Monday, June 11, 2012

Tutorial - Brick Stitch Heart by Lynn Davy

Brickstitch is a very simple but versatile seed bead technique in which new beads are stitched to the thread (not the beads) of the previous row. This tutorial shows you how to make a simple heart shape that can be adapted to make flower petals, leaves, diamonds…

Seed beads can be fiddly to handle if you’re not used to them, so I suggest you start with size 8s while you learn the stitch, and then progress to 11s or even 15s. In addition to beads, you’ll need thread, a needle and sharp scissors. If you’re very new to this, I wrote a very simple guide to materials here and beads (including sizes) here.

Thread your needle with a comfortable length of thread (no more than the span of your arms).

1. String 3 beads and go through 2 of them again.

2. Pull them into a triangle.

3. Now pick up 2 beads, for the start of the brickstitch row; go under the thread bridge between the top two beads of your triangle, and up through the second of the beads you just picked up. Pull the thread carefully until it’s firm but not too tight.

4. Then pick up one more bead and go under the same thread bridge again and back up through the bead. In other words, make 2 brickstitches in the same place. You should now have a row of 3 beads at the top of the triangle.

5. Make a brickstitch with 2 beads into the first thread bridge in your row of 3, then make two brickstitches of 1 bead each into the second thread bridge. This row will have 4 beads in it.

6. Make another row with five stitches: again, pick up two beads for the first stitch, and put two stitches into the last thread bridge, so the width increases.

7. Make another row in the same way: this one should have 6 beads in it.

8. To shape the top of the heart, pick up 5 beads, miss out one bead of the last brickstitch row, stitch down through the next bead…

9. …and up through the one after. Pull the beads into a loop.

10. Pick up 5 more beads and make another loop, going down through the last bead in the brickstitch row.

11. Your heart will look more solid if you ‘fill in’ the loops; so bring your needle back up through the brickstitch bead under the middle of the loop…

12. …pick up one bead and go back down through the same bead in the brickstitch.

13. Then weave up through the next bead to the left…

14. …down through the next…

15.…up through the next one.

16. Pick up a bead, down through the same bead you just came up out of. And that is your heart complete. (You can weave round all the edge beads to firm it up and neaten it a bit.)

Now you can add a hanging loop to the top edge and put it on a ribbon to make a quick and simple pendant; or…
…weave up through the edge beads to the 3rd one in the loop of 5.

Pick up 2 beads and go through the one you exited. Stitch through the first bead of the 2 again, pull these 3 beads into a triangle and continue in brickstitch just as you did at the beginning.

In size 11s, this makes a nice curvy braid for a romantic necklace…
The perfect way to set off a silver cupid station and one of Tan Grey’s lovely beads!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tutorial - Chain Cufflinks by Anna McDade

Want to learn how to put together some etched aluminium cufflinks like this? Check out Anna's tutorial RIGHT HERE!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review: Homemade Gifts Vintage Style

Homemade Gifts Vintage Style
by Sarah Moore
RRP £16.99

This book has over 60 ideas (if I counted right!) for gifts, most of them quite quick to make and so satisfying if you're strapped for time. The introductory parts of the book quickly go over stitches and using a sewing machine, so some very basic sewing knowledge is needed before you decide to take on projects in this- largely sewing focused- book. There is a more substantial section on how to look for useful vintage materials to upcycle, such as tapestries to reuse the fabrics and old furniture. A lot of the projects take these old items- and with a lick of paint or a bit of decoupage- are transformed into new items such as fabric covered suitcases or teacup candles.

Nothing in this book is particularly difficult or very revolutionary. Some of the "projects" are as simple as wrapping some plates and cheese with ribbon to give as a present, or putting a collection of old beads into a jar, however they may just trigger an idea for a gift hamper for a friend of member of the family with a particular hobby or interest.

The pictures in this book are lovely and vintagey- as you might expect- and the templates page is disguised as photographs which makes a section- that would otherwise be dull to look at- a lot prettier. The list at the back that puts the projects in the book in sections to suit various gift giving occasions.

This book is not for you if you're after taxing crafts and to develop your skills beyond the basics, however if you're a craft butterfly, a newcomer to making your own, or even just after a pretty coffee table book then if you can find it for less than £12, this might just be your thing.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

{Blog Review} Jolene at Kitzbitz Art Glass

Who is it?
Jolene at  Kitzbitz Art Glass

What Craft is it?
It's all about the glass beads and supplies!

