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Sun Star Brooch

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished my Sun Star Brooch tutorial.  This is my first bead embroidery tutorial, and has evolved over a number of years from a bezelled RAW ring to it’s current huge embroidered flamboyant form, with a centrepiece hand painted cabochon.  It plays to my ongoing obsession with Czech etched beads, particularly the larger sized seeds and absolutely amazing daggers.

Sun Star Brooch – Sarah Cryer Beadwork – Magic Apple

It uses a variety of bead embroidery techniques, including back stitch, bezelling using circular peyote, seeding and edging to make a statement brooch or pendant, and would suit beginner bead embroiderers comfortable with a needle – it’s an ideal project for beadweavers or embroiders looking to try out bead embroidery as it covers key basic techniques which you can then go on to try out in your own designs.  If you already have some bead embroidery experience, then this makes a lovely quick project – I can do one in an evening (although to be fair I have had quite a lot of practice and am a bit naughty about letting the glue dry properly).

Sun Star Brooch – Sarah Cryer Beadwork – Magic Apple and Crystal Marea

The thirteen page tutorial contains a full materials list, with suggestions for colour schemes, and every step is fully illustrated with a detailed diagram showing thread paths etc, with photos to show you what you are aiming for.  And of course every step is also written out clearly for those of us who prefer written instructions.

It’s available now in my Etsy shop as an instant download, as are the cabochons (both hand painted and Liberty print) and I hope to complete some materials packs in the next couple of days.

Once you’ve mastered the basic brooch, there are possibilities for variations which I hope to explore here over the next few months, so watch this space.   I’ve already worked out that you can add extra rows of embroidery around a smaller central cab if you can’t find a 30mm one:

How completely gorgeous are those capri rose etched beads?

And the advent of 2 holed daggers opens up some new ideas……..

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Beadworker’s Guild Challenge 2018 – Indian Summer

Last year I finally managed to enter a Beadworker’s Guild Annual Challenge, and was lucky enough to win in my category of ‘professional’ with my Pineapple Rick Rack Fascinator ‘ Fascinating Carmen’. As soon as I heard the topic for this year was to be ‘Indian Summer’ I knew I needed to enter again – although now I have to be in the ‘Previous Winners’ category so that was even more daunting than being with the Pros.

I started work in late autumn last year, and knowing that I wanted to make something inspired by a late summer English ‘hot border’, pulled beads in Fuchsia, Orange, Purple and Bronze.

 

And boy do I have a lot of beads in that set – it felt like I’d been collecting treasures for years with this challenge in mind. I then started to bead, beginning with my favourite etched sliperit Czech beads, working through an idea for beading concentric circles to form a dahlia, working towards a huge set of flowers, and also working on some large beaded beads.

But then I discovered the wonderful work of Anna Bronze, a Russian artist working with lost wax castings to form beautiful natural forms. She had a beautiful range of seed pods and spices which played perfectly to the late summer theme, so I took a deep breath and ordered some (hand made work of this quality understandably does not come cheap). And when they arrived that of course threw the whole plan up in the air. The dark bronze was very striking, but didn’t work at all with the etched beads. It needed something deeper and richer, and I needed to get some crystals into play. And then I thought of the ‘Diva’ necklace I’d loved making earlier in the year, and started playing with putting together a collection of bezelled cabochons with the castings in a similar way.

On the huge tray of pulled beads I had some amazing ‘Crystal Astral Pink’ Swarovski stones which I’ve been hoarding forever, and looked amazing against the bronze. They also looked great with some lunasoft fuchsia cabochons, but that gave me a little too much pink, so I knocked up some cabochons of my own using orange Pebeo Prisme to balance them out. With the largest Astral Pink stone in the centre I was starting to get a bunch of stones that worked, but for a necklace I like to reflect the shape of the ‘decolletage’, so I needed something to basically point downwards into the chest! After a couple of failed attempts to make a marquise shaped cab myself I turned to Designer Cabochons and found a lovely dark marmalade agate drusy cab, and I had my set.

