Monday, December 26, 2011

It's the again that makes it funny....

Or not so funny as the case may be. So, I meant to have several more posts last week with some really cute Christmas ring patterns, but I am sick. Again. I hate bronchitis.

Anyway, I won't be posting most of this week either, as I attempt to get better while still going to work every day. However, I do plan to participate in the Beading Daily Earrings-Every-Day Challenge in January 2012, so expect to hear back from me then.

For now, better late than never, here are some Christmas ring patterns:





Quote: Theories that diseases are caused by mental states and can be cured by will power, are always an index of how much is not understood about the physical terrain of a disease.
Susan Sontag (1933 - 2004), Illness as Metaphor, 1978
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Monday, December 19, 2011

New Ring Pattern: Poinsettia


The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.

Quote: “Percy, the puny poinsettia is hanging his bloom in dismay. If they had just kept him wetta, he’d be a houseplant today.” ~ From the song “Percy, the Puny Poinsettia” by Elmo & Patsy
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Friday, December 16, 2011

New Ring Pattern: Flame


Today's ring pattern invokes in me thoughts of hearth, home, and hot chocolate. Curling up with someone you love and doing absolutely nothing. Nice.

And since I just realized this ring has a lot more colors in it than I normally use, here is a list. I do feel that this is a very forgiving pattern though. So if you mix up a Dyed Opaque Pumpkin with a Dyed Silver Lined Red, I don't think anyone will notice.


Quote: One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever come to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on the way.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853 - 1890)
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Ring Pattern: The Christmas Spider


I found several different versions of this folktale online, which is usually how it goes with these things. Here is the one I liked the best - it is from here.

A long, long time ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year ... Christmas Day. Not a speck of dust was left anywhere. Even the little spiders had been banished from their cozy corner high up on the ceiling. To avoid the housewife's busy cleaning, they finally fled to the farthest corner of the forgotten attic.

Finally, it was Christmas Eve. The tree was decorated and the children delighted. But the poor spiders were frantic, for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the magic of the season. The oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could wait until everyone had gone to bed and then sneak through the crack in the door to see the wonders of the tree. The little spiders silently and carefully came down out of their attic corner and across the floor to wait in the crack on the threshold.

Pretty soon all was quiet, so the spiders quickly crept into the room. The tree towered so high that they couldn't see the ornaments on top. In fact, the little spiders' eyes were so small that they could only see one ornament at a time. They all scurried up the trunk, out along each branch, filled with a happy wonder at the glittering beauty. The spiders loved the Christmas tree. All night long, they danced in the branches, and every place they went left a trail of dusty, gray web. When at last they had inspected every bit of the Christmas tree, it was shrouded in the dusty gray of spider webs.

Santa smiled as he thought of the happy spiders seeing the tree and how much they liked it, but he also thought of how sad the little mother would be over the dusty tree. He reached out his hand -- and just then the sun came through the window and touched the tree. All the webs started to sparkle and shine turning into shimmering, sparkling silver and gold. The tree glistened in greater beauty than ever before!

According to legend, ever since this happened, people have hung tinsel on their Christmas trees.

Quote: Aren't we forgeting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa.
Matt Groening (1954 - ), The Simpsons
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10 days and counting! Plus a festive ring pattern!

Now, some of you may be shaking your heads and protesting that it is 11 days until Christmas. Well, I am not counting the days to Christmas, I am counting the days until I turn 37! WOO! I'm still winning! (getting older is winning in my book!)

Yes, I am a dreaded Christmas baby. Born Christmas Eve 1974 in Alaska in the middle of a blizzard. I've always been contrary. Now, many born around the holidays will bemoan the fact. And, being a Christmas baby has it's drawbacks - you can't have a party cause everyone is busy, you get one gift marked "Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday", and you generally tend to get overlooked. However, growing up, my parents did a pretty good job of making birthdays distinct from the holiday, and considering that all of their five kids were born in December or January, they had a lot of seperating to do!

I truly love my birthday. It is a day when I get to celebrate being me in all my frequently insane glory. By tradition, on this one day of the year, I don't have to do a single thing I don't wanna do. Me me me.

