Wow January has gone by way too quickly. But guess what I've got for you guys!? That's right, it's a new video tutorial. :) This time I demonstrate a technique of my own invention, which I am very proud of, called "Continuous Basic Frame". Check it out below.
If you've purchased my Dahlia patterns, or my Hydrangea pattern, you've probably already seen this technique. (Though in some patterns I call it Continuous Wraparound Loops with Spokes, because at first I failed to realize that it's just an upside-down Basic Frame. So I renamed it fittingly.) Let me know what you guys think!
This video almost didn't happen. I was set to publish my first pattern of the year, which would have been Ivy. I was so excited to get it published, because it too uses a weird technique that I've not seen in any other pattern before, and I thought it was interesting and wanted to share. I had all the pictures taken and everything. But then one day, my baby was asleep and my middle child was at school AND my oldest son, who was/is sick with the flu, was asleep in bed. And it was daylight. A little thought popped into my head "This would be a great time to film a video." And of course that thought made me really nervous, because videos are hard for me to do. I'm just not comfortable in front of a camera. "Just get the equipment out and practice filming." So I did and it turns out I did a pretty decent job the first few times. That gave me the confidence to come back the next day to film more parts. And then it was relatively easy to piece together. I published the video Thursday night, which was very fortunate timing because my two youngest children started presenting flu symptoms, so I've been busy caring for them the past couple of days. (Which is why I didn't get this blog post up sooner.)
I do want to apologize for one part in the video where it goes weirdly silent, then cuts to a new frame. That happened because I forgot that my alarms still sound even when my phone is on silent and it just so happened to go off while I was filming. So I edited out the noise, but had to cut out the part where I got up to turn off the alarm. And I really didn't want to have to record all over again because I'd done so well up to that point.
Anyways. I hope you guys enjoy the video.
I also have a couple of project updates that I wanted to share, since I'm already here.
Firstly, I finished a custom order for a friend who wanted a beaded version of her wedding bouquet made into a wall hanging. This was one of the hardest assemblies I've ever done, and I've done some strange stuff. The hardest challenge was getting the stems to bend behind the flowers so they would be close enough to the wall. Flowers with lots of petals (like these roses) have thicker stems that don't bend easily. So it took some creative arranging to make it work. But my hands were still numb for a while afterwards because I did still have to bend those thick stems and it hurt. And it was heavy and had to be held for a while.
This piece has some white lilies made in some of my favorite beads - 2 cut satins, which shimmer like silk. There are yellow roses (a new pattern that I'm planning on publishing soon... ish), and some white Dendrobium Orchids, ivy, and some pale blue ribbons. I love these flowers, and I love these colors. So all in all it was a very fun project.
What I've been working on since then is a personal project that will likely take some time to finish. I'm building a wall hanging basket for my baby girl, who just turned one. This piece is one that I've been planning for over a year. Pretty much since I found out I was having a girl. I still don't know everything that I'm going to include in it, but I've got a basic idea of most of the flowers.
This is the bead palette I'm shooting for. It's a rainbow of pastels. The reason I've chosen so many colors is because my baby is the happiest little thing that has ever existed. She is full of joy and smiles and very rarely complains about anything. So I wanted a colorful palette to make it brighter and more fun, just like my Lily. Many of these colors are satin beads. The only reason they aren't all satin beads is because I thought it would look overdone that way. A mix of textures always works best for a larger arrangement. It makes it more interesting and gives more depth.
So far I've made some blue Hydrangea and some lavender anemones. There will also be lilies and roses too. Along with some other flowers which I have not figured out yet. But I'll start with what I've planned and see what's missing.
Then I'm making a white basket to hold the flowers. :)
I'll be back in a couple weeks with more stuffs.
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know I like to post some reflections and goal planning for the new year.
