January 24, 2013

The Five Cent Tour

My family room

Welcome to my little corner of the world.  My nest.  Or would that be lair?  Okay, so it's supposed to be the "family" room but everybody in my family knows it's my room.  Yes, my husband designed it to be his room with a big television, comfy oversize leather furniture and hunting decor.  But he did such a bang up job of making it cozy that I pretty much moved in and took over.  Come in, let me show you around.

The wood slab coffee table used to belong to my husband's parents.  They had it in their living room for years and the grandchildren all played on it - there's a perfect child-sized hole there with one of the lower legs running under it that makes a "desk".  After my father in law passed away and my mother in law moved into a smaller house, the table just didn't look right.  It got passed along to us and I think it looks fabulous in this room.  It also makes a dandy place to pile beads.  You'll see I have a color palette there for a swap I'm doing with the uber-talented Lindsay Starr and a bunch of Czech beads I'm considering for another swap.  And you can see the niche where the kids always sat:

Color palette and beads for swaps on my coffee table

My workboard is on the other side of the table with my current work in progress.  I'm stalled on it, though, since I ran out of copper seed beads and had to order more.  I would have sworn I had another package of them...

Work in progress

And then comes the command center:

The messy couch

The actual center of the universe, as far as I'm concerned.  Can you tell where I sit?  The cushions are so worn on that end of the couch that they're permanently squished.  The fuzzy blanket gives the dog and I something to fight over.  I like it over my feet and she thinks it's hers.  In all fairness, she's little and the leather IS cold when you first sit on it.  I can't imagine how it must feel on her belly when she lays beside me, so I usually let her have it. 

Glasses, Phone, TV remote and other essentials

Gosh, I could have at least picked up my oatmeal bowl, but nope, there it is.  Right there for all to see.  Yes, I drag food here and eat in front of the TV.  At least this was healthy food - the overnight oatmeal/yogurt with chopped up mango in it.  I love that stuff and it's not just for breakfast!

You can also see my phone, one of my hundred pair of reading glasses, the TV remote and a few random beads.  Doggie's collar is on the other side of the lamp because my son always takes it off her so she can run naked.  He insists she likes being naked.

The shelf underneath has more beads I dug out for a project.  I've wanted to do a fringe bracelet with an under-the-sea theme and I've been collecting bits for it.  I have some Czech glass fish and shells, some real seashells, stick coral, some starfish charms and a random assortment of seed beads there.  I'll get around to that one of these days.  Or I'll sort it all back into the containers of beads I have by color and they'll surface again somewhere down the line for some other project.  Nothing stays static for long here - ideas come and go faster than I can keep up.

The little tote on the floor is supposed to hold my essentials like my scissors and assorted pliers.  Right now, however, it also holds a nail file, hand lotion, Epoxy clay and duct tape.

Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

And this is me.  And that's the nickle tour.  Thanks for coming and be sure to tip your guide.

January 21, 2013

Ombre Beadweaving Bracelet - Year of Jewelry Week 4

Ombre bead weaving bracelet by Sherri Stokey black white and gray

I've had this design dancing around in my head for a few weeks now, which is darned inconvenient when there are other things to be done, but I guess that's the way of it.  I wanted to do an ombre shading piece going from pitch black on one end to stark white on the other.  I thought about how I would do it while I was trying to fall asleep at night:  black to white fading through multiple shades of gray.  And I wanted the transition to take place naturally with no harsh lines or obvious changes.  So I dug through my stash and found these:

Glass seed beads in my black, gray (grey) to white graduating color palette

I made a square stitch base with a mix of the colors and forgot to take a photo of that step, but you can see it here:

Reverse side of bead weaving cuff showing square stitch base

Then I started making loops of seed beads over each of those base beads.  I started using only black in the first rows and then sprinkled in just a few of the dark charcoal color, letting the colors blend. As those ran lower, I added in a few of the next lighter shade of gray and continued all the way across the base until my last rows were pure white.

black end of my loopy fringe bracelet fading to gray

The middle shades of gray in caterpillar bracelet.

