Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Spikes in Bloom!

I've just returned home after a lovely couple of weeks visiting family in Spain and there were so many beady things happening in the run up to our departure, that I didn't get chance to tell you about the new pattern I have with Bead & Button magazine.  Some time ago, Perry of www.yorkbeads.com asked me to create a piece using his new spike beads that would be used in an advertising campaign.  As you know, I love a challenge and so I was thrilled to be asked and excited about the opportunity, but I was also very nervous as I had no idea whether I would be able to create anything suitable.  I had already designed several spike pieces and each one was the best that I could make it but as this one was going to be used for an important advert, I knew I needed to try and create something completely different.  I had heard some of my beady friends tell me that they were not fond of spike beads as they looked too aggressive and so that sparked off the idea in my mind to try to find a new way of using these beads, a way that softened their initial dangerous look, something that made them look more feminine and if I could, something that would give them an elegantly floral appeal.  I spent a considerable amount of time experimenting with these 5 x 8mm baby spikes and eventually I mixed them with my trusty Midnight Garden Toho 176B's and a length of grey organza ribbon and found a way to make them bloom.

Just like the Gumdrops in my Garden pattern, this is now another FREE on line pattern.  All you need to do is follow this link and either log in or register and you will be able to download the pattern for Spikes in Bloom.  The pattern includes instructions for making a bracelet, pendant and ring but there are all sorts of other possibilities too and I look forward to seeing your creations.  I find the rings are particularly addictive to make and as you can see, I made myself a whole handful!

And below are copies of the adverts so far, the top one can be seen in the June issue of Bead & Button magazine and the bottom one appears in the current issue of Digital Beading Magazine.

I hope you have fun with the new pattern.

See you next time!


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Stripes and Spikes!

Issue three of the new on-line beading magazine Digital Beading Magazine is now available and it seems to have grown yet again with 166 pages and over 50 very varied projects.  I have two new projects in this issue and I was thrilled to see that my project Floribunda Bangle is on the cover!  The bangle is part of the range that I have been creating with the beautiful Czech glass striped beads from Preciosa Ornela and is a really substantial 'statement piece', but as all the flowers are removable you can make as many as you want or even just make one to wear as a pretty pendant.

The second project 'Simply Spikes' is exactly what the name suggests; a set of bracelets and rings that use only the new spike beads from www.yorkbeads.com and strangely for me ... no seed beads!

And last but not least, little 'Flash' the stripey owl has his Australian version of the Preciosa Ornela advert in the magazine too!  I know it looks as though I have hijacked this issue of the new magazine, but don't worry, with 166 pages there are plenty of other projects to choose from - why not purchase a copy and see for yourself?

See you next time!


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

International Flash!

If you follow me on Facebook you will know that I have recently been doing some work with bead giants Preciosa Ornela - a Czech Republic based company that manufactures a vast range of high quality Czech glass beads in all shapes and sizes.  I started off by creating some pieces using their two hole Twin™ seed beads which was quite a challenge for me as I had not worked with that bead shape before and you can see the results of my efforts by following this link.  My next assignment was to work with Preciosa's striped seed beads and although most of these beads come in larger sizes than the beads I usually work with, I felt much more at home with them and I began creating an assortment of striped beadwork.  I would love to be able to show you all the new pieces and to talk more about my experiences with these striped seed beads, but  I am afraid that I have to be a little bit mysterious as Preciosa sometimes has other plans and so I mostly have to keep things under wraps until I am given the go ahead. BUT ... I can tell you that one of my striped bead 'critters' has been used in a full page magazine advert for Preciosa!

I am very proud of 'Flash' my little beaded owl as he was made in England (by me) and then he flew all the way to the Czech Republic to have his picture taken professionally and now here he is starring in a full page advert in the US magazine Bead Style!

I hope to be back with more stripey news very soon.

Bye for now!


Monday, 11 March 2013

Two new patterns!

