Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sunset Butterflies


I learned SO much last week, when I published my first group of Silk Butterfly Bags!  Today I am posting what is left, four "Sunset Butterflies" bags.  I have made things simpler for both you and me.

I will publish a kit of beads with each bag, combining the costs of the bag at $47, and the kits around $18, so there is just one listing to buy to get both things needed to make the bag.  This kit of Bag and Beads costs $65.00.  Here is a link to that listing.  And here is what the butterflies look like in my samples, fully embroidered.


They sit up beautifully off the quilted silk surface, and I find the black outline makes them pop! 
See?


This is a different bag, but, I have loved wearing it this week!

I am also creating a simple photographic tutorial for each bag variation.  It includes diagrams of the bead embroidery stitches I use in each applique cover, and a photographic progression of the process, from outlining to finishing the lining on the back of the embroidered flap


Because the project is about painting with color, there are SO many different beads in each kit!  Trust me when I tell you the kit is a TOTAL bargain.  It comes packed inside your bag so there is just one easy shipping fee.


If you count all the different sizes and finishes of the black beads, plus the firepolish and drops, there are 22 different beads in this kit.  You absolutely could not buy them for $18!

SO if you are interested in this project, and want one of these bags, there are just four available today, in a much simplified format.  And up next, maybe in two weeks or so, some Silver Silk Bags! 


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Butterfly Bags Released into the World


I will release the Butterfly Bags I have made today around noon or 1pm, depending on how fast I can finish writing all the listings and this blog post.  It's COMPLICATED!  And you will have to make choices and I want you to be informed.  This is an easier, more pictorial way to show you what is being offered.

First, I want to show you my sample, using Applique A.  It's not a great applique, because the sides are not perfectly symmetrical. All the other are perfectly symmetrical. I have been hunting butterfly fabric for a year for this project!  I think the primary purpose of having an applique to bead is for inspiration, easy filling, and symmetry.  If you choose this applique, you will need to be sensitive to the lower wing area and make the two sides as similar as possible.

Having said all that, I want you to see my process.  I have a tutorial, for a slightly different Monarch without the pearls, but the possibilities are endless, and I want to give you a sense of how to make choices and move forward.  I think the tutorial is a good buy in terms of guidance in the process, even if you choose a different applique, like this one.

Here's the applique. Notice the flaws with me.  The upper wings are great, but they sit behind the lower wings, and on real butterflies the opposite is true.  Also the lower right wing in larger than the lower left, and patterned differently.  I did my best to ignore the stuff I didn't like as I started beading.


The first step with EVERY bag is to cover the body.  I like large matte black beads for this purpose.  Then the edges are outlined, to mask and protect the stitched and fused raw edge.  When that is done, the fill can begin.  I like to start with wing borders, and use a 3mm pearl and 8/0 matte black on the bottom, with more sizes on the top.  See how I corrected which wing lay over which? I didn't care for the green tones at the bottom of the butterfly and wanted to add a touch of pink and purple at the top, so you can see the start of that here.  Always work do what you do on one side to the other side before moving on, to help with symmetry,


Next, I added veins to the upper wings, with matte 15/0.  


Sharp contrast veining is really pretty, but if your applique is small, you need to skip the veining and just do directional filling, to indicate the sections of wing.   See what I mean on the previous post, called  "A Happy Little Bag" where I did no veining, but you can still see the shapes.

Here I have begun filling the upper wing, Notice how I do a section at a time on each side



Upper wings are finished, and I am ready to vein the lower wings.


I am using both 11/0 and 15/0 beads to do my fill.  I am careful not to overfill.  There can be small spaces between beads and they will not be noticed.  The fabric below is in deep shadow, and no one will think about what is down there except you with your magnifiers on, holding the fabric 6" from your nose.  RELAX.  Small gaps are fine, and too many beads is bad.


I added a little bead at most of the intersections of the quilting, to give it depth, but I avoided the two at the top of the wing, knowing they would mess with the nice clean outline.

Here is my recommendation for you.  Maybe just buy one bag.  I really want everyone who wants to try this to have a chance to do it.  You can only do one at a time, and I really will do more.  The next set will be silvery silk, and I have a pale green and rich bronze planned too,  And I will come back for more gold as well, if there is sufficient interest.  

