Hello there my beady friends. I'm doing a quick little blog post today about a weird French Beading experiment I did recently. This isn't a full blown, fully studied and tested idea where I can tell you exactly what to do or what not to do. This is just a quick little idea that I wanted to pass on and you can do whatever you wish with it.
While bead shopping I came across some Czech beads with two holes and I wondered... Can they be used for making French Beaded Flowers? Two-holed beads come in lots of shapes and sizes, but I just grabbed a few kinds that looked interesting to test it out.
I cannot actually remember what the gold ones are called and my tube doesn't say. But they were my favorites of the three shown here.
Naturally, having two holes, you would string the first hole with one row of beads, then string a second row of beads through the second holes. This proved to be a little problematic. It's hard to get the exact number of regular seed beads between the two-holed beads on the second row. It's also hard to get the wire through the second hole without scratching the finish off the wire.
Here are three little things I made from 3 hole beads.
This pink one was the easiest. For some reason those gold beads were easier to pass the wire through on the second time around without scraping up the wire. Also, because the holes are closer to the ends, I didn't end up with as much of a gap between rows. I chose to use ruffles around the second row, just for kicks and giggles, and it was fun.
The second one I envisioned as an earring. I used a larger size 8/0 green seed bead along with some vintage 3 cut beads (I think they were 11/0...). I chose the spear two hole beads for this one.
And the third one I used two different two hole beads - the studs and the spears. As you can see in the picture, there is a larger gap between rows with these beads, though I wonder if using a larger sized seed bead (like an 8/0) would reduce those gaps. I didn't plan far enough ahead on this one to make sure my beads would be evenly spaced throughout the "petal", so it looks a little lop-sided.
So, yes you can use two-holed beads for French Beading, it's just kind of a pain. I'm not sure I'd use them in my usual flowers, and I definitely won't use them in my patterns and tutorials... though I do have one idea for using them that I might test out soon. Just thought it was a valid enough idea to pass on. If you guys end up using them (or any other type of 2 hole bead) in your flowers I would love to see your results!
Okay, now let me talk about a few updates and upcoming stuff.
First, let's update my One-A-Day project.
If you've been following me for a while, you have probably seen that I've been making one flower every day in 2018. At the end of the year I will have a wreath made of all the pieces. I chose to do a color-wheel type wreath, and for the first part of the year I made flowers in every color Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, and Pink.
Here is a layout I made of all the flowers in each color. It took ages to get all the flowers to lay like this...
I finished the flowers in every color in July... with 5 months left to go in the project. So I have been going back around all the colors making leaves to help fill in each section. I don't have enough months to do a full month in each color for leaves, so I'm just doing 3 weeks of each color. So far I have finished the red, orange, and yellow leaves.
I forgot to take separate pictures of the red leaves that I added to the red flowers that I made in January... but they are there!
I've just been making very simple leaves. Quite frankly, I have several other projects that need more of my time, so simple leaves will do.
And I've also started attaching flowers to the frame.
It is so exciting to see it all starting to come together!
Yesterday I started on green leaves to go with the green flowers from April. And I'll be putting the yellow flowers and leaves into bunches and adding them to the frame. :)
My last update is about my new website. Well... it's not ready yet. I am using Wordpress to make my website instead of Weebly, and it's been a huge pain in the rear. I thought I was close so I picked an opening day, but then it all went down the drain and I had to start over. Mixed with so many other issues that I can't even describe. But I am finally getting it all together so I'm hoping it will be up and ready by the end of the month. So, my next blog post will be announcing the new website, my new Business Name, and inviting you to come take a peek.
Until then, I wish you all very happy beading adventures.
I took a vote on my Facebook page about which pattern I should publish next, a large Dahlia, or a new Rose. The Dahlia won the vote by a large margin, so that's what I've been working on the last couple of weeks.
Originally I was going to publish just the large Split-Tip (aka Laciniated) Dahlia, and I was perfectly on schedule to have that ready by the end of August. But then my little brain had an idea for a smaller one and I had to try that too. So, now I have two new patterns! Just a little later than I wanted because I had twice as much work to do.
Large Split-Tip Dahlia
This is the large variety! This flower measures 7 inches across. And it's super heavy as a result.
You might recognize this design from a previous flower I made for a custom order last year.
Since I first published pictures of this piece - "Dahlia Harvest" - I've received so many requests for the pattern for this flower. So, I included this more advanced coloring pattern as part of the pattern. Just like with the recent Moth Orchid pattern, it is impossible to give exact bead counts. Every petal is different. But I do show the exact beads I used, and close up pictures of the petals and parts, along with some notes about creating the shading effect.
Small Split-Tip Dahlia
This next one is the reason why I was late on August's pattern. I really wanted to publish them both at the same time. This is not a smaller version of the large one. The flower is a different style as well, and I don't mean just the coloring.
This pattern produces a 4 inch flower. The petals are made using my Continuous Basic Frame technique, which not only slims down the flower stem, but makes assembly much faster and easier.
And here's a size comparison of the two dahlias. On a bright blue background because I wanted to see what it would look like. :)
I do hope you guys will enjoy these two new patterns. It seems like everyone is enjoying the free Globe Amaranth video and PDF that I published a couple weeks ago. If you have pictures of some that you've made from my video tutorial I would love to see them!
Now, I've promised my husband that I would take a few days off, which is going to be really hard for me. There's so much I want to do! Anyways, I'll post next time about some experiments. :)
- Lauren Harpster
Earlier this year I made a large arrangement featuring lots of bright and colorful flowers. One of those was the Globe Amaranth, or as I like to call them, spike ball flowers. Many people asked if I would publish a tutorial for these flowers, and I decided to do a video too. :)
You can download a free copy of the PDF version for this pattern, then head over to Youtube to watch the video that goes with it.
I hope you enjoy the tutorial! I think I'm getting better at videos, though I'm still learning lots of ways to improve them.
I'm doing lots of behind-the-scenes work right now. Lots of videos are being recorded, lots of designs are being photographed. My new website is coming together nicely. And, this week and next week I'm working on a new PDF pattern, my Split-Tip Dahlia. I love Dahlias. There are so many different varieties on my "To-Make" list. I could write a whole book on just Dahlia patterns. Feels good to get stuff done!
One of the questions I am asked frequently is about Bead Spinners. Specifically, which ones are the best and what I recommend, so I figured I should just go ahead and do a full blog post on the subject.
If by chance you don't know what a bead spinner is, then my friend you need to find one and get acquainted because they are amazing. Basically, a bead spinner (aka bead stringing tool or bead loader) is a tool used to help string beads onto thread or wire.
How to Use a Bead Spinner
Bead spinners generally come with two parts: a base, and a bowl. The bowl will have a spindle at the top and a hole in the bottom. The base will have a shaft of some type that is inserted into the hole in the base of the bowl.
1. Fill the bowl with your beads, 1/2 to 2/3 full is optimal.
2. Curl your wire into a hook. Make sure the end of your wire is flat, not with any awkward cuts, which will make it harder for the beads to get onto the wire.
3. Hold the hook over the beads with the tip just skimming the top of the beads (not touching the bottom of the bowl).
4. Spin your bowl using the spindle and the beads will jump right onto the wire. My wire tip is pointing right, so the bowl needs to be spun to the left. If you are left-handed you may need to do the opposite with your wire on the opposite side of the bowl.
You might have to play a little with the shape of your hook and the angle of the wire in the bowl, but with a little practice you'll get the hang of it.
I've even gotten my spinner to work with just a curve shaped wire skimming the very top of the beads. Find a way that works best for you.
Over the last year I have been collecting and testing bead spinners from several different brands and makers so I could compare them, and also because they are fascinating little tools and I have hoarder tendencies.
So, let's take a look at my arsenal of spinners and let's talk about what works, what doesn't work, and the pros and cons for each type. I am not sure of the availability of some of these models outside of the USA. And there may be other models available overseas that are not available in the US.
1. Micro Spin-and-String:
First up is the Micro Spin-and-String (by Beadsmith). I found mine on Amazon, though I'm sure it could be found elsewhere. It is plastic and really cheap, so I figured I might as well give it a whirl. I can't find many pros for this one unfortunately.