That said, I am usually the first on Christmas Eve to set aside the Birthday Cake and declare it time for everyone to open presents, as I really like to give presents as well.

My first present to you this holiday season is a lovely ring pattern of tree lights. I had some trouble with this one, getting the lights to look festive and not flat. I plan to bead this one up tonight, I think I will mixing my Delicas and my rocailles (rounded seed beads) to make the design really pop! I may also try using some nice shiny finishes for the lights and a matte for the green, to again add to the contrast. Enjoy!


Quote: There is nothing better than birthday cake. It's like a slice of concentrated love with buttercream frosting.
Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata, Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ring Pattern: Houndstooth

It has been really cold here for the past week or so. For some reason, when it is cold I start thinking about wrapping up in some warm blankets and wraps. My favorite wrap is one that belongs to a friend (though I steal it when she isn't looking) that is a wonderful houndstooth pattern. This has always seemed like a very winter pattern to me. Maybe because it is usually done in wool.


Here is a lovely houndstooth ring to be done in beads. Perfect to set off any holiday look!

Quote: Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947), Dialogues (1954)
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pictures of things I have been making lately....

My first real wirewrapped pendant.


Earings, earings, and more earings.




My pink kumihimo necklace. I think it may need a pendant. Maybe.


And finally. My ring for the December Etsy Beadweavers Challenge - Arabesque.


Forgot a couple. Here is the wrap bracelet I made.


And an etched bee pendant.


Quote: sorry, too much to do today, no time to go look up a quote... blah!
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Reveal: Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop

Today is the reveal day for the Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop!

For this challenge, I use polymer clay to make my ornament. I rolled out the clay, impressed it with a gears pattern, and then used a gingerbread man cookie cutter. Once the clay was baked, I used some gold ink to lightly highlight the pattern, then added the bail - made from a Vintaj connector!

I had a lot of fun making this ornament, and actually made up a bunch with my seven year old niece. Depending on the pattern you add and the design you cut out, you can get a very classic ornament or a very whimsical one. Great fun for the holidays and a great project to take on with a child.



Use the links below to visit the rest of the sites participating in this fun, festive blog hop! All sites should be live by 12PM ET 12/7/2012.

Quote: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go....
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Ring Pattern: Gears

Sorry for the delay between posts. Here is a lovely gears ring pattern, as I am feeling steampunky today. My sister has just discovered the steampunk style and wants me to make her up several items, so I have been wallowing in my steampunk addiction lately. I have also been knitting a Doctor Who scarf as a Christmas gift, making my first wire wrapped pendant, making polymer clay christmas ornaments, and getting a respiratory infection. Wheee!!!!!


Quote: Analysis and synthesis ordinarily clarify matters for us about as much as taking a Swiss watch apart and dumping its wheels, springs, hands, threads, pivots, screws and gears into a layman's hands for reassembling, clarifies a watch to a layman.
Author Unknown
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Appreciating visual beauty

Ok, I don't usually do movie reviews, but I find myself unable to resist. I just finished watching the 2010 movie The Warrior's Way. Let me be honest. The Warrior's Way is NOT a good movie. The plot is lame, the narration is distracting, and the acting is odd. There are ninja assasins flying all over the place and over the top evil cowboys where the ninjas fail to be. There is also blood flying everywhere! Big misty clouds of blood just poofing out of people. This is really NOT a good movie.

What this is, is a visually beautiful movie.

As I watched, I found myself entralled with the cinematography. Each shot and sequence was carefully crafted to be breath taking. Even the blood splatter (did I mention there was a lot of blood?) was asthetically pleasing! Who new a cute Korean man covered in blood could be even cuter?

I now find myself trying to figure out how I can capture the sheer joy of flying blood drops in beads. I don't think I can, but I really want to try, darn it!

Anyway, if you have a few hours to kill, and no squeamish stomachs around, I am highly recommending this film, 'cause, mercy me but that was awesome to watch!


Quote: Ninjas. Damn. - The Warrior's Way 2010
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- .... .- -. -.- / -.-- --- ..-

The ring pattern for this week offers a simple message - Thank you. Thank you to those who read my blog and to those who offer comments. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in my obsession with jewelry. Thank you for support throughout the year.


