Barbara’s Blog – BBD Art Jewelry

Do You Remember This Piece?

The results I’ve been waiting for are in!  I entered my “Fleurs et Papillons” Bead-Embroidered Cuff in the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads 2018 Creative Clays Contest last February and this past week the package I had been eagerly awaiting arrived! Inside was my cuff, two photos, and a gift certificate award! Hot dog! With hand surgery scheduled this week and no beading or other work allowed while my hand heals, I’ll be perusing the FMG online catalog and shopping for jewelry-making goodies! BTW…you can find the kit and tutorial for this design in my Etsy shop!


With all the trials and tribulations of this past week, it has taken longer than I hoped to finish my latest design, but I’m pleased to announce that my “Geometric Square Diamond and Isosceles Triangle Components” Drop Earrings tutorial and beading kit are now listed in my Etsy shop!  I’ve worked these earrings in two colorways; the “Sun Goddess” tones features rich deep reds, golden-yellow, frost orange, and turquoise Delica beads with a brilliant deep “Siam” red Swarovski crystal rivoli. The “Azure” colorway is composed of teal, lime, violet, green, and deep blue Delica beads accented with a multi-colored Swarovski “Paradise Shine” crystal rivoli. The “Azure” earrings shown at right in the above photo use exactly the same colors, but I changed the color order in each row just for fun. Of course, you can use an identical color order for both if you wish and if asymmetry isn’t your preference you can certainly create two Square Diamonds or two Isosceles Triangles…the choice is yours!  And instruction is included for making small (34mm), medium (38mm) and large (42mm) earrings. I’m definitely going to enjoy wearing these!


This has not been my week!  I’ve been designing a new geometric components project and tutorial that I find most enjoyable, but it has been slow-going because my Word for Mac software program, which I have used exclusively for every tutorial I’ve written (fifty-three to date!) constantly freezes and crashes! Apple sent a notification several months ago stating that as software updates occur, eventually only 132 bit programs will function and 64 bit programs will become obsolete. That could be contributing to the problem I’m having as several updates have occurred since that time. After spending two days trouble-shooting Word, I gave up and am now editing the tutorial using Pages. Being a novice to Pages, I am gradually learning how the program works and I do hope to have the tutorial finished by the end of the week. To make matters worse I have a severe carpal tunnel problem with my left hand. The numbness, tingling, and pain are now so advanced that just taking a break from beading, typing, and any other task that aggravates the condition no longer offers relief. I’m scheduled for surgery on October 23 and  will be confined to resting my left hand for a solid two weeks if not more before easing back into tasks that require use of my left hand. I had surgery on my right hand in 1986 and it rectified the problem. I’m hoping for equally successful results this time. Fingers crossed…wish me luck!

Today’s Agenda…

I’ll be back to beading tomorrow…I’ve been working on a design utilizing geometric beaded links, but today I need to create polymer clay sea-themed components for an order that just came in. It’s a pleasant diversion as I haven’t worked with polymer clay in a while (or metal for that matter!). The days just seem to fly by and I seldom accomplish everything on my “to do” list. I simply can’t fathom how some people complain of boredom. I can only surmise that they have no interests or passions to pursue.  I know of one person who enjoys reading, but has interest in nothing else…I can’t imagine being immersed in only one activity! I realize that I am so fortunate to be a “multi-faceted” individual and therefore am never bored. There are enough hours in a day for me!

Geometric Beaded Links…

This is such a fun way to play with color and imagine the design possibilities! Geometric beaded link components can be used so many ways…small links for earrings, larger links interlocked in chain-like fashion for statement necklaces and bracelets, or even a pin-back added to wear as a brooch! Several super large links to slip over one’s wrist and worn as bangles are what I want to tackle next!  I can envision several colorful really large links of different shapes stacked upon my wrist!  Worked with Delica beads, these links are extremely firm and will not collapse.  I’ll be working on tutorials for various linked projects over the coming weeks…stay tuned!


