Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Woven and Wrapped Bracelet - Free Tutorial!

I've gotten such great feedback from my Looking Glass Pendant Tutorial and I've really enjoyed looking at all the great versions of that design that you all have created. It's nice to see you really running with it and making it your own.
So, to keep with the inspiration, I wanted to give you another free tutorial. This time a bracelet!
The one is easy peasy and recycled!

I created the Indigo version you see in this photo as a gift for my sister for Christmas.
It worked up so quick and looked so good that I knew I wanted to make one for myself, so this time around, I photographed the steps to share with you!
I hope you enjoy!

To create this bangle, you will need to know how to do Peyote Stitch and you'll need to know how to zip up a Peyote tube.

- A hank of Color Infusions Memory Thread in color of your choice (I bought mine back when everyone was buying this stuff, I'm so glad to finally get to use it!)
- A metal bangle (This one is one of those cheapos that I've had forever so don't feel like you have to go out and buy one, hence the upcycling! Make sure the width is around 5mm so that you can cover it completely with one hank of the thread)
- 3 different colors of size 11 Japanese seed beads.
- Nymo Thread (or Fireline)
- E6000 craft glue (or similar strong craft glue).
- Size 12 beading needle
- Scissors


1. Put a pea size amount of glue on the inside of the bangle. Wrap the thread around the dab of glue a couple of times. (Tip: keep the thread on the shuttle and pass the entire shuttle through the bangle as you work to avoid knots.)

2. Make sure your wraps are tight and close together. You will have glue seeping out between the cracks, don't worry about it, just wipe away the excess with your fingers (yes, this is a messy job).

3. Keep on wrappin!

4. Yep....still wrapping...

5. Whew...getting closer....

6. Light at the end of the tunnel!

7. When you have about 1/4" remaining, add another drop of glue. (Again, messy but don't worry, we will hide this later!)

8. When you come to where your thread meets the thread where you started, snip the thread leaving 3 or 4mm.

9. You may need to snip a little more, but use your fingers to press the remaining thread down against the bangle until it is as flush as you can get it and then wipe away the remaining glue.

10. Set the bangle aside, the glue will dry while you work on your peyote tube. Get out your beading needle, thread and beads. I've chosen a yellow mustard color, a lime green and a matte frosted sienna.

11. String on an EVEN number of beads in a random color pattern. I did 30 beads for the Maize bracelet and 20 for the Indigo. It really depends if you want a small strip of color, or a large, but just remember that you will use this to cover your gluey thread connection, so make it large enough to hide that.

12. Work in Peyote stitch, after you've threaded your beads, thread one more and pass through the second to the last bead that you just added. String another bead, skip one and pass through the next. Continue working peyote in this manner.
If you've never done peyote, fear not....found you a great video here.

13. Keep working in peyote. If it starts to curve, don't fret, just keep working, trying to choose beads that are the same size as you work.

14. The strip will eventually pull itself straight as you work.

15. Check your piece as you work to see that it will wrap around your bangle and also that it will zip up. To determine this, count the beads along the width of your strip, they should be an even number in order for the strip to zip up.

16. Wrap the piece around the inside of the bangle and over the glue connection that you made.

17. Here's a better photo:

18. Begin zipping up your peyote tube. This means that you will not add any beads, but use those from both rows to lock them together.
Check out this really clear tutorial here for further instructions.

19. When you have finished, knot the threads together. I always go back down through the thread path that I just went through again to reinforce the join. Weave the tail thread and the working thread into the beadwork, knot two or three times and trim the threads.

You're done!

This project is only limited by your imagination.

Try a few variations:
- Mix up the color scheme. Use a contrasting thread with contrasting beads.
- Create two or three peyote tubes and wrap them around different sides of the bangle.
- Try a bigger bangle and use more thread. You'll probably have two gluey connections, but make two peyote strips to hide them.
- Make a few bangles in coordinating color schemes and wear them all or one at a time.
-Create a peyote tube with a chevron pattern for a funky tribal flavor.

These make great gifts. They're easy to wear and easy to make and the best part is the price.
I'm sure I didn't pay more than about $5 for the materials, and the results are well worth the time and effort.
I hope you enjoy creating these bangles and if you finish one, I'd love to see your version, so send a photo my way!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Artisan Clay Design Team Reveal

First off, I'd like to thank all of you for your sweet comments on my previous post, your encouraging words were so kind.

These past few weeks have been a real struggle for me because I've been feeling bad on and off and I know I'm still not 100%. Yesterday was one of those days, I tried to do too much too fast and ultimately ended up feeling sick again.

I wasn't able to finish my piece that Kristie sent me, so I'm showing you the components that I pulled together.
I created this little embroidered drop to hang from the bottom of the pendant and pulled together lots of green jade to compliment the colors of the pendant Kristie sent.

