Tuesday 11 March 2014

Diamond Pellets!

Hello everyone!

As promised in my last blog post, I'm here with news of another new pattern release and this time it is available as a free download direct from the Preciosa Ornela website. These little diamond shaped components are quick and easy to make and can be used in a variety of ways. I've made a couple of bracelets, a pair of long dangly earrings and a pair of smaller earrings, but you could easily make a necklace or a multi-strand bracelet or even a charm style bracelet - there are lots of possibilities!

Have you tried the new Pellet™ beads yet? They are quite unusually shaped beads with a flat top and bottom and a pinched in waist and they have lots of design potential and come in a wide range of beautiful colours. If you want to try out these beads but are not sure where to start, why not try the free pattern above. Alternatively I also have a free Pellet Bangle pattern with Bead & Button which you can download, or you can purchase the latest issue of Digital Beading Magazine (issue 8) and the instructions for my Pellet Stars bracelet and earrings set are on page 37. I also have another Pellet™ project coming out in a future issue of Bead and Button magazine so watch this space.

And if you need even more ideas for ways to use these exciting new beads, take a scroll through this Preciosa Flickr album to see the full collection of pieces I made using Preciosa's Pellet™ and Thorn™ beads.

If you are inspired to follow any of the above patterns, feel free to send me a picture or why not share it on the Preciosa Facebook page? Preciosa are always interested in seeing pictures of your work using their beads and you could even try entering their Beads For Blog Post programme to see if you can win yourself  a kilo of their beautiful beads!

See you next time!


Thursday 6 March 2014

Doing the Organic Twist!

Hello everyone!

Do you remember way back in July 2013 when I blogged about my experiments with Preciosa Ornela's striped beads? The patterns for four of those pieces have already been published (Sliding Stripes, Pinstripe Petals, Floribunda Bangle and Rustic Hearts) and you can now find the instructions for Stripitwisticus Major and Minor in the April 2014 issue of Bead & Button magazine. Of course the sensible people at Bead & Button changed my slightly eccentric project name to 'Organic Twist' but it's still the same garland of leaves and flowers that is just waiting to be wrapped around your wrist or neck.

I used the same green and yellow striped seed beads for the vines and leaves in both of my sets but for one set I made matte cobalt flowers and for the other I used vibrant red and white striped beads. The editor at Bead & Button chose a mix of matte and shiny grey seed beads to make her test piece which gives it a completely different, more elegant look. I loved working with these beads and plan to use them more often (when time permits) and I think that the irregularity in the shape and size of some of these particular beads really lends itself to natural organic looking designs. When you pop the end flower on the bracelet through the viney loop at the other end, it really does look and feel like it has just grown there.

I hope you enjoy doing the Organic Twist and as always, feel free to send me pictures of your variations and colourways. There are three more of my Preciosa patterns due to be released in the next couple of months using Twin™ beads, Pellet beads™ and Charlottes so be sure to complete the Follow by Email box at the top right of my blog if you don't want to miss anything.

That is all for this time - apart from to let you know that I am no longer a Prima Bead Blog Team member. It's been a fun eight month ride resulting in lots of pieces that I might never have otherwise made, but I decided that this was the right time for me to leave the team and concentrate on other areas.

See you again soon!


Saturday 22 February 2014

Prima product of the month - January/February!

Hello everyone!

It's the Prima Bead product of the month time again and this time the members of the blogging team were asked to become 'guest designers' and imagine that we were writing a project for their catalogue. Each member of the team was sent a couple of toggle clasps, some bicone mirror beads, a pack of crimp beads and a reel of elastic but we were also told that we could incorporate other Prima Bead products that we have previously been sent. As soon as I saw that my bicone mirror beads were red and black I thought of my visits to Spain and words like 'flamenco' and 'pasodoble' started to echo in my mind. Then, when I saw that one of the toggle clasps was a hammered silver circle with a round hole in it - a plan began to take shape. Rather than use the toggle as a clasp I only used half of it and turned it into a brooch/pin which I have called Ojo Del Toro, which I am hoping means eye of the bull. The finished piece represents the eye of the bull in a bullfight with the red and black lances piercing the skin, but before anyone starts writing to me, please note that this is a symbolic piece and does not in any way mean that I support bullfighting!

I will be submitting the PDF of my instructions to Prima Bead, but to make this pin I took the silver hammered toggle and glued a brooch pin to the back of the toggle on the widest part.

Next I took some head pins from a findings starter pack and threaded the bicones onto them before turning a loop at the top. Then using the jump rings from the starter pack I suspended the bicone 'lances' from the 'eye' so that they dangle and dance at the base of the brooch.

That's it for this time but I'll be back soon with more beady news. In the meantime, leave a comment and let me know what you think of Ojo Del Toro.

Bye for now!


Wednesday 19 February 2014

Pellet Stars!

Hello everyone!

Just a quick post today to let you know that the instructions for another piece I made using Preciosa Ornela's Pellet™ beads have been published in issue 8 of Digital Beading Magazine. This time it is the quick and easy Pellet Stars bracelet and earrings set. I mixed opaque blue Pellets with silver seed beads to make a summery looking set but you can create a very different look using other colour combinations - I haven't taken any photos but I made myself a pair of earrings using olive Pellets mixed with gold seed beads and they are my new favourite ear decoration!