Quote: I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
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Friday, November 18, 2011


My brain works in mysterious ways. I have several friends who frequently accuse me of changing topics midconversation. But in my mind, it's not a change of topic. See, my brain likes to connect things. And not always in the same what that others connect them. So we may be talking about trains, but my brain sees the industrial revolution --> Victoriana --> steampunk --> cool modded keyboards --> the most recent episode of Warehouse 13. And I will suddenly start talking about that. It all connected in my head.

This week, I decided I wanted to make one of the cool wrap bracelets I had seen that wraps around the wrist a bunch of times. The tutorials all say to use a clip board to steady the work. Yeah, that didn't work for me. And holding it in my hands worked, but because I am making a longer one, which means long thread, I kept getting knots. Then I suddenly looked down at it and thought, "This is just 2 warp looming". So I went and grabbed my bead loom, did some wrapping and presto chango!

2011-11-18 07.15.24

The piece is held, I can work in a motion I already know, and it all makes perfect sense in my head! Woo! It also allows for bathroom breaks without everything falling apart. Bonus.

Quote: Coincidences are a true paradox... on the one hand they seem to be the source of our greatest irrationalities--seeing causal connections when science tells us they aren't there. On the other hand, some of our greatest feats of scientific discovery depend on coincidences.
Josh Tenenbaum, quoted in "The Power of Coincidence," Psychology Today, July 2004

(for the record, the quotes always make sense in my head as well...)
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Finished Frosty Ring

Just wanted to share a picture of my finished Frosty the Snowman ring. You can find the pattern here. I did mine with a mix of Delicas and round seed beads, but you could use either!

2011-11-16 10.14.13

Quote: Happy birthday! Hey, I said my first words. But... But snowmen can't talk. Ha ha ha, come on now, what's the joke? Could I really be alive?
- Frosty, Frosty the Snowman(1969)
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More kumihimo and cake!

So, this weekend a friend of mine decided everyone should get flowers now and then and bought me one.

2011-11-11 18.43.29

It was delicious.

2011-11-11 18.52.26

This weekend I got to finish 2 kumihimo projects! WOO! The first was a necklace made with the pink rope shown in my last post. For some reason I haven't taken a picture of the finished necklace. I will correct that this evening. The second piece was a bracelet. I used some 6/0 seed beads in a Lilac Garden mix. I went back to using the smaller string, and it still caves in, but for some reason this time I am OK with that. Luckily I had some awesome Vintaj Magnolia endcaps that were perfect for it!

2011-11-14 20.22.33

Finally, I am working on making some Steampunk items for my sister, who has recently discovered this awesome styele. Here is the start of a cuff.

2011-11-12 10.42.31

Quote: Gods don't like people not doing much work. People who aren't busy all the time might start to think.
Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Voting is open on the Etsy Beadweaver's November Challenge

The theme for November was Totally Twisted. I am sad that I was not able to get my Klein bottle worked out in time to enter, but I will keep working on it!

You may review the lovely entries and vote for your favorite on the Etsy Beadweavers Team Blog.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My first bead show and learning kumihimo

This past weekend I got to attend my very first bead show. I went with my sister to a small bead and gem show that was occuring locally. I am not sure if I was expecting bigger or smaller, but I was definately expecting different. This show seemed to have lots of rocks (cabs and otherwise) and lots of strung glass beads, pearls, and crystals, but very little of findings or metal. Since we went specifically to try to find some things I could make into steampunk jewelry for my sister, this was a little disappointing.


Also this week, I have been learning kumihimo - the Japanese art of braiding. Why? Glad you asked. For a while now, I have been working on learning bead crochet. While I have the basic technique down, it is awkward. Holding hook, thread, work and moving beads.... just awkward. It would probably get easier with practice, but for now it causes my hands to cramp. So, I came across a kumihimo braid done with beads that looked remarkably similiar to the bead crochet ropes I had been coveting. After a little research on youtube, this looked like something I could do!

My first project was done with the rattail that came with the kit I bought, and included no beads. Just learning the basics of the 8 strand braid. It was incredably easy! Move move turn. Move move turn. I like! The first braid turned out nice, but I forgot to take a picture of it before my niece claimed it for her own.

