Wednesday, 31 July 2013

More piggy bead samples

I spent the morning taking a few photos of my latest piggy bead samples. Just as in the previous piggy post, it's all about playing around, seeing how the beads behave when strung in different ways and combined with other bead shapes. I did have to undo a few samples that failed miserably and I haven't made anything elaborate or complex, but I hope you still find these pics of interest.

The first sample began with my trying to do the "pearl in an oyster" thing I've seen others do. However, I only had 4 mm fire-polished beads and bicones nearby and I think they are too big. In the case of the fp, I think they're also the wrong shape, really. For more successful versions of this, see my 2-hole bead designs pinboard or the Piggy Beads board where I got several of the pics/links from.

To the left is a small sample of piggies strung the same way as in my first sample (see previous post), but with every other bead flipped the other way.

Natural size (more or less)

Then I got back to my favourite way of stitching Twins and Superduos. It works nicely with piggies too -- though only if you turn the concave side outwards. It will get too crowded the other way around. You can do two rows, as done on the left, but not more. (I keep flipping these samples so the first stitches made end up to the right and the last ones on the left for some reason.)

You might blame my thread tension, but the sample ended up being very flexible and can be bent into an arc as seen below:

My idea is to try and make a whole circle when I get enough beads and add beads to the outer cups. Perhaps also add a bigger bead in the centres. Keep your fingers crossed it'll work out as planned!

I also made a short piece using the same technique, but mixing piggies and 2-hole lentils (from the CzechMate sysem). Never did try mixing it up, making every other bead a lentil instead of separating them into two rows like this. Might have to do that too, though not at all sure if it'll work...

After that, it was time to try something different and I went back to stringing piggies, testing something I thought of already making the very first samples (see aforementioned post and/or photo at end of this post): stringing as usual, alternating the two threads between centre and edge holes, but adding beads to the centres. First I tried 4 mm fire-polished (with bad thread tension as you can see!), then rizos and finally 4 mm bicones. Did try the 2-hole lentils too, but that didn't work at all... Not in my eyes at least.

Don't know about you, but I kind of like this, especially the bicone section. It's a bit like a flower in a lily pad. In fact, once I looked at it, one of my first thoughts were "wonder if I have some tiny flower bell beads to use instead?". Not sure there is anything smaller than 6 mm, though, and that might be too big. We'll have see: do have such flower beads so I can try it out as soon as I rip up these samples.

Changing the direction of the bead string kind of changes the way the sample looks too, in a way, emphasizing the flower/vine shape. Or maybe it's just me.

And, to finish this post off, just to remind you of what the first samples looked like:

(Click here to read more about it.)

Your turn!

So... How about you? Have you tried piggy beads? Have any pics and/or ideas you want to share? I'd love to see it!

Or haven't you got around to playing with this bead shape yet? Haven't found them in you favourite bead shops yet or just don't like them -- or perhaps like them, but have no idea how you want to use them? Unlike 2-hole beads like e.g. twins/superdous and tilas, these beads are fab to just string so don't let the fact that you aren't into seedbeading deter you. And, besides, you don't have to use both holes if that's what's holding you back. Just use the centre or edge hole -- e.g. like Pearl at The Beading Gem's Journal -- and treat them like glass bead caps, fun-shaped lentil beads or glass charms.

If you're looking for inspiration, may I suggest this pinboard? Mostly bead-weaving, but some ideas could work for strung jewellery too. I've got some piggy inspiration on my 2-hole beads pinboard too, but as said above, many of the piggy designs come from the aforementioned board.

Tried to take photos of the thunder last night...

Now, I should explain that at this point it was getting really dark (because of the thunderclouds and the time, being after 10 o'clock as it was) and I kept missing the lightning -- as in the photo above -- but most of all the thunder was still far away and I didn't see any lightning branches. All that was happening, apart from hearing the thunder, was the clouds being illuminated by it and that's what you can see here. It's not the sunset as you might expect, but lightning colouring the clouds pink. The orange in the bottom left corner of the last photo is sunset colours, but the rest, from the horizon up, is all lightning.

After these photos where taken, the thunderclouds blocked out all that was left of the twilight and the thunder didn't seem to get closer so I gave up. You can even see it getting darker in the photos (where the last one is taken about 9 minutes after the first one). The thunder, however, didn't get close until the middle of the night. And at that time I was trying to sleep and not in the mood to try and capture lightning on camera.

