Fringe Earrings

I wore these earrings to one of the corporate events on my recent trip to Florida, and received so many compliments, I decided to share them with you. At a recent stop at a local boutique, I saw a similar pair, and thought – how clever, fringe as earrings! So I stitched up a pair to match a bezeled stone necklace I was planning to wear to the meeting. I love the necklace, and think it’s one of the nicest beaded pieces I own, so imagine my surprise when the earrings got all the compliments!

When I was looking up fringe ideas, I came across a Russian technique called coraling. Aren't these elegant? They're going on my list of ideas for my show in November. Wouldn’t they be the perfect dangles for the holidays!


Off to Palm Beach!

Why is it that no matter how early you start preparing, there are always a hundred things left on your list the day before you leave for vacation? I checked off the last accessory this morning.

The first night of our meeting in Palm Beach, everyone is asked to wear a white top and khaki or white slacks or skirts for a Havana-themed dinner. While lots of women consider it a wardrobe staple, I’ve never been a khaki girl, so I had to go shopping. I found a great khaki and white skirt that paired well with a white summer-weight sweater already in my closet. The sweater is trimmed with gold buttons, so I was tempted to add a little drama with a new pair of gladiator sandals (they’re so cute)! Instead, I opted to add a little shimmer with a necklace of Zulugrass strands (natural grass beads made by Maasai women in Kenya) and made use of my new right angle weave skills to finish my look with this earring. It’s an adaptation of Carol Cypher’s Fashion Magazine earrings from Mastering Beadwork. (Yes, there’s only one!) I’ll have to whip up a second one on the plane. Still have 99 things to check off that list!


Shades of Green

While visiting Indianapolis earlier this month, I noticed my granddaughter, Delaney, was sporting newly pierced ears. With her upcoming birthday in mind, I asked about her favorite colors. Orange and green. Seemed like an easy combination until I pulled out my bead stash when I got home and realized I hadn’t inquired what shade of green. Jade, emerald, sage, forest, teal, celery, lime, khaki, kelly, olive, or my all-time favorite crayon color, sea green?

After a few minutes on Google images, I had my direction:

Johnny Depp never fails to inspire! I chose an earthier pairing of colors for the earrings on the left and Alice’s spring-garden-inspired colors, wire wrapped in brass and silver, for the second pair.

Happy birthday, Delaney!


Revisiting Right Angle Weave

My constant companion, when I first began beadweaving, was Carol Cypher’s Mastering Beadwork. If my bead tray was on the table, it was beside it for quick reference. When my granddaughter, Bethany, visited last summer, she asked me to make a bracelet for her – in the colors of Mastering Beadwork’s cover.

I decided on a simple right angle weave bangle, finished with a magnetic clasp for an easy-on, easy-off accessory, and set off to my local bead stores, Carol’s book in hand, to gather 3mm beads in the reds, greens, browns and oranges of the ruffled collar featured on the front. One of the owners watched me holding strands up to the book and asked about my project. She loved the colors and extracted my promise to return to her store and show her the finished bracelet before I mailed it off. She admired it enough to photograph the bracelet on the spot and post it on her bulletin board. (Whenever I stop by she mentions the bracelet is still one of her most requested classes!)

While visiting Bethany in Kentucky last week, she asked me to shorten the bracelet a bit. Marcia DeCoster has an excellent tutorial in her book, Beaded Opulence, on shortening and cutting a piece of right angle weave. But when I examined the bracelet, I saw a few broken threads and decided to reweave it instead of trimming it. I’d woven the bracelet in 2-needle RAW, and was looking for an opportunity to learn the single-needle technique.

Although I really enjoy the cross-stitching that is integral to 2-needle RAW, I learned some valuable lessons exploring the single-needle method. First, I understand the properties of the stitch much better after working the bracelet in the single-needle variation. Adding subsequent rows was more intuitive with single-needle, and my stitches are much tighter. (This may just be the result of more beading experience, though.) I love both techniques! I think in the future, I’ll use the 2-needle method for flat, supple pieces and the single-needle method for more structured, dimensional projects.


Back to the Beading Table

I just returned from a 10-day vacation, managing only about an hour of beading on the road, and no blogging, obviously! I was having too much fun catching up with children, grandchildren, and lots of Indiana and Kentucky relatives, including an afternoon with my sister, Janet, planning our trunk show for November. I’ll bring my jewelry and my amazingly talented sister will sell her one-of-a-kind handmade cards and knitted scarves. And, oh, her scarves! Working our way through her boxes of inventory made me want to brighten up my own skills with a tapered stick and a ball of wool! She gifted this one to me, after a shameless plug that my birthday was coming up!

This scarf is a touch of heaven in silk and suede, lightweight and soft, with a generous fringe – the best part of any scarf, in my opinion. Luscious textures and colors. I love that all her scarves give warmth, but aren’t itchy, so I can wear them next to my skin. It’s nice and long, so I can wrap it in a lot of ways, or I could easily add a beaded pin or broach for a bold look. If only it wasn’t 95 degrees today, I’d wrap it around my neck right now!

After 10 days away, it's good to be home...and back to the beading table!