Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Africa-challenge: I did it!

Pfew, I'm done with the Africa challenge.

First of all, I discovered that I know virtually NOTHING about African art. Ok, voodoo, masks and sculptures do not count. And I knew a little bit about kitenge or kangas, the fabric that can be used as a gown or as a baby-carrier, here is the picture of the one I use for my kids:

But back to the challenge... First that came into my mind was batique and those huge spiral wire necklaces and earings that masai women are wearing. But then I learnt that batique was brought to Africa by Europeans. As to masai necklaces, they indeed are gourgeous but hardly comfortably wearable.

And than my husband took me for a day-long trip to Stockholm right after the Christmas. We were browsing in the Old City and I have discovered a tiny shop of African art not far from the royal palace. There I've saw those fantastic bronse handmade beads, made by craftsmen in Burkina-Faso. I just got to have them. There were several multistring necklaces on display there as well and all over the sudden I understood what I wanted to do. This is my little tribute to African folk art:

I've put it on display in my Etsy shop, somebody perhaps might like it enough to buy. ;)

Still figuring out the Beach and Tropical Hollidays...

Monday, December 29, 2008

I need YOUR help to identify those stones! Thanks!

This is a freeform peyote bracelet that I made for Etsy and called Arctica. The cabs that are used in it were bought from Firemountain Gems in a half-kilo pack of assorted stones. So far I have two guesses - it might be a sort of white opal mined in Russia under the name kaholong, or it might be a moonstone. The first guess comes from girls from a russian seed-bead site, the other one is a guess of a lapidary artist from a little shop in Stockholm. He even said that the stones are of superb quality and rare to find nowadays. I am a bit doubtful about his guess, since the pack of one pound has costed me only 12 US dollars. What do you say?

Stone Nr1:
Stone Nr2:
Stone Nr3:

And this is just a picture of it on our patio:

Thanks in advance!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Challenges / Utmaningar

Happy Hollidays wherever you are!

We have survived Christmas :)
My generous Swedish maternity leave has come to its end. I will start working on 12th of January. That might mean less time for beading. Or, it might also mean as much time for beading as before, but less time for sleep ;) Will see, will see.

Now, to the challenges. I have become a member of Etsy BeadWeavers (EBW) Team, and would love to participate in their monthly challenges. Here you can read more about the EBW December challenge. January topick is Tropical Holliday... So far I've got nothing besides aloha and orchids on my mind.

As a member of PärlPlatsen, I have two more challenges due in January: Africa and beach. It seems that peopleare gitting tired of winter here ;)
I've made some research on African art and bought couple of gorgeous handmade brass beads from Burkina-Faso i Stockholm yesterday. It will be a necklace, I think.
As to the beach-theme, I think it will be a bracelet with amber. More I dare not say, I had some ideas that did not work.

However, my biggest challenge this moth will be finding time to bead for those challenges ;)

Stay tuned!

P.S. Spell-check is out of function. Sorry about that ;)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Santa's Little Helper

Last weeks I've been beading like one of the Santa's elves, making Christmas presents. Let me show you some of them.

This one is for my mother in law, I called it Aurora Borealis (check out the gorgeous pictures of the phenomenon taken by Jan Curtis).

The stone is labradorite, one of my absolute favorite stones. It might look gray and simple at the first glimpse, but when the light hits it - oah my... it sparkles and shines in all the colors of rainbow! I think the stone reflects a bit what kind of person my mother in law is...
I do not know why, but people tend to use labradorite mainly in combination with silver, perhaps partly due to is main color. I think that this stone looses a lot when surrounded by beads and metals of similar "shades of pale". I think it deserves gold (or in this case - gold filled).

The second necklace is called Lycopodium or Galadriel's moss. Lycopodium (stag's horn clubmoss) is one of the most ancient plants known on this planet, its spores are known for their healing properties.

