Friday, February 26, 2010

This must have been my day to finish projects. Am considering these necklaces for the two fish lures. As you see, my mind is not totally made up whether this is the best I can do. Thus the crimps stay uncrimped and wires are unclipped. This was the second one I did and the evenness of the other one 'bothered' me but still I felt it was right to make it a circle. The one above is done with shell 'chips' - actually lovely squares of shells, and the Czech-made alabaster beads from Rhoda.

I was pleased that the fish spines - real! - fit in here. The alabaster beads were actually too small to keep the spaces between the vertebrae open so I put in some 8s to make them pop up. At the top I used silver balls between the alabaster.

Also was able to finish the flower power band. I was afraid to squish it into the scanner and thought that it might not show up well, but it worked much better than I had hoped. Those flowers that look black are actually beads with dark blue insides and red transparent over them. A lovely bead that Bambi had given me. Slightly smaller than 11s but they work up beautifully. I wish they showed up as marvelous as they are. Here you can see the green stone leaves. Am thinking how to use them in other things. Nicely made and easy to attach with good holes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I had asked Barbara Platt, the publicity director at Gualala Arts, if she had any photos she had taken at our bead meetings and she sent this marvelous one of Bobbie Penny at the January 2010 meeting. This is not what I was looking for, but is a much lovelier portrait than I probably would have taken. Thanks Barbara for the loan! And thanks to Bobbie for being there!
I had a meeting at GAC yesterday afternoon and was tired in the evening so I did not get the golden band bracelet finished. About midnight I thought I would complete it and then decided it needed even more flowers and had to stop to make them.
Have an idea how to string the silver fishing lure pendent and am eager to try it out. If it works I may send it to the San Jose Museum of Art for their silent auction fundraiser in April.
The box of fishing lures that I ordered online already arrived yesterday. I would rather bead than wrestle with cardboard. . . Soon my curiosity will get the best of me. Or I will finish the bracelet and need a new project.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On my tray were the golden bugles and beads from the earrings so I started ladder-stitching the bugles together.

Oh I see the photo now! Those bugles are twisted; that is why they look so speckled here. I like the looks of this just as it is, but when I wrap it around my wrist it looks too plain. Or maybe the liver spots on my arm need more competition!

Somewhere I saw such a bracelet with pearls sewed on to the center. Since I need things with flowers on them for the Point Arena show, I started making small flowers by my method using the brick stitch. Only got three done last night. But I am excited about finishing this since I did lay those green stone leaves that Bambi had gotten for me in Moab last autumn on the gold and felt they looked just perfect.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Last night, after finishing the fish lure thingie, I did not know what to do next. We had gone to Manchester and to my dismay all the fishing lures, all four kinds, were made of that soft squishy plastic like those cheap toys. Nothing I could use. Marianne found her lures online, from areas that have lake and stream fishing probably, and I will have to go there.
Anyhow, at lose ends I started a daisy chain because there some nice pearlized 11s that had fallen out of my new method of organizing beads - also a creative technique!
Anyhow, while boring myself with the daisies, Judy called to ask how to increase with the peyote stitch. I had an idea of how it was done, but she wanted to increase at the edge. I looked in several books and ended up finding the info I needed in the back of BeadWork in that handy appendix of how-tos. So after I gave her what help I could we started to chat and somehow we got on the subject of wind chimes and she said, "Wouldn't they make great earrings?" So I launched into this!
I used a lacy bead cap as the top of the wind chime and suspended bugles as chimes. Unfortunately they are glass and not metal so they sort of clitter instead of having tones. The wind catchers were some brass heishi and my favorite crystals.
The earring to the right flipped up so you can see the underside of the bead cap and the ball I used as stopper for the clapper.

See, I did finish the fish I showed you yesterday. I was particularly happy with this tail! The bugles have the feeling of the 'ribs' in the tail of a fish. I mixed silver twisted ones with clear iridescent tubes. In the string of cats eye that I used on the body, they had included two tiny stars, so I saved them out for the tail. Need more lures! Off to search the net - the obvious place to find a fishing lure!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Marianne, here is the fish you bought and then let go at the meeting. I am very pleased with it so far. I quit working on it about 1 a.m. last night only because I feel there must be something that goes up in the middle of the back and was too tired to figure out what it should be. I had started the 'scales' using mother of pearl chips (good pun there!) with pearl beed dots but they were too yellow for the color of the real fish lure. So I cut those off and used these cats eyes chips. I had less than an inch of silver-lined AB 11s in a tube and thought this was an excellent way to use the last of them.

Here is the fish lure I started in the class on Saturday. The tail got too heavy and I tried to balance it with the bubbles from another embedded loop under the 'chin' but when the fish is suspended it is definitely in an upward leap. Then I realized that if when making it into a necklace, I could use fairly large beads on each side of the hanger loop it might make the fish look less like it is standing on its tail.
I liked the effect of the 'bubbles' under the gills! It made that hanging down part very different from the tail but using the alabaster Czech beads from Rhoda were not heavy enough to balance the tail.
We are having a beautiful spring day between storms so am eager to go off to Manchester to see if I can find some more lures and check out the daffodils blooming in the cemetery on Windy Hollow Road. There is a haiku in there somewhere. . .