Here's a link to the bags, and you can choose your favorite applique. 

Here's a link to the tutorial, helpful whether you plan to make one of these two options, or "bead by number on a different applique.

And here is a link for the monarch kit I have available.  If you want the Fantasy Butterfly, or possible beads for one of the other appliques, ask me.  I can probably help you.




Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Happy Little Bag


I am close to releasing the first set of Butterfly Bag bead embroidery projects and tutorials! If all goes according to plan, I will post a few of them next weekend in my Etsy shop.  

Carl walked past my bench yesterday as I was finishing up my original sample and said, "That's a Happy Little Bag!"  I loved the Bob Ross reference, and so this sample has a name!

Making this little bag, helped me figure out what might constitute a good size, shape, and expedited construction.  I carried it around with me over the last couple weeks, unfinished, just to test how it worked and felt, and I have made several design improvements as I worked my way along.

This idea grew out of wanting to pass along something I have enjoyed in the past.  I began using fabric applique about 10 years ago in my dancewear, and the idea translated really well to bead embroidery.

A little history...   Among of my first projects along this line was my "Falling" vest.  If you want to read more about this project, you can do that here


And after this, I made my Urban Safari Coat, again done with applique, and the same yummy quilted Dupioni Silk.  This was a competition piece for Battle of the Beadsmith, and if you like, your can find more pictures here, and read about the construction and beading process here.


I have to confess, the idea of creating clothing in all sizes imaginable was overwhelming.  So instead I decided upon a "wearable" handbag to serve as my offering to you to try out this technique.

I am planning a release for next weekend (June 19-20),  and will continue to make these for a while, as long as there in interest, I have stamina, and until I use up the fabric I have for the purpose.  I have gold, silver, and limited bronze and celadon silk.

First release will be bags made up in gold silk, with the two versions of the tutorial.  One will include instructions and approximate charts for two options, a Monarch butterfly and a Fantasy butterfly, based on the applique.

Here is my sample for these two options, and I will assemble kits for these.


There will also be a couple different applique options, and a minimal guide tutorial for those who are experienced bead embroiderers and would like to try filling the printed lines with beads of their choosing. You are also free to add anything else of your want; flowers, scrollwork, or filling the ditch in the quilted fabric with beads as below.


So if you enjoy bead embroidery, or are interested in a gateway to the craft,
stay tuned for a more detailed blogpost, and keep an eye on my Etsy shop next weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Spring Acorns for Caramel

Teaching Caramel's Acorn Earrings at the Upper Midwest Bead Society (much better than my first teaching effort, but still not what I would consider to be flawless) wiped out my stock of Acorn Earrings kits, so I have begun re-stocking.  A wonderful friend has volunteered to help with these kits, which are crazy labor-intensive!

I have a new color way, called Spring!


  I had hoped that by the time I was ready to publish these new acorns, there might be some real ones to shoot.  Some oaks set acorns early in the year to mature slowly through the summer.  I had hoped to have some photos to show you when I published these, but the Oaks here have only just stopped shivering. They really are amazing, and flower first, with long dangly catkins of golden green pollen-producing tassels.  I promise to add some images to this post when they finally appear.  EDITED TO ADD here is a starter! I found the twig of new oak leaves blown down on the path during my walk yesterday and the color was so fresh and similar to the acorns!


It has been a very slow Spring in Minnesota!  Yesterday, I dragged the deck chairs up from storage through my house, because it was finally warm-ish!  And the Best Man Ever put on his snow boots and brought the table around the house through the melting drifts for me.  I am so starved for sunshine!  And all my outdoor critters, including Caramel the squirrel, are very hungry  I keep my feeders full to meet demands.


In the mean time, you can check them out here.  My personal favorite acorn is from this site:
Scroll down to the Valley Oak/Roble, and check out the color in that acorn!
  
Or take a look at a range of images of catkins and Spring acorns here.  

The Canopy Melon beads in this colorway have a pinky sheen, and the colors I used are both from nature, and in support of that sheen.

