Monday, June 25, 2012

More buggy beauties for I Might Make That! Monday

Steampunk bug bead tutorial by Christi Friesen

A couple of months back, I did a roundup of eek-free beaded spiders for my Monday feature. It got a lot of page views--who knew it would resonate? Then a few weeks back, this book popped up on a lot of craft sites. I think I spotted it on CraftGossip and was going to blog about it, but then Mortira at Inspirational Beading and a few others beat me to it.

Beaded Bugs by Nicola Tedman 

So instead, I'll blog about some other cool insect beadwork I've spotted on Pinterest, Etsy, Artfire and elsewhere. Some are tutes and some are here for inspiration. (So amusing to discover that Googling "beaded beetles" turned up dozens of blinged-out Volkswagon images but no decent scarab patterns!)

So let's start with the top photo. It's Christi Friesen's steampunk bug made of polymer and clock parts. Most polymer work does not interest me, but I love the look of mixing it with metal. The free tutorial is very detailed, with lots of photos.

Here's a free flat-peyote pattern for a butterfly its designer calls "Three Roses."

Beading pattern from The Glass Butterfly

I like that it shows enough detail that you could do very realistic color gradations if you wanted.

Here's a cute pattern for a beaded ladybug pendant from Craftsy. It's not free, but here's the link to it.

These butterfly earrings are from Anthropolgie (no longer available). No tute, but with the right filigree component, I think I could concoct something similar.

Pearl of The Beading Gem's Journal did an excellent roundup of dragonfly jewelry tutorials last year, so I won't duplicate her efforts

The beauty below is not a tutorial, but I'm a fan of Ornan Volokh (a/k/a Snivli) and her blog Beads Fantasy and I have featured her work before. (You'll need Chrome or Google Translate, unless you happen to read Russian.)
Winged Insect byOrnan Volokh/Snivli

Everything below is offered up as more design inspiration. 

Beaded grasshopper by Spirys

Copper lacewing insect hairpin
by Sue Runyon Designs via Artfire

Source: via Annie on Pinterest

A beaded leather bib necklace from lovisetto's Etsy shop. She has several variations for sale. 

PhD Beads makes jewelry out of real insect wings and resin.

P.S. My apologies if this post is displaying funny. Blogger seemed to be having issues when I wrote this, and the type was not looking normal in the page previews.

Anyway, for newcomers, the archive of my IMMT!M feature can be found by clicking the link in the top right corner. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Prepare to swap and hop--it's time for Bead Soup Blog Party No. 6!

Whoo-hoo, the Bead Soup Blog Party is gearing up again, and this time I don't have to fret over whether I make it into a lottery (I wasn't one of the lucky ones for No. 5).

Lori Anderson of Pretty Things, the creator, has redesigned the event so that whoever wants to can participate, but there will be staggered reveal dates so as to not overwhelm those who want to hop around and check others' handiwork. (The event has already set a record for the number of beader-bloggers participating, and will clock in at about 400.)

I requested the late August reveal date. (Cough, ahem. I do vaguely remember writing just last week that I wasn't going to participate in any more bead swaps until I finish classes next spring--because I was late with the last reveal--but I'm making an exception for this one only.

I can't remember if I wrote about this before, but her book about the blog party will be published this fall. Definitely on my must-buy list! A button to pre-order it is on her blog. (If you choose her over Amazon, you'll get an autographed copy and three free tutorials.)

Although this is the sixth Bead Soup Blog Party, I've only participated in one other. But reading about these events was one of the motivators that led to me creating this blog. Thanks, Lori, for making these virtual events feel as festive as a real party!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beady bow for I Might Make That! Monday

"Corrupt" bow-- free tutorial from Stalker
I spotted this ginormous beaded bow necklace tute on Pinterest a while back. 

The site is Russian--and presumably the designer is, too. I'm using Chrome to translate, and it appears to be credited to an artist who goes by Stalker, as you can see from the image stamp. This site looks to be a roundup of various Russian bead artists' work.

Anyway, the instructions are accompanied by very good closeup pics and schematics. I like how it's not just strung from a single organza ribbon--look closely and you'll see that there's a strand of beaded wire intertwined with the two types of ribbon. I think it looks much more finished and balanced this way.

Wouldn't this bow would also look cute on a purse or as a brooch, perhaps anchoring a scarf?

The artist calls this a "corrupt" bow--not sure if that's just translation weirdness or perhaps she means it's not a true tied bow, just shaped pieces stitched to look like one.

An earlier post from this site shows the bow in seven color palettes and a couple of different sizes.

And, as always, past editions of I Might Make That! Monday can be found by visiting the IMMT!M link in the top right-hand corner of the blog. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beady bling at the Tony Awards

Judith Light photo found at

The Tony Awards were Sunday evening, but first I needed to post my regular Monday feature, then I needed to fulfill my karmic debt, so here it is Thursday already.

For the past couple of years, women at all the major awards shows have been sporting the bare-neck look with their swept-up hair and plunging gowns. What's up with that? The bling is limited to earrings the size of teacups and perhaps a big ol' chunk of sparkle weighing down the wrist. (Most pieces, of course on loan from major jewelers and valued at more than all the houses on my block.)

Sunday night's Tonys were no exception. The only actress sporting anything around her neck was Judith Light. She won as featured actress in Other Desert Cities. I've Googled and Googled, but can't find the designer of her stunning statement necklace.

Bernadette Peters photo from aceshowbiz
Bernadette Peters has the look I was referring to earlier. Unfortunately, this not-very-flattering pic is the best I could find that showed even a hint of her spectacular earrings:

(She won a humanitarian award this year.)