Lots of cons though, so it doesn't get a solid recommendation from me. Firstly, the "nub" in the base that holds the spinner on is really short, and if you don't spin slowly and carefully the bowl wobbles and stops. I feel like the whole design would be better if only the nub were longer (and the hole in the middle of the bowl shaft longer to fit the longer shaft, of course). The opening of the bowl is small too, so it's harder to get wire into the bowl without bumping into the edges and slowing it down even further. It also doesn't hold many beads, because it is tiny, but if you're just working on a small project that probably doesn't matter much. It does work, though, if you're careful... It's not the greatest spinner, but it will do in a pinch. I kept it mostly as a novelty.
2. Battery-Operated Spinner
For those of you who have trouble spinning traditional spinners, or if you just don't want to have to spin yours manually, Darice makes an electric bead spinner that runs on batteries.
Pros - It comes with three interchangeable bowls - WITH LIDS. The bowls can stack on top of each other. The bowls are slightly smaller than the bowls on a standard sized wooden spinner (discussed below), but they hold a decent amount of beads. Also, it allows you to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on which hand you use to hold your wire.
Now for the cons, it uses batteries... which cost money. Get some rechargeable ones. Also, because it has a motor, it is not quiet. There is a constant churning/grinding mechanical noise. I have a hard time with constant noises and I sometimes bead while "watching" tv, so the noise was an annoyance. It's also a little bit slower than I like to spin my manual spinners.
Bottom line, I don't use mine anymore due to the noise and speed. However, most people who have one love it, so I do consider it to be a good option.
You can find it on Amazon, in craft stores (I bought mine at Joann's), and many other places. I'm not sure if this one is available in all countries.
3. Mini Wooden Spinners
Mini spinners are smaller than the standard sized bead spinner (which is discussed below) and therefore holds less beads. But that's not a real problem. Because bead spinners work best when they are more full, a small sized spinner is ideal if you work with small sized beads or small amounts of beads.
There are two brands that offer these mini spinners, Beadsmith's Mini Spin-and-String and Beadalon Spin-n-Bead Jr. However, I'm about 90% convinced that it is the same spinner that they buy from the same manufacturer and slap their own name on it. The one I purchased was sold under the Beadalon name. Unlike the itty bitty micro spinner, these are made of wood. Some pictures show them with a round base, and some show them with a hex-shaped base. You may, like I did, buy a listing that shows a round base and get one that has a hex base, just so you know. I think the round base was the older design and they changed the spinners without changing the picture on the box. Or something. Bottom line is, I love my mini spinner. The only thing that irritates me about it is that the central "shaft" in the center of the base keeps slipping down to protrude out of the bottom, so I have to keep pushing it up. Not a deal breaker.
This little one is a very good option if you only want to buy one bead spinner. You can use it with a small amount of beads, or just refill if you're using more. Plus... Beadalon recently came out with a new product called Spin-N-Bead Quick Change Trays. These are thin plastic trays that fit perfectly over their Jr sized spinners. They come in a pack of 2 or 4, depending on where you get them. It's a great way to switch out bead colors without having to dump your beads every time. It came in handy while I was working on my recent Moth Orchid with small amounts of 8 shades of blue seed beads.
My trays came a little crinkled, though, due to poor packaging. It doesn't affect the way they function, just aesthetics. There is also a little bit of static cling that makes some beads stick to the sides, but you just swipe them off while you're removing your beads and it's not a big deal. Over time, the static disappears completely. Depending on how full your trays are, you can even stack more than one at a time on the spinner.
You may also come across these spinners with longer spindles, though I don't think they are as common, since I had to search far and wide for them. One was sold under the Beadsmith name, and the other under a company called Beadery. They are very similar with the only minute difference being in the spindle hardware, so it's possible that these are also the same spinner design, just in different production lots. I consider them a mini size because the bowls don't hold many beads - maybe a full hank, but again if that's all you're working with then it's no problem. And you can just add more beads later. I both like and dislike the tall spindle on these. On one hand, it keeps my spinning hand away from the bowl, so it feels less crowded, but on the other hand, I knock these over easier because I keep bumping the spindles while I move around.
4. Standard Wooden Spinners
The most commonly found bead spinners are these larger sized wooden bowls, and I love them.
There are two basic styles: ones with a knob at the top of the spindle, and ones without a knob at the top. What I found in my search and testing, is that the brand doesn't really matter. Just make sure to test the one you do buy to make sure it isn't a dud. Spinners should spin for a while before slowing down and stopping, but sometimes, as you often find in many mass-produced goods, you get one that doesn't spin nicely, grinds, or only spins for a few seconds before stopping. I have gotten a dud from both Beadalon and Beadsmith brands. But I own multiple spinners from each brand, and most are perfect. Just note that a little wobble isn't a deal breaker. As far as I can tell, that's fairly normal. It's only problematic if it's so bad that the bowl grinds to a halt. So, buy from a reputable dealer who allows returns, just in case.
What's great about these spinners is that you can control the speed. If you like to go slow, you can go slow. If you like to go faster, you can do that too. Just don't go too fast or beads will fly everywhere. You can spin either direction. These spinners fit around 2-3 hanks of size 11/0 seed beads (70-120 grams) in the bowl. I have several spinners in this size.
First let's look at the spinners with knobs at the top. I've found this exact same spinner under many names - Beadsmith Spin and String, Speedy Spinner (from Fire Mountain Gems), and even Euro Tool. (though it's possible this last seller just didn't send me the right spinner...). All three of these are shown below. Just like the Mini Spinners, I'm pretty sure that they are all actually the same spinner... just with different names slapped on the box, and sometimes a different colored wood, but that just tends to happen with wood I think. What I like about the ones with the knobs at the top is that they are easier to grip and spin than spinners without the knobs.
The spinners without knobs are sold under the Beadalon name. The only difference is the absence of the knob. I personally have a harder time gripping these, but I still like them because you can fit the Beadalon Quick-Change trays over the shaft. The bowls of the trays are smaller, but it still works.
5. Artisan Made Spinners
I also have a few bead spinners that were handmade by real actual people. These ones are my favorites. They don't work better, but there's a nicer feeling to them simply because of the time put into them by other people like us who like to make things with their hands (or tools).
First up is a mini sized spinner made by wood turner Jerry Ritter. I purchased mine from Amazon, though he also has a Facebook page. This little sucker spins like a dream. It's as smooth as butter. And he uses different, more exotic looking wood. I also love the heavier and wider base. He even signed the base of the bowl. His spinners are a bit pricey though, which is why I only have one, and it was a gift. His spinners are smaller than the Beadalon mini spinners, so perhaps it should be considered a micro?
Another wood turner in Russia, named Nerovny Dimitry, makes bead spinners as well (he also makes kumihimo tools). He offers both a large and mini size, and I have both. They are both wonderful. His larger sized bowl has a wider base than the factory-made bowls of the same size, which I love. He even handmade the little knobs at the top of the spindles. His mini sized spinner is similar in size to Jerry Ritter's mini. And his current prices put them in the same expense category as the larger sized wooden bowls. You can find his spinners in his Etsy Shop.
This next spinner is my absolute favorite of all my spinners - because my daddy made it just for me. He designed it with his fancy engineer computer software and carved it out of aluminum with his lathe. Mine is the only one in the whole world. It kind of feels like a trophy - probably because it's so shiny. With a bowl measuring 6 inches wide, it fits around 400-500 grams of beads. And while it is heavier, it spins more smoothly than any other spinner I have, even when fully laden with a freaking half kilo of beads. No wobble, no noise whatsoever. It's also too wide and heavy to tip over. You can see it below beside a standard wooden spinner for scale. I have named it "Beast". I might see if he would be willing to make me a matching mini or standard sized one without a spindle (since I spin it from the side anyways).
I almost feel bad displaying this one here, since it's not available to purchase anywhere. But I felt it deserved a mention just because it's special and cool.
DIY Bead Spinners
While bead spinners are very useful, they are still an expense. If you'd rather save your money for beads, you can make your own. It's not even hard.
Here's what you need:
- Small plastic bowl
- Empty bead tube (or other tube-shaped object to act as a spindle)
- flat-backed marble (some are weirdly shaped, so pick one that is nicely round)
- Plastic lid (not pictured, but something similar to a Pringles can lid)
- Hot glue gun
Pictures in the slideshow below!
1. Glue the bead tube to the center of the bowl. Make sure it's nicely centered.
2. Glue the marble to the underside of the bowl, again nicely centered. The flat side of the marble should be against the bottom of the bowl. (This marble is optional, it does work without the marble, but not as easily.)