Lighter end of caterpillar fringe bracelet showing Swarovski crystal butterfly

I added a few interesting beads on the tops of the loops, just to add some interest.  There are hematite stars, some Czech firepolish and a shiny Swarovski crystal butterfly.  I couldn't decide what to use for a closure, so I auditioned a few different buttons:

Button clasp choices for bead weaving bracelet

My first instinct was the button on the left, but I really liked the idea of a pop of red.  The only red button I had on hand was the flower above and I just didn't like it with the piece.  I really liked the look of the stone cab (the last piece in this photo) but in the end I decided it was just too large and the loop it would take would make the bracelet fit "sloppy".  As you can see, I ended up using my first choice:

Completed caterpillar fringe bead weaving bracelet in black, gray (grey) and white.

In the end, I couldn't be more pleased with this bracelet.  I love the weight of it, both visually and the weight of it on the wrist is lovely.  The loops add lots of subtle movement and the color gradient is exactly what I wanted.  I think I may have to attempt another one of these - maybe next time in teal!

If you enjoyed this week's Year Of Jewelry piece, I hope you will take time to check out the previous ones:  Week 1 RenewalWeek 2 Grace, and Week 3 Music.

January 18, 2013

YOJ Week 3 - Sparkly Slider Micro-Macrame

Bracelet by Sherri Stokey of KnotJust Macrame with a slider featuring teal crystals and flowers.

The theme for the third week of the Year of jewelry was "Music" but I don't have a musical bone in my body.  Not even a cell.  I can't even hum.  So I tried stretching the theme and thought about doing a charm bracelet that makes lovely music when worn (or racket - depends on how you look at it), but that didn't seem very inspired.

My palette for the teal crystal slider bracelet with C-lon cord, seed beads, and delicas.

 I ended up digging through my stash looking for an alternative and found a pretty slider with teal colored crystals and flowers.  I added some cord, some Czech glass fire polish beads, some seed beads and some Delicas and came up with a formula for this:

A teal micro-macrame bracelet featuring a crystal slider in my origianl design.

I didn't start out with any pattern - in fact, I didn't start out with any thing particular in mind.  I just started knotting around the crystal focal and then kept adding design components.   I love the floral, lacy look created by adding beads to loops to surround other beads.  And I love using Delica beads around a diamond framing one perfect square knot.

Close up of rounded diamond component in teal micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey

I've been messing a bit with rounding off some of the corners on my diamond sections and I rather like the look.  

So there you have it.  No deep meaning, no amazing design inspiration - just a beautiful focal piece set in a bracelet band meant to compliment and elevate.  Knots and beads in perfect harmony.  My version of music.

January 12, 2013

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop

The badge for Lori Anderson's Memories and Thanks Blog Hop
Lori Anderson is hosting a blog hop in honor of a friend of hers, Marianna, who passed away unexpectedly.  The theme for her hop is "Memories and Thanks" and she wanted to take it further than one person.  She wanted each of us to blog about someone in our lives who means or meant a lot to us.  Marianna's favorite color was red and when I heard that, I knew right away who my special person would be:  my Gramma Blanche. 
Gramma Blanche and I decorating Christmas cookies.

This is Gramma and I at Christmas last year.  We were decorating cookies and having such a good time.  As much as I hate to share pictures of myself (or look at them, for that matter), here's another from that day that includes my mom and my daughter, too.  Four generations of trouble makers and cookie decorators.

My daughter, mother, me, and my grandmother decorating cookies.

I have the best memories of my grandmother when I was growing up.  I used to spend nearly every Saturday night with her and my Papa, watching the Carol Burnett show all snuggled in clean jammies (they got cable!).  We'd get up the next morning and put a roast in the oven before we went to Sunday School and have a big Sunday dinner after.

She and my grandfather apparently had the patience of saints, too - they took me on a road trip from Nebraska to San Diego, California when I was around six or seven years old.  We stopped to see the sights on the way and she bought me charms to put on a charm bracelet.  We went to Disneyland and Mexico and I had the best time!

Me next to the sign for Gramma's ceramic shop.

