Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spread the Love

I don't believe there is anything more flattering than receving recognition from someone whose work and ethics you greatly admire.

So you can imagine my absolute delight to receive The Spreader of Love Award from the lovely and extraordinarly talented Nicole Campanella of Beadwright. What an honour!

Please pay a visit to Nicole's blog where you can view her beautiful creations, read articles about copyright and ethics, and even go into a monthly draw to win beads simply by leaving a comment! Her Etsy store is well worth a might be lucky enough to snap up one of her gorgeous creations, or you can purchase a fantastic range of beading supplies. Nicole has some great sales when you're certain to grab a bargain, so be sure to pop back often!

Here are the rules to spread the love!
(1) Post a copy of the award on your blog post.
(2) Mention who gave you the award.
(3) Pass the award on to 6 others.
(4) Leave a message on their blog letting them know the honor has been bestowed upon them.
There are so many blogs I love, so this was no easy decision! Here are my picks:
1. My latest blog friend, the beautiful spirit who is Sharon and her loving husband, Damein, of Mana Moon Studios;
2. The ever resourceful Bianca (who has an answer to every conceivable beady question and is always so kind to offer her sage advice freely) of Bianca Velder Creations;
3. The very talented Morwyn and her wicked wit of Another Country BeadWorks;
4. The undisputed queen of freeform brick stitch, Vampi of Beading Bipolar;
5. The wonderful and ever-so-lovely Julie (who I know has only just received one of these awards, but she is just so nice that she deserves another!) of Meanderings by Julz;
6. And last but certainly not least, this being a love award 'n all, I naturally have to give one to be beloved husband, Anthony (whom has only just created his own blog about his second love, aerobatics, after my persistant nagging about the joys of blogging! Love you, baby xxx) Saville Aerobatics.

Thanks for letting me spread the love, Nicole ;)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happiness is...

...wedded bliss :)

Saying 'I do' on the island of Qamea, Fiji

It is three years to the day since I married my best friend and soul mate. To say that it has been the best three years of my life would be the understatement of the century. It's like saying that we need air to breathe. Well, duh!

Actually, it's been the best four and a half years of my life...we have been practically inseparable since we first met. We could spend every minute of every day in each other's company, and we would never tire of one another. That's saying something.

I have never locked eyes with another human being for the first time and felt the universe slow, and time lay down and be still, as I did with my husband. It was one of those profound moments where you know that life will never be the same. There was an innate awareness that we were just meant to be.

Life has never been better, but we have certainly had our fair share of hard times and heartbreak. Whenever the universe sends some crap our way, my husband jokes that it's because he used up all his good luck when he found me :)

I could gush for days about how Anthony is the perfect husband, and the perfect father. But it's already taken me a week to write this much...the damn pregnancy hormones must be in overdrive because I get choked up and have to type through the tears every time start to think about him!

So, without any further gushiness...

I love you more with every breath, darling. Life without you would just not be worth living!

As a perfume doth remain

In the folds where it hath lain

So the thought of you, remaining

Deeply folded in my brain

Will not leave me: all things leave me:

You remain.

~Arthur Symons~

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tis the season to be...beady

My plum-glazed ham was a runaway success. And we have enough leftovers to feed a small country for a week. Although in my current pregnant state where I *must* eat everything in sight, I doubt they will last long.

How was your Christmas, dear readers? Full of much merriment and mountains of food, I hope. Was Santa good to you?

I must have been a good girl this year (pah, well of course I was!). My stocking contained, amongst other lovelies, 'The Art of Bead Embroidery' by Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli. Seeing as I threw myself straight into the deep end of bead embroidery, not really knowing how to swim as such, it's no doubt a very good thing that I now have some guidance and guidelines to follow. I have already read it from cover to cover. It's worth buying for the gallery pages alone. Eye-candy, and then some.

Santa also gave me 'Creative Bead Weaving' by Carol Wilcox Wells. Having recently re-discovered the joys of my local library (I had been shirking the library for years, reasoning that it was only for geeky teens and middle-aged women with a penchant for Mills & Boon romances), I have borrowed 'Creative Bead Weaving no less than four times in the last six months. It's an essential resource for any beader, in my humble opinion. And now it's mine. All mine. *mwahahahahah*

I also received some Delicas in the most drool-worthy shades of purple. They are just begging to be woven into something fabulous. Watch this space.

