Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vintage Filligree Button Bracelet


     This is another eaxample of how to use Lisa Kan's beautiful quadrifoil element in a design. This  filligree button is very muted and so the design needed to be subtle but be able to highlight this gorgeous button.

 
 
     It is very similar to the design in my header except that button has a copper finish. This filligree button has a definite antique brass patina so the colors I chose were more subtle. Swarovski crystals in burgundy and Czech Fire Polish beads in cream make a nice contrast to the matte finish seed beads and pearls.
 
 
 
 
     The button's shank extends farther out than the button itself, so I made a circular peyote ring on the back side of the button to elevate the it and protect the shank. This is one way to protect the integrity of an antique button but still us it in a jewelry design.
     Blessings and happy beading!



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Super Duo Fun

     Winter is here! I was reminded of the humungous snowflakes that I saw growing up in Montana while making this design.
     I loved the color of these Superduos the minute I saw them at BeadStreet Bead Store. Eileen Barker carries the most extensive selection of colors I've seen.




     I used a Swarovski Rivoli in Golden Shadow, Super Duos, peanut beads, cylinder and seed beads for this focal, I'm still playing with color ideas, but like the combinations so far. I'm not sure yet what to do with it. A pendant or bracelet...maybe? Maybe a pin to adorn a cute winter hat. What do you think?
     Blessings and happy beading!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wedding Cuff...Christmas Cuff...or Anything In Between

      I've had some beautiful lemon-green, pearlized beads for awhile but, had no idea what to do with them.  That was until a friend of mine said she was engaged to be married. 
     As I looked at those beads, my mind was transported to wedding nirvana. Although I've been marrried 21 years, it's fun to visit that place every now and again! I am a girl surrounded by two teenage sons, a husband, and a dog. Need I say more? 
     This cuff is the result of my mental wedding musings. It was inspired by lace, tiered wedding cakes (food always inspires me), and the freshness of early spring. All of that may sound "hokey" but it's what I was thinking.


     This cuff was also inspired by a design by Lisa Kan. Her quadrifoil element in the center of the cuff is so versatile. I've used variations of it in other designs.



     Button pearls, Czech Firepolish beads, and Swarovski Crystals add a bit of vintage appeal and sparkle. The color scheme keeps it modern. The magnetic clasps makes this cuff easy to put on and take off making it one of my favs to wear. I've even worn with my bath robe.
     Blessings and happy beading!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Art Deco Style Bracelet

     Another unique button to play with! This button has very subtle color changes and seemed to need a setting that was subdued but also strucutral. The teardrop shapes in the band bring out the pattern in the button.


     I used hematite and bronze colored delicas for the teardrop shapes. Size 15 seed beads were also used.
 
 

The button is surrounded by hematite colored delicas and Cosmos Blue 15/o seed beads done in Peyoe stitch. I tried to keep the bead work as minimal as possible so the button can be seen.


 
Finally, it's been finished off with 4mm Swarovski bicones in dark Sapphire.
 
     Problems with brain fog persist, but Thanksgiving is coming! I'm thinking my lack of creativity is due to a pie deficiency. Hopefully, this condition will be abated a little next week! Blessings and happy beading!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wire Lace Earrings...Again

     It's been awhile since I've posted anything. To be honest, a huge brain fog has hit me recently. I suppose this happens to all who enjoy designing new jewelry. So instead of trying to take my brain where it is unwilling to go, I've decided to just relax and tweek some old designs.


     These wire lace earrings are very similar to an earlier design. I just decided to add a bit more flourish. They'll be nice to wear for the holidays! Blessings and happy beading!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just for Prom

     There are very few females in my family and there's nothing I enjoy more than giving jewelry to family and friends. 
     My boys are very sweet in their encouragement of my hobby. They generously nod and smile as I try to explain the interplay of colors or what went into a design. Even though they wouldn't admit it, I sense the "I have no idea what you are talking about" look during these exchanges. I guess it's probably the same look they get from me when they try to explain the ins and outs of Super Mario Brothers.
     So, you can imagine how excited I get when someone in my family asks me to make something for them. It this time, it wasn't just for any occasion. It was for prom. 
     My niece had just bought her dress and was headed home so she brought it by. Remember, I have boys in my home. Their idea of fashion is having two pairs of jeans with which they can rotate every few days. What my niece brought over was a beautiful, pink confection very reminiscent of Cinderella's ball gown.  It had a vintage feel to it so she needed something that seemed "old", but youthful at the same time.    
 