So I bezelled away, using bead embroidery for the pieces which would sit flat against the backing, with a backstich starter continuing into a peyote bezel, some with some picot or similar embellishments. For the large Swarovski stone which would sit in the centre I wanted a beadwoven bezel so that it could sit up above everything else, giving dimensional interest, so I used netting, and featured some lovely dyed agate faceted beads I’ve been hoarding forever, along with sparkly crystals.  And I also beaded some similar bezels around some rivolis to form more ‘flowers’, and a different variant for some chatons – again these would add height, textural interest and of course sparkle.

As I beaded I checked the layout continually, taking pictures as I worked so I could assess (and remind myself of my plan later!).

Once I’d finished all the bezelling and finalised the layout I glued the flat backed bezels onto another piece of bead backing, and where needed, added more rows of bead embroidery. I added the bronze pieces, and then before adding the final bezelled rivolis and crystals, filled in all of the visible backing with seed beads, crystals and groups of fuchsia agate berries.

And then I beaded a simple spiral rope which was attached through the largest bronze piece on one side, and behind a rivoli on the other, and added a lovely Anna Bronze seed pod toggle clasp.

By the time I’d done all that the main piece was getting a little floppy – both from the weight of the pieces, and from the amount of stitching (as this will inevitably make the backing less rigid), so I added another slightly smaller layer of Nicole’s Bead backing before adding a fuchsia Ultrasuede backing fabric and beading round a simple ‘sunshine’ edge. I had planned to do a fancier edging but at this point I realised that I needed to stop and not overdo things!

So, the finished piece was ready, and I posted it off to the lovely Denise at the Guild, who runs the challenges. And this was my description ‘Inspired by the work of the late Christopher Lloyd I planted a ‘hot’ bed. Filled with dahlias, cannas, bananas and tropical beauties in hot and rich shades, and with bronzed foliage and interesting seed heads, it would look its very best in the balmy ‘Indian Summer’ of early autumn. Unfortunately the English weather combined with an appalling number of snails means the crucial dahlias keep drying out or getting eaten, so this piece represents how it looks in my imagination rather than in reality. It includes my own hand painted cabochons, wonderful Anna Bronze findings, Swarovski crystals and much more.’

That was several months ago, and although I knew the judging was last weekend, it was a lovely suprise to get a phone call from Denise on Sunday morning to say that I’d won their ‘Founder’s Award’ – which as well as £100 and a trophy conveys the honour of making the piece ‘which the Judges select for the quality and imaginative use of beading stitches to enhance the design of the piece’.  As per last year the necklace will now embark on a tour with the Guild, visiting shows around the country on the Guild’s stand, and hopefully generating some interest and new beaders.  Again as per last year I didn’t take any particularly good pictures before I posted the piece off as I thought it would be back soon, so until we see some professional images in the next Beadworker’s Guild Journal these are all I can share!  If you fancy a look at the other entries, they are available in here on the Guild site.

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In my Folksy Shop

A while back I decided to make life easier for myself by taking my faster moving items (tutorials and materials packs) out of my Folksy shop, basing them solely on Etsy.  That way I didn’t have to fret about the materials packs being sold in two places at once, or manually e-mailing out the tutorials.  This was particularly important because most of my customers are over in the States, and tend to buy things while I’m asleep!

But because my Etsy shop is busy, it’s kind of sucked up my attention, and I’ve rather neglected my Folksy shop.  This is a shame, because it’s got some lovely pieces in, and they deserve a good home!  And they could probably also do with some new friends from the legion of half finished or finished but undocumented works which are cluttering up my new storage (more on that another day).  So I’m going to be working on refreshing the shop over the next few months, and thought I would start by reminding myself (and you) about some of the lovely pieces in there, starting with my Egyptian Collar.

A few years ago (OK a lot of years ago since it was pre children and the oldest boy is nearly 8) we went to Egypt.  This was the result of a long obsession by both myself and Dr. Indecisive Beader with all things Egyptological, and it’s inspired quite a few pieces in the years following.  This necklace was inspired by the amazing collars we saw both for real and in various paintings.  And as a special offer it is currently reduced from £75 to £60.