So all in all, I guess you could say that I enjoyed a very beady Christmas. The best kind!

To all my beady friends and followers, I hope that Santa filled your stocking with much beady goodness. And to all my non-beady friends and followers, from someone who was a non-beader only last Christmas, you don't know what you're missing! Start writing your letter to Santa for next year now and make sure it includes BEADS!

Paradise in Purple (Heather's Garden)

I can finally post some photos of my latest creation. It was a hush-hush project, a Christmas present for my wonderful Mum :) And as she's my biggest fan, she's a frequent visitor to my blog (Hi Mum!) and I didn't want to spoil the surprise before Christmas.

So here it is...Paradise in Purple (Heather's Garden):

It is a bead embroidered choker-style necklace. Many, many hours work. It probably didn't help that I changed my mind at least three times during the process about what I was started as a collar, then became a pendant, and ended up being a choker in it's final manifestation. Nooo, I'm not indecisive...maybe...

It includes some flowers made with simple fringing, a scattering of peyote leaves, and many different types of beads...and even a few... *gasp* ...sequins! I can hear almost hear the beading purists hissing at that admission. I'm not a bead snob, I use whatever works. So bite me!

I wanted to add something to the ends of the ribbon...they looked rather sad in their unadorned state. A jumble of mauve seed beads did the trick. I'm pleased with their berry-like appearance.

I used cotton fabric for the backing as I think it adds something special to the piece. Why shouldn't the back look as good as the front! As recommended by the lovely and always knowledgeable Bianca, rather than gluing the fabric straight to a felt backing (as I did in 'Hope Has a Place'), I used a layer of fusible interfacing between the fabric and the felt. It worked a treat! The finish is much nicer and fraying is not a concern as the edges of the fabric were first folded over and ironed flat. I just love the mind-boggling range of beautiful fabrics available, so it's a thrill that I can use them to good effect in my bead embroidery creations.

I'm pleased to report that Mum loves her new necklace. So much so that she's going to eat, sleep and shower whilst wearing it :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In the maternal way...

I just realised that it has been a month since my last post, so I figured I should 'fess up about my recent lack of blogging (and beading, in fact).

I know this blog is supposed to be for bead-related stuff only, but heck, some news is just too big and needs to be shouted from rooftops.

I'm up the duff...baking a bun in the the maternal way... :)

My husband and I are thrilled, we can't wait to welcome our newest cuddly, squishy bundle of goodness into the world. We hope that our 14 month old will be excited about being a big sister. She adores other children so having a permanent playmate at her disposal has gotta be good news, right? It's someone to blame for her mischievous wrongdoings at the very least. "No Mummy, I'm an angel, I didn't do it. It was .........!"

It's still early days and I'm only around 10 weeks along. We had an ultrasound at 7 weeks and we saw our little jelly bean with a heartbeat. Phew. It's impossible to have a completely stress-free pregnancy after you've suffered a miscarriage.

So whilst I'm over-the-moon to be having a baby, my beading has suffered. In fact, I've barely picked up a needle and thread in the last month. The lack of beading is mostly due to my utter exhaustion...I'm lucky if I can stay up past 9pm. Given that India goes to bed at 8:30pm, it doesn't leave much time for beading.

Oh yes, and there's also a little thing called morning sickness. Whoever coined the phase 'morning sickness' obviously never experienced it for themselves...'morning-noon-and-night-and-every-minute-inbetween-sickness' would be more appropriate.

Add to that the fact that I have to eat almost constantly to stave off the sickness and, get the picture. It's a little hard to bead when both hands are full of food *tummy grumbles*

That's not to say that I haven't WANTED to bead. I have a plethora of new ideas swirling around in my scattered, pregnancy-affected head. Mum-nesia anyone?

It's just as well Christmas is around the corner. Nothing like a looming deadline and unmade presents to get your butt into gear. Even if I have to tape my eyelids open to stay awake, I WILL finish my beady presents, damn it!

