Sunday, December 14, 2014

Where Did The Week Go ?

To answer my own question, it literally flew by !  Wow.  I am glad to see it go but not so fast.  Geesh...............At least I was able to accomplish some things.  That's always good.  lol !  Even came up with a few new ideas.  One concerning making beads but that will have to wait til I get back to the torch.  :)  Maybe today for a bit ?  :)

The past week also included a try out with some new beads and Kumihimo.  Did not work out like I thought it would so it came apart.  The really frustrating thing about that - I was done with the piece - or so I thought and found it was too short on one end.  Drats.  Nope, could not of added any lampwork beads to one end either cause it was a necklace with a focal.  Oh well, the new beads will be used another day in another piece.

One of the Kumihimo facebook groups I belong to had a reveal of the challenge they had going.  It's still going on in fact.  No prizes or winners, just a reveal of what one has accomplished.  I participated in that challenge and made 3 braids and 3 bracelets pictured below.  It really was alot of fun figuring out what to make and what to use.  I hope there's another challenge soon.  One big reason I made so many pieces is I needed to re-stock my Etsy shop.  lol !

I did manage to learn a few things as well but will have to wait to reveal those things once I actually make some pieces.   

The braids are as follows left to right:  square braid done rayon satin cords, flat braid again all rayon satin cord and another flat braid done in hand dyed satin cord and a sparkly yarn.  All going in my Etsy shop this week.  All are long enough to use in your Handfasting ceremony !  :)  I have to say, I could make braids on my Marudai all day long, every day !  I love working on it !  Moreso than using the foam disk. 

 All of the bracelets are made with magatama beads and the top left one also has seed beads in it.  The blue and black one and the pink and black one will be in my Etsy shop today. 
 The photo below is the photo of the colors we needed to incorporate into our pieces.  I put the bracelets on the photo to show how they matched up.  The blue beads are not the exact shade of blue in the photo, but close.  Oh well.............:)   

Thanks for coming by.  I hope you come back again next week.  :)  I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying this holiday season. 

Please come by my Facebook page where I sell lampwork beads made by other artists.  These are beads I've had for a long time and have never used.  They need new homes.  This is the direct link.  OPB'S FOR SALE  You can purchase from that page.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Time - Is Not On My Side (but Kumihimo helps ! )

Those lyrics just keep playing in my head instead of the original.  There's only one word that makes it different and we all know what that is I'm sure.  :)  Isn't it the truth though ?  Especially this time of year when everyone seems to have at least a zillion things to do !  And our list just keeps getting longer and longer.  Just never enough time in the day or week or month..............I need to take a breather.

Still no torching for me.  sigh.  I have often wondered lately if I'll ever get back to my beloved torch and glass.  I walk past it almost daily and glance over at it all and just sigh.  ;(  With my allergy issues not getting any better and so much else going on in our lives, I can ONLY look at it and maybe touch the glass occasionally.  lol !  Oh well....maybe.... one.... day - soon.  sniffle............

In the meantime, I can at least play with the Kumihimo braids.  That, I can do while doing other things at the same time.  Easy to do since what I am doing right now is portable.  Using the Marudai is not portable and I have made a couple of braids using that but mainly it's been the foam disk lately.  Yesterday, I made a necklace and was able to watch over fixing our dinner and the tv at the same time.  Go figure.  Never lost my place either.  I have several methods of being careful about that.  Anyone that knows how to make Kumihimo braids is familiar with those techniques.  I'll show them to you here though just in case.
The braid I'm working on in the photo's is a typical 8 strand braid.

The easiest method for me is to place a little piece of a torn off business card under the first move.  In the pic below it's at the top of the disk and it's black.  I NEVER lose my place doing it that way and I always know that's where I start once again.  Using this method, I always finish thru ALL four movements before stopping.  I use this method with my Marudai ALWAYS. 

