Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beady Prompts - a source of inspiration from Nancy Dale

Bead Love member Nancy Dale has published a blog of beady prompts to jumpstart our imaginations when it comes to beading.  It's a brilliant idea as many of us experience beaders block from time to time and picking up on someone else's idea can help us to become unstuck.

Nancy started off January with some beaded florals, followed by February's stitch combinations. Flowers in general are not something I bead, but I did give it a go.  If you look up at our banner all the flowers were contributed by your members and there are some beauties there.  Stitch combinations are something I love and my Love Beads banner hanger used many different stitches over a wooden finial.  (And yes....I really do bead in that level of mess.)  Here I used peyote, herringbone and raw to cover the different shapes of the finial.

But March......March I love.  Beaded rocks.  Last summers trip down the West Coast landed us in Ventura California for a few days backed up to the ocean and a holey rock beach!  The motherlode of interesting rocks.  So beading one seemed like a natural....I started but, well, as happens I got distracted along the way.  Now with Nancy's bead prompt I am encouraged to see it through.

Here's one of Nancy's beaded rocks working from a lovely bead soup which Nancy is a master at.  I know I've had the conversation many times over the years and there are those of us who delight in a bead soup and those who shudder.   I'm a bead soup gal through and through and so is Nancy.

and look at this one.  This is a collaboration!  I have a LOT of bead soup and some months back I sent a large-ish bag off to Nancy.  This is what she beaded!  How wonderful is that?

I dug out my rock and it's beady beginnings.....not bead soup this time, but a series of components.  i can't wait to get back at it and have my very own beaded rock garden!  If you want to join along with Nancy's rock beading the blogpost can be found here.

I've added in some of Marianne Kasparian's wonderful raku pieces.

It's going to be interesting to see how this develops.  Thank you Nancy Dale for the nudge!

Content by Marcia DeCoster and Nancy Dale

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Love the Beads you Have! By Heather Collin

Who doesn't love to have a repertoire of beaded ropes?   Heather has given us one of cubic right angle weave that waxes and wanes through thick and thin.  The trick is in the count of ceiling and side beads, which takes us from small cubes to larger ones and back again.  

Given my short attention span, this is the perfect rope to change up the rhythm of the beading. Heather also shows us how to use the bigger squares to add a jump ring so we can add the baubles of our choice.  Perhaps you'll add a LOVE letter?  Have fun with this very fluid rope from Heather!  


Love the beads you have 
Heather Collin

It is almost impossible to find any quality beads in South Africa and when you do, you need a bank loan to pay the horrible prices and we only have a few beading stores left that actually carry Miyuki or Toho beads. I am fortunate to still have a large stash of Miyuki’s, due to huge online purchase I made back in 2010. Included in that purchase was a collection of Matsuno and Czech beads, which to date, I have ignored. But, to bead love, you need to be able to love the beads you have so, I have pulled them out and decided to start using them….so that I can hang on to my precious Miyuki's a while longer.

Flat CRAW Chain 
Inspired by Marcia’s love letters

You will need 30g size 11o beads for a 100cm long rope

Short Links

String 6 beads onto a span of stretched and conditioned thread; leave a decent tail to work away later, sew through all the beads again and exit the 1st bead strung. These are the floor beads.  Fig 1

Row 1
1st Wall (side)
String 3 beads (1 side/1 ceiling/1 side), sew through the floor bead  just exited and the next  2 beads along Fig 2
2nd  Wall(front)
String 3 beads, sew back down the side bead of the previous wall, the 2 floor beads just exited and the next  bead along Fig 3
3rd  Wall(side)
String 2 beads,  sew back down the side bead of the previous wall, through the floor bead just exited, the next 2 floor beads along and up the side bead of the first wall added. Fig 4
4th Wall(back)
String 2 beads, sew back down the side bead, through 2 floor beads, up the side bead and exit the ceiling bead of side 1 Fig 5
Sew through all the ceiling beads and exit the one to the right as shown - these beads will now be the floor beads for the next row Fig 6

Rows 2 - 7
Repeat the 1st row  6 more times Fig 7

Long Links

Row 8
1st Wall (side)
String 5 beads (2 side/1 ceiling/2 side), sew through the floor bead just exited and the next  2 beads along Fig 8
2nd  Wall(front)
String 4 beads, sew back down the 2 side beads of the previous wall, the 2 floor beads just exited and the next  bead along Fig 9
3rd  Wall(side)
String 3 beads, sew back down the 2 side beads of the previous wall, through the floor bead just exited, the next 2 floor beads along and up the 2 side beads of the first wall added. Fig 10
4th Wall(back)
String 2 beads, sew back down 2 side beads, through 2 floor beads, up 2 side beads and exit the ceiling bead of side 1 Fig11
Sew through all the ceiling beads exiting the one to the right. Fig 12

Rows 9 & 10
Repeat twice more  Fig 13

Repeat these 10 rows for as long as you desire. Attach a clasp to either end or, make it a continuous rope. The choice is yours.