Now excuse me, but I have to go and out-eat a football team...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shaken, not stirred

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*Cue James Bond theme music*

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words 'spy movie'? For my husband, it was HANDCUFFS. Read into that what you will... LOL

I had to agree with him that beaded handcuffs would perfectly suit last week's Year of Jewellery theme on the Beading Forum...SPY MOVIE!

Ever since buying Carol Wilcox Wells book 'The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving', I'd been wanting to try dimensional right angle weave (the book features a project for some fantastic 3D RAW beaded beads). Using the same technique from the book, I set about creating my beaded handcuffs.

With the usual week-long deadline looming, I had to simplify the design greatly. In fact, I was so short of time that I only managed to create the handcuffs, when I had been planning to make them into a necklace.

Here is the end result - made entirely of size 11 czech seed beads in 3D RAW and tubular peyote:

And a different angle which better shows the 'dimensional' part of the cuffs:

And yes, I'm aware that the handcuffs have no keyhole...I realised that fact by the time it was too late to add them... *doh* Ah well, there's no escaping these handcuffs ;) *mwahahahahah*

Despite much unpicking, hair-pulling, and learning as I went along, I'm keen to experiment further with 3D RAW. It has infinite possibilities. It's a technique which allows you to create structures that are not possible with any other stitch.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hope Has A Place

Here is my latest work...a pendant for Fiona, a friend of my Mum.

Fiona and I have never met, however she was kind enough to donate to me (through Mum) a number of beautiful necklaces which she no longer wears, with the hope that I could re-purpose the beads. These beautiful necklaces contain such treasures as Labradorite and Lapis. I'm saving these special beads for a special project.

Fiona is battling breast I wanted to make a necklace both to thank her for her amazing generosity, and to empower her during her ongoing battle. I bought a beautiful Sodalite cabochon a few weeks ago and when I read up on the stone's properties, discovered that it promotes inner peace and belief in oneself. It was a perfect match!

Driving home one day and thinking of the pendant, Enya suddenly came on my iPod singing 'Hope Has A Place'. It seemed a fitting title for Fiona's pendant.

Pendant detail:

Back of pendant:

I've been wanting to try a fabric backing on my bead embroidered pieces, so Fiona's pendant was my first effort. I'm quite happy with the result and look forward to experimenting with this idea further. The beautiful patterns add a nice touch to the pendant, I think. Something different to the norm anyhow...which is always a good thing.

Moroccan Pendant

I can finally post some pictures of my Moroccan pendant. I've been sitting on it for some weeks was a hush-hush project for a swap on the Beading Forum.


The pendant now has a home with the very talented Jo of Cranberry Berry-Licious Beads. At 10cmx10cm, it's more of a wall hanging than a pendant.

I suggested that Jo could also use it as an emergency distress beacon should she ever find herself lost in the wild.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Colour theory

I have had a fascination (read: obsession) with colour for as long as I can remember.

As a child, I would rearrange everything into rainbow-coloured order. (For my colour-naive readers, that order would be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Take notes as I will be asking questions later.)

Everything included the books in my bookcase, the pencils in my pencil tin, the anodised aluminium cups at my Grandpa's house...

Nothing has changed...I still HAVE to arrange things in rainbow order.


And I'm afraid my obsession is even starting to effect my one year old daughter. Her wardrobe is sporting an unusually high number of rainbow-coloured outfits...

Being so driven by colour, it's not surprising that my beadwork is usually colourful. It takes all of my self-restraint to create a piece in a subdued, 'adult' palette. I guess I'm a child at heart. I'll always love rainbows.

With the hope of awakening the colour obsession within you, here are a few of my favourite colour theory websites:

Margie Deeb is the master and guru of colour theory for beaders. *all hail the master* She has written numerous books on the subject and I think any beader would find these an invaluable resource. Her absolute passion for colour really comes through in her writing. I highly recommend a visit to Margie's website!

