Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Jean reviews Jewel Loom Inspirations, Quick and Fun Beading and Jewelry Projects by Julianna C. Avelar

a review of
Jewel Loom Inspirations
Quick and Fun Beading 
and Jewelry Projects
Julianna C. Avelar

On the back cover of this vibrant, cheery, and appealingly colorful book is the question, "How will the Jewel Loom inspire you?"
If you haven't yet heard of the Jewel Loom, it is an extremely reasonably priced, easily portable loom invented by the author of this book, Julianna C. Avelar.
In Jewel Loom Inspirations, the author will begin by showing you how to use the loom, and then offer you the projects in this book. If you don't wish to purchase the loom (it is easy to locate), you may use other looms. However the Jewel Loom paired up with this book will definitely make for the best and easiest experience from this delightful and energetic author.
Julianna, or as she is also known in the beading community, "Jewels", introduces her vision of creativity in the book's introduction in this manner: "I think of my life as a creative Ferris Wheel, constantly rotating with inspiring ideas to help people live their lives happily." This lady is a true giver, and her enthusiasm leaps off each page,
The reader will be using all sorts of materials, as is shown in the Getting Started Section. Beads such as seed beads, Swarovskis, gemstones, two-hole beads and decorative beads will all have a place in your creations. Different kinds of stringing materials, adhesives, and tools will be explained as well.
Then comes the Jewel Loom itself, It is easy to pack when you are on a trip, it is primarily made of flexible plastic (polyethylene), and it comes with a metal rod to give it structure. You set up your warp threads on the loom in the manner which is very clearly explained and photographed. I have done off loom weaving and this loom is a snap and very economical, After the setting up of the loom is explained , the finishing techniques for various projects are offered.
When the reader has read this section, he or she is ready for the projects.
Even if you are a beginner, there will be plenty of bracelets, rings, headbands and necklaces you will be able to make. Some are sophisticated, some are chic, some are flirty, and some are earthy. It is all a question of who you are and what you like!
The very first project is an offering of three different colorways of the "Checkered Cuff", similar to the beautiful bracelet shown on the cover, only narrower. These bracelets are really pretty in tones of lavenders with opal, or topaz browns,whites and purple, or misty opal blue with caramel brown. The beads which you'll be using are the 2-hole glass beads from the Czech Republic. According to the author, the reader will be able to make these bracelets in 1 1/2 to 2 hours "once you get the rhythm down".
Another stunning project is the "Monochromatic Diamond Bracelet", which has a subtle diamond and chevron pattern in gorgeous dark and light purple. It is woven from size 11/0 seed beads. As with many of the projects, there is a chart to assist the reader when weaving the pattern. This is a wide 1 7/8" bracelet you can't help but fall for.
The "Elegant Pearl Bracelet" is an interesting change, as the pearls are round and the clasp is golden toned filigree. This is a quick one to make and perfect for those fancy occasions we all attend from time to time. As beading artists, do we ever have enough jewelry for those? Make this and don't worry any more!
Another project which I found especially interesting was the "Victorian Choker", which demonstrates, with its measurements of  the entire length if the loom (10 1/2") plus a second smaller piece which you will sew to the first one, that you can make a necklace using this loom. This one is lovely in black with a front fringe of trails of black and silver beads and bugle beads.
Then there's the irresistible roaring red "Goddess Amulet", which, as the author says, "screams red-hot love". This is a one-of-a-kind treasure for you to have and to hold.
Some fantastic earrings and a great Swarovski Crystal Brooch were also on my list to try from this addictive book. The gallery is a great source of further inspiration as well.
This book is a wellspring of  creativity, just as the author hoped it would be. For anyone who has never tried off loom weaving perhaps consider starting here. For anyone who is familiar with off loom weaving, try  Jewel Loom Inspirations, Quick and Fun Beading and Jewelry Projects by  Julianna C. Avelar, and you may never go back!

Fons & Porter/F+W; $19.99

Friday, February 5, 2016

Beadbloggers and photos by jean of a Blythe Custom Middie

Brave is a middie-sized Blythe Amy Artemenko customized for me in 2012. 
She is beautiful to me!