 
     The pink of the dress was a warm tone, not baby pink. So I used Swarovski crystals in Greige and Vintage Rose. Matte Silver Toho Treasures, silver Czech glass and just a hint of grey/blue seed beads to help balance the stong pink of the dress.


     I wish I had a picture of her in her prom dress. I know she looked beautiful. How fun it was to be a part of such a special night!.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chaton Bracelet and Earrings

      I really enjoy vintage looking designs. One of the first beading books I bought was Lisa Kan's Bead Romantique. Her Ndebele Twist Band bracelet became the foundation of this bracelet. Although I like the flower center in her design, I decided to "torture" myself by creating a new center focal.
     Why do I say "torture"? Only because whenever I decide to try something new, it always takes me 4 times longer and I tear up my work at least four times before I'm done. Can you relate?
    The center is anchored on a filligree flower that gives the centerpiece stability There are lots of picot stitches. In fact, I'd get done with one round of picots and think, "It needs more floof". So another round, more floof, was added. Hopefully, I can remember how it did it all and write it down.

    This bracelet screamed, "I need earrings, too!" So here is what I came up with. These were made using 8mm chatons, 4mm crystals, and rondelles.

 
     I liked how they turned out, so I started playing with some different colors. The earrings below aren't quite completed yet. Instead of using rondelles, I used 3mm crystals instead. The colors are much more vibrant than in the picture.


     Now, how to finish them off? Hmm,,,,,, Blessings and happy beading!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Super Duos and wire...say what?

     I was teaching a class at Bead Street one Saturday and I noticed two of my favorite people sitting off in a corner beading. This was very unusual to see because Eileen, the store owner, usually has her hands full with helping customers. Nichole, of Starman, Inc. a wholesale bead company, was also there. She not only provides our needy world with beautiful beads, but has two very curious and active toddlers. In other words, beyond busy.
     Like a curious little kitty, I went over and asked, "What are you guys doing?" Thinking to myself,  "I want to see what a master's work really looks like!" They may not see themselves that way, but I consider them in that light.
     I love looking at the works of people like Marcia De Coster and Lisa Kan, but have never had the opportunity to see their jewelry in person. It's one of the down sides to living in a small community in southern Idaho. So, like a "fan to a flame", "a child to a petting zoo", or "a gal in the throws of PMS to chocolate",  I peeked at what they were up to. They were playing with a bead shape that I was not familiar with, yet.
     Many of you are quite familiar with them. The Super Duo bead is a two-holes bead that, to me, resembles a very elongated diamond.  I put on my reading glasses to get a closer look. They were creating beaded beads using them. Oh, were they beautiful! I wish I had pictures! Hopefully, they will be able to share their designs soon.
     Because of that experience, I decided to pick some up and play with them myself. Here is my first design using Super Duos.

 
     Through the encouragement of several people, I submitted a bracelet design to Bead & Button and it has been selected as a project for a tentative publication in June 2013!  So, I decided to send this earring design in to be shared on the "Your Work" page in Bead & Button. They decided they wanted it for a project!
   I 'd already had planned to teach and share the pattern for these earrings, so I thought it wouldn't be possible to publish them. The editors at Bead & Button have been so accommodating with me and that is why you get to see then now. I will also make the pattern available for purchase very soon. Please e-mail me if you would like one. This pattern is tentatively planned for publication in the August 2013 edition of Bead & Button Magazine, as well.
 
 
     I've had so much fun playing with different colors, so I'm posting some combinations I came up with.  
 
 
 
 
     The design above and just below were made using Twins. They are very similar to the Super Duos. The shape of the Twins aren't as elongated and in my opinion, aren't as consistent. Still, the earrings look great.
 