What to expect:
• Beads and Lampworking supplies from a very talented artist!
• Glasstesting, technical reviews and easy to read fun posts!
• Great links to her favourite recommended places on the web!

Why we LOVE IT!
Well, not only does it give us options and beautiful handmade beads to drool over, but even for non-lampworkers, there are fascinating features about glass which gives a great insight into the mystical world of lampworking. Entraced and curious with the tests that she makes in her studio with frit and glass, you can see why her lampwroking murrini, shards and mojo boxes have become very popular in the lampworking world!

Other places on the web to find Kitzbitz Art Glass!
Etsy Shop Frit 'n' Chips - CLICK HERE
Etsy Shop Kitzbitz beads - CLICK HERE
Facebook - CLICK HERE
Website - CLICK HERE

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tutorial - Seaside buttons by Nan Fry

With thanks to Nan Fry of Polynana for this fabulous tutorial on making seaside themed buttons from polymer clay.

Friday, May 4, 2012

{Blog Review} Mel at InkyDoodleCrafts!

Who is it?
Mel at  InkyDoodleCrafts

What Craft is it?
It's all about the cards!

What to expect:
• Beautiful Cards for all occasions!
• Lovely features on her favorite artists!
• Great links and lots of producs based on challenges!

Why we LOVE IT!
Is a great reminder of why and how handmade cards are so special. In this modern day, where e-cards are becoming more convenient. cards arriving by post and written by hand are becoming more precious, personal and rare. Mel makes such bright colourful cards for all occasions - good enough to make anyone smile on their special day.

Other places on the web to find  InkyDoodleCrafts!
Etsy Shop - CLICK HERE
Facebook - CLICK HERE
Twitter - CLICK HERE

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Meet the team - Dawn, Jill and Sam

The second in a new series of posts to introduce you to the members of CPteam. This week I am focusing on the teams glass fusers - though each of these team members are awesomely talented in other glass disciplines and much much more.

First up is Dawn of dawnturnerdesigns

Amber Dish - Maple Syrup

Dawn's Etsy shop is packed with delicious one of a kind glass pieces like this maple dish and wonderful fused decal coaster sets. Dawn also makes wearable fused work too, pretty pendants and innovative scarf buckles. Outside of Etsy Dawn creates large scale site specific art instillation's using a variety of mediums including glass and ceramics and is currently working on creating an Olympic Legacy Wall at Kirk Hallam Community Technology & Sports College.

Next I'd like to introduce you to Jill of kilnfiredart

fused dichroic glass freeform pendant, multicoloured glass necklace

One of the delights you will find in Jill's shop are these composite fused dichroic pendants. Jill is a skilled fine artist who uses uses traditional overglaze painting techniques to create stunning works of art like these magnificent boxing hares.

boxing hares painting, lustre overglaze enamels on porcelain

Jills Etsy shop is a veritable Aladdin's cave of delights including slumped bottle noticeboards, jilldoodle decal mugs and homeware and anodised aluminum jewellery.

Next up is Sam of VenusArtGlass

Large 'Tribal Blanket' Fused Bowl

Sam is hugely inspirational to me. Her work is detailed, colourful and contemporary. It is clear to see the attention and time that is lavished on each and every piece. Sam's fused work is awesome, her sun catchers are quirky and cool but it is her lampwork beads that truly blow me away. Sam makes the most elegant kneeling goddess beads which you can find for sale on Etsy from time to time. They are just stunning. If this wasn't enough Sam is currently working on a series of cast glass sculptures and I am looking forward to seeing where this journey will take her.

I hope you enjoyed this quick introduction, click the pics to go to Etsy and see more from each of our teamies.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tutorial - How to make a Wire Headpin - by Jo Walker

With thanks to Jo Walker for this fabulous tutorial on making headpins!
Such a great tecnique and would look great on many jewellery projects.

Thanks Jo!

Click on the picture to make it bigger!
If you have any questions - please feel free to come on over to CraftPimp!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meet the team - Sue, Ness and Jo

The first in a new series of posts to introduce you to the members of CPteam. I'm starting with three of our newest lampworking members, Sue, Ness and Jo.

First up is our Sue of FlamingEck

Mint humbug - handmade lampwork bead set

FlamingEck  is packed with sets and mini-sets of handmade glass beads just perfect for jewellery design. You will find a broad variety of styles and techniques in Sue's shop, from hand formed floral bicones, pressed focals decorated with her Sue's own handpulled murrini, silverglass delights and beautiful sets like the one pictured above.