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of BeadsNBeyond at Gualala Arts Center. I took my new camera intending to be a good reporter who would come back with photos. However I got so involved in beading I forgot all about cameras, and telling a story.
Sue Hansen was on the docket to demonstrate her method of encrusting fishing lures with beads and I really should have shot a photo of the marvelous example she brought that she had made. As it was, Sue began, in her low-key way, to show us how to make one ourselves.
Though Marianne had searched the web, found and ordered fishing lures of a proper size, we all got hooked into the project because Sue had done her homework!
She had already prepared the lures for use (removing the hooks and sewing a tiny blanket of felt around the part to be covered) and very soon we were all involved in picking a lure, (being lured in by a lure), finding what colors we wanted to use based on the beads we had lugged in from cars (or which ones we could borrow from someone else).
Even members who usually do not do the brick stitch were soon into the project mainly because Sue has devised a method of doing the brick stitch that illuminates that tiresome first row of ladder stitched beads that is so hard to attach and measure against a slippery form. I will save this secret because Sue will be teaching the whole project in a class in the Bay Area in April (we were her guinea pigs) and you should really learn from the master.
Three o'clock came, Sue and Bobbie packed up and headed for home for a well-deserved nap before volunteering for another of their projects, but the rest of the group stayed with our noses glued to the fish lures. In the silence after their leaving we each and all admitted that when we came to the meeting we had no intention of beading a fishing lure, but here we were - following instructions and discovering a new technique with great joy. Well, all except one. There is always a rebel in every cause and Kathy covered a wooden needle case instead.
I came home and got this far on my fish before collapsing into bed. It is not fair to show you only this half-done version, so I am eager to get off the computer and get back to beading this just so I can show you what a neato thing this can be.
Before I shutup, I do want to relate that Vicki sold one of her new necklaces for men off the show and tell table, Judy had a tray of her newest wire wrapped stones that were delicious (and I got one in a trade for wooden needle cases) and Sue had brought a bunch of her amulets as demonstration of various options for beading a necklace. Her work is always so exquisite!
The show n' tell table is such an important part of our meetings! Not only is a way to share our current projects with each other, but people working on other events at the arts center take the opportunity to wander through our meeting to see what we are doing. And, joy of joy, Marianne taking up one of my bracelets blogged here, said, "Oh, so this is what that bracelet looks like! It is so much lovelier than the photo." Reason enough to leave my camera at the bottom of my purse!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

While playing around with left-over beads and the sea shell chips, I refound this method of using the right-hand weave to make squares for a bracelet that are fun to fill with 'stuff' that embellishes.

The little glass flowers from Czech beads worked fine. Only with the last bracelet of the evening did I notice that on the backside one could see the thread. I changed the way I got from the side of the square to the center and really found an interesting embellishment.
I just realized that I have promised to put stuff in the 'Flower Power' show in Point Arena in the middle of March. I had planned to display my stuff on wooden trellis panels but now think they are are too old and rotten.
Last autumn I started making a net out of fishing line until the appendectomy stopped me. This afternoon I need to look at what I have and make a final decision on how to display, and carry there and back home, the beads. Trellis or net, net or trellis. . .