Gramma had a ceramic shop when I was growing up - the Nic Nac Shelf Ceramic Shop.  I remember working in the shop with her up until the time I was in high school, although I'm not sure how much help I was in the earlier years.  She taught me all about slip and molds and stains and glazes.  She always liked to make things whether it was ceramics, sewing, crochet or cross stitch.  

Gramma Blanche is 87 years old now and red is still her favorite color, so
I thought I'd do a soutache piece in red for her.  This is the palette I pulled to start:

Palette including red poppies cab, soutache and seed beads.

The cab is from Fallen Angel Brass on Etsy.  I surrounded it with soutache and beads and came up with this brooch:

Brooch by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame using soutache and bead embroidery.

I really love the sinuous curves of the soutache.

A closeup of soutache curves punctuated by rows of seed beads.

I hope you've enjoyed my little trip down memory lane, and my brooch.  I also hope you will take time to check out the other participants' blogs:

Hostess, Lori Anderson   Pretty Things

 Adlinah Kamsir   Dream Struck Designs
 Aimee Biondolillo   Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
 Alicia Marinache    All the Pretty Things 
 Andra Marasteanu   Handmade by Indra Marasteanu 
 Andrea Trank   Heaven Lane Creations
 April Grinaway  Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem   Vivi Magoo Presents
Bonnie Coursolle  Jasper's Gems
Cassi Paslick  Beads: Rolling Downhill
Catherine King Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier  The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz  Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler  FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka  Clay Space
Christina Hickman  Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Murrow   Charis Designs Jewelry
Christine Stonefield   Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman   Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson  It's My Sea of Dreams
Crystal Thain  Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin  Beading Arts
Denielle Hagerman  Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez   Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey   diane hawkey
Dita Basu   ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington  Simply Gorgeous
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell   Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Emma Todd  A Polymer Penchant
Erin Kenny  beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz  Treasures Found
Gina Hockett  Freestyle Elements
Heather Marston  CSW Designs
Inge von Roos   Inge's Blog
Iveth Caruso  Creative Atelier
Jacqueline Marchant  Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp   Celebrating Life!
Jennifer Reno  Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo   Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten   Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren   Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray  Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams  lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton   It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne  josjewels1
Johanna Rhodes   Fire Phoenix Creations
John Rasmussen  Rasumussen Gems and Jewelry LLC
JuLee Wolfe  The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean  Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell  Over the Moon Designs
Karin King  The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton  Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas  Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton  Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson  The Traveling SideShow
Kim Dworak   CianciBlue
Kim Houston  The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter  Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton  Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch  LA Jewelry Designs
Leanne Loftus  First Impression Design
Liddy McLaughlin Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Inhelder   Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton  Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver   Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud   Artfully Ornamental
LouAnn Elwell  Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron   Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster   MadDesigns
Marcia Dunne   The Alternative Foundry
Marie Covert   Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite   bennubirdrising
Marlene Cupo   Amazing Designs by Marlene
Martha Aleo   Ornamento
Marti Conrad   Marti's Buttons -n- Beads
Mary Ellen Parker  BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars  MLH Jewelry Designs
Maureen Connolly  Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay  The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin   The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara  one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta   Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz   la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi   Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody  Who Does She Bead She Is?
Natalie Davidson  NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren   re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister  The Crazy Creative Corner
Pam Traub   Klassy Joolz
Priya Krish  Hellopalz 
Rebecca Anderson  Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag   Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed  Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson  a creative chelle
Rosa Maria Cuevas   Helena de Troya
Sabine Dittrich  perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe   Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff   Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode   Pookledo
Sarah Singer   String a Song of Sixpence
Serena Trent   All Things Made Jewelry
Shai Williams   Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac  Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson    Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis    Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner    Fabric of My Life
  Sherri Stokey   Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun   Unicorns Jewels
Skylar Bre'z   Brising Beads
Stephanie Haussler   Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey   Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G.  Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter   Tapping Flamingo
Toltec Jewels   Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse   Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin  Nutkitten's Jewelry
Zoe Marcin   Beads, Tea and Sweets

January 8, 2013

Soutache Tips From a Novice

This piece was the first piece I attempted using Soutache, and let me tell you, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be!  I almost threw in the towel and chalked it up to one of those things I'm just not cut out to do (like washing windows).  I did try again, though and with the lessons I learned (the hard way) the first time, my second piece was better.  And just in case you're thinking of trying your hand at it, I will share.

