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!  

January 24, 2018

New Stuff!

Ta da!  I finally get to show off one of my new micro macrame bracelet designs using new beads from the Beadsmith!  You don't know how hard it is for me to keep my mouth shut when I'm excited about something.  I swear, it's physical pain.  I'm not much of a "hold it in" kind of person; I'm more of a "wear it on my face" and "shout it from the rooftops" kinda gal.  Anyway, the sadistic folks over at the Beadsmith sent me these Baroque Cabochons back in November (yes, that's November) and then wouldn't let me share until now (I'm typing that in my best whiny, self-pitying voice). 

The Baroque Cab beads have two holes running parallel through them which makes them perfect for a design like this because they don't flip over when the bracelet is worn.  Oh, and I learned something, too.  I thought cabochons (cabs) were undrilled (no holes) but they are polished instead of faceted.  These are definitely not faceted - the surface is roughly dimpled which makes the backlit coloring in these appear very different in different light or with different colors.  The three bracelets in the photo above are all done with the very same beads, but they pick up some color from the cord.

The knotted sections between the beads look like tatting but they're actually done with macrame - lark's head knots.  I like how the empty space in the macrame sections mirrors the shape of the beads.  Something about that is just very satisfying.

Anyhow...  I still have another design I can't show you yet because I used super secret beads, but at least I got to get this one out there!  Whew!  That's a load off!  

I'll be back in a few days to unveil the other piece (I hope).  See you soon!  

PS.  Is it bragging and unbecoming to share with you that the Beadsmith used my bracelet design and my photo in their release for the new bead?  It really made my day when I opened their email and found this:  

January 16, 2018

Hello, World! It's Me!

Hi, there!  My name is Sherri and I make micro macrame jewelry.  I've (apparently) been on hiatus (for who knows what reason) the last couple of months.  There's been all sorts of excitement around here with the holidays and family and Influenza A and a broken hip (stop that!  Not my hip!).  There hasn't been as much macrame around here as I'd like, but I'm hoping to change all that!

You might remember that I'm a member of the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad?  They send me fun new beads and I make fun new pieces to show them off.  It's a sweet gig, I'm not gonna lie.  The only trouble is when I make something I'm dying to show off and I can't because the beads are so new they're "super secret". *sigh*  It's killing me.  I swear, my insides are drying up just a little.  Steven says they will be unveiling all the new stuff at the bead shows coming up in a week or so and then I'll be able to share.  I'll be here tapping my foot and "waiting" impatiently.

Meanshile, I did make one new piece I can share!

I'm so excited about this one I could wet myself (don't laugh, it happens)!  I love all the pattern and the texture and the symmetry makes my OCD soul happy.  Those white beads are GemDuos and I think they add a lot of interest to this piece.  Well, those and the daggers.  And the tiny gemstone beads to keep everything from being too "perfect".  

That's it for now.  I promised myself I didn't have to do an earth-shattering, life-changing post.  Sometimes it's baby steps.  Just know that I am still here!  

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