Hopefully, if I'm feeling better this evening I can sit down and finish up the necklace to show you over the weekend.
In the meantime,
I hope you'll follow the links below to see what everyone else created this month with Kristie's awesome pieces.
(I know the links aren't the inlinkz, but I never can get the HTML code to work!)


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Feelin' Much Better...

I'm still not 100% and I feel like I've lost half of January, but I'm definitely getting better and I've got a few new pieces to show you!
I didn't feel like doing much while I was sick and actually two of these pieces were created before I got sick. The first is a long embroidered pendant that I've woven into the shape of a flower.
The stones are deep green jade and I've surrounded it with my favorite mustard/burnt sienna color combo.

I've hung it from some pretty long chain for a little drama.
I've listed it in my shop if you'd like to see some more pics.
You can find it here:

This next one has a Morrocan vibe.
I've used this gorgeous vintage lucite navette in a marquis shape and surrounded it with lime green faceted glass and deep cobalt blue seed beads with flashes of bright gold.

I added some transparent czech leaves for a little added architectural shape and I also really like the transparency of the leaves and I think they really add a depth of color.
I've also put it in the shop here:

This one was inspired by this tiny little sleeping fox bead that I purchased from Rebekah Payne.
I wanted to create a really textural pendant and I used this gorgeous piece of Birdseye Rhyolite with these great colors running through it and accented it leopardskin Jasper and Mookaite.

Here's an up-close of this cute little fox!

I also created a beaded chain for this one which is very unlike me, but I felt it needed the added bit of drama. This one is also in the shop here:

Last but not least is a really large and chunky piece that I created for myself.
The center medallion is a tooled leather mandala in this gorgeous universe in a flower design.
I purchased the mandala from another artist (I have not taken up leather-tooling in case you were wondering).

It didn't need much, but I did want to add seed beads to it (I'll add seed beads to pretty much anything).

I created this halo of seed beads using a combination of brick stitch and peyote.
I really, really like the finished piece, and this one is mine (sorry!).

I still haven't decided what to do about the fashion blog hop.
I'll let you know by the end of the week.
I'm still working on feeling good and I need to get my bead soup out to my partner (yikes!).
Have a great Wednesday and stay healthy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm out...

I've caught some kind of stomach bug that's been hanging around for a while. The nausea has me pretty much down and I don't feel like doing anything.
So, until it's gone...I'm out...I'll let you know soon about the Fashion Blog Hop, but right now, it's not looking good. ;(
I hope you guys are a bit healthier than I am!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fashion Inspiration Blog Hop: Baby, It's Cold Outside

If you've been around for a while, you'll remember Margie and Me, my monthly challenge to myself to stretch my color comfort zone and create outside of what I would consider my "norm" when it comes to color combos. Well, after a few months it turned into a shared challenge and I enjoyed seeing the cool creations coming from the fresh fingers of the artists who stopped by to create with me.

Well, for 2012, I've decided to bring back the color inspiration and this time instead of focusing just on color, we're going to focus on creating accessories for a whole outfit (a la Project Accessory).
I do this all the time, especially when gift giving, I'll purchase a sweater or top to give and create a stunner of a bracelet/necklace/ring to go with it.

I'm calling this one Fashion Inspiration Blog Hop and I'm calling in the likes of Roberto Cavalli, Christian Dior, Gucci, and Emilio Pucci to help me out (not that they'll actually show up, but ya' never know...)

Here's the idea:
Every month, I'll pick two outfits from two different designers.
I'll try to stick to a theme (probably seasonally appropriate) but choose drastically different color combos so you'll have some wiggle room (just in case one of the combos is in your comfortable color zone).

You'll have four weeks to create a piece (necklace, bracelet, ring, hair accessory, you choose) to go with the outfit you've chosen.
You can choose to create for one outfit, or both!

At the end of the month we'll do a little hop to see what everyone has created and what inspired you to make what you did.

I want this one to be a little more than a color challenge.
I want you to look at the outfits and think about overall design.
Does it need to be soft and romantic or abstract and modern?
What would you add to the outfit if you were wearing it?
(Now, obviously, these are world class designers, and we aren't, but use your imagination and let the creativity flow!)

Here are the designs for this month and the theme (I wanted to go with something that reflected the cold winter weather): 
Baby, It's Cold Outside

Christian Dior
Fall 2011

Sonia Rykiel
Fall 2011

Two very different looks, but both designed for cooler weather and with some sassy color combos.
One a little more casual, perhaps a "day" look while the other is a little more upscale, a fun and funky party dress.

Here are the rules:
-If you want to play along, leave me a note in the comments with a link to your blog.
-Deadline for design is February 5th. Post a pic of your creation on that day.
-On February 4th, I'll post the list of everyone who is playing along so we can all link back and see what everyone has created!

I do hope you'll join me.
Margie and Me was such a wonderful challenge and I loved the things that I created as a result and I know many of the participants did as well.
If you have any questions, leave those in the comments as well.
Good luck and I can't wait to see what we all create!

*All photos were obtained from the New York Times Fashion Runway Slideshow.