Thursday, January 27, 2011

Let it snow, let it snow......

Here we are stuck in the depths of Winter with short days and long nights that can certainly make Winter depressing.  Add to that inclement weather that makes everyday activities miserable, it's no wonder people suffer the winter blues.

But not everything Wintery and snowy are ice cold!

These Snowmen Earrings were made using Swarovski crystals and add a little sparkle and fun to an otherwise cold and seemingly monotonous dreary end to Winter!


They come with colorful "scarves" - these have siam scarves.


These have amethyst scarves.


These have crystal scarves.


These have emerald scarves.


And lastly these have sapphire scarves.

These light hearted snowmen are fun to wear and with the various colored scarves, easy to match to your favorite outfit.  And they are guaranteed not to cause frostbite!  :)



Happy Beading!

Betsy  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

d'Olivia Jewelry



 Tuesday's Treat :)


Diane is the owner of d'Olivia Jewelry.  She has an etsy store where she sells her jewelry creations. 




At first she took jewelry classes to try to repair store bought jewelry.  She was always a fan of beaded jewelry, but eventually noticed the mass-manufactured items fell apart after only a few wearings.  




She even had a beaded necklace virtually explode while on a date in a pub.  It was fairly embarrassing with both her and her date on the bar floor picking up beads.




So now she makes quality jewelry that will last.  She likes to mix textures, shapes and finishes to create her unique pieces.



She likes Miyuki seed beads for their uniformity and beautiful colors.



I never cease to be amazed at the various ways Red Panda customers use their Miyuki beads.  


As spacers, these seed beads really add an air of elegance  to this piece.  Their neutral color allow the rich tones in the green to stand out.




Using Miyuki beads as spacers also enhance the quality of her pieces.  


There are vast amount of sizes, shapes, colors and finishes available with Miyuki beads.  



Adding a Miyuki seed bead on either side of these pearls gives this piece a classic beauty with a twist!


And here you have it all summed up in her own words, 


"I use seed beads for color contrast, for spacing, for adding a sparkle, to echo a color, and to add variety to a piece.  I’ve found that Miyuki beads have great color, variety, and uniformity of shape."

Diane also has a blog, she is on facebook and twitter.

I've only put a few photos in this blog post, so you want to be sure and check out all her designs!  Thanks for sharing Diane!  I tried to pick one of these as my favorite - and I can't!  They are all so nice!  :)


Happy Beading!

Betsy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beahobbi


Bea is a Red Panda customer from Hungary.  For Christmas she received a CD of Michael Bubl├ę's music.  She loves his music!  In fact she loves it so much she wanted to create a bracelet in his honor.  She used her bead tool software to create a pattern.  She does not have a local resource for Miyuki Delica beads, so she ordered the beads from the Red Panda website.  In less than seven days, she received her beads!

But as fast as the beads were to travel, she was even faster to create this beautiful bracelet!


She is so pleased with the way this turned out, she is already planning her next piece!  I can't wait to see more photos!  :)

Bea also has a blog.   She made the cutest little angles for Christmas!  All her beadwork is gorgeous - you will definitely want to check out her blog!  :)  


Beautiful work Bea!  Thanks so much for sharing!


If you notice the clasp on the bracelet, it is  slide multi strand clasp.  What a coincidence!  These are the newest clasps that I have just added to the Red Panda website!  







Don't forget to enter the Red Panda Getting Your Beads Organized Package Sweepstakes!

Prize Details

In this package one lucky winner will receive:

1 ~ BeadSmith Tube Tower (holds 138 2"-3" tubes)
1 ~ Value Pack of 3" Tubes (50 tubes)
1 ~ BeadSmith Sticky Bead Mat
1 ~ BeadSmith Bead Mat Tray
1 ~ Ivory Bead Mat
1 ~ Tan Bead Mat
1 ~ BeadSmith Blue Mini Travel Box

All this makes this package worth $78.44


Here are your links to enter the contest:




The contest ends January 31st and the lucky winner will be announced February 1st.  So don't delay, enter today!