The second method I rarely use myself but so many others do it this way and swear by it.  I only use it in a pinch, like if the phone rings and I need to stop quickly.  It does show, in an obvious way, where you left off and where you need to begin again.  At the top in this photo it shows three of the cords.  The cord in slot 28 was the last move and the one that you need to start with again.  That cord is then moved to slot 10 at the bottom of the disk.

The last method is maybe a bit harder for some to use but for me it was a simple solution and one I used alot before using the torn off business card.  If you look at the photo below, you'll see a steel rod.  I'm just using that as a "pointer".  If you look at where it's pointing at the cords, you will notice the position of the cords.  There is a wide gap in between the green and pink cord where all the cords meet in the center.  It's the same on the right with that pink and green cord as well.  You will also notice the cords at the top ( yellow and orange colors) and bottom of the disk have no gap when meeting in the center.  You will also see the cords at the bottom of the disk are "off center".  All this info tells me I need to start with the cord on the bottom left.  Believe me, once you get use to it, it's easy.  It just sounds like alot.  Yes the black business card piece is still in the picture.  I forgot to take it out.  lol ! 

Hopefully this is helpful to someone out there.  Just a little tidbit of info that has worked for many who love working Kumihimo.

I was able to make a couple of pieces over this past week but no time to photo yet.  Will get those next time.

Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again soon.

Please visit my Etsy shop.  I have a bead sale going on now until Dec. 18th.  10% off all focal beads.  Also come on over to my facebook page and give me a like and leave a comment.  That link is :  Thanks again !   

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Kumihimo - Beads and Braids - A Love Affair lol !

I hope everyone had a perfect Thanksgiving !

Yes,  perfect heading for these Kumihimo posts !  Simply because there are so many of them on my blog along with the lampwork bead posts.  And yes, I have a love affair with both !  lol !  I LOVE LOVE LOVE making beads and making Kumihimo anything !  They are both a pure joy for me.  Ok, enough of that...........

This past week has really flown by and it wasn't because of Thanksgiving - for us anyway.  With so much happening I didn't have alot of time to create but I did manage at least one beaded Kumihimo bracelet and I haven't even taken a picture of it yet.  lol !  That said, I did make a couple of other Kumihimo braids - one beaded and one not, but it's been about 2 weeks ago now.   The bracelet was a new to me pattern and of course I messed it up in 2 major ways.  Lesson learned.  At least I figured out the problems.  Photo's below.

The bracelet - Pattern by someone on a Kumihimo page on Facebook and as soon as I remember who it was, I'll edit this post and put the person's name.  It's just slipping my memory at this moment.  I love the pattern and will make more of these but for now, with the limited amount of time I've had, this will be it.  I enjoy the color combo but I HATE the way the end caps placed.  My solution:  I'll add more size 8/0 seed beads on each end next time.  That way, the bead caps will be an easy fit and they'll be straight.  The ones on this bracelet are so lopsided it's not funny.  lol !  The second problem is one magatama bead is out of place on each "row".  Obviously I counted wrong or missed a step as I was moving the cords.  Easy to do no matter how experienced one is.   No matter, I'll still wear it.  :)  I love wearing my mistakes anyway. 

The Braid - A basic flat pattern braid but I really like how it turned out.  I used satin cording and a yarn made from bamboo that has a bit of sparkle to it.  :)  No mistakes on this one !  :)  This beauty would be wonderful for a Handfasting ceremony.  This will go in my Etsy shop soon.  I could make these all day, every day.  I enjoy working on my Marudai very much.  :)

My time has become so limited lately for creating anything that I can only hope I can fit something in along the way.  ;)  In the meantime, that's it for now.  Thanks so much for coming by !  Please, come back again soon !  Stay safe this holiday season !

Sale going on now in my Etsy shop.  All braids are 15% off until Monday, Dec. 1st. 
Visit my shop by clicking any picture in my link above right or click this link All My Beads Etsy Shop

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bellflower Press Update - It's Been a While

It's been such a long time I posted anything about the bellflower presses and what I've made with them that I decided it was time once again for an update.  All the flowers I've made have been for bouquets but a few bellflowers and bellflower bouquets stand alone.  :) 

There's so much you can do with those presses other than "just" a bellflower even though the bellflower is still and always will be the star !  :)  I did some back searching on my blog and in my photo catalog and sure enough I was playing and experimenting with such things way back in 2012.  One thing I did do back then was make daffodil type flowers as shown in the photo's below.  I recently sold this bouquet with a daffodil type flower in it.