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I had ordered several gemstone toggle clasps from Fire Mountian so yesterday I devised this method of using one in the lariat. Not having any stones that fit with the jasper one (it looks very different here than in real life) I used two kinds of the coated glass chips. I was surprised how good they looked and I must say the glass is a bit lighter in weight than the stone chips.
It seems this is my 'comfort work' just now. I get such a good feeling while doing this kind of necklace. I forget all the irritations and just enjoy the marvelous colors! How do people survive then they don't bead?
Off to catch the sunshine for a photo of the work "Springtime." Fire Mountain's seed bead contest closes March 9th. Much to do before then.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cannot decide which lariat I prefer. I guess I should simply accept that these are different, but each is valid. Probably one would fit a smaller quieter person and the other. . . I guess it is good that I cannot make a thing twice the same way. I was using florite rainbow chips here, not because I wanted to have a certain color in a necklace but because of the idea that florite clears one of psychic attacks.
I have allowed someone to upset me very much on the weekend so I beaded. At least I could do that and I was thankful I had the florite on hand and two such interesting focal points! It was a good weekend after all!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Have been tied in knots trying to get the materials together for the PEN Club catalog for the International meeting in Tokyo in September and am completely unable to bead! So today my latest beading project is the photo taken taken yesterday. The good thing was I had put up the professional backdrop to photograph beads and it worked out perfectly to put me in front of it also.
Last night I sat with my bead tray on my lap, along with the cat, and nothing happened! No ideas, no desires to make anything. Finally gave up and cleaned out drawers. Maybe today with the PEN stuff sent off the desire to bead will return. If not, there is always the studio to clean!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Went to the dentist yesterday and thought that I was maybe a bit tired but okay. I tried to work on the small needlecase with Delicas and 15s and simply could not get the bead to lay down right.
Discouraged, I slipped the wooden tube out of the circle of beads and simply began to expand it by changing the number of small beads added each time. Usually, to make this stitch one adds one hex-cut and two round beads, but I started adding more of the 15s every two layers.
By the time I got this far I was so tired I could not figure out what I had done or what good it could be. So I cut the thread, picked up my sock with a hole in it and darned that!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I am thinking of pieces of my beading with flowers that can go into the Point Arena "Flower Power" show in the middle of March. So I have done these needlecases with the spiral stitch that I love to make. These are done with hex cut 11s and Delicas. The wooden cases are 3.5 inches long, but the whole thing finishes out at 5 inches. I really, really enjoy the process of embellishing. It is such a joy to see a place in the design and then look to the tray and find the exact bead that fits in the spot. This process gives me unbelievable joy! It is like recognizing a need and at the same instant finding its fulfillment.
On my beading tray now are the shorter, 2 inch cases, which I am doing in Delica hex cuts and 15s. They are so small I can only work on them in the daylight so I need to find another project for the evening hours this week. Hmmmm.
Had a local jeweler/artist use fairly strong language with and about me because my prices are too low. I am thinking that $25 each is enough for me for these needlecases, but others in the show will probably want me to charge $35. It has been suggested to me, by the out-spoken artist, that I allow other persons to set my prices. How would I feel if the work did not sell at those prices?
Also, in the show she was complaining about how my prices ruined her sales, she sold one item for $35 and I sold over $800. Did my lower prices "ruin" her sales or were my prices just right because I sold so much of the work? Am really having a debate with myself over the price issue.
While talking to another person, who had just told me my prices were too low, I saw her face when she asked me the price of an item she wanted. Even though she said my prices were too low, when it came to quoting her a price for her item, she was delighted I was asking so little because suddenly it seemed she could afford the necklace. However! she did not buy it. She only had a look of wanting on her face.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sunday, while my computer was down with a virus and waiting on the local computer guru I set up the camera in the studio and tried again to get better photos. By the time I got to these bracelets the sun was in and out of clouds and only this one (crooked) set up had enough light. I used the automatic correction in photoshop and got this funny blue which made a nice contrast to the pink stones. I am thinking I need one of those diffuser cubes for photographing small objects. I think Marianne has the set up. I tried to email her and the message came back, so I am still on my own.
Honestly I have tried to stop making these, but I love them so much that I find my mind devising new options so I can keep making them. Lacking big balls in colors other than the blue, green and aqua of recycled glass I raided my cache of polyclay beads and found this pair.

This is my other attempt with making a big bead for the top. I scrunched up copper wire, wound it on a drinking straw, scrunched it some more and used it as a bead. I think I explained all this previously (the computer virus seems to have wiped my brain cells clean also!) but I am hoping this is a better photo and these copper wire beads are better made than the other example.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

After wearing one of the necklaces in this design, it was easy to let myself go back to making more. I really like these! I am a crowd of one, but I have enough confidence in the worth of this idea to stick with it! So I made a couple more, and even though I still have plenty of the big beads made in Ghana from recycled glass, I got bored with using them. Also I needed a pinkish warm bead. Not willing to wait for a new order of beads I got the idea of 'making a bead.'
At first I thought of wire wrapping a wooden bead but I could not find the big wooden beads. I know they are around here somewhere. . . Ah! just while typing this I remembered I had put them together for a beading kit for Jasper. I think I know where they are now.
Anyhow, lacking the wooden bead I tried various methods of weaving and crocheting the copper wire to make a bead and I all made such a mess of everything I just wadded up the failure. Voila! a bead.
I put some beads on the wire for the next one and I really like the feeling of seeing the beads 'floating' inside the wire bead. Am eager to do more of these.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Am still trying to get a good photo of these bracelets, but both scans and camera shots do not do them justice. They remind me of tennis bracelets on steroids. I should not make fun of them because I enjoy making them so much. I can get three bracelets from one strand of cathedral beads.
Another attempt to show these off.

And a family picture with the idea that if one bracelet does not illustrate the idea, maybe all fo them will! Here you are seeing the bracelet from the side and you can see how eager they are to curve around a wrist!
When I put away my big order from Fire Mountain - most seed beads - I realized my storage system needed overhauling. I had beads in tubes, in plastic boxes and bags. Each color was in a possible three different places. So I made 'trays' by cutting the 11 x 14 priority boxes in half. They are not pretty but now all the yellows are together and the 6s, 8s, delicas, and 15 each have their own tray instead of a deep basket. Now I need something with shallow drawers, like a cabinet for drawings. They run about $300 - 400 or a cardboard paper holder for $25. In the meantime I simply stack the trays and hope my biceps bulk up from the lifting. The system is certainly not ideal, but I am now better able to find the best blue beads for a project.