3. Turn the lid upside down and set the spinner on top. This lid just helps keep the spinner contained in one spot so it doesn't spin around the table. You may not need it if you aren't using a marble.
Ta-da! Bead spinner!
I might spray paint mine, just for kicks. While it's not the best bead spinner, and it take a little more practice to get the hang of it, it does work. Definitely better than the Micro spin-n-bead or stringing by hand. :)
In other news... I was going to record a video this week. I have all my pieces made, my PDF companion guide made... and I was getting myself pumped up to do a video. But then my husband finally told me that my in-laws are visiting from California this week. So now we are going up the mountain to their cabin so our kids can play with their cousins. I can't exactly record video with 6 kids running around.
So I'll be working on pieces for the other master class that I'm doing this month. This one won't have a video, just a PDF, and it will be available in my shop at the end of the month. I have a lot of patterns that I'm trying to get through, and the list keeps growing. But I whittled my list down to two flowers that I wanted to make, and then let my Facebook and Instagram followers vote. The fancy gigantic Split-Tip Dahlia was the winner, so that's the pattern I will be working on! I will be formatting it similar to my recent Moth Orchid pattern. This shading is very tricky, and I don't want to overwhelm any newer french beaders (or those who don't like doing lots of shading) who want to give the design a try, so I will be making an easier coloring pattern of the petals for the main part of the pattern. Then I will have close-up pictures in the back of sample petals, along with the bead colors I used from this dahlia for those who do want the advanced shading option.
I will be publishing the rose pattern in September, though it won't look exactly like this one. I want to make some adjustments, additions, and test out another idea to add to it, which is why this one made it into my final two.
Also, just a little reminder that my website is changing. I will be under a new name with a brand new website beginning October 1st this year. More details coming later on that "fun" adventure.
In my last post I shared pictures of a custom Orchid plant that I made and mentioned that I was going to be publishing the pattern soon. I finally got it up! It took longer than I anticipated. It's 22 pages long and has 96 pictures. That's a lot of pictures and pages for a single pattern. In fact, my book, Christmas Collection, was 111 pages and had somewhere around 450 pictures. So, this one pattern is close to 1/5th of my book in length. But it also took longer because I had to remake one of the larger petals for better close-up pictures... and there are eight colors you guys. That's not easy to do. And I was already "done". You know that feeling? When you finish something, and you're done and you close this box in your brain where that project was, but then you have to reopen it and make it again... it's not my favorite thing. So I had to kind of pump myself up for it.
Okay, details. The flowers are around 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) wide. The plant itself is approximately 18 inches (45.7 cm) tall - not including the pot. The pattern is set up so the blue shading in the example is optional. That type of shading in the blue one is very complex. I wish I could give exact bead counts, but there's too many variables that will change how many beads you use that it's just not possible to do that and get good results. For one, beads aren't always the same size. Even if they are all 11/0, beads made by different manufacturers, and even different lots from the same manufacturer, may be slightly different in size. Secondly, French Beading isn't like bead weaving, where if you do the stitch correctly it will look exactly like the pattern. Each artist has their own "technique", or uses a different tension on the wire that can affect the size, shape, and look of the finished pieces. It also affects how many beads and how much wire is used. This is why I always recommend that you purchase extra materials for your project. It's also why you should cut extra wire. If a pattern tells you to cut a 12" length of wire... well you might use 14 inches, or 11 inches... French Beading is not an exact art form. So unfortunately, giving exact bead counts just won't work well and will cause more frustration. However, in the back of the pattern I have a special section with what I hope will be helpful notes about how I accomplished that type of shading. There are close up pictures of the petals, as well as pictures of the beads I used.
You'll also find that each petal in the pattern is made in pure white. I've done this to help you plan your own shading patterns. Caren Cohen taught me a wonderful way to plan shading patterns. Make the petal once in a single color, then scan it on your copier, print it out and color it. Now, this also won't give you exact bead counts for your second petal, but it can help you get a good idea, and help you decide if you actually like your shading pattern before you make it out of beads. So, you can print those pages from the pattern and color them.
So, for anyone wanting a copy of this pattern, it is available in my Pattern Shop!
Alrighty, so, I did something else this week that was completely unplanned. While I was pumping myself up to remake a petal for pictures, I decided to go ahead and make a completely different tutorial. This is a free one, because it's just a simple variation of Continuous Loops that I used to make a French Beaded Bezel around a stone that didn't have a hole so I could use it for a flower center. This is an idea that sprouted in my brain several years ago, and thanks to my One-A-Day project, I finally had a chance to test it.
I did put the tutorial in PDF format, though, because I find that all the pictures from my blog get lifted and posted elsewhere.
Download your free copy here. The PDF just teaches the flower center, not the full flower. It's intended more to teach an idea that you can alter as needed for whatever type of stone you're bezeling, though it will teach you exactly how to make a beaded bezel around a 12mm Swarovski Rivoli. :) Enjoy!
Okay, I realized after typing the above paragraph that I haven't updated here about my One-A-Day project since... February... (yikes!) so here's a picture dump to get me caught up!
And now I am on to pink flowers for July! After that I will still have 5 months worth of work to do... so I'm going back around the colors to make leaves and whatever else I need to fill in areas and whatnot. It's already around 18 inches wide, so I imagine it will get a little bit bigger. It's just going to be a huge color wheel wreath, that's for sure.
So I've been doing lots of fun stuff for this project, so I will be pulling some of these flowers out to show you some weird ways to use or embellish French Beading techniques. But that will be in other blog posts because this one is already way too long.
As for what I'm doing next... well I'm doing secret Spring Collection work... and I'm doing more work for my relaunch (on my new website) that will hopefully be happening in a few months. I've got a really great "something" that I'm working on for that and I can't wait to show you!
Happy Beading everyone!
Hello there wonderful readers! I am here today with pictures and details about my final two custom orders.
First, let's talk about the Phalaenopsis Orchid. My customer wanted me to remake a live orchid that was given to her as a Mother's Day gift. This variety of Moth Orchid is called a Blue Mystique. If you haven't seen these before, then you need to google them because they are fabulous and crazy. Well, some of them are crazy, some are more plain. They have this almost watercolor-like effect, and I love it so much. These Orchids are, unfortunately, not naturally blue, but actually a white orchid that's been infused with dyes. So it only blooms blue the first time. After that, it goes back to white. So she wanted to preserve the blue permanently with a French Beaded version.
This one is a redesign of my old pattern that I made years ago for another customer. It took a great deal of effort, and I'm sure you can guess why. There are eight shades of blue (and purplish blues) in the petals. It was insane. But oh so much fun!
I was originally going to save this pattern for a future book, but I've decided to go ahead and publish the pattern as a PDF instead. I am nearly finished with it, so watch for a separate post announcing it's release... maybe later this weekend or next week? I seriously just have a couple pictures I have to retake (which means remaking a piece that I'd rather not have to remake, ha!), edit, and plug in the file. Then it's done. So... very soon.
Now let's talk about the Christmas Tree. My very last order. This one was a bitter-sweet project as it's the last piece I will sell for a very long time. I'm a little sad that I won't be making flowers for other people anymore, but very excited (my husband thinks I'm a little too excited) about my next steps.
I really love Christmas (which is why I used it as the theme for my first book) and I love decorating Christmas Trees. These smaller beaded versions are no different, so I adore making them, despite having to make what felt like a million Continuous Loops. I used the pattern I recently published in my first book "French Beading Patterns Volume One: Christmas Collection". The tree is approximately 12 inches tall (around 30 cm for my metric unit using readers). My customer wanted a green tree with ornaments in teal, peacock blue, blue, with gold accents. I had so much fun picking out beads for the ornaments. Isn't bead shopping one of the best parts of being a beader? Just look at these marvelous sparklies! Some are Czech, others are Swarovski, or metal beads.
And here are pictures of the finished tree!
There are some differences in the ornaments from my tree in Christmas Collection. I used gold bead caps on some of the ornaments, just to make them a little extra fancy. And I made some teardrop beads into angels.
The little teddy bear! In one of the pictures above you can see a toy train and a little drum, too. Do you see the gift boxes? I made these a little differently than the ones in my book, which I actually purchased pre-made. For these new ones I purchased colored foil paper in my customer's colors, and wrapped wooden cubes in a couple different sizes, using hot glue to glue the edges down. I hate hot glue with a passion, but I think they turned out nicely.
And this last picture shows the tree before I added any presents.
