Tuesday, 29 December 2009

It's snowing!

I spoke too soon Sam, as I type the nasty white stuff is falling outside. Kiddo is thrilled, me, not so much. I am legendarily unco-ordinated when there is slippery snow & ice around and once dislocated my shoulder when I fell in school. I think I'll stay in & give in to kiddo's demands to do some arts and crafts. I'm also in the process of setting up a shop on folksy, so I've got a lot to do for that.

Monday, 28 December 2009

The calm after Christmas.

Phew, Christmas with a five year old is very exciting but very tiring too! Santa brought everything my son wanted and a few extra too, where to put it all now, though? Some highlights of the day were Kiddo exclaiming that it was the best Christmas ever when opening his stocking before he had even seen the rest of his pressies and him singing an alternative version of jingle bells that had the line Uncle Billy lost his willie and didn't know what to say, at the table in the middle of Christmas lunch with my all his grandparents in attendance. My mother-in-laws face was a real picture!

Now that things have calmed down, I have actually been beading hooray! It'll be nice to get some new pics up on the blog soon.

If you are curious about what I look like there is a picture of me with the lovely Sam on her blog
http://themusingsofsamboy.blogspot.com/2009/12/party-pictures.html, I couldn't work out how to copy it here, bless me! Sam is about the only person I know in real life as well as blogland and she takes great photo's, check out her photography blog too!

Hope you all had a fab & peaceful holidays!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Belated Show Review.

I realised that I didn't really say much about the Welsh Bead Fair that I visited on 4th October and since I haven't taken any photo's for a while I thought I could break my blog silence with a quick post about it.

The Welsh Bead Fair was held at the Village Hotel in Cardiff and is run by Stitch n Craft Beads which is one of my favourite online bead stores. The show was smaller this year as there was a larger Fair being held in England on the same day & a lot of traders had obviously decided to go to that one instead.

There were about 15 stalls which included 3 great seed bead stalls; Stitch n Craft, Spellbound Beads and Oaktree Crafts, I bought from each of them of course, my favourites being some matte denim blue 11's from Oaktree, cranberry lustre 11's from Stitch n Craft and some lovely kits from Spellbound which I plan to blog about as they are completed. The lampworker Ray Skene was there and I bought a few beads from him, he was very nice to talk to and gave me a lovely leaf pendant for free with my purchases! There were various other stalls there including one showcasing knotwork, Wellhead books with an amazing selection, Anita's Beads and Precious Sparkle Beads which had wonderful semi-precious strands but I stayed away from there as I wanted to focus on the seedy side of beads. Another highlight was the Beadworkers Guild stand which had some lovely Saraguro style beadwork. I love the Saraguro collars that I have seen, in particular the ones designed by Chris Prussing and I plan to make one one day, maybe when I am retired, as they look like a serious amount of work!

While it was smaller than many other bead fairs, I still had a lot of fun and bought too much! I love the fact that it is so close to my birthday as it gives me a good excuse to treat myself!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Catch up!

Wow, a month has flown past since I last blogged! I don't have much work to show, but I have been very busy as it was my 40th birthday and I had lots of celebrations and lovely things to do! I went to the Welsh Bead Fair & bought far too many seed beads, I also had some beads for my birthday including a fab set of lampwork beads by Lush Beads from my lovely friends (you know who you are & I know you read this!) and Rachel Nelson Smiths fabulous book Seed Bead Fusion. I will share some photo's of my new goodies later this week.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Copper Rose Pendant.

I love Eastern art and architecture and was influenced by these when I was designing this pendant. I chose the pink to remind me of cherry blossoms and added copper.
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Monday, 14 September 2009

Flowers at Midnight.