This past year was a difficult one for me. I had a baby in January, and because of that I intended on taking it easy. But that's definitely not what happened. I only had a few orders, just as I planned. They were just large orders. That itself would have been fine, but then I started having this horrid, almost crippling pain through my wrists and up to my elbows (diagnosed as Carpal Tunnel) which really slowed me down and made me miss almost every single one of my self-imposed deadlines. I was supposed to be working on my first book in pieces throughout the year between orders, but as custom orders extended beyond the time I'd allowed for them, I ended up having to write the whole thing in 3.5 months. (And I have now sold over 100 copies of that book! Which is amazing to me. A huge thank you to everyone for your support!) Even though it was difficult, it was a great year filled with very creative ideas and really amazing, torturous-but-fun projects. I also recorded and published my very first video tutorial, which was scary for me, but a long-time goal that I did accomplish. So, all things considered, I will consider 2017 a win. Even if all I won was lessons learned.
Because I don't know what unplanned events await me next year I have decided to keep my schedule for 2018 simple-ish. (I can't do actual simple, I'd go mad.)
Next year I begin writing my second book, "Spring Collection", so the majority of my time will be spent on that. I am planning a full series and I've already got idea lists for every single Volume. But it will take me a while to get through them. I plan on taking most of a year to write the second one. It will be a larger collection of patterns, so naturally will take more time, and also I don't really want to take years off my life trying to write it in a short amount of time.
I also want to publish more videos for my YouTube Channel, as that one single video is getting lonely. I will continue with smaller technique tutorials until I get more comfortable on video, then I will move to full flower tutorial videos. There is at least one video that I'm planning for January. After that I'd like to do one video every month, if possible, with accompanying free PDFs.
There are also several individual patterns that I want to publish outside of books, so watch for those being added to my Pattern Shop, too.
And, I have 3 custom orders. That's it. One is large, the other two are smaller. I don't imagine that I will have time for more. I'm also going to retry my failed project for my husband, and I'm actually beginning the year with a piece that I'm making for my daughter (though some of those flowers will also be published in free or paid tutorials, so I can accomplish more than one goal at once.)
Finished Custom Order
I mentioned in my last post a custom order I was working on, so I'm going to conclude this post with pictures of the finished project. This one was much harder than I thought it was going to be. That sunflower is 7 inches wide and the assembly was very difficult. The Billy Balls were torturous, simply because I hate making sphere shapes. And then that lacy leaf dusty miller was very tricky. I had to invent a new technique and that single leaf took 2 hours to make. It wasn't my first try either, so I probably spent 10 hours total on that leaf if you include all the failures.
I am working on one last custom order, which will extend into January. This one is for a friend who wants me to remake a smaller version of her wedding bouquet as a wall hanging. Here is the first of that project. A sample for the small-ish yellow roses. There will also be white lilies, dendrobium orchids, ivy, and greenery.
Well, that's where I've been and where I'm (hopefully) going.
I hope the New Year finds you all happy, healthy and prosperous. Happy Beading!
Hello there everyone! I've got several updates regarding my recent publication, "Christmas Collection".
As promised, I did publish a PDF Edition of my book on Dec 1st that can be purchased and downloaded from my Pattern Shop. Quite a few people have already ordered their copy and so far I've had excellent feedback about the patterns.
The printed version of the book is also now available on Amazon! It is fully listed and available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.de. It is partially listed on Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es. That means they have the listing set up, but it's not yet available to purchase. It should be soon, within the next few days.
For Canada - It is listed on Amazon.ca, however right now the only option is a third party seller who has significantly boosted the price. Amazon.ca has a different agreement with Amazon.com than the European websites. It may take up to a month for the book to be fully listed on the Canadian website, and it should be listed at a price that's more inline with the rest of the world. However, this is actually better than what I thought because I didn't realize it would be listed there at all. So it's coming your way, too! ... Just at a turtle's pace.
Now for those of you who have chosen to or are wanting to order directly from me. Yesterday I found out that CreateSpace (the company I'm using to print and distribute my books) is closing one of their print facilities at the end of the month and they are already starting to phase it out. So... unlike previous years at Christmas time, there is an ordering delay. I'm very upset that they didn't tell the authors that supply books to them beforehand, and its very likely that I won't use this company for my next publication because of this (and some serious inconsistencies with their internal reviewers that made getting a good copy ridiculous). I had to find out about the delay from another author who didn't know until he went to order his books. But, that means the books are taking a week longer to arrive to me than I was originally led to believe they would be. They won't get to me until the 22nd of this month, assuming there are no shipping delays from inclement weather, and then they have to get to you after that. So... I have a few options for you ladies and gentlemen and I will email you today with those options directly. If you don't get the email sometime today (give me until tonight since there are so many of you and only one of me), check your spam folder just in case the filters caught it, and then contact me.