 They're easy to make actually just takes a little more time.  I have used 2 different methods both of which work fine.  Method #1 -  Make the petals first and keep warm on a warming plate.  To make the petals, I use this tool  petal puller which works very well.  The petals can be used in either direction - with tip attached or tip facing outward.  For the daffodil, the tips are facing out.  Once those are made then I make the bellflower.  Once bellflower is done I then attach the petals, any number you want to attach and wha-la  - a daffodil type flower !  :)  Put in kiln. 

Method #2 - Make the bellflower and the petals.  DO NOT ATTACH the petals.  Instead do the following -  Keeping the petals on the warming plate,  get a mandrel and make a spacer bead.  It can be round or donut shaped but a spacer bead.  Then add the petals around the outside edge of the bead with the tips facing outward if you use the petal pullers or if you make the yourself.  Wha-la, you have your daffodil petals.  Put it in the kiln.  Once everything has cooled & your spacer bead has been cleaned, you can then assemble the daffodil type flower.  Take your bellflower bead and slide the wire thru the spacer bead hole to see how it fits.  If you have a good fit and the bellflower sits flat or at least close to flat, you can then add glue to the bottom of the bellflower and/ or the inside of the spacer bead and attach the bellflower to the spacer bead and let dry.  I just use Super glue.  Wha - la - you have your daffodil type flower.   Sounds like alot of work but really it's not and the outcome is pretty.  :)

The yellow daffodil flower in the bouquet below is done using Method #2.  This bouquet was made in 2012.

The yellow daffodil flower below was done with Method #1.

So that's all for now.  Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again soon.

Check out my Etsy Shop !  I'm having a sale on all necklaces !  15% off until Dec.1st !
 Click on any link to the right or just click this link All My Beads

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beads Have A Strong Hold On Me

Still recouping from pneumonia (at last, I got the spelling right ! lol ! ) so another slow week but I did manage to make it a bit productive.  Still no torching but kept my hands a bit busy anyway making some jewelry pieces.  Funny but once I started torching I swore off making jewelry (which is where it all started) and never thought I'd get back to it.  lol !  I actually never left it.  Just went in different directions with it. 

When I first started beading more than 10 years ago, believe it or not, it was Joan Rivers (RIP Joan) that actually got me started.  Yep.  I was flipping channels on tv when I came across Joan presenting her jewerly on QVC.  I watched because it was a beaded dangle bracelet or charm bracelet or whatever you want to call it.  It had ALOT of beads on it.  I watched and bought a bracelet.  Decided hey, I can make one of those and began my quest for buying bracelets then how - to books,  beads and etc.  So VERY long story short, I have quite a collection of my own and others lampwork beads, crystal beads, some gemstone beads, metal beads, shell beads, ceramic beads, wood beads, pressed glass beads, polymer clay beads and so on and so on, etc, etc etc.  lol !  Thing is, I've actually sold a whole bunch of beads too.  Not just my lampwork beads but alot I collected over the years and yet I still have an abundence.  :)  This past week one of my projects was putting together a new series of jewelry pieces.  I call it - " I Have So Many Damn Beads That I Have To Do SOMETHING With Them !"  I'll be showing pieces here from time to time and possibly some will go in my Etsy shop.  Which is a mistake as there are literally THOUSANDS of jewelry pieces on Etsy !  lol !  Anyway, I'm having fun putting these pieces together and seeing beads again I haven't seen in a while.  lol.  The trouble is, I keep buying beads.  Could be the draw is in my past from my former Hippie days ?  I don't know but whatever it is, it keeps me in and I just don't think there's an escape !  lol !  Could be I don't want to escape anyway.  :)