If you want to watch a video of this Christmas Tree spinning while an instrumental version of "O Christmas Tree" plays in the background, you can find that on my Facebook page.
I want to make a billion more! So you'll likely see more of these, or different versions of these, sometime in the future. I want to at least make one for each of my kids.... someday.
So, and end to an era, but the beginning of a new one. Because I am no longer selling my work, I thought this would be a great opportunity to do something I've been wanting to do for a very long time. I'm going to be moving my website to a new domain name and re-launching my business. I'm a little scared since re-branding is risky business, but I'm taking the plunge anyways. The only reason I haven't done this before is because of how well-known my website is. But it needs to be done for many reasons. Not going to reveal the new domain yet, since it's not functional or finished. It's a massive work in progress that will take me several months to complete, but very necessary to help my website and business perform better. So if you don't hear from me, just know that I'm redesigning and moving my website and taking other steps necessary to move my business forward into the realms of teaching. Until the re-launch is finalized, this website will remain up and functional.
I will be planning, designing, creating, recording, writing, photographing... oh it's going to be great! Time to move forward!
Yes, I'm doing a second blog post today. I need to get caught up and I've finally managed to carve out some time, so please bear with me.
I've been working on this custom order since February, and it's a pretty big one. Here are all the parts.
And here is the finished bouquet! I know it looks like a wedding bouquet, because of the wrapped handle, but it's not. Just a vase-ready arrangement.
The finished piece was 18 inches tall (including the handle) and about 14 inches wide. And weighed 2.5 pounds.
This order was a pretty difficult one for me. It started with my customer giving me a very specific set of flowers to make. Exact number, exact colors. And that made it hard for me to visualize the finished arrangement. So I didn't know how I was going to put it all together until closer to the end.
Every flower took longer than it was supposed to, mainly because of my baby (she screamed for almost a month straight), which means I had to extend beyond the time I'd allotted for it. That was a very depressing aspect for me since I had other projects I'd wanted to make to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary and I wasn't able to do them. But I love how this bouquet turned out.
This brings me to my next announcement. I will no longer be taking custom orders. I have two more orders already on my schedule for this year, one of which I'm starting on this upcoming week, and then that's it. I've been mulling over this decision for a long time and it wasn't an easy one. On one hand, I love being able to make flowers for other people to enjoy, and custom work does bring me challenges and new flowers that I may not have considered before. But on the other hand, it's too difficult and stressful with my family situation. With three kids I am constantly having to worry about whether I'm going to meet a deadline, or if I'm even going to get time to work. And, it really doesn't pay well. No one wants to pay what the flowers are truly worth, so it ends up being a very large amount of work with very little reward. That's not something I can afford now that I have less time. If I'm going to spend time away from my family, then it needs to contribute financially to my family, and teaching allows me to do that. There are many more reasons, but I won't get into that here. The bottom line is that I will not be taking any more orders, but I will be devoting my time to personal projects, tutorials, videos, and books. I love teaching, so I am really looking forward to being able to put more time and effort into it.
I know there are many of you who have been waiting for a slot for custom work, and I'm sorry that I will not be able to accommodate you. That may change years down the road, but for now, this is where life has brought me.
Today is a good day, because I finally get to update my blog. Forgive me, I'm actually going to publish two blog posts today, since I'm trying to catch up.
For this post I thought it would be fun to share with you all the pictures I took during a study on some peach blossom branches I harvested from my own peach tree.
I took this shot from underneath my tree! Love those pink blossoms against that beautiful blue sky.
Here's another shot from under the tree, a little closer up.
Here are the branches that I studied. Some branches on the tree had many more blossoms on them, as you can see above, but they were higher up and I don't do ladders. I am not about to die just to collect some flowers. Nope.
Let's take a closer look at the branches so you can see the structure and texture.
The main branch stems are brown, but some (not all!) of the smaller off-shooting branches have greenish stems. Flowers form on all sides of the branch, and have a small stem of their own separating them from the branch. The flowers tend to form in clusters in multiple points along the branch. At this stage in the tree's life cycle, there are tiny tufts of leaves only at the branch tips, not anywhere else along the branch.
One thing I want to mention is that my blossoms never fully opened. I assume it's something to do with the climate because it's been happening to all my neighbors' peach trees too. The blossoms just kind poof open but don't fully expand. So, half opened they were 3/4" wide (1.9 cm) so I estimate that they'd open to a full inch wide (2.5 cm). They will also turn a slightly lighter pink once they open.
Tiny little blossoms all in a row!
Each blossom has 5 petals, approximately 1/2" long by 3/8" wide. (1.3 cm L, .95 cm W)
I tried to tape a couple petals down so we could get a flat view of the shape of the petals, but they still curled up on me.
But they are ovals, with a teeny tiny point at the bottom.
There are 5 sepals on each flower, which are a reddish-brown color, sometimes with green spots on them. You can see those more clearly on the bud pictures below. Each sepal is 1/4" wide and 1/4" long (.64 x .64 cm).
The stamen are tiny brown dots with a white stem. The inner row of stamen are 1/4" (.64 cm) long, but they grow to 1/2" (1.3 cm) long for the second (outer) row. There are approximately 10 each of the 1/4" and 1/2" stamen.
The pistil is all yellow and 1/2" long (1.3 cm), located directly in the center of the stamen.
Let's take a look at the buds! (If you look at the close up branch pictures above, you'll see that there are tinier buds that I didn't pull off to picture below. Those are mostly just sepals bunched up tightly.)
The largest buds are 1/2" wide and 3/4 to 1" long, including sepals (1.3 cm wide and 1.9-2.5 cm long). The smaller buds are 3/8" wide and 1/2 to 3/4" long (.9 cm wide and 1.3-1.9 cm long)
The leaves form in tufts of multiple leaves, the longest of which are 3/4" long (1.9 cm). These do open up and spread out a little as the branch ages, just as the blossoms would if mine opened fully.
One last picture before we go! All the tiny pieces.
I hope you guys enjoyed this flower study! I have been studying lots of flowers, though I won't publish all of them because some are being used to make patterns for my upcoming book.
Hello all you beautiful people! Yes I am still here, and yes I finally have another French Beading Tip/Tutorial post for you fellow beaders. I didn't have time to make a video (though I do have a my Ivy pattern coming soon, just waiting to hear back from my editor/tester) mostly because my baby cried the whole month from cutting molars (4 of them) so she needed extra mommy and neither of us got any sleep. Thankfully, even though the teeth aren't all the way through, they seem to be taking a break, so I'm jumping on the opportunity to work on my computer on another blog post and tutorial. You all know I'm doing the best I can!
I made a dedicated page on my website for my new free French Beading tutorial, which covers several different ways to add extra support to larger and heavier leaves and petals. Check out the page on Unit Support Wires!
If you're following me on Instagram, you've likely seen a few pictures of my most recent flowers. I have a few projects going on... probably too many considering my massive lack of time.
I have an ongoing project to make something special for my baby girl. This one will likely take a long time to make with all the other time sensitive projects I have going on, but that's okay. I'm in no rush on this one. So far I've made some lavender anemones, some blue hydrangea... and then I made a couple samples to try and figure out what else I'm going to put in it. Sometimes I have to see it before I can decide. I have a rather large project in mind (a wall hanging either in a beaded basket or an arch), which a varied color palette that basically includes the pastel shades of almost every color. So I need more flowers, I just can't figure out what.
I still need to nail down colors. The anemone and hydrangea are set in stone. Those are not changing. But, the focus of the arrangement will be some lilies, and those will either be pink or white, or pink and white. So I don't think I want my roses to be pink too, because that's just too much pink when I have so many other colors I want to include, so they might end up peach... But if my lilies are white, then I can make my roses pink, my ranunculus yellow, and something else in peach. I just don't know yet. But that's where I'm at with this project.
My top priority project right now is a custom order. I only took a few orders this year since I knew I'd be short on time.
And here's how far I've gotten in the making stage so far.
Last, but not least, is another personal project I have in the works that will take me the rest of the year to finish. Why? Because this one is a 365 project, or a One-a-day project. Every day I make a single flower, or a single leaf branch, or a single leaf... a single anything, whatever I have time for that day, something simpler without a set pattern so I don't have to think too hard. A single flower that represents a single day of my life in 2018. Every month I have a new color to work with. So at the end of the year I will have 365 pieces that I will assemble into a wreath. Mine will look like a color wheel... hopefully.
I'm working with yellow this month and I'll share pictures of those pieces sometime in April.
