Saturday, January 30, 2010

February's Love in Progress

Ok, so I thought I'd show you the beginning stages of my February BJP piece.  As usual, it's not coming out as I had it in my head.  The theme, of course, is "love"...but love what?  Originally I had thought about "Showered with Love".  I had in my head to do some kind of cool rain affect, but I just couldn't figure out how.  I think if I was using regular bugle beads it would have worked better.  But it was just not meant to be.  I had already chosen to use the Cat's Eye Rectangular Tubes, and I am happy with that decision...because it IS meant to be.  What I like about the Cat's Eyes is, first of all, they are a little different.  They have the same general look as a bugle, but they are much more substantial.  It just gives a different twist to using standard bugles.  Another thing I like is their finish.  It's very satiny and I think it is really beautiful.  I'm afraid my pic won't do them justice.  And then I also like the fact that all the end edges are smooth, unlike bugles which have sharp edges on the ends that can cut the thread.  There is no need to use seed beads on the ends to protect your thread. 

So I started with the vines and the flowers.  I was very happy with the way they turned out.  I used an odd shade of green trasparent/lined seed bead along with a copper color to twist around to make the vines.  Then I used the Smoked Resin Buttercup Flower in topaz and the Czech Glass Bell Flowers to dress them up.  I also thought the 6mm Glass Hearts made the most adorable little flower buds on the vines! :)  I was thinking of the vines and flowers and how love grows and blossoms...I'm very happy with the way they turned out.  Now, what to do next?  THAT was the problem!!!    (side note:  a funny thing my 8 year old Sara said...she thought the Czech Bell Flowers looked like chocolate chips.  Guess who was hungry for a snack before bed! lol)

I took out some other hearts in amethyst and copper along with the Cat's Eyes and put them down on the fabric in MANY different ways.  And I have to admit, I was beginning to have a lot of anxiety over the whole thing.  (For those of you who don't know, I am bipolar and also have terrible anxiety issues).  Beading has always been my calmness, but last night it was quite the opposite.  I told my husband that my anxiety was getting high.  He asked why and I said I thought because I wanted to do these beads from Artbeads justice and I was worried over it.  He quite simply said that I'm just supposed to have fun with it.  Ok, let's make it a little more simple and a lot less stressful.  So I dumped all the loose beads off the fabric and went back to basics.  First, I am journaling about love.  The love of my husband.  The love of my kids.  The rest of my family and friends.  It is nurtured and watered and fed and then it grows more beautiful each day.  I sat with that feeling for a few minutes.  Then I went back to Robin's basics.  When you don't know what to do next, make a beaded pathway.  I can do that!  Instead of the bugle beads I would normally use, I used the Cat's Eyes to make a curved path.  Then I chose another seed bead in a reddish-purplish color to start making another path under it.  Then I thought it kind of reminded me of a hill, so I decided to make another Cat's Eye hill.  I think what I'll do next is make a few strips of different colors and/or stitches under each one.  That will keep me busy for a little while until the next revelation hits me and I feel what I should do next.  I would say "know" what to do next...but that wouldn't be accurate.  I never "know" what to do!  "Feel" what to do is more accurate for me.

So, here it February piece on Love in progress.  How do you think it's going so far?  (Please ignore the fabric.  It will be covered, and I really don't like it with this project, but it's what I had on hand.)  Also, you can click on it for a larger view.

disclaimer: has sent me free products to use and review on my blog.  I am not being compensated in any way for my honest opinions of their products.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sneaky Peak for February!

I am so excited that I got my order today!!!  It was like Christmas.  Everything is so beautiful, shiny and sparkly...gotta love that!  So, I decided I'd give you a sneak peak as to what I will be using in my February Bead Journal piece...

First up, I have 6mm Glass Hearts in amethyst and 8mm Crystalized Hearts also in amethyst.  The facets on the crystalized hearts are very cool!  I tried to put them in slightly different positions so you could see how the light reflects off them.  I have a piece that lavender in it, and I thought the amethyst would go nicely. 

I honestly love these two.  The pearlescent finish on the Cat's Eye is wonderful.  Simply luscious!  I was very surprised by the weight of the Antique Copper Celtic Hearts.  They are no flimsy cheap beads, that's for sure!  And I love Celtic designs, so I'm happy to be working with that in my next project.  I'm definitely going to have to get more of this type in the future.

I thought these Czech Glass Large Bell Flowers in amethyst and Matte Smoked Topaz Resin Buttercup Flowers would make a nice addition to all the hearts I've picked out for my Bead Journal Project piece.  (btw, you can click on any of the pics to see a larger view.)

