Beading Challenges

How time flies!  We spend our winter months in Yuma, AZ (for more on our travel lifestyle, see our travel blog at Traveling Square Dancers (we no longer are able to dance, but I kept the blog name).

I work quite a bit on crafts, but don’t always have time to write blog posts.

For the past year or so, I have concentrated on beading as my craft of choice.  Since last August, I have created several items for various bead group Challenges/BeadALongs.  Some are described below.

Seed Beads and More Challenges

As Administrator for the Facebook beading group, Seed Beads and More, I create and issue Challenges for the members.  As we are relatively a new group, with all levels of beaders as members, the challenges are still covering the basic techniques of working with seed beads.  When there is time, I complete at least one project for each challenge.

For the Loom Challenge, I designed this bracelet.  I later designed Bitty Bead earrings to match.

644749_634397316576017_915115239_n  my bittybeads

Another project that found its way onto my loom was this Hummingbird pattern by Celia Martin.  I loved watching it take form on the loom, but ran out of of the white Delicas.  I now have the beads, and plan to finish the mini wall hanging this summer.

2013-05-12 - Loomed Hummingbird

This simple leaf and daisy anklet was made for the Challenge, Daisy Chain.

Simple Daisy Anklet

The Beaded Bead Challenge provided opportunity for lots of variety.

IMG_2435IMG_3366Art Deco Earrings   Patriotic Spirals

As I continued to play with pearls, they seemed to take on a shape of their own.

IMG_2830   Cubic Pearls

But these teeny turtles proved to be the most fun.  I gave the earrings to a granddaughter who loves miniatures for her birthday.  Look how they can sit on a penny, and only cover half the surface!

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Details on my tote bag for the Embroidered Challenge project are in a previous post.  I also started a freeform embroidered bracelet that I have yet to finish.

IMG_3503Bead embroidered Tote

A Diagonal Peyote Challenge had me playing with various Russian Leaves patterns.  One of my favorite beading projects is making Russian Leaves earrings in different variations.

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IMG_3469IMG_3472green russian leavesIMG_3952 IMG_3328IMG_3973IMG_4491

Another challenge I had a great time with was Square Stitch, when I beaded this 3 D Lizard from a pattern by Jill Oxton.

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The last Challenge before summer break was Herringbone.  Playing with a combination of herringbone and peyote, I came up with my Sand Dollar Earrings.

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I combined the Seed Beads and More Herringbone Challenge with the current Seedbeadersters challenge of Color to use up what I considered my “ugliest” beads…some vintage mauve irregular shaped seed beads.  By adding blues and greens and adapting a pattern from Bead and Button, I created a bracelet that began to appeal to me a little as it developed, but would never have been a favorite.  A granddaughter visiting on the day I finished it loved it, so it went to a good home.  I did enjoy exploring the technique of embellishing as I stitched the herringbone background rather than adding it later. Vintage-look Bracelet

Seedbeaderster’s Projects

I also participated as often as I had time in the Seedbeadersters (our sister Facebook group) BeadALong.  Seedbeadersters moved from Yahoo Groups to Facebook this year, and like Seed Beads and More, has grown rapidly in membership.

These two lattice bracelets were stitched as entries for the Seedbeadersters BeadALong in August.   The group administrator, Carolyn DeGroff, provided the original pattern.  I eventually added bar clasps to them both.  Seedbeadersters is the sister group of Seed Beads and More on Facebook.

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This original design, Native Feathers,  in 2 drop peyote, was another challenge project.

2 drop peyote

Carolyn also provided this Mystery Bracelet Pattern for December’s BeadALong.  I love the finished project!

2013 Seedbeaderster's December Mystery Bracelet Bead-A-Long (1)Bead Club Monthly Challenge chose the Oglala Stitch, a new stitch for me to explore.  The stitch forms a ruffle and I loved working with it.  My first stitching with it resulted in a Christmas ornament, and the next a tighter ruffle barrette.

Oglala Ornament   Oglala Lace Hair Barrette (2)

I made this CRAW pearl cross from a old beading book pattern for one of the group’s challenges.

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The gifts I made for Christmas were also posted to the Bead Club Monthly Challenge, Holiday Inspiration.

I created cards to hold the ornaments from the pattern, Berry Wreath Ornament by Robin Cowart, for our grandchildren.

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For my female co-workers, I usually make earrings.  This was my choice of patterns this year.  The first is from a pattern by Beading4Perfectionists for Beaded Bead Caps, and were very popular with the ladies.  The second, for a co-worker that likes larger, flashier earrings is Sassy Senorita Tassel Earrings by Off The Beaded Path.

