Barbara’s Blog – BBD Art Jewelry

Do You Remember This Piece?

This is my “Loch Ness Sea Dragon III” Wrap design (inspired by Contemporary Geometric Beadwork).  I entered it in the Fire Mountain Gems 2017 Seed Bead Contest and the results have just been announced.  Lucky me!  This piece won a Bronze Medal Award in the Fashion Accessories category!  They’ve sent me a gift certificate, which I’ll use to buy more Delica beads and other goodies!  

FMG holds four contests each year: Metal, Creative Clays, Seed Beads, and Swarovski and I always try to have a piece ready to submit by each deadline. I’ll be entering the Metal Contest before it closes in February.  In the meantime, I’ve just renewed my listing for the “Loch Ness Sea Dragon III” Wrap beading kit as well as the tutorial. You’ll find both in my Etsy shop. Happy Beading!

Reflecting on Time…

When I was a young girl, it seemed that every person over the age of fifty constantly remarked how fast time was passing. I didn’t understand why they felt that way. I’d watch the clock in my classroom edge along at snail pace. I waited for the hands to strike 3 p.m. signaling the end of the school day so I could run home and watch Mickey Mouse Club on TV. I so looked forward to the weekends (they seemed to take forever to arrive!) because I spent them with my father. Every Sunday afternoon he’d take me to Kiddie Land where I’d get to eat cotton candy, ride the tiny Choo-Choo train, and sit in a boat that didn’t need to be steered because it just floated around in a circle!  The three-month summer break from school seemed endless and by August I was actually anticipating going back to school. Waiting for Christmas to arrive was always almost unbearable! So what were these old people talking about? As far as I could tell, time didn’t go fast at all! Did you feel the same about time when you were young?

As I grew to become a busy adult working full-time and dealing with a multitude of daily minutiae, time did seem to pass a bit faster, but weekends still didn’t arrive soon enough. Unlike the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey, I knew what weekends were and I really looked forward to them! Life was still a waiting game…a “wait and see” for what happens next week, next year, in ten years! There was so much time left!

Now, as I am traveling in what is referred to as “the Golden Years” (surely a misnomer as far as I’m concerned), I can hardly believe how rapidly time passes! I’m busier than ever and weeks fly by as if they were days! With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I haven’t found time to bead in weeks and resin projects have been languishing on my metalsmithing workbench in anticipation of becoming rings and bracelets and pendants! Never more than now have I felt that I need more hours in a day, more days in a week, more months in a year! In fact, I need another lifetime to accomplish all that I’d like! Yet, upon reflection, I am so thankful to be a person who is never bored, one that always has much to do and projects waiting in the wings!



Staying Ahead of the Holidays…

What am I doing this week? I’m creating tiny gift boxes and bags. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I’ll need hostess gifts and small tokens of appreciation to give to friends and service people.  

To make this process easier than cutting and measuring cardstock with ruler and cutting matt, I’ve invested in a Big Shot Plus cutting and embossing machine. 

It can handle paper and cardstock up to 8.5” in width so I can make nifty pillow boxes that are large enough to hold materials for my beading kits. Each box and bag is one of a kind because I buy plain cardstock and embellish it with stamped designs and/or apply torn art papers onto them. It’s a fun creative outlet and makes gifts and kits all the more special!

This little box is the perfect size for holding my Delica-filled Large Color Wheels!  I know of several beaders who would love to receive gifts like these!

It’s Never Too Early…

Many gift-giving dates are fixed…birthdays and Christmas, to name a few. Preparing for these occasions is stressful enough without the task of running out at the last minute to buy gifts. When I see an item that I know someone would love, I buy it even if it’s months before the occasion, because I’ve learned that a particular item(s) may no longer be available when the time comes.

With that in mind, I’ve put together these wonderful little color-coordinated wheels of 11/0 Delica beads to use as gifts and stocking stuffers during the holidays and as birthday presents for my bead enthusiast friends. The collections are presently available in the following color combinations…Spring Tones, Sunset Tones, Twilight Tones, Pomegranate Tones, and Neutral Tones and two sizes (the large container measures 3.25” in diameter and the small container measures 2.25” in diameter). Each wheel holds a collection of twelve color-coordinated Delica beads. All are accompanied by a list of the color numbers and names. Depending on bead finish and color, the large wheel holds approximately 18 to 21 grams. The small wheel holds approximately 12 to 15 grams of beads. These are perfect amounts for creating “on the go” projects…just toss a wheel or two in your bag, add needles, thread, and scissors and you’re ready for the road!  You’ll find these collections in my Etsy shop!

Last Night…

I had a dream in which I was teaching a bead embroidery class and as in so many dreams one has, it was fraught with problems that must be solved. In this dream (perhaps I should call it a nightmare!), I was teaching my “Six Petal Bloom” project.