One purpose of this project is to use up small amounts of beads, or shades and finishes of beads that I have had around forever that I can't find a purpose for.
Another purpose is to remind myself that every day has meaning. No matter how small, insignificant, or mundane it may feel. Even if that day is only represented by a tiny little flower, it still adds to the whole. It's still important.
Anyways, I hope you guys find the Unit Support Wires tutorial helpful. I do have a pattern coming up. It took me over a month to finish but I did complete my French Beaded Ivy pattern. Just waiting to hear back from my editor before I publish. So hopefully I'll have that available for you guys in my next blog update.
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 my dear readers! I hope this post finds you all in good health and spirits. I've been posting about a custom wedding bouquet that I've been working on, and then I forgot to come back and post the finished pictures here.
I had a video but now I can't locate it on my disc! You can see it on my Home Page though.
So my husband's birthday was a couple weeks ago, and he's been having a hard time lately, so I figured I needed to make something special for him. I have been researching this idea for over a year, so it wasn't a last-minute thing except in the timing. I had all my beads picked out, 11 shades in all including some cool glow in the dark beads. I spent days working on this thing, even stayed up into the wee hours of the morning trying to finish for his birthday. And then I failed. It is perhaps the ugliest thing I have ever seen made out of beads. My inspiration came from some watercolor paintings and I was trying to get that same shading pattern, but it ended up looking like a squirrel tried to tie-dye. I cried. It was devastating and I have never felt like a bigger failure. Mostly because I wanted something special for my wonderful husband, but wasn't able to do it so I feel like I let him down. I won't post a picture of the monstrosity here, because my pictures always get lifted and posted elsewhere, and then you'd know what it is and I want it to remain a secret for now. I've been reevaluating my design and I'm going to have to compromise. I need bigger beads for the main body of the thing, but I can't find them in all the colors I wanted. So the main body will be simplified, and then I'll use lots of colors in the other parts. I am determined to conquer this one! Just didn't happen in time for his birthday. :(
But this is why my Asiatic Lily pattern is later than I planned. I just had to try to make him something and it pushed my scheduled work out a bit.
Yay! It's finally here. I published this pattern for my French Beaded Asiatic Lily last night. It is available here in my Pattern Shop, and in my Etsy Pattern Shop for those of you who prefer to shop there.
This piece will not be for sale. I was originally planning on selling it, but then I got sad. I never get to keep any of my flowers since most of my work is custom made for other people. So, these are mine! Lilies are some of my favorite flowers.
For the next little while I may be pretty quiet on on fronts, both here on my website and on all social media accounts. I'm working on my Christmas Collection, so I will unveil all of those designs at the same time, right before I publish, but I might have a few sneak peeks!
I will also be working on that Scallops video tutorial for you guys. That will be sometime this month.
Most beaded flower artist tend to make their flowers life-size, so I thought having a "tips" post on making miniature sized flowers would be fun and different. However, I haven't made very many miniatures myself. Most of my work tends to be on the other end of the size scale. So I contacted my friend Suzanne Steffenson (who was also the co-designer/author for Beaded Berry Collection) who specializes in making miniatures, to see if she would be willing to write up an article for your enjoyment and edification. We are very fortunate that she agreed!
Earlier this year I published a free pattern for Miniature Roses, and I've had so much fun seeing so many others use that pattern to make flowers. Suzanne also used that pattern, but with smaller beads. Basically, she made miniature miniature roses, and mounted them on a tiny doll sized tiara meant for a dog!
In this last picture you can see the comparison of my red miniature rose next to her miniature miniature roses. Just look at the perfect blend of colors! And the Victorian Beaded Butterfly is a wonderful touch.
She says the only alteration she made was to add an extra of the smallest petals on the inside. Bead counts and rows were the same as the original pattern, which is a rare occurrence when making miniatures.
And here are a few more samples of Suzanne's work, all miniatures made using beads smaller than the 11/0 seed beads that we see used most often in French Beading.
And now on to the article!
"Thinking small - Making miniature beaded flowers"
By: Suzanne Steffenson
Although Helen McCall wrote a book on making miniature beaded flowers, and other authors of French beaded flower books have included some patterns for making miniatures, most of these patterns use the same 11/0 beads used in life size flowers. The “miniature” designs are simplified versions of their life size cousins, and accordingly, some patterns lack detail and charm. But what if you make a miniature flower like a good piece of dollhouse furniture, where detail – construction, coloration and scale -- is as precise and as intricate as the full sized version? There is no magic formula for taking an existing pattern and sizing it down from 11/0 beads to 15/0s, but there are steps you can take to produce lovely miniatures.
I recommend starting with 14/0 and 15/0 Japanese beads. Aside from having hundreds of colors and finishes, they are inexpensive, readily available, and relatively uniform in size. Czech beads are made in smaller sizes, but because 16/0 and smaller beads are no longer being made (making them harder to find and more expensive), this article is based on 14/0 and 15/0 beads.
The size of the bead holes is very important. If the original pattern calls for a fringe or Victorian technique, etc., make sure the bead holes will allow more than one wire to pass through. Some smaller beads will accommodate two wires and some will not.
I generally go down one wire gauge when working from an 11/0 pattern to a 15/0 miniature. I find 26 or 28 gauge wire usually works well with a basic technique, and 28 gauge for continuous loops. 30 gauge works well for fringes and lacing. But there are exceptions to every situation. If the gauge is too heavy for the bead size, it will be difficult to get good technique, twists and wraps, and if the wire is too flimsy, your flower won’t withstand being moved or shaped. If I’m working on a flower with a lot of petals, I sometimes use a lighter gauge for the inside petals and a heavier gauge for the outside petals, just to make a sturdier flower. Also, when working with smaller beads and smaller components, weight is not the issue it can be with bigger flowers. I use silamide (strong, waxed beading thread) instead of wire to lash the petals together or to a stem wire.
Start by working with a full-size pattern that you like. Roses are fun to miniaturize as are simple patterns for daisies, lilies, and iris. Some patterns are written with bead counts and some are written with measurements. Start with the biggest components – usually the leaves and petals. Make a full size component (leaf, petal, etc.) in 11/0s using the author’s recommended bead count or measurement. This will provide you with a sense of the overall shape and size of the component. Take the beaded component and make an outline of it on a piece of paper to more clearly see the proportions.
When working with smaller beads, even one or two beads or one row can make a big difference in the proportions of the component. I have had rare occasions where I have been able to take the original 11/0 basic bead count and use that same count with 15/0s. If this happens, by all means celebrate. But more often look at the full-size component and reduce the length of the basic measurement by approximately 65-70%. If the Basic Row is given as a bead count, you must first convert that length to inches or cm before making the size reduction. If the full-size component is an unusual shape (like a one bead basic) or shorter (less than one inch in length), a smaller percentage reduction may be more successful than a larger one. A very small basic of one or two 11/0 beads will be the same in a size 15/0 miniature and you will probably need to decrease the rows to maintain the overall proportions. Plan on making one or two samples to determine the best ratio.
Using the 11/0 pattern as a guide, begin adding rows to the 15/0 miniature. With most miniatures, you will have to reduce the number of rows by at least two, sometimes one, and sometimes more than two. Likewise for continuous wraparound loops. When you finish your 15/0 component, place it next to or inside the outline of the 11/0 component. Be critical. Is the miniature version the same shape? Too long? Too wide? Or, horrors – TOO BIG? Your next attempt will be much closer.
After you have a 15/0 bead count for the petals and leaves, use the same process to determine the 15/0 measurements for smaller components like centers and sepals.
I do not usually reduce the number of components (petals, leaves, etc.) when miniaturizing a standard pattern. To do so would simplify the design when I’m going for the same level of detail as the larger version. Likewise with coloration. I put a lot of effort into shading and putting as much color detail into the flower as you might see with a life-sized version. Because you may not have as many rows or “space” to work with, make sure you edit colors carefully.
Another important aspect of creating a miniature is to give credit where credit is due – acknowledge the author of the original design and then humbly take a bow for your miniature interpretation of that design.
At last, the tricky part. The pattern you have chosen to miniaturize may include a technique that doesn’t work well with 15/0 beads. It may be a technique for a center, sepal, stamen, or leaf. There are some techniques, which shall remain nameless, that I don’t like to use with 15/0s. The easiest solution is to substitute a different technique. I call it “frankensteining” –combining a component from one pattern with a component from another pattern. Look at the flower files on Facebook FRENCH BEADED FLOWER group (must be approved to join first, if you are not already a member) and other online resources, glean ideas from books and patterns, and ask other members of our French beaded flower community.