Issue two of the new on-line only beading magazine Digital Beading Magazine is now available and once again it has 158 pages packed full of a wide range of projects and techniques to satisfy everyone.  Although this magazine is based in Australia, being on-line means that you can download it as soon as it becomes available and see what everyone else is seeing ... that means no annoying waiting for it to arrive and no hefty overseas shipping fees.  You can simply purchase it (or subscribe) and immediately start flicking the pages on your computer and decide what you would like to make first.  I have two projects in this issue and the first one is Galactic Gumdrop earrings which mixes the new gumdrop beads from York Beads and a few seed beads to create a pair of out-of-this world earrings.

And the second project is Bohemian Bloom which takes a hank of multi-coloured Czech hybrid seed beads and turns them into a fun flower brooch that will bloom beautifully with everything in your wardrobe.

There will be two more new patterns from me in issue 3 of this magazine which will be available in April, so if you don't want to miss anything, be sure to either complete the 'Follow by Email' box on the top right-hand side of my blog or 'like' my Facebook page

Bye for now!


Friday, 22 February 2013

Spike Contest!

I’m guessing that you will have seen the new spike beads from www.yorkbeads.com that are popping up all over the place and I am also guessing that it was not ‘love at first sight’ for everyone – after all they are, well, spikey.  In truth, I think that I was less than enthusiastic the first time I saw them, but having had chance to work with them, I’ve learnt just how versatile they are and I have made a range of pieces now – some that show off their beautiful ‘look at me' shape and other pieces that blend them into my usual style of work making it look as though no other bead would have worked in their place.  Being a member of the very active Facebook group ‘Bohemian Spike Beadwork’ has also opened my eyes, as members from all over the world come together to share an appreciation of Bohemian Czech spike beads.

Showing the work of group members: Connie Whittaker, Helena Tang-Lim, Patrick Duggan, Romana Tschunko, Karolina Emingrova, Mandi Ainsworth, Maggie Roschyk, Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten, Aurelio Castano, Sabine Lippert, Melissa Ingram, Hana Hanule Cerna, Susanne Madeo-Mehner.

Perry from York Beads tempts group members by adding pictures of all the new spike beads as they arrive and members are encouraged to share pictures of the pieces they have made using these beads (but Czech spike beads only please or else your pictures will incur the wrath of The Administrator and risk being swallowed by the infamous ‘fire swamp’).  The albums are full of fabulous creations ranging from beadweaving to stringing and crystal clay to embroidery and there are also some fascinating pictures showing how spike beads are made.  If you are looking for some ‘inspikeration’ and for ways to use these exciting new beads or you just want to see what is going on, why not head over to Facebook and join the Bohemian spike group.

These spike beads already come in four different sizes and an amazing array of colours and finishes but now the innovative people at York have added two new very different shaped beads to the spike family – the ‘Beadstud’ and the ‘Pyramid Spike’.  The Beadstud is 12mm in diameter and 8.5mm in height and it has two holes that are 6mm apart.  The Pyramid Spike is 7mm by 11mm and has a single hole.  As well as bringing you the news about these brand new beads, I can also tell you that I am hosting a blog contest and 6 lucky winners will each receive a prize of 48 of these new beads (12 Pyramid Spikes and 12 Beadstuds in Chalk Bronze Luminous and 12 Pyramid Spikes and 12 Beadstuds in Chalk Green Luminous).

I’ve already placed my order and I can’t wait to get my beady fingers on some of these beauties and start experimenting with them.  So if you would like to be in with a chance of receiving this fantastic prize – here is what you need to do: solve the cryptogram below and leave your answer (along with a way to contact you should you be one of the winners) as a comment on this blog entry.  The names of six lucky people will be drawn randomly from the correct answers on Monday the 4th of March and the winners will be notified - and yes, this contest is open to international entrants! If you cannot see the cryptogram clearly, please follow this link which will take you to a larger version.

Please note that I have changed my blog settings so that all comments are moderated and will not show until after the contest has closed.

So get puzzling and good luck everyone!