Monday, April 25, 2016

Jean reviews Quick & Easy Stitched Jewelry 20+ Projects to Make, by Cathy Jakicic

This jewelry stitching book is so innovative in that true beginners are going to be able to learn the basics of over 20 projects, each one utilizing a different stitch. As the back of the book says, "With Cathy Jakicic's Quick & Easy Stitched Jewelry, you are going to create a wide variety of jewelry pieces--in just a few hours". It goes on to mention that "each stylish project includes design variations and new color choices".
Wonderfully, as the author says, she created this book not just for beginners, but for the more experienced beader who is looking for project ideas for an afternoon, an evening, or the rare lazy weekend.
I have never seen a book quite like this, so I was delighted to check out the projects and the variations.
The projects come before the basics. The projects are very nicely photographed, and varied. There is something for everyone. The color palettes boost some of the projects right over the top and lure the reader in with their charm (see "Lush Loops", where you get your choice of rivers of golds and browns, or iris tones, purples and pinks, in necklace form, cuff bracelet form, and even earrings).The tips are excellent, as well.
I also loved the author's beginner peyote project, "Grasping at (colorful) straws" and look forward to making one of the versions of it. In this one, the author makes a pretty and colorful necklace. When she runs out of a bead she might have preferred to have used, as well as headpins, she offers great tips on how to solve these little problems handily. I like this sort of thinking outside of the box. The bracelet for this one is perfectly stunning and very chic, as are the earrings.
The reader really gets intrigued while perusing this book. There is just so much to want to try! If you have always loved big beaded cuffs, get ready to make Cathy Jakicic's inventive version of one--and quite a bit more easily than you may have expected. It starts with a button or one leftover vacation coin. Once you choose your focal, the amount of bead embroidery you decided to do around it is up to you, as the author explains. You use a bracelet blank to finish this charming bracelet. The coin surrounded with beads is just as elegant and pretty.
The author's version of Cubic Right Angle Weave is very cool and not difficult to make. It is wonderful to have such a gorgeous necklace made available in this book. It is a series of seed bead bar shapes on a seed bead necklace. The colors are incredibly pretty in  whatever version you make (one is made with coin pearls and only one bar, and a third one is made with three bars and two coin pearls!!!). The color variations are amethyst, peach or forest green, basically. Heavenly any way you try it
The "Bicone Bands"necklace is stunning. The reader will be using turquoise daggers, with black 3mm crystal bicones surrounding them (by using the technique of right angle weave), and black double link chain on each side. It is totally hip.There is a variation which is a pendant which is gorgeous, too.
A beautiful project uses square stitch. It is called "Tiny Tapestries" and you will want to snap it right up and learn to make this design. It really shows how color can make a project sing, and the squares, with some lovely round gems, are fascinatingly modern and ancient at the same time. The variations on this are smashing in  both design and colorway.
It is also so cool to see a project using Charlottes in a beginner book! Charlottes are tiny seed beads and not often used. In the project in Quick & Easy Stitched Jewelry in which they are used, they look beautiful, add a lot and are not used too much. A bit of history on Charlottes is included as well. It is very interesting.
When the projects section is complete, the basics section finishes up the book in a very helpful way. Techniques, tools, and materials which are essential are discussed and photographed.
This book is a delightful introduction to seed beading for many of us who have always wanted to learn but keep putting it off because somehow it seems more daunting than other forms of jewelry designing. With this author helping you, don't worry. You will be having fun your way, and learning everything you need to know at an easygoing, friendly pace. It is a great book to have in your library at home, to get you started and keep you going. Love this book!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Beadbloggers and a Blythe photo by jean

Prince's royal purple, my Prima Dolly Ebony Blythe, strangely with her eye chips changed to purple. I am going to miss Prince. xox jean


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Jean reviews Jeweler's Enameling Workshop Techniques and Projects for Making Enameled Jewelry by Pauline Warg

The introduction by the author explains a lot about what sort of person is interested in enameling. For example, Pauline Warg recalls her childhood experiments with a toy called a "Trinket". It was an enameling kit given to her by a relative. 

She goes on to explains her later love of Rene Lalique and Plique-à-jour while she was in college. 

She became a metalsmith and jeweler.