I am still on my self-enforced bead ban and frantically trying to make space for the new goodies I intend to buy at the Welsh Beadfair on the 4th October. I have had these flower beads for a couple of years and wanted to make something a bit different and special with them. After flicking through lots of magazines for inspiration, I decided to string them in an asymmetrical bracelet with onyx briolettes, swarovski 4mm in jet ans some black crystal pearls.
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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Calypso Flowers

I wanted to try a totally different colour scheme for this piece. I used swarovski crystals in Caribbean opal and lime and a pumpkin orange delicas. The pattern is a favourite motif from Suzanne Cooper's Victorian and Variations. I'm glad I tried it but I don't think the colour combo is successful and won't be using it again. The great thing about beading is that you can frog it & use the beads in something else.
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Tuesday, 8 September 2009

South Western Strands.

This is a slight twist on the traditional brick and strands bracelet. I have added ladder stitch bars so that I could vary the length of the strands and have added a centre medallion which was made from instructions in Suzanne Coopers Victorian and Variations book. Turquoise and brown are a favourite colour combination of mine but I wanted this to look a bit different so, inspired by south western jewellery I added the red.
I love the vibrancy it brings to the other two colours.
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Monday, 7 September 2009

My Version Of A Slant On Bails.

Life is back to normal after the school holidays, so hopefully normal blog service will also resume. My son is happily back to school in year 1, apparently his new class is super-fun!

As I mentioned in my last post I decided to make my own version of Mary Champions A New Slant On Bails from the latest issue of Bead Style Magazine. So the next night I sat down once kiddo was in bed and hubby at the gym to work out how I was going to do it.
First of all, I decided to add spirals at each end of the wire instead of bead covers as I didn't have enough. For the bails I thought delica tubes with a loop would work and decided on crystal shadow twist beads and bicones and hematite seed beads and delicas for a monochrome look. I even drew a quick sketch with notes which I will do more often as it made the actual beading process more easier and quicker.

The delica bails worked well in the design I thought but I think that next time I would add some embellishments to make them more ornate. I enjoyed the process of translating the design into something I could make with what I had on hand and I really like the shape.

I have managed to keep to the bead buying ban but I will soon need to order some more findings.
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Friday, 14 August 2009

Holiday Necklace 2 & Making Do.

Here is the 2nd of my holiday necklaces. The shell beads were previously in another necklace which I cut up to reuse the components. I much prefer the new version.

I have been seed beading like mad but yet again have been far too lazy to take photographs. I have also been flicking through lots of my old beading mags and have sorted out a pile to get rid off just not sure what to do with them yet.

I got the latest Bead Style mag today, there are some interesting shapes that I plan to make up replacing some of the components with seed beaded ones, starting with Mary Champions A New Slant on Bails, which is a really great design, I'd love to make it as is but I don't have the required components so I'll have to try & make do with what I've got.

I don't know about you but despite the fact that I have loads of seed beads and a fair selection of accent beads I always want to buy new things and not use up what I already have. My bead box is starting to look like a personal tribute to consumerism. I have recently started watching a cookery show called Gastronomy Economy, at the end of the show, they whip up a three course meal for four by creatively using up ingredients in the cupboards and spending only 10 pounds to buy extras. I have decided to try using this philosophy in my beading for the next couple of months til the 4th October. I will buy findings & thread if I need them, but no more new beads til the Welsh Bead Fair. I know it's not a long time frame but hey it's a start and its my 40th Birthday on the 7th October, you wouldn't expect me to face that without brand new sparklies now would ya?;-)

So hopefully I can get inspired to use what I have to make some interesting new jewellery. In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I deliberately waited til after I'd ordered Marcia DeCosters new book to announce this new make do philosophy. So fingers crossed that I make it since I'm already off to a shaky start!
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Thursday, 30 July 2009

Loops and Ladders..

This is the 2nd loopy necklace I made last week and is from the pattern Luxury Loops and Ladders from the most recent Bead Magazine. I much preferred making this one to the other. It worked up very quickly and easily. I love the colours too.