My first piece in that new series is this necklace.  It's soooo long it can wrap around your neck 3 times if you want it to.  :)  I'm so happy with it I might of kept it for myself if I wore necklaces.  It might go in my Etsy shop, I might gift it.  Can't make up my mind.  There are crystals, gemstone beads, cheap beads, glass beads, seed beads, metal beads and shell beads in this.   I love it !  :)   

More of what I did this past week was play with another necklace/wrap bracelet pictured below.  I really enjoy how these look !  This one is done is pretty pastel colors.  Will be in my Etsy shop soon. 

I have one kumihimo braid on the Marudai I'm working on, a beaded bracelet I'm not quite ready to show yet and a necklace I'm working on also for my niece.  So again, a bit of a productive week.  :)

That's all for now.  Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again next time.  :)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Kumi Keeps Coming ! :)

Since I joined a couple of kumihimo groups on Facebook, I have pretty much become obsessed with the whole thing again.  I mentioned that before so sorry I'm being repetitive but it needed to be said.  I can't seem to get enough of it lately.  This past week I worked with beads and without.  I have been experimenting again with beads which I've shown below.  So many shapes, sizes, colors from many manufactures it can be a bit overwhelming.  Lately, I've been working with Czech seed beads which is a first for me and discovered how much I truly enjoy them.  So far I've tried 5 different sizes and lots of colors.  :)  I need more.  lol !

Another fact I found from being in these groups is that there are soooooo many blogs about Kumihimo it's incredible !  So much information out there and it's mostly free !  So I've come to the conclusion that I will only post about what I'VE discovered, learned and/or how much fun I'm having doing Kumi.  I have never "invented" a new braid nor have I even tried.  I rather enjoy using what's already out there.  Is that a cop-out ?  Some may think so but I am not a designer by any means and that's perfectly fine with me.  I enjoy just making the braids - with or without beads.  It's fun, it's colorful and keeps my old hands from locking up !  lol !  There are plenty of others out there that can design for me.  :)  In fact, I recently bought 2 Kumihimo tutorials using beads that look interesting IF I can figure out the pattern.  The designer did not write it up like I am use to seeing - seeing being the key word.  I am a visual learner.  We shall see.  :)

This past week I managed to make one fiber flat braid, 4 beaded bracelets, 1 experimental strand and 1 beaded wrap bracelet !  Whew !  lol !  I was on a roll and having a blast !  lol !  I love playing with new things.  lol !  The photo's are below with a bit of explaination where needed.

                       Neon colors in a simple round braid pattern.  LOVE it !  :)  The cord shows thru but that's something I personally don't mind unless it looks sloppy.

                         More neon colors, different size beads.  Unfinished. Again, the cord showing thru a bit so am figuring it's the type/shape of bead being used.  The cord on this bracelet to be are all matching colors to the beads - NEON !  :)  Found HERE  
            MORE Czech seed beads I LOVE LOVE LOVE !  I'm getting more.  These are a larger bead so the thread does show.  I used the Omega #2 as usual so next time I will use a thicker cord.   

I love how this bracelet turned out !  It's ICY !  I am a winter person.  Will be in my Etsy shop soon.  I will also custom make a bracelet for you in this style.  Contact me thru my Etsy shop.  ;)

This is one of the test pieces I did.  Done with supposedly medium size shell chips and chunks !  lol !  It's HEAVY and towards the end of the braid, it loosened up ALOT.  Very noticeable.  You will notice also that on the beaded ends, there are red seed beads.  I was testing something else which would of worked had one end not gotten so loose.  Oh well..............................another time, another piece.  :)

This piece is also a bead test.  These beads are very large but again they are Czech seed beads, matte transparent so the cord really shows thru.  Not happy with this one at all.  Maybe a heavier cord would work ?  Not sure.