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January’s Challenge was the Chenille Stitch, another stitch new to me.  I created these earrings. The pattern creates a “bumpy” texture, resembling the bumps on the chenille bedspread so popular in earlier days.  The color combination I used on the left really caught the eye of some of my Texas acquaintances, who called them Bluebonnet Earrings.  The Bluebonnet is Texas’ state flower. I made several pairs to sell while in Texas for the month.

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Beading and more – August at Bluewater

Much of my last post was on using the Challenge fabric from our Cactus Gardens Quilt Challenge.  You may have seen the photos of the shirt (post below this one).  This month, I used some of the fabric that was left over to sew a tote for my Bead Buddy Save n Go Jr.  This has become my favorite and most used beading tool.  I have the original larger size as well, but find myself reaching for the smaller.

However, when taking it with me, I’d always have to find a zip lock bag large enough for the beads, beading thread, etc.  Then, I’d discover I needed my pliers or some other tool I’d left behind.  My answer was to design a tote bag for the Bead Buddy. The black fabric is a brushed denim-feel fabric.   I placed a reinforced zippered pocket on each side for the beads and tools.  The inside is lined, and the handles are one strap encircling the bottom for strength as well.

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I’m pleased with the results.

There was also a little time for beading.  I made these for fellow volunteers.

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The Bluewater Storm idea came as a result of Volunteer, Kathy.  Each time she draws gate duty, an unexpected thunderstorm seems to pop up.  I decided to see if I could design lightning coming from a cloud.  The others are for Hazel, also a fellow volunteer.  We have been exploring beading ideas together this summer.

I finished two bracelets I had started some time ago.  This one is a Ndebele weave, using size 15 cylinder beads.

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This bracelet uses some black beads for the center that I found at a yard sale.  I love the look of these beads in the center.  They are rectangular in shape with 1 hole running the length of the center.  I’d like to find more, but am not sure what type bead they are (tube was unmarked).

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These earrings were a result of playing with design.  They are size 15 beads as well, stitched with a thin Nymo.  I love their “drapy” feel.

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Our next Challenge on Seed Beads and More, chosen this time by the members, is Beaded Beads.  This pendant was made by a pattern by Natalie S. Perlen.  With her permission, I republished her pattern as a pdf file.  It is available through the Challenge Link Page.  If you have not joined Seed Beads and More, and love to bead, please join… our group is all about sharing and we’d love to have you.

Beaded Bead1-001

I also made these to use as earrings.

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Art Deco Bitty Bead (1)This pattern was made available by Carolyn DeGroff for the Challenge, Art Deco Beads.  I’ll make another and create earrings from these as well

And that’s it for my August handwork.  Another month gone by… doesn’t time fly??

July’s Beading at Bluewater Lake

2013-07-06 - NM, Bluewater Lake State Park -008We have agreed to volunteer at Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico for the summer.

We’re loving the weather, hiking areas and solitude of our “off time”.  We hike for an hour or more each morning, then enjoy the mountain coolness by sitting outside until lunch (we’re at 7400 ft elevation).  It’s a perfect time to bead.

I’ve been working on various projects this month.

I made two pairs of earrings for a friend (and her friend) in Texas.

Earrings, Red for Texas

I also made the Cowboy boot earrings in Red, White and Blue for our Granddaughter, Lissa, who is graduating from Army Basic Training at Fort Jackson this week!!  Go, Lissa!

Cowboy Boot earrings for Alyssa

Then there were these items:

Misc beaded items  

The bracelet in the center was so much fun to make, I made another using delicas and 13 hex cuts, pictured below.  The earrings are made with size 15 hex beads.

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But my biggest project has been the “Quilter’s Challenge Project” from our park, Cactus Gardens (our winter home).  Before leaving for the summer last spring, our leader issued a challenge:  Take one yard of this fabric,

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and use it as an integral part of a sewing project.  It’s beautiful fabric, but a little hard to decide how to use it effectively.  My husband said, it would be really nice on a western shirt, and the idea began to take shape in my mind.

I purchased a brown shirt, the shade of the background in the fabric.

IMG_2074Then I ripped the seams where I would insert the fabric yoke, along the collar, down the front about 8”, the shoulder seams, and the top edge of the sleeve seams.

Using the opened portions of the shirt, I cut the challenge fabric in the shape of a western yoke, for both the front and back of the shirt.  I then resewed all the seams.  While working on the project, and going through my bead stash at the same time, I came upon a beaded butterfly I had made years ago that really seemed to match the fabric, and decided to incorporate it in the design.  That led to adding a beaded fringe, and then I decided to embellish the buttons.  Here is the finished result.

