Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sequintastic September Blog Hop: Aurora Borealis Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

Welcome to the Sequintastic September Blog Hop hosted by the SeQueen herself, Sarah of Saturday Sequins ! Sarah describes herself as "A jewelry designer and artist obsessed with all things sparkly." She is also a blogger extraordinaire and has graciously extended the invitation to the jewelry designing community at large to participate in this themed challenge. I'm sure that most participants have some degree of experience working with sequins, which if you couldn't tell by the Blog Hop title, that is the featured component of the challenge. Except me. Never worked with sequins before this challenge so I am going to describe the creative process for my entry and hopefully give other would-be 'sequinators' some encouragement to pick up some of these glittery, shiny, iridescent little workhorses and put thread to needle and bead away!

I have to admit...I am not finished with my project (hangs head in shame). It is at the "finishing touches stage." I have a graveyard of projects that just need clasps, earwires or the loose threads woven into the work and trimmed. However, before I launch into an hour-long psychotherapy session on "closure issues," let me get to the meat of the matter. My project and it's creative journey...

First, I would like to thank (Oscar speech time!) Sarah of Saturday Sequins for hosting this event. I would also like to thank Sherry Serafini for inspiring the use of Shibori ribbon in Bead Embroidery. I used the book by Heidi Kummli and Sherry Serafini, "The Art of Bead Embroidery: Technique, Design & Inspiration" because this is my first bead embroidery project of this magnitude. I also thank Shibori Girl Studios for supplying the Shibori ribbon that launched this project.

And now, without further ado...Aurora Borealis Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet.

Whoa! Hold on...that is not a picture of my project, but it is the creative inspiration for designing the cuff. I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights, the eerily beautiful green aura amid a million twinkling stars. So I decided to recreate a wearable homage to this amazing phenomenon.

To create the illusion of the green aura, I decided to use Shibori ribbon in Mermaid colorway. I wove the ribbon into the foundation. The hand-dyed colorway and the texture of the ribbon achieve a three dimensional and ethereal quality to the design. I then chose my focal points accordingly: Swarovski Rivolis were bezeled and sewn onto the foundation at strategic locations and then loads of seed beads were embroidered to fill in the spaces. Sequins were added for "extra-terrestrial effect." Now all I have to do is: glue the foundation and backing onto cuff blank and lash the backing onto the 'fronting.'


On my Sequintastic journey, I learned a lot about sequins during the fabrication process. (1) A few sequins lend a lot of bling-y impact to your beadwork! (2) They are not a tasty addition to your morning cup o' Joe. (3) They get into places that they have noooo business being. My dog came up to me with sequins stuck to his cold, wet nose. I wasn't sure if he was turning into a Vampire dog, so I've had a garlic dog bone hanging around my neck for days. My family, friends and strangers think I'm weird. Apparently our dog turning into Robert Pattinson doesn't concern them as much as it does me!

Thank you for viewing my Blog Hop contribution. Please click on the links below to hop to other participants Sequintastic entries! With Bling-y Regards...


Please let me know if any of the above links are not working and I will try to remedy the problem :D

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure Freeform Peyote Challenge

Cupid's Folly

I recently joined the Facebook group Freeform Peyote Beading. It was a spur of the moment decision because, truth be told, I've completed only one (1) Freeform Peyote design. Ever. What possessed me to join the group? Several things piqued my interest. First, I didn't know much about the technique and what better way to learn than to dive in, gain knowledge from seasoned beaders and be inspired by the vast talent pool? Second, I like to push myself in new directions. Jewelry design encompasses many techniques ranging from bead stringing to metal smithing and all points in between. More than one technique may be combined to fabricate a design and the more techniques that a jewelry artist commands, the broader the horizons for creating innovative works of art. Third, I love the supportive and generous nature of the beading community! It really helps me to know that someone else tried and succeeded at something where I might have tried and failed. Back to the drawing board I go to figure out what I did wrong, correct it and improve my skill set. Last, my poor, neglected Blog is in serious need of resuscitation! Joining an active group of beaders is the perfect way to breathe new life into the dormant chronicles of my beading adventures.

I had barely introduced myself to the group, proudly displayed my one (1) Freeform Peyote design and been overwhelmed by the level of craftsmanship in other member's designs when 'The Challenge' was announced by Adventure Guides Mandi Ainsworth and Karen Williams. It sounded fun! But it sounded challenging. But exciting!! But there was that nagging feeling that it was going to be hard...I mean challenging. Nevertheless, I volunteered, nervously harboring self-doubts about the wisdom of my choice.

Understandably, I needed a spark of inspiration to jump start my project. To get my Freeform Peyote creative juices flowing, I took a shower. All my most brilliantest ideas occur to me while I'm sudsing up. Also, I sing better than Taylor Swift while I'm showering. So, my brilliant idea was to create a Freeform Open Heart Pendant Using Freeform Peyote. Valentine's Day was approaching so that seemed like the perfect plan. Now for the tricky part: How do I create the heart-shaped pendant? I took pencil to paper and sketched out my design.

I know what you're thinking, "Wow! She chose beading over a career as an illustrator? What was she thinking?!" Yes, it was a tough decision, but I can assure you, ultimately everything worked out for the best. I might add, Taylor Swift should count her lucky stars (and millions!) that I never cut a demo.

I began to string my beads and my little heart began to take shape and grow. Kinda like the Grinch's (it grew three sizes that day!) There was even a background chorus of Whos singing in Whoville...

After the heart was fully embellished (and the Who's singing had simmered down), the next embellishment that needed to be worked into the design was the bezeled Swarovski Crystal Rivoli. At first, it appeared that attaching the rivoli might pose a logistical challenge, but I managed to attach it to the heart in a semi-circle fashion. It nestled into the heart lobe perfectly! The operation was a spectacular success and the patient made a complete and speedy recovery.

In the next-to-final phase of the design process, I tackled the Freeform, embellished chain. I worked the chain in 6" sections and linked them together after all were complete. I attached the chain to the heart between the two lobes and completed the toggle loop closure with a string of peyote stitching.

The last motif and the hardest part conceptually for me, was the arrow toggle. I decided to make it using Tubular Peyote and make notches in one end for the arrow tip to fit. The arrow tip was quickly constructed using brick stitch and attached to the Peyote tube shaft. I added cute feathers using bugle beads and voila! A heart-piercing arrow toggle clasp. Finally, I couldn't resist a little macabre blood squirting out of the tip of the heart, so I added a bit of fringe with Miyuki drop beads.

And there you have it! Cupid's Folly is complete.

This Freeform Peyote Beading Challenge was a blast for me from beginning to end. I managed to escape my 'comfort zone' and venture into new territories. That is what a challenge should be, a challenge to the individual to break out of the box, risk getting a little crazy and  create something a little edgy.

Here is a list of the Choose Your Own Adventure bloggers:

Adventure Guides:


Now back to your regularly scheduled beading program.