A Bead Challenge

STATUS UPDATE:  The challenge is over and sadly I didn’t win, but there was some tough competition and I was told it was close.  I am happy with my project and can’t wait to wear it.  It’s all good! 

Recently I entered a bead challenge at my local bead shop ‘Thistle Beads’ in Niantic, CT.  I bought a challenge packet of assorted beads with a picture of the color pallet from the web site of Design Seeds http://www.design-seeds.com/

The colors weren’t exactly colors I wear and had trouble relating to it and at first I thought, who can I give this to when I am done with the challenge.  But then I got inspired by ‘Starry Night” by Van Gogh and I suddenly had a plan.  I had been doing a jigsaw puzzle on my Kindle of his painting, Starry Night and that’s when I first had the “ah ha!” moment.

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I think I may have been one of the first to turn mine in and tomorrow, Thistle Beads will put the finished pieces on display from all those who entered the challenge and when customers come in, they can vote on which one they like best.  The last challenge Thistle Beads had my sister won, it was our first time and I was very happy for her.  I am not sure what the prize is for this challenge but she won a $25 gift card; I think it’s a small box of assorted beads (but I am not sure).  It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, I like the challenge of having to think outside the box; not always an easy task and if you were to ask Shaylynn, she might say I complained; but I am glad she encouraged me.

So, if you live local and read this, visit Thistle Beads and cast your vote; I won’t tell you to vote for mine but do vote for the one you like best.

Until next time. . .

The Flat Stanley Project

Flat Stanley was a project that I was asked to take part in for my great niece in another state.  The children were asked to send it to someone (friend or family member) who lived somewhere else.  My brother Cliff (who lived in Alaska at the time) was asked when my great nephew had to do it in his class and when it became Maddie’s turn; I was asked.  The task was to take a picture of both you and Flat Stanley someplace local and write a bit about it and your state.

So I took Flat Stanley to my favorite bead shop; Thistle Beads in Niantic, CT.  

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I also took him down the street to see Long Island Sound Projects 089

and then to Mystic for a picture under the sign of ‘Mystic Pizza’ which was made famous in 1988 because of the movie ‘Mystic Pizza’, with young Julia Roberts in the cast. Projects 094

I then wrote a little about all the activities, as well as mentioning about submarines being built here and the naval base.  I gathered it all up, including pictures and got it in the mail Tuesday morning.  A sigh of relief!  I was glad to do it, but then insecurities set in and wondered if it would be good enough, I also came down with a head/chest cold which delayed the picture taking.  So once it was all ready to go, I felt like I could relax; it’s due by March 1st; so I did have a deadline.

I am glad that I did it, it kind of got me out of my box (comfort zone), which doing something different does.  I was glad to help; I hope Maddie enjoys it.

The Herringbone Stitch

I last wrote about the herringbone stitch bracelets I had made and showed you photos of what I had done.  Well, I seem to be a bit stuck on this stitch and continue to make bracelets.  With winter’s bitter cold days and the snow we have had, it has given me something to keep me busy while I hibernate.

Projects 086I didn’t take a picture of one of the bracelets I made, it was a gift and I have already given it to the person.  But the three in the first picture are all basically the same but the clasps are a bit different from one another.  The second and third pictures are my latest creation.  A has bit of a different twist to it, a double wrap around bracelet.

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I have yet to pick up one of those unfinished projects that I last wrote about, though I have thought about a couple of them; but that doesn’t get them completed.

It Has Been Weeks!

First of all; HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Secondly; I realized the other day that it has been weeks since I last posted; life has kept me busy with the holidays and my eldest son’s wedding.   With these wonderful events behind me, I am ready to focus on the new year!

I thought about making a “To-Do” list like I have the past two years in January, but decided not to this year.  I think mainly it’s because I have unfinished projects that really do need my attention and that’s what I should focus on.  A friend on Facebook had said that this year it was all about finishing up unfinished projects and that is what I have been thinking ever since.

I think about the curtains in the kitchen that I want to turn into café curtains (two sets; top and bottom) so that I can let light in and still have some privacy, or better yet in the spring open the bottom curtains to let the cool air in from the open window and keep the bright light out.  Anyway, that is just one project I need to do this year.  Hopefully I will stick to this mind set and complete those projects and post about them as I finish each one.  That’s the plan anyway.

The bracelet that is too big!

The bracelet that is too big!

