Saturday, 6 October 2012

OTTBS: Bead, Book & Bounce- The Beaded Garden

Welcome to this month's Bead, Book and Bounce, a beading and book review project we are taking part in over on Operation Tackle That Bead Stash. This is the second review in the series and we are reviewing 'The Beaded Garden' by Diane Fitzgerald. Check out the introductory post over on OTTBS if you want to know more about the project.
This book has been in my collection for a few years. I bought it shortly after Phil and I got engaged in Aug 2008 with a vague idea of making myself a beaded bouquet. I remember making 1 flower (the five petal flower made with shaped leaves on page 23) and it look me the best part of a day. What with spending many weekends during the next year at my friend's house helping her make my wedding dress and I was still teaching in school at the time, I realised there was no way I'd have the time to make a whole bouquet. I thought maybe some beaded flowers mixed in with the real ones but in the end I only used beaded flowers on the favours. I did make a few samples though and here they are.
Left to right, top first:
Five petal flower made with variation 1 shaped leaves; morning glory; pom-pom flower.
 Rolled flower with loops; flower made from 5 pansy petals; tiny tulip; lilies of the valley.

BTW- my wedding wasn't red and blue! I was using blue beads as I had plenty before I chose a colour scheme and then switched to red (and copper) when I decided that's the colour I wanted.
This is a blue version of the five petal flower made with variation 1 shaped leaves (the first thing I made from the book). I added a sterling silver bail through the centre to make it into a pendant. I believe a did a crafty swap with someone for this a few years ago as I no longer have it.
Here are the flowers that actually made it into our wedding, the pom-pom flowers. I made quite a few of these and strung them on ribbon to use as ties for the favours. As far as I can remember they make up fairly quickly- ideal as I was making quite a few!
I don't remember having any difficulties with the instructions of any of the flowers I made back in 2008/9. I did have a few difficulties based on the fact I was using poor quality seedies and in the red 5 petal flower in the samples picture I was using a needle that was a bit too fat for the tiny hex cut edges so I broke quite a few. I have been beading for many years but I was out of practice when I made these due. I hardly did any beading at all during my classroom teaching days so I don't think you need to be an experienced beader to attempt the projects in this book.
One issue I have with this book is, what do you do with the flowers once you've made them?! The only flower that has been turned into something from all those I made pre-wedding is the blue one above. The rest have been sitting around in a box for the past 3 to 4 years. When Clair announced this book as the next in BB&B I was determined to make something that could be worn and this is what I made in the last few days- daisy hairsticks!

They are based on the daisy pattern but I used frosted crystal AB 11s rather than white cylinder beads (mostly because I don't own any white cylinders!) It meant that my petals ended up a little bigger than the pattern but that worked out quite well as my buttons are slightly bigger than the instructions call for. I used 15mm 'hemline' plastic self cover buttons. I didn't have any yellow fabric but I did have some cream and a yellow permanent marker! I purchased a pack of hairstick blanks from Etsy a while back to use in this amazing pattern (not that I've gotten round to it yet) so had some going spare. I drilled the hole in the top a lot wider so that I could glue the button shank into it. I also added a calyx round the base of each daisy. The instructions were easy to follow but I would add that if you need to change thread, weave off the old thread though a petal and not the base row like I did on the first one, especially if you use fragile frosted beads like me, or you'll risk broken beads.
A chapter I love in this book is the creatures one. One day I will make a butterfly necklace and I adore the dragonflies, though I am slightly disappointed that there aren't instructions for the large dragonfly shown at the start of the chapter. Hopefully I can make one by adapting the first dragonfly pattern though. I also love the small gallery at the back featuring floral designs from other beaders, very inspiring. I adore the seed bead buds by Jo Lessa Willey.
My verdict on the book? Clear instructions and a fab variety of flowers with a few creatures thrown in too. You might want to think carefully about how you're going to use them though.

I hope you enjoyed my review. Now, hop across to the main review links page on the OTTBS blog to see other peoples' reviews.


PS. Did I mention how incredibly difficult it is to take a photo of the back of your own head?!!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

September Crafting

Hi all. How was your September? Good I hope.
My crafty bug is dragging its little feet a bit but is coming back to me I think. Having outside sourced projects is helping- forcing me to do some beading at least. I did do a little creating last month and here it all is.
First up is the hairclips. You may have read in my August roundup post that I was making 2 more hairclips based on  Christina Vandervlist's Helix bangle pattern in Kate McKinnon's soon to be published "Contemporary Geometric Beadwork". Here are all 3 clips together (you have seen the little purple one before). As I write this they are hopfully with Kate across in USA.
I have finished other bits I mentioned in my Aug roundup post. Here is my first square for the Bead&Button bead-it-forward quilt project (a charity project raising money for breast cancer research- more info here) The sunflower button on my square is still on my to do list to be a free tutorial on this blog so keep an eye out if you're interested in it.
I also finished the steampunk resin cabochons I was talking about. Well, the ones Mary wanted anyway! I still have a pile of unfinished ones! Really looking forward to seeing what she does with them.
I also pattern tested a fantastic pendant tutorial by the lovely Beads by Becs. Its called 'Evolve' and can be bought in her Etsy shop. Such a fab reversable design.
I think the only other thing I completed in September was the bracelet in last month's Bead, Book & Bounce but here it is again incase you missed it. Its based on a design by Lisa Kan. Check the aforementioned link for more info.
October plans include more Bead, Book & Bounce work (always 2 books on the go) and check out the gorgeous new challenge over on OTTBS!! Not sure if I'll get time for much else as I'm busy every weekend I think but we will have to see.
Have a fab October everyone, whatever you're up to.