Welcome to The Beaded Heart Blog

Welcome to The Beaded Heart Blog
Two-Tone Crystal and Bugle Bead Bracelet,design by S.Eddy

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Love Knot

I've been busy getting ready for a little craft fair we're going to have where I work. Last Saturday I spent the day working with wire projects. I was using 18 and 16 gauge wire and made earrings, bracelets, and some pendants. By the end of the day my hands were beat! The next morning I took a healthy dose of tylenol arthritis meds to try to get them loosened up again. I was planning on doing some beading for some more magnetic pins and my fingers were just not cooperating! I even woke up during the night on Saturday night to find myself massaging my hands.

Of the bracelets I made on Saturday, several included the love knot. This is a beautiful piece of wirework. I used 18 gauge non-tarnish craft wire (silver around copper. You make coils (I used a 5.5 mandrel) and then separate about every 4-5 coils. I used my flush cutters to trim the ends neatly and then you screw them together like you would a key into a key chain (only you keep going until one piece of coil is screwed all the way into the other). This interlocks the coils at an angle and looks like a knot. Very cool! As soon as I can find my camera I'm going to post some photos.


Monday, November 15, 2010

magnetic pins

Welcome to the week of November 15th. I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. That means that the craft fair for which I'm supposed to be making things to sell is only a few weeks away. YIKES!

This weekend I did make more petals and leaves for my poinsettia pins. They are fun but time-consuming. I don't know how many I'll be able to put together by the time of the craft fair. I was successful at finding a source for magnets to use on the backs instead of pins. They are 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide and very strong. Best of all, they were much cheaper than I thought they'd be...came to about a quarter a piece. I ordered 100! I'll be able to make pins of various types for ages! I glued one to the back of the first pin I made with E-6000. It seems to be holding fine. I wore the pin to work one day last week and showed it around the building (I work in a 7 story building). Everyone seemed interested in the design and when I showed them it was a magnetic pin EVERYBODY thought that was a fabulous idea.

I've been trying to figure out how to make a beaded holly leaf. I think a pin with holly and mistletoe would be a good seller.

When I needed a break from poinsettia leaves, I worked up a lush embellished bracelet similar to the one at the website noted at Fire Mountain Gems (http://www.firemountaingems.com/galleryofdesigns/jewelry_design_gallery.asp?docid=7448&doccat=projects). I did a blue palette and merely used a vial of "bead soup" beads that I bought from a vendor at a show. The mix in the vial gave much dimension and texture to the bracelet. I made the bracelet to fit a 7 inch wrist and it will be included in the items for the craft fair. It only took me a few hours to put together. I used a button and loop closure. It was nice to finish the bracelet in one day.

Happy beading,

Monday, November 1, 2010

holiday designs

So, yesterday while I watched the Patriots trounce the Vikings, I worked on my poinsettia "pin" design. I created 3 large and 3 medium leaves using brick stitch and a 11 matte red bead. Three large green leaves followed. I stitched the center of each of the large red leaves of the flower together with the center of a green leaf in between. I created a peyote base and sewed the flower to the center of the base. Next I laid the 3 medium red leaves on top at slightly different angles and stitched them into place, followed by some bright clear with yellow lining beads in the center. The result actually looks like a poinsettia! The base I had created was wider than the flower, plus the flower needed a little something extra to set it off, so I created evergreen branches using green 11s and the fringe stitch. At the end of each fringe I made a golden picot using rocailles. The gold beads were the perfect touch to bring a sense of festivity to the piece. I stitched one of these fringe branches on either side of the main flower. The piece is really lovely, if I say so myself. I have some pink sparkly beads and think I'll make another "pin" using them instead of the red matte and I also have some sparkly red beads. I hope to be able to make 3 or 4 of each: matte red, sparkly red, and sparkly pink as I think they will be very popular.

I also created another Russian spiral necklace. This time I used a size 8 peach bead with size 11 clear lavender lined beads. The two colors don't seem to be compatible at first, but once you get the twist of the stitch going, they are lovely together...very soft. The necklace could be worn with a multitude of colors. On Saturday I had stopped at a nearby family-owned fabric store and shopped for buttons. I found many more than I had expected and ended up spending nearly $40 on buttons. I used one of these and a loop closure on the peach/lavender Russian spiral. The buttons all are 5/8 inch or less and have an antiqued or frosted glass (roses) look to them. They should keep me in button/loop closure mode for quite some time.