My neighbour has expressed an interest in learning to bead and really liked the style of the Through the Loops collar which is why i beaded it, so that I could decide if it would be a good first project for her. I didn't think it would be the best first project so I tried this one, which I think is suitable for a total beginner.
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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Holiday Necklace 1.

I bought these beautiful hand made lamp work beads
from Julie Fountain at Lush Beads when I saw them at
the Chepstow Bead & Gem Fair earlier this year.

As my holiday wardrobe leaned heavily towards the turquoise
& blue range they were a natural choice along with some hematite, turquoise & aventurine for a nice simple lightweight necklace to slip into my suitcase. Along with the other 4 or 5 nice simple lightweight necklaces I just had to make:-)
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Monday, 27 July 2009

Through the loops

I am an avid collector of beading magazines, in fact I'm fast running out of space to keep them. I collect Bead & Button, Beadwork, Bead Unique, Step-by-Step Beads and Bead magazine.
Despite my huge collection, I don't very often make something from a current issue, I seem to keep them a while, ruminate on the projects and make something months after I have had the mag. This week has been an exception though. I got my B&B about 2 weeks ago & instantly wanted to the through the loops collar, I think this is for two reasons, 1. it reminds me of the simple lace collars that I made when I first started seed beading & 2. The materials needed were readily available, just 3 tubes of seed beads, sometimes it's hard to get hold of the more unusual supplies, here in the UK.

I like the finished result but I have to say I found the beadwork a bit fiddly and repetitive, this is not a fault of the instructions, which were excellent, it's just not a technique that I warmed too.
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Sunday, 26 July 2009

Summer, really?

The weather today has been dreadful. Lots of rain & grey skies so no photo's again. I hope it's nicer tomorrow, it's school holidays & kiddo has a friend coming over for the day and I was hoping to picnic in a local park. I admit that I do have a contingency plan which involves a dvd player, sweets and some scissor fun, these look like they will be lots of fun for a pair of five year olds, http://www.scissorcraft.com/masks.htm

While checking my e-mails I came across beading daily's earring swap. Although earrings are the item of jewellery that I wear most, I hardly ever make them. I think that this swap would be a great opportunity to stretch my earring design skills and also it would be great fun to receive a surprise in the post. I think I will sign up, is anyone else participating? Here's a link to the post

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Wow - the last month has flown by!

I knew I was overdue for a new post but I really didn't realise that it was a whole month since I had posted. I don't have much of an excuse except having been on holidays. The main reason I haven't posted is that I have been feeling too lazy to take photo's of my work. Things seem to have been very busy here and about the only time I have actually felt like taking phot's was really bad rain & the light was awful.

I do have quite a few things to photograph, apart from the gold shoes;->, I had a stringing extravaganza before my holiday and made quite a few necklaces to take, frankly I am amazed I was within my luggage allowance. I had a bit of a break from beading after hols but am back with a vengeance this week, I have been feeling very loopy! I have made through the loops from Bead and Button and loops and ladders from Bead magazine, photo's soon I promise.

Our holiday in Cyprus was wonderful! The hotel was in beautiful grounds & our veranda opened straight onto the beach, it was heaven! My son turned into a total water baby & his swimming improved hugely while we were there. We met up with my family and had a wonderful time, particularly on our weeding anniversary when they took us to a fantastic restaurant that grew all it's own veg and served organic homemade wine, the mezze was delicious and even my son tried some.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tag, I'm it.

I was very excited to see that Tantra flower has tagged me, it's my first one, so here goes. I'm not going to tag anyone else yet because I'm not sure who too choose, but I really wanted to post my answers.

Here are the rules:1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention & add one more question of your own.
2. Tag eight other people

What is your current obsession?
Entering online competitions, especially for shoes, handbags and make-up, what can I say, my shallow side runs pretty deep!

What are you wearing today?
A white top, multi coloured skirt, a studded wide belt & enormously high gold wedges. Plus yellow beads and gold circle earrings. Today was a work day.