I'm so sorry for the delay! I am learning loads about writing, formatting, and publishing books through this, my very first book publishing experience, but that will make my next book release much smoother. I appreciate your patience.
I am also working on a custom order right now. So far I've made some itty bitty Chamomile flowers and some Billy Balls (Craspedia). Next I will be making a large Sunflower and some dusty miller leaves.
I've had several people ask about custom orders for 2018. I'm still working out details for other parts of my schedule (I'm writing my second book, "Spring Collection", and it will take most of next year to do so) so I am unsure yet how many, if any, custom order spaces I will have. If I have any, there won't be many. This year was super packed and I don't know if I want to do that to myself next year. I do need to sleep eventually and if I overload my wrists I'll just end up with the same Carpal Tunnel problems that I had earlier this year. Smaller orders will be easier to accommodate, and if you want Spring time flowers that will also be easier as I'm already making some of those for my book. But I will announce when, and if, I have any spots open up.
(Before I begin talking about my book, I just want to take a minute to deliver my heart-felt gratitude to each of you readers. Thank you a thousand times over. Thank you for your comments and questions. Thank you for your feedback. And thank you for your support over all these years. I started out writing tutorials and patterns just hoping to make enough to buy beads so I could keep beading without being a financial detriment to my family. But my tiny little business has grown to the point that I am able to help support my family now, and that means so much to me. I never thought in a million years that I would be met with this kind of success, and I owe it all to each of you. So, a huge thank you from me and my family.
The big news is that I've written a book. A real, actual book. And I'm so stinkin excited!! This has been something I've wanted to do for a while now, and with how rough this year has been, I didn't think I'd get to do it. It has certainly been a very trying year, culminating in the last 3.5 months that I spent, writing, photographing, and making pieces for this book... and it was insane. More delays than I expected, but I've come out triumphant! Exhausted, but triumphant nonetheless. I've learned a whole lot in the last few months about publishing, formatting, and editing books, mostly through error. So I'm sure my next one will go much more smoothly.
Because it's my first book, I'm starting small and using Amazon's CreateSpace to print my books for me. The books aren't the same quality as one you'd get from a large publishing company, but they are pretty darn close. I'm actually quite impressed with the print job they did on the proofs I've received.
I have a pre-order for this book open here on my website, and the pre-order will go through Dec 7th. A few details about that:
The benefits of ordering directly from me include:
A huge shout out and thank you to Suzanne Steffenson, who helped me edit this book. Suzanne, you are fabulous!
I promised you guys a video demonstration of Scallops, and I've finally managed to get a semi-decent one made. Yay!
Making videos is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but it's a difficult thing for me to do. I'm pretty shy, and public speaking is pretty far outside my comfort zone. I'm known to break out in hives, or forget how to speak altogether (no, dear church congregation, I'm not speaking in tongues, just having a panic attack). My husband has been laughing at me (in a nice, supportive way of course) as I walked around the house rehearsing what I was going to say in this video, and even miming the hand movements. The first day of recording was a complete disaster. I was so nervous my hands were shaking through the whole thing, but it got easier and easier. Though beading through a camera lens is actually hard, and I had to practice beading and talking at the same time because it turns out I don't naturally have that kind of coordination... I had to keep pulling the leaf off to the side or up close to my face so I could actually see what I was doing. And then there's the issue of getting my camera to stay focused. So, I've done the best I can and I hope that the video will help someone. This was not an easy project for me, but now seeing it finished is a personal triumph. That's what art does for the artist. It helps us grow, sometimes in ways we don't expect. When I started making French Beaded Flowers about six years ago, I certainly didn't think that I'd end up making videos (or even patterns and tutorials at all, for that matter) to help teach people about this beautiful art.
Blah, blah, blah. Enough of that. After much self-inflicted torture, I am pleased to present my very first video tutorial in which I demonstrate the French Beading technique called Scallops.