Now that I’m caught up with replenishing beading kits I once again have time to bead! Presently, I’m experimenting with Geometric beaded link components that I’ve so far worked in oval, rectangular, and square shapes. They are surprisingly firm and will definitely not collapse, which makes them ideal for use in bracelets, earrings, or even long necklaces! I’m using Delica beads for these and I love the way each bead “snaps” into place as I pull the thread taut! For this purpose, Delicas create firmer structures than seed beads. I’m having a really great time experimenting with the different shapes and sizes. And, of course, it’s double the fun when I have a cat keeping me company! Today, Cooper is helping me choose beads…he has a real eye for color!


Still at it…replenishing more beading kits. Now it’s time to assemble the“Geometric Warped Square Arrow Drop Earrings and Variations” kit.What you see above  are the Blue and Yellow Opal Variation kits.
I love all three warped square designs equally and wear them often.  Made with size 15 seed beads, they are light in weight and of comfortable lengths and widths. Dangling from sterling silver ear wires, a bead-bezeled Swarovski crystal rival adds subtle sparkle. I receive compliments every time I wear them! Kits and tutorials are available in my Etsy shop.

All Fun…All The Time?

I’ve been having fun exploring different geometric shapes this past week, but it’s time to put beads, needle and thread aside and get down to the business of replenishing beading kits.  I’ve run low and am now busy weighing, measuring, and spooning beads into labeled bags and tucking them into my brightly colored handmade envelopes. The assemblage you see above is my Geometric “Parrot Fish” Cuff beading kit. I was inspired by Kate McKinnon’s book, Contemporary Geometric Beadwork ( several of my designs are included in CGB Volume II).  I love working with color and named this design after the brilliantly colored Parrot Fish I’ve viewed closeup while vacationing in the Caribbean!  This kit takes quite a while to put together as the design is comprised of panels of different Delica bead color mixes totaling twenty-eight colors! It’s been a popular design, one geared to the advanced beginner (one who has an understanding of Peyote stitch and rudimentary geometric beadwork), as well as the intermediate, and advanced beader. The step-by-step tutorialis easy to follow and contains large color photos and charts. If you love pattern work and color, you might like this project!

Movin’ On!

For several months, I’ve been beading geometric triangles, flat squares, warped squares, and pentagons. Now I’m eager to explore other shapes…diamonds, ovals, hexagons, and more! Exploration is vital for discovery and growth. Be it is color, shape, pattern, size, etc., I want to learn more!  I consider every failed attempt as a learning experience and have no problem with tearing out beadwork that didn’t turn out as I had planned. Sometimes a mistake becomes a wonderful discovery! The photo above shows an interesting 3-D component. I had intended to create an oval with a large center opening, but as the work progressed I wanted to see what would happen if I just kept going! What I ended up with is a shape that would have become an elongated diamond had I not stopped to create a small opening at each side. I now have a 20mm x 40mm spinner bead that can be strung as a vertical pendant or suspended horizontally on a long ear wire! 

Itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny…

Size 15/0 beads are so very small and those are what are on my beading mat today. It’s one of those fabulous end-of-summer days filled with sunshine and pleasant temperatures ranging in the low 70’s. Birds are chirping and a Pileated Woodpecker is nearby drilling into a tree drumming rat-tat-tat-tat sounds. The prairie is awash in a sea of yellow now that the goldenrod is in full bloom. I simply couldn’t stay indoors on a day like this! So I’m playing with pentagons and although I have used round seed beads in several of my geometric beadwoven earrings designs, I have decided that I much prefer cylinder beads for geometric beadwoven works. Whereas round seed beads lend an organic look and feel that I find very pleasing, the precision of cylinder beads seems a better fit for the angular geometry of work that juts out at 45 and 90 degree angles. And I love the fit as Delica and Aiko beads “snap” into the orderly brick-like appearance of Peyote stitch. How many of you feel the same way?

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