Currently, I am still in the beading mode and took a class this past Tuesday night along with my sister.  We learned how to make a “super-duo/tile” bracelet, I finally finished it last night only to realize it was too big for me and after sleeping on it, decided to take it apart and remake it.  This is what it looks like now (before the remake).


I also taught myself how to make a “herringbone” bracelet using once again the super-duos, it’s a very easy bracelet to make and it goes quickly.  You can make it as wide as you want and it doesn’t matter if it’s an odd number or even number of beads as it does matter in some bracelets such as the “peyote” stitch.  It’s easy, fast and the combinations are almost endless!

unfinished bracelet

unfinished bracelet

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Other Ideas

For the past year I have focused on beading projects, finding myself with a lack of interest in other creative projects.  But lately, I find myself thinking about possible Christmas presents for next year that are not bead related; as well as other ideas that aren’t gifts.  It all stems from a test I took on Facebook about which side of the brain you use most.  http://en.sommer-sommer.com/braintest/  To my surprise, it showed I was using my left brain more; the side that said “rules, language, strategy, details, rationality, logic”!  It made me realize I wasn’t creating even though I was making bracelets, earrings and necklaces, but it was all the same type of work.  I wasn’t using my creative ability; I was making, not creating.

So I started looking around a little bit more, that creative curiosity slant where you start seeing things from a different angle.  It’s still in the infant stages of forming ideas, but at least I am now thinking about it.

Projects 077Not to leave you without at least one picture, so this is what I just finished working on.  I love the combination of red and black, but when I first started this piece, I was doing the bracelet in red and white.  That combination was not working at all and I took it apart.  It was my sister who suggested I try the red with black beads; I did and liked it so much, I had to make a complete set with necklace and earrings to match!  What’s so funny about my sister’s suggestion is that she teases me about wearing a lot of black and white and red; in the winter, I do wear those colors most, I have to admit.  :)

The Pinecone Wreath

Projects 059I shared with you the start of the pinecone wreath I was making from pinecones that I had gathered in Washington state while there on my last visit about six or so years ago.  I had debugged them and sent them home via UPS to arrive after I did.  And there they sat in my craft room along with the hay wreath I bought to glue them onto for literally years.

I finally finished the wreath and hung it where it will permanently hang.  Right now it’s along side another but larger pinecone wreath I made many years ago.  The larger one will be taken down when I pack up my decorations after Christmas.   After Christmas it will be replaced with an antique picture of a little boy in a highchair.Projects 058 Projects 060

The Necklace and Bracelet Set . . .

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I have wanted to make a necklace for a dress I will be wearing to my oldest son’s wedding in January.  I had some beads already that I thought would go well with the dress, so I picked out a pattern and started making it.  Part way through, I realize I don’t have enough beads, so I went looking for more.  A.C. Moore Craft Store carried the brand but didn’t have any in the color I needed.  But they had another color that I liked even more of the same bead, so I bought what they had and hoped to order the rest.  I got a call later that day saying they could no longer get that bead.  I decided that a necklace only would have to do; I didn’t have enough beads to make earrings or bracelet to go with it.  I finished the necklace and showed it to my husband the next morning and put it on to give him an idea of how it would look.  A few minutes later it fell off; the toggle I used was faulty.  So now I am rethinking it again, maybe taking it apart and making bracelets out of it instead; keeping one and giving one.

A bit later I started thinking in another direction; I had silver colored pearls that I was thinking of trying next in the same pattern.

So I took apart the necklace that I had already completed and tried making it with the pearls, my husband said it looked too gaudy and I had to agree; sadly he was right.  So I returned the pearls I had bought and started rethinking it yet again.  I had decided against the bracelets, I really liked the necklace.  So after searching on-line for possible matches to the beads I had taken apart from the necklace, I found the same type of bead in a slightly darker hue.  I decided I will order them and make a bracelet to go with the necklace and so, I made the necklace again; but used different bicones.  Hopefully when the slightly darker beads arrive, the bead won’t be too much different from the necklace and since they aren’t side by side, I doubt anyone will notice when I wear it.  Or at least that is the hope.  So, I remade the necklace and also made earrings to go with it.

And so the saga continues. . . .

I made the bracelet of the slightly darker hue and it’s too big; that seems to be my downfall when making bracelets, I have trouble sizing them.  So, once again I am thinking of taking the bracelet apart and redoing it.  As it turns out, the hue isn’t far off and like I said; I don’t think anyone would notice.

I may be so sick of this pattern by the time I am done; but for now I am thinking it really looks good when it’s completed!

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