I have just set up a YouTube Channel, and so far this is the only video there. I probably won't be able to add more tutorial videos until next year, since I'm working with all my might to get my first book published near the end of November, and then we are getting into the busy holiday season. So, we'll see what my schedule looks like after that. But I am definitely doing more. Some will be part of my Technique Guide series, and others will be projects as well. :)
Alrighty, so there are the basics of Scalloping. Let's continue on and talk a little bit more about this wonderful technique. I'll show a couple of fancier ways to use Scallops, and talk about bead counts.
I've just shown how to make single Scallops, and now that you know the basics, you can apply the same methods to make stacked scallops and tipped (or winged) scallops.
Let's start with stacking. Stacking scallops refers to building scallops on top of each other to make thicker, larger scallops. To do this, first make the base scallops on each side of your leaf/petal (Figure 1).
Then go back to the first side and add your next scallop at least one bead above the top of the base scallop. (Figure 2)
Wrap back down to the Bottom Wire, and repeat on the opposite side of your leaf. (Figure 3)
In Figure 4, I've completed the leaf by adding a second set of stacked scallops, setting the base scallops on both sides of the leaf before going back and adding the second scallop over the top.
You can stack as many scallops as you want, however, because all of the scallops are set into the same outer row, you will need to either burst a few beads in that outer row (very carefully with a set of pliers), or preferably, plan ahead and short yourself a few beads on that outer row to make room in the row for the extra wires that will need to go between beads. (Figure 5) If you don't leave this space, your row will bow outward (it will still bow outward a little even with the space, but it is greatly reduced when you short yourself a few beads), and eventually you will just run out of space and won't be able to get your wire between beads to set the scallops.
If you get a little fancier with stacking scallops, you can use scallops to create really interesting texture on a leaf by bouncing back and forth. Let me show you what I mean by "bouncing back and forth". In Figure 6 I've got a single scallop made on the side of my leaf.
*Notice that I've shorted myself two beads at the bottom of the first scallop row. Keep this extra space at the bottom of the leaf.
Now wrapping back down, instead of wrapping at the Bottom Wire, we will set another scallop further down that outer row. (Figure 7)
Then, bounce back up and set a scallop below the first. And back down to set a scallop below the first lower scallop. (Figure 8)
Repeat this bouncing back and forth as many times as you need to reach the Bottom Wire. (Figure 9)
After which we wrap around the Bottom Wire and repeat the entire process on the opposite side of the leaf. (Figure 10)
Winged (or tipped) Scallops
Now let's give our scallops some wings. (The effect is very similar to the shape a Loop Back would make, but you don't need as many lacing wires.)
First, I've set my scallop. (Figure 11)
Next, add more beads to my wire, but instead of wrapping straight down, we will use our thumbs to pinch a little "wing" into the tip of our scallop. (Figure 12)
And we continue on as usual with our scallops, the only difference being the pinched tip. (Figure 13)
I'm going to go ahead and admit that I dislike bead counts, but unfortunately they are kind of necessary for patterns that use Scallops. Why do I dislike them? Because all size 11/0 seed beads are not actually the same size. Some brands are taller and some are shorter, and some types are just very irregular in size and shape (which is just a whole other mess), and this difference in bead lengths can affect bead counts and alter the finished shape of your petal. When you're only making a few scallops on each petal, this size difference in beads probably won't distort your shape, or if it does, may not be a big enough deal to need fixing. But when you're working with petals with lots of scallops, those tiny differences can add up with each scallop and the shape will be more prone to changing from the original.
Basically, take the counts with a grain of salt, and pay close attention to the shape of the leaf/petal in the pattern, making adjustments to the bead counts as needed.
One new idea that I've had to help the patterns be more accurate is to make the pictures in my patterns life-sized, so when the pattern is viewed at 100% size, you can lay your leaf/petal down on top of the picture to help measure out the scallop placements (Though I still include bead counts on the picture if they are needed). I've only done this in my recently published Ball Dahlia pattern so far. I'm not sure if this was helpful to anyone or not, but I do plan on continuing to do this whenever possible.
And there we have French Beaded Scallops!
Hello everyone! I am Lauren Harpster, the designer behind Lauren's Creations. I am a 28 year old wife, and a mother to three adorable little kids. I've been making French Beaded Flowers for about six years now, and publishing patterns and tutorials for three years.
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