Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Paths We Follow

Here is a project I did a couple months ago.  I mentioned earlier in one of my posts that I got some green and copper beads.  This is the outcome.  I started with the green, foil-backed glass beads in the center.  I really liked them because they have a nice depth to them.  I found them very interesting.  Then I winded the black pathway around them and filled that in.  I was a little disappointed in myself for getting the 5 beads at the top a little off center, but my 14 year old daughter reminded me that it adds character.  What a smart girl!  My 9 year old son says that if you put your finger on the gold-tipped stacks and wiggle it, it feels like broccoli.  lol  My younger 8 year old daughter likes the brown curved path the best.  I keep playing with the fringe at the bottom.  I just love those little metal discs!  So, in one 5x5 piece, I'm sure everyone can find something different to be drawn to.  I was very happy with this piece, and it is one of my favorite.

and if you notice, I kept turning the piece around and around, not sure which way was up while I was working on it!

and the final piece:

I hope all of you have a fun, happy and safe New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snowdrifts and Christmas part 3 (DONE!!!)

Just in time for's finished!  I actually finished the beading about a week ago, but hubby needed to paint the frame and put the hanger on the back.  I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out, and each of the elements reminds of a different aspect of my Christmases.

Wishing all of you a very merry, love-filled Christmas and a happy (and safe) New Year!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Snowdrifts and Christmas (part 2)

I had a dilemma on what to do with the space between the snowdrifts.  For a while I thought I'd fill in the space with more white and add Christmasy things above and below.  But then I thought it might be kind of boring to look at a white square.  Maybe I'll do a monochromatic one day, but I didn't feel this was the one.  Then I thought if I filled in between the drifts with Christmas-sy things then they wouldn't look like drifts anymore.  Well, I decided on the latter.  I just stopped thinking about it and started stitching.  I decided to stop being overly critical and just add Christmas colors that made me happy.  I added candy cane twists, little gold and red flowers, evergreen branch fringe with red holly berries and Christmas tree balls.  One thing I have decided is that in the bottom right corner in the middle of the fringe and balls I am going to add a nice red velvet bow to finish it off.  As of this moment I'm a little stuck on what to do next, so we'll just have to see what happens and wait for what comes next.  I'll put it down, look at it as I walk by...something will strike me.  Here's a pic of the progress:



A nice red velvet Christmas bow will go on this corner in the middle of the branches to finish it off.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

No Two Snowdrifts Are Alike

No two snowflakes are alike.  Well, neither are snowdrifts.  I had a major "doh!" moment the other day after getting the majority of my snowdrifts done on my Christmas project.  I have been used to making pieces that are 5x5.  Naturally what did I do?  Made it 5x5, of course.  However, I intended my BJP projects to be 5x7!  oops!  So, I had to start over making it the size I wanted it to be.  And, in doing so, I realized that my snowdrifts from the first and second pieces look nothing alike, which isn't a bad thing.   I just thought it was a little interesting...we may intend things to look the same, but they rarely do.  Each has their own characteristics that aren't duplicated.  The wind was just blowing a little differently the second time around.  Here is a pic of my newly completed snowdrifts...

I just want to wish everyone a healthy, loving, belly-full and safe Thanksgiving weekend!  Let's all remember our blessings...we all have them even when things seem to be at their lowest and times are tough. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Snowdrifts and Christmas

Well, my Christmas colored beads came in and I decided why waste time to get started.  I picked a fabric I had on hand, an off white material with a thin, black outlined flower/leaves pattern.  I set out some beads and got started.  But it just was not happening for me.  I would start something and tear it out because I was distracted by the pattern of the material and feeling uninspired.  This material was just not going to work for me.

