Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Button, button - Who's got the button?

Now where's that from? Button, button - who's got the button? I can't remember. It's something I've heard for years and years, but I'm not sure where it originated.

Anyway, about buttons.

I have them. Thousands of them. I haven't counted, but I'm sure there are thousands of them. They're in a big box, and within that big box are numerous containers with "sorted" buttons. Even though I have thousands of them, I still can't resist looking at new ones when I visit stores that sell buttons. I try to resist buying, but sometimes I swear they just jump into my cart.

Several months ago, as I was going through all my vintage buttons, I came up with an idea for a simple bracelet. It's an ndebele rope (aka tubular herringbone) with a loop at one end (the herringbone is carried right into the loop) and a button at the other. So I made a BUNCH of them and left them at the Art on Depot Studio and Gallery, in Waynesville, NC. They were pretty popular, so I've been working on some new ones.

Aren't these fun?

I'm going to make some more and list them in my Etsy shop. For now, the black and white Checkerboard one you see in the photo is the only one I have listed; but I'm planning to remedy that soon.

Ready for a GIVEAWAY???

It's been awhile since I've done any kind of giveaway on my blog, so I thought this might be a good time for one.

What do you win? A button bracelet in your choice of bead colors (I'll choose a suitable button from my collection). THREE people will win. Because I have LOTS of buttons. :-)

How do you enter? To enter the drawing for a Button It bracelet, you can do one ore more of the following. Please note that all comments must be left on my blog (not on my Facebook page(s), even though you'll see this post appear there). And you must leave a separate comment for each in order to receive more than one entry into the drawing. If you do all of these, you'll leave FOUR separate comments and have four chances to win!

1 - Leave a comment here telling me your favorite button project. Or, if you're not a "button" person, tell me about your favorite supply and how you've used it.
2 - Blog about this giveaway and post a comment here with a link to your blog post.
3 - Link to this post on Facebook and leave a comment here to let me know you posted.
4 - Tweet (Twitter) about this giveaway and leave a comment here. Make sure you include @time2cre8 in your tweet.

Don't forget to leave a way for me to contact you (email, or a link to your Etsy or Artfire shop name). If I don't see a way to contact you, your comment will be deleted and you won't be entered into the drawing. :-(

When will the winners be chosen? All entries/comments must be made by midnight on Friday, April 8. I'll use a random number generator to select the winners on Saturday morning and will announce the winner on this blog later in the day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sources of Inspiration

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones... I really have no problem finding inspiration for the things I create. In fact, I have an overload of inspiration -- there's nature all around me, I have books and magazines galore, and I have oodles and oodles of beads at hand.

Among some of those oodles and oodles of beads is a MASSIVE collection of polymer clay goodness from my friend and fellow member of Bead Art Originals, Ddee Wilder (aka Malodora). Last year Dee released some of her creations into the wild (okay, she filled big boxes full of them and sold them on eBay), and I captured some of them.

It was while I was sorting through some of those beads, looking for something completely different, that I happened upon a collection of beads that share the same colors; and because they were all different shapes and sizes, I thought they'd make for a neat addition to a rather plain bead crochet rope. The rope is mostly white, but I added a sprinkling of transparent purple beads. And then the fun began as I added Ddee's beads to either end of the lariat.

This piece is called Sugarplum Fairy Dance, and even though sugarplums are typically thought of as a Christmas sort of thing, I just couldn't come up with a better name to describe this lariat. It truly does look like a dance, don't you think?

Another source of inspiration is the Bead Art Originals color mosaic challenge. Every two weeks the members of this team are challenged to create bead art using a photo as inspiration. The photos range from works of art, to photos of nature, to photos of fabrics; and our challenge is to create something using two or three of the colors from the photo.

The newest challenge was to create something using the colors from a painting called Let Me Tell You a Story, by an talented artist named Jeannie L. Paske.

The painting is from a series called Obsolete World, and I can say without reservation that I would love to own each and every painting in the collection.

I don't know what it is about them - the colors, the subject matter, or just the incredibly poignant imagery. But I think they're wonderful. (And I'm pretty sure I'm going to own several of these after we get our house built!)

My creation for the color mosaic challenge uses Czech glass beads in turquoise green with a picasso finish paired with some dark copper colored beads with a silky semi-matte finish. The bracelet is part of my Knot, Ready for Prime Time collection. Because the colors mimic the patina of aged copper, I've named this bracelet Weathered.

So, I'm curious. Where do you find inspiration?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

7200 Beads Later...

Yes, you read that correctly. Seven thousand two hundred beads later.

The design I created (see my previous post) is a 600-bead repeat. And for some reason I decided that the rope needed to be longer. I could have quit at three or four repeats. Or five. Or ten. But noooooooooo. I did TWELVE repeats.

I'm quite pleased with the rope, though. I've named it Copper Mine, since it has so many of those gorgeous silk finish dark copper beads.

Now it's time to do something else. My thumb is a little sore from all that bead crocheting. Maybe I need to make some kind of thumb guard for when I do this...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Designing Bead Crochet Patterns

If you read this blog very much, I'm sure you've noticed that I like to do bead crochet. I also like to design my own patterns, a task which till now I did using Microsoft Powerpoint and lots of copying and pasting. Talk about tedium!