This bracelet also features in a full page Preciosa advert in the current issue of Bead Style magazine and Digital Beading Magazine. If you are looking for Pellet beads you can find them at Kandra's Beads and Robin's Beads as well as other stockists of Preciosa beads.

There are two more Pellet projects waiting in the wings; one in an upcoming issue of Bead & Button magazine and another which will be a free project with Preciosa. So, if you are looking for ways to use this fun new bead shape, be sure to complete the 'Follow by Email' box at the top of my blog so that you don't miss any news.

See you next time!


Wednesday 12 February 2014

Marcia DeCoster Presents ...

Hello everyone!

Do you remember back in October of last year when I was lucky enough to spend the day with Marcia DeCoster? Besides wanting to meet her to see her beautifully intricate work 'up close and personal' and to thank her for years of encouragement and support, I also wanted to thank her for including me in her new book Marcia DeCoster Presents: Interviews with 30 Beaders on Inspiration & Technique. As we sipped tea and stroked each other's beadwork, we talked about our love of the Internet and how it has helped so many beaders from around the world connect with each other giving us the opportunity to share work and ideas, congratulate each other on successes, pull each other through the hard times and form lasting friendships even though we may never have met in person. The network that bonds the worldwide beading community is one of the primary ideas behind Marcia's new book and I am hugely grateful to be a part of this.


The '30 Beaders' are from all over the world (from the United States, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Singapore and more) and each has their own style of beadwork from cute beaded critters to elaborate embroidered collars and everything in between. There are no instructions in this book, it is a book filled with pictures of gorgeous beadwork designed to fill you with admiration and inspiration, a book to make you oooh and ahhh as you turn each page. Marcia has also asked each artist a set of interview questions about materials, techniques, design ideas and aspirations and she has also included a special question that is unique to each person. Even if I were not fortunate enough to be included in this collection I can hand on heart say that I would still want it to be on my bookshelf - it is a simply beautiful book.

Thank you Marcia!


Tuesday 31 December 2013

Farewell 2013!

Hello everyone!

Well it's that time again, the end of another year. At this point in time I like to stand on an imaginary threshold and look over my shoulder reviewing the past year while taking an excited peek at the coming year. For me, 2013 was a year of incredible highs and terrible lows with one event that very nearly stopped me beading, it nearly stopped me breathing if I am honest but I am hopeful that 2014 will be kinder to me and that nothing will ever take the shine off my beads. Looking back I can see that I have been blogging for 6 years now and written 152 blog posts. My work has changed and yet stayed the same but my confidence has grown and I have formed some strong relationships with various people and companies in the bead world and although I carry a lot of sadness right now I find myself in a good solid place ready to move into the new year and to bead on. There are lots of plans in the pipeline which I will share throughout 2014 but before I put the lid on 2013 I have a few links and pictures to share - December has been a busy month!

The first piece of news is that one of the Kumihimo pieces I created for Prima Bead has been published in the latest issue of Bead & Button magazine and it made the cover! Looking at that cover really makes me smile and appreciate the good things that happened in 2013 as although I designed the project, it is very much a collaborative piece involving some of the people and companies that I have joined forces with: the tools and the push to learn Kumihimo were provided by Prima Bead, the grey seed beads fit in with my Midnight Garden collection and came from my friend Kandra at Kandra's Beads, the silver flowercup beads are by Preciosa Ornela and came from www.yorkbeads.com, the beautiful clasps came from A Grain Of Sand and of course the project was published by Bead & Button magazine.

In the same issue of the magazine there is also an 'Artist Profile' featuring my recent work and in it I talk a lot about my collaborations with Prima Bead, Preciosa and York including my recent work with striped seed beads and many of the new bead shapes on the market. The hard work of the recent couple of years seems to have come together beautifully and I am very grateful to all of these people and more for giving me the opportunity to show what I can do.

Just a few days prior to the Kumihimo project and profile being published in the magazine, Bead & Button also released another one of the projects I created for Preciosa Ornela as a FREE digital download. This time it is a quick and easy bangle that uses the new Pellet™ beads and all you need to do is to click on this link and then either sign in or register to download the pattern.

And a few days before that, issue 7 of Digital Beading Magazine (another favourite of mine) was released and I have two designs in this issue, one of which was shown on the cover of the magazine. Holiday Hearts (shown above) was created for Preciosa Ornela earlier this year as part of my striped seed bead collection but we decided that these quick and easy rustic looking hearts made perfect tree decorations and so I made a few more to decorate the editor's Christmas tree!

The other project that appears in Digital Beading Magazine is one of the designs I created for Preciosa using their exciting new Thorn™ beads and the project includes instructions on how to make these eye-catching bracelets and rings.

So that is how the year ended and today I am reflective and thankful but tomorrow I will begin working on the glittering pile that beckons me and seeing where the path of 2014 leads me.

Happy New Year everyone!


Wednesday 4 December 2013

Neon Nights!

Hello everyone!

Just a quick blog entry today to let you know that Bead & Button magazine have released another FREE download of one of the patterns I created for Preciosa Ornela. This time it is my stained glass effect Neon Nights pins which I originally blogged about here. Simply click on this link and then either sign in or register to download the pattern and start beading.




If you would like to purchase some of the Preciosa size 10 neon seed beads that I used to make these pins, then my friend Kandra stocks them here.

That's all for now - see you next time!