Design Note
The centre link of the 3 large links, is perfect for adding a jump ring, to which you can attach charms or beaded letters. 

Project by Heather Collin

To print this project click here.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bead Dolls...Bead Love....My Journey.... By Tracy Stanley

I have long admired these dolls beaded by the very talented mixed media artist Tracy Stanley.   You may identify her more with metal work and her most recent book Exploring Metal Jewelry, but she is also an accomplished bead weaver.  I am so excited that she is sharing not only beautiful photos of her work but has let us in on the process in enough detail that I can see many of us creating our own dolls.  I've bought my wooden form already!  Since this project will not be as quick as others we've presented, perhaps if you start you will photograph the process and share with us.  We've turned comments back on and you can post on facebook or send us an email.  Please enjoy Tracy's very generous post!  

Marcia DeCoster

The dolls I have created over the years have been my most special Bead Love.  Each has had it’s own special message that has played out by using a combination of beads, metals and found objects.... just to name a few.  Each doll starts with a simple wooden armature figure and each takes on a life of it’s own.

In 1997 my first doll grew out of my love of shells and the ocean.  I have always felt it was a place that I could breathe.  Using a combination of brick and peyote stitch, with branch fringe on the bottom edge of her dress. Coiled wire for the arms, legs and hair, topped off with a wire basket I made and filled with shells.  She was published in 500 Beaded Objects.

My next doll came from a period painful period in my life.  We had suffered the loss of a full term baby boy.  In my journey of healing, I worked with and lead a group that supported parents with loss.  I wished at that time that I could hold onto all of those broken hearts that hurt so much to give them comfort until the pain lessened and I could give them back.

This doll was created in 2000 and was published in 500 Beaded Objects.  The idea came from my inability to manage or keep to a schedule.  I am never sure where all the time goes….no matter how hard I try it seems to fly away from me!  Wings of textured copper and watches make up some of the unique components in this doll.

This is my most recent doll 2016. She was created out of a bead stash but together for a contest put on by Whim Beads.  Inspired by the colors a mix of bead embroidery, soutache and bead stitches are combined to make this summer garden doll.

As you can probably tell there isn’t a pattern to follow…you just need to follow your heart. 
The following will give you a general idea on how to get started and you can go from there.

You begin by deciding what your theme is going to be. This will help guide you to the colors and materials you may want to use.

Wooden armature doll.  You can find these at art stores or Ikea carries an inexpensive one.

Wooden base- the dolls come on a small base, but you may want to get something larger so it is more stable.  Craft stores sell wooden pieces in different sizes that you can glue the base to.

Spray paint- to paint the wooden doll and base. Color is up to you.  I often choose black.

A face- I have found a number of different ones on Etsy..Look for something approx. 2-1/4x2” or smaller.

Assorted beads- this is a great place to use lots of different sizes and shapes of beads.  There's no wrong or right to the ones you choose!

Thread and needles of your choice
Stiff bead backing- if you are going to embroider any part of your doll
Wire and metal-depending on your design.
Glue- hot glue gun and E6000
After you have chosen your theme and colors, paint your doll.  Make sure that you move the arms, legs and head around so you paint all of the showing surface.  You may decide to move these around and don't want any bare wood to show.

Decide what technique you want to use to clothe your doll.  I often start with the skirt.  I am going to use a bead backing and will be embroidering on it.  The backing can be cut into sections or used in one large piece.  Other options are using your favorite bead stitch to create your clothes.
After completing the skirt section, sew on to doll base.
Use your choice of techniques to create the top and sleeves.  These can also be stitched on or glued into place.

Depending on your skills you can use wire to embellish the legs and arms.  Even create components out of metal, such as the wings I made for “My How Time Flies”

Hair can be created by stringing beads or fringe and glued into place. Or as I did on many of mine- drill holes in the wood head and make coils and spirals out of wire that are inserted into the holes and glued into place.

After all is in place glue on the face.  If you are using E6000 make sure you lay your doll down and let the glue dry completely before standing back up.

After you have added all of the embellishments you desire, you can glue the small base on the doll stand to your larger piece to make it stable.  This can be done with a hot glue gun or E6000.
Finish the stand off with beads, fabric, paints.  What ever you desire to make it interesting and fun!

