Monday, November 05, 2007

new beadwork

This is how my sea dragon necklace turned out. I used a teal AB bead for the core of the spiral. The loops are black with a copper triangle center. I really like the way it looks. The lampwork pendant is by Jeff Welsh. I love his work.
The next two bracelets are from a pattern in the April, 2006 Bead and Button magazine. It is a fun cuff to make and fun to wear. I always receive compliments when I wear one of them. The copper one goes well with my sea dragon.

I have also been working on my Bead Journal projects. September was finished weeks ago, but I am having trouble getting a good picture of it. October is underway and November is still in the planning stages. The pages are fun to work on, but they do seem to take time away from working on other beading. Several of the beautiful Swarovski raviolis. I love looking at them, but really need to do something with them.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sea Dragon loves Sparklies

My sister has a birthday this month and I wanted to give her something special. Jeff Welsh makes beautiful lampwork pendants including this great sea dragon. Big sis loves dragons and the ocean, so the sea dragon is perfect for her. I made a simple necklace using the basic spiral stitch. Dragons love sparkly things so there are 3mm indicolite Swarovski crystals in the spiral. The two inch long sections of spirals are separated by 6 mm indicolite and 4mm black diamond Swarovski crystals. Now I just need to get him in a box and in the mail to her.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sailing the Seven Seas

Sailing the Seven Seas was a longer journey than I anticipated. I love water whether it is in puddles, swimming pools, rivers, lakes or oceans, so exploring the Seven Seas is a natural choice for a page. It is my August page of the BJP.

Once again seven being considered a special or spiritual number is behind the designation of Seven Seas. It was hard to find a definitive original seven seas. One reference on the history of the Seven Seas said that all seven could be found in the Mediterranean. I guess the identity of the Seven Seas depended upon the sailor and the waters in which she sailed. The Seven Seas of the modern age include the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian, Antarctic, and Arctic Oceans.

Another important seven in my life that relates to water is my 23 foot sailboat, a Beneteau First 235. All boats produced in the US will have a hull identification number molded into the fiberglass on the stern of the boat. Among other things, this identifies the boat’s manufacture, date of manufacture, and the serial number of the hull. The identification number on my boat says it was the seventh Benteau First 235 made in the US. Naturally, it had to be included in my page on the Seven Seas. If you want to see a real Beneteau First 235 visit here

As for the rest of the page, I have no idea why I chose to show the seas at night. Perhaps it is the longing to be on the ocean at midnight with the stars stretching out from horizon to horizon. Dolphins have always been portrayed as a sailor’s friend, so it they had to come along for the journey.

This was a fun page even if it did take longer than I though it should. Tearing out lots of beads several times slowed me down a great deal. I tried once to ignore the desire to rip out lines of beads because they were going I the wrong direction. That resulted in having to tear out more beads than I would have had I just gone with my first thoughts. I know what my September page of seven is going to be and it will continue the theme of water.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Meet Sky, Cody's little sister.

She will be 2 years old this fall. Her hobbies include chasing her ball, herding Cody, chasing her ball, stealing Cody's toys, chasing her ball, getting belly rubs. She has asked for a herd of sheep to keep in line.

Sky is a wonderful mix of dog breeds including Australian Shepard. We really don't have a clue as to what breeds make up Sky, but she does have a strong herding instinct. She is smaller than Cody and weighs in around 50 pounds. Her markings resemble a German Shepard and we often refer to her as a "Carolina Shepard".

In the picture you can see the dull gray color of the grass. There were 14 days in August that the temperatures reach 100 F or above. It was easier to let the grass go into a drought dormancy than try to keep it watered. I did keep my container flowers watered in hopes of fall blooms.

This is one dahlia that managed to bloom during the one of the hottest days.

We have had several thunder storms roam through the last few days bringing relief with rain and cooler temperatures. The one yesterday afternoon brought a downpour with small hail and lots of lightning. The cable modem was off line from yesterday until this morning.

I caught this little guy searching for dinner on a Marigold.

I have a great picture of a garter snake, but I know many people do not like snakes. I won't post the picture here, but here is the link that takes you to a picture of him.

I'm working on my August BJP. Keeping with my theme of Seven, it is about the Seven Seas. Once again the idea that 'seven' is a magical or spiritual number is a major factor behind the 'Seven Seas'. Just which seas make up the magical seven depends upon the time in history as well as the location.

