everyone the heads up that I will temporarily closing my Etsy shop for a portion of January. I’m not sure exactly how long it will be, but I just need to press pause on the whole thing while I get the business side of things all squared up. I’m only 24 and still really bad at things like paperwork and basic organization and I’m going to need a little time to breathe and get things tidy – consider it a spot of online spring cleaning.

I wanted to give you guys a quick heads up, in case you had your eye on a pattern and wanted to snatch it up before I close things up. Like I said, this will be a temporary shut-down, but you won’t be able to purchase anything in my shop while it’s on “vacation mode” and I’m not sure how long it will be paused. So, if you want a particular pattern, you’ll want to grab it before January 1st!

And, I will definitely still be around on the internet! I will be posting my New Year’s Resolutions, as well as grading myself on my goals from last year. And I even have a little surprise free pattern that will be going up by the end of January. I’m really planning on making it a very productive month!

I love you all so much! Happy Holidays!

 

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The Great Christmas Color Chaos of 2016

Hey, everyone! Long time, no post, huh? That’s my bad. I have been VERY busy doing some holiday beading. This year, I spent a lot of time really experimenting with the classic Christmas color combo.

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The winter holiday I celebrate is Christmas, so there’s a lot of red and green going on. I did try to modulate my color choices a little bit, though. These poinsettia earrings (which are made from my Dragon Blossom design), for example, feature a few different Christmas combos. I took the basic red, green, gold, white and tweaked it a bit for each set.

The little ones were supposed to be a bit more casual with mottle light olive and matte green tones. These are still Christmas-y, but in a less formal aesthetic. I wanted to play with an almost yellow/green look and I actually really like how it turned out.

The long ones with dark green daggers were more “evergeen” inspired with Picasso Garnet seed beads and bright snowy white accents. Very dark reds in contrast with a cool-tone green and white. These are probably my favorite of the three.

The last pair were more “Courier & Ives” vintage Christmas, with a beige crystal, a brighter  olive green, and soft cream accents. Think soft vintage fabrics and candlelight and sleigh rides in long coat-dresses.

Once I exhausted that pattern, I decided some bracelets were in order. Last weekend, I taught a workshop on Russian Spiral stitching as a Christmas present to my local bead shop and worked up this little guy. I was still working on that Courier and Ives color palette.I love all that snowy white and warm beige together.

I also HAD to make one of my Tetrabella bracelets in some muted, olive-based holiday colors once I saw these gorgeous dark Candy beads. Here, I toned everything WAY down with lots of bronze and matte colors and Picasso Coral Red seed beads.

After that, I used the same color scheme to make this necklace, using Kassie Shaw’s Whirlagig pattern (from the Oct/Nov 2016 Beadwork magazine). I had to use Toho beads, which I usually don’t like to do, but I can see why they were necessary for this pattern. And I LOVE the way it worked up!

That Whirlagig necklace was also my very first attempt at CRAW (cubic right angle weave) and whew boy. That was a bit much to wrap my head around. But I think I’ve got it now and I am so pleased!

So, how about you guys? Doing any festive holiday beading? Got any favorite holiday color combos? 😀

 

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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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