My advice is use as many beading, wire, metal techniques as you can. It will add such interesting color and texture to your piece.

I am starting my next doll as we speak.  I'll show you the process as she takes form.  Keep an eye out for updates!

Take your time with this process….enjoy the journey….love the results!  I hope you will create your own Bead Love Doll- Tracy Stanley

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Leonard Cohen and a Fogbow, Inspiration comes from everywhere blog post by Jan Atherton

This week we are fortunate to look into someone's process from inspiration through planning and beginning.  Jan Atherton has shared with us her creative journey for her Bead Embroidery project.  Her project starts here but will continue on through the year when she'll be sharing progress as she goes.  I think it's delightful to see how other people work, don't you ?  Marcia DeCoster

When I first found out about the Bead Love project, I thought about what I wanted to make. I don’t often  design patterns, unless I’m working out something for my own use, that needs to be repeatable. I do love to make things using a variety of beading techniques, especially bead embroidery and freeform beadweaving. I decided that I would combine the two techniques, plus some thread embroidery to make a beaded panel, which then became 3 smaller panels at the sketchbook stage.


 The title for the piece comes from the song Anthem, written by Leonard Cohen:

 “Ring the bells that still can ring
   Forget your perfect offering
   There is a crack in everything
   That’s how the light gets in.”

Leonard had died at around the time the project started and his music was being played frequently. Recent events in both the UK and US had been playing in my mind. I’m still trying to process them, but I’m not sure how much I want to go into it here, it is complex, but the words resonated with me.

The other influence on the design was this photo of a fogbow, taken by Melvyn Nicholson. Fogbows are formed in a similar way to a rainbow, however, the water droplets are smaller and you don’t see the brighter colours. They appear as fog clears, giving way to brighter skies.:

Once I had a workable idea, I started to lay out the composition. I started with an 11”x14” piece of 14 count Aida as my base fabric.

I started to paint, working out the shape of the crack and the lighter fogbow sections.

The colours of the darker sections will be dark grey, blues, greens, purples and bronze. I want those sections to look like rocks and trees. Most of the painted areas will be covered, some by bead embroidery, some by thread embroidery and some by small pieces of freeform beadweaving, so what is there is really more of a guideline for me and doesn’t represent the final colours in those areas. 

This photo shows some of the small sections of bead embroidery that will we stitched to the piece.

The lighter blue fogbow sections will mostly be thread embroidery, using blackwork style embroidery, which will allow the underpainting to show through. The fogbow will be worked in cross stitch, with seed beads to highlight the fogbow and there will be some smaller beads here and there, in this area, which represent human rights and compassion.

This is just the very beginning of a piece that I will be working on throughout this year, in between other personal projects. I hope to be able to post 2-3 updates during the year, on this blog. Bead with love, with kindness and with hope…let the light shine through! - Jan

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Amor - by Anne Hesse

This week Anne Hesse is taking on us on a journey with her bead embroidered heart, AMOR. First off we see some beautiful examples with button or cab focals. Each focal is enhanced by the color choices and type of beads used. You can see in her samples that the template can have a left of right orientation. I suspect this will be a very fun project for many of you to try. Anne has given us a template and step by step instructions, so even if you've never tried your hand at bead embroidery this would be a very doable project. Have fun and if you're so inclined post your finished photos on Facebook so we can see your beautiful results. Marcia DeCoster

psssst.....We're making a change, I've decided to turn comments back on. It occurred to me that I would love you to have a way to interact with us here at lovebeadlove. My concern is of course being overwhelmed by the need to moderate and manage comments. So for the time being they are on and we welcome your feedback. As long as all stays positive we'll leave them on.

AMOR© By Anne Hesse

Welcome to love!  Who doesn’t love to love?  And what better symbol of love than the heart?  This pendant project will emphasis the essentials of bead embroidery, from gluing the button or cabochon, to bezeling, to back stitch and couching, to brick stitch, to design work, to finishing the project and to adding a bail and chain.   At any time during this project, please feel free to change up the design to something you may think might suit you more. I really encourage this and please know that the steps in this tutorial are just a suggestion of what you can do with this bead embroidered heart.   

Below are some examples of my bead embroidered hearts.

I recommend tracing your pattern piece onto a file folder or heavier paper to keep as your master copy.  It is so much easier to trace around a sturdier material.  You can re-use this many times and you may wish to make many more of these necklaces.

