Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A Cornish Inspiration Part 3

The Designs

So here we go then... here is how the images of the beautiful Cornish countryside swirled around in my brain and emerged as pieces of jewellery. Most of the jewellery I've made over the last year has been designed with either antique brass or copper but as we have some lovely antique silver plated beads on the website I decided to go back to using it for most of the pieces I made in Cornwall. 90% of the components I've used can be found on the Smitten website. I did however take a few Artisan beads with me made by some of my very talented beading friends, I've popped links in the descriptions for these where used.

Beachcomber Bracelet
My first piece really was a combination of all the colours and shapes from my holiday and I think it's the one I'm most pleased with.

A Tranquil Moment
I've been waiting for a chance to use some of the tiny 3mm pressed glass rounds and the gorgeous sari silk we sell, I've teamed it up with two metals (I love mixing copper and silver) but this time I've gone with antique silver and the antique silver grey.

Retreating Tide
I'm so pleased with this necklace as it incorporates so many of my favourite beads, the inspiration came from the millions of mussels we saw at all the beaches we went to. The Dark River lentils reminded me of the mussels in the image and everything else is a bit of a seaweed homage - The red Irish waxed cord (red seaweed), the bead frames with fizgig centre (seaweed pods) and the oh, oh, oh so lovely new JBB clasp as it also reminded me of seaweed pods. I've split the clasp and used the tulip part as a pendant and teamed the hook up with a simple silver ring.

A Curious Find
I spotted the little pile of stones in the picture above carefully placed by an earlier visitor to Bedruthen Steps, a photo op that had to be taken. I've used the plum fairy sari silk, antique brass wire, dark copper and a Vintaj component along with some of the gorgeous tiny 1x2mm crystals. The beautiful handmade Rose Clasp (thank you Rebecca) and the pressed glass flowers are from one of my favourite shops The Curious Bead Shop. I plan to add a strand of peanut beads to the sari silk but I'm still trying to decide which colour to use.

Along the Sea Shore
One of the things I wanted to do while on holiday was make some pieces up with the Antique silver grey components and our new honey yellow resin beads, I can't really say this one was inspired by the sea shore but rather the idea formed along with the others designs as I was walking along this beautiful beach.

Flotsam & Jetsam
Everything in this one is from Smitten except the beautiful lamp work bead by Rita from Avalon Designs and the gorgeous lace which is from my own collection of lace and ribbons. I changed the designs about 10 times before I felt that I had got it right!...although I may still stain the lace to be more seaweed coloured.

Well there we are then. If you would like to know more about any of the beads I've used please feel free to get in touch here, on facebook or via the website.

Next on Smitten....
I've already written my next post, actually I wrote it last Christmas but a little too late for posting. Christmas decorations are the topic which will coincide beautifully with the Christmas ornament swap that's currently going on in the Bead Smitten facebook Group.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed my holiday.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Countdown to Christmas

This week I will be buying the largest Christmas tree I can afford and shall begin to deck the Braunbarth halls! This is the third year that I have been able to take it a little easier in December, most of my lovely customers have done their big bead shop for their Christmas makes so December sees smaller top up orders and gives me some time to create, I love it! Proper time to prepare, I may even bake and I am NO baker!

As often as I have been able, at Christmas I make! Whether it be new decorations, Christmas cards, jewellery as a gift or at the very least some creative present wrapping. The more time I have the more I will make it’s a great way to spread the Christmas period out for as long as possible.Here are couple of my Christmassy makes from last year

My fire place Garland
 Hearts and trees that I attached to cards for my Family Christmas cards

I thought I would share with you one of my favourite little makes for Christmas - bead decorations using ribbon wrapped beads. A simple process and all you need is a tapestry needle (blunt ended), ribbon, Fabric Hypo cement glue and large hole beads. 

Ribbon Bead Tutorial 

To make you ribbon wrapped beads thread your ribbon onto a darning needle (blunt ended) and pull once through the bead, then secure the end with a small dab of glue (see dark brown bead in image 1). Keep threading the ribbon through the bead pulling tight after every loop, as you work around the bead slightly overlap the last piece of ribbon and work in a clockwise direction until you have completely covered the bead (red gingham bead image 2). As you work around the bead try to make sure that you pull the ribbon tight so that you don’t block the hole, you will need to get a headpin or wire through the bead later on.

When you get close to finishing you may find it difficult to pull the needle through the bead, it may help to use a pair of pliers to pull the needle through. When you have as many strands as you need, secure the last loop of ribbon with a small dab of glue then trim the ribbon as close to the bead as you can.

After the glue has dried push an eye pin through the bead; make sure you go with the ribbon rather than against it ensuring that you don’t push the ribbon just trimmed back through the hole. With a pair of round nose pliers make a loop on the other side and trim the remaining wire. Bead caps are a nice addition. 

Tip - You will need large hole beads for ribbon wrapping, the wider or thicker the ribbon the large the hole needs to be.
  Step 1.

Step 2.

 Some ribbon wrapped beads
using various different sizes and shapes of beads

One of my favourite finished decorations

We have some gorgeous ribbons on the Smitten website as well as lots of beads suitable for wrapping here are some links to the most appropriate....

Beads for wrapping - Frosted acrylics - Large wooden beads
Ribbons for wrapping - Sari silks - 4mm ribbons - 10mm Gingham - 10mm edged - 7mm velvet
Glass and crystal accent beads - 8x6mm donut opaque red - large crystal donuts
Organza ribbons for hanging your ornament - 4mm organza
Bead caps - All bead caps

Enjoy the festive season everyone!