Last piece, the wrap bracelet.  I love the colors on this one.  It will fit up to a size 8 which is what I wear but depending on how many wraps you do around your wrist it can go higher for a smaller wrist or lower for a larger wrist.  I'll custom make one for you as this will be listed in my Etsy shop.  The clasp is a regular lobster claw clasp.  Can also be worn as a single strand necklace.  
So there you have it.  These are just a few of the pieces I've done in the last 10 days.  lol !  There are more but will keep for another time.  :)  Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again soon.  Please, leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.  :)   Please note:  Your message will not show up unless I "ok" it. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Kumihimo - Part VI (I think lol !)

Kumihimo has been a part of my life now for about 8 to 10 years  - give or take and it's still as addicting, fun, creative, frustrating and interesting as it was in the beginning - for me.  Whether it's regular kumihimo, working with strands of thread, yarn or cord of some kind or with beads, there is always something new to try.  New colors of fabric, new colors of beads, new types and/or shapes of beads and so on.

In the beginning of my Kumihimo journey, I thought just another hobby to try.  lol !  Wow !  Little did I know how far it would take me.  From day one of this fun journey, I've been experimenting with all sorts of things.  All kinds of yarns, all kinds of cords and threads.  Then came the beads.  Eye - eye - eye !  Sooooo many beads that it almost became overwhelming just thinking about it.  Didn't matter though cause I just started experimenting.  I'm going to show the results of only some of those below.  Some of them were from years ago.  Here goes.

This is only a small sampling of the materials I played with.  lol !  Left to right:
Omega cord and fuzzy yarn, all yarn, hand dyed silk ribbons (1/2" wide ribbons), hand dyed silk cords, fuzzy yarn with balls, spiral threaded yarn, imposter silk threads, hand dyed silk cord & heavy omega cord, 2mm satin cord and finally 1mm satin cord.
The lesson here:  figuring out what works in a braid and what doesn't !  lol !  But of course, it also depends on the look you're going for and what the braid will be used for.   Not one of these braids were ever in use.  Another lesson here:  learning the patterns and shapes.  These are round, flat, half round, hollow, square and honey comb patterns.  Great practice to be sure.  :)

The next step for me was finally adding beads which meant getting more supplies !  And boy I sure have done that.  Anyway, the supply of beads out there is amazing and the patterns & styles of beaded braids one can achieve is truly remarkable.   I put off adding beads to the braids for many years simply because it rather scared me.  Pfffttt, that is no longer the case although there are days I think I never should of added a single bead of any kind.  lol !  Anyway, I'm only going to show you a "few" of MY experiments with various beads and cords and if I can remember what they are, I'll tell.  There are MANY MANY more photo's on Pinterest.
The lesson learned:  You can use almost ANY type of bead/element in a Kumihimo braid.  Almost.  These photo's are all older braids.  I've just begun to experiment with beads once again.  :)  Having a blast doing so.  Will add those photo's soon.  :)

The Omega cording I'm referring to in the photo's can be purchased here  Creative Yarn Source  LOTS of colors to pick and choose from and the service is outstanding !

The book I used to learn all these patterns is this one Jacqui Carey's Beginners Book  The newest version is also listed on that page.  GREAT beginner's book.

The beads were purchased at so many places I just can't list them all.  lol !
Ok, so here we go:  
This is a braid with multicolor Omega cord, size 6/0 round beads, square beads and 8/0's beads.

This is done with clear lentil beads and yellow Omega Cord.

I LOVE this look - white Omega cords and blue and black rubber "O" rings.  :)

Large and small Lentil beads.

 Left - Red hand dyed silk cords, blue 8/0 seed beads, top right - all matte large magatama's, bottom right - hand dyed satin cording and 8/0 seed beads.

This was a very large bracelet !  :)  Czech glass beads. 

This one I braided on my Marudai.  It was done with satin cording and my own hand made lampwork spacer beads.  :)  This was THE largest braid I made to date.  Heavy too.  

Finally, a simple round pattern with my own hand made lampwork bead focal added to the 8/0 seed bead necklace. 

So there you have it.  Only a small sampling of my braids.  Thank so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again soon !