Monday, December 29, 2014

New Tutorial -- Snail Shells & Twisty Bits, Beaded with Peyote Stitch and Cellini Spiral

For the last couple months, I've been working on some new variations of Cellini Spiral.
With nothing more than seed beads and thread, you can learn to make bracelets, pendants, and beaded beads using my new tutorial, Snail Shells and Twisty Bits.
Like the popular Slugs in Love beaded pendants, Snail Shells and Twisty Bits are my original variations on the common Cellini spiral, combining peyote stitch, increases, and decrease.
This tutorial teaches you several different techniques that you can use to make all the designs shown here, or you can combine them in new ways to design your own beaded jewelry.
This tutorial is designed for beaders who already know how to bead weave Cellini Spiral and join two ends. If you would like to learn these techniques, I recommend this free video by Jill Wiseman:
The pattern for Snail Shells and Twisty Bits is suitable for intermediate bead weavers, with enough design possibilities to entertain advanced bead weavers. You can make lots of different designs, all with just seed beads and thread. No fancy shapes required.
The tutorial is a whopping 26 pages, with over 120 full color illustrations and photographs, making it one of my longest beading tutorials I've ever written.  I was very tempted to break it into two separate tutorials, limiting each to one main project with a variation or two, but I made 8 different designs all using the same techniques, and I can imagine at least as many more. By keeping it whole, I found that I could teach a bunch of different techniques that work together. That way, you beaders can combine the techniques to make your own designs for pendants, bracelets, and beaded beads. The tutorial gives highly detailed instructions for every step in the necklaces and bracelet, and then I show you large photos and give charts and commentary to help you build increasingly larger spirals and more complex pieces using the same techniques. It's both a project tutorial and a technique tutorial.  So, ask yourself, do you love Cellini spiral?  If so, then you will really enjoy Snail Shells and Twisty Bits.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Replicating DNA in Beads

I got a request to make piece of beaded DNA that is forked to look like it's replicating.
The specific sequence it shows is this:

Because this sequence is a palindrome,  when you fork it at the center, you get three identical branches.
This DNA sequence is recognized by an enzyme produced by this particular bacteria, Deinococcus radiodurans. It's a very tough bacterium. When I read, "As a consequence of its hardiness, it has been nicknamed Conan the Bacterium," I knew it was the one! 
If you would like to learn to make your own beaded DNA, check out my free video tutorial

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Patchwork Sweaters and Skirts

I've been sewing sweaters and skirts lately.  They say make what you like.  So I made this cardigan hoodie in blues and grays, all upcycled from felted wool sweaters, mostly merino.  This sweater is SOLD.
Here's a purple pullover sweater I made for my sister because purple is her favorite color.  She asked for a V neck, so I made her a V neck.  I've never made a V neck before, but she's happy. So that's all that matters.  It's made from mostly cashmere with some wool.  I hand dyed the two brightest purple fabrics because there just aren't enough purple cashmere sweaters made for my needs.  Both of these sweaters were inspired by the work of Katwise.
I decided that I really REALLY like the scrappy patchwork look in clothing.  When I wear patchwork clothing made from lots of different fabrics, I feel happy, like a well-loved rag doll.  Here is a blue skirt that looks cute with the blue sweater above.  It has a bunch of different fabrics from my quilting cotton collection and a double ruffle trim.
I made the waistband have a secret tie on the inside.  It's mostly elastic, but with the tie, you can get the waistline just the right length for a perfectly comfortable fit.
Here is a green skirt, all in cotton with an elastic waist.  These skirts are for sale at Isabella Boutique in downtown Sunnyvale, CA.   The design of both of these skirts was inspired by the work of Obsequies.
This is a close up of the green and gray ruffled hem.  It looks like yellow, but it's really chartreuse. Limy lime green, my favorite color.
I'm about to release a new tutorial soon.  I haven't released a new tutorial in a while because I've been working on one tutorial for about two months. I took the first step photo in October. It's a sequel to Slugs in Love, including a bunch of Cellini spiral variations and techniques. I have taken a few breaks from this project, like when I was beading some older designs (in Marsala), and doing the sewing shown above. 
Now this tutorial is almost done.  There is light at the end of the tunnel! It looks like it's going to be 26 pages with around 130 photos and illustrations, definitely making it one of the longest beading tutorials I've ever written. I was very tempted to break it into two separate tutorials, limiting each to one main project with a variation or two.  But I made 8 different designs all using the same techniques, and I can imagine at least as many more.  So I'm keeping it whole.  By keeping it whole, I found that I could teach a bunch of different techniques that work together. That way, you beaders can combine the techniques to make your own designs for pendants, bracelets and beaded beads. I'm calling it "Snail Shells and Twisty Bits." I really hope you gals will find it worth the wait.  Thanks for looking.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Marsala Necklace with Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year with Aquamarine and Titanium Gray

I think I'm actually starting to fall warm up to Marsala, now that I finished a beaded bead necklace made with Pantone's suggested pallet for marsala, including titanium gray and aquamarine.
I made this necklace match the Ginkgo Earrings I beaded last week by using a lot of the same seed beads.
I really like marsala with gray and pale blue, but it doesn't seem to generally play well with lots of colors, in my opinion.  Since it has a lot of brown in it, if you add too many other dull colors, the whole thing can get murky.
In making this necklace, I was very careful to stick to Pantone's suggested pallet. Every time I deviated, I liked the combo a lot less. In the evolution of this necklace, I had some mossy green in there, like a dull lime. It made the whole thing look really muddy and dated. So, I remade a mossy green beaded bead in blues and traded out some of the greenish lampwork for blues and cool grays, and the whole thing looked really different, more vibrant and classy.  You can see that there is still a bit of green in there, but a lot less than there had been at one point.  This showed me how it's not just the colors you use that create a pallet, but in what proportions you use them.  A little dull green is okay.  Too much, and it looks muddy.
It's amazing to me how subtle changes in colors in a color combo can make a big difference in the overall impact.  In the end, I'm very pleased with how the colors work together here.  The warm marsala plays well with the cool blues and grays.  The necklace and matching earrings are for sale in my Etsy shop.  Thanks for looking.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year Marsala on Ginkgo Leaf Earrings

I challenged myself to use Pantone's 2015 color of the year Marsala, something of a muted brownish scarlet that reminds me of spilled red wine on an off white table cloth or worse, dried blood. 
Marsala Ginkgo Earrings
I think a brighter or darker shade of red, like pomegranate or scarlet would have been a great improvement over Marsala. I wonder if designers will tend towards brightening this up a bit. If they really wanted a wine, I think Chardonnay would have been a better choice with its warm sunny yellows, but hey, they didn't ask me.  Anyway, here's my first pair of Marsala Earrings with golden bronze.  Here I went with more of a cranberry for my Marsala and then browned it up a bit by adding Bronze.  Other colors include rich dark blue, purple and forest.
Marsala Ginkgo Earrings
This pair I made second, and used cool gray and pale blue.  Here, the brown seed beads are a bit browner than Marsala, but the sapphires are pretty spot on.
Marsala Ginkgo Earrings
 Both pairs have sparkling faceted sapphires to add just a touch of twinkle.
Marsala Ginkgo Earrings
I predict that Marsala is going to be a tough color for designers in 2015. What do you think? Do you like Marsala?  I think it's going to take me a few months to warm up to it.  I guess I like it with the blue and gray.  It feels sort of modern-ish.   

The tutorial is available in my Etsy shop if you want your ears to be a la mode, superchic!  Click on the photos to go to the listing.  Thanks for looking.
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