Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Beaded birdie!

My last post was about a little robin I had embroidered... this is only a short one, but after the really positive feedback I got on the Robin, I thought I'd try something a little different, and bead a blue tit instead.  For those of you who aren't native to the UK, blue tits are tiny little birds, which are rather partial to peanuts, and can be found in British gardens.

In a fit of craziness, I decided to bead it in size 15 beads, they're about 1.2mm  across, so they're REALLY small.  

I was very pleased with the shape of my blue tit... I am totally rubbish at drawing, so the fact that the shape I drew actually looks like a bird, and was actually recognisable as a blue tit was a real triumph!  

So, without further ado, here is my little beaded blue tit!  I hope you like him as much as I do.  I will be wearing him to work tomorrow - I turned him into a broach.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Little Robin Red-Breast

I admit it... I'm a doodler!  
Especially during meetings.  Usually, I draw all kinds of geometric things, but during a teleconference a couple of weeks ago, I drew a little bird on a green post-it.  Then I was struck with inspiration... this would make a really nice design for a bead embroidered robin!

I'm still relatively new to bead embroidery, I've only made a few pieces in the past, so this felt like it was quite ambitious to me.  I spend a couple of weeks thinking about it, and on Sunday evening, I decided to give it a go!

The ladies of my favourite facebook group gave my little Robin such a friendly welcome into the world, that I thought I'd write up how I made him (ok, so I had kind of planned to do this any way, hence all the step-by-step photos!)  At points, I got carried away, and forgot to stop to take photos... so if things jump about a bit... I apologise.
First off, I drew the outline of the bird onto my stiff-stuff, and glued the 17 x 10 mm black cherry mother of pearl oval in place, and in back-stitch, I sewed a row of metallic bronze size 11 beads around the oval.  

Next, I started on the wing.  I used a mix of matt and metallic finish beads in shades of brown, red and gold iris, working along the outline of the wing, then building up inside the wing to fill it in.  I've heard this described as 'painting with beads' and I think that's a beautiful description!


 The next step was to start filling in the body of the bird.  I really wanted to do this in a way that would give an idea of the the different parts of the bird... like I wanted the wing to look different to the body, and I wanted the tail to look like a tail, so this is how I built it up, initially by back-stitching another row around the shell oval.

 And then a third row, so the body met the wing.
 I then moved on to the tail, working in back stitch, two beads at a time

 Next, I decided to move to the head, and used a 3mm petrol Swarovski pearl for the eye, and  copper-lined crystal size 15 delicas for the beak
 I then continued to bead the outline of the head, and fill in the rest of the empty space.  There were a few little spaces where the size 11 beads didn't quite fit together as nicely as I would have liked, mainly because the rows were all worked in different directions, so I filled these in with some size 15 seed beads in light brown AB.
 Once the beading was finished, I trimmed around the beadwork leaving a very tiny edge of stiff-stuff all the way around.
 The next bit actually gave me a headache... but that was due to the smell of the glue!  E6000 is a favourite of bead embroiderers, but it really smells... I used it to glue the embroidery onto some ultra-suede backing.  I then cut around the beadwork, leaving about 1mm of ultra-suede all the way around the edge.
 Then, to finish it all off nicely, I used the size 15 light brown AB beads to sew a brick-stitch edge all the way round.

I am going to turn this into a hair clip... or a brooch... I'm not sure which.  I think I'd wear it more as a hair clip.

A member of the facebook group I mentioned earlier suggested that I tried making some other British birds... which led to a great deal of hilarity.... and a conversation which I shan't repeat on here.

I'd like to say a big thank you to all the lovely ladies from OTTBS who have really made my evening, and who make beading, and tacking my stash great fun!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

What I've been up to this month!

Well, January has been a busy month... hence the lack of blogging.  
There has been a bit of beading (possibly not as much as usual), but in with all the usual stuff (like work), I moved house too!
I've moved from this lovely terraced house in Swindon....
To this lovely (but rather cold) flat in Tidworth...

It is quite a change (especially in temperature), but I've done it for a good reason.  Towards the end of last year, I changed jobs, and ended up with a commute of just over an hour each way.  Although I had friends in Swindon, I just wasn't happy with the driving, and it was making me tired and run down... hence the move!

So, whilst moving, beading got pushed to the bottom of the priority list for a while... and I got behind on my earring challenge (I've challenged myself to make a pair of earrings a week for the whole of 2012); but since settling in I've dedicated some time to catch up!

Here are my January Earrings... 4 pairs of earrings, some simple, some sparkly, three different types of technique.

 Bead embroidery earrings for week one... (my first finished piece of bead embroidery)

 Super sparkly earrings - the tutorial was given to me as a gift by the uber-talented designer Ella Des (her tutorials are for sale in her Etsy shop  I was very pleased with these as they are totally out of my colour comfort zone, but I absolutely love them!

 These are my quickie wire work earrings... I found these buttons in a shop in Swindon called SewCraft.  I fell in love with them (along with some other buttons I bought at the time), and these just just spoke of simple elegance to me.

And these are the last pair of January earrings... the Satellite bead is designed by Heather Collin, and can be found in her ArtFire shop

I've been working on a few other pieces - the bangle from the cover of bead and button magazine (still a work in progress)

And a Tila bangle designed by Debbie van Tonder - her tutorial is available in her Etsy shop.

Let's see what February has to offer (except for my birthday!).