Why Galadriel's moss? I just love Elves, that's why ;) The rope of the necklace is crochetted with Miyuki 15/0 and C-lon D. It was a pain in the neck to make it, but well worth the effort! The rope is thin and shiny, and just runs between the fingers. The central piece is made using coralling technique with Miyuki Chartreuse drops on the end of each branch.
Who will get it? Fiancé of my husband's best friend, all three are hopeless roleplayers ;)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Angel has been finished.

I've been idle for a while, both kids were sick. But now it is finally over! And I can upload the last pictures of the Snow Angel.

I had some trouble with fringes. I tried with Sherry's inspired ones first, and it did not work at all, judge by yourselves.

But they looked nice anyhow ;)

Than I have tried three more versions and have finally made up my mind. Even my husband, who was very much anti-fringe at the beginning, has agreed that the necklace looks better now ;)

This is the finished Snow Angel.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Forgotten sneak-peek :)

Well, not really forgotten. I forgot to take a picture of it before giving it away. But it is solved now!

It was a present to a lady in her late 80s - a white and silver spiral rope necklace with a rhodonite cab. Sorry for keeping you waiting ;o)

Evolution of the Snow Angel, Part II

I'm done with embroidering the main piece. And now I am making the most boring thing imaginable - edging. Than only fringes will be left. Mmmmmm.... Friiiiingeeeessss....

Actually, I am an extremely impatient person. This quality does not combine well with bead embroidery. ;) A piece with long straight lines did not have a chance of being finished, I think. Keeping the design messy and free-form have helped not to get bored. I had lots of fun making it, actually. And it was a good meditation and mental therapy - I was thinking about lots of things while beading the Angel.

I was thinking about the intricate patterns that frost is "drawing" on the windows when it is really cold outside. And I was thinking about the snow angels, of course, and kids making them. Angels... My miscarried pregnancy, my two young friends whom I lost to cancer, my job search - the 2007 was not an easy year... And at the same time I was thinking about all the good things that have happened during the 2008 - giving birth to my baby, getting the best job I could ever get, starting beading... The circle is complete :)

One of the days we had a real snow storm, with hurricane-strength winds up to 38 m/sec. I was sitting on the second floor by the window and beading exactly what I saw - the legions of snowflakes carried by the wind. Making the Snow Angel.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Evolution of the Snow Angel

I am still working on the white collar. It is going slowly, but steadily. My main concern is to keep it well-balanced and not messy. Although it really wants to become messy, take my word for it!
Another concern of mine that it might turn out cheap-looking due to all Swarovski and other bling-bling. Well, we will see.

I decided to take some pictures to trace my progress, just as I go. These are from the last four days. I have also decided not to do any editing of the pictures, they are absolutely raw. Flash does not work with all bling of the large crystals, I'll have to figure it out later. My eyes actually did hurt when I was beading around those Swarovski rivolis, they shine like crazy. Good that I am not a diamant jeweler ;)

Anyhow, I am half-way through the project!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Welcome, my First Follower!

Hi and thanks for checking out my blog! :)

The baby is asleep and I got some minutes to upload my new sneak-peek. My working table looks something like this right now:

I have finally started with a serious bead embroidery project. I just hope that a certain person will not find this blog too soon ;) It's a present. It is white and pink, fluffy and feminine. And lots of bling-bling.

Argh, so much for the sleeping baby.... ;)
See u later!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Johanna, thanks for the picture! ;)

And here is my last "creation", called The Little Black Thingie. I wanted to do something with left-over Witches Brew mix that I got after finishing the Witchery. As well as with numerous cat-eye cabs that I got from FMG. Here is the result:

This one is made in herringbone stitch. This time I have cheated with the cab-setting by gluing the cab to Lacy's and embroidering around it.
The hand on the picture is not mine, it is Kajsa's ;)

Totally forgot - Yippie, I've got comments!!! Thank you guys!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back from Holland!