Happy November!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A rose by any other name...

I've long been wanting to make a necklace from the Russian spiral stitch. On Sunday, while watching the Patriots on TV, I started one. I like the way the two colors continually spiral like an endless staircase. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the stitch I'd been waiting to "try" turned out to be nothing more than a version of odd count peyote. So simple!

That's one of the things I love about beading. Sometimes the most complicated looking piece is really just a combination of relatively easy elements. A recent class I took with Stephanie Eddy is a good example. The base for both the bracelet and the necklace was nothing more than peyote stitch. The straps of the necklace was daisy chain (the very first thing I did in beading all those many moons ago as a teen.

The leaves were brick stitch, which I needed a bit of a refresher on because I hadn't done it in a while, but still an easy stitch to master. The berries are tedious, yes, but difficult? Not at all. I imagine many beaded berries being created before this football season is over.

I've been looking at different floral designs to see how I can translate them into pieces as lovely as the ones Stephanie designs. I can see that instead of bracelets or necklaces I can use the peyote base with a glued magnet on the back to create "pins." I can craft petals and seasonal leaves, I can fill in spaces here and there with bits of this and that...look carefully at some of your favorite designs and see how to easily break them down into components. If you spend time building a reserve of various components, then when you're in the mood to produce a finished piece, you're more than halfway there!

Especially of interest to me has been the idea of poinsettia pins. They're already done in my mind. I just need the time for that image to be translated to my fingers.

Be well,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Farewell Tony, Farewell September-slightly OT

In addition to the fact that it is a dull gray day here in the Boston area, I feel a lingering sense of sadness. September has always been one of my favorite months. I'm not particularly fun of always feeling hot and sweaty as I do in the summer months and September brings cooler air. The skies in this part of the country can be the most brilliant in September. There's the beginning of a feeling of crispness in the air. Things are comfortable.

Yet September is also a sad time. My father passed away at the end of September. It's been a while now...1989...21 years. Is that possible? It still seems like only yesterday. He's always with me, but... .

And of course there is September 11. I'll never forget that.

And today the news of the passing of a Hollywood legend...Tony Curtis. Not that I was a huge fan. Still, it's sad. My favorite movies of his were surely not considered his greatest...the one where he's a casino operator in Reno and a little girl gets abandoned and he ends up taking care of her...love that one. And of course the American film adaptation of the play Boeing-Boeing, about the guy who dates 3 airline stewardesses with different schedules...until their schedules get changed and "mayhem" ensues. My sisters and I loved to watch that one as well.

So, tomorrow we welcome October. I've been seeing autumn decorations everywhere, many including "indian" corn. Have you ever noticed how much those different kernels resemble beads?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

out of the comfort zone

Hi all. Hope you are enjoying good weather wherever you may be and have had some time to bead. I spent last weekend taking a 2 day class with Stephanie Eddy. It was so much fun. She's a very good teacher, well versed in what she is presenting, patient with her students, easy to talk with. We made tiny berries and tinier berries and leaves and bracelet and necklace bases for them to go on. I finished my bracelet and wore it to work yesterday.

I must say, having something so dimensional and with such movement is more than a bit out of my comfort zone. When I asked hubby what he thought of it his comment was, "well, of course it's got a lot of green in it and it looks like a wrist corsage." (he's not crazy about the color green)

It does look a bit like a wrist corsage and I was a big self-conscious wearing it. Wait until I get the necklace done. That is even a bit MORE over the top than what I would normally wear. We'll see how brave I become.

Having said that, they are really lovely. I enjoyed the process of creating them very much and ended up getting several of Stephanie's other kits because I'm enamored of the style. There's a Victorian necklace design that has a lot of netting work, which I enjoy doing. I can't wait until the Columbus Day weekend when I hope to have some time to play!

Getting out of our comfort zone is good for us. Reach out. Experiment with a new style. Add some umph to your normal routine. It could be just the thing you've been needing to put a little spark in your day.

Best wishes,

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thinking About Color

Autumn officially started yesterday and a few of the trees around here have started their change of color. I love fall. I do think it's my favorite time of year. The leaf peak is usually around Columbus Day, but I hope it holds on a bit this year as my Mom is coming from Texas for a visit later in the month and it would be great if there's a bit of New England color left for her to see.