Color Matters is a interesting website on colour theory. This website contains information on everything from the basic principles of colour theory, to the effects that colour has on the body, to quirky factoids about colour. Did you know that turkeys have several flaps of skin around their head and neck which change colour depending on their mood? No, neither did I.

Color Hunter is a very handy colour palette generator. Simply upload your favourite picture and it will provide you with a colour palette based on that picture. Nifty!

Worqx is a comprehensive resource and offers a wonderful tutorial on colour theory. Highly recommended!

Happy days

You may recall my 'Sunflowers' neckpiece and my contemplation on entering it in the Sydney Bead & Gem Competition?

Well, I entered...

And I am now a proud finalist in the Finished Jewellery category!


I am utterly delighted.

But with the delight comes some minor disappointment...I won't actually be able to attend the show in person. We are in Brisbane until Oct 16, so I will miss the entire Bead & Gem Show (and the opportunity of seeing my work on display with the best of them) by a measly four days.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

This is the first time I have put myself out into the public arena. What a thrill! But damn, it's terrifying. The fear of rejection, and of being 'judged', was almost enough to stop me from entering in the first place. But on the advice of the lovely and ever-sage Bianca, I donned my beaded armour and decided to just go for it.

And now I'm really glad that I did... :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

My shiny new light studio

Ok, well it's not really shiny. And it's not really new either.

It's a cardboard box and some tissue paper.

Pathetic, eh?

Surprisingly (not least to myself), it is not as pathetic as it sounds.

Courtesy of the fabulous and forever informative Strobist website, I have created my own nifty light studio for under $10. I figure the thousands of $$$ saved on expensive lighting and studio gear can go towards my bead addiction.


Whilst I will always jump at the chance to take my beadwork and my camera into the great outdoors and take photos courtesy of the ever-bright and shining Sun God, truth be known, he ain't always willing to co-operate. Too many cloudy, overcast days have cramped my style of late, and being the impatient person that I am, I figure a 24/7 light studio is just what I need.

I'm still working out all the settings on my husband's DSLR camera. Which is taking rather longer than it should because the instruction manual is in Sydney. And we are in Brisbane.


But here is a sample of what I've managed so far:

This is Myrtle the Turtle. She likes to hang out on a roll of paper towels and watch me whilst I bead. Our not-quite-a-baby-almost-a-toddler daughter, India, would love to make some turtle sushi out of her. She's tried to bite her head off on more than one occasion. Myrtle's got a heart of Gladwrap, but don't hold that against her.

And playing India won't try to eat her:

I re-shot some of my other pieces also. Here is a close-up of 'Celtic Twilight'. I believe the colours are more true to life in this photo than previous photos, especially the scrumptious green iris czech seedies. *drool*

And lastly, 'Dracula's Tango' in ze light box. I'm quite happy with how this photo turned out. The clarity is far better than the original photos.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another lovely win

What a 'Celtic Twilight' necklace received the most number of votes in this week's YOJ poll. So I have another lovely banner to add to my blog.

There were some beautiful pieces created for the Tuatha De Danann challenge, which makes my win all the more humbling. I don't feel as though my necklace was better than anybody else's. But it was a subject close to my heart...I do hope that my Celtic ancestors are pleased.

I enjoyed this theme and found it so inspiring that I'm planning on creating many more Celtic pieces. A Green Man is also on the cards. As always, so many ideas, so little time...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Celtic Twilight

The 'Tuatha De Danann' are an ancient race of Gods and Goddesses who feature in Celtic mythology. They are also this week's YOJ theme on the Beading Forum :D

Being of Celtic/Scottish descent, and a long-time lover of anything mythological and archaic, I couldn't pass up the chance to make something with a distinctly Celtic flavour.

And 'Celtic Twilight' is what I came up with:

I was particularly inspired by Brigid (pronounced 'Breet'), one of the more well-known of the Tuatha De Danann. She is considered a Celtic Triple Goddess, and I wanted to represent the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone into my piece...hence the three glass drops. The Celtic knotwork is a design which I found and modified to suit my design, and it hangs from an antique copper chain.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


My first tutorial is in the works...

A little premature, you might say? Or vain?

Perhaps... but there is valid reason for doing so...

