Friday, April 11, 2014

Bitty Letter Bead Pins

Finishing up some little brooches this weekend...

Bead embroidery on non-woven polyester bead backing,
using glass letter beads from Mama's Minerals.

 I got the square copper pins on eBay.
Perfect size for leftover seed beads and geegaws!

Hmmm. Seeing some possibilities unfold... vintage Japanese glass pearl drops,
rhinestone chain, and... how about some antique lace?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Perty Rhinestone Pendants

Thought I'd share an assortment of pendants I made using two-part epoxy resin clay. These are near-instant gratification projects. All you need is your favorite brand (I use Crystal Clay) and some geegaws to push into the mixture.

The focal point in the first pendant is a Peruvian clay mermaid, surrounded by vintage rhinestones.
After pushing everything into the clay, I brushed several colors of mica powders across the surface. Once the clay was dry, I wiped off the excess. For this style, it's best to take care to create a nice smooth surface.

In the second pendant, I created a high dome with the clay, and then carefully spaced vintage rhinestones in settings across the surface. Before the clay set up, I covered the remaining open surfaces with little gold "beads," pressing them in, and leaving them alone until the clay was completely cured.

Finally, here's one of my favorite looks. To create a mosaic tile effect, press black resin clay into a setting blank, to just below the edges, then press in your doodads leaving as little space as possible. This effect works best if you plan your layout before mixing the clay. You can also "grout" the piece after the first layer of resin clay dries, by pressing thin pieces in between the objects, then rubbing off the excess before the clay sets. I don't recommend grouting this pendant, however, because of all the prongs from the metal settings.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wise Craft

hat do you suppose it would take for this crafty old bat to snap out of her unplugged stupor and get back to blogging? Turns out it's this right-up-my-alley new book by Blair Stocker called Wise Craft. When I first flipped through my review copy I literally jumped up out of my chair looking for someone to show it to. I felt it must have been written by one of the regulars at my local thrift store; I felt akin to her simple whimsy and most of all, I knew I could do most of the projects!

Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love

The book moves through the seasons with whiffs and hints of the old ways, when we still darned socks and ground our own...everything! I'm excited about decorating thrift store china, and I can't wait to cut those strips of felt and whatnot into spiraling fringe-y flowers. These are the kinds of projects I actually have time for.

Now, the instructions aren't highly detailed -- usually two to three pages for each project -- but the occasional extra illustrations are in just the right places. You probably have most of the supplies already, and the tools, aka "Crafter's Toolkit" are simple and readily available. There are even a few tools I haven't played with much, like china markers and spray paint.

The simplicity of the items leaves lots of space for creative improvisation -- I'd love to embroider the leather with seed beads before stitching it around the rocks. I think folks who are already adept at crochet and other fiber arts would be inspired to innovation, too.

Grade: A for inspiration and cuddle-by-the-fire factor.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fun Font for Bead Stringers

Oh! Oh! I'm always on the lookout for fun new typefaces at Here's one for bead stringers, called Jewels, by Clothier Fontes.

Oh and oh by the way, here's a tip on how I made the little text image above. With a simple screen capture and Dafont's preview feature, I didn't even have to download the font...
  1. First, I browsed for a font I liked at .
  2. When I found the Jewels font, I clicked on the font name to go to the font's details page.
  3. Near the top left of the page, I found the Custom Preview field and typed my sample text "beads". You can also choose between four different preview sizes.
  4. Next, click Submit. Dafont returned my sample text preview, and I liked it. :-)
  5. Here's where I launched my handy-dandy photo editing software (in my case, I used SnagIt, a beefed up screen capture tool. I dragged my screen capture boundaries around the preview text. You probably have some kind of screen capture utility on your computer (such as Windows' Snipping Tool), you can crop out any extra white space around the letters.
  6. Next, using SnagIt's Fill tool (you could also do this in Paint), I selected various colors and filled in the bead shapes.
  7. Finally, I saved the file as a .jpg and posted it here!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"To the River" Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

This is the bracelet I entered into the 2012 State Fair...

To the River
 Bead embroidery secured to a handformed metal core by its ultrasuede backing.
Mostly simple running stitch, with peyote stitch around the cabochons.
Mostly Czech charlottes and true cuts.

Easy peyote stitch -- only had to reduce wherever the stones were most angled.
Still trying to determine whether these vintage stone cabochons are gaspeite or chrysoprase.

I always like to make the "back view" interesting, too.

I made the "muddy rocks" with really ugly, low grade freshwater pearls.

A view of the other end, with more pearls.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Earring Wires Class Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for non-bead society members to register in the Bead Society of New Mexico's 2012 Bead Retreat Classes, "It's All About the Sparkle," October 19 and 20. I'll be teaching how to make your own earring wires, a beginner-level class.

We'll cover basic French wires and variations, plus my own personal favorites that I love to use in my own work. Only 12 students can register! And there is a small kit fee payable the day of class.

And the registration fee includes a Friday night reception (with hors d'ou light food and a free class), as well as meals on Saturday. There will be vendor tables there too, and of course lots of other classes to sign up for if mine doesn't tickle your fancy.

Go here and look for the "It's All About the Sparkle" link:
See you there? Hope so!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Best of Show!

Shoot, I couldn't make it to the New Mexico State Fair, but the MOTH sent me this photo...

Will post better pics of the bracelet after I pick it up Monday. Woot woot, in 20 years or so entering beadwork in the State Fair, I've never gotten a Best of Show, til this chunky hunk-o-bead encrusted bracelet did the trick. :-)