But I've been thinking more about color as it relates to our beading, especially those of us who make things for sale. Most of you probably already know about the Pantone color predictions, but if you don't, let me share some good news. Pantone predicts the fashion colors for every season and manufacturers ranging from everything from home dec to clothing to car companies use their predictions as guidelines for the colors of their products. You can easily access the fall and winter 2010-11 colors from the Gemorama website with a link provided in this blog, as well as from the Fire Mountain Gems website. This fall's colors are delicious. Do you have colors that you really like and rarely venture away from? Well kid, you need to break some of those habits and look beyond your comfort zone...OR find new colors that work well with your faves.

Check out the Gemorama site. The first thing I see is a saturation of color in the fall/winter tones. Deep colors are definitely the way to go. Scroll down a bit and you'll see Pantone's top 10 fashion colors. Let's examine these closely. Good color combinations for beading mean you should have a variety of light, medium, and dark colors. The top 10 gives you that option. But beyond that, remember to look for combinations in your beads of finish: shiny, matte, sparkle, etc. Additionally, working on changing the size and shape of your beads as well as the colors will enhance your work; a simply strung necklace can move from nice to "WOW" if you can work in extra texture along with your colors.

The other thing I notice about the top 10 fashion colors is they work well with each other...another useful key in beadwork. Once you find a group of colors that works together, you have a huge combination of colors you can incorporate into your work because tints or shades of those colors will also within that group. Let me explain by giving you an example from my quilting instruction. Let's say you have a small piece of fabric that is a certain color and it goes with some others you have that you want to make a quilt out of. Unfortunately, that small piece is all you have of the color. You go to the store and can't find a match for that color anywhere. BUT, if you can find a tint (the color with white added to it to make it lighter) or a shade (the color with black added to it to make it darker) that selection will also work with the fabrics you have chosen. You don't have to match colors EXACTLY...you can find a tint or shade of the color that you only have a small piece of and it will still work with the other fabrics you have chosen.

Remember to try this with beading. If you have a small amount of a certain color of bead in your stash and want to incorporate it but you know the amount is not going to be enough, and you can't find the exact same thing again, a tint or shade of the color will be fine. And the cool thing about beading is you can also consider the finish and the shape as adding extra interest.

I'm taking a beading class this weekend with Stephanie Eddy. The beads are already kitted up, but I certainly plan to compare what I receive with items in my own stash to see if I can kick my project up a big by mixing in additional shades or tints of the colors in the kits. I can't wait to play!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

P.S. Rocket Surgery

BTW, have you heard about rocket surgery? I love this description. Someone (can't remember who) got confused and instead of saying "it's not rocket science" or "it's not brain surgery" accidentally confused the two, birthing "rocket surgery."

Isn't it great?!?! I love it! "Rocket surgery" is one of my new favorite things to say. The best part is it usually takes folks a second to realize what has happened when you say it, and then the expression on their face is pretty fun.

It's these little moments that give the daily grind some lightness, don't you think?


JaBS is born!

As I've mentioned in a couple of previous posts, a group of us who live south of Boston have gotten together and formed a new bead society. Actually, because several members don't do beading as much as metal work, we decided to name the group the Jewelry and Bead Society, or JaBS.

The cool thing about getting together is that we have a wide variety of talents already existing within the group which means there is a lot to learn from each other. We had signup sheets and asked people to list the types of things they want to learn. We have enough topics listed to plan programs for a couple of years! We are looking forward to the months ahead.

Our first "project" next month will be for everyone to bring stuff from their stash so each person can create a lanyard for nametags/membership cards. The goal is to have your lanyard express the type of work you normally do. If you do metal work, chain maille, stringing, whatever...your lanyard should say to others "Here is my comfort zone...here's what I already know how to do."

I usually bead. However, over the last 6 months or so I've been collecting some of the funky flowers and leaves available in lucite. It's not what I usually work with, but I've got a pretty good supply going now. I'm thinking I have to use some of it in my lanyard. Maybe my lanyard will look more like a lei!!