Cristin Milioti, the female lead in Once (which won Best Musical) wore lovely green dangly drops. They look like they might be enamel, but perhaps they are stone. At any rate, they were a nice change from the diamonds and other dazzlers.
Cristin Miliotti photo found on

Audra McDonald (who won for Porgy and Bess) sported a beautiful diamond cuff on her left wrist, but I can't find a decent photo of it.

It's been a while since I've done it, but in years past I would take a trip to New York (I lived there for more than eight years in the '80s) with daughter in tow to catch a show or two. I'm now wildly out of touch with Broadway theater, although I sometimes catch the Washington-mounted shows. (I saw Stickfly when it played at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown a few years back and Next to Normal when it debuted in DC, both before their Broadway runs.)

But you gotta watch the Tonys if only to see the irascible Neil Patrick Harris as host. He steals the show every year!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Artfire Bead Swap reveal

I am chagrined that I am nearly a month late posting these pics, but (sigh) life got in the way. Earlier this spring, I participated in the Artfire Beadweavers Guild bead swap and received some lovely beads from Barbara of Beads of Spirit.

The reveal date was May 15, but I was only a few inches into my beaded rope by then, because I had been so entrenched in my big class final project (which consumed all my waking hours outside of work for about three or four weeks). I made a frantic push to get it done before going on vacation, but I still had a few inches to go, plus the finishing. I finally completed it Sunday night and took some pics this (Monday) evening.

Here again are the beads that Barbara sent me:

As you can see, there is an assortment of amber gold, silver and black beads, in addition to the glass focal and silver clasp. The rules of the swap were that you had to use the focal and the clasp, but were free to add beads from your own stash.

From my collection, I used some silver-lined gold twisted bugle beads from Fire Mountain Gems, which have this cool duotone effect (they look silver in some light and gold in another), as well as some champagne-colored No. 11s from Accents Beads to the mix and then created the rope using a variation of Russian spiral.

To showcase the glass focal, which Barbara said was from Unicorn Beads, I created a bail from three gold oval hoops that I wired together at the bottom only. This caused the top to splay out in a pleasing manner. I then joined the bale and focal with a beaded circle made of some lovely faceted rondelles she included. It's hard to describe the color, almost pumpkin really, but they match the burnt umber of the focal perfectly. (They're in the photo right next to the focal, atop some black beads, but really hard to see. )

The bail was made to be large enough to slip off the necklace, so that the rope can be worn by itself or with another focal. It's about 22 inches total.

Here's a closeup of the clasp, which I was especially taken with:

Some notes on the finishing: Because this type of Russian spiral (made with the bugles) doesn't have a lot of support, I lined the rope with 2mm black cording. I had some cones on hand that had top openings wide enough to slip the cord through some jump rings and then back through the holes. The ends of each cord were then sewn together and tucked down inside the beaded rope.

I'm pleased with the end result. And I am relieved that I am finally done, because this was a karmic debt hanging over my head. This is the first time I've ever blown a bead swap reveal date. I've decided not to participate in any more swap reveals until I finish school next spring. It's just unnecessary, crazy pressure to put on myself.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Leather earrings and more for I Might Make That! Monday

Leather Leaf Earrings by Design by Night

I am back and well-rested from a jaunt out West (hint: the Grand Canyon was involved), and perhaps the parched desert and cowboy culture inspired my pick for this week's I Might Make That! Monday.

I have Pearl of the Beading Gem's Journal to thank for alerting me to the blog Design by Night by Kolleen Kilduff. Pearl recently featured a roundup of leather jewelry tutes. Several of these were cute, but I especially liked the leaf earrings that Kolleen did that looked easy enough for a beginner. The pic above is not the one Pearl featured; I discovered it by clicking on her "tutorial" label word cloud and poking around. On this link Kolleen features leaf templates and shows a couple of variations. This link is to her original instructions.

I've had a hankering (see how that trip out West has affected my speech?) to attempt kumihimo with leather cord. I've even bought some 1 mm leather cord from Fire Mountain Gems. Has anybody out there tried it? The cord I've bought is supple enough for an 8-strand Kongu braid, I think, but the end finishing might take some tinkering. But anyway, a leather kumi necklace would look cute with those earrings. I think I may pull a few cast-off leather purses that I had pitched into the For Salvation Army bags and harvest them for leather scraps.

But wait, I'm not done with Design by Night yet. (And since I've taken the last couple of Mondays off, you all deserve more than one tute!) As I said, I went poking around Kolleen's tutorials. She has a wonderful eclectic mix--instructions for making hair accessories, shoe lacings, paper crafts, jewelry, recipes. Another one I liked was her charmed scarf. This one is so easy you don't really need instructions. She notes that the idea isn't hers, but I've never seen one.

Charmed scarf by Design by Night
I like wearing scarves, but when I do, I usually don't wear a necklace because I can't seem to get them to work together. (My friend Patti has somehow mastered this art.) Well, this look is the best of both.

I will conclude with one more bonus tute. This one isn't jewelry-related, but I love it for its whimsy on a gigantic scale.

Giant paper flowers by Ruche

I first spotted this on CraftGossip. Aren't these flowers amazing? Doesn't looking at them make you break into a grin? The DYI is from Ruche and is featured on the cool blog Design Sponge. Apparently paper flowers are trending in wedding design. Wedding, schmedding--I think a "bouquet" of these would light up a forlorn corner or unadorned wall in a living room.

Now the flower heads themselves are made pretty much the way you'd make a 4, 6, or 12-inch version.  You can find similar instructions anywhere. But look at those stems. They're freestanding! Genius. Click on the tute to see the engineering involved.

(For those of you unfamiliar with I Might Make That! Monday, the link on the top right corner leads to my archives. )