The second project I decided to try with some 6/0 beads I had and some #10 cotton thread. This did not turn out so well. While adding the beads to the braid wasn't hard, I found that my braid kept collapsing on on itself and not being circular. After some thought, I decided that the thread I was using was too thin for my beads. So I tried again with some random yarn. Better!

2011-11-06 15.30.34

With the yarn, the 6/0 beads had better support and it made a much sturdier braid. However, when looking closely at the finished product, I think the yarn may actually have been a little too thick. It shows a lot!

2011-11-07 07.12.43

It doesn't help that it is so very contrasting to the beads. I was getting closer to what I wanted.

Next I decided to try some 11/0 seed beads. My first thought was to use Fireline, but when searching it out, I came across a couple of rolls of Wildfire beading thread I had purchased a while back. It was originally purchased when I was experimenting with threads for beadweaving, but I had decided I hated it and turned to Fireline instead. One of the reasons I hated it was that it was too thick, which I decided might make it perfect for this!

2011-11-07 07.11.51

So, I am a couple of inches into my braid with 11/0 seed beads, and really liking it. The beads seem to fit together nicely with no space to see the thread, and the work is going fairly quickly - much quicker than my crochet attempts! The only real problem I am having is that as my braid gets bigger, I am loosing the weight on my bobbins and it is throwing off my tension. I may need to go invest in some fishing weights to attach to the bobbins. Or remove more of the stones from the bag I have weighting the braid... or both.

2011-11-07 07.12.17

Quote: Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.
Douglas R. Hofstadter, from Go"del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

As long as it snows on a weekend or somewhere else that is. Here is my first peyote ring pattern for winter! Again, I really recommend mixing your beads to get a nice 3D effect.


If you have made a ring from one of my patterns, please send me a picture. I would love to know they are being used! Also feel free to send me (or comment below) any feedback about the patterns themselves. Thanks!

Quote: I used to be Snow White -- but I drifted.
Mae West (1892 - 1980)
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The joy of dabbling

I recently had someone tell me that I should focus solely on my beaded rings and should set aside everthing else like resin work or metal. I carefully considered what they said and why one might do this. Then I threw the idea out the window and went back to my dabbling ways.


The thing is, I like to dabble. While i truely love beadweaving, the very intricacy of it sometimes turns me off. There are days when I just want to make a quick item and see the results right away! For those days there is etching. Draw it, etch it, string it, done. Other times, I am drawn to all the pretty papers and stamps that I use with my resin.


2011-10-13 08.48.46

Still other days I want to learn something new, go off in some new direction I have never been before. Right now is like that. I really, really, really want to start working with precious metal clay. I keep trolling Amazon adding all the cool tools and clays to my wish list. I have been jotting down design ideas constantly. *sigh* If only I had money.


Quote: Lack of money is the root of all evil.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
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Friday, October 28, 2011

New Patterns: Halloween Classics

You have to do the classics... that's why they are classics.



Reminders with my patterns, please start beading at the end on the right (on my beading program the pattern is sideways so this is the top). This assures that you get the picture, you can then stop the solid color area where ever you need to for your finger size. A good thought is to print it out.

Trivia: My Dracaula ring started as Elvis.

Quote: You see! You must open your eyes to see things! There's more to come!
- Gazbo - Dracula vs Frankenstein 1971
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Monday, October 24, 2011

New Patterns: Something pumpkin this way comes

For the record, pumpkins are hard to create in peyote stitch...



Quote: Tonight the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch. He flies through the air and brings toys to all the children of the world.
- Linus, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - Charles M Schulz
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Friday, October 21, 2011

New Patterns for Halloween!

Stuff has come up this week, and I haven't gotten to post as much as I wanted, so I bring you two lovely ring patterns this week - one for Halloween and one for Autumn in general.



I keep playing with leaves. Trying to make better ones. I am also playing with the concept of letting things hang off the edge of the pattern...

When making the rings for myself, I am also playing with the beads, mixing Delicas and rocailles (rounded seed beads) to see what effects I get. I am finding that it can take a flat pattern and add a lot of texture and interest!