 
 
 
 
     More pictures can be found at Bead Street from a class that I taught. They all came up with beautiful color combinations!
     If you haven't worked with these beads yet, I encourage you to give it a try!  Happy Fall and happy beading!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Show and Tell

    Do you remember the first time you heard about "show and tell"?  I was in kindergarten. I remember the euphoria I felt when the teacher explained that I could bring things from home that I really cherished to share with the class. In fact, I probably didn't learn anything that day because my head was swimming with ideas of what to share with the class.
     I can still remember what items I treasured at that age.  There was the standard lucky rabbit's foot, a box of shiny rocks, and the ever popular Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker on a rope. 
     Those of you who had a lip smacker knew it was also a great recess snack, too.  My friends and I would swipe a little off the top and pop it in our mouths. What yummy grape goodness that was!
     I don't remember much of what the other kids shared. The exception was the rotund, beady-eyed, furry pet that inevitably escaped someone's grasp. That usually created a lockdown situation with everyone on hands and knees looking for it. Oh, what fun and chaos ensued!  That sense of fun returned when I attended my very first beading group.

John Stephens, owner of Bohemian Beads & Buttons created this amazing leather wallet. Lisa Stephens, co-owner, hosts our bead group and supplies us with Czech beads, Toho seed beads, and one of a kind buttons.

     
     After beading for about an hour, we were reminded to bring "show and tell" for the next group meeting. "Show and tell?" I thought. My ears must have lifted a couple of inches just to be sure I heard that right. Then, that euphoria I felt in kindergarten came back.
     What am I going to share?  Being new to beading, I felt very unsure of myself and of my work. These women have been artists for year and here I come, having no clue about jewelry design.  I just wanted to make "pretty stuff".
    My fretting and worrying about how my work came to nothing! They accepted me right away and have put up with me now for three years. They encourage me, instruct me, and also uplift me with the beautiful jewelry they create.

Inga Sager's beautiful designs. Look at her necklace below!

      Just look at Inga Sager's designs. She's fairly new to beading. What a natural talent and great addition to our group! She has an etsy store where her creations can be purchased. I'll post it as soon as I get it.

  
 
     Inga's amazing bead embroidery necklace. This picture doesn't really show the vibrant colors and intricate details of this piece.



 
     The top three bracelets are designs by Kathy Simonds. Her use of color is truly dynamic. She can be found at the Idaho Falls Artisans Market on Saturdays or contacted by e-mail.



 
     These pieces are from various members of our group. The bracelet at the top is my design. Debra Kerns created the polymer clay cabachons.
 

    
     Sheri likens this cabachon to a Reeses' Peanut Butter Cup. She used Super Duos to create a funky focal! I wonder how she's going to use it. Knowing her, it will be whimsical!


Sheri Woodberry wearing her wirework earrings

     Sheri Woodbury loves doing wirework and seed beading. She's now venturing out into soldering! She's very brave! I can't wait to see how that new skill adds to her designs. She also teaches classes at Pandoras Baubles and Beads. Her next offering is Sept. 19th. You can check out the class schedules on their website or on Facebook.




    Debbie Orme, of Deb's Designs, created this bracelet design and, oh, is it gorgeous! Debbie started working with rocks, stones and pearls. But, that all changed when, as she said, "I met those little pieces of glass that have slowly taken over my life and house. Now I'm hooked".  Debbie can be foumd at the Idaho Falls, ID Artisan's Market every Saturday and be contacted by e-mail.
     I am a few years older now and have hopefully matured a little.  Now, I love show and tell not primarily for sharing what I've been working on, but because of what everyone else brings! 
     The creativity, color, and interesting use of materials always surprises me. I come away such admiration for my fellow beaders and great appreciation to be in that group. One beader that always impresses me with her use of bold colors is Debra Kerns.
 