Egyptian Collar £60

The collar forms part of my ‘minerals’ series – pieces focussed around a central stone. The stone in the collar is a lovely matte Chrysocolla, and it’s captured with Miyuki delicas, then joined onto a herringbone band, which uses changes in bead size to form a flat, circular collar which sits really nicely round the neck.

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More Cabochons

So I’ve been playing again on the cabochon front. A chance discovery during a session of poster paint salad spinner painting with my youngest (google it) led to a very painterly set using the run off which reminded me of Monet’s Water Lilies.

That led immediately to another set using the kid’s paints, doll’s cups, and basic acrylic dirty pour techniques.

And then another couple.

Because these are all made using water based paints I won’t be selling them as I’m concerned about their durability in wear (although I am making things for me with them!) but panic not, because I’ve moved onto doing mini pours with actual acrylic paints, which are waterproof when dry, so will (hopefully) lead to some saleable versions. I say lead to as this is a whole new technique, with a new set of challenges, particularly around colour selection, so I’ve got a way to go. It took a year to get the Pebeo method right, so it may be a while, but it’s fun trying.

As well as the different patterns formed the acrylics come in a wider range of colours than the Pebeo, and are of course mixable, so I can finally make cabs with some of the colours Pebeo don’t offer such as fuchsia, pure white, black, and lime . Which is good as I use a lot of fuchsia!

Anyway, watch this space and I’ll let you know how I get on, and if and when I have some ready for sale I’ll let you know. In the meantime I have some lovely Pebeo ones for sale in my Etsy shop, and hope to list some more over the next week or so. If you favourite my shop in Etsy you’ll see any updates or new products in your personal front page, or keep an eye on my Facebook page (I post all shop updates there but Facebook might not show them in your newsfeed, so it’s always a good idea to pop in every so often and see what I’ve been posting).

 

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Boomerang Bling – Sabine Lippert

I wrote a while back about all the lovely patterns I have stored up which I was waiting to work on, and I’ve finally actually managed to make one. Sabine Lippert is a favourite of mine – I find her patterns really relaxing to bead, but I’ve not made many of her bigger pieces, largely because of the volumes of beads needed. As a stash lover I’m always a bit uncomfortable actually using my beads……. But as of recently I’m now able to buy some beads in wholesale packs, so when I bought a lovely big bag of 3mm matte sliperit fire polished beads, and a good sized pack of 3mm fuchsia preciosa bicones which worked beautifully together, the time was come to grab some etched sliperit 4mm fire polished and seeds out of my stash and make the lovely Boomerang Bling.

It’s a completely genius pattern – essentially CRAW or PRAW but with some clever twists and additions, but largely unebellished meaning the basic network and form really shines through, making a beautiful 3d fabric of beads. After the first few components I really got into the design, and was able to bead the remainder without constantly referring to the pattern, which was really relaxing.  And it’s woven in one continuous rope, which means less stopping and starting and minimises the end weaving in.   I made one tiny change, which isn’t noticeable – because I was using etched beads I didn’t have any 15s (which form the tip of each boomerang component), so I stuck with the 11s.  Which still look great – thank you Sabine!

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Christmas Secret Beadalong 2017

Do you know I’ve done every one of Jean Power’s Summer Beadalongs, but never a Christmas one?  I’m not really sure why – it’s a very busy time of year for us, whereas in the summer I’m usually away with the family, with quiet evenings to work.  And I guess I’m also not a big kit buyer (all of the previous Christmas beadalongs have been kit only). So this year when Jean told me that she was releasing it as a pattern rather than kitting it, and that even better, it used standard delicas rather than the tiny 15 delicas and 15 seeds she featured in the previous year’s, I said ‘well I’ll do it then’. And do it I did. And I really enjoyed it.

I didn’t always manage to stick to the daily allocated beading – initially I got a bit ahead and then I had to have a big break and went from ahead, to right, to very behind, but it was an enjoyable process. The amount of beading was actually really just right for December – if I hadn’t had other pieces on the go (unplanned Christmas brooches, sudden ideas which just had to be tried, and several batches of cabochons), it would have been perfect. Each night’s work was under an hour for me, so had I not been distracted I could have made up for nights out and away from my beads comfortably.