Art Bead Scene
Take a walk in the woods with Julie, in her last post for the Art Bead Scene.

Lucky Thirteen
The next Diamond in the free SAL is up! Still plenty of time to join in if you are interested.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Wonderful Wire Jewelry: Make 30+ Bracelets, Earrings, Necklaces, and More, by Erica Swanson. You will find tons to love in this book!

Valentine's Day Kids Party 
Throw a memorable Valentine's Day kids party and keep costs down with these crafty ideas for planning decor, games, food & keeping all the kids happy.

Crocheted Flower Hair Clips
These simple crocheted flowers make adorable hair clips for girls (or women) and just use a tiny bit of yarn.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jean reviews Wonderful Wire Jewelry: Make 30+ Bracelets, Earrings, Necklaces, and More by Erica Swanson

I love to wire wrap, don't you? Even if you have never tried it before, you will be delighted by the offerings in this new book by editor Erica Swanson. She is joined by twenty-one contributors, including Janice Berkebile, Lisa Niven Kelly, Barb Switzer and Brenda Schweder. Wonderful Wire Jewelry has tons of  bracelets, earrings and necklaces to start your spring off with fresh and lively new designs. Don't worry if you are a newbie: a sensible basics section is waiting for you in the back of the book. You will soon understand the types of wire and their properties, the tools you will need and what they are called, and the techniques which are used in wire wrapping.

The projects begin with bracelets and cuffs. Celebrate the month of February by creating the very first project by Janice Berkebile, the "Entwined Hearts Bracelet" in copper. You will want to make it as a tribute to Valentine's Day, but it is also is a heart link bracelet with a heart clasp to wear year round, The warm copper color is a lovely reminder of hearts and love, and copper wire is easy on the budget as well.

If you haven't been introduced to Barb Switzer yet, wait until you see her "Hinged Framed Cuff" in the same first section. You will be able to choose to make the hinges from hardware cloth which you get from garden centres and hardware stores, or you can cut your own framed hinges with a Dremel.
These framed hinges then are stacked one up, one below,so that your bracelet has a step effect. Within the the frames are the beads of your choice. The resulting bracelet is unique and perfectly beautiful.

The Bracelet and Cuffs section has tons to love. The reader will find all sorts of projects made of all kinds of wire.  However, so does the Necklaces and Pendants section, which follows it. The "Flower Pendant" by Lisa Niven Kelly, which features 18 gauge wire spirals woven into a flower using 28 gauge wire and then oxidized, is both lovely and hip. Worn on a silver necklace with a jump ring she teaches you to make, this will be one of your go-to signature pieces.
Check out the "Rain Chain" necklace by Brenda Schweder, which uses her own invention: the tool,
"Now That's a Jig!" This necklace is made of steel wire as well as Swarovski components. Although steel wire is a challenge to work with, this teacher makes is far easier due to her jig, and the results are beautiful.

The Earring & Rings section is full of glamorous and fun pieces to try.
If you love earrings, try the "Waterfall fern earrings" by Erin Paton.  There is a template for the reader to follow to make these elegant sterling earrings. These gracefully swirling earrings are really lovely and would suit anyone's taste. Be prepared to get tons of compliments on these if you decide to make them.
The "Scrollwork" earrings by Collette Kimon will appeal to the Victorian lover in you. Heavily oxidized sterling is wrapped and coiled and accented with beads.
There is an introduction to riveting in this section which teaches the reader to make riveted earrings (as well as a matching bracelet which adds to the fun). By Irina Miech, it is called the "Riveting Spirals" set.
The final project, by Dawn Horner, is a powerful and stylish ring offered in copper or sterling. Called the "Crazy Eights Celtic Ring" it enables the reader to learn to make an "update on the timeless infinity symbol in a contemporary ring," How can we resist that?
Wonderful Wire Jewelry: 
Make 30+ Bracelets, Earrings, Necklaces, and More
by Erica Swanson
has way more to offer, project-wise than I have mentioned. Each tutorial is lovely and different. This book is varied, wonderful and worth owning!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Beadbloggers and photos by Jean of a Blythe custom, Vesper