Debra Kerns bracelet with buttons from Lisa Stephens collection. So cute!
Debra Kerns bracelet
 
      Debra made this vibrant bracelet using two adorable buttons as closures.  She also created the polymer clay pieces in one of the photos above.
      The buttons she used are from Bohemian Beads & Buttons.  Lisa Stephens, co-owner, has a passion for buttons and a Coon Hounds nose for sniffing out the most beautiful vintage buttons around. Her collection is sought out at bead fairs all over the Northwest. Her next show will be in Salt lake City, Utah at the Southtowne Expo Center. The bead fair is on September 21st-23rd.
     Another artist and "rock hound", Sharon Nicklas just taught our group how to bezel around cabachons.

 
 
     Color by Nature, owned by Sharon Nicklas, specializes in Spencer Opal cutting and opal jewelry. She cuts and polishes each stone to perfection. Recently, she started incorporating seed bead bezels because of all of the colors that could be used to highlight her gorgeous stones. She can be reached by e-mail.
 
 

 


     If you are a beader, I hope you are a part of a group as fabulous as mine! Even though I moved away 2 years ago, I still try to attend as many meetings as I can. The 2 1/2 hour drive each way is worth spending time and learning from them. Through their encouragement, I have become more comfortable sharing my jewelry and asking for input from them. I can't say enough about them!  
     If you are not in a bead group, I encourage you to seek one out. A great place to begin is at your local bead store. If you live in the Boise, Idaho area, Bead Street is a great place to begin. The classes are cutting edge and fun! The bead selection is vast and Eileen's knowledge will help you get going.
     Blessings and happy beading!
  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

More Button Jewelry and Mental Gymnastics

     Just the other day, while stretching after a work out, I attempted doing the splits. In my very distant past, this was a common position that I could make my body do. As you can imagine, it wasn't a pretty sight. I'd imagined beautifully pointed toes and the perfect ballet arms swirling as I balanced so effortlessly on my perfectly straightened legs. One leg in the front and one in the back.  What I believe I ended up looking like was a Yak splayed out after slipping on a frozen lake in upper Mongolia. I might've even sounded like one when I tried getting myself out of my predicament. I'm so thankful no one was home to see how ridiculous I looked! My body just can't do what it could 10 years ago. I guess the same is true for my mind.
      Have you ever made a piece of jewelry but never took any pictures of it? I'm guilty of this. My problem is that I still believe my mind can remember, in vivid color, everything I've made! I silently say to my brain, "There's only 5 colors and two stitches I've used. That's easy to remember!" Unlike the reminder that physical pain brings when attempting the splits, my brain doesn't send out electrical shock to tell me, "Take pictures! You're middle aged brain won't remember a thing!"
     Fortunately, some of those pieces are owned by friends. So, my new camera got a good work out recently as I paid some visits to friends to take pictures of jewelry I made for them.

 
     Here is a necklace with a Czech button used as a focal. It's very vintage looking. Don't you think?


     This necklace has three lovely vintage buttons that look to have an asian motif. Thanks to Lisa Stephens for letting me play with her amazing buttons.

Blessings!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grandma's Button Box Necklace

     There are so many things one can do with buttons! It wasn't until a year and a half ago that I realized there was a vast world of button collectors out there. Mind you, they are not as flashy as Star Wars fans (think San Diego Comic-Con). Nor, as boisterous as the Shriners in a 4th of July parade. They are knowledgeable and passionate about buttons.
     Many vintage buttons are prized by collectors and can be worth hundreds of dollars.There are also fun and funky buttons that one can find in antique stores or in grandma's button box.  I've found some beautiful ones in my mother in-laws button box that have been used as clasps for necklaces and bracelets.  Lisa often gives me buttons to use as focal points in designs. Here is a necklace that I made for her. She and her husband, John, own Bohemian Beads & Buttons. You will find out more about them in upcoming posts.