Hello there! I have been working like a mad woman trying to get this pattern finished while not getting behind on the custom wedding bouquet I'm working on. I finally got it published yesterday, but then the people who depend on me started needing things, so I didn't get a chance to update my blog with the news until this morning.
My recent Ball Dahlia pattern is now available in my Pattern Shop!
I had so many people asking about this pattern, so I've been trying my hardest to get it done for you guys. However, just fair warning, this is a harder pattern, mostly due to the assembly, so I've labeled it an Advanced Pattern. The techniques required are Intermediate level, nothing super tricky if you have a decent amount of experience with French Beading.
Wedding Bouquet Update
Here is a little update on how the custom bouquet is progressing. I've finished all the berries and lavender, and am now working on filler leaves and the pansy boutonniere.
While working on the lavender I decided to try a new design, which in my opinion looks a little more like real lavender than my older design. In the pictures below the new design is on the left and the old one on the right.
The bride I'm working with has chosen the older one, so that's the one that's going in the bouquet. I am getting so close to finishing this project and I'm so thrilled with how it's turning out. SOON!
I've got some neat stuff planned, so here's what's coming up in the near future.
First off, next week I will be publishing a guest article written by the marvelous Suzanne Steffenson on making miniature sized French Beaded Flowers using miniature sized seed beads.
Then sometime later this month I'll be publishing my Asiatic Lily pattern. Luckily, that one is not too difficult, so it will be easier for me to make, photograph, edit, write, and publish it.
After that I'll be doing a Technique Tip post on Scalloping (that one might run into September, depending on how long it takes me to record and edit a video...)
AND in the not-as-near-future... Once I'm finished with this wedding bouquet I'll be working furiously on another project as well, and it's a big one. Big enough that I'm questioning my sanity and my ability to make wise decisions. I can't remember if I've mentioned this before on my blog, but I'm working on a Christmas Collection of patterns. I guess it's actually multiple projects, that are one collective large project. I've gotten a small portion of it written already. What's different about this publication is that I'm going to try self-publishing it as an actual, real book through Amazon's Create Space. This will be my first adventure in publishing a physical book, so I'm using this one as a trial to see how it goes. I will be repeating two of my patterns from previously published PDF's in the collection, but they will have some slight alterations to them. Plus lots of new material that I haven't published before. I'll be showing you all how to make one of my wall hangings in there as well.
Super excited! I've been looking forward to this all year! I am super pumped up and ready to go! My husband, not so much. He knows that I'm going to be a crazy person until I get this thing published. There will be lots of late nights and probably tears and hysterical laughter mixed in as well, but it's all worth it in the end. I've always wanted to write a book, so it's a major goal I can check off my list of things to accomplish.
I've been quiet on purpose this time. The last couple of months I've been working on a rather large project, probably one of the largest things I've ever made (if measuring by mass) but I can't post pictures here yet in case someone sees it before they are meant to see it... and it's killing me!!!
What I can post is this picture of a Ball Dahlia I made recently... I will be publishing this pattern soon. I was hoping to have it ready this weekend, but as I was editing pictures I realized I'd forgotten to take pictures of some of the pieces, so it will take me a few extra days as I'll have to remake them... but it's coming soon!
Custom Bouquet Project
What I'm currently working on is a custom wedding bouquet! Here's a little slideshow on how that's going so far
Super excited to see this one finished! I'll be mixing in some raspberries, strawberries, and lavender with what I've already finished. Then the groom's boutonniere will be made with purple pansies. :) I love making wedding bouquets. They're just so much fun. I'll have more updates on this project later.
(Also, just a little reminder. If you are working on the Blueberry pattern from the Beaded Berry Collection and are having trouble finding beads or other pieces for the Blueberries, let me know and I can hook you up! I bought them in mass for the pattern packet project and I have plenty left over.)
A Little Mini Tip
Since I've been so busy, I haven't had much time to put together more tips for you guys (I have a whole list of ideas that I want to get through, they all just take time), so I've just got a little one for today regarding Continuous Loops, and any other technique that has lots of twisting.
Some patterns call for hundreds of loops, and if you've ever done it you know how badly it hurts. It is the worst. Your little fingertips get so sore. Sometimes I get blisters. So, I recently found these little rubber finger guards, and I love them. They are made for guitar players, so they came as a set of 20, 1 for each finger on each hand. But I only need the thumb and forefinger for one hand, so I have an extra set for when these wear out.
What I love most about them is that the fingernails are open, and I use my fingernails to help measure and separate out beads for each loop. The first kind I used were rubber thimbles, but didn't have the open fingernail and it made it a little more difficult to make loops the way I'm used to doing them.
It does take a little practice to get used to them, as they make your fingers a little thicker so it feels different while making the loops. I'm not sure if they will fit everyone, but I thought I'd pass it along anyways. They work with making tiny little twisted fringes as well.
If these don't work for you, there may be something similar that does. I know of one lady who uses bandaids to protect her fingers, but I think we all know by now that I can't do anything simply. And I think these rubber ones have more cushioning and grip than bandaids.
This is the link to the ones I purchased off of Amazon (not an affiliate link)
So that's where I've been, where I'm at, and where I'll be for the next little while. I am going to be publishing my Asiatic Lily pattern at the end of August. It got pushed back as my previous massive project took longer than expected.
One of my most favorite parts of French Beading is the design work, making a brand new flower from scratch. The whole process excites me. For me, at least, if it's not challenging, then it's not fun. So, when deciding where to begin with the new Tips segment on my blog, I thought it would be nice to start where I usually start when I make flowers - with the initial Design. You gotta know what you're making before you can make it. Consider this first post as an introduction to how I design flowers.
There are so many ways to go about making flowers. Some people like to follow patterns made by others, while some like to make their own patterns. Some artists prefer to make realistic flowers using the simplest method possible, while others love complexity. And yet others choose to make fantasy flowers that bloom completely from the imagination. Any way you go about it, I believe seeing the process behind the design is important, or at the very least, interesting. Even if you normally make flowers from other designers' patterns, you may find yourself needing to make your own design if you can't find a pattern you like for the flowers you want to make.
If you are like me, you like to make your flowers as botanically correct as you can within the limitations of beads and wire and your own skills. (Of course, you don't have to make flowers this way, it's just a personal preference.) And there are certainly limitations. Even the smallest beads will produce a petal that is thicker than a petal on a natural flower. This means that you may not be able to have as many petals, stamen, and other parts as a natural flower without making it look bulky and awkward. We emulate and mimic flowers, and we can usually get pretty close! But you should not expect to reproduce every flower with exactness.
To produce a flower that is as botanically correct as possible, you will first need to study that flower. And I mean really, really study it. Usually, my studying process takes just as long as the actual making. I don't like to design from memory, because memories are imperfect. They fade or get mixed in with other memories. I did this once with an Iris (pictured right) in my earlier years with French Beading, and while the flower was easily recognized as an Iris in shape and form, I missed the mark on a few details (like the missing crests and abnormal stamen). So I highly recommend studying the flower from a variety of sources.
This is the part where science and art overlap.
The absolute best way to study a flower is to get your hands on it and take it apart. Or, if massacring innocent flowers upsets you, at least measure each piece and photograph the flower and it's parts from all angles.
Pictured below are wild Sunflowers (a variety called "Little Sunflower") that grows along just about every road and freeway here in Southern Utah in the Summer and Fall. Sometimes driving down the freeway you can see whole fields full of them. Last year I collected these flowers while on a walk with my boys near our home. (I've learned since that it may be illegal in some areas to collect wild flowers, so do check your local laws before doing this!) If you cannot collect them, then take a camera and measuring tape with you and photograph them in their natural environment so you can study further at home. Or if you are fortunate enough to have drawing skills, make a sketch.
We also go on hikes in the mountains nearby, and there is always a plethora of wildflowers to enjoy.
Finding samples is harder for me because I do not, yet, have much of a garden. I tend to kill all the flowers I plant. I'm also fairly shy, so going up to my neighbors' houses and asking if I can clip a sample of their Poppies or Lilacs is not something that's very comfortable for me.
Online Pictures and Illustrations
Because no one on earth has every variety of every flower and plant known to mankind growing in their garden (or their neighbors' gardens), it is highly likely that you will also need to rely pictures that others have taken. (Thank heavens for the internet! But do be respectful of the copyrights of others, who the photographs belong to.) Before making a flower, I have likely studied dozens of images of the flower, if not more.