The first thing that struck me was just how tiny this stuff is (and that's from a gal who does micro macrame, people!).  It's about 1/8" wide, give or take, and if that's not bad enough, you actually turn it on its side when you use it, so you're standing it up on the skinny edge.  The skinny edge of 1/8".

From what I've gathered, there are two basic kinds of Soutache - imported and domestic.  Of course, that's all relative to where you're located, so sometimes you'll find imported European domestic Soutache or other confusing bits.  Suffice it to say, some is made in USA, some in Europe.  The American stuff is just a bit smaller than its European cousin.  The European stuff is just a bit beefier (if that even applies to anything in the 1/8" category) and tends to fray a bit more easily.  Quite a bit more easily, in fact.  You might want to get a bit of Fray Check on those ends (or a dab of glue or nail polish - whatever is handy).

I learned to run my cord through my hair straightener (or iron it on a low setting, maybe?  If you own an iron...) before I start so there are no little bitty kinks in it.  Those don't go away and are magnified in your work.  I found working on a backing instead of "freestyle" is much easier for me (there's a tutorial on that here) and I also decided it's much easier to stitch together the Soutache before adding it to the design.

 On my first piece, I added each piece (color) of Soutache separately (I'd go as far as I could with one color, then add another, etc. until I got to a turn - if that makes any sense?).  Anyway, I tried stitching the colors together before actually adding it to the cab and found that much easier.  Do you see how there's a "ditch" in the cord right down the middle?  Line up the "ditches" (that will even out any little differences in size if you're using a mixture of domestic and imported Soutache) and run a quick stitch  through them.

This makes it much easier to handle because you not only have one piece to maneuver around those curves instead of three, but it is also three times as wide - three pieces on edge side by side instead of one - and much more stable.

Let's see - what else?  Oh, you can see in that first piece that the sides don't quite meet at the bottom?  And so one side is slightly shorter than the other?  Where your cords meet (like at the bottom of that piece) stitch the cords together.  That's right - go through all the cords and make a couple of stitches.  Then when you separate them again to go their own merry way around the curves, they'll STAY where you had them together.  Trust me - you'll be glad you did.

If you'd like to see how my second piece turned out, check out the post about it here.
  Now it's your turn!  If you're interested, check out the Sufferin' Soutache Challenge on Artisan Whimsy.  There's an awesome grand prize from Amee at Amee Runs With Scissors.  And she carries a whole bunch of colors (turns out I'm a compulsive Soutache buyer - who knew!):

I had to add a little postscript - I just finished my third piece - a cuff:

January 6, 2013

Grace in Soutache and Bead Embroidery

The theme for this week in our Year of Jewelry is "Grace".  My interpretation of grace involves flowing lines and graceful curves and I tried to emulate that in this piece using a combination of bead embroidery and Soutache to surround a cameo.

This is my second attempt at using Soutache.  I am definitely still in the learning stages, but I felt more confident with this piece than my first one.  If you are not familiar with Soutache, it's a very small woven trim (about 1/8" wide) used to adorn draperies and clothing - particularly military uniforms.  

For this piece, I attached my cameo to a piece of backing and added a row of seed beads using bead embroidery.  I curved three layers of Soutache around that and added some beads at the corners and pulled the Soutache back around them.  I like the curves, but I'm not thrilled that my thread shows in the beads.  Note to self:  work on that.  In order to give the piece some length, I added a Swarovski teardrop shape at either end and more Soutache around those. 

I thought it still needed a little something, so I went back and added another row of seed beads along the long curves - this time on their sides along the Soutache.  I added a piece of suede to the back to cover all my stitching and the ends of the Soutache and then attached it to a barrette.

I'm getting the feel for Soutache.  It wants to be graceful and flowing - I just have to learn how to get it to go where I want it to without interrupting it's flow!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...