Hi ppl, I'm back. And what I see? Still no comments to my posts! And I know FOR FACT that many of my friends and family members are visiting the blog regularly. Grmf on you! ;)

I've spent four days in Utrecht and Amsterdam on Fungi and Health symposium, and fell in love with the country. People are NICE, weather is warmer than in Sweden (no wonder, heh), asian food is just great. ;) If you go there, beware of stroopwafels - they are as addictive as the magic mushrooms...

But back to business - I have finished two more beaded things.
This time I learnt how to make beaded crochet rope. The Swedish Bead Crocheting Guru Stinta has kindly helped with some useful advices.

The first thingie is called Frosty Blues. There was no great thought behind it, I just happened to have size 9/0 rocailles at home (Gutermann).

I really love this Orange lariat, actually. I got so inspired by work of Yvonne Stark (see link to the left), that made this one. Think Valencia, think oranges, think sun, freshness, juice, vitamines, etc... The flower on the one end in made in brickstitch (inner petals) and peyote (outer ones) - klick on the image for better view on the details. The stones on the fringes are dyed red agats - leftovers from my October project. This one is going straight road to Etsy.

And finally, a little sneak-peek on one of my new projects ;)

Stay tuned and do not forget to comment! ;)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Importance of having a good camera

Thought that it might be a good idea to upload some large pictures of my "early stuff" that Johanna has kindly taken for me. Just click on the image to get it in full size.

My mother in law loved the Flames. They are going to land as a X-mas present to the best friend of hers. Hush, it's a secret! ;)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hate making titles for my posts!

I have not done too much beading lately, was busy with some baby-stuff and all the family got sick in a nasty cold, bläää. Otherwise, I could have shown some funny pictures of my ongoing projects, but alas! ;)

I have finished couple of X-mas presents that I am not thinking to show before holidays ;)
And, I have opened a shop on Etsy and put my Witchery on sale. It will take a while before I come up to two items to qualify for joining the Etsy Beadweavers team.

Meanwhile, there is one thing that I would like to show. I am a bit proud of that one...
I wanted to bead flames. I think I was watching too much of Discovery channel - you know, Miami Ink, American Choppers, blah-blah-blah, and Mike LaValle with his amazing paintbrush flamework. I cannot airbrush, but I am learning to bead. That's it, I wanted to try if it was possible to bead flames and I gave it a try.

Overall, there are nine different shades of Jablonex 11/0 in this one (the color changes that yoiu see in the flame-part is not due to the camera). The rope is made of collums of garnet and silver-lined garnet for a cool sparkling effect, note this is my first try with herringbone stitch. The toggle clasp is made in Swarovski bicones, I've picked it up from www.businka-lisa.livejournal.com (Thank You for the wonderful tutorials, Lisa!)

I could not decide which picture was the best, so I have uploaded both of them.

Well, that's all I wanted to show for today (while the little one is taking his powernap).
Take care, ppl!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Experiment: Witchery

I start feeling quite comfortable with peyote stitch. The next project is the result of my crazy experimenting with peyote in its free form. I called it Witchery.

It is inspired partly by Pratchett's Nanny Ogg, partly by the witches in Stardust movie. While making it, I was thinking of an old witch. She was not evil my witch, that's for sure. She was perhaps quite a rich lady one day (rich enough to afford silver Delicas to embellish her gown). One day she was young and perhaps even beautiful. Who knows, maybe she got poor with age, or perhaps she just stopped caring about her look. Freeform peyote has allowed to create a feeling of those torn rugs she was wearing. Original lace is still there in some places, I mimicked it with pewter Ornela beads and some netting as well as accented with Delicas here and there. I have interchanged portions made of fine matte opaque black Tohos (representing velvet, I'd say) with really rough cheep and uneven MingTree seed beads, representing poor attempts of my witch to fix the dress.
The cab in the middle is what remains of her glory. Or, perhaps, all her power is in that stone? ;)
Well, those were my thoughts when I was making the piece.

On the practical side of this project: it took me two days to make the cab setting. I made it over and over again until I was satisfied with the look.