Sorry about the telephone pole, by the way: I was sitting indoors taking these photos from the only window facing the thunder so there wasn't much I could do to avoid it.

So to conclude: lightning photos is something I need to work on, but I doubt I will. I'm not so fond of thunder that I'll go outdoors during a thunderstorm just to get some so-so lightning photos. I'll just keep admiring the photos taken by pros instead! Better to just sit back, feel save indoors and look out the window just enjoying the equally fabulous and terrifying view. If you have an open skyline, a thunderstorm can be awesome to watch (provided it doesn't get close enough to make you scared about it striking the house).

Monday, 29 July 2013

July bead soup palette

Well, just got a lot of cats before the weekend so this monday I'm doing things a bit differently and will just be showing this colour palette -- if you want another cat, check out the last version I made of the Julle digital doodles on my Flickr page.

You might recognize the silk cord from this post, but I think the colours look better in this photo. The beads are also a new addition -- one that made my sis wonder what was happening: something must be wrong or at least weird when I buy blue stuff. I opened the envelope and showed the beads I'd bought, most in more or less my usual colour palette (gilt lavender, black diamond, brown-lined montana, mauve, paprika etc) which perhaps made this colour stand out even more in her eyes. It was the first thing she saw and the first thing she commented. To my defence, it's a slightly violet purple so it's not such a big leap as it might seem to those who know of my disinterest -- yeah, let's call it that -- in blue.

Anyway, this month's palette turned out to be an analogue colour scheme. Just two items, but they are both variegated which add some depth and life to the mix. The silk is mainly blue with periwinkle, blue-violet and violet. The beads are in a similar blue with mauve accents. It's a simple palette, but one with a lot of colour to draw the eye towards it while at the same time being calm and serene.

For this palette I chose to use colour-lined seed beads. I really like this type for two reasons. First of all because of the interaction between the colour in the glass itself and the colour of the lining, I love seeing what happens when combining colours this way. Secondly, this bead finish combines the qualities of both transparent and opaque beads. It has the depth, shine and lightness of a transparent bead paired with the solid colour of opaque beads. If you haven't tried colour-lined beads, but want something with more opacity and impact than transparent beads, but without the "flat" appearance of opaque beads, you should give this bead type a go.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Digital doodles with Julle

Seeing a couple of textures from Temari09, I got stuck on the computer doodling with textures and photos. After combining two textures -- this one and this -- with one of my own, I wanted to add a bit of cat. So I took what I had closest: the pics of Julle I posted earlier today. These are a few of the digital doodles I ended up with.

I added a quote to one of them too. Often when I made digital doodles I want to add a quote, but although I have collection both on Pinterest and older ones (mostly poems) written down in a folder, I can rarely find what I want. In this case, it was pretty much just grabbing the first cat related quote found...

Edited to add: Oh, I never saw that green spot on the right when making the pics -- now I do and I hate it! Blä! Need to edit it out ASAP... or at least soon: the family is invited to grandma's birthday party tomorrow, which will include helping her prepare the food (mum helped with the smörgåstårta/sandwich cake today) and my sis and I are apparently in the cake decorating team. So not really much time to do it now.

Cat photos of the week

Having spent Monday and Tuesday baking in the hot sun (peaked around 30 degrees on Mon -- and not even the slightest breeze) working long hours in the potato fields (where there were stinging flies too to top it all off) and then having a friend of my sister's over Tuesday and Wednesday, I took a few days off the computer. Which in my case means reading e-mails and blog feeds just because I hate having a huge backlog later, but not doing anything more productive online. But today I'm going to be slightly productive and show some pics I took of Julle last night. Meowy Monday of a friday this week as per the summer "schedule".

Alas, if only I had thought of going up the hill a bit earlier! Now the sun was already behind the horizon and the sunset colours were fading fast as was the light. Julle posing was perfect, just wish I'd had the backdrop to make him justice. Still, there's always another time. And, besides, had I gone earlier it isn't sure that Julle would've been in the mood to follow me.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Time to do something with all that sea glass?

This is a batch of sea glass I found last time my sis and I were by the sea, must've been some weeks ago by now. Even picked up a piece of sea pottery.

