Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meet Iggy the iguana. Isn't he a doll? (pun intended). I love how marvelously his head is moulded. The way he peeks around his collar ruff is so roguish. I am charmed by him and am hoping my next buy from Ebay includes another one. The contrast between the matt beads on his face and the shiny ones on the collar do not show up here but looks much more impressive in real life. I plan to have the matt ones on his top side and the shiny ones on the underside.

Got a note from Barbara that Ling-Yen delivered the box (thanks Ling-Yen!) and the new animals are already sparkling on the window shelf at the Coast Highway Art Collective in Point Arena.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Finished the elephant Thursday and the sun was shining and there was enough afternoon left to photograph it but the Sony camera gave me only error messages. So I used the tiny Canon snapshot camera and got these images. It is not easy to capture in a photo what kind of animal this is. I did have a marvelous time embellishing the back but I suspect that ruins the 'read' of the animal. Maybe I need to be more sparing of the embellishment? I see I 'forgot' to add the 'earrings' - I suspect that when I got all this on, some level of taste inserted itself and I gave up the idea of adding more.
I loaded the camera's batteries, set it to the proper option, took off the lens cover and it worked perfectly just as the sun set. So I started the iguana and I love him! His head is so well-formed. Even the eyes are perfectly made. Went to bed happy and relaxed.

One of my morning internet habits is to rinse the taste of google news out of my head by immediately going to Jennifer Cruisie's blog. Recently she wrote about doing steampunk crocheting and that gave me the idea to alter one of the McDonald's beanie babies. . . To my amazement, when I looked in the basket of brass stampings I found these clock parts. Because Sue always adds free goodies to her shipments I had the two brass bead covers that made perfect googles. There at my fingertips was the very special tulip bead cap that made a perfect crown. I had great fun in searching for what this piece wanted to be. It may not be 'art' in everyone's book, but I had pleasure in watching how these many choices came together to make "Steampunk Pussy"
Jennifer Crusie wrote that this changed her idea of "cat aesthetics."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In searching through my stash of blues I found a metallic matt bead that is very similar to the shiny AB I used on the other side. I tried this pattern of the bead rows hoping the animal would fold properly. It needs armpits to look right. The hind legs can be extended as if flying so that should be no problem. The next time I will do the ears last. Those 'fuzzy' inner ears are like velcro for thread - every stitch would catch on them.
While I worked yesterday I pondered where and how to place these. In the night a skunk came by so I woke up to shut the windows and never got back to sleep. I am assuming the Universe wants me to put these up on Etsy today. Some will go to Point Arena to the Coast Highway Art Collective and a couple to The Dolphin in Gualala. This may be a good time to show the animals to Bead And Button. I just signed a contract yesterday for them to bring the 3-D stars as Christmas ornaments in November.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I am pleased by the shape design on the back of this. Also the round beads 'sit' together better than cylinder-shaped beads so the beaded area seems smoother. Must remember that when I get suckered in by a marvelous color.
I plan to reshape the tail into one an elephant would want. Am eyeing that trunk, too. It now looks more like a snout than a trunk. I think I could bead a real tube trunk and attach it, but how?
Am considering what color to make the underside. White seems wrong for an elephant. A lighter blue? Just got a brainstorm to do a bead soup (varigated randomly) for the belly.
This scan shows how close I got the head and body colors. That pleases me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The elephant in progress. I was surprised how long it took to do the ears and then I realized how big they already are. Still I want to add dangles at least as long as the chin and maybe a bit longer. Even as small as these animal are, I need to have more than the little box of beads to do a complete body. Many colors I do not have enough of which explains why the head and body of the elephant is going to be done in more creative color combinations.
I have eight animals now. Was thinking of putting them up together on Etsy. We will have to see how much energy I have this week and what else comes my way.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Finished the pelican last night. When the feet had been unbeaded and soft I wondered how to bead them so the belly could rest and balance on the feet. As I started to bead I realized that if the feet were stiff the animal could balance on the tail and feet. I works!
Late in the evening I started on the elephant. Have the idea I want to embellish him with flowers and crystals - an echo of how they decorate elephants in India. As I planned how to bead the back and legs I realized that this animal is not going to stand up on his four legs. They are too sprawled out. Then it dawned on me: he flies! Then I began to plan wings for him. Wings. Hm. . . Flying elephant. Dumbo! Looking at the images on the internet I remembered / realized he did not have wings but big ears. Last night I was thinking of bead weaving bigger ears for him but this morning I am leaning toward a row of long dangling 'earrings' to increase the size. They will not be aerodynamic but, I am thinking, very interesting. Now to do the boring stuff so I can get to the fun stuff. Blue. He is a light silver-lined blue.
Which reminds me. I am pleased with the colors of the pelican.