One of the challenges of starting the group is getting folks to step up and participate in the organization that is necessary for such a group to exist. We have someone who's a bookkeeper and is taking care of setting up a bank account, etc. I'm willing to set up programs. But we need a secretary and a president. No one at the first meeting came forward. I mean NO ONE. This is a dilemma, not only in a group like this but in our society in general. Everybody wants to play, but nobody wants to do the organizing that makes the play possible. It's frustrating as hell.

I sometimes think that folks worry about whether or not they would do something the right way. Hey, sometimes there isn't a right way. Just jump in and do what works for you and your style. And have fun. It's not rocket surgery, you know.

weaving and wire wrapping

Last month I spent some time at Bead Feast in Philadelphia. It was a fabulous experience and I now I am pouting because I can't go to Bead Feast in Arlington, TX (even though I'd have a place to stay w/family in the area). This working for a living thing really gets in the way of some serious jewelry play time.

Several of the folks who were in my class in Philly were from my general area, so we are getting together tonight to play! Can't wait. We made a basket weave bracelet in the class and are making a different version tonight. There will be about 6 of us and it should be a fun time. I believe out of everyone I'm the newest at wire wrapping (the class was listed as an intermediate, but I'd never done it before). I was the last one finished with my bracelet in Philly (I know...it's not a race). I'm hoping I remember most of what I learned so my next endeavor will turn out as nice as the one from the class did.

There are many things to remember about wire wrapping. You have to keep the wires straight and flat, especially if you're using half round (HR) which we are. You need to keep the tension good, but not too tight. You need to lock down each wrap. You want to make sure that you're not marring your wire with your tools. Everything should look nice and even. I'll post some pictures of the results!


Friday, September 10, 2010

New Beading Society South of Boston

It's going to happen. A group of around 30 women will be getting together on September 18 and creating a new bead society. We can't wait to get started. It'll be terrific. It'll be fun. There will be laughter. Supporting each other creatively, we'll share techniques and ideas. In the beading world, there's no much better than that. I'll keep you posted on activities as they develop!

Come September!

Not only is September here already, but we're nearly halfway through it! Where did summer go, you might ask? Well, for me it went to recovery from surgery in May, followed by getting back into the swing of work, followed by my first ever trip to BEAD FEST in Philadelphia! This was a fabulous experience. Have you been? Then you know! If you haven't....you must!

First of all, as a long-time quilter and attendee at many quilting shows and conferences, I'm used to crowded class rooms. This is NOT the case at Bead Fest. The class I was fortunate enough to take was in a large room and there were less than a dozen enrolled. How do they make any money on those types of enrollments? Each student had all the elbow room and teacher attention they could possibly need. I checked out other classrooms as well and found the same held true throughout.

In my class I made a woven bracelet. I can see where my errors are, of course, but those who've seen the bracelet since my return have oohed and ahhed over it and I have at least 2 orders for one. I want to practice a little more before making them for sale, but I will be doing that in the not too distant future. Plus, it's a lovely design and you can make one in a few hours, once you get proficient.

Meeting fellow beaders was terrific...so nice to know that I'm not alone in my obsession. While quilters are creative, I truly believe beaders are one step beyond creative. I left inspired, to say the least.

And now, to think of the vendors....it was like a dream come true. Two entire floors of every vendor you could imagine. Of course all the big names were there...Beadalon, etc. But there were also terrific small booths. I had a shopping list I was trying to adhere to and for the most part I did well. My, my the damage I could have done! My best buy was on wire. There's a guy in PA who doesn't sell online but you can do phone orders. His booth was very busy. I bought rose gold, argentium, sterling silver, and gold filled wire. I bought half round. I bought square. I bought 18 g and I bought 26 gauge. And the more you buy the bigger a discount you get on your total order. FAB!!

The Whole Bead Show is coming up in Providence, RI in less than a month. Of course I'm going to go. Of course I'm going to spend $. Of course it will be exciting. But it won't compare to Bead Fest. Try to put it on your calendar for next year. There are a couple of shows a year in various locations. Don't miss it!

Happy beading,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bead Society of the South Shore

Today is Monday, August 9, and we are having an information meeting at Gemorama in Hanover, MA for anyone who would like to learn more about the Bead Society. It's very exciting...we've got some creative people just waiting to get started, learn new techniques, share what they already know, and just basically get together and play. The meeting schedule is the 3rd Sat of the month starting September 19.

