Sunday, 16 September 2012

A Dabble In Filigree

A couple of months ago I went to a bead retreat in Montville.  It is something we do every year and this time we escaped to Montville Queensland for 7 nights/days of glorious beading.  Six close friends go and it is a time when challenges are set.  There is lots of muttering, cursing and general stress about the place.  Doesn't sound like a great time?  Oh but it is.  We eat, chat and bead, challenging ourselves by attempting new tutorials and the end result is amazing.  This time we did weaving, wirework and dabbled in filigree.  

My favourite was filigree.  I've always wanted to do this and here was my chance.  At first it was daunting with glue all over my fingers, lots of metal shapes in my tray to choose from and no idea what I was doing.  My three pieces are below.  From left to right we have Brass Garden, the centre is a brass rose with a swarovski flat back and just resting underneath the rose is a swarovski butterfly.  It is finished with a chinese crystal drop.

Time flies was fun to do, in the end, but there was much deliberation over where to put what and again I have used a couple of swarovski crystal flat backs just to add a bit of sparkle.  You have to have that don't you?  

Blaze, well I have to say this one was in my head to start with.  I knew what pieces I wanted to use and just had to make them look right.  Each tip has a small swarovski flat back as does the centre.  Finishing it off with ribbon was my friend's idea and I think it works well with this one.

I am definitely going to do more of this.  Well I have to really because I've got about a thousand bits and pieces.  Another case of "I better get that just in case I need it".  Nothing changes **sigh**

Les Petites Pyramides

Well I have been very remiss indeed.  Just not had time to update my blog at all.  Life races away and pretty soon it is nearly Christmas!  Back in June I entered a competition within the Bead Society of Victoria community.  It was to create a piece using a majority of triangle beads.  I was lucky enough to win the First Time Entry Prize.  I was very pleased with that but felt even more honoured when I was asked if I would write a piece about myself to be featured in their Country Corner.  This I duly did and it was featured in the June issue of BSV's magazine "Connect"  My entry for the Triangle Challenge is above - Les Petites Pyramides

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

What Do You Do......

when you are confined to the house.  Hurt my back and have been pacing the house, up and down the hallway and standing up most of the time.  Did you know you can bead standing?  Oh yes indeed.  I was sooooooooooo bored I had to do something!  The bracelet in the front is Elegant Noir.   I have always wanted to use these sliders and finally came up with something I liked.  I have also made earrings to match.  The tutorial will be available soon.  The middle bracelet is from  I had these sliders already waiting.  The third is my own design.  Once again, ages ago, I bought some bead frames thinking they would be perfect for something.  Well the something came to mind yesterday and turned into this bracelet.  I'm sorry my pics are not the best at the moment.  Having to use my mobile phone to take them but it gives you an idea of what I have been up to.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Eeeeeekkkkkk Odd Count Peyote......

So many of us shy away from odd count peyote.  It's that tricky turn we don't like to contemplate.  I was the same but now actually really like odd count.  This video may help -  It is well explained and is produced by Doodlebeads.

A Friend's Wedding.....

A work friend has a wedding to go to this month.  She asked me to creative a necklace that was not too fussy or bulky and would go with the outfit she had purchased.  It was a particular shade of green and these colours bring it alive.  Loved it so much she asked for a bracelet to be made too.

Simple stringing using some orange and gold glass beads I had left over from a project a few years ago.  Black beads are faceted glass, orange glass rounds and they have gold daisy spacers and bead caps in between.  Threw in a few seedies so it would not be too bulky around her neck.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Camp Creative....

Each year in January a group of us head south of the border to Bellingen in rural New South Wales.  Here   Camp Creative is held at the Bellingen High School.  It covers such things as photography, art, drama, music, woodworking, ceramics, dance, beading and the list goes on and on.  I have been going since 2005.  Each year I learn new techniques and come away feeling so inspired.   We go for seven or eight nights and rent a house together to save costs.  The day is spent in class and followed up by gathering on the deck at home sipping wine, nibbling on cheeses and other yummies and relating our days activities.   Each person has a designated night to cook and let me tell you, the food is delicious.   Of a night, after dinner,  there are projects to complete.  Prior to coming to camp we have already picked and put together projects to challenge us. These are done each evening, some with instant gratification and others that take a lot of time and effort.  Everything is rated by the "Whinge Factor" as to how difficult or fiddly it is to do.  