If you follow me on Pinterest, maybe you've noticed that I pin a lot of flowers. However, most pictures on Pinterest are made to be pretty to attract attention and drive traffic to a specific website. Most of these images will show only the face of the flower. But I still regularly search Pinterest for flowers because it introduces me to new species of plants and different varieties. Then I take my search off Pinterest to find the details.
You will want pictures of the face of the flower, the backside, the profile, the petals, the leaves, the buds, the stamen, sepals, and every other angle you can imagine. I also try to find a picture of the plant in a pot, and a picture of a person holding the flower, if possible. Do a google search for "daffodil petals", for example, and you will often find pictures of the petals separated from the flower. You can do this for sepals and leaves and buds as well. This will give you a really good idea of the shape you need to make your individual parts. Search online nurseries, gardening websites, and even wikipedia.
I also really love to look through botanical illustrations. You can find many of these online. The artists who make these drawings are also trying to make them as botanically correct as possible. They usually only include a small sample or clipping of the flower or plant, so it's easier to see details than a picture of a live plant or bush with a tangled mass of leaves and branches. Thus they are a well-loved resource for me. Some will have just the small flower sample illustrated, while others have the flower sample, and drawings along the side that depict petals, stamen, sepals, etc. They are simply fantastic.
And, while you're out there browsing the world wide web, take a stroll over to YouTube to see if you can find time-lapse videos of your flower blooming. Not only are these fascinating for flower lovers, but they also let you see the flower in every stage of its life.
While online pictures are wonderful and easily accessed world wide, nothing quite replaces the substance of a book. After the internet got me addicted to botanical illustrations, I started collecting books of them so I can hold them in my hands. Some of my favorites contain artwork by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. I highly recommend his work. Here are the books on Botanical Illustrations that I have in my library (not all are Redouté), and I do recommend every single one of them. (I found all of these below on Amazon, by the way.)
I also have a few Encyclopedias of flowers, and these are a great resource. Not just for pictures, but information on the plant, too.
I've heard of others using seed catalogs for pictures and information.
Another resource that shouldn't be overlooked are the books and patterns written by other designers. Now, I'm not saying to copy their designs, or change a few numbers and call them your own. I mean to study the construction methods and techniques that they use to achieve certain results and figure out how you can utilize those in your own work.
While I'm searching through images, I always ask myself questions about the flower to make sure I'm observing all the details.
- How many petals does it have? Are they all the same size, or are some larger? How are they arranged? (Not all follow the strict "over-under" layering pattern that we see so often with french beaded flowers.) Do they lay flat? Are they curled, crinkled, folded?
- What texture do the petals and leaves have? Silky? Waxy? Translucent? Velvety?
- How thick is the stem? What color(s) is it?
- Do the flowers grow one to a stem, or in multiples? If multiples, how, and where, do they connect together?
- Do the flowers heads stand upright? Or do their stems bend below the flowers to show the face? Do they cascade? Do all flowers on the plant face the same direction?
- How do the leaves connect to the stem? Do they each have their own little stem, or do they connect directly to the main flower stem with no space between leaf and branch? Are there multiple leaves on a branch or just one? Perhaps both? If multiple, how are they arranged? Sometimes leaves are directly across from each other on a stem, sometimes they are staggered. Sometimes they are only on one side of the stem.
In addition to figuring out what the individual pieces look like, you'll also need to search for information on sizing, which will obviously vary from one variety to the next. (One variety of waterlily Dahlia may grow to 7 inches wide, while another waterlily type Dahlia maxes out around 5 inches) How tall is the flower head? How wide is the flower head? How tall do they grow? How do the leaves compare in size? You might have to dig a little deeper for this information, as many gardening websites, online nurseries, and even books will give you the plant spread and height, but not always the bloom size. If you do struggle to find the info, do a search for a picture of a person holding the flower. This will help determine the approximate scale so you can get close.
All of these details that you gather will help you decide how to make your flower. Is there a certain type or finish of bead that will best replicate the texture in the leaves and petals? (I don't always match finishes. These are beads we're working with here, why not let them sparkle!) Which technique will work best to make this shape, without making the stem too bulky? How much support will my petals need? Are the petals and leaves so large that they will require additional support wires to keep them from drooping? Will the flower be heavy enough to require multiple stem wires bundled together, or will just one be sufficient?
I hope this post was helpful or enlightening to some of you wonderful readers. It's a broad overview, and I hope to narrow the topics down as we go along. If there are any tips or resources that you'd like to share, please do so in the comments below!
I'm going to quickly update about this last piece I've finished. My series of Tips will start next week as I am completely exhausted and haven't had a chance to gather all my thoughts (or what's left of my thoughts after this piece) for the first segment on Designing Flowers.
Alrighty. Last week I showed you a picture of the sketch I made for the customer who commissioned this piece. It features roses made from my Free Miniature Rose pattern, assembled into a wreath with draping vines. This was a seriously intense project. Around 160 roses, and over 300 leaves. Working with carpal tunnel affecting both of my wrists, thumbs, and pointer fingers made it take much longer than it normally would.
This piece will be displayed on my customer's shelf, which has a dome shape. But I didn't have one of those, so I used this little birdcage with the same top dimensions to display it for pictures.
The outer width of the wreath is about 10 inches, and the longest vine is 18 inches. The assembly alone took around 6 hours, not including the time it took to put the layers of petals together into roses, or the time to turn individual leaves into leaf branches. So, it was just a massive project. I've been up into the wee hours of the morning for many days. I had to push myself that hard to finish because I have more custom work, and other projects, with deadlines that I can't miss.
But, all the work was worth it as I think it turned out amazing! Even better than what I was imagining. It's so wonderful to see the end result of something you've been toiling over for so long.
And now I jump into my next custom order, which is also very exciting!
Come back next week for my first Tips post, or subscribe so you don't miss anything!
First up, I did publish a new pattern and then got so busy that I forgot to post here about it... This one actually features two patterns for two different types of Tulips - Standard and Peony Tulips (aka Double Tulips). The patterns were so similar that I figured it would be easier and less redundant to just bundle them together.
After my last post I opened up to Custom Orders, but had to close back again a couple days later as my schedule filled really quickly. I don't have many slots this year as I'm working on a large pattern packet for Christmas so a lot of my effort will be spent on that.
My first custom order was for a crystal rose made in a light peachy pink. Here she is pictured with the red one I made myself earlier this year. In the same order there was also a strawberry plant made from a pattern in the Beaded Berry Collection.
I've also been working on flowers for a fundraiser to benefit my nephew's preschool. I was able to make for them one of my new Peonies. Several of my readers have asked me to publish this pattern, but I'm not sure that I can in it's current format. Firstly, it uses a size of bead that is not very common, especially overseas, and is becoming harder and harder to find in the US as well, so I'd have to alter it to suit a more accessible bead size. Secondly, I have a few tweaks to make to the design And Lastly, I use free-form scalloping for the petals so no two are alike and I'm not sure how that would play out for others trying to follow the pattern. I will see what I can do, but it would be a more advanced pattern, and it wouldn't be for a while as my schedule is super full.
This brings me to my current custom order, which is a big one. For my customer I am making a wreath and vine combination to decorate the top of a dome shaped shelf. I made a little sketch as you can see below. The design will feature my miniature roses made in three different colors - red, cream, and black. I need about 165 of these itty bitty roses, and around 200 itty bitty leaves, along with little fern sprigs. It's a lot of beadowork, but I am almost finished, so I should have pictures of the completed piece sometime next week.
Next time I will be back with what will be the first in a series of Tips for my fellow French Beaders. I've been wanting to do this for a while and just haven't had time to gather my thoughts and implement it. So, we are just going to dive in, beginning with how I go about designing flowers. It is my hope that these will be helpful to you and that it will work as more of a discussion with others adding in their helpful hints in the comments.
Until then, Happy Beading!
So I've been on maternity leave for a while, but I'm still beading up a storm. You can tell because my studio looks like a tornado hit it. Since I've had all this free time to make whatever I want, I sat down and made a list of all the new flower designs I wanted to make for Spring. There were over 10 different types of flowers on that list... guess how many I made? Two... yeah, just two. Big plans, but life gets in the way. I should just stop making plans. Then I won't get disappointed when I don't get to do it all. Since my last post my oldest son has had eye surgery (they cut on my baby's eyeballs!!!) and almost everyone has had the flu (except the baby, thank heavens). So I'll just blame my adorable family for not getting to test out my really cool grape hyacinth idea.