The last two years or so I've taken up the habit of combing the beach for glass and pottery every time I've been down by the sea. Sometimes even forgetting to take photos, which is usually why I do by the sea. Sometimes I don't find much, sometimes I get a handful of shards, mostly white and some almost new, sharp and unfrosted -- while not as pretty, I pick up that too just to keep the beaches clean.

Add to that my collection of our own tumbled glass plus a few "sea glass" beads (= etched or tumbled glass beads sold as sea glass even though they're absolutely not). But of cause that's not as special as real sea glass/beach glass and sea pottery.

But now I have enough to more or less have to start thinking about what to do with it all. Most pieces aren't that special as they're plain frosted clear glass. But they're still sea glass and I don't want to "waste" it on mediocre projects. I love, love the pieces in this tutorial, but don't think there are enough big pieces of glass for me to use -- it might be better to tumble some broken glass for that. A few pieces are even smaller than a little finger nail (there's one piece I'm saving for a real metalsmith's bezel setting as the shape and size is so pretty).

Another idea along the line of the image transfers would be to add variegated metal leaf as I did with this cab or paint the back with some cool effect paint. But, again, it feels like ruining it and something that should be left to tumbled glass.

Beaded bezels would be too thick and I can't yet make metal bezels. Wirework isn't on the agenda right now. Drilling holes for stringing or chainmaille techniques doesn't really tempt me. WOrking them into embroideries might work, but I don't have any ideas yet to wow me into "sacrificing" a piece or more of the limited stash.

And still, while shooting down every idea I get, I would like to not just collect. Though sometimes I wonder if it's just that the maker part of me doesn't want the collector part to decide, maybe because collecting without a collector's goals and organized purpose is akin to hoarding and hoarding, we are told, is bad. Or at least not really good. Beaders can write about being hoarders and often it will continue with statements about daring to use a precious component or complaints or apologies for hoarding or saving something for "that special project". It's not something to brag about, not using components in the stash. But sometimes we should perhaps abandon that guilty feeling and just remember the joy of collecting these small treasures, just like we did as children. No one expected us then to use the little knick-knacks we gathered in a special box just for looking at, picking up and admiring. It's not wrong to buy supplies without the intent of using it. It can be beautiful just the way it is. It doesn't always need to be processed (förädlad) to get a value and justify the purchase [or in this case, the acquiring] of it.

It's not wrong to want to make something awesome with supplies, to be creative with something in order to enhance it. It's great! You make something that gives you a chance to showcase the special component, make it possible to carry it with you -- you deserve to feel good about doing it, about creating something really beautiful and/or meaningful from something you love. It's just that it's easy to make the opposite of right be wrong and define something as a supply makes it sound unfinished, incomplete, a part that can only become whole when put together with something else. It also makes it sound like you're a bad beader/crafter/artist for buying new things when you already have supply, as if supplies are interchangeable without specific characteristics and uses -- especially people that don't create themselves will let you know this! It's easy to feel guilty about spending money without using the things you buy (which, as said before, don't have value until you use them due to their definition). To feel stressed about a growing -- I'd say thriving! -- stash or about not having the urge to make those special components "complete".

But really, some things are beautiful as they are and shouldn't be seen as merely supplies, but objects to adore all in their own right. They are complete, they are wholes from the day we acquire them. And while a beader never has that bead she/he really needs and she/he sometimes even forget about some beads in the stash, just having a stash is more than just a practical thing. More that a cress physical resource for jewellery making and beadwork. It's not just about having the right supplies at hand for a project. Maybe you never used that bead you bought, but the colours have still inspired you -- many times over! Maybe you forgot a beautiful bead as you kept buying new ones, but one day you'll find it in the stash and it'll be just perfect for a project you're working on or it'll inspire a new design on a day when you feel like you've lost the mojo for good. Maybe just looking at the beads every now and then will make you happy -- for the beauty and feeling of the object itself, for memories of the person giving it to you, for your adoration of the bead maker. Maybe you one day will give it to someone who'll create something amazing with it and she wouldn't have been able to do that had you not gifted her with that particular bead or component at that particular time. Maybe you just need the rainbow of colours that's your bead stash to sort and touch in order to infuse yourself with creativity and inspiration or in order to relax and feel harmonious. Beads, ribbons, yarn, charms, design papers, effect paints -- all creative supplies have values far beyond merely its intended practical use. And you don't need to feel bad just because everyone and everything focuses on that particular, narrow value. You know better!