Friday, June 22, 2012

We have wings! From this photo it is easy to see what I have ahead of me. Rump and feet. Am not yet sure how to do the rump. Circular would be the easiest. There is more room to maneuver the needle.
Yesterday I made a get well bracelet for Lu whose car fell of of Highway One and rolled down the cliff. Lots bruises but she is alive and home again! Thankful for that. Sorry I stuck the bracelet in the mailer before I photographed it. Again I saw how quick and easy bracelet stringing is and shake my head at some of the high prices in catalogs.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thanks to a new haircut I did not get much done on the bead tray. Too many tranquillizers, too many resulting naps and an early bedtime. Also I stopped by Vicki's to pick up my FM order and there were some lilac ABs that were close in color to the rootbeer used on the body. I tried them out on the wing, but they were much too light compared to the body. So I cut them out and put the rootbeer on the wing. I think the change in stitch will be a good graduation in color. It already looks lighter than the neck. Thankfully in the order were several orange and yellows (for beaks and feet) so when I do get to the feet, I will have many color choices.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Got this far on the pelican and I am making his feathers brown instead of the blue as you can see how the Ty Co. made the body. I was pleased to discover a new way of making eyes - putting an 11 between two black 8s. Very happy with this method. The wine glass was sitting on the photo stand from yesterday's attempt to photograph the white bear on glass risers. Without the wings to stabilize it, and the feet flattened the heavy neck beak pulls the animal over. I wanted you to see the eyes so the glass came in very handy. You can see how I tape down wings and feet to keep the thread from tangling in them. Also notice how neat the beak is done. I am pleased with that. In order to avoid lines in the neck (either rings or horizontal) I am covering the body with the picots (except for the section on the face where I wanted the same stitch as is on the beak). I think they will be good for strengthening the neck so it is well supported. Again, the charm of this animal makes me feel happy while I work on him.
In the afternoon the steepness of the angle of the sun gives me almost nothing to work with. So I tried raising the bear up on glasses. This worked for the pelican today but the bear photos are not right. I am thinking I may have to redo his eyes. If I shoot from down too low, one misses the face features. . .

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Finished this last night too late to photograph even though the sun was hanging around waiting to have its longest day. The icy blue of this snapshot, taken before the sun gets to this side of the house, is also indicative of how cool the house is. Both Werner and I are wearing scarves around our necks.

I started on the pelican last night. Worked a couple of hours before I decided I did not like the way the beads were going down. So I cut it all out and redid it and now I am very happy with the way the scoop beak looks. I see that by doing these animals I have a lot to learn about embroidering around shapes. Whether one beads around, across or up and down makes a huge difference in how an animal looks. I have been unhappy with beading the belly of these animals either vertically or horizontally. In the belly are the pellets and they are there to give the animal posture. On the bear I tried using an over all picot stitch (just little bumps of beads) on the tummy and this method also got too stiff. Maybe I used too many? The stars look just too weird to repeat. I could use an opaque bead the next time.
BTW I solved the question of the size of these beads. Among the beads in one vial were some real 15s mixed in and I could see they are much smaller. This means I have no clear AB 15s and the whole bear was done in 11s.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I feel as if I have lost my ability to distinguish the difference between an 11 and 15 sized bead. I thought I was running out of 11s and was okay with that idea. Then while looking for the 15s I found two more vials of 11s and began doing the face. When I got to the ears I wanted 15s so I looked for them. None. Nothing. Nada. So I added a pound of 15s to my order. Only then did it occur to me to look into my bead stash of pound bags. There I did find some clear AB round beads with no sticker. I assumed these must be the missing 15s. So I put them in boxes and did one ear. Now I simply cannot tell if the beads on the ears are actually smaller than the ones on the body. I am wondering if I have done all the back in 15s? Or are those 11s? I guess when the order arrives I will find out what Fire Mountain believes are 15s and maybe I will take more care in keeping the identifying sticker on the bag. I comfort my self esteem with the idea that this is a good color / bead and I should find lots of uses for it in the future. It will be interesting to see how the fabric colors of the beanie babies change under these beads.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This is Glory, the beanie bear created to celebrate the Statue of Liberty and American holidays. There was a series of collectible bears for different countries. I also have one for Ireland, Canada and England.
I love how he peeks out over his squashed nose here. I did not realize it at the time, but I picked him out on Flag Day - June 14th. I was not sure how to handle the stars but wanted to use clear AB 11s. They do a marvelous job of turning those stars into small blurry color bursts. It is sort of the way the fireworks in Point Arena look on a foggy evening.