What’s for dinner? - Ahem, I would decide to do this the one day hubby promised Kiddo he could have chips from the chippie wouldn't I? So very unhealthy cod & chips with lots of bread & butter for chip butties. Can't wait! We don't usually eat like this, honest! I would normally have a can of Coke with this, but I said on Tantra Flowers blog that I would try to give up the pop so I won't be having one today.

What’s the last thing you bought? The previously mentioned enormously high gold wedges, they are so pretty and much admired at work today, although one colleague did comment that I had an Imelda Marcos thing going with the shoes, I think she's just jealous that they are mine & not hers.

What are you listening to right now? Nothing, it's blissfully quiet, I am home on my own after a visit to the Osteopath so there is no tv, no banging of doors or cries of Mu-uum. Heavenly!

Which language do you want to learn? Japanese

What do you love most about where you currently live? It's a great location, near to a good schol & close to independent, grocers, butcher and bakers, there aren't that many around these days. It's within walking distance of the town centre & fairly short drives to beaches and beautiful countryside.

What is your favorite colour? Purple

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? My new gold wedges, are you seeing a pattern here?

Describe your personal style? Calmly chaotic.

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on? I'd use it it as spending money for my holiday in Cyprus next week. yay!

What are you going to do after this? Read a book with my son.

Your favorite smell? Fresh bread, mouthwatering!

Do you collect anything? Not really.

What makes you follow a blog? Lot's of things, in the case of bead blogs lot's of pretty pictures, other than that someone who shares other interests of mine such as meditation etc.

Do you like to comment on blogs or just lurk? I do like to comment when I can but often I feel a bit rushed so I don't. I should make more time for commenting.

What’s one thing you dream of doing? Visiting Japan, apart from the cherry blossom trees, the beautiful temples and art they have huge bead shops which I would love to go to.

What is your biggest regret? Listening to that little voice in my head that tells me I can't do something even before I try it.

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? Lounge on the sofa with my son watching a fun movie.

Do you have a tattoo? No, much to the dismay of my husband who has a lot of them. A few weeks ago my son came down to the kitchen saying very proudly "Mummy look what I drew" I turned expecting to see a beautiful picture of a house, tree, sun/whatever, to see that he had gotten a black marker pen & scrawled a pretty good copy of a celtic design up his forearm. Guess how happy I was about that.

Are you left handed, right handed, ambidextrous, or a little of both? Right-handed

Do you play an instrument? No, not any more. I played guitar when I was younger & would like to learn again.

The question I am adding is:

What song takes you instantly back to those carefree school days when all you worried about was whether you'd get away with the "interesting" modifications you made to your school uniform and whether the boy you liked already had a girlfriend? Mine is Rio by Duran Duran.

Hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about me & thanks to Tantra Flower for tagging me, it was fun!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Brick and Strands Bracelet.

The brick and strands bracelet is a pattern I saw on on about.com years and years ago when I first started beading. I never made one at the time but I wanted a quick and easy pattern and to use up some beads that were in my leftover's box. It worked up quite nicely and I have some ideas for variations too.
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Thursday, 28 May 2009

2nd Crystal Bracelet.

Here is the 2nd bracelet I made using the pattern from Bead & Button's Brilliant Crystal magazine. I used Dark blue pearls and hematite firepolish beads for this one. the band is such a lovely fit and great fun to make that I want to make another one but I think 2 is enough for now!
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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Crystal Bracelet.

I fell in love with this bracelet and the colour combination when I first saw it in Bead & Button's Brilliant Crystals magazine. I really enjoyed making the bracelet and the colours are great, I have made another one which I will post later.
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Monday, 25 May 2009

A Sight For Sore Eyes.