Vesper is a gift in every way. She first appeared on my doorstep in December, however she is a September girl, customized by wonderful Amy Artemenko who is known as Zaloa27 on Flickr, where all of us Blythe freaks initially met. It was amazing to me to find so many people all over the world who shared the same hobby: collecting, dressing, and photographing Blythe dolls. 
The originator of this ongoing love is Gina Garan from New York. One of her books, This is Blythe, is on Wikipedia. Both of her books (the other one is called Blythe Style) are available on Amazon. She has published a collection of post cards, too!
In this set of photos Vesper is wearing Moshi girl accoutrements from Pomme- Pomme on Etsy which I got a few years ago. 


Japanese Quilts
The Crafty Princess does a short video review of a beautiful book about Japanese quilts.

Royal Flowers
Cindy stitched up a model of the free Royal Flowers chart which just happens to be a favorite color combo.

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to Be Done!
Jean reviews a book on a very pretty style of peyote stitch, and it's fast too! Check out Fast Peyote Stitch Jewelry, Easy to Follow Patterns, 25+ Projects by Josie Fabre ! It's lovely!

Tissue Paper Decorated Candle
A tissue paper decorated candle is a quick and easy craft that still looks impressive. How to get perfect results every time using wax paper & a heat gun.

Recycled Guitar String Pendant DIY
The Tappingflamingo shows how she makes guitar string jewelry. This is an easy, fun tutorial that can be made quickly and inexpensively.

Amigurumi Tip 6
Learn some helpful tips about making faces for your crocheted stuff toys.

Beading Arts
The Bead Shop shares an easy Swarovski necklace project to brighten up your winter!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jean reviews Fast Peyote Stitch Jewelry, Easy-To-Follow Patterns 25+ Original Projects by Josie Fabre

Fast Peyote Stitch Jewelry,
Easy-To-Follow Patterns
25+ Original Projects
by Josie Fabre

On the back cover of this book is a quote from the author, Josie Fabre. She says, "Peyote is so beautiful and versatile, but I am impatient and easily distracted. I kept thinking there had to be a better way, and found that there was. Fast Peyote!!!"--Josie
I love the enthusiasm in this quote, and if you look at the book's cover, you can see that this enthusiasm goes hand in hand with a curiosity and love of beauty which totally rocks. Josie is a scientist who likes to craft and take photos. She offers her patterns, along with some excellent word charts, in this book simply and unaffectedly, yet each of them is a  totally beautiful treasure. The reader will want to take a trip with the author as she explains what Fast Peyote Stitch Jewelry is. Hold on tight for a really fun ride!

After the introduction (which explains how the author learned about Fast Stitch Peyote, and employed the concept using her own photographs and multi-drop stitching), there is a section covering the basics.
The projects follow. They are divided into "Natural Wonders", "Wonderful Wings", Wild Side", "Colorful Classics", "Modern Marvels", and "Bonus Projects".
Each one is inspired by photos which the author took around where she lives in California, and during her travels. This adds a great deal to the charm of the book.
At the end of the book is a technique section which explains how to read peyote stitch and fast peyote stitch instructions very clearly. It contains explanations on how to make toggle loops/peyote bars, fringe and draped fringe, how to make a beaded bead, and also has a page on the author's delica seed bead information.
If you, like I, respond to the gorgeous bracelets on the cover, and are also delighted to try a quick method of peyote stitch, which Josie Fabre worked to refine for two years, you are going to love this book. It contains some very pretty pendants and earrings for you REALLY impatient people--you know who you are. Of course they take even less time as they are smaller! You'll want to try them too!
Fast Peyote Stitch Jewelry, Easy-To-Follow Patterns, 25+ Original Projects
by Josie Fabre is a must-have book for bead weavers. It is full of energy, a great love of life, and all around appeal.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Beadbloggers and a photo of a Blythe by Jean

My girl Fiona, a Princess Q Pot, is going to see Kiss in another town down the line. She follows the
bands. Fiona is wearing a dress and shoes from the fab store TSANFW, on Etsy. We love TSANFW!


