Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Amulet Bags, etc from Kirsten

Kirsten is a Red Panda Beads customer who specializes in Amulet bags.

Kirsten modeled this bag from a cross stitch pattern.  It is lovely!

Pattern is by Diane Hertzler. She has a website (http://www.dianehertzler.com/) but this pattern is not shown there. If you are interested in buying her pattern you might want to email her.

The pattern is "Oh! Scarlet" by Amy Loh-Kupser. The pattern or a kit is available from i-bead.com (look under Kits/Patterns, then Beadfuddled Beader, Vol. 4>

Isn't this Jack-o-lantern just too cute? Kirsten printed a picture of a jack-o-lantern off the web & taped it inside a votive candle holder. Then brick stitched the pumpkin, adding the face based on the underlying image. The vines are wire twisted around a wooden skewer.

It took about a month of working on it 3-4 hrs/day! According to the pattern, it contains 23,010 beads!  Pattern by Sig Wynne Evans. 

Pattern is by Chris Manes. http://amuseink.com/

Thanks for sharing Kirsten!

Happy Beading!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Beaded Bags by Daryl

Daryl is a Red Panda Beads customer who specializes in beaded purses.

These really amaze me!

I love the extra dangle loops on the bottom

The satin lining really adds a finishing touch.

The pattern of the colors is lovely

The lining really makes this a gorgeous piece.

Here is a purse before it is applied to the frame.  Amazing work! 

Beautiful colors!

The lining is beautiful - I love the flower accents!  Thanks for sharing Daryl!

Happy Beading!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Works of Rebecca Russell

Another new customer to Red Panda Beads, Rebecca Russell has kindly forwarded photos of her work to share.  I never cease to be amazed at the creativity and talent of all the Red Panda Beads customers.  Here is some of her work.

These are just too cute!  Rebecca likes to use various drop beads.  She is always on the lookout for unusual beads to add charm to her work.

I just love faux animal print in beads.  It really brings a new look to bead work.

I never would have thought to bead a hole into the middle of earrings like this!

Again the animal print is soo unique - especially in green!

Georgous - that's the only word to describe this necklace.  Notice more drop beads?

What a lovely way to incorporate bugle beads with drop beads.  The netting effect is perfect!

I just love these.  The combination of the zig zag design with the bugles and drops is stunning.


I love this design too, especially the way it flows across the dangled fringe. 

Another unique paring of bugle and seed beads.

Everyone needs at least one pair of pink earrings!


I love the camo look!

And here is the artist behind all those great pieces, Rebecca Russell.  Thanks so much for sharing Rebecca!

Happy Beading!


Marsha Caristi - Sterling Silver Chain Maille Artist

One of the newest Red Panda Beads customers is a sterling silver chain maille artist.  Her name is Marsha Caristi.  She sells her jewelry at Miraval Resort which is the one Oprah stays at when she comes to Tucson.  Here are some photos of her work.

She has recently become a fanatical beader thanks to a friend who started her on loom hatbands but she loves doing bracelets, earrings etc. She also prefers off loom techniques such as peyote, square, brick stitch.  Marsha is so talented!  I can't wait to see some of her bead work!

Happy Beading


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beyond Cross Stitch Patterns

Beading Cross Stitch patterns is fun.  But it is also limiting.  My father's birthday was coming up and I wanted to do a picture for him.  He is an avid fisherman - so I wanted to do a picture of a largemouth bass.  Not too many cross stitch patterns of that!  So I bought and checked out the Bead Creator Pro software.  I am so glad I did.  This software is easy to use.  Just import your picture or other art and convert it into Delica colors and a pattern.  You can even create a pattern directly in the program.
The Indian loom was an excellent way to learn how to work on a loom.  But it is very limiting if you always have to sew a bunch of panels together.  I graduated to a four inch loom and did several more pieces.  I'll showcase them in another blog.  Now jump start ahead past all those projects, and I have invested in a much wider loom.  I want to make my father's picture in one panel. 

I like using this style of a loom.  It comes with an optional stand- you can lay it flat or use the stand as shown here.