More about the seven seas in a few days.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More lessons learned, more to learn

July’s BJP provided several interesting lessons for me. Some I learned better than others. I think it is finished but then again it may not be. I still want to do something in the sky, but I am not sure anything more is needed. That seems to be a sign to stop.

My first page was completely covered in beads. This one I chose fabric to be part of the design. I used clear beads with colored thread for the seven colors of the rainbow. Cody had his seventh birthday in the seventh month of the seventh year of the 21st century. Cody is an all black dog. It was difficult to show any real detail with beads. I used matt black beads to outline him and to line a few details as his mouth and the curve of his back leg. He has a silver lined brown bead for his eye. His ears are two layers of beads. His favorite red ball is at his feet. He is looking up at the Rainbow bridge where all of his furry friends are waiting. I wanted to represent some of the wonderful dogs and cats I know waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. I just could not figure out a good way to do it. I still have a few ideas that might work out, but for now I am moving on to August.

I thought you might like to see how Cody deals with summer heat. We have a wading pool in the backyard. He likes to step in get a drink and then lay down. He will stick his muzzle under water and blow bubbles with his nose. He has asked Santa for a full sized pool.

Here is a close up of Cody blowing bubbles. Just as it is not easy to bead an all black dog, getting a good picture of one is hard, too.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Among my flowers

This time of year there are many baby green anoles cruising my garden.

I love watching the little lizards scrambling among the leaves looking for little bugs to snack on. The little ones seem to get used to me taking their picture. If I am lucky enough to find them two days in a row, they will stay in the open for longer periods of time.

That is a big help because I am not the fastest or best photographer around. Many times I get the little guy in the frame, focused and then as I slowly press the shutter button, they zoom away.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Somewhere over the Rainbow

My BJP theme is sevens. With July being the seventh month, there were many possible directions to go with this. I chose my male lab/golden retriever mix Cody to be one of the main elements. Cody was born in July of 2000. As of the seventh month of 2007 he is now 7 years old. That would be a great representation of seven, but there is more to this month’s page.

Traditionally a rainbow is considered to have seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, Indigo, and violet. Rainbows mean different things to each person. They are very special to me because they remind me of the wonderful pets that have shared my life and are now waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. If you haven’t heard of the Rainbow Bridge, you can read the whole story here. I warn you it might bring a tear to your eye as it does mine every time I read it. I also found a nice Flash presentation of the story here (this one is not good on slow connections). Steve & Diane Bodofsky have rewritten the story into a true poem format here. I’m not sure, but I think I like the original better.

I added the rainbow to my July page as a tribute to all the wonderful furry friends that have been in my life and are now waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. Cody is watching the rainbow because he has a couple of very good furry friends waiting there for him. I'll tell you about them another day.

To make the rainbow I used clear size 11 seed beads strung with embroidery floss. I was afraid that I would not be able to find the perfect colors for the rainbow all in the same size of beads. The embroidery floss has the right colors. I used two strands of the six strand floss and backstitched two beads on at a time. After the row was finished, I used a thinner needle with one thread of floss and went back through the whole row to add more color and to smooth out the row. I had to use the thinner needle because the beads were already pretty full of thread. I really like how the rainbow looks. The picture is farther down.

The next element of my page is turning out to be much more difficult than I first thought. That could be because I really wasn’t thinking of how to do it, but how it should look. Cody is a black dog with a black nose and dark brown eyes.

This is the first picture I used to get an outline of Cody on black felt. I even cut out a extra pair of little front legs out to add dimension to him just as I had saw on the blog of The Lone Beader. I have to confess that she is someone I greatly admire. I follow her different bead projects on her blog which you can get to by clicking here. She is so talented.

You are probably way ahead of me by now. There is no easy way to show the details of a black on black on black dog with black beads on felt. Even using extra pieces of felt to add dimension weren’t going to make that pose of Cody work. Isn’t if funny how the mind plays little tricks and makes you see what really isn‘t there? After many lousy sketches, I finally settled on a side view of Cody sitting with his head looking up just a bit. Now I have an outline that looks like a dog and I am hoping the lines of the beads inside the dog will add enough detail to make this work. I still don’t know how I am going to get his eyes to show up. I may need to use the clear beads with white thread.