But... I did get to make a couple flowers, so I'll just be happy with that. Here are my French Beaded Crocuses!
I don't make small flowers like these very often, so it felt kind of strange making such small petals and leaves. I did just publish my Crocus pattern in my Pattern Shop! It is a beginner level pattern, but it does teach a brand new technique - Basic Row Extension on the Bottom Wire. I've published patterns before that show how to do a Top Wire Basic Row Extension (namely my Beaded Rose Full Tutorial and the Calla Lily Pattern), so I thought it was time I showed how to Extend the Basic Row on the Bottom Wire.
I also made a couple Roses. These were not on my Spring Flower to-do list, but they were on my Stock-the-shop to-do list. Honestly, I've had a stock-the-shop to-do list running since the beginning of last year and I never got to it. So I promised myself I'd add some new flowers or else. Roses are always popular, so I figured I should make a couple of those.
The first one is a redesign of an older Rose pattern. I used some absolutely beautiful 2 cut satin beads in the petals and leaves. I love these beads, but they are much harder to lace as the beads have sharper edges. The beads fit together closely so it's difficult to get the wire between them, and sometimes the edges break the wire. Very frustrating. But look how sparkly!
The second rose I made is also made with satin 2 cuts, this time in a coral pink. However, it's a different style of rose - a remake of my older wavy rose.
Last but not least, my new Tulip design. I am currently working on finishing a pink set like these, and then I want to attempt a Double Tulip if I have any time before I have to start my next project.
I am going to try my hardest to get this pattern listed, too. I have most of the pictures taken already, just need a few more and then editing and the write up. But with the way life is right now it might take me longer than I'd like to get it finished.
I'd like to blog more often with design tips and whatnot as well. I just don't get to sit at my computer very often.
All of the flowers shown above are available to purchase for any interested parties. You can find them in my Etsy Shop!
I've just opened back up to custom orders again, and my queue is already almost full. I *might* have one more space available in May, depending on the size of the project I'm currently planning with a potential customer. After that I will be closing again for June to try to knock a few projects off my ever growing idea list... then I have a custom wedding bouquet in July. I'm not sure how many more custom orders I will take this year as I am also working on a Christmas Pattern booklet, but feel free to contact me with any ideas and I'll see what I can do.
Before I start on custom orders though, I will be making a few flowers that will be donated as fundraiser auction pieces for my husband's nephew's preschool. I will be making a Peony, another Rose, and I'm thinking a stem of yellow lilies, or maybe one large super ruffly Day lily. We shall see.
Got some fun stuff coming up!
Hello there everyone! I've had a busy couple of weeks, but I did actually manage to get some flowers made.
First off, one of my favorite online bead stores (Shipwreck Beads) had a super sale - up to 70% off. I took the opportunity to do something I've always wanted to do. I purchased a large amount of faceted round crystal beads (3mm) and I made a rose out of them! This one I am keeping, because I may not be able to justify the expense ever again. Because of the regular cost of the beads, I doubt I'll get to make any more of these as regular stock items for my shop, but if you'd like to custom order one after I reopen for custom work, please let me know. Just be warned that they are extremely pricey. But very sparkly!
Now, the last time I posted I promised you lovely people a new Free Pattern. I've had to work my tail off to get it done in time and barely met my deadline... but I am happy to say that I have now published my Miniature Rose pattern in the Free Tutorials section of my website. The pattern is beginner level, but does require you to know the basic French Beading techniques (all taught for free here as well) Go get your free copy!
If you make anything with the pattern, send me an email with a picture so I can see! I love getting those emails. :)
This piece itself is also available in my Etsy Shop!
Hello wonderful readers! I am (finally) back with the next free tutorial that I promised for you. I've had these pictures taken for a few weeks now, but then I had my baby before I could get around to publishing the tutorial and needed a little while to adjust and recover. Baby girl is 2 weeks old now (she came a couple weeks early), and she and mommy are both doing well. On a side note, I apologize for any delays in answering emails lately. I believe I've gotten caught up now. For now, my Etsy Shop is closed until I feel ready to reopen that. But my tutorials and patterns are still up and available.
Now for that free tutorial... This technique I have never seen in any books, but I don't own all the books, so I'm not entirely sure if this is a traditional French Beading technique or just something that popped in my head. I couldn't find mention of it anywhere... so I made up a name for it - Vertical Continuous Basic Frame. It allows for making multiple Basic Frame pieces stacked on top of each other on a single central wire.
Kind of a weird little technique, and I'm not sure how many useful applications there are of it. But a tutorial was requested by several people so I figured I might as well put it out there. Perhaps someone will find more use for it than I. One person mentioned using it for a Christmas Cactus. I used it to make this little headband.
If you do use it I'd be interested in seeing what you make.
I did also get to make a couple of mini trees. The white one is 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide. The smaller green one is 6 inches tall and 4 inches wide.
I'm not sure how I feel about the gold under the white tree. I intended it to look like a tree skirt. But I will be decorating that one eventually, and possibly adding little beaded present boxes, so perhaps those additions will help balance out the bolder color. The small one I am leaving as is.
I'm still on maternity leave, so I'm not quite ready for custom work. But I do have a few projects in the works. One is another free beginner's pattern that I hope to have finished soon. Then I am also working on a fun project with my husband (I'll share details once I have something to show), a wall hanging for my baby, and some new designs for springtime flowers.
Well hello everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the Holidays. I've been waiting to update my blog until I could share pictures of what I've been working on. I was wanting to make more Christmas ornaments and some christmas trees, but ran out of time to make Christmas presents. So I'm making a few of those in January, and we'll just call it an early start on next Christmas ;).
Anywho, here is one of the gifts I made this month. This one was a lot of fun. It is a new Peony design that I developed. I used free-form scalloping for the petals - meaning that no two petals follow the same pattern and I didn't count beads while making them - which I think turned out really well. You can't tell from the pictures, but this flower is super sparkly. I used 9/0 3 cut luster finished beads, so they have lots of facets to catch the light. The flower itself is about 6 inches wide. After making it, I decided to curl the stem around to make it a self-standing sculpture. This one went to my Mother-in-law, and she loved it. :) I'm dying to make another one. I sure wish 9/0 3 cut seed beads came in more color options. I'll have to translate my pattern for 11/0's.
I also needed to make a gift for my mother. I was originally going for a wildflower arrangement, with Poppies, daisies, and cornflowers... but the more I looked at it, the more it needed and there was no way I'd get it all done in time. So, over the next month or two I'll be adding in more pieces. Leaves, wheat, maybe some lavender or forget-me-nots... something yellow? I don't know, but it needs more. And then, my hands started swelling very badly and the joints in my fingers were hurting... so I needed something that used easier techniques.
While I'm on the subject of these little Cornflowers... I've just published a free pattern for them! Normally I do my free tutorials and patterns just as webpages, but I wanted to try something a little different this time. This pattern is in PDF form, so you can download it for free from my Free Projects section. It's a beginner level pattern. Even though it looks a little crazy, they are pretty easy. All you need to know is Continuous Loops, Fringe, and Lacing - all of which are taught for free here on my website.
Okay, so I didn't get to finish the Poppy arrangement, so I whipped up something else for mother dear. This is another candle ring like the one Suzanne and I made in our Beaded Berry Collection, only this time it features my own Miniature rose pattern instead of berries. Plus some crystal baby's breath and some tiny fern leaves. Very fun little project.
So, that's where we are now. I didn't get to do the free technique tutorial for you guys yet, but it is coming up. I just need one good day without any other distractions (other people call them responsibilities) to put it together. I also didn't get to make myself a Christmas tree, so I'm doing that next too, even though Christmas is over.
Then I'm making some more cool stuff... one is a project I've been designing with my husband, and I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out. :) Hopefully we can get that finished before I have this baby, then maybe I'll at least get to start on the beaded flower wall hanging I'm making for said little one (though I think that will be a longer term project that I work on a little at a time between other projects).
Too many ideas, too little time. Do get yourself a copy of that Cornflower pattern and let me know how you like it!
Merry (Late) Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!
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 six years now, and teaching French Beading through my website for about four years. I hope you'll join me on my blog so you, too, can Learn the Art of French Beading.
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