I went to JoAnn's and found their Christmas prints that were on sale, and there were a lot to choose from!  Now I had to decide which one was going to be best for me.  I remember in class Robin saying that you need to start with a fabric that you love.  How true that is!  I discovered that using a "whatever" material was not the way to get creative juices flowing.  So I started thinking back to my childhood memories and what made them so memorable and special.  There were reindeer, snowflakes, stripes, plaids, name it, they had it.  But I kept going back to one particular material that has candy canes all over it.  The thing that made this fabric so special and the one that I chose was that it reminded me of the Christmas trees we used to decorate as kids.  My very favorite year was one that we had teddy bears and candy canes with beautiful red velvet bows tied around them.  Now, the material that I picked didn't have any teddy bears or any red velvet bows, but it brought me back to that place...exactly where I wanted to be to start my project.

The next thing I remember about Christmas growing up was snow.  How I miss the snow and the changing seasons.  Here in Phoenix, AZ we don't have the pleasure of changing leaves, the first snowfall, snow days from school, the warming up and greening trees of spring.  I remember going Christmas shopping in the evening when it was dark, the lights lining the streets, the decorations on the stores and light posts, even the red tail lights of the cars seemed to add to the colorful magic of Christmas in the midwest.  And then there was the snow.  Sparkly, drifting, crisp and cold.  I loved it.  And I miss it so much!  So, snow is where I started.

I started with white bugle beads to make a shape for my "snowdrift".  Then I added rows of various kinds of white and silver to represent the layers, the "fluffiness" of the snow with the silver ruffle on top.  (You'll have to excuse my poor camera doesn't take photos very well indoors.  I usually take them in the shade on my back patio during the daytime for the best lighting, but I wasn't patient enough to wait.)  So here is my first snow.

You can see the wonderful, colorful candy canes surrounded by the evergreen that first put me "in the mood".  Some of the beads are translucent so you can see a hint of the candy canes beneath them.  The piece will cover the material, so I decided that a hint of my inspiration showing through was all right. I realize it doesn't look exactly like snow, but it's my interpretation, so I'm going with it.  And it made my daughter think of snow before I told her, so I must have done something right.  Then I got stuck.  I have a lot of ideas going through my head that I didn't know where to go next.  So I remembered another thing Robin said.  When you get stuck, make another pathway.  So that's what I did!  I used the white bugle beads and made another snowdrift shape and then just repeated the layers.

Now, I have started one more small snowdrift in the upper right hand corner (last one for sure...I think lol).  I have other Christmas colors I want to add...I just don't know how I want to do them yet.  I think I want to do evergreen kinky fringe with red "holly berries" and Christmas tree bulbs.  But I also want to do (can't remember what it's called offhand for sure) a twisted chain to outline some of the areas.  And a little gold would be nice.  But I have to pick and choose, because I want this to be "simple" like my childhood memories and not chaotic how Christmas seems now.

And I want to say also that special people come into your life and bring blessings at the most unexpected times.  I don't know if she wants to be public, so I will just say that a "bead angel" came and is bestowing on me some of her beads to help me with this project as well as some coming up.  How thankful I am!!!

I will post more of my "Snowdrifts and Christmas" as I go along.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dad's Are Great!

My dad, with just an email asking, wired money to my bank account to pay for FOUR of my bead embroidery pieces to be framed!!!  Holy cow, how nice was that???  I ordered the frames online and should receive them in a week to 10 days.  Once framed, I can then post them and try to sell them.  Don't know how well that will go, but I really want to give it a shot.

Thanks Dad!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shopping Frustrations...or Creative Challenge???