Trace your pattern onto your substrate material (Lacey’s, Friendly Felt, Ez Felt, or a moderately heavy pellon).  Leave about ½” all the way around the heart and then cut it out.  If you round the edges of the excess material, you will have less chance of catching your thread when you begin to stitch.
If your button has a metal shank you may cut it off.  If not, cut a small starlike shape where you will be placing it to glue down.  Do not cut out any pieces of substrate material.  Simply cut a small line vertically, then cut a horizontal line in the center of the vertical line.  It will look like a plus sign, +.  Then cut a short line diagonally from the 2:00 position to the 8:00 position and also one from the 10:00 position to the 4:00 position so you will have something that looks like this: *  The shank will push up through that area.  Using E-6000 glue, carefully spread it on the parts of the button that will touch the substrate material, being careful not to glop it on so thickly that it will smoosh through to the front of the substrate.  Be a little more heavy handed with gluing the shank so that all the little triangles of cut substrate material will adhere to the shank.  Press and hold in position for a few minutes, then set aside to dry for about 5-10 minutes.
Once the button is set, you have several choices on how to proceed.  You can outline the entire heart using short stacks.  Stacking is stitching up through the substrate, picking up a large bead and then a smaller bead, skipping the small bead and stitching back down through the larger bead and through the substrate.  This way, you have your boundary set all along the edge of the heart.
In this tutorial I show how I continued to work around the focal button first, before outlining the heart.  You can do it either way.  
You also have the choice of bezeling the button or stitching around the  button without bezeling.  If you are worried your glue may not hold, I recommend bezeling, although I have never had any trouble stitching short stacks around the button or simply backstitching beads around the button.  If you do this and your button feels loose later on, you can add more glue with a toothpick.
I chose to bezel around the button.  You can use either delicas or 11's to bezel.  Coming from back to front, pick up 4 beads, slide down to work surface and needle through to the back.  Needle back through to the front re-entering beads 3 and 4 and then pick up 4 more beads.  Slide these down to the work surface, needle through to the back,  come back to the front and re-enter through the last 5 beads.  Continue around in this manner, backstitching until you finish the row.  
It is imperative you pick up an even count of beads, so picked up 4 beads or 2 beads at a time will work.
As you get close to finishing this row, and it looks like you can’t manage an even number, just spread your beads a little more apart as you finish the row.

Even count peyote for the next row.  Exit a bead in row 1, pick up a bead, skip the next bead, go into the next bead. Repeat this mantra all the way around and when you get to the end of the row, step up through the last bead of the base row and into the first bead of this new row.If your button is high, you may need to even count peyote another row.  If so, do not forget to step up at the end.  Peyote your last row.  I changed color here to add a bit more dimension.  If your work is not tight enough around the button, add another row using size 15 seed beads.  

Weave your way back down through the beads and the substrate material and make a small knot on the backside.  Do NOT cut off your working thread.
Add your cup chain at this point.  Carefully lay your chain down surrounding your bezeled button, spacing the cups as evenly as you can.  If you need to, place needles or pins to hold in place.  
Bring your threaded needle from back to front and take two small stitches over the bar between each cup.  Once you have 2 or 3 cups sewn down, you can manage to space your chain a little easier.  Finish stitching down all the cups.  There will be some gaps which we will fill in later.
Add short stacks of O beads, stoppered by size 11 seed beads, all the way around the cup chain.

At this point, using the same size 11 beads used on the final row of bezeling,  pick up 2 beads and fill the spaces between each crystal cup all the way around the cup chain.   Do not worry if every teensy weensy space of substrate does not get covered.  In fact, if using black substrate, the bits that show add depth to the overall piece.
        Notice the two olive beads sewn between each cup


So far, everything is circular and I feel it is time to change the texture and direction of this pendant.  I am going to create flat diagonal lines created by using seed beads and bugle beads.  Coming from back to front pick up a size 11, a bugle, a different color 11, a bugle and an 11(same color as the first one picked up). Needle through to the back side.  Needle up to the front and weave through that line of beads again.  Needle down to the back and needle up right next to the first bead of that row.  Repeat the pattern as many times as you like.  Be careful not to bead beyond the outline.


Ok – now it is time for a little more height.  While this wasn’t my best use of the orange fire polish beads, I used them with a variegated green seed bead on top to make short stacks.  I used these to edge the bugle pattern and to create a kind of ending or stop point to this design extension.  At the same time, I was getting really close to the outline of the heart so as I finished the short stacks, I began to outline the entire heart edge.  I used short stacks of 8s and 11s for this outline.


Now, following the curve created by the bugles and the fire polish beads, add a row or two of tri beads, stoppered by size 11 seed beads.  You may need to turn the tri beads a little at the beginning of the row to fill the space.  Don’t worry about other little spaces being open at this point.  When you finish the project you will be able to go back in to fill these areas.