I should've stopped there, but just I just realised that a simple post showing some relatively so-so sea glass, a post mostly posted because I took a five minute break and wanted to write something to keep the blogging going, turned into something very different. How did that happen? Apparently it was an issue I had/have opinions on and feelings about...


UPDATE: Fun thing, today (the day after writing the text above)  I started finding reveal posts for the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop in my blog feed. Talk about interesting coincidences. Wonder if anyone participating in that hop read this -- before or after posting on their blogs -- and I wonder what it made them think... Should I note that it was a reaction to myself and my own feelings, not towards anything anyone else did, certainly not a reaction prompted by the blog hop? It's just a different perspective to alleviate guilt -- we all get fed guilt, especially females, in our society about what we do or don't do and how we look. I wanted to ease this particular little guilt a bit, remove a nagging, stressing feeling of "ought tos" from my mind. I wanted to free myself -- and I didn't know it until my fingers began writing this text!

Being one of those who are so bad at starting (see this post on start buttons and sparks),  I sure need challenges (from myself or someone else) and encouragements to get going. To rev up and set the ball rolling. The Bead Hoeaders Blog Hop could've been useful for me -- unless my creative drain and inert resistance would stall me and made me feel guilty about that too -- and I firmly believe that we need to challenge ourselves and push ourselves to pick something up and start doing instead of just thinking. I just wanted these two things, letting go of ideas about what one should do and "forcing" yourself to use something up, to be equally morally good and acceptable. Not for the latter to feel productive while the former is lazy and unproductive, passive/negative when taking the bull by the horn is active/positive. Both strategies alleviate the "guilt" of having unused supplies and all those energy-draining "I shoulds" as I see it. Sometimes we need to be active, sometimes we need to let go in order to feel good. It's all about where we are and what we're doing and feeling at the time. And for the "I shoulds" to not always be there as a constant reminder, a nagging gulit-tripping mom to make use feel bad for not doing something. That adds such unnecessary stress, albeit just a tiny one, a restless, negative undercurrent that can make you head into a negative spiral if you're at a point where you feel like you've lost your creativity and can't find the joy and positive energy in creating.

About the text, I added a few sentences and adjusted a couple of others as I wrote from the heart yesterday -- with a tired head. This is just a spontaneous text, not some well thought through manifesto or anything, but I still wanted to clarify and add important words that I didn't think of yesterday when I hadn't slept on it.

Thursday, 18 July 2013


I love dendritic stones. If you don't know what that means, check out the photo above of my sandstone/limestone (I'm guessing) pendant. Those organic-looking branches are called dendrites. A stone with dendrites is called dendritic, e. g. dendritic agate. Dendrite is also used for other similar tree-like structures such as neurons, the patterns metal can make as it solidifies after being poured in an open mold and a certain mathematical shape (no, I didn't understand the Wikipedia description of that).

One of the main reasons I really like jasper and certain agates are that the colours and patterns can create beautiful images. It can look like like landscapes or scenic views, satellite or aerial photos or like abstract artworks. It's the same thing with dendritic stone. The dendrites look like seaweed, herbs, juniper branches, ferns or sometimes even whole trees. In agate, the translucence can create a fairytale mood, foliage veiled in milky mist and dreamy wisps of water. In sandstone and limestone, it can look like pencil drawings on aged and crumpled paper.

I found this particular piece in a charity shop. A very nice find in deed. It's not as big as in the photo, the close-up is for you to be able to see all the lovely details in the stone. I've also collected a few pics on this pinboard. A few pins ended up on other boards because they were sandstone, not jasper or agate so be sure to also check out pin 1, pin 2, pin 3 and pin 4 if you like dendritic stone or just want to get more ideas of what it can look like.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

My new favourite quick cookies

I'm actually a tad too tired to blog today, but I'm taking a break from reading blogs and writing a shopping list. Where's going grocery shopping tomorrow (unless there's a last minute change) and I need to get new bananas and oats. Why am I telling you? You couldn't care less, right? Well, I just want to mention a recipe I've been enjoying the last month or two. My new favourite afternoon treat. They're super easy to make, requires just three ingredients and (depending on which type of third ingredient you use) they can be served to people on milk and/or gluten free diets.