I wanted to buy beads to do a Christmas inspired piece for the first BJP.  I shopped online...the stores near me seem to be so limited. was out of stock on so much stuff, and I was so disappointed!  I guess I didn't shop early enough.  And then I thought I wanted some little dangly holiday charms or snowflakes or something.  omg, I had no idea how expensive they were!  Well, hubby gave me just a $20 budget, so we'll see if I can get creative enough on the few beads I found. Because $3-$5 each for a dangly just wasn't in the cards for me today.  Unfortunately, I'm a pretty new beader and I don't have a lot of stock, so $20 doesn't go very far.  Time to get the juices flowing!!!  I got some silvery and gold bugles, gold and white 15/0's, a white and cream 8/0, and a couple 11/0's in various shades of white.  I have some pearl beads on hand in a couple different sizes, some green and red in 11/0's and 15/0's.  Oh and some sparkly/shiny beads that look like little Christmas balls.  So, I'll show pics of the progress when my beads come in.  Stay tuned!  :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


My second piece I did, Tranquility, was the complete polar-opposite of my first project.  This one, done in shades of blue, amethyst, a splash of green and some pearl-colored beads, was done with thoughts of peace and serenity.  I tried some different stitches in this one, including the running water stitch and branch fringe.  I was completely happy with how this one turned out.

Every element I love in this piece.  I started off with the amethyst chips and the mirrors at the bottom and then the pearl and disc and leaf beads at the top.  There was a silver button with a floral swirl in the top right, but I just couldn't fall in love with that, so I ended up taking it off and I'm glad I did.  After the "chunky" pieces, I began to fill it in.  My final struggle to complete it was a blank spot in the middle.  My daughter, Sami, said it could use some green.  I wasn't sure about it at first, but now that it's done I think she made the right recommendation, because I have learned to like the green kinky fringe with the white beads at the ends as well.

I went shopping today for a few new things.  Greens, golds and coppers caught my fancy today.  Holy cow the metallics are expensive!  My husband is unemployed and beads are such a luxury...he has me on a very tight leash when it comes to my bead shopping.  So I have to be very thoughtful of every single thing I buy to make sure I love it right off the bat and will get good use of it.  I can't be buying things I "might" use in the future...otherwise I'd go nuts at the bead store!!!

Anyways, I will start tomorrow on my next project with the things I bought today.  Will post it when it's done.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

getting started with blogging and my 1st project

I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants trying to figure out how to get started with this.  I figure the best way to learn and get started is to just jump in the deep end and do it.  I've never done a blog before and will probably flounder a bit here and there, but as everything else in life I'll get better over time.

I've been beading for a couple years now as much as I can.  Beads are expensive and we're on a tight budget, so they're pretty much a luxury.  But I've recently started selling loom and peyote patterns at and am making a little pin money each month now.  woohoo!  (If you'd like to see/buy my pattners click on "our designers" on the left and click on the number to the right of my name.)

I started off with square stitch and looming on a loom my wonderful husband built for me.  I couldn't get enough of it until recently...I was introduced to improvisational bead embroidery and took an amazing 2 day class with Robin Atkins (click to go to her website--has a link to her blog too).  Looming doesn't even compare to what I personally get out of embroidering!  I'm working on a loom project right now and it's almost a chore to finish it because all I can think about are the patterns and colors I can put on a piece of fabric.

I spent a couple months collecting beads in shades of purple and blue, a little green and red and various little doodads getting ready to take the class.  I had no idea what i was going to do with them, but I couldn't wait to get at it!  I was nervous about the class because I have anxiety issues and don't do well with too many people at once.  Well, my anxiety issues were a non-issue after all.  I was so excited to be in that class and learn from someone so knowledgeable and experienced that I was able to focus on the beading and not about having an anxiety attack.  The anxiety hit on Sunday night after the class was over and all the adrenaline subsided, but that passed and Monday morning I was ready to continue my project.

I had no idea where my first project was going to go.  I had so many thoughts going through my head.  I was thinking about the last couple years of my life dealing with being bipolar, the manic, the depressive, the roller coaster, the process of healing and becoming stable, my family being together many things...I just couldn't focus on a single thought.  They were swirling in my head like a tornado.  It only took me about a week to finish my project because I worked on it diligently every day.  Here's where the piece went:

Unfortunately, the photo doesn't show how vibrant the colors are.  But I think you can get the picture.  So many textures and patterns throughout the piece were very reflective of my thought process, which is why I call this one "My Racing Thoughts".