In the past I have made a wide variety of things at camp.  I've dabbled in beadweaving, polymer clay, wirework and this year leathercraft which was a whole new world.
Some items I have made are : 

Some of My Work....

I thought perhaps I would gradually show you some of my work.  This piece Circle of Time was created for me to wear to my daughter's 30th birthday.  I used the pattern in the June/July 2010 Beadwork magazine, Page 26, Custom Cool "Sparkly Wheels" by Melinda Barta, Nikia Angel and Ludmila Raitzin.
I adjusted the amount of Czech Fire polished crystals in the centre to make the different sized wheels using 4 mm FP beads and size 11 seed beads.  I made earrings to match the necklace and it went perfectly with the dress I had chosen.
The party was themed - "Cocktails and Daggers" and I went as a Femme Fatale.....  look a bit different don't I?

Best First Time Entrant.....

 I have to blow my trumpet just a little here.  I was recently voted best "First Time Entrant" in the Connect   triangle bead challenge.  It was a challenge organised through the Bead Society of Victoria via their in house magazine Connect.   Whilst I have won a small challenge before, voted by my beading forum peers, this one was judged outside of the forum.   I was so pleased to have been recognised.  The necklace had originally been designed for cubes and fire polish czech crystal however once I saw details of the competition I decided to do it with triangles instead.  I incorporated St Petersberg, brick stitch and a spiral rope.  Materials used were : seed beads sizes 11 and 6, triangles Size 11 and a mixture of Swarovski   3mm, 4 mm and 6 mm crystals.  The findings are antique gold.  My brain finds it so hard to create something that is not symmetrical so it was a true challenge for me.  

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Technique - Right Angle Weave (RAW)

I am going to start adding techniques to help anyone needing visual assistance to learn a stitch.  Sometimes it all comes together when you can see what is happening rather than trying to struggle with the written word and diagrams.  I am starting with my nemesis Right Angle Weave or RAW as you will often see it written.  For some reason I struggle with it and every time I see a tutorial using RAW I cringe.  Sometimes you'll find you are following a tutorial and doing it without knowing.
See what you think of this video.  Hopefully it will help to explain the secrets of RAW

Simple Things....

Sometimes the simple things are the hardest.  I know there are those of you out there who have you own ending off techniques.  We all do but I think this one is worth sharing as well.  So simple for those at the beginning of their beadweaving journey.  When I first started out I was always terrified my woven thread would escape the beads and be sticking out of my work.  I tended to overdo it and weave, knot, weave, knot all over the place.  Come to think of it, I probably still do!  Beadsfriends is a lovely little site, especially for novice beaders.  I don't feel it is a site for the advanced beader although I still pick up things here and there, like the beading of a square crystal just recently viewed.  Sara has a natural way about her. Sometimes she has a bit of a chatty intro before she gets to the tutorial so I often fast forward to where I want to be.  

Share your favourite ending/adding thread techniques here.

Saturday, 11 February 2012


Sometimes you just want instant gratification.  I was up early this morning and thought I would just whip up these.  Made with some swarovski drops I purchased recently and chandelier earring findings I bought, oh I don't know, maybe 5 years ago!

Friday, 10 February 2012


I am going to step into unchartered waters here.  I have decided I really need to use some of the bits and pieces I have collected over time.  I bought some great stones to use as cabochons and they were still sitting in the bag I bought them in.  Always seems a bit more daunting than picking up those little seed beads to make something.  Out came my book "Beading With Cabochons" by Jamie Cloud Eakin
I bought it ages ago thinking I would give it a go but so far nothing has eventuated.
Well I am fired up now.  I hunted out some backing material and tipped out the stones to drool over once more.  I selected a couple of buttons I had purchased when last in Melbourne and proceeded to trace around them on a piece of paper.  I was too scared to cut a shape out of the material and thought if I did it on paper I could get a bit of an idea on the actual design.  Being brave I traced onto the backing and then stuck the stones and buttons on.
Here is a pic so far.  Stay tuned for the next stage.  Knowing me it could be weeks before I get up the nerve to actually start beading around them!!!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

And Here Is The Bracelet

"Floral Elegance Bracelet"

I think she has done such a beautiful job.  Definitely going to give this one a try.