Next up is Vanessa, or lovli-Ness (which is how I think of her in my head) of beadupastorm.

Miranda lampwork BIG hole bead

Ness is a wizard with silverglass. Her work tends to be organic in style and the colours and patterns that she teases our of this special kind of glass are breathtaking. It's a dark art I tell you! Not only that but Ness also makes the most beautiful sculpted art buttons - divine!

Next up is Jo of lampworkbeadsbyJo

handmade lampwork glass bead, skull snail

Jo makes beautiful sets of etched, pressed and sculpted beads and elegant larger focal beads too. She also creates these delightful little snails which have quickly become her signature critter. The fellow above is my current favourite, such personality, I can just imagine him slinking along at a snails pace saying "Aw Mum, do I have to?".

I hope you enjoyed this quick introduction, click the pics to go to Etsy and see more form each of our teamies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twas the night before Flame Off...

...and I was bricking it!! 

What a good weekend, if not very hectic and exhausting, but good.  After my initial reserves about going to the Flame Off as a trader for the first time, the only other time being four or five years ago, before I had even turned on a torch, I tagged along with the ex sister in law for a day out.  I enjoyed it then but it did somewhat pass over the top of my head.  So, knowing that lots of incredibly talented people were going to be there, demo'ing, trading and generally sharing knowledge and swopping beads, I was blummin' nervous and more than once told the hubby to turn the car round and head home!  But, he wouldn't, so we arrived early Friday morning, Friday the 13th to boot, and what luck, I was right next door to Sam, Jolene and Kerensa, the latter keeping us all in tena lady moments...ask me about the minge bead, I just dare ya!

Opposite me was Ruth and Andy from A&R Beads, and their four pawed companion really made my weekend.

Playing with Kerensa

Can you see his special lead?

The portrait shot.
That very special four pawed companion, is Bentley, a 5 and half month old trainee guide dog for the blind.  He made several guest appearances throughout the show and practised using the lift and stairs and meeting all the very hyper and loud beady people.  He took the sting out of being away from my two golden retrievers for the weekend, I got my cuddle fix!

Unfortunately, due to being completely rubbish, Bentley was the only pictures I took!  I am itching to make a range of Bentley beads.  But the Flame Off was very good fun.  I won Intermediate Runner Up in the GBUK Competition and had a voucher for glass and a fabulous bead roller from Pegasus.  Lynn Davy won the Bead Stringing  Jewellery Challenge, us Craft Pimpers Rock.  Unfortunately, again, I got so excited about spending my voucher that I have forgotten the name of the lady who won the Intermediate Prize, but her exhibit was beautiful, as were all the exhibits in both bead and jewellery.

I was so lucky to be next to Sam, who discussed at length with me cold working fused glass, thank you Sam x  and Jolene who flitted about like a beady butterfly, nearly as much as Kerensa!  Not having seen so much murrini up that close I was rather amazed at the skill needed for such delicate slices of glass beauty. 

I just loved the marbles and faceted beads from the ladies, then there was the glass suppliers, lots of Tuffnells carrier bags laden with glass left the building, so much so that white ran out by lunchtime Saturday...and of course I needed white!

It was very nice to discuss glass colours, COE's, pro's and con's without someone telling me to shut up, or worse yawn!  So much glass talk and I now have a day trip to Stourbridge and Plowden and Thompson to look forward too, not to mention the Stourbridge Glass Event in August this year.  Hopefully I won't be as nervous meeting everyone again.

Perhaps next year I will take pictures of glass!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Window Shopping with the CP team

I hope you are having a marvellous springtime despite the Brit weather and all of it's surprises. This is our second instalment for April of window shopping with CPteam.I hope you see something that makes you smile.

If you want to see a bigger picture of anything ... just click on the picture and it'll fly you away to Etsy!

What fabulous goodies have recently caught your eye?

Marvellous monochrome.....

Ocean green and blue

Oh so cute!

Blue and gold

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tutorial - How to make a toggle clasp by Jo Walker

Many thanks to  Studio Jewellery by Jo for this great tutorial on how to make this superb toggle clasp.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lynn Davy - "It's all about the beads!"

It’s all about the beads!