There will probably be a membership limit because of the size of the meeting space, so if you are interested in joining, let me know.

BTW, did you do any beading this weekend? I'm happy to say I did! While watching the Red Sox get beaten up by the Yankees (sigh) I worked on a sterling silver bracelet I started last weekend. It has alternating plain and twisted links, three sizes of tahitian pearls in different settings (bead caps on both ends of one size, set with a crystal from my wedding dress for the smallest size, and wrapped in a thing sterling silver wire for the largest size. I made sterling wire coils and spirals and added "love," "hope," etc. charms. I also started to make some tubular peyote embellished beads, but only got 2 done and would like to have about 10 of them dangling from the bracelet. THAT will take some time to finish.

I also started a square stitch base for a loop bracelet...well, I'm not sure that's what they are called, but that's what I call them. You make the square stitched base and then embellish each bead with a variety of sizes and textures of beads in a loop. I think there's a picture of one of these types of bracelets in one of the tutorials on the Fire Mountain Gems website (may not be there anymore). A friend made one for me before I was really back into beading, and I would like a couple more in different color schemes. They are a little labor intensive to make, but they pack a punch and are definitely worth it. I'll try to add a pic to the blog when it's finished.

Happy beading,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Beadin' Path

So, I was in the bootiful state of Maine on Sunday and we went to Freeport on the way home to visit The Beadin' Path. It's a lovely store and if you're ever in the area you need to make sure you stop by!! Of course, they also have an online store and you can browse their pages just chock full of lovely toys!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pflora Beads!

By the way, I meant to say that the other day I stopped by a new bead store in the area south of Boston. Pflora Beads is located at 355 Turnpike in Canton, MA. It's a lovely shop...if you're in the area be sure to stop by. Phyllis Flora, the proprietor, has a wide array of wonderful stuff, ranging from funky to functional, and everything in between, a good selection of reference books, and everything is very artfully displayed (for example, lovely, large cabs are nestled in a shallow, rice-filled bowl). If you stop by, tell them you read about their shop on The Beaded Heart's blog!

"farfalle" beads

It's July. It's hot. And humid. But I now have central AC at home, so my two favorite hobbies, beading and quilting, are consuming me this summer season. Now that I feel my health is recovered, I can't wait to get my hands on beads and fabric...and sometimes spend so much time deciding which to play with, I don't get anything done! I'm sure you've never experienced anything like that!

In early May I went to a local bead show and one of the vendors had a type of seed bead I'd never seen before. At least, I think it would qualify in the seed bead category as it's small, comes in a container like seed beads do, and comes in lots of fabulous colors. The shape is similar to farfalle (or bowtie) pasta, except instead of being flared on the ends, they are rounded. Perhaps a description like a dog bone would be better. The hole is in the center and when you sew these together in a stitch like peyote, they nestle up to each other and form a lovely, dimensional, piece. I made a simple peyote cuff bracelet about an inch wide using sage green beads. It's simple, yet remarkable elegant. It could work dressed up or down. If you come across these funny little shaped beads, I highly recommend them. The look is definitely not run-of-the-mill.


Monday, July 12, 2010

The Long Road Back

Over the last six months I've had the poor luck of having a series of medical procedures. I'm hoping that now I'm actually OVER it and can resume my normal activities. To quote the notorious BP oil exec Tony Hayward, "I want my life back!"

Part of that process involves getting the Bead Society of the South Shore (Boston) rolling this fall. To that end, I'll be at Gemorama in Hanover, MA on August 9 from 6-8 p.m. hosting an information session. The owners of Gemorama have been very supportive of this idea and are offering their upstairs loft classroom free of charge for our meetings. Hooray!!

More info to come :=))

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Viking Knit and Kumihimo

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the kumihimo class I signed up for last weekend. I had a little bit of a medical setback and as it was a stormy day, holed up at home.

I did, however, buy a kit to make a Viking knit bracelet while I was at a recent bead show. The instructions and pictures where OK, but not quite as helpful as they might have been. I found the following website, which had fabulous step-by-step photos, helping me to complete my bracelet: http://www.fineartbyrocio.com/vikingknitdirections

I'm thrilled with the result. The feature lampwork bead on the bracelet really cool...I'll post a picture as soon as I can remember where I put the digital camera! (I hate menopause!)