But the pattern is lovely – very Jean, annoyingly clever, and the finished result is splendid. I went for a ‘change colour every row’ approach as that seems to be becoming my thing for peyote with delicas, and I love the finished effect, which used purples and fuchsias. It’s used up a few more beads from my stash, and meant I didn’t have to buy more to have enough of a single colour. The central crystal AB Swarovski crystal was also from my stash, as were the lovely fuchsia 2xAB bicones.  It’s now hanging from our desk light – it was far too lovely to send up into the loft when we took the tree down!

Jean has been making lots of these, and working on some variations using acrylic stones, different sized petals etc. I have a coral acrylic stone in my stash so I’m going to have a go at making a pendant sized one when I get some time – have a look at Jean’s various blog posts to see what she’s been up to and what that could look like. And if you fancy making one yourself then the pattern is still available here.

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Materials Packs – Yay!

So I finally got my act together and made some Materials Packs using the lovely Hoechtmass Tape Measures that arrived about a month ago. They are very well made, and should last well, and their slightly recessed outer edge means the beads sit really nicely. The colours are absolutely stunning too – I got lots in the fantastic deep fuchsia (obviously) and then two each in some of the other colours. I’ve used the fuchsia in two of the new packs, and the red, jade & purple, but I’ve still got some pink, yellow & orange left to come up with some more combinations.  They are available here in my Etsy shop.

I’ve also been able to get hold of some fantastic Czech beads, including matte glittery, neon or ‘happy’ finish rounds, etched glittery, matte slipperit (my complete favourite) or metallic ice fire polisheds.

I should say though at this point that because the Hoechtmass Tape Measures are so very well made, they cost me several times as much as my usual tapes.  I’ve tried to absorb some of this, but I do need to charge slightly more for these packs – £22 instead of £20. I do still have packs using standard tape measures too in some lovely colourways here if you prefer.  Additionally the Hoechtmass Tapes have a smart metal end, rather than a plastic removable tab, so there is no need/option to add a beaded bead or tassel, so I don’t include additional beads for this.

So at the moment I have in stock the new Baroque Tape Measure Materials Packs ‘Plus’ with Hoechtmass Tape Measures  here in:

Silver & Fuchsia – this colourway goes with the Navy & Fuchsia Space Needle Materials Pack (currently out of stock in Long, but in stock in Short). It includes Etched fire polished and Matte Glittery beads plus all the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads. I’ve made one of these as you can see from the picture to check that the etched beads don’t cause any fit problems, and to check the sizing on the new tape measures and it looks fantastic!


Crimson & Silver – this colourway goes with the Crimson & Silver Space Needle Materials Pack ((currently in stock in Long, and Short). It includes Metallic Ice fire polished and Matte Glittery beads plus all the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads.


Fuchsia & Dark Golds – this colourway adds gold to my original Fuchsia & Bronze version for added sparkle. It includes my current favourite matte Slipperit fire polished and some completely stunning ‘Happy’ finish round beads. plus all the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads.

Blackberry – Fuchsia, purple & plum combine for a bruised blackberry treat. Again this uses the matte Slipperit fire polished and ‘Happy’ finish round beads. plus all the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads.


Jade & Silver – Emerald, silver, crystal & vivid blue for an oceanic mermaid like zinger.  This one uses blue neon rounds for added ‘glow in the dark’ fun, the etched fire polisheds again and the usual Swarovski, Preciosa and Miyuki beads.  And for once, unusually for me, no red or fuchsia…..

 

And finally, an update on my shops.  I’m starting to separate out my Etsy and Folksy shops, to make it easier to manage stocks on the packs and supplies side.  As previously my Etsy shop will have a limited range of my finished pieces, plus all of my Materials Packs, Cabochons and Tutorials for download.  My Folksy shop will have all of my available finished beadwork pieces, but nothing else, and I’ll continue to offer an alternative source for Tutorials through PayHip via the Tutorials page here on my blog.