Quote: I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007)
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things always work perfectly in my head

For the last several weeks I have been working on a project. Working on one thing for that long is very unusual for me, as I am all about the instant gratification (thus my obsession with rings!). But this is one I really want to do and do right.

I am a member of several teams on Etsy and 2 of them have regular challenges. The Etsy Beadweavers Team and the Kansas Etsy Team. For the November Challenge the Etsy Beadweavers' theme is Totally Twisted, and the Kansas Etsy Team's theme is In the Name of Science. I have a brilliant idea to combine the two and make an item that is Totally Twisted Science!

The only problem is that every time I try to bead my lovely idea, it doesn't turn out like I want. It works in my head, but not on my thread! Blah.

So, the idea I have is to bead a Klein Bottle. For those who don't feel like following the link, a Klein Bottle is sort of like a mobius strip, except it has no edges at all. It is a construct that loops back on itself so that the outside is also the inside. While it can technically only exist in 4 dimensions, a model can be created in 3 dimensions by ignoring the hole that is needed. It is a total math geek thing, but it is definately twisted and it is definately science!


My first attempt utilized tubuliar peyote, and I thought it was going pretty well...

2011-10-04 21.16.20

However, when I tried to start decreasing I lost the curve I was looking for and it went more square. Not the desired effect at all!

So, after rebeading that several times, I decided to switch to tubular herringbone, and see if that curved better. And it did, again, right up to the point where I started trying to descrease... This time, every other herringbone spine sort of folded in, giving a pleated effect. Again, not what I was looking for.

2011-10-09 20.26.06

So, for now I have set the project aside. I am giving it time to stew in my brain. I have ordered the beads I want to use for the finished project and they should show up this week. Once they do, I will start again. My plan is to try tubular peyote again, only this time instead of trying to do several decreases evenly spaced in the same round, I am gonna try one per round sort of spiralling... Well, it works in my head.

Quote: Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)
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Friday, October 14, 2011

How to make peyote rings

I have been posting a lot of ring patterns lately, and have plans to post a lot more. So, for those of you looking for more detailed instructions then "do even count peyote and zip it up" I would like to direct you to Leslie Rogalski's Peyote Ring Tutorial.

This is a tutorial put together by the absolutely wonderful Leslie Rogalski. It is the tutorial that got me hooked on making peyote rings. The price for the tutorial is not too high, and it teaches basic even count peyote(which most of my rings are) and gives instructions on how to zip closed. It also includes some helpful tips for beginners! Once you learn the technique, it can be used for more than just rings.

For the record, I was not asked to post this link, I have chosen to do so as I think this is the best resource for learning even count peyote and for making rings.
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Spiders are not my favorite thing

My 7 yr old niece keeps asking me why I am afraid of spiders, but I won't tell her as I don't want her to share this fear. I will tell you.

Spiders terrify me because they can literally kill you without you ever even seeing them. Now, some would say that germs can do this as well, and that is true. The difference is that with spider's I can scream and freak when I do see them. Germs I never see at all, so very little screaming and freaking goes on.

Anyway, in the spirit of All Hallow's Eve I am embracing the scary - or in this case letting the scary embrace me. Here is a ring pattern so that you can make your very own pet spider to embrace your finger this fall. Enjoy!


Quote: The itsy bitsy spider
climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain.
And the itsy bitsy spider
climbed up the spout again.

Children's song
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sometimes, I like to play with resin

So, I got to make a resin necklace on commission for a coworker. It was a fun piece to make, slightly steampunky, always fun. It was made by doing several layers of resin in a bottlecap bezel. The first layer was tinted black. The next layer was clear and I added some gears and a partial watch face. This was followed by another clear layer. Then I used a drop of resin to attach the cross. This was, of course, done over the course of several days to allow each layer to set. Once the final layer was cured, I drilled a hole and then attached my bail with a rivet. I really love rivets, not sure why.

Anyway, here is the finished product. In a box even!

2011-10-13 08.48.46

Quote: To some, ‘steampunk’ is a catchall term, a concept in search of a visual identity. To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance. – Jake von Slatt
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