I bought a pendant a few weeks ago for February's piece and now I have all the things I need to go with it.  (I also have seed beads of all sizes and I might decide to use some bugles too). BUT I'm not going to show you the pendant yet.  You have to come back to see that and I'll show my piece as it develops in stages.  I have ideas swirling in my head, but if you do improvisational bead embroidery you know that what you have in your head is not always what comes out on the fabric.  Actually, for me it rarely comes out the way I initially envision it, but at least it gives me a jumping off point.  And, I'm usually happy with the way it turns out in the end.  So I'll get to working on it...come back and see how it goes!

Disclaimer: has sent me products for free to review on this blog.  I am not receiving any compensation from them for my honest opinions of their products.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Well, I managed to hunker down through my issues and work this one out.  I finished!  Finishing is exciting, but now I'm kind of empty that it's done.  I guess it's kind of like a bead version of empty nest syndrome.  You give birth to it, nurture it and watch it grow and then you have to let it go.

This one was a real challenge for me.  My husband gave me $50 for Christmas to spend on beads!  Woohoo!!!  That seemed like a fortune and I was so excited.  I started by buying the pendant...just because I really liked it and I liked the colors in it.  I also bought some other seed beads to go with it.  After I got home I thought that was kind of silly because I bought it without even thinking about how I would use it for my journaling in my piece.  And, I spent $37 of my Christmas money and all I had was a tiny little bag to show for it.  It gave me a feeling of disappointment.  I thought and thought...and thought some more.  And I just couldn't formulate any idea.  I was "in a funk".  Not just with beading, but with everything going on around me.  I just really felt off kilter.  So then it hit me like a brick in the head...duh...journal that.  So that's what I set out to do.

I cut my fabric, which you can't see, but is a pretty cotton with squares of shades of light browns with a very subtle pattern to it.  I basted on my interleaving so that my piece is 5x7.  I set out all my seed beads and bugles in copper, gold, bronze, and blues and some Swarovski crystals in topaz and blue to match the crystals in the pendant.  And the first thing I did was set on the pendant...upside down and off the page.  That's how I've been feeling lately.  The next thing I did was took a paper plate and traced it to make an arc through the middle of it...because whatever I did next, the whole point was to be Disconnected, and this arc is the interruption I've been up against in my head.  I filled it in, starting with the zigzag bugles and then just went with a pattern without much pouring over it...just went with it. 

So I stared at the pendant and looked at the spokes coming from the center of it.  That's where I went from there.  I used some 6/0's in a bronze type color and made spokes continuing from the pendant to the arc.  Then I continued the spokes on the other side, but disconnected and not aligned with the inside spokes.  I was not feeling very creative or imaginative so I used only backstitch and alternated rows of colors to fill in between.  Well, I did make a few curvy sections, which I really liked because I love those beads and the curvy lines made them stand out to me a little bit more.

I did the entire outside and then was kind of stumped again as to how to fill in the rest on the inside of the arc.  So, I did it in sections.  And I added some small stacks to the mix.  I guess maybe to show I do know how to do something else besides backstitch. lol.  Whatever. 

Even though it was all intended to be on the theme Disconnected, I think it all works together and is cohesive despite my unimaginative approach.  I love the colors and how they look together.  I love the pendant.  All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.  My husband, who has absolutely no interest in my beading and thinks it's too "artsy fartsy", even said it was "cool".  That right there made me beam!  He's never said that about any of my embroidery work!

So, here it is (click on it for a larger view)... 


Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the birth of an idea

after reading your suggestions in the comments on my previous post, i've been mulling around some iotas of thoughts that i'm hoping will flourish into an idea on journaling about stopping smoking and breaking this habit that has a stranglehold on me.  maybe i need a new approach.  my question for all of you do you formulate your ideas for your projects?  do you start with a color?  an image?  a bead that you are drawn to? do you just "start" and then see what happens?  sometimes i just bead and then marvel at how it fits with my thoughts and i name it when i'm done.  other times it's very methodical at how it comes about.  what is your method?  hoping i can learn a new trick or two from you so very talented ladies!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Working on it...

Working on January's BJP piece, but I'm having a very difficult time working on it.  First, I have had carpal tunnel syndrome for about 20 years.  It has been bothering me so much lately, and my right hand especially has been hurting so much to hold a needle that I can only work for maybe 15 minutes at a time and then I have to stop.  And, on top of that, I have had only ONE cigarette since Thursday.  I have smoked nearly a pack a day for a very long time, and I've gone cold turkey (except for 1/2 of one on Thursday and 1/2 of one cigarette on Friday).  I have not been able to concentrate worth a damn...all I can think about is how much I want to go have a smoke.  I'm thinking that if I go buy a pack that I'll have just one.  But my husband says that will turn into two and then the whole pack and I'll be right back where I was.  Dammit!  I don't want to listen to reason.

So the point of this rant is that between my painful right hand and my nicotine withdrawals, I am not getting very far on my January piece, and I'm having a hard time with concentration and continuity on it.


I shall prevail!!!!   I will overcome these obstacles and finish on time!!!!  lol  How's that for positive thinking?