Challenge Shirt 1

I placed the butterfly on one side of the collar .

Challenge Shirt 2

This is the fringe and button embellishment.

Challenge Shirt 4

I completed the shirt by adding plackets so the sleeves could be worn at three quarter length.

   Challenge Shirt 3

I have enough fabric left for a second project.

Cowboy Earrings and such

We have spent the month of June with family in Indiana.  Chelsey, one of our granddaughters is a horse handler and trainer.  I made these items for her.

2013-06-19 - Cowboy boot pendant 2013-06-19 Cowboy Boot earrings cowboy boots

I have also admired the Russian Leaves technique for years, and decided to stitch a pair of earrings for myself.  I love the way they turned out!

autumn leaves earrings

Continuing with Bead Embroidery and exploring Daisy Chain

We are spending May and June traveling this year.  If you’d like to follow our travels, visit  Traveling Square Dancers.

I didn’t have much time to spend on beading in May, but I did continue working on the Bead Embroidery and on my newest Loom project.

2013-05-16 - Start of Bead Embroidery

The loom project is this hummingbird that will become a mini wallhanging.  I had enough Delica beads for the looming, but not enough to complete with the fringe I want.

2013-05-12 - Loomed Hummingbird-0012013-05-12 - Loomed Hummingbird  

I issued the Challenge, Daisy Stitch, for the Facebook group, Seed Beads and More.  For my submission, I made an Embellished Daisy Stitch Bracelet from Ruby’s pattern, Embellished Daisies.  I later designed some simple earrings to go with the bracelet.

daisy stitch earrings

April – A busy crafting month

In early April, I announced  Loom Beading would be the next  Challenge for the group.  Lately, I’ve seen several articles on “no-warp end” looming and “paper clip” looms.  I have a no warp ends loom that my husband helped me build several years ago, but it is limiting in size, and hard to warp.   This is our first loom:

2013-03-23  Building Beading Loom -028

We decided this month to try to construct another loom using an inexpensive picture frame and paper clips.  If you would like to see the file on the construction of this loom, click here.

Here is a photo of the finished loom, which works really well:

2013-03-23  Building Beading Loom -024

For the challenge, I designed bracelet panels to match the Celtic Wave earrings I made last month (see previous post).  Here, two of the panels are still on the loom.

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I made 5 such panels and joined them with bead strands.

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Good friends of ours, Rudy and Frayne, got married this month.  I stitched a bead embroidery card for them.  This is the front panel for the card.

2013-04-18 - wedding card for rudy

I also made a wedding bracelet for Frayne, using a flat spiral technique:

2013-04-08 -bracelet for frayne -002

I made these netted earrings for myself from a pattern I found online,

2013-04-21 - pink earrings

and these silver Christmas trees at the request of a friend.

 2013-04-29c Earrings for Donna

The latest Beadalong from Seedbeadsters is Bead Embroidery.  I intend to make a tote bag with Native American style bead embroidery.  We will be traveling during May and June, so it will be a while before it’s finished.

2013-04-29 - Start of Tote Bag Bead Embroidery -002

Even Count Flat Peyote and Beading around Cabochons

The next Challenge for the Facebook Seed Beads and More was Even Count Flat Peyote.

I submitted a photo of the first beading project I made years ago, a choker with a v-accent. 

Even Count Floral Necklace

I also made another pair of earrings as Bitty Beads (see previous post), except this time, I designed them as even count flat peyote, rather than odd count.

Celtic Wave by Anita Adamson

Seedbeadster’s new Beadalong  is to bead around a Cabochon.  I had one I had finished some years ago.

We found this stone in the Pony Mountains near Deming, NM.  At that time, the local Senior Center had a Lapidary shop.  The volunteers there showed us how to sliced the stone, cut it to shape, and polish it.  This is my finished pendant, front and back.

Cabochons (4)Cabochons (3)

The second stone, a lace agate, was found at a yard sale.  It was glued to an unattractive backing which I tried to remove, leaving a rough back.  I’ve had it for quite a while, and decided now was the time to create a pendant with it.  I used size 15 beads for the back, and enjoyed watching the swirl pattern develop.

Cabochons (1) Cabochons (5) Cabochons (6)  

Also, this month, I finished the Butterfly Vine Bracelet from a free Bead and Button pattern.

2013-03-17 Butterfly Bracelet Detail 2013-03-17 Butterfly Bracelet