If you are curious about the art of enameling on metal, definitely consider Jeweler's Enameling Workshop, Techniques and Projects for Making Enameled Jewelry
One of the things which it has to offer is the most up-to-date section on Enameling Basics, short of taking a class. This means that the reader will garner all the information he or she needs to get started safely on the process of enameling on metal. It is imperative that you have a good teacher for this. Pauline Warq is experienced and very clear concerning the chemistry, tools, work area set up and supplies, health concerns, firing and enameling techniques, and troubleshooting. This section alone is ten full pages. The reader will be treated to some very pretty photos as well.
The projects follow this. There are twenty of them. Each of them will have a notation concerning what sort of enameling techniques are being used. For example, "The Bezel-Set Cloissionee Ring" has the notation that the reader will be utilizing wet-packed kiln fire to make this piece. These notations are very specific and helpful.
The reader will be offered both torch-fired and kin-fired projects Shape and color are both emphasized in this book. Shape-wise, there are crescents, ovals, leaves, shields, squares with holes in the middle, circles, and more. The colors are very pretty and include green, red, blue, lime, citron, lavender, teal, and more.Don't miss that knockout of a dotted bangle bracelet which is made of sterling silver and fine silver as well as beatiful enamel. Expect to be challenged if you try that one, but it is worth your time! You can see it on the cover of the book.
After the projects, the reader will get a great overview of Jewelry-Making Tips & Tricks which will assist even more in the understanding of how to use Jeweler's Enameling Workshop  Techniques and Projects for Making Enameled Jewelry  by Pauline Warg.
The author does mention that you might want to take a class on soldering, here. The tips follow. They are very helpful. They explain a lot of techniques the reader will find useful. Finally, there are some excellent templates offered.As the reader has already learned how to make a template in the "tips" section, this is great.
There is a lot to this book, Jeweler's Enameling Workshop  Techniques and Projects for Making Enameled Jewelry  by Pauline Warg. It is a serious work (although written with great enthusiasm), and not for dilettantes. You have to really want to learn to make enameled jewelry. If you do, you will be rewarded by some lovely pieces and a good understanding of what you are doing and how to do it.
After that, you'll be able to learn even more on your journey as a enamel worker and metalsmith, thanks to Ms. Warg.

Friday, April 15, 2016

BEADBLOGGERS and Jean's latest photos of a Blythe customized by Zaloa's Studio

I guess you know by now that I own a lot of Blythes by certain customizers. It is my own personal taste, and frankly, unless you dislike Blythes (many of my friends take a while to come around), I have excellent taste. I don't follow trends and my old Blythes, such as this one from around 2009, are just as lovely as the most recent one I received from the same customizer in 2015. That is because it isn't my problem to make them beautiful--it is in the hands of the artist. This customizer is eloquent when she works and leaves nothing out. She is wonderful. It's Amy of Zaloa's Studio, also known as Zaloa 27. This girl is named Tuesday, no doubt because she is full of grace, no matter what I dress her in or how her hair is flying around!!! :)

"Up Against the Wall"

"My Girl"


The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton

Monday, April 11, 2016

Jean reviews: More Lovely Knitted Lace Contemporary Patterns in Geometric Shapes by Brooke Nico

Get your needles ready! This easy to understand, very pretty book is organized by overall shape. You will be knitting projects which are circular, square, triangular, and rectangular. All of the projects are fun and stunning. There are capelets, sweaters, tunics, and cowls. Remember that they are contemporary in design and you've got the idea of what to expect from this new book by wonderful Brooke Nico!
The photography in More Lovely Knitted Lace is extremely vivid and appealing. There are photos with models wearing the projects as well as closeup photos, photos which show sections of what you will be knitting, and more. The colors in this book are beautiful. They make it great for a gift book for your favorite knitter, if you can bear to give it away. Get two instead and keep one for yourself!
The contents begin with an introduction by the author. She gives an overview of lace knitting, welcoming the reader into this fascinating world. This is followed by an explanation of why she has chosen the projects she has (there is even a lace knit dress to be found in this book)! The introduction helps the reader to understand what to expect further on.
Then the reader will learn what she needs to know concerning the basics. A note on yarn, gauges, techniques and more are found here. I wouldn't say this book is for beginners, however there are skill level notations from one to four for the projects.
After this comes the selections of projects under their basic geometrical shapes: circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles.
In the author's preface to the section on circles, she discusses the complexities and difficulties of showing off the circular shape to the best advantage in lace knitting. Then she proceeds to blow you out of the water with her gorgeous designs, Even the simple "Aria Gauntlet" wristlets are amazing and incredibly feminine. The beauty of lace knitting is evident in every project in this chapter. Her selections of colors in yarns will call to you, too, even if you have never knit a thing previously.
The triangle chapter will show off an assortment of accessories to great advantage. It also includes a charming raglan sweater ("Montauk") which has touches of lace in paneled sections. You will be knitting adorable tams using the pattern from the triangle section as well. I predict that suddenly you are going to realize that you have a whole lot more friends than you thought you did!
The square shape turns up masses of variations. One of the ones I preferred is the "Keira wrap", a cowl in baby pink using cashmere, silk and merino wools. With brighter pink buttons on one side, and the option to wear it as a stole stretched down over the shoulders, this project is truly flexible and fun.
One of the more difficult projects in the book is in this chapter. It has the drama which you may be looking for and is called the "Wanderlust" shawl. This must be seen to be appreciated.
It is Wow-Beauty in all its aspects.
Rectangles finish up the book. As the author says, we all begin knitting by knitting rectangles (scarves!). She then explains that although this shape is easy, it will be taken to the next level in this chapter. Once you see the "Primrose Tunic", a skill level 3 of 4 project, you will understand what she means. This doesn't look like a scarf in any way. In fact, it is a flowering lace motif in a variety of soft pastel colors created of mohair/silk. I love this divine creation. In case you are concerned, it has a chart, it has a schematic, and it has all the rows written out as well.You will be seeing this type of careful instructing throughout the book.
At the very end you will find knitting abbreviations, yarn weights, and a knitting needle size chart.
At the back of this book, you are urged to "break out of the traditional lace knitting mold"!
More Lovely Knitted Lace Contemporary Patterns in Geometric Shapes by Brooke Nico truly reaches out to the reader, takes her by the hand and accomplishes this breakout with her amazing, original designs and her elegant instructions. What a book!