If you want to duplicate my results, here is the bead list, and if you want a kit, visit my shop through the linked photo below, and choose "Spring"!  


A - 12 pcs CzechMate Crescent Opq. Rose Gold Topaz Luster
B - 12 pcs Toho 8/0 Hex #262 Light Bronzer Lined Crystal Rbw
C - 25 pcs Toho 15/0 #764 Rose Chalk Matte Opaque
D - 38 pcs Toho 11/0 #764 Rose Chalk Matte Opaque
E - 38 pcs Toho 8/0 #169 Light Rose Transparent Rainbow
F - 24 pcs Toho 11/0 #PF551 Peach Galvanized PF
G - 14 pcs Toho 11/0 Demi #PF551 Peach Galvanized PF 
(plus 2 pcs #994 Bronze Lined Crystal Rainbow)
H - 2 pcs Czech 14mm Melon Bead Canopy
J - 2 pcs Toho 8/0 Demi #PF551 Peach Galvanized PF
K - 2 pcs Toho 6/0 #PF551 Peach Galvanized PF

3 yds One-G Thread 
3 pcs Copper 2” Headpins
2 pcs Copper Fishhook Earwires
2 pcs Earring Nuts

Find the new kits here, and the tutorial here.  I am in the process of getting most of the colorways re-stocked, so I'll keep you informed as they appear.  And the Silk Butterfly Bags are in process!


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rose Gold Caramel's Claws

I have a rose gold phone.  I have a rose gold wallet.  I have a rose gold cardigan sweater. (There is one in every shop at the mall, I swear!)  So I needed a rose gold necklace.  I thought you might like one too.

I also admit, I did this because I wanted to make video support for this design.  So I filmed as I worked the sample.  I have not yet finished the editing.  So maybe, one day, I will do that.  But to be honest with you, I just want to bead, and I have a couple designs begun that are calling my name.  REALLY LOUDLY!


But I do love this necklace. I especially love how the contrast between the matte onyx focal bead and the vibrant rose gold makes the shape of the bezel edge pop!


In the process of designing this colorway, I also designed an acorn cover for a 12mm round bead.  I remember when I published this tutorial, there were questions about whether it would work with a 14mm round, and it did.  But I could not find a 14mm round matte onyx that I liked, and there are no black 14mm Melon beads.  So I re-designed the acorn cap for any 12mm round bead.  It's different enough that it requires new illustrations and instructions.  I really like the earrings because my face is small.  :)


If you own the tutorial for the Caramel's Acorn, or for the Caramels Claws Necklace with Acorn Component, I have added this new tutorial to my Etsy listing and you should be able to download it from your purchase receipt.  I'll include some specific instructions at the end of this post.  :)  Because those 14mm Melon beads will not be available forever. :(

I feel I should apologize for my fuzzy-edged photos.  My camera is glitching, and keeps re-setting itself to tiny Fstops at random, and I seem unable to remember to reset for each photo, so off it goes to the repair shop this week!

In the mean time, I am packing kits, to ship tomorrow and the new kit is in my Etsy shop at this link. 


Lots of parts in this one!  20 different baggies, (some inside others) and an insert to boot!


But it all goes fast when you are dressed for the job.  


And when I am done, I get to go the Gem and Lapidary Workers Show.  I'll stop at the Post Office on the way, with the orders to date.  I listed last night and co-incidentally one of my favorite buyers checked my shop, knowing I list on Saturdays and bought it immediately.  The little cash register noise from my phone nearly scared me off my chair.  But today I am prepared!

If you have purchased the Caramel's Acorns tutorial previously, and would like the 12mm Adaptation, just send me an Etsy Convo from your purchase receipt, and I will send it along to you, at no additional charge.  If you are just purchasing the tutorial, the 12mm adaptation is included in the available downloads.  :)  

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Teaching via Video

I do not think I will ever be much of a "live" teacher.  I am a terrible traveler, unless it is by car that I drive myself, and teaching seems to require mobility.  I also am introverted, and not comfortable for long in groups.  Plus there is the anxiety management for public speaking.  I will teach "live" for what I believe will be the last time on April 7th, at the Upper Midwest Bead Society Demo and Do event.