This is my take on the 2 Ingredient Cookies from the Burlap Bag. The bananas-oats-and-nothing-else recipe you might've seen many times on Pinterest.

First of all, I only make half a batch as I find the cookies the most delicious when lukewarm, fresh from the oven. I can make half a batch everyday for several days in a row this way.

Second, I don't have quick oats. Regular oats didn't work very well as they were too hard -- instead I take the oats and rub them with my fingers to create something between flakes and flour. Not too much, but crushing them enough to make something smoother than the big oats.

My choice of mix-in is of cause chocolate, Odense 55 % dark chocolate (sweet enough to make it a cookie, dark enough to pretend it's still healthy with all that banana and oats and no other added sugar). I add as much as I feel like. Perhaps as much as 50 grammes for half a batch.

Finally, I make the cookies small, yielding more than in the original recipe, and flatten them before putting them in the oven so they'll dry out as much as possible. Cookies shouldn't be soft and moist, they should be crispy or chewy.

Promise you they taste better than they look!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Not cancelling Meowy Monday, it's just...

There's been no Meowy Monday post this monday either. Of cause I've often missed the monday, posting some other day instead, but last week there was no cat photo post and today I didn't have time/feel like doing one either. Not giving up on them, though, it's just temporary -- even if beginning to slip like this is often the first sign of giving up.

Now, you can ask why I write posts like this. Why do I feel the need to promise to do better, to slap myself on the fingers in public? Surely, this is my guilt-free blogging blog, my personal space where I do what ever I want to do and you, my dear reader, is just a guest enjoying the visit, not my boss demanding something from me. Still, I feel a sort of responsibility, that blogging is some sort of contract where I've offered to serve you something and not doing it is being a bad hostess. If the cats is one of the things that made you come here in the first place and perhaps add my blog in your reader or subscribing via e-mail, then I want to give you those cats. It's not like it's a huge thing. The only bad thing is really that I on one hand want to excuse myself for being such a bad blogger, that is a bad hostess for you my guest, and on the other hand I just think excuse after excuse looks bad -- worse than just letting the blog be deserted for a few more days. (Also, part of the issue is probably more subconscious, that lack of blogging is showing my lack of mojo, exposing my drained creativity and my low energy levels.)

But, hey, let's talk about something else. Because feeling uncreative -- exasserbated by a few projects that failed when transformed from sketches on paper and ideas in the head to a tangible object -- doesn't mean lacking ideas. Just a few minutes ago I got this urge to make a needle book. It's not a new idea, I've had it on and off for ages, it's just that I can't decide on the shape, size, number of "pages", how to organize the needles and all those other practical details you need to know before starting the project. It's just that today I got a new vision for my needle book, partially inspired by the new take my book pinboard has taken since I began including journals/notebooks and handmade books on it.

Like with most things, once I get interested I get very interested (apparently a common trait in introverts). Not crazy obsessed, but it's like my curiosity and drive to learn more -- which got me to university and would've kept me there if I could get student loans forever -- fusions with my hoarding/collecting genes and I gotta catch 'em all (no, I'm not into Pokemon at all, it's just that it's the perfect phrase for how my brain works once it gets interested in something). In this case it means that I don't have one of two packs of beading needles -- I have at least half a dozen different once, some never even used: the common long beading needles in threes sizes (10, 13, 15), curved beading needles, sharps/embroidery, ballpoint embroidery beading needles, twisted/collapsible eye needles, big-eye needle. Plus a small collection of embroidery needles (actually a silk ribbon embroidery needle sampler) and an array of cheap needles accumulated since childhood or "borrow" from mom's stash of assorted sewing needles.

Leaving the general embroidery and sewing needles aside, that's still quite a few needles to fit in the needle book while still leaving room for new additions. Ok, needles don't take up that much space, but you need to fit labels and organize the needles in a logical way, which demands free space around the needles too. And since I want to do an awesome needle book, I want to be able to use it for all my needles for a long time. It needs to be flexible enough to have room for needles I don't use today, but might need to buy in a few years' time.

Having never done a needle book or hard-cover book/journal of any kind, I feel like it's not just about sketching on a design, but about learning new techniques and all the tips and tricks behind making a durable, good looking needle book just the way I want it. This is definitely a long term project!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Silk ribbon bracelet tutorial

Due to circumstances (which include being bitten by a tick, which have made me slightly hypochondriac, and having had a jaw ache that's made me cranky), I haven't been able to blog much lately. However, I did get around to publishing my first summer project on my other blog: Manekis sidenarmband.