Here is a side view of the loom - you can see the optional stand supporting the loom at approx a 45 degree angle.  Just right for dest top working. 

Now for the pattern.  I chose a rather abstract picture of a largemouth bass.  I wanted to capture the excitment of the fish jumping out of the water as it is being landed in the boat.  Here is the finished image after I converted it with Bead Creator Pro.  This was a very challenging project.  There were over 350 colors in the pattern.  Bead management was a very big issue, but I did not want to skimp on the color.  This was the hardest project I've done up to this point - but it was worth every bit of effort.  I worked on it for at least an hour each day and it took approx 8 weeks to finish. But in the end it was well worth the effort.

Here you can see the printed artwork that I used to create the pattern for my beaded picture.  Above the printed art work are the first rows of the beaded picture.

Here the picture is about 1/2 way finished.

Here is the finished piece still on the loom.

And here is the final framed artwork.  I was very pleased with the final results and so was my dad!

Introduction to Miyuki Seed Beads


Delica and other Miyuki Seed beads are very addictive!

Now that I've gotten the disclaimer out of the way - let's talk beads.


As a teenager I fell in love with cross stitch. As I continued on in life, getting married, having kids, I just did not have the time to do the kind of cross stitch I would like to do. It was very time consuming. I still could not resist some patterns and have had many unfinished projects along the years.

About 10 years ago I really got into beading and jewelry making. I fell in love with beads. I all but gave up cross stitch. It just was not as fun as beading. Around the same time, I was looking for a unique gift for a Disney fan who has just about every type of Disney character that there is. I found an adorable pattern for a character - during his black & white era. It was black and white with all shades of grey. I sent all the way to England for the pattern. Even had to exchange the currency to get the pattern. I tried to do it in cross stitch and again failed to complete the project. It was just too much work. The entire picture is filled with stitches, there is no blank canvas. Then about 4 years ago I decided that there had to be a way to do this pattern in beads.

Thus the adventure begins

I found a great book several years ago. It has over 500 pages and is a very exhaustive guide to beads. There are four major parts to the book, each part in itself is a book with several chapters in each. The book provides an introduction to beads, tools and techniques. It gives very detailed instructions on how to do each technique with step-by-step photos and illustrations along the way. It is the most complete and informative bead book I've ever found. The dust cover recommends that this is an invaluable reference for every beader and I agree!

In the Complete Guide to Beading Techniques section off loom and loom weaving are reviewed. Chapter 2 in this section is very detailed about looms and gives very easy instructions for working on a loom. I used these instructions to teach myself how to do loom work. I started out with an Indian loom, much like one children use. The book showed how to complete sections or columns of a picture and then how to sew them all together.

With my loom at the ready, I just had to find beads for my picture. The pattern calls for black, white and four varying shades of grey. So off I went to my local hobby store and I bought the beads for my project. It was very frustrating though to work with these beads, there was no size consistency. I discarded more beads than I was able to use and the pattern was still coming out uneven.

I did not like the way the beads were working in the pattern, so I splurged and went to the local bead shop. These beads were three times as expensive, but if they would do the trick, I really wanted to do this picture. So I got home and found that even the more expensive beads were not consistent in size either. I was very frustrated and searched online to find a more uniformly designed bead. That's when I stumbled across Delica beads by Miyuki.

Delica beads come in four sizes, 8/0, 10/0, 11/0 and 15/0. By far the most popular is size 11/0. There are over 900 colors in this size, so it is very easy to find just the right color for every project. Now that these beads were working so well for my project, I returned the expensive beads and reinvested in Delicas. In all there were six panels or colums that I had to sew together to create the picture.

It turned out a lot nicer than I had ever imagined it would. I ended up outlining the character so that he would pop out even more from the back ground. I found Pebeo Cloisonne outliner and it worked very nicely. The instructions say that you have to bake the product, but if you let it air dry, it is certainly hard enough for this purpose.

The story continues....

I will never cross stitch again. Beading is just so much more fun and much, much faster than cross stitch. It is so exciting to watch the progress along the way as you take little piles of beads and create a unique one of a kind piece of art. I can't wait for the next project!

Happy Beading!