May 4, 2018

Thoughts on Making Unusual Color Combinations Work


I have a theory:  I don't think there's any color combination that won't "work" if you keep at it long enough.  I love thinking up some oddball combo and playing with it to see what happens.  This time I chose a deep olive green, soft turquoise and yellow.  I really wanted a good mustard color but couldn't find the right color of beads (yes, even with my stash) so I went with this soft lemon color.  I'm loving the outcome!




If I had to come up with some suggestions for making unusual color combinations work, I'd say:

1.  Start with three colors.  Two can get boring (unless you play with texture and finishes) and four gets pretty busy on smaller jewelry pieces.  Think of Three like Baby Bear:  just right.

2.  Vary the finishes.  I like to combine matte with shiny and I use a lot of beads with a rainbow or iris finish (both matte and shiny).  The coating seems to help the beads blend a little better since the color isn't as solid.

3.  Try changing the intensity of the colors.  If you're trying to combine blue, green and yellow for example, you'll get a much different look by using navy blue than you will using sky blue.   Using all bright or dark colors or even all pastels is less interesting to me than combining a deep navy and dark green with a very soft yellow.  Or a strong green and yellow with that sky blue. 

4.  Try an "off" color.  Try subbing mustard yellow instead of a true yellow.  Or turquoise instead of true blue.  Again, much more interesting.

5.  Experiment. I like to make a pile of the colors I'm considering.  I dig out any and all possibilities and start there. Here is an example:


Not all of the beads or every color of cord ends up in the finished piece, but putting them together and adding and subtracting colors is a good way to figure out which direction you want to go.

6.  My last piece of advice is to look around you for color inspiration.  Take the time to actually LOOK at the things around you and think about those colors. 


In a nutshell?  Have fun with color and don't be afraid to fail.  You might just learn something really interesting even in that failure.  

April 4, 2018

Copper Celtic Dragons and Micro Macrame


This copper button featuring a Celtic dragon design is one of my all-time favorites.  I absolutely love the graceful flowing lines of this one.  They made it in brass and silver as well, but the copper one just has something special - that "it" factor.  And the copper plays so well with the khaki cord and beads, don't you think?  Of course, since I love every single thing about this button, it's no longer being manufactured.  

When I found out they were no longer making them, I bought up everything I could find so I have a little stash of them.  Every once in a while I get them out and make up a few special pieces with them.  Mostly I'd rather hold onto them and fondle them, but I know that's probably not the most healthy relationship to have with a button so I force myself to let go of a few.  Especially since I recently went through my entire bead stash and organized everything and realized just how many cool buttons I have:


Hi, my name is Sherri and I'm a button hoarder.  I have glass buttons (Czech glass mostly - heck out that peacock beauty!) and handmade ceramic buttons and vintage buttons and colorful sugar skull buttons and painted buttons and antiqued buttons...  


And a tiny little stash of copper Celtic dragon buttons.  I've listed a few bracelets featuring them in my Etsy shop and now I'll put away the remainder for a while and focus on something else.  

And I'll keep searching for more of these.  I'll bet there's a shop out there somewhere with some of them in a dusty back corner just waiting to be rediscovered.  The idea of that haunts me.  Or taunts me, I guess.  I told you it wasn't a healthy relationship!

March 8, 2018

New Micro Macrame Mandala Necklace Tutorial!


Look who finally got busy and finished a tutorial!  I'd recommend this Micro macrame Mandala Necklace tutorial for intermediate macrame enthusiasts with a working knowledge of double half hitch and larks head knots.  As long as you can do those, you should be able to follow these instructions.  I've included over 60 photos like this one:


See why it takes me a while to put together a new tutorial?  I spend a lot of time photographing each step with really close up shots so you can see what's going on.  My goal is to make everyone who tries the tutorial successful!


You can find the new tutorial in my Etsy shop along with 17 (yes, I'm up to 17 different tutorials now!) others.  There's something for everyone - even if you've never tried macrame before.  Happy knotting!

March 6, 2018

Gobsmacked!


To quote a friend of mine, "I'm gobsmacked!"  There's a new love in my life:  laser etched Kite beads.  They come in different patterns (I sense more in my future) but I chose the ones with the leaf design.  They have a soft metallic finish and the colors are absolutely incredible - shades of blue and green with flashes of turquoise and even purple.  