Here you can see how those stars look shining through the clear beads.
After I got this far I realized I did not have enough 11s to do the whole bear (he is about 5 1/2 inches tall). So I am using the 11s on the under arms and back and will then switch to 15s for the front side. I definitely want to use the 15s on the ears and face. Or if that doesn't look right I will wait a week for the FM order. I could go back to the pelican in the meantime.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I got this close to finishing this one last night. You will not have to look at it again when I do finish it. I promise. I do not think I really like the effect of the grass, but I do like the wavy movement one gets by the lateral beading. I have the pelican lying on my table waiting to jump up on the bead tray. In the original its body is a medium blue grey. We have brown pelicans nesting on the big rock just south of our house. Question is: do I bead the plain color or make the pelican bird colors true? I really want to do a bear with the Indian custom of showing the insides of the bear. Good grief. Here I am before more decisions. . .
I got a concerned call from one of my daughters (Thanks B.!) that we were eating McDonald's happy meals to get these toys! So for the record: no hamburgers were harmed for this project.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

As you can see, I did do the hat for yesterday's worm. I thought the little flowers would be harder to make, but because they were small, just a couple of peyote rounds made them look realistic. Was glad the flowers covered up the gaps in the basic hat. BTW, the completed worm is 7.5 inches long.

I started my second worm with the idea that it would be crawling through the grass. I may be trying to show it to you too soon. I had hoped the 'grass' would be more lifelike and not so much like a saw made with blades of grass! (Where are those emoticons when you need one?)
Also I wanted to try to bead laterally instead of around to emphasize the wiggling motion. On the upper one I beaded around. Where the colors join, it is not a straight line so I had to fake it. Here I can follow the seams. I suppose I could do this procedure even if I did not bead from head to tail. I am trying to use transparent beads instead of the silver-lined ones (I worry that they might tarnish. . .) and they will show the difference in the underlaying colors. My only comfort this morning is that I have three unopened worms!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

As I was finishing the worm I ran out of the yellow beads and had to finish up the head with a darker yellow. To me that looked like shadow so I got the idea of making a hat for the worm. We will see if today when I go to the bead tray if I finish the hat I started last night or if I start a new animal. Have the pelican in the back of my mind calling to me. You can see here where I put in the light blue and how much better that looks than the transparent yellow that was removed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

So, here is the monkey revisited. . . Also I redid the eyes so they pop out more. I love those little glass flower shapes. They give the eyes a 'star' feeling with those little jutting points. I was able to straighten the nose a bit by putting in one bead on the other side.
Last night, just before closing down the beads, I cut out that weak yellow-green color on the worm. It is hard to believe that that 'weak' color is the same as is used here on the feet and paws of the monkey. It is tricky enough to figure out how one bead color will associate or change next to another but when you have transparent beads, the different under-lying colors can have a big influence on how that bead color is perceived. I have a new idea for the worm so am eager to finish the one I showed you yesterday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Now! I see that the head of the monkey tilts up higher and this position no longer works because one cannot see his eyes. Need to redo the set up so I am shooting down from above. I found, behind some books, that grape vine twig that was covered with cobwebs. I do not know what that has to do with a monkey but I loved this evidence of my bad housekeeping.
The summer sun comes in the window at such a sharp angle that I cannot get the background and the surface of the backdrop to light up at once. I think I will have to take it all down and reposition it for these two months of 'high summer.' Will probably find more cob webby stuff!