A lovely Beading Forum member adored my Sunflowers neckpiece so much that she requested a tutorial of my design. Not willing to provide step-by-step instructions for my entire piece (as I was contemplating entering it in a beading competition), but nonetheless flattered that someone was inspired by my design, I happily agreed to see what I could come up with for the centrepiece sunflower.

So stay tuned for my free sunflower tutorial in the coming weeks :)

Not long before making my necklace, I had bought a wonderful book by master beadweaver, Carol Wilcox Wells. Something in her introduction really gelled with me and stuck in my head... each of us opens doorways for others to pass through

Her words really struck a chord in me, and rather than try to selfishly keep my designs and my ideas to myself for fear of being copied or outdone, I was inspired by Carol’s words to share what I know (which, mind you, is very little…but you never stop learning, no?).

I like the idea of inspiring others to find their own creativeness, spurred on by something I have designed. I don’t like the idea of others ‘copying’ my exact design (another reason I will only provide a blueprint for the centerpiece sunflower, and not the entire neckpiece). Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but I prefer flowers and chocolates, thank you very much.

Although I own a rather ridiculous amount of beading magazines full of beautiful beading designs, I have never made one of them. Not one. Zip. Zilch. Rather than copy what another artist has designed and created, I prefer to create my own interpretation of the part of their work that inspires me. By generously providing a tutorial on an element of my own creation, I hope to inspire others to create their own interpretation of my work. If someone is going to take credit for my design, it is more a reflection on the sort of person that they are. And besides, I hear Karma has a rather nasty bite ;)

If no-one ever shared their knowledge of beading, the art would eventually disappear and be lost forever. For the continuity of the art of beading, I am happy to pass on what little knowledge and ideas I do have. And I hope that they will be appreciated.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ding, ding, ding - we have a winner

What do you think of my shiny new banner?

My 'Sunflowers' necklace received the most amount of votes in this week's YOJ challenge on the Beading Forum, so I got to take home this lovely banner.


I'm particularly chuffed about winning this week as I put well over 30 hours work into making this piece...many hours of sleep were sacrificed during it's creation, so it's nice to have my peers recognise and appreciate the amount of work I put into it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Here is my latest and greatest.

Entitled 'Sunflowers', it was inspired by the sunflowers series of paintings by the master, Van Gogh. And predictably, it was made for another YOJ challenge on the Beading Forum...yes I know, I know, I'm an addict!

I started the large sunflower on Wednesday night, and the entire necklace was finished by Sunday morning. How's that for efficiency! Well, I haven't been getting much sleep lately with a teething 10 month old terror, so I figure I should make the most of my late nights by doing something constructive.

At this point, I'd like to thank my ever-supportive husband for putting up with my beading madness over the last few days. This necklace was BEGGING to be made, and it would still be a work in progress if it weren't for him. Thanks darling! *mwah*

I'm toying with the notion of entering it in the Bead & Gem Show Competition this year. However, as I only started beading earlier this year, I've never even been to the Sydney show and have no idea what the level of competition is like. Anyway, I may just try my luck...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh, the excitement!

It is with sheer and utter delight (and surprise!) that I bring news this morning of my Dracula's Tango necklace winning runner-up in the Beading Forum Transylvania Challenge!

*comes down off cloud nine to do a happy dance around the room*

I received a colourful little runner-up badge to adorn my forum signature. It's so purrrrdy.

To receive recognition from one's peers is a confidence booster like no other. Sure, my family are always supportive and tell me how much they love my work. But if I strung some freeze-dried dog poo around my neck they would still tell me it's lovely!

So to be applauded and recognised by those in the know is, well, just damn brilliant.

My ego is overflowing this morning. I can't even begin to describe how chuffed I am right now. After having a few horrendous nights with our teething 10 month old, to wake up and receive this wonderful news is not only timely, but so appreciated.

So excuse me while I fly away, but cloud nine has my name on it...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dracula's Tango

And finally, hot off the press, we come to my very latest completed piece...for yet another Beading Forum challenge (*Hello, my name is Belinda. I am a Beading Forum addict. It has been 2 days since I made a piece for a Beading Forum challenge...*)

This is without doubt the largest and most time consuming project I have tackled thus far. This little beauty clocked up at least 25 hours of work...mostly late nights while my munchkin was sleeping.

