October Fest Celebration: Bumps in the Night

Rita of Toltec Jewels is hosting a blog and Facebook hop today to celebrate the splendor of Autumn – participants were encouraged to take up the challenge with jewelry, beads, home decor, recipes – all manner of creative pursuits will be on display.

I chose to celebrate the brilliant oranges, yellows and reds of Fall and pay homage to the ghosts, the goblins and  the thrills and chills of Halloween. My “Bumps in the Night” necklace is designed around three beaded beads. The central  geometric bead is from a pattern by the uber-talented Jean Power and the banded beads are from a tutorial by the wonderfully creative Sharri Moroshok. Most of the season-perfect yellow and orange supporting beads are from SueBeads.

Click on this link to see our host, Rita’s, offerings and links to the list of 40+ participants. Then join me on this delightful hop - I can’t think of a more inspiring way to celebrate the last week-end of October!


A Time to (St. Petersburg) Stitch

Thanks so much to Therese Frank and Christine Altmiller for sponsoring another blog hop, and for challenging us with right-angle weave and St. Petersburg chain. I’ve been wanting to learn St. Petersburg stitch forever, but just never set aside the time. When I saw their challenge pop up in my reader, I knew the time had come!

I also knew I wanted to make something casual. More than any other season, I tend toward a uniform in Fall – long-sleeve white tee, dark jeans, and a pair of Naots. If I have an outside meeting, I change into a white shirt and low heels, and can go from bead table to door in ten minutes! I needed an everyday accessory to brighten up my look, wherever I’m spending my day.

After watching a couple of online tutorials, it seemed that St. Petersburg stitch could be adapted to a wide range of beads for many different looks. After several experiments, I decided a single St. Petersburg chain stitched with 1.8mm cubes and a mix of 4mm firepolish beads would keep the look casual, while giving my necklace  a slightly chunky drape and enough visual weight for a bronze Saki pendant.

This stitch is easy to grasp after the first few rows, is really fun and relaxing to do, works up very quickly and I am so happy with the results! My necklace brings lots of color to crisp white, and looks great against dark colors – like this morning, when I left the house at 7:00 and threw on the other staple of my Fall wardrobe – my warm black cardigan.
Thanks again, Therese and Christine – I’ve already started a second St. Petersburg project, and may have found my new favorite stitch!
There are two dozen beaders who took up Therese and Christine’s challenge – click on the list below - you'll want to savor the work of each one.


Finally, a Keeper

The lesson on proportion in my Alchemy of Objects e-course sent me to my focal box for this pendant. Added to my collection nearly two years ago, I've designed (and discarded) many beadwoven straps for it -- at least half a dozen. I have ripped apart untold rows of netting, right angle weave and herringbone - never quite finding the right combination of beads and technique to complement the gorgeous pendant.

So, time to try something new. I realized the proportions were wrong in each of my previous attempts, both in color (I had previously used the focal's gold accent as my main color) and in size (I tried seed beads from 11's through 6's.) I now had the confidence to try a strung design.

For this challenge, I focused on the pendant's rich browns, choosing faceted smoky quartz nuggets and rounds. I used sterling silver accents to tie it all together visually, only hinting at the gold with my pearl strand. Finally! I think I have a keeper.


Mismatched Art Bead Earring Swap Reveal

Today is the reveal for the Mismatched Art Bead Earring Swap organized by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio. I jumped at the chance to participate in this swap because I personally love this trend. Mismatched earrings are so much fun, but every inch a challenge – much thought and skill go into designing a well-balanced pair that look like they belong together. My very creative partner, Kari Asbury of Hippie Chick Jewelry, did a fabulous job making a statement with the earrings she designed for me.

The challenge required that participants have a blog and use at least one art bead in each earring. Mine are just brimming! The polymer charm is by Martha Eason of Menagerie Studios, where you’ll also find some fantastic fleur-de-lis and crosses. The green lampwork bead and headpins are from Raida Disbrow of Havana Beads, an Etsy shop lush with the colors of fall. And the red ceramic bead is by super-talented artist, Nan Emmett, of Spirited Earth.

Now, head over to Kari’s blog where you can see the earrings I designed for her. Then check out the work of the other swap participants. I know I can’t wait to savor all the asymmetrical goodness!

Rana L. Wilson http://ranaleadesigns.blogspot.com/
Melissa Trudinger http://www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com


Focus on Texture

My focus this week was to highlight texture, both physical texture through my beads, and visual texture through color and contrast. It seemed only natural to choose a Gerhard Richter painting as my inspiration point, so I turned to this wintry forest scene, one of my favorites.

I already had pearls, crystals, daggers, wood and glass beads in the painting’s color palette.
A visit to a ribbon store produced the rosy cream-colored crystal and fiber shapes, which I discovered nestled in a display case with a collection of vintage buttons. The store owner explained that they were intended to be used as appliques to upcycle jean jackets.  I thought their six sides suggested snowflakes and knew I had found the perfect answer to my search for some softer texture.

My snowflakes were whisper light and would need some reinforcement before I could use them in my focal. In the photo below, the top snowflake shows the original back view of the appliques, two of which I backed in Lacy’s Stiff Stuff and upholstery-weight ultrasuede. I stitched the third snowflake to a starburst shape constructed with the daggers and right-angle weave.

A rivoli in the same shade as the snowflakes’ crystals connects the focal elements, which I hung from two strands of pearls in the painting’s darkest and lightest browns.  
It was so much fun working with texture. Up next week: Proportion!