After I filled in under the chin of the monkey, as as I waited for the sun to get to my photo set-up for his official portrait, I sorted through all the tweenie beanie babies I had. Naturally having bought from several auctions I ended up with many of some of the animals and only one or two examples of others. So I bagged up according to kind (all the "Bones" dogs in on bag) and kept the rarer items in other boxes. Now I know what I have to experiment with. I found it funny that I was 'ready' for a more colorful animal - or one with wilder colors - when I found several "Inch" the worm. Not having legs, wings or feet, this is going fast. Perhaps I am simply at the half-way point where self doubts nearly undo me, but I am not satisfied with him either. I want to make one really wild worm!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Almost got this finished last night. Just a bit under the chin that needs to be filled in. And I need a much better photo. I am pleased that I had the courage to add the purple tail. Then it seemed I needed a spot of color on his front side so I added the tiny red heart.

Now I am eager to do a wild animal with the wilder colors Mother Nature never got around to using. I need to go through all the teenie beanie babies to see which ones I have duplicates of so I can mess with the colors on them.
The voting is going on at the Etsy Monthly Challenge ( but my chicken is not much appreciated. . .

Friday, June 8, 2012

The only thing that keeps me going with these too-close-in-color beads is the idea to do the tail in purple. At first I was unhappy with my decision to bead the arms lengthwise (so much harder than going around as with the legs) but as I am doing the back side (which you cannot see here) the arms fit into the lateral beading there. Only after doing the face, following the original thread nose, did I realize it is on crooked. I don't mind it when I make something crooked but everyone had better have their work done straight.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finished the frog last night and immediately started in on the monkey. Sorry his nose got so smashed in the scanner. I felt so rich with my box of animals to chose from. I will admit, that in addition to loving this tiny being, I am also interested in finding one that is easier and faster to bead. So far they have all taken 5 - 7 days. I am still debating whether the 15s are a good choice (does the extra work makes the animal look that much better?) I felt the frog did not need the 15s on its hands and feet. I was almost tempted to dig out another frog and try it again with all 11s but my heart was captured by the monkey so the frog will have to wait. I did not realize, until I saw the bear-like beanie babies in the job lot I bought on Ebay that I have had one sitting on my computer for years. To hide the wires I had paired a little blue bear with a lion to sit just under my monitor. The BB is Issy the mascot for the Four Seasons Hotel in London and the lion is a Boyds animal. The Boyds animal has the very short 'fur' of the teenie beanie babies that works best. The regular sized beanie baby bears have 'fur' that is too deep to cover well with beads. I feel so lucky to have found these tiny animals that are so well made.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I ran out of thread on the needle just as the clock ended my night. I got this close to finishing the frog before I had to quit to go to bed. Doing the face in beads made such a difference. The eyes were made with the yellow fabric but I decided to put transparent white beads over the color and I like how it turned out.
I love this little guy. Isn't that pleading look touching. It takes on more appeal when you see the needle stuck in his tummy! If I do him again I will not use 15s on his feet. Way too much time got sucked up there. His feet could have / should have been made smaller but perhaps they had to be this large for ease of sewing. I also want to try putting patterns or designs on him instead of following nature's coloring. Am eager to do another frog. The box with more animals came from Ebay so now I have duplicates. Richer and richer. . . and it is only Monday!

Friday, June 1, 2012

In only two days of beading the frog is too dimensional to fit in the scanner. Here he looks as if he is embracing the needle that adds his beads. I love how he rears up on his beaded legs and am so eager to do his eyes. I am not sure which color I will use. I have a transparent yellow in 11s (used on the chicken legs) and 15s (on the leopard's belly). All I can do is try them out to see what works. I love working on and looking at this little beast. Again I am finding that the designers did an excellent job of creating the face and body with the cut of the fabric.