It was made using bead embroidery techniques...countless black seedies, a few red ones, black bicones, red glass drops (which have an uncanny resemblance to blood *mwahahah*) and *gasp* a couple of sequins for added bling.

As always, I wanted to avoid the usual cliches (bats, coffins, crosses, etc) and make something worthy of one of Dracula's innocent young conquests.

Embarrassingly, the name is inspired by a REALLY bad 80's song. I have no idea how that song found it's way onto my iPod...honest!

I'm quietly chuffed with this collar. Now if only I could wrangle a romantic dinner with my gorgeous hubby so I can wear it out...

Lemon Lime & Orange - a trip down psychedelic lane

Warning: please don your sunglasses now prior to scrolling down to view the following photos. In the event of blindness, dizziness, or a psychedelic were forewarned...

Another fabulous challenge on the Beading Forum...this one was too good to pass up, Freeform Psychedelic Stream.

I'd never tried freeform before and was itching to give it a go, although somewhat apprehensive as to how my orderly brain would cope with the 'free' part of freeform. As it turned out, I had a riot of fun making this cuff and it was a great experiment in colour and form. I enjoyed it so much that I am in the process of making a second in pinks and purples (at the request of a fellow forum member).

I named my cuff Lemon Lime & Orange...for obviously reasons...
Got those sunglasses on yet?

I really love the textural element of this cuff. Being a very tactile person, I lurrrrve how it feels.

Button Pendants

I created some pendants using buttons for another Beading Forum challenge...these time the theme was 'Recycled'.

The flower button pendant has found a happy home with my Mum :-)

Rambling Rose

My lovely mother made some beautiful polymer clay flowers at my request...

Her flair for clay play goes back to the 90's, when she used to create gorgeous brooches from polymer clay and bread-dough. You wouldn't guess that she hadn't made anything for about 15 years. As you can see, she's still got it!

I call this creation "Rambling Rose". It was my first attempt at making a spiral's a brilliant little stitch which works up satisfyingly fast.

I have worn this necklace often and it always elicits lovely comments (which I happily pass on to Mum...after all, it is a joint creation!)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Phoenician Scarab

Another Beading Forum challenge, another chance to learn a new technique.

This time it was bead embroidery.

I had some ceramic scarab beetles which I'd bought as a teenager...they seemed appropriate for the theme, so I dug them out and used them as the basis for my necklace. I knew I'd been keeping them for a reason *light bulb moment* I sewed one onto a piece of stiff felt and away I went.

Again, I had no real plan of attack when I started's another piece which evolved of it's own accord. Can it be called 'designing' when you make something up as you go along? That's a loaded question...will file it away for a rainy day.

I fell head-over-heels for bead embroidery because of this piece. And it is still one of my favourite techniques. It almost feels like cheating though because it seems so easy compared to some off-loom techniques. Cheating or not, it is grrrrreat.

Here's my Phoenician Scarab:

And a close-up shot of the main pendant:

And a photo of the back of the pendant:

Dark Star of the Sea

My second seed bead creation was for another Beading Forum challenge, this time the theme being "Davy Jones' Locker".

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to create something for such a wicked and evocative theme, so I set to work. I took it as a chance to learn some new techniques...a challenge within a challenge, if you will. "Dark Star of the Sea" was what ensued. In my strange and warped mind, I envisaged Davy Jones manifesting himself in the form of an evil starfish. Hey, if the 'Adventures of Peregrine Pickle' says he rules over all sea creatures, so do I!

I created my evil starfish using five separate diamonds in brick stitch. The waves of the ocean were represented by the necklace, a peyote ruffle in three different hues of blue...and the seaweed was made with branch fringing with little shells and critters hiding amongst them.

These pics are was an overcast day and this was the best I could do. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. The starfish is made with black AB (AB = Aurora Borealis for those non-beaders) seedies and has a wicked sheen to it which doesn't come through in the photos. It looks much better in real life...I'm serial!