Loosey Goosey
Connie's added a new free pattern inspired by the Flying Geese quilt block. It offers ample practice for quarter stitches and of course, she's got just the tutorial and tips you need!

How to Tie a Knot for Hand Sewing
Starting your hand sewing project with the right knot is important for success. Here Sarah shows you her favorite simple knot that's strong and won't easily pull through fabric.

Knitting Needle Set Review
In this video, the Crafty Princess looks at various wooden knitting needle sets from Knit Picks.

Yummy Breakfast Oatmeal Recipe
Here is one of Terry's first videos she put together about a year ago. Terry shows how to make a delicious oatmeal dish that would be great for those cold mornings.

Art Bead Scene
Beading Arts
Cyndi played around with a new form (to her, anyway!) of landscape quilting and is happy to share her proces
Silhouette Pop-Up Drawer Card Box: 
Tips for assembling Silhouette pop-up drawer box cards. Lori Whitlock designed a series of these cute pop-ups. Here's how to make them nice and sturdy.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Jean revisits a classic beadweaving book by Melinda Barta, Mastering Peyote Stitch

Once you decide you want to learn beadweaving, one of the best stitches to begin with is peyote.
Melinda Barta has provided the reader with the basics and so much more, in Mastering Peyote Stitch, 15 Inspiring Projects. This lovely book incorporates several other stitches, edgings and embellishments to delight us.Some superstar beadweavers offer projects as well: Jean Campbell, Lisa Kan, Jean Power, Sherry Serafini and more design some amazing projects based on the peyote stitch within this book. When you note that there are 12 more variations on the 15 projects, you see what a terrific value this book is.
Great, understandable illustrations and gorgeous photos will get the reader's inspiration going right away. As Melinda says at the beginning of her introduction, "The next time you're at a bead show or class, ask the beaders around you about their favorite technique and they'll probably tell you peyote stitch is their hands-down favorite". So off we go, into the wonderful world of peyote stitch. Melinda finishes her introduction by encouraging the reader to "have fun". That is the intent of this book, and it is what it delivers. Fun, combined with some really amazingly beautiful beadweaving!
After the excellent basics chapter, you begin with flat peyote. The author's own covergirl necklace, "Walkin' After Midnight" makes its appearance here, replete with stunning pearls and beaded leaves, inspired, as the author says, "by the silvery hues of leaves in moonlight." This necklace is extremely evocative. Any reader will love to make it. The directions for it are extremely thorough and understandable, as they continue to be for each project in the book.
Another project I loved was Sherry Serafini's "Marcella Cuff", which is outstanding, with tons of rich colors and textures.The beading here employs tubular peyote as well as a few other types of stitches and the results are a total wow. Yellows, purples. turquoise blues and gold all combine artfully in this amazing cuff.
I particularly liked the "peyote extras" section, because it focuses on the next level of peyote beading by teaching freeform and sculptural stitches. After you learn this, you see how well those stitches match other types of beadweaving stitches. It is very fascinating and informative. The projects following, which incorporate what the reader has learned, are extremely fun and pretty. Jean Campbell's "Daisy Girl" is a freeform peyote delight; a flower embellishing strands of pearls. Very feminine and flirty.
Another amazing project is Jean Power's "Urban Skyline".The triangular shaped beads stack like pyramids on a silver neckwire, looking like a futuristic skyline in moody grays, greens and smokey tones. This is one you will definitely want to make!
Every project in this book is worth your while. Each one employs peyote, as you might expect, however don't be surprised to see a number of other stitches incorporated as well, as I mentioned before. It only adds even more excitement to this wonderful beadweaving book, Mastering Peyote Stitch, 15 Inspiring Projects by Melinda Barta, which you are bound to learn masses of new tips and tricks from for your own designs, and also bound to treasure.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Beadbloggers Links and a photo of a Blythe by Jean

Tea is my girl with "green tea" mohair. One of the earliest dolls I ever got, I am always amazed at how she never goes out of fashion. She has multiple piercings on her ears and her nose is pierced. She is truly a gorgeous custom Blythe from an artist in Japan. jean


Snap out of it, Jean! There's Beading to Be Done!
Jean reviews a beautiful follow up to an earlier book on bead embroidery: Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples Motifs. If you like to embroider, don't miss this!