So far, so good, but I had more students than anticipated and not enough kits to go around so I was rapidly trying to gather extra materials to assemble more kits while at the same time trying to answer questions and help students with their stitching. And as the students were working on their projects, they were running out of beads so I was dashing about to stores looking for more beads…all while the class was going on! Phew! Happily, I awoke in my bed and not a classroom! In reality, I don’t teach…I’m not comfortable in that arena. Although I’ve been asked numerous times to teach, designing and writing tutorials is the closest I come to a teaching gig. My comfort zone is being ensconced in my studio and working on a project in the company of cats! With some classic jazz playing in the background or a Poirot or other mystery DVD playing, color me happy!  

In a blue mood…

 Last August while on vacation in California, I purchased some wonderful natural crystals from which I created molds. This collection of blue and teal faux crystals were created from those molds. I have a theory as to why some of the faux crystals come out crystal clear and others are more opaque when removed from their respective molds. Although these faux crystals were made from the same batch of resin, I’ve noticed that various molding compounds do make somewhat of a difference.  EasyMold Silicone Putty is a shiny purple compound that seems to produce a clearer end result while the molding putty made by Ice Resin is more porous and produces an effect that is slightly matte. Both formulas have their merits depending on the end result I’m after. For example, a faux Rose Quartz crystal looks more natural if it is a bit cloudy, whereas a faux sapphire is more believable if it is crystal clear. Another factor is the porosity of the item from which the mold is made…if your model has a very smooth, slick surface, chances are your resulting resin piece will be very clear. I’ll be cleaning and buffing these faux crystals before setting them into bezels and I guarantee, they will be quite stunning as finished jewelry pieces!



Do You Have a Favorite Bead Stitch?

I’ve worked primarily in Peyote stitch for the past few years because it lends itself so well to geometric beadwork.  The beads sit nicely stacked like little bricks and it creates a fairly stiff and supportive structure akin to the feeling of upholstery fabric opposed to the fluidity and drape of a lightweight gossamer.  But I enjoy other stitches as well. The Herringbone stitch is wonderful for creating tubes and ropes.  Right Angle Weave (a.k.a. RAW) can produce either a lace-like or densely woven stitch depending on the beads one chooses to use.  I’m presently in the experimental stage of a new project that will consist of large beaded links.  I’ve chosen size 11 and 8 seed beads,  fire polished and Swarovski crystals in a palette of blues, greens, bronze, and gunmetal that will go well with several garments in my wardrobe!

I almost missed it!

The deadline for latest Fire Mountain Gems contest featuring Swarovski Crystals was October 8 and I finished this neckpiece just in time to enter! I had been so busy finishing up my latest geometric beadwoven bracelet that I’d forgotten the contest was closing. I had originally thought of doing a bead-embroidered piece, but with less than a week to the deadline, I had to come up with a project that would work up quickly. Frankly, I couldn’t be more pleased…I love this neckpiece! I’ve titled it “Flight of Fancy”. Contest rules specify that at least 50% of the project must contain the featured materials so using an abundance of Swarovski crystals (Marguerite Lochrose Flowers, Bicones, and Crystal Pearls) I’ve strung them on sterling silver wire and added tiny polymer clay butterflies here and there to impart an ethereal “flight pattern” so to speak! I won’t know for a month or two whether my submission will make it to round two…that’s when FMG requests that the piece be sent in for final judging. I’ll keep you posted when I know more!

It’s that time of year…

I love Autumn! Daylight now has a different glow with the sun lower in the sky. The prairie is awash with brilliant shades of yellow as goldenrod, native sunflower, and black-eyed Susan are in full bloom. Trees are sporting leaves in shades of gold and crimson. The dog days of summer have now become pleasantly warm followed by refreshingly cool nights. I’ve packed away my lightweight frocks and sandals and traded them for cozy sweaters, scarves, and boots. With the change of season I’ve been inspired to create several new pieces of jewelry. The antique-finished “Nature Talisman Necklace” shown here consists of a 10″ long handmade Sterling silver chain suspended from a stamp-textured silver neckring. An antler tip, natural pearl, faux tourmaline resin crystal, and two fine-silver metal clay seed pods Talisman charms dangle from the chain. I love wearing it against my neutral-toned sweaters! 

The Kit and Tutorial are Listed!

Have you been eager to bead a project composed of Warped Squares, but didn’t know where to start? Then you might be interested in my Geometric “Staggered Warped Square Bracelet” design…it’s composed of six staggered warped squares (inspired by the books Geometric Beadwork and Contemporary Geometric Beadwork) worked in mosaic and confetti-like patterns that are joined together and connected with a sliding clasp. You can stop there if you like, but I’ve also added triangles to this design to make the project all the more interesting! Large full-color photos as well as seven color charts for beading the warped square and triangles accompany the step-by-step tutorial. The beading kit contains Delica and seed beads in fifteen vibrant colors plus a silver-plated 31mm long sliding clasp. You’ll find kits and tutorials in my Etsy shop. I think you’ll have a lot of fun making this “eye-catching” bracelet!



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