OK, it was a stupid idea to make it in peyote, RAW would be a much better option, I admit it. Live and learn! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sitting tight in the swamp

Seed beads do not let me go. I just want to learn more new stuff and make more beaded things! Start thinking about Etsy, will see about that. For now, I wanted to learn how to make the beaded cabochon settings without glueing them first on the Stiff Stuff. For the necklace below I have used stones that I have got from FiremountainGems. They came among assortments, therefore I am not really sure about what sort of mineral they are. My guess is that it might be dyed red agate, since carnelian is usually a bit more reach and deeper in color. I called it October. The pictures are taken by a friend of mine, her camera is waaaaay better than the one I've got. Guess, it is going to be my next big investment.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Looking for the ultimate seed beads and some autumn inspiration

Now it is getting serious. I have ordered color samples for Jablonex from StarkDesign (see link to the left) and our FiremountainGems order has finally reached Sweden. Now I have got Toho, Matsuno, Delicas, DynaMites, Jablonex, Ming Tree and Guttermann to play with...

Short summary so far: Jablonex beats them all when it comes to embroidery, it looks like. There were many more Tohos that did not want to pass through my needle, than Jablonex. Delicas are fun to make details and cabochon settings with, but I did not like them in embroidery. Toho size 15 galvanized gold has lost all coating already after two (!) days of wearing the piece, however larger sizes were still fine after two-week test of constant wearing. No changes in any of copper-coated seed beads of Toho, regardless the size. Next time I will try Jablonex supra gold, the distributor claims it is way more resistant.

After choosing the beads more carefully, I have come up with the following creation. Presenting proudly - September.

The central piece is embroidered with Toho sizes 15-6, Matsuno and Delicas, as well as the strange size 9 rocailles that one can get from Panduro hobby (made in Czech republic, but not Jablonex), and Jablonex Evergreen mix (Zionesse, SE). The rope is made in tubular peyote with green Tohos and Jablonex Autumn leaves mix (StarkDesign, SE). Fringes are sitting on a net of size 9 Panduro seed beads, their bases are made of DynaMites 11° (matte root beer) as well as Jablonex Tortoise Matte mix, and I have used Jablonex Autumn leaves for the tops. The form of my fringes is secured with copper-plated Tohos 15°. Here is the close-up:

The piece is inspired by work of Varvara Konstantinov, but I wanted to bring some personal touches to it (and I have never done anything like this before), as well as I wanted to re-discover the fringes-on-the-net technique by myself.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Seed beads got me :(

I have discovered FiremountainGems and their gallery of designs. Disaster. Have surfed Russian seed beading sites. Big Fat Disaster. Surely enough, I just had to try embroidery with seed beads as well as some weaving techniques. Here is the result!

This bracelet got a romantic name "Aqua". Freeform peyote with 11, 8 and 6° rocaillies (Toho and Ornela), square Toho, and 5mm crystal bicones.

This is my first trial of beading around cabochons and embroidery with seed beads. These ones are Toho size 15-6° and Gutterman size 9. I called this piece "Ural", let me explain why.

My mother is born in a small (by Russian standards) city in the Ural mountains (Nizhniy Tagil for the curious readers). Among other things, the mines around that city are known for their semi precious gems, and malachite is one of them. Without any doubt, malachite is one of my absolute favorite gems. I just love the magic of its shades of dark green mixed with ribbons of black. I learnt about it from the fairytales that my grandparents used to tell me. People say that malachite protects its bearer from "evil eye" and "negative energies". Well, even if it does - it is just a plus. It is a truly magical stone!

Well, this is really my very first trial of the technique. In some places, the base of embroidery shows through the rows of beads, and some rows are not perfectly lined up. But I promise to work on it! ;)

And this is one of the last pieces, I called it "Celestial Chaos". It is made in freeform brick stitch, using the "Rich" mix of seed-beads in all possible sizes and shapes, to which I have added golden buggles and copper squares.