It's been a lovely Bank Holiday weekend here and me, my husband & son spent some time at the garden centre today looking for some new plants, we bought some bright orange & spiky magenta plants for one of our borders so hopefully in a few months I'll be posting a picture of a vibrant corner. In the meantime here is a picture of my gardens pride & joy, not many blooming just yet but if the last few years are anything to go by we've got a real treat in store. I'll take another photo when its in full bloom.
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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Forest Crystal Burst Ring

So like many of you out there I'm now completely in love with bezelling rivoli's. This ring is made using Laura McCabes Crystal Sunburst method. The surrounding crystals are some amazing jet abx2 crystals that my husband bought me as a surprise. The abx2 effect is beautiful, I can't get over how different the colours are in this finish. I am running out of Rivoli's so I'll have to try something else for a while until I get some more
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Friday, 22 May 2009

Rivoli Earrings.

In the pursuit of expanding my earring collection, I made these simple bezelled rivoli earrings using instructions from Laura McCabes book. I used steel grey delicas and galvanised silver size 15's. I like the simplicity of these but I think I will need to also have a pair of Crystal Burst earrings, after all a girl can never have too much sparkle!
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Monday, 11 May 2009

Crystal Blue Earrings.

Last night I sat down to watch the Da Vinci Code on TV. I didn't have a project ready to work on so I picked up the beads left over from the little black dress earrings and started playing with right angle weave. I tried using different sizes and created a lovely curve which I then joined together and strung on the earwire with strands of 3mm crystals.

I quite liked the film, it was diverting at least, I much preferred the book though.
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Sunday, 10 May 2009

Little Black Dress Earrings

Although I wear earrings almost everyday, I make very few of them. I thought it was about time I rectified the situation, so for the next few
weeks I am going to try & focus on expanding my earring collection, apart from the rings I am making as gifts of course.

These earrings are from a design called Little Black Dress Earrings by Marcia DeCoster published in Beadwork Magazine Dec/Jan. You can find a link to Marcia's blog on the right.

These earrings were a real delight to make! Relatively quick & easy and they use just a small amount of materials to great effect. These are for me, but I think they would make a wonderful gift for someone who loves earrings.
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Friday, 8 May 2009

Uh-oh! Been bead shopping

It's two of my friends birthdays soon and I will be making them some rings. I have to be careful not to say too much because they sometimes read this blog. I went online to pick up the supplies but of course I bought more stuff for myself too! Not too much but enough to feel a bit guilty! I bought myself the supplies to make the X's & O's bracelet from Brilliant Crystal Jewellery in the same colours as the middle bracelet pictured on p22. I don't usually follow colour combo's exactly but I really love this one, can't wait to make it!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Serengeti Ring

Here is a ring I made using Phyliss Dintefass's
pattern published in the most recent Beadwork
magazine. It is an interesting technique which I
enjoyed making but I didn't like the colour combo
enough to make another for an earring. It makes
a nice big ring though.
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Monday, 4 May 2009

Red Daggers Necklace.

The inspiration for this necklace was the Beadalon Daggers necklace that I mentioned in an earlier post. Mine is slightly different, the pale grey triangles are 2 drop brick stitch with matte grey ab delica's with large red glass drops, the dark grey triangles are made with size 11
hex seed beads in single drop brick stitch. The necklace strap is peyote. It was a fun necklace to make and it drapes very nicely
around the neck.
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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Dutch Spiral Version 2

I loved doing the dutch spiral so much that as soon as I had completed Safari, I tried another version. I'm quite into beadwork on neckwire's
at the moment so I made a shorter version using purple, grey and white ab seed beads and accented it with a silver crystal shadow square ring. I love it but if I'm honest, it doesn't
really suit me so this will probably be going in my present bag. I have a nice collection of beaded items all ready made up stored in a nice gift bag that I dip into for birthday presents.

