Archive for the 'Beads and Beading' Category

Craft space in the making

“I wish I could make something everyday. Be it some beading, some sewing, some drawing, it doesn’t matter, I think it would be really nice to carve a little creative time in my daily schedule.”

I have been telling myself this for a few years now, and there are some times when I do manage to do exactly that. But some other time, I get in a boring daily rut, where I don’t even feel like taking any supplies out. Which is just so, so sad.

So, to counter the rut and not be able to give myself the “but-I-have-to-get-the-supplies-out-and-then-put-them-away-again” lame excuse, I have set a little craft table in the room where I have my work desk. On it, I put my sewing machine, little plastic drawers in which I can put any beadwork in the making, and other odds and ends that may come handy if I feel the crafty bug coming. And as it turns out, this simple setting has made quite a difference for me. Having a dedicated space, however small, is a really good way to actually make something. For me, not having to put everything away after each sitting is definitely a big plus…because when an unfinished project is put away in a box…well, it tends to stay there, in all its unfinished glory, forever for a very, very long time.

I just hanged some little plastic buckets just to hold some more odds and ends (namely rubber stamps and zippers). I’m testing them right now and if they seem to work for this space, I’ll probably buy a few more.

(oh, and I decided 2011 will be the year I teach myself some more sewing, so what you can see just in front of the sewing machine is a little evidence of that. I’ll post about it soon !)

Now, I’d like to find a (smart) way to store all things paper to have them ready to use, but I’m not quite there yet. I’ll figure it out though ! If some of you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them !


Beadwoven necklace and a few other things !

February is already here, and I left my Kyoto home to go and teach a few classes in another region. I’ve been doing that for a few years and am loving it ! I’m just hoping I can soon find something a bit more permanent…

Anyway, so I find myself here, quite near Tokyo, spending most of my days teaching to very motivated (seriously) students a thing or two about Japanese society and religions. It is, this year too, a very fulfilling, incredibly inspiring, motivating and humbling experience. It is all that and some more. And I find myself thinking about when I’ll be back in Kyoto a couple of weeks from now, where I have no such real job, and no real friendship network. Just writing about it and my stomach turns into a messy knot. I so want to find something to do and to be in Kyoto, but I haven’t quite yet. (Don’t misunderstand me, Kyoto is such an amazing place, with so many things to discover, and I do feel lucky to live in such a place. But on the other hand, I have no job there yet and know very few people, none of which I can really call friends.) All of this makes me contemplate different ways to “make my own job” more and more, on the web for example, but I still feel too shy to really start something. I guess if I really want it, I will have to take the big plunge eventually and see where it leads me.

Wow, that’s a lot of rambling !

I started this post to actually talk about a necklace I beaded a little while back, but got carried away about the above things, I guess. It’s pretty much how my mind seems to work these days ! So, back to this necklace ! I know a very sweet old lady who I go and visit almost every week. In her younger days she was a painter and we often talks about our respective passion for art, beautiful things, creating things. It didn’t take too long for me to start talking about beading and how I loved it and what kind of things I was making or trying to make. It seems that my little lady was surprised and curious about it and asked me to show her my work. Which I did a few weeks later. She was even more surprised and quite impressed with what could be done with those tiny seed beads. The week after that, a bit shyly, she asked me if I would agree to do a commissioned piece for her to give as a present with her dear friend. I was so, so happy that she thought my beading was good enough to be given as a present to someone. It sounds a bit silly maybe, but I was fueled with joy and also with a little bit of pride. It was not my first commission, but in these particular circumstances, from this particular person, to this other person,  it really meant a lot to me somehow.

SO, the necklace was finally given to its recipient at the beginning of the year and I got some very nice feedback, so I felt I could show it here too !

The pictures unfortunately don’t do justice to the delica beads : they are opal with a copper filling. It’s quite an amazing shade in person, very soft and subtle, which I thought would be appropriate for the lady the necklace was destined to. Then just a slight bit of gold seed beads to add texture and shine.

Simple beaded present : seed beads bracelet

My first beading this year is a present for one of my cousin. I have to admit I lacked a bit of inspiration and imagination when I first decided to sit down with this project, but I did have fun choosing the colors and that’s what kept me rolling !

My original plan was to make this beaded bracelet. A pattern called Fordan, provided by Mu, a much talented, prolific and generous french beaded. If you don’t know her yet, go pay her blog a visit, you’ll have dozens of pretty patterns and ideas to browse through. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

I ended up changing the beading path just a bit, and finally stopped before the last two rows. The result is a more classic, slightly less wide, less decorated bracelet. Exactly what I had in mind for the recipient (Hi G. !).

Talking about beading, I would like to start working on a group of pieces to…maybe…finally setting up a little shop. Probably on Etsy. I’ve been thinking and dreaming about it for a couple of years now. The idea itself completely overwhelms me, but still hasn’t left my mind or my heart. It’s really something I’d like to give a try one day, so why not try and start working on it now ?

I’m thinking clean lines, simple and modern pieces, pretty colors with an accent, a bit of texture. Versatile pieces. Pretty much the type of jewelry, especially beaded jewelry, that I love and am passionate about !

We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.  But in the meantime, if you have some advice about this particular endeavor, maybe because you’re doing it yourself or would like to do it or have tried at some point, or just because you’re in an advice kind of mood, feel very very free to leave a comment, drop a line, send an e-mail. I’ll be more than happy to read your messages !

Beautiful day to you all !