But I do think I have useful information and skills I would like to share.  So I have taken a page from Mikki Ferrugiano's book (I must say she has been kind and supportive!) and created my first video tutorial support.

I had a partial box of Volcano Triangle jewels, purchased to re-kit my very first offering, Spiral Damsel Dragon Necklace.  This project features a spiral Chenille stitch rope, and the scales follow the spiral around the rope.  As on all my dragon projects, the back of the rope is smooth, sitting comfortably against your skin.  I believe that with the video support, an Intermediate level beader could manage this project with reasonable ease.


So, my first video supports this project, and will be provided at no additional cost to purchasers of the E-tutorial.  It is hosted by Google on YouTube, and you must have a gmail address to access the video.  I am incredibly pleased that there is a way for me to store and offer this 90+ minute video to you, and it seems to me that a free g-mail account is not a huge price to pay for the experience.

I will explore other options as I learn more, but for now, YOU MUST PURCHASE THE TUTORIAL, AND HAVE A G-MAIL E-MAIL ADDRESS TO VIEW THIS VIDEO.

NOTE:  IF YOU PURCHASED THIS TUTORIAL WHEN I FIRST OFFERED IT, I WILL SEND YOU A LINK TO THE VIDEO SUPPORT, IF YOU SEND ME YOUR G-MAIL ADDRESS.  PLEASE CONTACT ME THROUGH ETSY CONVO FOR THIS PURPOSE.

Here is a link to the tutorial, which includes the 90 minutes of video support.

I am pleased with my results, although I have to say, it was a steep learning curve, and I know I will improve with time and experience.

I have 13 kits, which I will list sometime this weekend in my Etsy shop and I will list the newly polished tutorial at that time as well. Additionally, I have one original kit in the shimmering, golden Chili Pepper colorway available and will list that after the tutorial listing goes up. These dragon wings look like leaves in Autumn to me.  :)



I have also played with the beautiful new TOHO colors of Galvanized PermaFinish beads and recognized the fact that Butterflies Have Scales Too...

I have not make kits for this colorway, but if enough people express serious interest, I will put together some for you.  I love how the shape of the butterfly feels like a feminine little bow.


Next up on my video list, Pineapple Blossom Necklace.  I have SOOO many requests for more kits, and this seems like a good opportunity to get it filmed.  Also, although I have two other exciting projects in mind for the near future, but I think it's best I work on another video while I remember what I did to get it cemented in my mind.

As always, thank you all for your kind support and for reading my little blog!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Wintery Blueberry Blues

The last kit of the season will release today!  The missing bead arrived yesterday afternoon and I am busy filling the final bags and assembling the many, many components.   These Teakwood beads smell DELICIOUS, and it's sad stuffing them into their baggies, but I promise they will still smell awesome when you open the packages.

This is the final kit for Caramel's Claws Necklace that I have planned.  There are quite a few of these kits, and I cannot reserve any this time.  I have too much work left to do, but I believe there are MANY great choices, and I hope you'll find one perfect for you.  I will post them for sale at noon CST on Saturday, December 9th.

Aa always, each focal bead is unique, and this blog post will serve as an introduction to each one.  There just is not room in the Etsy listing to let you see them all.  So without further ado...

FOCAL A is SOLD OUT
FOCAL B IS SOLD OUT.
FOCAL C IS SOLD OUT
FOCAL D is SOLD OUT

FOCAL F IS SOLD OUT
FOCAL G IS SOLD OUT
FOCAL H IS SOLD OUT

FOCAL J IS SOLD OUT

FOCAL L IS SOLD OUT
FOCAL M IS SOLD OUT

FOCAL O is SOLD OUT.

FOCAL Q IS SOLD OUT.

 Most of these focal beads are similar front and back, but two of them are dramatically different on each side, and either side could be chosen as the front.  I have shown you both sides of these focals.

FOCAL S IS SOLD OUT

 Caramel is fat and fluffy in the icy temperatures here in Minnesota.  She shows up every morning for her peanuts, and never misses a chance to hop up into my beading window and entertain me.  I hope you have enjoyed the necklaces inspired by her clever claws!  She, and I, wish you a happy holiday season!