Welcome to The Beaded Heart Blog

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

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.