Ladder stitch bracelet : sweet and simple

Did you all have a good week end ?

Here, it was a nice, hot, peaceful week end, mostly spent outside to enjoy the sunny weather and the spring smelling wind ! Also to admire the cherry trees that have been in full bloom since last week…but more on that (with pictures !) later during the week.

I just wanted to post about the second little project that I used to (try and) get myself out of the strange craft block I was in. This one is from Bead and Button (August 2006) and you can find the tutorial online here.

The beading in this project is quite simple too : a ladder stitch base, embellished with seed beads. Another enjoyable thing about this bracelet is that it stitches up pretty fast and the color combinations are endless ! Ideal beading project when you need a craft/beading fix, but don’t have much time to put in it…or simply for (almost) instant gratification !


Very pleasant to bead, this bracelet is also very comfortable to wear, the ladder stitch base giving it a nice stability on the wrist. I like it very much ! If I make it again, I will add one more seed beads on each row (and side) of the embellishment though. I think it will look a bit “fuller” with this small adjustment.

Along with the bracelet I posted about the other day, this one too are going to join my list of projects for holiday presents… well, I still have to put the list up, but hey, here it begins ! They’re not too time consuming, the supplies are not too difficult to find, they’re adaptable in size and colors for the happy recipient of the gift…on and on, they pretty much fill the requirements of the (realistic) handmade present project. I really would like to make more handmade gifts, and having a list of doable projects on hand to browse through when the date approach, may actually help me to get to that goal. We’ll see, I guess !

Simple beaded bracelet : a bit of crystal to conquer the crafty block !

I’ve had some sort of a crafty block those past few weeks : lots of ideas, creative thinking all over the place, a growing urge to craft/sew/bead/draw…MAKE something, anything. Yet nothing was actually made, because each time I could have made something, I found myself  pacing in my room, wondering what I should be doing first. Hum. This doesn’t make much sense, not even to me, but resulted in a very frustrated crafter.

A few days ago, I decided that the way out of this strange crafty block (or is it a rut ? I don’t know) was to choose  the simplest project I could think of, stop the thinking and go through it. Power through the block !

I’ve had my eye on two beading project for a few months that I never actually got a hand on because there was always something else to do. One of them is a pretty simple beaded bracelet, using cross-needle stitch (two needles right angle weave).


Kashaya, a french beader, created the tutorial for this Pasodoble bracelet (you can find it here, a quick registration is needed to access the forum. I think non-beginners beaders out there may not need a tutorial, but it is definitely useful for beginners).


Very pleasant to bead, quite fast, it was exactly the kind of project I needed. I got out of it pretty satisfied !

I’m not used to using blue colors, so it was interesting to manipulate unusual (well, unusual for me) shades. I chose these three shades of blue because the bracelet is a little gift for my blue-loving blue-eyed mum. First I wanted to wait until Mother’s Day, but I don’t think I’ll be that patient, and will just send it to her as a gift with no reason (well, actually, there is a reason, going like “you’re the best and sweetest and funniest mum ever” ).

Anyway, this was a very satisfying, easy beading bracelet. I still have to add the clasp and it will be good to go.

I feel like asking, what kind of creative blocks do YOU experience ? And more than that, how do you find your way out of it ? I think these are quite a common thing among crafty/creative folks, and I feel very curious about the form they take for each of you and the way(s) each of you find to get back on track. I’d be very happy to hear about your experiences !

2009 beading projects : a glimpse

Hi !

Still in the spirit of “filling in the blank”, here is what has been happening on the beading front since the beginning of 2009.

Bracelets and a necklace, this is what they are supposed to become, but none of them are finished yet… As always, I never can finish a project before beginning the next one !

I am now convinced that I am a big fan of the herringbone stitch : depending on the beads size and/or the combination of beads sizes and shapes, the possibilities seem endless. It is such a versatile and pleasant stitch !


I decided to take up netting with the pink necklace in the picture below. Netting was how I got into beading in the first place. A gazillion years ago (just a slight exaggeration !).

I remember having been completely mesmerized by the lace-like quality of those netted seed-beads necklaces ! This looked so much more complex and interesting and fun than simply stringing one bead after another, like I was doing at the time (and already loving !).

Enough rambling !

Have a nice day !

Indian colors Herringbone bracelet

Another unfinished project down !

I started this simple bracelet a while ago, in need of color and texture.

It is a simple herringbone band, decreased with brick stitch on each side.

I used different shades of Miyuki triangle beads, fuschia pink-orange-soft pink-crystal gold, all of them inside color (meaning that the color is dyed inside the hole of the bead, the body of the bead itself being a transparent color). I wanted the mix of color to be a bit Indian-like and playful, yet not too much so that the texture of the weaving still shows.

And here it is !

I’ve been wondering for a while how to finish it (finishing always seems to be a source of hesitation !), and finally kept it simple with just a crystal rondelle (love the cute chunkiness of those !) on one side and a loop on the other.

Unlike Toho triangle beads, which are more…well, triangle-like, Miyuki triangle beads have soft angles, which results in a soft overall texture in the weaving. I really like that it didn’t turned out too geometric.

Aaaa, cute triangle beads, how I love thee !

I have to say I’m a bit curious to see how the finish of these beads hold on. For an estimate on the duration of seed beads finish, you can go and check here.

I uploaded other pictures (different angles, and closer shots) on my Flickr account, here, feel free to go and have a look !

Hi ! Welcome and thank you for visiting this little corner of mine ! Feel free to leave a few words, they make my day ;)

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