Now you have another choice.  Continue to create curved rows to your liking to fill the remaining space or begin to create diagonal or perpendicular rows of beads to fill the space.  Create a pattern – use different beads for each row and repeat the sequence for unity.  Don’t forget to back stitch.  Make your repeat sequences as wide or narrow as you like.
                           This sequence has 6 different rows.

                             Here is the second sequence added:

Maybe you want to change it up now – repeat an element you used earlier in the stitching?  Or – finish with the repeated sequence…or – make up something new all together?  Trust your instincts!

If any gaps are left, fill them now, but be careful not to over fill, as your piece could ripple with too many beads added.
Fill in beads in new design                    All filled in and trimmed     


When completely done, trim off the excess substrate material.  Trim closely but be very careful not to cut any threads on the backside.  It helps if you angle your scissors when cutting.
While I used E6000 glue to attach the cab, at this point I use Ultimate glue to spread thinly over the back of the pendant.  It gives a much smoother look on the back than using E6000.
If you were unable to remove the button shank and it is poking through the substrate material, add a second layer of substrate to cover the entire back side of your pendant.  Let dry and then trim evenly with the first layer. Glue directly to the ultrasuede and let dry.  Trim the ultra suede.  If your shank is not poking through too badly you can just glue the pendant directly to the ultra suede without adding a second layer of backing.  In either case of glueing, try to stay away from the edges as you will be sewing through them.
Brick stitch around the entire piece connecting the suede backing to the beadwork.


Decide how you want your pendant to hang and create a bail.  You can use size 11s or 8s to do this.  Use as many beads as necessary to allow your chain to glide through smoothly.
To make your bail, attach a new thread and come up through one of your edge brick stitches.  Add your beads and re-enter the brick stitch bead from which you exited.  Needle through all the beads once or twice more anchoring into the beadwork and then move over 2 brick stitch beads  from the first one – in other words, name your first brick stitch bead #1 and when finished with your loop, move to bead #3.  Repeat the process to add a second loop.  Needle through all those beads another time or two and then position your needle to come through bead #5 or the second bead past bead #3.  Repeat process to create a third loop.  Reinforce this loop several times.   NOTE: after you make the first loop, slide your chain through to be sure it fits.  Remove the chain and go on to make your next 2 loops.  When finished slide your chain through all 3 loops.
Using the large jump ring in your kit or a large colorful one if using your own, connect the two ends of your chain. If you prefer, you can add a clasp instead of using the jump ring.
Add however many fringes you like at the tip end of your heart.  An uneven number works best.  I chose 5 fringes.  Exiting the second edge bead from the tip on one side, randomly string beads that you used in making the pendant.  Skip the last bead added and needle back up through all the beads you added.  Move to the same bead on the opposite side of the heart and create a new fringe.  You should be able to weave through this area,  just under the embroidery to the other side, instead of weaving up and down through the edge beads.  However, be careful not to stitch through the ultra suede.  Generally, these two fringes look better if they are shorter than the next lower fringes.  Needle out of the next bead (the one adjacent to the lowest tip bead) and create another fringe.  Repeat on the opposite side.  Finally make your longest fringe at the base or lowest edge bead.  Be sure to vary the placement of the beads and the lengths of the fringes for a random look.

Find pretty buttons and make lots of these pendants – it is addicting!    I hope you have enjoyed this project and will experiment more with bead embroidery, a most forgiving technique.

And finally, in keeping with good ethics and supporting those of us who create original and hopefully inspiring designs, please honor copyright laws.  Feel free to make as many of these pendants as you like but PLEASE credit me as the designer and if friends ask you for the pattern, please direct them to lovebeadlove.blogspot.com

Czech glass button, fancy button, or cabochon of your      choice..no larger than 27mm
Size 8 and 11 seed beads, small amount of 15s
Delicas (small amount for bezeling)
Cup chain (no larger than 4mm cups)
A variety of bead types – your choice: 3mm pearls or druks, 3 and or 4mm fire polish, bricks, tri beads, two hole triangle beads, spacers, lentils, cubes, drops, …whatever you would like to include.
Substrate material – Lacey’s Stiff Stuff, EZ Felt, Friendly Felt or heavy pellon
Ultra suede for backing
E-6000 for glueing cab to substrate material
The Ultimate glue for glueing ultra suede
Beading Needles - size 10
Fireline – 6# or thread of choice
File folder or heavy paper to draw template of heart
Pencil or light colored color pencil for tracing
Optional: pinback if you want to make this a brooch

This weeks content by Anne Hesse