 
 
     I used the patttern in the buttons as a starting point.  Para-wire in vintage bronze shaped into spirals, double spirals, and triangles help to unify the three differently patterned buttons.  Silver washers from the local hardware store as well as silver findings give it a little contrast. Czech beads, Labrodite gem stones and pearls soften the geometric lines.
    A fun and funky way to use those buttons that are just sitting in a box! Happy beading!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Month with Betty

     As you may have noticed, by my lack of communication, I've been absent for the past month. A very much appreciated relative, Betty, came to visit.
     When Betty comes to town, every other commitment is relegated to "in your dreams, sister" status. What Betty wants...well, she gets.  This past month, she received my entire family's undivided attention, loads of cash, the devotion of many employees at Sherwin Williams, Lowes, and the local gardening center. 
      Betty comes to town with a suitcase full of paint clothes, hair scrunchies, and some really slick tools. Her goal, in her words, "Let's getter done!"  Here she is on the house painting.


     Wait a minute...that person looks a lot like me! I guess I should come clean. I am "Betty".  She is one of my alter-egos.  She is a home improvement lunatic that shows up a few times a year. She believes that hiring out a job serioiusly cuts into her beading budget and must be avoided at all costs. Refinishing her hardwood floors might make her rethink that opinion.
     I have two other alter-egos that I rely on.  "Gladys" watches over the neighborhood. She pays special attention to the professional escape artists on the block (small pets that can squeeze through a quarter size hole in a fence). Her steely-eyed glare directed towards speeders is legendary.
      "Madge" graces us with her presence every Saturday morning.  Although my kids might not agree. The phrase "shock and awe" would probably be their opinion. "Madge" shows up with a white facial mask on. She wears a plastic grocery bag on her head so that the deep conditioner doesn't ooze out anywhere. The fragrant aroma of acetone lingers from her toes as she attempts to walk on her heels around the house. She's a real sight!
     Back to "Betty" for a minute.  In June, she planted 5 flower beds.

Two of the five flower beds before the big makeover

Hopefully Betty's hard work turns into proper cottage flower beds
Getting there!
Sparse, but a good start


    
     Three rooms were painted. That included the ceilings, trim, and doors. Betty is a bit unique when it comes to painting. She actually enjoys it! She has painted so much that recently, while perusing the new colors at Sherwin Williams, the store manager gave her a new t-shirt. Apparently, the one she was wearing was so stiff from paint splatters it could stand up on its own.
 
 
Shewrin Williams "Gris": beautiful, warm gray

Sherwin Williams "Online" The cabinet painted black and antiqued.

Sherwin Williams "Kilm Beige" It looks a little golden here but is a neutral beige.


  
   "Betty" painted some furniture, too!
Console and cubbies painted black and antiqued
    

     I know this blog is supposed to be about beading, not home renovations.  In the middle of all of this, I was inspired to create something more delicate.  It must have been a reaction to all the sanding, pounding, and digging last month. It's quite delicate looking.



     This bracelet has a sizeable cabachon surrounded by 3 mm Czech fire-polish beads .I like how lacy and feminine it turned out. It's very subtle, but intricate. There is a little shimmer to it, but not so much as to take anything away from the stone.


 


     After all the heavy labor of last month, this was the perfect, sweet ending!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brick Stitch Inspiration

     I never thought I would learn so much about myself when I began beading a few years ago. I suspect I'm not the only beader out there that has thought about this. It doesn't hurt that most beading projects, especially stitching, take hours to complete giving me time to process life.
     I'm not going to get all philosophical on ya'll.  I tend to think way too deeply naturally. What I've discovered about myself, is how motivated by food I am.  Many of my color choices have been made because I was craving something yummy. 
     Here is the perfect example.  I made this cuff before I saw the cover of last months Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.


      Look at this cake! I need a bucket for my drool and I haven't even mentioned delicate buttercream frosting surrounding moist, strawberry cake layers!  Be still my beating heart.


     This cuff was made using brick stitch with cylinder and round seed beads.  Czech fire-polish beads create the center to bead around and add a bit of fringe around the bracelet. If only it tasted as good as a gourmet four layered cake!
     This is such a fun design to experiment with color and texture.  Here are some other fun color combinations.  Triangles as well as 6/0, 11/0, 15/0, and cylinder beads were used in these cuffs.




Update: This pattern is now available in my ETSY shop  http://www.etsy.com/shop/PennyDixonDesigns .  Blessings and happy beading!
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