While Powerpoint works for me, I wanted some other method for creating patterns for bead crochet ropes. It's just too much of a pain to develop a design when it means hundreds of clicks to place bead-like shapes over and over again in a software not designed to do that (although I've used Powerpoint for all sorts of projects over the years - it's very versatile!).

A friend of mine awhile back sent me a link to a site called Brunold Software. Damian Brunold is the mind behind the site and the mind behind the software (called DB-BEAD), which provides a pretty nifty way to create bead crochet patterns! It doesn't really come with any instructions, but I found it to be pretty intuitive.

You can see here the tools used to create a design. The design is actually "drawn" by filling in the squares in the second graph (the one with the uneven edges). On the right, you can see the finished rope as you add to the design. There are little arrows in the tool bar at the top that let you spin the rope to see how the design will look.

The only thing I did wrong when I was playing with my first design was to start at the top and design downward. I should have known better, as bead crochet stringing is actually done from the BOTTOM of a chart. I shifted everything around and played for awhile longer, and now I'm busy crocheting the rope I designed.

You'd think that my first attempt at using this software would have made me create a simple design, just to test it out. I got a little carried away, though, and wound up creating this design of graduated diamond shapes that has a 600-bead repeating pattern. Eegads. I only strung three of the repeats, but now that I know the pattern is turning out the way I wanted it to, I'll be busy stringing some more later tonight.

I've been asked quite a lot of late if I'll ever publish any of my bead crochet patterns, and I think I might now that I have a better way of creating them. Thanks to Damian Brunold for his DB-BEAD software! :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Best. Stick. Ever.

Seriously. Who comes back from a vacation on Hilton Head Island with a picture of a STICK?!?!

Me. That's who. Because this is the best stick ever.

This stick is so great it makes me wish I was going to Chicago to take NanC Meinhartd's Art Sticks workshop. I'm not sure what kind of wood this is, but I found this near the beach on Hilton Head Island. There's a serious lack of driftwood there (at least on the beaches we visited), but this is just cool.

Best. Stick. Ever.

Let's see... What else did we do on vacation? (Yes, Bev, it IS a vacation even if we're retired!) We ate lots of really really good seafood. Filet Oscar (filet mignon topped with crabmeat stuffing), roast oysters, clam chowder, seafood chowder, shrimp, crab cakes, mahi mahi, lobster. Yum.

We went driving around the island a bit. Saw lots of birds. A few turtles. Even an alligator and a dolphin (not at the same time).

What we didn't do a lot of was shopping. There's no shortage of places to shop, but we didn't want to spend all our time (or money) in the stores and shops.

We did find a place that had BEADS.


I picked up a few semi-precious rounds for a custom order, and I also bought a BUNCH of four-ply silk thread that I can use for bead crochet.

Isn't this gorgeous?

Yards and yards and yards of silk. I can crochet for years without fear of running out of thread.

Having never crocheted with silk thread before (I've used some heavy weight stuff whose name I don't know and nylon upholstery thread), I wasn't really sure how I'd like using silk. Turns out I like it. A lot.

I had a request to create a bead crochet rope using some vintage beads (sent to me by a very special customer), and I decided to try out the silk thread. It worked great! And now I have a brand new bracelet, created from a long length of bead crochet rope and then knotted in a very special way before doing an invisible join.

So now I know what I'm going to be doing with all that silk thread. I just have to figure out what to do with the stick. :-)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

March On!

I'm not usually early when it comes to beady deadlines. In fact, I'm notorious for waiting until the last possible minute and then scrambling to think of a name for something I just created, take pictures, edit pictures, write Etsy listings, upload to flickr. Argh!

Oddly enough, though, I finished my March freeform peyote cuff for the Bead Journal Project 2011. And I finished it early! And it's photographed and listed.

Am I turning over a new leaf now that I'm a year older? Probably not. I'll probably fall right back into my procrastinating ways when it comes to April through December...

I was actually a bit surprised when it came time to work on the March freeform. For these cuffs to turn out the way I want, I like to have at least twenty different types of beads. It's important, to me at least, to have a variety of sizes and shapes; and since I'm doing these freeforms to coordinate with each month's birthstone, I need lots of beads of a certain color.

When I started going through my beads, I wasn't sure I had enough that fell into the aquamarine colorway to be able to create a cuff! I have loads and loads of delicas, but only wound up with two or three shades/finishes of those in the right color. I had a few Czech glass seed beads of the right hue, but not as many as I would have liked. I wound up having to cheat a bit and use some white and clear beads to make up the difference for the smaller beads. But I hit the jackpot when I started going through my "random" beads -- faux pearls, some funky glass beads of different shapes and sizes, and even some cats' eye beads in the perfect shade of aquamarine.

The result of my not having as many seed beads to work with meant that I wound up using a little more netting than usual, just because it covers more area than straight peyote would cover. Having more of the larger beads gives this cuff way more texture than usual.


Speaking of texture, next month's bracelet will be all about texture... the birthstone for April (at least according to the chart I found) is diamond. So I've already started gathering lots and lots of clear beads.