I've been working on a new tutorial for this necklace design with a circular mandala pendant using the new Kite beads.  I started with an incredibly vibrant blue and thought I couldn't love any of them any more than these.  And then I met the laser etched guys.  They're sexy and they know it.


Just look at that detail!  It's hard to get a good photo of the depth of color on them (might help if I was a better and/or more patient photographer, but that's another story).  I seem to be picking up mostly the blue and a bit of light green in the pictures, but trust me, the other colors are there.


Anyway, stay tuned for a new tutorial.  I hope to have it available in a week or so.  I'd promise sooner, but I've got another project going on right now:


We are putting new carpet in about half of our house (1008 square feet to be exact) and painting as well.  I've got nine different colors on my wall so far with no clear winner, but I think we've agreed on the taupe carpet.  I wanted gray, he wanted tan so we met in the middle at taupe.  Seems fair, right?  I also wanted hardwood and he wanted carpet, so the bedrooms and the family room are getting carpet and living room, dining room, kitchen and den are getting hardwood.  The wood floors won't happen until we figure out exactly what we're going to do with the kitchen:  I want to tear out a wall to open up the space and move everything around.  He wants me to stop wanting things.  *grin*

I've been trying to balance the time I dreaming up stuff to do to my house and the time I spend doing macrame, while throwing a good bit of time spent playing Words With Friends.  It's tough being retired.


Until next time...

February 27, 2018

New Stuff!


Hey, there!  I'm still here - holing up in my house until winter decides to go away.  The National Weather Service guys announced last week that we've surpassed our previous record for the snowiest three month period.  We've had over 35" of snow since December 1st and I am over it.  I'm dreaming of green grass and trees with leaves and warm sunshine on my face.  Put all that by the pool and a margarita in my hand and now we're talking.  *sigh*

The Beadsmith folks have been keeping me supplied with fun new beads, so at least I have something to do while I'm trapped indoors.  I'm still playing around with mandalas in micro macrame.  I'm really liking the circular shape and the symmetry of them and they're a really great way to show off different shapes of beads.


The necklace above has some Cali beads (the bronze ones about halfway into the pendant) and Silkies (the square/diamond shaped ones close to the edge).  I did this piece in raku colors and added a beaded strap which I think works really well.

I also made a bracelet with the Cali beads:



The chunkier design of this piece is a nice change of pace from the usual lacy look of my micro macrame pieces, don't you think?


February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!


Just popping by to say Happy Valentine's Day!  Yes, that's me.  I got a wild hair the other day and decided to curl my hair and put on some makeup.  Then I figured I'd better take a picture of it to prove that I really did it.  I'm doing well just to shower and get dressed by noon a lot of days and that's if you count sweats as "dressed".  I'm retired - it happens.

But back to the topic at hand:  I know it's a corny, made-up holiday, but when you're from Valentine, Nebraska, Valentine's Day is a big deal!  If you've missed my previous posts on the topic, you might want to check this post about Valentine because it really is a beautiful place.  

Sometimes I like to celebrate the season with a special Valentine's Day piece.  Here are a couple of the pieces I've done in the past:



This year I decided to make something with some tiny little heart shaped Czech glass beads I've had for ages and since I've been on a roll with mandala pendants...


Want a closer look?


I love the way the hearts are frosted and have one side puffier than the other.  I think it adds a lot of interest, don't you?


That's it; that's all I've got.  Happy knotting & Happy Valentine's Day!

February 7, 2018

Argus Cuff Micro Macrame Tutorial


Are you looking for a micro macrame project that is just a little more challenging?  If so, I've got just the thing for you:  my Argus Cuff.

This design was previously available only as an online class, but I've converted it to a downloadable .pdf file.  The instructions are step by step and I've included lots of closeup photos (over 50) like this one:


You'll want a good relationship with the double half hitch and some patience for this one because there are lots of cords and hundreds of knots, but it's worth it.


This tutorial is one of seventeen listed in my shop and there's something for knotters of every ability from beginner to more advanced.  You can find them all here.

Happy knotting!

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