Monday, 15 November 2010

Another new tutorial!

Back in July, I made Mum a flowery pendant for her birthday, as a sparkly Swarovski crystal Rivoli had caught her eye and she wondered if I could make it into a little flower for her.  Well, as you know, I do like a beady challenge and so I experimented with bezeling the Rivoli for the centre of the flower and then worked on creating some little petals.  I was quite pleased with the end result (and so was Mum!) and I thought that several of them sewn together would make a lovely bracelet, but what with one thing and another, I have only just found the time to work on it.

I thought you might like it too, and so I have spent the last couple of weeks writing instructions, taking photos and drawing lots of diagrams, and the tutorial is now for sale on my website.  This is the fourth tutorial that I am selling directly from my website and I am trying to make them as detailed as possible so that despite the fact that some of them may look quite complicated, all the steps are broken down into easy stages although you will need to know the basic stitches of course.  This is a 21 page tutorial (the longest so far!) but I am keeping my pricing structure simple, so all of my patterns are currently for sale for £6.

One of the things I really love about beadwork, is being able to create a lovely, wearable little piece using only beads, thread, a crystal or two and very little else, and this is a classic example of that - just a Swarovski Rivoli, some seed beads and thread is all that goes into making a beautiful little daisy with a centre that looks like liquid gold.  Of course, you can make these in any colour you wish as there are so many gorgeous Rivoli colours to choose from!

If you would like to make yourself, or someone you love, a Rivoli Daisy, the pattern is available here

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Winter Sparkle!

The new 'Winter Sparkle Special' issue of the UK magazine Bead has hit the shops!  I received a copy today and I have to say it ticks every box; it's wintry, it's sparkly and it's special!

It's packed with all sorts of  themed project ideas from quick party makes to more intricate sparkly wear.  My project Daisy Sliders is on pages 13 - 16 and is a straightforward brick stitch and herringbone project that quickly produces a very pretty and feminine design that can be worn in a number of ways.

I made a necklace and earring set in an icy blue and called it Winter Sky.

And a bracelet or wrist corsage in gold and I called this one Winter Sun.

If you have a go at my project, don't forget to send me a picture and I'll add it to the Readers' Gallery page on  my website.  I can't wait to see what colours you choose for your Daisy Sliders!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A new tutorial!

I finally managed to lay my hands on some of the new Miyuki Tila beads last week.  I think they have probably been out for a little while now, as I have seen several lovely Tila bead creations on my travels through Blogland, but this is the first time I have had chance to experiment with them.  If you haven't seen them, they are square (5mm x 5mm) but also quite flat as they are only 1.9mm thick, but the big difference is that they have TWO parallel holes running through them!

I must admit that I found them quite a challenge at first, as it was more difficult than I thought to use them with my usual stitches, but after a few false starts I came up with this design which I have called Twinkling Tilas as they remind me of stars.

I have been good and already written the pattern up and it is now available to purchase via my website.  The instructions cover the single row bracelet and also how to make the wider cuff style bracelet.  These little stars are quite versatile and you could turn a single one into a pendant, make two for a pretty pair of earrings or use them to embellish other beadwork!

I bought my Tila beads from The Bead Shop (Nottingham) Ltd and they have a great range of gorgeous colours so you could create lots of different effects - I'm sure the iridescent crystal colour would make a fabulously sparkly bracelet, or even a choker ... perfect for the upcoming party season!

The pattern for Twinkling Tilas is available here .

See you next week!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Poppy kits!

Whoops!  Another long gap since I last wrote a blog entry, but I promise that I have been beading until my little fingers bled, and that is no exaggeration!  I will share news and pictures of what I've been up to, next week - but in the meantime I have some other news to tell you about ...

... not only is the tutorial for my poppy design available to purchase on my website you can now buy a kit for this project from RB Beads.  The kit contains all the materials you need to make your own poppy (and the optional leaves) including a needle and thread and worldwide shipping is available - please note that the kit only contains the materials and not the instructions.

