Monday, January 30, 2012

Stud earrings for I Might Make That! Monday

Perforated disc post earrings
from Fire Mountain Designs
Today's I Might Make That! Monday entry might be cheating a little, since it's not really a tute. But the design is simple enough that I think anyone could figure it out.

The earrings at left are from Fire Mountain Gem's Gallery of Designs, and I often like to wander through the pages looking for inspiration. If you're not familiar with FMG, it has a wealth of reference material--video how-tos, cheat sheets for determining how many 4 mm beads you'd need for a 16-inch necklace, things like that.

If you click on the earrings link above it will show you the supplies needed--all, of course, available from FMG.

I chose this design to feature today because you don't see as many stud earrings designs as you do for dangles, and i really like post earrings. (And it helps that I already have the perforated discs that these earrings require. I used them to make the earrings at right last summer.)

(Not familiar with I Might Make That! Monday? My IMMT!M archive of previous entries can be found by clicking the link in the top right-hand corner of this blog.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My little cherubs

Dahlgren Chapel's cherubs

In early December I visited a small chapel on a work-related errand. It was a cold and dreary afternoon, and my task required taking some exterior shots with my iPhone. I popped inside the chapel to check on something, and on my way out, I saw this small stained glass window in the vestibule.

I've been in this sweet little chapel many times before, and it has many large, beautiful, historically significant stained glass windows. But I don't think this is one of the notable ones, and I'd frankly never noticed it before. I think it's because it's small and right by the door, and when you're entering or exiting, you're focused on getting to your destination--either inside to a seat, or outside to the courtyard.

I think it was the light streaming in that caught me off-guard and made me take notice--more light then you would think possible on an overcast afternoon a few weeks before the winter solstice. And also the fact that I was in a hyper-observant state, snapping the photos of nearby fencing, and other things I wouldn't normally pay attention to.

So I find myself mesmerized by the image and I don't quote know why. The saturated colors. The quatrefoil shape. The body-less cherubs themselves--are they poignant, are they kitschy?--I can't make up my mind. Is the lower cherub perhaps a messenger bearing news to the head honcho cherub? And what are those leaves and berries? I am not schooled enough in either religious literature or artistic conventions and symbolism to decode any of this.

At the time I snapped the pic, I had recently blogged about color palettes, and I thought I might like to pull some colors from the window into a color palette.

I just recently got Adobe Photoshop Elements and have wasted the morning playing around with doing just that. All I can say is creating color palettes is much harder than it looks.

Behold my crude first attempt:

(Many thanks to Sally Anderson for pointing me to an excellent tutorial by Brandi that has both a video and written instructions for creating color palettes using Photoshop.)

I can see that there is an art to this--I would use the dropper to select the colors from the image that I wanted, but when the color grid came up, the selection never seemed to match the richness and complexity of the hue my eyes saw.

But to go back to the window itself:

I called this post "my little cherubs" because my daughter once had a middle school teacher who used to address his students that way. It was really a brilliant way to address young adolescents. They were old enough to get that it was sardonic, wink-wink. Were they old enough to understand that it was only half- mocking and had a kernel of tenderness to it that he wouldn't otherwise be able to express? The parents got it.

When I downloaded the photos from my phone to my computer and this pic flashed by on the screen, the phrase, which I haven't thought about in years, just popped into my head.

All I know is that this image speaks to me. I just can't understand what it's saying yet.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Copper leaf earrings for I Might Make that! Monday

Copper leaf earrings by Zoraida
of Patchogue, NY, via Making Jewelry Now
One of the reasons I started this weekly IMMT!M feature is that I knew I had dozens of patterns and tutes bookmarked on my computer that I could never, ever find when I wanted (or even remember what I had saved).

Here's an example of one I originally came across who knows how long ago: some simple leaf earrings made out of copper sheet. It appeared in Rena Klingenberg's excellent e-newsletter, Making Jewelry Now. (That link is to her website; look on the page for how to sign up for her free e-newsletter.)

I wish I could link directly to the artist's site as well, but the link on the e-newsletter to Zoraida's site, Spiralbead, doesn't appear to get me there, and a blog search didn't turn up anything.

Please check out Rena's site--it has tons of good resources. I especially like her jewelry display ideas, featured on her companion website and featured in the e-newsletter.

(Don't know what I Might Make That! Monday is? Check out the archive of past features in the top righthand corner.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Corrugated peyote bracelet for I Might Make That! Monday

Industrial Chic Embellished Corrugation Bangles
by Mikki Ferrugiaro

This weekend has gotten away from me (and no, I can't blame it on Pinterest, like last week), so I am late posting this. My previous IMMT!M entries were all written on a Saturday or Sunday and scheduled to post 8 a.m. Monday. (But as long as I get it out while six hours of Monday left, it counts, right?)

This week's tute was created by Mikki Ferrugiaro, the talented artist behind The Beaded Carpet. Unlike the other patterns I've featured, this pattern isn't free. She sells it in her ArtFire shop for $15 for an all-rights version. I recently purchased this from her, along with her amazing spiral star brooch (plus a bonus pattern--she has a buy two, get one free offer going on). This bangle is the next project on my list. She emailed me the patterns within a few hours of my order, and the instructions and illustrations are clear and concise.

