31 August 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday!

Hand-painted focal.  Maybe my most ambitious to date!!

Steps 1-3 (or so) are done!  Now for the hard parts!  Stay tuned! 

25 August 2011

Painting Gone Haywire

So, a few months ago, a friend of mine, LaRita Jacobs, convinced me to go to a painting class she's been attending for a while.  I thought it would be fun, while never imaging it would lead to anything.  But, I packed up all my craft paints, my rather horrible brushes, and tagged along.  That's where I met the phenomenally awesome Susan Kubes, who has become a good friend and one of my artistic mentors.

So, after my first 3 hour painting lesson, I had completed a dolphin (I posted about her here.) I was just so plum tickled with myself! I had painted a thing that looked like what it was!  How cool was that!!!!!  Since then, I've gone to painting classes almost every week, and have been getting awesome tips on blending, etc.  Susan is a remarkably patient teacher, and really let's her students progress at their own pace.  It's been wonderful!

But here's the haywire bit.  While I imagine some people begin with smallish projects and progress to larger, I've gone smaller.  Like, 1 inch or so...  Since I also make jewelry, I wanted to see if I could paint a scene on a small focal piece.  Lo and behold, I can!!!  Who knew!!  (And really, tiny palm trees are easier....) But now it's just going insane... I'm painting round beads now, too...

I honestly never knew I had any sort of aptitude for painting.  I mean, I never even considered that I could draw!  Me? Yeah, I was crafty.  I wasn't an artist.  And now, I'm actually starting to think of myself as an artist!  I actually get a little teary saying that! (I'm even considering better quality paint and brushes!)

Here's some new focals waiting for beadwork:

Okay, so not so much waiting for beadwork, as totally done...  oops... I love this bracelet... 

I'm going for a whole beach series... and wait till you see what I'm gonna do with the pink!  HA! It's gonna rock!!!!!!

Ladybug garden!  That bead is less than an inch tall....
So there it is.  Painting gone haywire...

Thanks for reading!

20 August 2011

I need your help!!!!!!

Awhile back, I was selected to participate in Blissful Garden Beads August Challenge.

I received these beads:

Pretty, yes?
and instructions to make an item using at least one of them.

So, me being me, I just had to weave something!

Here it is:

So, now for the part where I need your help:  GO VOTE!!  Go to Blissful Garden Beads and VOTE for my bracelet!  The Voting poll is at the bottom of the post, and my name (Rana Wilson) should be the last one there.

So please, GO VOTE!!!  Help a girl out!!!! And vote SOON!  Because voting ends this Tuesday, August 23rd, in the am!!!

And you should start saving your pennies, because soon, all these pieces will be featured in an auction!  You know you wanna bid on my bracelet!!! 


18 August 2011

Beading Stitches: Square Stitch

Another post on beading stitches!  This stitch, the square stitch, works really well for cuff-type bracelets, because you can pretty much make the piece as wide you want it to be.  Just keep adding seed beads until you have your desired width.  I've also just learned that you can do a tubular square stitch, which I really should've figured, since you just work in a circle, basically (for a fairly basic and straightforward tutorial on square stitch, go here.)

I also like the square stitch because, while it is very time intensive, it creates a very nice base on which you can add your embellishments.  Because with a square stitch you're really just creating a fabric (well, really it's more of a ribbon for me) to add pretty much anything you want to!

So, you can go relatively simple  and just add a focal in the center, like this:

Dolphin Dreams; hand-painted focal (by me!!!)

Or you can go a bit crazy like this:

Pretty in Pink

Or you can go REALLY crazy like the bracelet you can see here from Etsy seller StickLizardDesigns (FYI--this is gorgeous and I wants it!!)


14 August 2011

Fave Beads: Seed Beads

So, I've read a lot of info on line about different types of beads, etc, since I started on this awesomely awesome jewelry journey, but I thought it might be fun to give you my take on one of my favorite beads.

The seed bead....

This humble little bead is the staple of many of my jewelry making endeavours.  The funny part is--when I started making jewelry about 3 years ago, I saw no use for the seed bead AT ALL!  I mean, what did I want to deal with those things for!  My god!  So tiny and annoying!

Then, I discovered they make good filler when you're trying to extend a design into a necklace in the easiest and simplest manner (with simple stringing).  So, I bought some seeds beads in various colors.  Not too many, just some to make stringing necklaces and bracelets easier.

And as I continued to learn more techniques, and explore the world of handmade jewelry more, I learned about the gorgeous woven pieces I could make

And this time... "My God!! So gorgeous!  Love it! Hey, can I do that?"  And then, "YES! I CAN!  But I need seed beads to do it!!!  Oh dear....   But I don't like seed beads!"

Well, now I do... and here's why:  the seed bead, that humble, itty bitty, tiniest of all beads, is without any doubt in my mind, THE single most versatile bead ever created.  Now I admit, I've not gone so far as to research when and where it was for developed, etc (I'd imagine, sometime in prehistory, but don't quote me on that...) but ever since I started weaving, I can tell you seed beads have gotten more play in my designs than any other bead I own...

And the really cool thing about seed beads--they come in a seemingly infinite variety of shapes and sizes... don't believe me?  Go here.

So there you have it... the worth of the tiniest bead...  Now, I'm off to weave something!  With seed beads!!

05 August 2011

YIKES!!! I did it!!!

OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!  I did it!!! I opened an Etsy shop!!!!!!

OKay, yeah, I've had the Artfire shop for a while, and I have no plans to clase that yet, but I've never made a single sale from there (I get a LOT of views, though...) So, I've decided to try out Etsy.

You can see it here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/definitivedesignsrlw?ref=pr_shop

I only have 4 things listed so far, but that's a start, and I have plans for more!


04 August 2011

Beading Stitches: Spiral Rope

Okay, so I've been bead weaving for about a year, a year and a half, now, and I have to say, some stitches are pretty easy, while others are fiendishly difficult.  But my favorite, as I've said before, has GOT to be the spiral rope.  It's a very easy basic stitch, but is so, so, SOOOOOO versatile!  The basic stitch is a 4-4 loop, and you add one bead to the core for each new stitch.

There's a pretty good video tutorial of this stitch here by Andrea from Beadaholique

So, now that you've seen a basic tutorial, I just wanted to show how you can step this stitch up.  I have several different pieces, all bits of jewelry I've made, using this stitch, and embellishing it in different ways:

The basic weave, using the 4-4 ratio, but just changing up the colors as I went on...
A complete spiral set! 

4-4 spiral attached to a hand-painted piece...
A teaser pic!  using a 4-7 ratio.  Gave it that nicely lacy look! 

using bicones--a 4-5 ratio.  because of the size of the bicones,  though, it doesn't end up quite as lacy as the above...  kinda cool and chunky!

a 4-4 weave, with evenly spaced embellishment rounds...  I actually began this bracelet in the middle, by accident (that's the other nice thing about the spiral--it's very forgiving in length issues, and you can work in either direction from your beginning stitch...)

My latest piece!  a 4-7 focal with the three teardrops, moving to a 4-5 ratio for the length of the necklace...

with turquoise rounds alternating with solid sand-colored seeds.  The Beachcomber! Oddly chunky and delicate all at the same time... 

Just a pretty, simple bracelet with the center focal.  One of my favorites! 
There you have it!  All the same stitch, and yes, some obvious similarities, but such different and gorgeous pieces (if I do say so myself...)

Thanks for reading!