Below is what I have at this point. A beaded rainbow and a felt dog.

Actually I have started beading the dog but don’t have a newer picture. Every two beads goes on after much thought and with care. I have never beaded this slowly, nor I have ever been pushed this far out of my comfort zone. I want to add more to the page, but that will have to wait until Cody is finished. Right now I can’t seem to plan past the next two black beads.

Thank you to all who commented on my work. It is so exciting to read them and know others are looking at my work. I also enjoy looking at everyone else’s work and reading about the projects. Thank you to all who share the techniques they are using. I am learning so much. Even describing simple things teach me so much.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

June Page is Finished---finally

I had a feeling that using a 7 by 7 inch square for my BJP page was going to require lots of beads and lots of tiny stitches to cover the whole thing in beads. It did. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the back. This is the first time I have tried using beads in this way. It is a very textural piece and I like that. I can close my eyes and "walk" the labyrinth with my finger by using the stepping stones to find the entrance and the beaded walls to keep me on the path.

I surrounded the labyrinth with the things that I would want around my own labyrinth if I was lucky enough to have one. The sound of moving water is soothing, so a near by stream would be perfect. I love flowers and would want them close at hand. I also hate shoes and would want the whole area covered in soft grass or moss so I could walk barefoot.

There is a whole list of things I could have done differently. The colors are what I like the least. I used the same colored beads for the labyrinth path as the area that surrounds it. The main difference between the two areas is the texture created by the stitches.

I read on another's BJP blog that they were unhappy with parts of their page and had planned to put it away for a bit. I think that is a good idea.

July's page is not going to be all beads! I want to try the other techniques I have seen so many beautiful projects. The main theme of July has developed to be the dogs in my life.

How does this relate to a study of seven? Cody is the black lab (actually he is a lab/golden retriever mix) in this picture. He was born in July of 2000. So he is 7 years old in the 7th month of 2007. The other dog is named Sky and is a mixed breed with some Australian Shepard. She has their short tail and wonderful energy. She also keeps asking for a flock of sheep to herd., but happily herds Cody and balls.

There is more to the July page. I want to work with the fabric and beads and see what happens. More of this page will be posted as it develops.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Still following the path

I really like the way the labyrinth is turning out. I find myself moving my finger along the path. The carpet of beads that cover the path have a nice texture and the walls are still higher than the path so it is easy to stay between them. I have a feeling I may have to finish this in such a way I can keep it on my desk. That way I can “walk” the labyrinth even though I don’t have a full size one. Once the page is finished I will take a proper picture instead of just scanning it.

A mixture of greens, gold and brown seed beads are used in the pathway. I’m not sure what I am going to do with the rest of the square. Everyone says is that their beads tell them what to do. I am hoping mine speak up soon. I do have some flat, round black beads in the stash that will make nice stepping stones leading to the entrance. There is a lot of fabric to cover with beads, but the work goes faster than I thought it would. I do have a small sample square that I have tried various stitches on before working on the actual square. I have never used beads this way and am learning as I go. I am also leaning so much by looking at everyone’s blogs. I am already thinking of the July project and have an idea forming.

A seven circuit labyrinth is not difficult to draw. Begin with a cross in the center. Hmmm actually it would be better to look here for the directions as they are nicely drawn out. Try drawing one of your own, it is easy. There are many other types of labyrinths. This is a good place to see some of them. If you want to read more about the history of labyrinths, check out this page. Want to read more?

I really appreciate all the comments that have been left. I love looking at everyone's work and the different blogs. It's fun how this project has lead many of us to venture into the area of blogging, while others have been doing it for a long time. The blog is another step outside of my comfort zone. Sharing my progress, ideas, and thoughts with others is a bit scary. I am old enough to still think of the world wide web as mysterious, wondrous, and magical. It is a way for me to have friends in places I will never visit.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

From my garden

I love flowers and try to grow them every summer. Over the years I have found the ones I am most successful growing. Below are a few of the ones blooming right now.

I have a huge, old rosemary bush. These are their very small blooms. I love to brush against the rosemary as I walk by to release the wonderful aroma.

These day lilies have been around forever. It is not unusual to see them blooming along the sides of roads.

A beautiful deep lemon color, the petals gentle curve downwards.