See you next week with more exciting news!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Daisy Workshops ...

Wow this year seems to be flying by!  Back in February I mentioned that I was going to try my hand at teaching later in the year - well it is all arranged and there are just a few weeks to go.  I will be teaching the daisy design shown here, at The Bead Shop (Nottingham) Ltd on Thursday the 9th of September 2010 and Saturday the 27th of November.  This versatile little flower can be made in any colour and then used in a variety of ways - you could turn it into a brooch, or a pendant or even sew it onto ribbon to make a lovely wrist corsage ... lots of possibilities!

This is an intermediate level project and is not really suitable for beginners - the bead shop also runs a great Introduction to Beadweaving class too though, so you don't have to miss out.  To make your daisy, you will need to have a working knowledge of peyote stitch, ladder stitch and brick stitch - although of course I will help you through all the tricky bits and there will be a comprehensive handout to take home.  All materials are provided, and tea and biscuits too, so why not join us for a fun and friendly day, learning how to make your own daisy?  If you would like to book a place, you can do so here but there are only 8 spaces available for each date so hurry!  If you have any queries about the workshop, feel free to contact either the bead shop or myself.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

More Creative Beading ...

Around this time last year, I shared the news that my foxglove necklace had been included in Creative Beading Volume 4 - a yearbook of jewellery projects from the publishers of Bead & Button magazine.  This year, I'm pleased to tell you that I have two designs in Creative Beading Volume 5.  This 256 page hardback book is bursting with fabulous projects ranging from beadweaving to stringing and from wirework to crochet and would be a wonderful addition to any beaders' bookshelf.

My project 'Hibiscus Twist' is on page 142 and 'Wilbur the Dragon' is flashing his gold teeth on page 70!

That's the news for this week!  Hopefully I will be back in the next week or two with some new beadwork to show.  Bye for now ...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A beady challenge!

A little while ago, Claire from Beads Direct asked if I would be interested in being part of a ‘creative challenge’. The idea was that myself and two members of staff from Beads Direct would all be sent an identical ‘mystery pack’ containing a selection of beads, and we each had to come up with a design based around those beads. Our usual styles of work are all very different from each others, and so the challenge was intended not only to stretch us individually but also to show what diverse designs can be created from the same set of beads. I received my envelope just over two weeks ago, and this is what was in it …

When I first opened the envelope, I was very relieved to see lots of seed beads. I was also thrilled to see the labradorite, I have never worked with it before and often heard about ‘the flash’ but never actually seen it for myself. I looked at the pearls and the silver beads and thought that they shouldn’t present a problem and then I noticed the huge bag of extension chains! I think you know by now that I like to escape to fairyland whenever I can, and so first of all I created a piece inspired by the labradorite and the pearls that also incorporated the extension chains. I imagined a very rare moonlight night, a warm still night, a night full of magic. Only on a night like this, if you are very lucky, something special happens and ‘Under a pearly moon ... the labradorite blooms’.

No sooner had I landed from that flight of fancy and finished this piece, when I thought that perhaps I had not fully entered into the spirit of the challenge as I hadn’t used everything in the pack, and I had also substituted some of my own beads for the seed beads sent to me. It was the last day of the challenge by now and I knew it had to be something relatively quick to make – something that didn’t involve 8 feet of peyote rope! I began looking at the labradorite again, and in the sunshine, it reminded me of the colour of the sea, deep swirling sea with mythical creatures beneath the surface. The pearls seemed to complement the marine theme and yet the seed beads whispered that they would like to become flowers, fantasy flowers. I imagined a Selkie, trapped in human form as her husband had hidden her sealskin. I saw her standing on the shore, looking longingly out to sea but unable to return to her home, and that is when ‘In a Selkie’s garden’ came to life.

I hope that you like the new pieces, but please do let me know what you think (and whether you think I really ought to be locked up!) and I would also love to hear what you would have done with the wonderful contents of that pack. Don’t forget to take a look at the Beads Direct website to find lots of beautiful materials just like these!