I haven't blogged much the last few weeks as I have been pretty busy, going away, searching for holidays online & various other things. I haven't done a lot of beading either as I have been reading instead. I read a great book called PopCo by Scarlett Thomas, it was a really interesting read and quite fun too, I have another of hers to read which I am looking forward too, The End of Mr Y.
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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Safari Dutch Spiral Necklace

I have never taken much notice of the Dutch Spiral Stitch but after seeing Belinda's amazing Necklace Symphonie de Tulipes I really wanted to try it out. I also decided to break out of my usual colour combinations and was inspired to use this scheme of greens and oranges after taking this photo at Longleat Safari Park last week. I used 2 colours of green size 8's, Topaz 4mm crystals and orange size 15's. I graduated the size of the loops towards the front. I will be making something else with this stitch, there are so many possibilities! Thank you to Belinda for introducing me to it!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Some links to free projects.

My beading mojo seems to be taking an Easter break this weekend, I have started a few projects but nothing looked good, what with that & running out of beads for my green & magenta flower necklace and this peyote tube necklace, I felt the need to trawl the net for some inspiration. I found a lot of free projects,some I had seen before and some new to me. Since I don't have a new project to share, I thought I would share some of the projects that I have added to my beading to do list instead.
Beadalon Free Projects
There are lots of great free designs on this website, but these are the ones I think I will actually make;
http://www.beadalon.com/argyle.asp A necklace featuring beaded cube beads, designed by Nicole Schlinger
http://www.beadalon.com/daggers.asp Another necklace by Nicole Schlinger, this one has 2 drop triangles as the main element & looks really fun to make & wear.
http://www.beadalon.com/sparkleflower.asp A departure for me, these wirework earrings by Meredith Roddy caught my eye when they were featured in magazine adverts a while ago.
Beaded Bead Projects
I love beaded beads. The 1st ones I ever made were the spinning top beads from Florence & Gwen at Bead Infinitum and I still make them, they are quick, easy & extremely versatile. If I am stuck for a special last minute gift idea, I invariably use some swarovski crystal pearls for a few of these and then string them with more pearls and 4mm crystal bicones for a bit of sparkle. unfortunately I don't have any pics as they are usually out of the door as soon as I make them. I really must make one for myself.
I found a few other links to some beaded beads that I would like to try as well;
Janie Warnick's Versatile Bead
Cathy Lampole Perla Perle Beaded Beads
I hope you enjoy the links, I'm off to gather supplies for the dagger necklace.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Mardi Gras Bracelet.

Like many of you I'm sure, I have a large collection of beads leftover from other projects. They have been staring at me reproachfully every time I open my bead box. Last week I came across a large packet of headpins and decided to do something about them. I made a lot of wrapped loop dangles and threaded them onto the beading wire in colour groups with some large green firepolish beads to create some resting places for the eyes. I wore it today to Easter lunch with my family, it is fun to wear and great to know that I have made something pretty with leftovers.
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Saturday, 11 April 2009

Fringe Bracelet

I seem to have a bit of a crush on the purple/pink colour combination, shock horror, how girly! Could I finally be getting over the brown & turquoise that is usually my staple? This bracelet is made with the fringe technique & delicas & drop pearls. Another quick & easy project to appease my instant gratification demands!
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Friday, 10 April 2009

Simplicity Ring

The easiest ring ever! A peyote band with a swarovski square pendant attached. This just took an hour or so while watching tv. The turquoise seeds are miyuki 11's and the square is bermuda blue. I am looking forward to wearing it, I love big rings!
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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Taking shape.

A 2nd photo of this piece, I bezelled 7 8mm swarovski pearls, attached them on to brick stitch triangles and sewed the triangles to form a flower shape. It was a fairly labour intensive task, I'm quite proud of myself as I have recently become fairly lazy & focused on instant gratification projects in my beading. I am hoping to change that though as I would like to improve my skills and take a step up. I am hoping that committing to this multi-component piece will help me move towards that goal. I have hit a stop at the moment as the green 11's which I bought to make a rope really don't look good with the green in the flower and I only noticed in natural light at home. I have to buy more of the delica's and that way I'll be sure that the base of the necklace and the other bits work well together. In the meantime I am back to the instant gratification projects!
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