Here's hoping you find in time in your day to fondle a few beads!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Time Flies...if we're lucky

It seems incredible that my last entry was back in March. Here it is early May and so much has happened. I had not one but two surgical procedures in early April and spent most of the month at home. Relatively speaking, it was a fast recovery, but it didn't feel that way as I kept waiting and waiting to feel better and get back to my life! Across the room sat my little beading station, yet I seldom had the energy to and string anything together. I did do some chain mail, which I think is great fun, but not much was actually accomplished. So those weeks I was under the weather did not seem to go by quickly.

Now that I'm back at the office, I, of course, wish I were back at home. Nearly every day there is a new inspiration for a project, whether beading or sewing. Tomorrow I learn kumihimo! At least, I'll try to learn it. In the coming weeks I'm taking a class on making a wire necklace and learning a new chain mail weave.

But the most exciting thing of all is that I'm going to Bead Fest in Philadelphia in August! I'm taking one class, a wire wrapping class. It's a technique I don't know and the project is fabulous...and all of the materials are included in the cost of the class (which is not cheap, let me tell you!) At least I know I'll have quality supplies.

Will August come quickly?


Friday, March 12, 2010

For Mutual Support and Inspiration

As you know if you've ready any of my other posts, I'm a long-time quilter. Over the years I have belonged to several quilt guilds, which are groups of mostly women who share the passion for taking large pieces of fabric, cutting them into smaller pieces, and then sewing them together to make large designs. From utilitarian quilts, commemorative quilts, or quilts that are the true expression of a person's artistry, all the members of the group understand the impetus that drives each of them.

Since taking up beading, and lately wire work as well, I have missed the element of camaraderie I experienced in a guild. I've searched high and low for a group of beaders in my general area south of Boston, but the only groups I have found are quite a distance away and meet on weeknights, when getting together is difficult for me. Years ago when a group of friends of mine and I were dissatisfied with the guild to which we then belonged, we created our own. While I'm no longer a member of that guild due to my changing interests, it still survives and hosts a vibrant group of women, dedicated to the art of what they do. It seems only natural, then, that if I can't find a bead society to join, I create one!

So, I have reserved the Copeland meeting room at the Abington Public Library, 600 Glieniwicz Way, Abinton, MA for Saturday, May 29, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. I will be circulating information about this meeting to area bead shops and friends who might be interested. Under the temporary rubric "The Bead Society of the South Shore," I'm hoping we can come with a plan to start a regular society this coming fall. If you'd like to read about other bead societies around the country, here are some links:


With best regards,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What inspires you?

Do you find that you sometimes are searching for something to inspire you and you just can't figure out what "it" is?

I'm a long-time quilter. I love fabric...the colors, the designs, the textures. I love cutting up stuff (paper dolls were a favorite when I was a kid) and putting it back together again. I love the hum of the sewing machine, the peace and solitude when it's just me and my machine in the wee hours of the morning. I've taught quilting for many years (check out my website www.chickaboomquilts.com). I'm a good technician and can teach techniques and theory. But I'm not a quilt designer.

I'd like to be. I bought a software program so I could play around with creating my own quilt patterns, but I usually find myself falling back on old favorites.

I'm a candidate in a national program to become a certified quilt judge and I know about elements and principles of design. I just don't seem to be able to create something new and different.

And then I became reacquainted with beading. And working my way through piles of magazines and scores of websites, suddenly all that knowledge I've gained through the years through quilting is being put to use in beading. And the best part of all is that I look at a design and think, well, that's a fabulous idea but I'd change this, or make that part longer, or use a different style of bead, etc. Before long, I'm working on a piece that little resembles the inspiration piece...it's...my own concept! My own design! And usually I find while I'm working on that piece, I have two or three ideas of other ways to change it, or pieces I can make to compliment it. And I'm thinking about size and proportion, space, texture, all of those things quilters who care about how their work looks (as opposed to how warm it keeps someone) think about. Beading has unleashed a more creative side of me.

Recently I went on a quilting retreat weekend but took bead work with me instead. I still had a grand time. We still laughed and chatted into the wee hours. It was terrific.