Part 2 of my quick guide to basic materials for seed beading. There is a lot more I could say on this subject (so help me, I’ve been a seedy beader for well over thirty years now) but I’ll try to keep it simple!

‘Seed beads’ covers those little glass beads in sizes from a couple of millimetres down to well-nigh invisible.

As with beading needles, the sizes are indicated by numbers. The bigger the number, the smaller the beads.

These are the three ‘standard’ sizes: size 8, size 11, and size 15. Most seed beadwork is done with size 11’s.

Size 8’s are a bit bigger and good for beginners or learning a new stitch as it’s easier to see what’s happening. (You can also use plastic ‘pony beads’ to learn or demonstrate seed bead stitches. They are huge, but they’re the right shape!)

It’s helpful to know that the relationship between the sizes is the same – in other words, a construction that works with a mixture of size 11 and size 8 will also work (but be smaller) if you make it with sizes 11 and 15.

For example, these bronze starfish are made with sizes 11 and 15, and the blue ones are sizes 8 and 11.

Seed beads are made by lots of different manufacturers in many different countries and there are subtle differences. Basically, when starting out it helps to pick one type and stick to it. You generally gets what you pays for: more expensive seed beads from Japan or the Czech Republic will be more evenly sized and shaped than cheapo ones from India or China.

There is a rainbow of colours to choose from and a confusing choice of surface finishes which I’m going to try to de-confuse a bit for you now…

Opaque. What it says on the tin. Bright, solid colour with either a shiny or a matte (sometimes called ‘etched’) surface.

In addition the surface may be given an iridescent coating often described as ‘rainbow’ or ‘AB’ (this stands for Aurora Borealis) or sometimes ‘iris’, ‘peacock’ or ‘oilslick’. This bracelet is made with opaque black (both shiny and matte) and blue iris seed beads.

Transparent. Also fairly self-explanatory. Light shines through and it’s worth remembering that the thread inside the beads will also show, so pick your thread colour carefully. White will brighten the colours; black will dull them.
Transparent beads may be shiny or matte and may also have an AB coating.

There are also ‘lustre’ coatings that give an extra-slick shiny look to the bead surface. The blue ones in the photo also have a coloured lining. (Watch out for catalogue descriptions where there isn’t an accompanying picture, as ‘pink lined blue’ may mean either a transparent blue bead with a pink lining OR a transparent pink bead with a blue lining!)

For extra sparkle, there are ‘silver lined’ beads (or sometimes ‘gold lined’ too) which have a metallic foil coating on the inside of the bead. A matte or semi-matte finish gives a softer glow.

When using lined beads, whether colour- or silver-lined, be careful not to scratch the lining with your needle when stitching, because this will show on the outside.

‘Opal’ beads have a milky, semi-transparent effect that is very delicate and pretty, often set off by a foil lining. ‘Pearl’ or ‘ceylon’ seed beads have a pearly finish, and may also be AB coated. This pink bracelet is a mixture of gilt-lined pink opal, cream ceylon and matte transparent pink AB beads… see how quickly you’re learning the language?

There are also lots of metallic coated beads, including 24 carat gold plated, gorgeous but expensive! I’ve used them for the leaves on these earrings, which won’t get much wear as they hang free.

The best ones to use are described as ‘duracoat’, which resist scratching. Otherwise the metal can wear off over time and spoil the effect. These snowflake earrings are made with silver-plated seed beads.

All beads with a surface finish should be handled with care – some finishes are more robust than others, so bear this in mind when making jewellery, particularly bracelets that will be worn a lot. Plain opaque or transparent beads are best for everyday items.

Pearly finishes and some metallics are sensitive to chemicals such as perfumes or even sweat from your fingers; many of those pretty coloured linings will fade badly when exposed to light. And I try to avoid beads described as ‘dyed’ or ‘surface dyed’ as these are rarely entirely colour-fast. Unfortunately it’s hard to make a true, sweet pink colour in glass, so most pinks are dyed. Experiment, make a sample and wear it, some are better than others… or you may find you like the effect you get as the beads ‘age’. Not all changes are necessarily bad!

The pink-lined beads in this pendant bail will eventually fade, but since the pendant has a ‘distressed’ effect, this probably won’t matter. The topaz brown transparent beads will stay the same.

And finally… there are lots of other shapes you can mix with your seed beads, such as bugles, teardrops (or ‘fringe drops’), triangles and cubes. Maybe a subject for a future post…

Happy beading!