Friday, April 8, 2016

BEADBLOGGERS and a photo of a Blythe customized by Moon Rouge

Roxanne is a beautiful custom by Moon Rouge--she has the most gorgeous eyes and fashion forward haircut! I love her in this outfit by Rhonda, who used to sell on Etsy--boy do I miss her amazing fashion styles! I had great fun photographing Roxanne for this shoot, a while back!



Free Journey Proverb Free Pattern
Graduation season will be here before we know it. Connie's added a super simple free chart that will be great for making up in to graduation cards. It is also suitable for a friend who is moving or making a job change.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Play with Chain Mail: 4 Weaves = 20+ Jewelry Designs by Theresa D. Abelew. Lots of fun!

Charms make for a great way to start jewelry designing just for the fun of it.

What Inspires Me When Making Jewelry
Having a hard time coming up with beading ideas? Terry Jeanette of the Tappingflamingo gives you some ideas...

Interested in a great creative learning opportunity this summer?
Allegory Gallery is pleased to present: Creative Camp! This weekend intensive features workshops taught by Eva Sherman, Heather Powers, and Cynthia Thornton!

Embossed Aluminum Postcard Art
Embossed aluminum postcard art is made with inexpensive aluminum foil tape stuck onto scraps of card stock. Four examples using different techniques.

Beading Arts
Cyndi shows you how to finish up and "frame" a single block quilt.

Draw a Map of Your Daily Route
Look at your routine in a new way by drawing a map of your route to work or school. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Jean reviews Play with Chain Mail: 4 Weaves = 20+ Jewelry Designs by Theresa D. Abelew

Wonderful book teaching 4 weaves of chain mail easily and very prettily!

Anyone can make chain mail jewelry using this well organized, clear, and very pretty book by Theresa D. Abelew. What's more, the author is a superstar at weaving with colored rings, as you can see from the cover, so if you love intricate patterns with beautiful color combinations, this might just be the book for you.
The author's excellent instructions, her designs which she has created from the four basic patterns she has chosen to work with, and her dedication to her readers is ever evident.
The book has an introduction by the author which explains, "this book is for the curious beginner". That may be so, but also, the projects range right up to spectacular. Therefore, playing with chain mail, with a teacher like this, is indeed a lot of fun!
The basics section has everything from setups to tools and materials, how to make jump rings, and techniques.
After this come the four main chapters. Each chapter: Rosette/Mobius, Box Chain & Byzantine, European 4-in-1, and Helm Chain, have five projects for the reader to learn.
When I first learned chain mail, it was rare to find anything but silver rings to weave with. That could get very expensive and at times the weaving became a bit boring, even if you loved chain mail as much as I did. Now that we have all these colors (see the cover again, and it only gets better with all the projects offered), the designs have great depth. The woven layers are brought to the fore and become more obvious. With a color expert like the author, the effect is delightful.
Additionally, the new "scales" which go so well with jump rings make an appearance in Play with Chain Mail.They look really dramatic and cool in the "Opposing Forces" Bracelet, for example.
At the end of the book is a very helpful Jump Ring Chart which will show the reader what size and number of rings to order for each project. Easy and super sensible.
I think the the author must be as bright and colorful as her book. This is charming, solid work. If you have never tried chain mail (or even if you have!), I recommend Play with Chain Mail: 4 Weaves = 20+ Jewelry Designs. It is great!

Friday, April 1, 2016

BEADBLOGGERS and photos of a Blythe

Happy April! Check out the A-Z 2016 Challenge, beginning today! More information, here.

Flickr is playing April Fool's games with me (in other words their link is messed up), so I have chosen to fling up my hands and show once again one of my favorite girls by Cindy Sowers, the boil permed (as perfect today as it was when these photos were taken) "Rosie the Riveter" in her work clothes and in her swing shift dress and headband by Cindy, who does it all.  You can find Cindy on Etsy here:

and here is Rosie

...break time, below!

This is why I love Blythes!--jean