If you don't have any roses these ones at Over The Rainbow would be fine to use.  I think you could probably use lucite flowers as well.

Isn't This Pretty...

I think this is really cute.  It is by a Japanese designer but look what BeeJang has done with it.  She has a gorgeous bracelet using the motifs.   Very pretty.  I've often wondered what to do with those wee roses.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Part Two : Being Brave

Part Two :  Being Brave…..

I decided to get out of the market scene.  No more struggling to set up that canopy and, even though my husband had helped me,  it had been a chore each week.  No more sitting there alone all day long through rain or humid summer days.  It was over and time to look for new possibilities on my horizon.

I noticed a new shop had opened in the main street – The Collective Store.  At first, I was unsure if they took items in from artists or simply sold their own stock.  The sign did say it was for Australian artists but they could have sourced the goods themselves.
I passed the shop a number of times on my morning walks, peered in the window, admired the beautiful things inside and eventually decided I would come back and ask.

I put together a display and bravely approached the shop.   This took a lot of courage on my part as I am basically a shy person and find it difficult to promote myself to anyone.

The owner, Leanne, explained that they did indeed take pieces  but they had to be handmade by Australian artists.  Perfect!!   That was me, an Australian artist and I had handmade pretties to show.

 I was absolutely thrilled to be accepted and have not looked back since.  So much easier to have someone else sell for me.  I maintain my stock in the allocated area and at the end of each month my sales are credited to my account. Sales go up and down but  they are fairly consistant. 

The Collective Store is true to its word and only sells work by Australian artists, no chance of mass made overseas goods being sold there.  It is a delight to wander through and marvel at the creativity and beauty of each item. 

I suppose the thing I really want to get across is – take a chance.  Perhaps the market scene is the place for you but don’t be afraid to test the waters.  Look for shops that might be a good prospect to show off your art or perhaps, if your work is high end, try the galleries.  Never ever under estimate yourself.  GO FOR IT!!!!           

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Part One : What Do You Do ...

when your pile of jewellery suddenly turns into Mount Vesuvius and starts erupting quietly in the corner?

Well, there are a couple of things you could do. Race out and buy lots of new clothes to match the gorgeous pieces you have made, give them away as gifts or, you could be brave, and approach an outlet to sell your pretties in.

I’ve never really considered going out to buy new outfits as that is just not me  but I have given quite a few pieces away as gifts.  Even then, there comes a time when you run out of people to give them to.  There is a long time between birthdays and Christmas in our family.

I decided a few years ago to sell my creations at the local market.  Now this is a great idea if you are prepared to slog it out through wind, rain and heat.  I began by setting up a trestle table but had no cover when the rain came down.  I wish you could have seen me madly scrambling for plastic sheeting to throw over the stock and then standing under the umbrella watching the water gather in pools on top of it.  I’ll have you know, I did put on a brave face whilst I watched fellow stallholders peeking out from under their nice dry canopies. 

Having stood in a number of torrential downpours it was time to take the step and buy a canopy.  I had joined the sacred society of  market sellers but never let it be said that taking a stall on a regular basis is easy.  It’s an early start to make sure you get a good spot allocated by the person that holds all the power - The Market Manager.  There can be 50 pairs of eyes imploring him to give them the perfect location today. You try to act like your okay with everything but deep inside the begging voice is saying “Pick me, pick me.  Surely I am next in line.  I was good last week, I didn’t leave any rubbish, I didn’t park my car in the wrong area, I set up in the allotted spot and I didn’t go over my boundary.  PICK MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!”

Eventually, having shown I was turning up consistently, I was given a permanent spot.  Oh the glory of it all.  So much easier to arrive and start setting up without having to line up with the throngs.  Up goes the canopy (not quite as easy as I write),  unfold the trestle tables, on with the cloths, out with the display stands and then rummage through the wares to find the best and most sparkly pieces to sell today.  Collapse in the chair with a cup of coffee and wait. 