I just love, love, love this corrugated effect, which she features in lots of her patterns. The above bangle is done two ways--one using the new Czech Preciosa Ornela Twin seed beads and one with regular beads. Instructions for both are included.

If you're not familiar with the Twins, they are two-hole seed beads that are Preciosa Ornela's answer to Miyuki's Tilas. I thought the two-hole Tilas were pretty cool when they first came on the market a year or so ago, but I have not been at all impressed with the patterns I've seen using them. They just look so block-y. But the Twins are oval and more organic in shape. Much more my style.

And do you know about Preciosa Ornela's free Twin giveaway? No? Well, then, click on this and follow the instructions to get a TFF code, then fill out the form. They will send you a little packet. (Mine haven't arrived yet, but the folks at Operation Tackle That Bead Stash all seemed to be crowing that they got theirs pretty fast.)

I don't know when Twins will hit local bead stores, but I did get an email promo that Shipwreck Beads just got them in stock.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

16 tama, no waiting

My recent haul from
Mail call!

At long last I was able to place an order with Braider's Hand to get eight more 70-gram tama to go with the eight I already have. So many of the braids featured in Jacqui Carey's and Rodrick Owen's books require 16 tama, and I really wanted to explore them. They are frankly more interesting.

Although I experimented with 16-tama textile braids when I took a kumihimo workshop with Rodrick, I was using tama furnished by the workshop.

I'm looking at the 16-tama designs with a beader's eye. Although you can make textile braids as thick as you want by adding more threads to each tama, you can't do that with beaded braids (that is, if you're putting beads on every strand, as I tend to do). I'm also looking to do more thick and thin braids, and braids that truly marry the fiber and the bling,

The book pictured here is Makiko Tada's Comprehensive Treatise of Braids VI: Kumihimo Disk and Plate. Tada is perhaps the world's leading authority on Japanese braids, and she invented the foam disk as a portable marudai. I did not own any of her books--they're not on Amazon, they're not cheap, and I think some may exist only in Japanese. But the folks in the kumi-2 Yahoo! group seem to refer to her books more than any other. Braider's Hand has several, and I bought this one on a leap of faith, without being able to see inside.

I wish I could show you pics of some of the extraordinary work within the covers, but the book says no reproductions are permitted without the author's written permission. But trust me, they are amazing. The book is in English and Japanese. I would not consider it the best book for a rank beginner, but if you've had some kumi experience, you should be able to follow the diagrams and the charmingly erratic English.

It may seem odd to buy a book that uses the disk (both round and square) when I've "graduated" to the marudai, but it's become clear to me that I will continue to use both methods to braid. They both have pluses and minuses. (On the marudai, you can braid twice as fast, because you're moving both hands at once, but beaded braids are a little trickier. The foam disk has the advantage of being portable--you can braid in the car or while watching TV [without the clacking of tama bothering a spouse--ask me how I know.] )

Now all I need to do is find some time to do some kumi. Over the weekend I got approved up for Pinterest, and oh my, that sucked up more hours than I will confess in public.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Andromeda necklace for I Might Make That! Monday

Here's a cute necklace pattern that was featured recently on Beads Magic. There it's called Andromeda and is designed by Orna Voloh.

There aren't step-by-step instructions, just a schematic, but it doesn't look that hard to follow. (I don't know what you would call the stitch used--some sort of modified RAW? Can anyone identify it?)

However, when I clicked through to Orna's blog to learn more (the blog is in Russian; Orna lives in Israel--use Chrome as your browser for instant translation, folks!), I found not only some stunningly beautiful beadwork but another pic and schematic of what appears to be the same necklace, which she calles Genevieve there.

I didn't hold up the schematics side by side, but just eyeballing it, they appear to be the same pattern.

(Thanks, Mandy of Beads for Brains for turning me on to the Beads Magic weekly newsletter.)

And for readers new to my I Might Make That! Monday feature, an archive of past IMMT!M installments is here. There's also a button on the top of the banner to the right.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What are you waiting for?

It's time to sign up for the Bead Soup Blog Party. I started a blog last year in part just so I could participate in Lori's phenom event!
Read all about Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party here

This year is the first time that a lottery system will be used, because the event has grown so popular, so I can't be sure I'll get in. (But Lori, I back you 1,000% on your decision to do this. Last year was crazy, and I don't think I ever did get all the way through the hop, even spreading it over two to three weeks.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Beaded bezel tute for I Might Make That! Monday

Beaded bezel ring by Mortira of Inspirational Beading
Happy New Year to all! It seems appropriate for me to usher in the first post of 2012 with a tute from Mortira of Inspirational Beading. Her blog was one of the first beading blogs I began reading when I took up beading in earnest in 2010, and remains a favorite today.

Mortira has many free tutorials on her blog, and if I featured her double spiral rope or spiral peyote here, I would have to call this entry I Already Made That! Monday.

But bezeling is something I haven't gotten around to trying yet. I've got some rivolis in my stash I've been meaning to play with. This is where I'll turn to when I'm ready. I know that her concise directions and clear photos will guide me through it.

(What's I Might Make That! Monday, you ask? The The IMMT!M Archive is here, or click on the link at the top righthand corner of the page.)