Repair It with Bondic Plastic Welding Pen 
Eileen repairs a small cast iron sculpture with Bondic. No waiting time required when you repair it with Bondic. Apply, cures in a few seconds, add finishing touches. Your repair is immediately ready for use.

Yes, Another Jewelry Challenge
Terry Jeanette of Tappingflamingo shows her entry in the Dry Gulch Beads and Jewelry Challenge, January 2016

Art Bead Scene
Check out our beautiful new challenge for January - the first of 2016!

Taylor Knit Shawl
Here is a little knitting progress as the Crafty Princess continues to learn how to knit. 

Illustrate Your One Little Word
Do you have a word for 2016? Why not use it in a piece of art? You can do this with any word you like and whatever supplies you have.

Apply Those Crystals
Add more bling to your garments or fabric jewelry components with this super cool tool.

Free Border Pattern
Is it a border or a bookmark - you decide. This free chart has a myriad of uses and can be stitched in any color

Monday, January 4, 2016

Jean reviews Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples Motifs by CRK Design & Yatsuko Endo

The moment I read the book which preceded this, Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples, by Yatsuko Endo and her fellow companions at the graphics company, CRK Design, in Japan, I was hooked. I couldn't wait to review this book as well. Happily, it doesn't disappoint. It promises to take the reader on a merry ride employing "Embroidery, Crewel, Cross Stitch, Mini Motifs, and More!"
This pledge to teach bead embroidery using all these styles of sewing makes for a delightful book which will bring pleasure to any beginner or old hand at embroidery. One look at the cover and the reader will see how charming this classically-based yet inventive, hip and original book is.
The book is simply laid out. It begins with a chapter called "Basic Lesson", which is followed by "Mini Motif". After this is a chapter called "Crewel", Then comes "Basic Stitches", "Cross Stitches", once again an overview chapter called "Mini Motif" and "Lesson Notes".
In the Basic Lesson Chapter, the reader learns what materials she will need, the basics of embroidery and some sweet motifs with bead embroidery. The photographs are excellent and inspiring. The reader will be able to quickly pick up on how to employ the tools, and will be given some incredibly fun lessons on how to bead a collections of sweets to decorate a child's T shirt. There is a sampler to work as well, with an entire collection of darling little donuts embroidered with beads to practice on! What's more, there is another sampler like the one directly below which is just as cute!
Tiny little people wearing ethnic costumes from different lands will take your heart away. It is so fun to learn to embroider with beads with such appealing designs.
If you like classic embroidery, the paisley flowers with beads with knock your socks off. These flowers on a blouse or shirt would be totally magnificent.

When the reader arrives at the chapter which covers crewel work, the first lesson is titled "Scandinavian Motif 1 with Beads."
It is the beautiful pocketbook shown below:

There is a full second section on this style of beaded crewelwork, which is just as pretty. There is also a selection of  darning stitches, trellis stitches, knotted stitches, and filling stitches. The instructions on how to add bead to these are pretty and clear. The chapter on cross stitch using  Eastern European Motifs with Beads which follows is stunning.
In the final chapter, with lesson notes on how to stitch with beads, the reader is presented with an adorable penguin family, as well as some tropical trees and warm weather birds to balance them out. The rest of the chapter contains great stitching charts for each project.

In summary, all I can say is that I hope we get another offering of beaded embroidery projects from CRK Design & Yatsuko Endo, because I believe that their work is top notch. I also think that hand crafted work like this is not as common as it used to be. Perhaps if more people realized how lovely and fun this kind of bead stitchery is, this art would thrive for generations to come. 

Bead Emboidery Stitch Samples Motifs
By Yasuka Endo
Interweave/F+W: $17.99
Using nothing more than embroidery threads and simple beads, Bead Embroidery Stitch Sampler: Motifs offers beginner and advanced embroidery enthusiasts alike new ways to set their work apart.