And this past weekend I took time away from the beading and spent it going through some of my fabric stash. While my embroidery machine stitched away on a design on hubby's denim jacket, I pulled out not one but two UFOs (unfinished objects). I finished the top of one wall hanging and completed the top stitching on another. That only only needs a border now. I reconnected with fiber. I started thinking of projects for another quilt retreat coming up.

Beads are in my life permanently now. Luckily, they are small...there's room for both beading and quilting!

Friday, February 19, 2010


When our society adopted a five-day workweek was there any perception about how popular Fridays would become? I doubt it. And today in New England the sun is trying to peep through the February dullness and melt some of the snow cover we recently received. I'm trying not to think ahead to the stormy days they are forecasting for the middle of next week.

I have so much I want to do this weekend. Is your list long as well? I want to play with the coiling gizmo and see what kinds of funky coiled beads I might be able to come up with and how I might be able to incorporate them into some projects. Yesterday I stopped at a local beadstore after lunch (I've been good and not gone there recently because they really are overpriced). I bought some waxed cotton I'd like to braid and put some funky coiled beads on to make some modern style bracelets. I also bought some terrific gold-filled matte chain that is somewhat heavy looking and I thought might work well with the adventurine beads I bought from Firemountain Gems several weeks back.

I need to clean up the sewing room and get the embroidery machine set up back in place so I can embroider the back of Dave's denim jacket I gave him for Christmas. I think he's finally decided on a Texas hold'em design for the center of the back.

In 2 weeks I'm going on a retreat to Cape Cod. I have some sewing projects I could take, but I'm thinking I might take beads instead. I'll have a good supply of jump rings by then and could play with some chain maille designs. I also recently made a triple rolo link bracelet that I'd like to replicate, except adding beads this time.

Of course there's house cleaning to do and laundry is piling up. I need a maid. It's not that I really hate doing that stuff, but it just seems so time consuming!!

I know Monday morning will come and I'll feel I didn't accomplish much...that's the way I always feel. But Fridays are still fun, don't you think?

Have a good one.

The Beaded Heart

Thursday, February 18, 2010

By The Way-Purpose of Blog

By the way, I set this blog thing up mostly so I can have somewhere to share my thoughts on some of the things I'm trying to do, creatively speaking, as well as a general forum for sharing my thoughts. Heaven knows (and anyone who knows me will attest) I have opinions on just about everything, so occasionally opinionated posts might just find their way here as well. I'll try to identify those as such so if you don't want to read them you don't have to.

Have a good day,

Twisted Bead Beads

So, there's a cool online tutorial for using the coiling gizmo, which was one of the toys I bought at a recent bead show. In case you are interested, the URL is


I gave it a try last night while waiting for my buddy Claudia to come so we could carpool to our monthly meeting of the Rhododendron Needlers Quilt Guild.

I used 22 gauge silver plated wire with size 8 multi-colored beads in spring tones. The instructions in the tutorial say not to wind the coil too tight because you can break the beads, but I think I overcompensated and didn't wind quite tight enough. Either that or I need to use a heavier gauge wire. I'll give it a whirl again tonight when I have more time.

Even given that the coiled beads seem a bit loose, they are funky! This will definitely be a technique I'll be including in future projects.

More later,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why does the shortest month seem the longest?

I don't know about you, but February is just not my favorite month. It seems to go on forever. It must be the gloomy, gray New England skies, the frequent snow, the frigid temps. If I didn't have to commute to the office February could become a favorite time...reading near the fireplace, all comfy and warm.

January seems to scoot by, recovering from holiday overdrive, concentrating on those resolutions. February is rarely fleeting. The days drag. March awaits. Although it can be blustery and cold, at least the first day of spring is officially approaching when the turned calendar reads March!

So, what to do so that February days don't seem so dull? My answer is: Create! Use the time to take those fabulous tools that are standard issue (your brain, your hands, your thoughts) and see what you can create.

Lately my creative appetite has been fed with tiny pieces of glass, various shapes and sizes, shimmering color, endless possibilities. BEADS!!! A tube or two of beads and I'm off on an exploration...or expedition...into the unknown. Not that I only have a tube or two...who can settle for that when there is so much out there to play with?

Suddenly there isn't enough time in a day, days in a week, and only 28 days in the month are not enough.

Maybe beads are not your answer. Or maybe they are and you just don't know it...yet.