Happy Beading!

Betsy

Thursday, January 13, 2011

BeadCreator Software

Delica beads with over 1,000 colors in the popular size 11/0 beads are the beader's palette.  Ironically, my first project, where I discovered Delicas, I was making a black and white version of Steam Boat Willie.


I learned a lot with this project.  First I started with regular craft beads, (I was a novice and did not know any better).  This project took much longer because I actually tried to use the craft beads, and found them to be too misshapen to fit together to make a tight weave.  This picture is actually six panels that were done each individually on an Indian Loom.  Then when they were all finished, I sewed each panel together.  The time consuming part was redoing the individual panels over and over!  I finally gave up on the craft beads and went to my local bead store and paid four times as much for "better" beads.  But I found these too were misshapen!  

So very frustrated, I looked on the internet and found Delicas!  Much to my amazement they were actually uniform in size and worked beautifully for my project.  Back went the expensive bead store beads and I've never looked back!  LOL

For my first few projects I modified cross stitch patterns.   But I soon wanted to put more of a personal touch into my bead artwork.  I researched and decided to try BeadCreator software.

My first BeadCreator project was a birthday gift for my father.  He is an avid fisherman - and has everything fishing he could ever need - so I decided to do a picture of a Large Mouth Bass.  I found some free clip art and used that to create a pattern with BeadCreator.

Here is the print I used to create the pattern - I placed it on the bottom of my loom to give reference as I worked on the project.


Here is the finished picture.


My next project was a Valentine's Day gift for my hubbie.  He loves the mountains, Grandfather Mountain in particular.      He could stand on top of that mountain and take photos for hours.  I used one of his photos to create a pattern using BeadCreator.




Here is the finished artwork.



Since I have been so pleased with the software, I decided to carry it in my online store.  Several customers have purchased the software and are sharing their experiences with me.  Laurie is one.  She recently turned a photo of a friend's dog into a beaded picture for a Christmas gift.  Here you can see the photo she used with the pattern.


Isn't that just the cutest picture? 



Here is a close up of the artwork so you can see the detail in the piece.  It is amazing and I'm sure her friend was thrilled to have such a thoughtful and personalized gift!

It is very satisfying to be able to fully customize a bead pattern for our own needs, I know from personal experience!  If you are looking for a good software program, I recommend this one.

More looming projects to come.....  (yes I could not resist!)


Happy Beading!

Betsy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

to Bead or Knot to Bead

Tuesday's Treat :)


This is the second in a series of blog posts that I'm doing to highlight Red Panda Beads customers who sell their creations.  These posts will be on Tuesdays - not every Tuesday - so when they are posted, it will be a Treat!  This post is featuring Barbara Zaner aka to Bead or Knot to Bead!

Barbara is a newer Red Panda customer.  But she is an avid beader, as you can tell from her website!  :)  Her specialty is Bead Crocheting.  

Here is Barb's bio:

From my earliest memories, my love of nature and its splendor inspired me to become a science teacher.  I wanted to covey that passion to my students hoping that they would come to love and respect nature and the environment, as I do.  After teaching Biology and Earth Science for 33 years on Long Island, I retired to the foothills of Tucson, AZ where I have magnificent views and can enjoy the rich array of plants and animals that are able to survive in the dry, arid desert (quite a change from the near coastal home we had back east).

Flowers, butterflies, animals and landscapes are the inspiration for my beadwork.  Unable to draw, I can capture the colors and shapes with my beadwork.  Pictured below is one of my original creations, the Bottle Brush design which I have used for several necklaces and even a bracelet.



Despite the necklace’s prickly appearance, it is soft and supple, almost sensuous in its feel.

The spiral pieces, shown in the gallery, were inspired by the beautiful sea shells found at Jones Beach.  One piece was inspired by peas in a pod, another by a scoop of sherbet, and yet another by an ear of Indian corn with all its wonderful varieties of color.  You are invited to take a few minutes and look at my pieces in the hope they serve to inspire memories for you, too.