Be prepared to spend a whole day of your weekend for your art.  Believe me it can be a long day.  The market I chose closed at 3pm and you couldn’t leave before that time.  It is so much faster to break the stall down and once you have done it a hundred times it becomes a well oiled machine.  The only hard thing is trying to negotiate your car through everyone else intent on the same thing.

 I tried the markets for nearly 4 years.  In the beginning I sold quite a bit each time but as more stalls began to set up selling commercial goods it became harder to sell handmade.  I felt I just could not sell my work for what it was worth anymore.

It is a hard decision to make.  Do you drop your prices, do you make cheaper things or do you get out!!!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Out Of My Comfort Zone....

Rainy and wet, what else do you do but bead.  I set myself a challenge and decided I would give a wirework project a go.   I mean, after all, I did have a buying frenzy a while back and now find myself with wire, hammers, cutters and an anvil so why not.  
Having been advised of a simple tutorial - "3 Bead Hammered Ring" by Natalie Pierce I looked at my stash and decided I could manage it.  Armed with all the "doings" I sat down to create.  As recommended by Natalie, I have used 14 and 22 gauge wire, 6 mm and 4 mm beads.
The first one I tried was a bit rough. Mainly due to the fact I couldn't find the nice new shiny hammer I had purchased a while back and had to use my husband's old work hammer.  It left a few marks and didn't look nice and smooth.  Mind you it was kind of rustic looking.
The next one was better.   Having seen my plight, my husband kindly found me a smaller hammer and ground it down until it was as smooth as glass.  This time there were no hammer marks and the beader's grin was plastered across my face.  Well wasn't I just the bees knees!!  Acting like the professional wireworker, I wielded the hammer with confidence making a third ring.

Sometimes I think we hold back from trying new things, telling ourselves we are not up to it.  If the truth be known my rings are probably pretty basic but it did give me the confidence to consider trying something else.  And that is what it is all about isn't it?

Thursday, 26 January 2012


I am a member of the Beading Forum and each month the Brisbane & Surrounds members meet up.  We have a wonderful day of beading, eating and chatting.  What more could you want?  A day out with friends and the chance to bead to your heart's content.   Quite often we set a "Meet Challenge" and members can learn a new technique or use a medium not familiar to them.  One such challenge was freeform peyote using wire and seed beads.   We each meandered along the wire with our seed beads creating very individual bracelets.  Magazines such as Beadwork and Bead & Button provide the inspiration for these challenges.  A few samples are below.

Building the Empire

Just a quick look at some of the seed/crystal stock.  Hmmmmmm,  there are still some empty spots there!


My Journey Into Beading....

My journey into beading has been up and down.  I watched my sister string a necklace one day and thought "I'd love to do that".  Not seeing myself as creative in any way, I asked her to show me how to do it.  The words, tigertail, crimps, flat nose pliers etc were alien to me.  I was all fingers and thumbs but after ruining a number of crimps and tigertail lengths I finally got it!  I had an illusion necklace in front of me and was beaming from ear to ear.  

Not having the money and, I suppose the knowhow,  I haunted the op shops looking for old necklaces I could pull apart, another suggestion from my sister.  I found it impossible to walk passed an oppie without going in and checking out their beadie wares.  Soon, however, I needed more.  

Totally obsessed by this stage I found a wonderful site
It opened up a whole new beading world.  I suddenly realised that stringing was not the only thing I could do with beads.  I could weave them too.  With a lot of help and advice from fellow beaders I launched down a new path and into another world.  The world of seed beads!  I am still totally obsessed with them.  Next came crystals.  Such beautiful sparkly little things.  I can't live without them.

I have since dabbled in wirework and polymer clay but my heart will always lie with beadweaving.
Over the last 7 years the bead and I have become one.

Thank goodness I have a patient husband although sometimes I think he must tear his hear out with my obsession. 

Venturing out......

I've finally ventured into the world of blogging.  My New Year resolution is to be more visable on the web.  Here's hoping I live up to it.....