It's just a very simple bracelet project for all ages and skills. Planning on making an english version to publish on this blog too, but for the moment I'll be referring you to my other blog for instructions. There are many pics and the project is so simple that it shouldn't be hard to just follow the pictures. And then use Google Translate to try and make out the tips. Key tip, which I didn't even write: pick out the loveliest ribbon and button you cand find as it'll make all the difference!

I'm hoping my second blogiversary project will be more about bead-weaving. Or perhaps I'll do something embroidered... Well, we'll just have to see what happens.

Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Space-dyed fibre addict

So I'm a bead junkie since way back by now, especially when it comes to seed bead colours -- Gotta Catch 'Em All! -- and soon I became a copper junkie (though it's more base metals in general now). Then I got back into embroidery and drooled over every conceivable embroidery thread shade and type. I'm as addicted to embroidery threads as to beads now! And more specifically, I've recently become crazy about space-dyed or variegated fibres of all sorts. Preferably hand dyed.

Don't ask me why because I often end up not using them very often or, when I do, not using them in a way that specifically shows off the space-dyed effect particularly well. But I still can't help to drool over it. Guess it's the lovely colour combos all in one thread that does it. It's an instant colour palette inspiration. Maybe it's also because these threads are less common, more unique (especially the hand-dyed ones), or because they have more depth, the blending hues making them more attractive than the usual uniformly coloured embroidery threads. And maybe can add another thing to it as well: the fun effect you can get when beading with ombré or variegated/space-dyed stringing materials, something I've written about here.

It's not a totally new addiction -- I've shown tendencies in post like Embroidery threads for Christmas and More yarn. Not to mention One offs sorted -- and why mixed skeins are a fab challenge. And it's evident in this pinboard too. Space-dyed fibres also make me talk to myself as you can see here and here. But this time I've almost outdone myself: not being able to resist a 10 % off offer, I bought more. Heavy linen thread, matte 6-ply fine cotton, 12-strand silk, viscose gimp, braided silk and even a new mixed skein (If you don't know what that is, see photo above and the One offs sorted post linked to above). Couldn't stop drooling and just have to get my fix.

(Please don't look at that pic trying to figure out how much I spent on this one order... I'm a tad embarrassed, but at the same time I'm treating myself to some yummy supplies after 10-11 months of living as frugally as possible.)
Don't know how well it shows in the photos, but I just love how matte the 6-ply cotton is. Normally I'd say linen is matte (see fifth skein from the top in the above photo), but this thin thread is even more matte, making the colours feel like chalk or powder. Love it! Only mishap was that I thought the pastel skein was going to be a bit more like silk rods and not as pastel-y as they turned out to be, but the matte finish still makes it a nice buy. And you always need a few different accent colours when embroidering, not all colourways are for big areas. It can still be very useful.

The violet and blue silk cord (third from top) was also a choice I'm very pleased with, especially now that I'm trying to work a little more with blues. It'd be better for jewellery if it was thicker (seller doesn't have any thicker silk cord of this sort), but it still works in both embroidery and jewellery making.

12-ply silk is super soft and fluffy. I've bought a skein before (as seen here) or I'd be over the moon right now, telling you how lovely and beautiful it is. It really invites you to just sit and stroke it. And being silk, it has a nice lustre and makes the colours shine -- though it's of cause not a shiny as, say, filament silk.

Should I say something about the last two threads too? There's the viscose gimp, which turned out to a little too similar to a skein I already have, but with darker maroon and red hues so it'll probably find its use too. And I had to get yet another mixed skein just because it looked so nice in the photos. To be honest, I do prefer the mix of threads in Oliver Twists (top photo) than in Stef Francis' Texture Selection, they're the better choice for the jewellery maker in my opinion, but the colours seduced me. Can you blame me?

But it does mean one thing: now I really have to get a grip and at least start working more with them, not just treat them like eye candy as usual! If nothing else I have to invent a good reason for spending so much money on this...

Anyone else likes variegated/space-dyed threads? Do you have any good tips or suggestions when it comes to working with multi-coloured fibre to share? Or are you maybe in the same stage as me, just beginning to use it?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Strung piggy beads

I've had my piggy beads for some time now, got them back in April, but as other things have gotten in the way, I haven't really started playing with them. But at least now I have tried stringing them.