An orphaned baby squirrel floating in our pool led me to one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  The squirrel was taken to a wildlife rehab center where I saw a chance to give back to the environment and practice what I had been teaching.  For the past 10 years, my husband and I have been dedicated volunteers, helping return hundreds of birds and small mammals back to nature.  This is who I am.

Barb has an amazing repertoire!

Bead Crochet Bracelets


These bead crochet bracelets are made from seed beads and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. They roll on, have no clasp and fit wrist sizes up to 7.75". They are made with a very strong button-hole weight polyester thread and will endure humidity, body oils, etc. Shown is a small sample of my inventory. Please contact me directly for a complete update on what's in stock. Custom orders are a welcome challenge.




Spiral Bead Crochet Bracelets


These hand crocheted bracelets are highlighted with a ridge of Czech beads or Fresh Water Pearls. These bracelets are a new design that I've developed over the past few months. They are clasp-free, just roll on and fit most wrists up to size 7.75 inches. They come in a variety of colors and color combinations. I will design one to suit your needs.



Fire Polished Bead Crochet Bracelets


Using 3 or 4 mm Fire Polished Beads creates a thicker and bolder bracelet than one done with seed beads. These have no clasp and just roll over your hand. Only a small selection of my wide variety of colors and styles are shown here. Please contact me for my current inventory or place a custom order.




Bottle Brush Crochet Bracelets


An experiment with Czech mini-daggers that is soft and supple — almost sensuous in feel. Many other colors can be made to order. 



Pinch Bead Bracelets


These triangular Czech beads fit together and form a smooth reptilian texture. The pictures don't do them justice. A wide variety of colors are available, just contact me for my current inventory.




LMA Wrist Wraps


LMA Wrist Wraps are more than a bracelet. LMA beads are new from the Czech Republic and form a delicious addition to your wrist. They are adjustable and close with a SS lobster claw clasp. More than a dozen colors are available, just contact me to check my current inventory.






She also does Necklaces......


Bead Crochet Ropes


 These ropes are usually made with Japanese seed beads, because they are a very uniform and produce a nice even quality rope. I have also experimented with Czech pinch beads and 3 mm fire polished beads. These ropes can be used alone as chokers or necklaces. They can also serve to display your favorite pendant.






Spiral Bead Crochet Necklaces


These one-of-a-kind hand crocheted necklaces are made with Japanese seed beads and fresh water pearls or Czech glass drops to create the swirl effect. They can be monochromatic or very colorful depending on your needs. Any of the necklaces can custom sized. 







Bead Crochet Necklaces with Focal Bead


These are unique, crocheted necklaces made with Japanese seed beads, silver bead caps and clasp. The focal beads can be a semiprecious stone, but usually a beautiful handmade, one-of-a-kind lamp work bead from a local artist. One special necklace features carved rabbits in domestic ivory. Any necklace can be sized to order.






Bottle Brush Bead Crochet Necklaces


These necklaces were inspired by the Bottle Brush flowers native to Arizona.






Garland Bead Crochet Necklaces


My first necklace in this original design was made with an assortment of Czech pink drop beads. It reminded me of a garland of roses. Since then I created several other necklaces using different colors and combinations. One of my favorite necklaces is shown as the icon and is called "Indian Corn".









Kumihimo Japanese Braiding


Kumihimo is the name for the ancient art of Japanese braiding. Assorted fibers, yarn, threads and even ribbon can be woven into wonderful braids. The process is labor intensive.



Barb's latest creations with Red Panda beads have used the DBM 10/0 Miyuki Mixes.





Barb is truly a fascinating bead artist.  Check out her site!  She also does purse charms and even has a cancer awareness line.  The hardest thing will be picking just one item that you must have!  :)  I'm having a tough time deciding!



Happy Beading

Betsy