July 13, 2018

New Micro Macrame Kits

Boy howdy have I been busy!  Remember my last post where I finished up the Micro Macrame Button Bracelet Tutorial?  I agonized over what colors to choose for the tutorial (some colors don't photograph as well and others I just don't like as well) as well as what button to feature.  I wanted to choose one that was fun and different but one that folks could find to buy if they wanted to.  I settled on the antique silver elephant button and thought I had several on hand.

Um, not so much.  And when I went to find them to buy more, I had a heck of a time finding them.  Which is the way it usually goes for me.  Anyway, I found a few and made up some kits with the exact cord, beads & button I used to make the tutorial!

I try to make up quite a few kits when I finally get the gumption to put some together (it's not my favorite thing to do) so I decided to do a kit in khaki:

I made up an example of this one in matte metallic khaki iris with a whitewashed copper tree button and then discovered I didn't have enough of that button, either.  

So I made up a handful of kits with the same beads and cord but with a different button - whitewashed copper filigree (isn't it pretty!).

I also replenished some of the Leaves kits, so if you've been waiting on one of those, you'll find a selection here.  

And now that I can check that off my To Do List, I'm heading back out to the pool!  Catch you later!

July 1, 2018

A New Micro Macrame Tutorial!

I'm BACK and I'm positively giddy with excitement and a (probably undeserved) sense of accomplishment!  I finally got around to getting a tutorial put together for knotting a micro macrame bracelet using a button as a centerpiece.  

I'm not sure what it is about a button, but something about them makes me happy.  Maybe it's the fact that they're so limited in size and unlimited in subject matter and execution?  Any way you slice it, I find myself drawn to them and have amassed my own little treasure trove.  There are all kinds of buttons there from Czech glass to handmade ceramics and everything in between.  

This copper dragon button is probably my favorite button overall but it's been discontinued (anyone have any sway with a button manufacturer?  We need these back!)  Oh, but I've wandered off topic,, haven't I?  

Anyway, if you're like me and have a little collection of special buttons (if not, looks like you have an excuse to shop for one!), this project is the perfect way to showcase one.  

As usual, I've included way more photos than you probably need, but that's just the way I roll.  There are over 70 pictures included in 20 pages of instruction.  I've written this tutorial for folks who know how to make a couple basic micro macrame knots, but if you aren't there yet, don't worry!  My blog has a tab just for macrame knot videos!

Okay, that's it.  That's all I've got for today - I'm headed for the couch to put my feet up.  Go over to my Etsy shop and get your tut!

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


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!

February 5, 2018

Winter and Beaded Micro Macrame

 OK, I'm just gonna say it:  winter in Nebraska sucks unless you're a fan of cold wind and snow, which I am most definitely not.  I've been spending a good deal of time indoors lately (translate:  all my time) so I've had lots of chances to play with my cord and beads. 

Currently, I am in love with GemDuo beads.  They're diamond shaped and have two holes which I love for micro macrame because it keeps them from flipping over or turning around. The closeup above is from this cuff bracelet:

It's worked across instead of lengthwise like most micro macrame bracelets which allowed me to create this tiled pattern with the beads.  There's something about the rows of knots that just really appeals to me, too. (If you want to try your hand at a piece worked this way, there's a Leafy Cuff tutorial available in my Etsy shop.)  I also used the white beads in a mandala necklace design:

Don't they look fantastic?  

I did a tutorial for another bracelet using these beads that will be available through The Beadsmith (no definite word on the date yet).  It's this one:

As I look out the window, I can actually see the ice coating the driveway and the wind sounds absolutely awful.  Looks like I won't be going anywhere again today - I've stayed home so many days in a row my husband is starting to refer to me as "the recluse".  Then again, I'm not the one who fell out there this morning so it seems to me maybe one of us is just smarter, right?   If you're looking for me, I'll be downstairs with my feet up, probably watching something on BBC while I knot in front of the fireplace.  Ahhhhhhh....

January 29, 2018

Micro Macrame Mandala Necklaces

Color me excited, people!  I can finally share!  I'm extra super excited about this one because this is the bead that gave me back my mojo.  I don't know if you've noticed, but I've been in a major slump lately.  And by "lately" I mean more than six months.  Other things have been going on in my life and just sort of took the joy out of me.  It's like I've been extra appreciative of time I can spend with my family and friends, but there's just been nothing left when it came time to create something.  I've been going through the motions and doing a bit of designing for the Beadsmith but the passion just hasn't been there. And then this happened!

Steven (Beadsmith Biggie) called and asked if I could design something using a new super secret bead.  I said "sure" because I never say no to Steven (he's a really nice guy who sends me beads!) and because I kept hoping to find that spark again.  The beads arrived and they were pink.  Uh huh.  Well, more coral which is better than baby pink but still close enough to pink in my book to scare the bejezus out of me.  And then it was Christmas.  And then my family all came down with Influenza A.  And then my grandmother (she's 92) fell and broke her hip.  

When I finally managed to sit down to make something I was only one week away from my deadline.  The super secret beads are called Paisley Duos and are a really pretty paisley shape with two holes.  There's another paisley shaped bead on the market but you can't just flip it over to make the paisley shape curve the other direction like you can with this new bead.  I have always been a fan of paisley...

I tried really hard to find a design to really showcase the beads and I really wanted to show them going both directions but the harder I tried to force it, the more I disliked the outcome.  And then it came to me!  I wanted to try working them into a round mandala-like design.  

Finally!  A piece that felt like it was from my heart.  I am just a tiny bit disappointed that it seems to show off the Gem Duos (the white diamond shaped beads) a bit more than the Paisley Duos but I'm calling it a win.

And what's more, I've been loving my micro macrame time again.  I've tried several variations on this mandala design and each has been beautiful and unique (including the one I've already shown you in this post).  I'll show you them in more detail in my next few posts, but here's a peek at my micro macrame mandala necklaces: 

Look out world!  

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