Stringing might sound boring, but first of all, the shape of the bead makes plain stringing interesting -- and stringing a new bead shape in different ways is a good way to learn how the bead shape behaves. Better to start by stringing and learning what the bead itself want to do than to sketch on a design only to realise that when you bead according to the plan, the new bead wants to do something completely different because of its shape and hole placement/direction. By stringing like this, you learn how the bead wants to curve and position itself. You also learn another very important thing: how rigid or flexible a row of beads will be. That's important to know when planning a design as you sometimes want something flexible and supple, e.g. for a bracelet, and sometimes something that'll keep its shape well and act as a support, e.g. for a large pendant.

As I only have a small handful of beads, I only got to these two variations. Now that they have been documented, I'll pick up the sample and try something new. First more stringing variations, then adding more of other beads such as seeds and druks. And when I've done that it's time to create a few designs. Which sounds like a very linear process, but of cause in reality the different phases melt together and you work on designs in your head the whole time you experiment with simple variations and explore all the "what ifs".

I'm thinking about buying enough beads to make a bracelet in the first variation (the not curved one), but this sample is already heavy so it'll turn out to be quite a heavy bracelet in that case. Scrap the idea -- or just use it for one section of the design? Some ideas are bad ideas (or at least ideas that doesn't work as well in real life as on paper), other ideas just need to be tweaked or combined with another idea in order to work.

"Behind the scenes"

Remember that digital doodle I showed here? Well, today I took some photos and it included a couple of the old windows from that photo so I thought I'd show you the original photo before photo manipulation and a few pics of the windows themselves.

 Managed to get some sunshine through the glass, which made a huge difference (it has been somewhat enhanced in the finished doodle, though). For the pic I used a texture made from a photo of weeds seen through the greenhouse glass so there's actually two types of glass even though one can't really see the latter.

As I've mentioned many times before, I love taking photos of all the old glass we have lying around. Some of it is fitted on the greenhouses. Some makes up the old henhouse and barn windows -- you know which ones those are as they're covered in cobwebs. Some are just being stacked against a wall, waiting to be used. And some narrow old windows are being reused as cold frame covers (I often call them hotbeds as I never remember what cold frames are called in english, but they are cold frames). Now that it's warm, those windows have been stacked against a decaying old wooden chair under a big bush in the garden behind the barn (where the smaller, still useful, greenhouse is). 

 You have to get close to the glass to really appreciate the textures and colours you can get when photographing old glass that's been subjected to weather and wind. And algae, weeds, dirt, everything that objects are exposed to when being left outdoors for years and never having been properly cleaned or restored every now and then.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Black gesso filigree

I'm waiting for the rain (ok, it's really just a light drizzle today) to clear so I can get back out and take some more photos. While waiting I thought I might as well show you this. A little something I made just to try my new black gesso.

It's a relatively large silverplated filigree piece that I coated with black gesso and then dusted with purple chalk, which gave the matte surface a slightly smoky feel. As you can see, I wasn't very thorough with the paint job so the plating peaks through here and there, but on the other hand it was just a test. Next time I'll prepare the surface better -- and wait with the second coat and chalk until the first coat is fully dried.

Hrmm... I should've taken a photo of the filigree before painting it so you could see the difference. I do have a second, unused and unaltered, one so I'll see if I can add a pic of it here later.

...and now it's added.

 It's very pretty as it is too. But it's fun to do something different sometimes, create a new look for filigree you've had laying around for ages.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Meowy Monday: Cat photos of the week

It's already getting late today, but I wanted to show some cat photos today. So I looked through the files and thought Ninna haven't gotten much attention. Being a very shy cat, she isn't easy to take photos of, but I found these three from last month.

She refused to look at me and you can see that she's tense as I came a bit too close for her comfort. But at least she isn't running away like she would when she was younger. The last couple of nights she's even been sleeping a few hours in my bed. Of cause just jumping up after I've fallen asleep, sleeping as close to foot end of the bed as she can without falling off and with a buffer of other cats between her and me. But still, she's in the bed near me and for a shy cat, pretty much born a feral, it's huge. And I love her for it.


By the way, I did a blogiversary post on my other blog earlier: it's turning five today! Read it here.
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