The Stokes Aster is another flower that is easy for me to grow. It provided a huge showing of blooms in June. If I am diligent about dead-heading the old blooms I get a few more in July.

Last one for today. This is a gladiolus. I remember them from my father's garden.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Progress of June's Bead Journal Page

This is a scanned picture of the June page of my BJP. A 7 circuit labyrinth is drawn on a 7' by 7' square of heavy Pellon. I used gray and brown crayons to color the area inside of the labyrinth so any background fabric showing through would be blended. I have two different color sets of beads chosen for the inside of the labyrinth. I have always wanted my own labyrinth and have imagined different ways to make on. One type would have the 'walls' made of local rocks stacked on top of each other. The pathway would be covered in soft moss. I love walking barefoot on moss. Another way to make a labyrinth would be to make mounds of earth for the walls. Grass would cover everything. Mowing the path and letting the walls grow would help maintain the labyrinth. I have used black, gray and gunmetal size 8 seed beads to make the walls of the labyrinth. I wanted height and some texture in the walls.

I haven't decided what I will do outside the labyrinth. To be honest this is my first bead embroidery project. I did many embroidery projects when I was younger, but my bead work so far has been done in bead weaving.

Friday, June 08, 2007

7 Circuit Labyrinth

There are many quotes about the journeys in life. One of my favorites is from Ursula K. LeGuin, “ It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end.“

The year long Bead Journal Project is a type of journey, so I have begun that journey with the path of a labyrinth. A labyrinth is a single pathway that curves upon itself leading to a center and out again. Labyrinths have been around for centuries and examples can be found in relics that date back to the Bronze Age. They have been found scratched into the ground, outlined with mounds of dirt or rock. They are etched into pottery, chiseled into rocks and outlined with mosaics. Labyrinths have been found in the artifacts of most countries including Greece, Middle East, North and South America, South East Asia, and even Australia. Today people use the labyrinth for meditation, religious purposed and more. One of the oldest is the 7 circuit labyrinth.

The 7 Circuit is a rough circular shape with the pathway forming semi-circles inside. Don’t mistake a labyrinth for a maze. They are different. A maze will have passage ways that are a dead end. The labyrinth has no dead ends, but is a continuous pathway that curves upon itself until the center is reached. Once you reach the center you will retrace your steps back out.

I’ve drawn the labyrinth on the fabric and am now waiting for the beads to come in. I went through my stash and didn’t find the color and size I wanted to use, so I had to order some beads. I don’t have a local bead store (LBS), so I get my beads on line or when we go to the Asheville, NC area. It’s more fun to pick the beads out in person than on line. I’m really not sure how the color or finish of the bead is going to look, so I end up getting more beads when ordering online. It’s easier to get something I really don’t like or won’t use when ordering.

As I wait for the beads, I am thinking of July’s page of the journal. Since July has the magic numbers of07/07/07 I want to use the number on the page. I have doodles, but no real plan yet.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I have my Theme for the Bead Journal

Various themes for the year long Bead Journal project have been bouncing around my head for several weeks. Ideas began when I first heard of the project and I felt I couldn’t do it. Last night, while trying to fall asleep, one theme came to me that seemed perfect. I knew I should get up and write the idea down so I wouldn’t forget it by morning. I didn’t get up. It is the right theme as I did remember the idea this morning.

My project is going to be a study of the number 7. Seven has always been my number. It is a lucky number. and a number that has made its mark in history. I wrote down several possible ideas using seven for a monthly project. Then I turned to my favorite web search engine, . I now have more ideas than I know what to do with. The hardest part is to decide which one I will do for the month of June. I think I will save the number itself for July as that will be the 7th month of 2007. The wonderful date of 07/07/07 will be in July. Now I need to decide on the size and what June is going to involve.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A beginning

I have joined the year long Bead Journal Project started by Robin Atkins. It seems logical to have a personal blog to go along with the group page.

A small wooden loom and Campfire Girls provided my first experience with beads. I think I still have that first small strip of beads hooked together with string. I picked up beads about five years ago. I started with the simple stringing of beads. It wasn't long before I began to learn different bead weaving techniques. The Bead Journal project is a chance to learn and expand my skills. I have never been involved in a project like the Bead Journal. I'm excited to see where it leads.