Sarcasm Presents Bead Embroidery as Therapy


charlie brown

Merry Everything!

One of the things that I have learned throughout my life is that stress brings out the worst (and usually the nastiest) snarky sarcasm to come out of my mouth. This year however, has been a humbling experience for me in my personal life, as I have struggled with a new health issue that I would not wish on my worst enemies (well, maybe my ex-husband, but that’s another story!), and not only has it taught me to value each day – each minute of each day as a gift, it has taught me extraordinary fortitude through some very unstable emotional moments.

When my granddaughter was born in August, 2014, I spent every day at my daughter’s house to help her out with the new baby a.) so she could get some rest and get her regular household chores done; and b.) so I could spend as much time as possible with my new little Doodlebug! Once my daughter decided to go back to work, we agreed that I would continue to keep my granddaughter at her house. It was just that much more convenient for both me, my daughter, and my granddaughter, to be around all her things already there, rather than lug them back and forth to my house, and I did NOT want her in daycare, especially that young! When my grandson was that age, they lived a couple of hours away, so I missed out on a lot of his baby “firsts” and I just was not about to with my Doodlebug!

I would spend her nap times beading and crocheting, and all was well with the world. Then, during the holiday break in January when my grandson was also home with me, I had a Grand Mal seizure just totally out of the blue. Not exactly what I wanted my five-year old grandson to have to witness – ever. Yet he has witnessed three since then. Since that day I was having seizures regularly, not all of them that big, but still seizing nonetheless. I couldn’t get a diagnosis, was going from doctor to doctor, and was becoming very depressed.

seizure survivor(

A friend of mine suggested that I take my feelings out in my beading, and the next thing I knew, I had a lovely outline of a butterfly drawn out on some Lacy’s Pattern Sheets which are wonderful in bead embroidery for transferring your designs to your backing. You just draw out your design and then print it out on these sheets, then stick it on your backing and sew your beads directly to it. Once your are done, you just gently pull away any excess. For those of you like me who just aren’t that great at freeform beading (I’m WAY too OCD!) these sheets are a lifesaver! Anyway, I read about them on a blog or webpage somewhere and just knew I had to have some, but the only place that I could find that carries them is Lima Beads. They are great to deal with, and get their orders out super fast!

So anyway, butterflies are my “thing” anyway (just ask my tattoo artist! ha!) and they also happen to represent the hope and courage of seizure sufferers. I found one that I liked, traced it over to the Lacy’s paper via my inkjet printer and voila’! I had my pattern! I then attached it to my absolute FAVORITE bead backing, Nicole’s Bead Backing. You can also find her on Etsy here, where she is running some GREAT specials on combo packs of her bead backing with matching ultrasuede and/or soutache supplies.

Purple is pretty much the universal awareness color for any kind of seizure disorder, whether it is epilepsy or not. That’s just fine with me, because it is my favorite color anyway! In this piece I used practically every color purple delica carried in my LBS, plus some I ordered, along with ALL my purples in regular seed beads! There are beads ranging in size from 8/0 – 15/0, and in shapes of delica, rocaille, hex, triangle, and charlotte’s. I even used a few bugles here and there. For accents, I used some Swarovski flat back stones in crystal ABX2. They represent my little glimmers of hope of coming out of all this seizure mess!

My "I don't know if it's jewelry" therapy bead embroidery seizure butterfly.

My “I don’t know if it’s jewelry” therapy bead embroidery seizure butterfly.

Seizure suck. There is just no other way to describe it. What makes it a million times worse is having your young grandchild witness it happen not just once, but multiple times. I will get past this. I am on medication to regulate it, and they think they even might know not exactly what is causing them, but why I have them when I do. Al I know is opened up a brand new expanded horizon in bead embroidery for me, who was new to that ballgame anyway.

I love bead embroidery, and currently am working on several projects. After all, a beader never has just one project going on! I plan on participating in the Dry Gulch Beads & Jewelry December Color Challenge and this month I intend on doing a little bead embroidery in my challenge. I will post the finished results at the end of the month. For those of you who have never entered their challenge, it is great fun, and the 1st place winner receives a $50 gift certificate to their website/store and $25 to the 2nd place winner. All you have to do is use ALL the colors in the color palette for their challenge. That’s it. It doesn’t even matter what medium your entry is. You could even enter cupcakes!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season! I also hope you found the tutorial from last week on Chenille Stitch easy to follow! I promise there are more tutorials coming, so head over to the that email subscriber box so you can get it first in your email inbox! As always, I love hearing from you, so please leave me a comment about what you are beading, crocheting, a recipe, or whatever! Send your sarcasm memes to me at beccasbanglesofal@yahoo.com and I promise they will be used in a future posting with full credit going to you!

Until next time, stay smart, or stay smart sassy!

Becca

Sarcasm does a Free Tubular Chenille Tute!


swearing

Every year without fail, my Mom and I used to go to the local Gem & Mineral Show here in Montgomery, AL to ooooh and ahhhh over all the gorgeous stones and be fascinated (well, I was, anyway) at the lapidary and flint knapping exhibitions. I never realized just how much of an impact it was making on me until I became a TOTAL rockhound, as far as collecting cabochons goes! Apparently, all those trips over the years with her made an impact on me! Now I can not seem to get enough of those beautiful stones that I now bead around and make into jewelry. It seems that a little knowledge seeped in over the years too, because as I started collecting these beauties, I could recognize on sight what they were and even some of the regions they originated from.

Well, this weekend was this year’s annual show, and I took my grandbabies with me. My five-year old grandson is an absolute shark fanatic, and has been since he was two. He can recognize a shark species just by looking at it, and some by their teeth. The look on his face today was absolutely priceless when he saw the Megalodon tooth that was practically bigger than his head! Besides all the cool cabochons, firepolished crystals, and tools I left with, I left with an ecstatic five-year old grandson with a paper bag FULL of shark teeth, many of which were fossils!

Montgomery Gem & Mineral Show 2015

Montgomery Gem & Mineral Show 2015

So the picture above is just some of the jewelry on display at this year’s show. The bracelet in the center, done by me, is done in Chenille stitch, but instead of seed beads, I used ALL magatamas – two colors. Chenille stitch is my go-to stitch whenever I need a beaded rope for a pendant, and is also my most popular selling bracelet. It can be done in a variety of beads and endless color combinations. However, doing one entirely in magatamas? That took time, patience, and a lot, and I do mean a LOT of profanity! Forget sarcasm, profanity was in order for this one! I still haven’t figured out why I named it “Tranquility” other than it just reminded me of the tranquil feel of the waves of the ocean (after I got it done). No, seriously, this is probably one of the prettiest Chenille stitch bracelets I have ever done, and I have done quite a few.

"Tranquility"

“Tranquility”

So here is an easy picture tutorial from Jean Campbell for tubular Chenille stitch that was published in Beadwork Magazine and also on Beading Daily. I hope you find it as easy to follow as I did!

Using approximately 3′ of Fireline or Wildfire, string 6A beads (shown in green in rounds 1 & 2)

Round 1:

Form a ladder stitch with your 6 strung beads and then ladder stitch your 1st and last beads together to form a ring.

Form a ladder stitch with your 6 strung beads and then ladder stitch your 1st and last beads together to form a ring.

Round 2:

String 1B and pass down the next A of the prev. round, then up through the following A; repeat twice. Step up through the 1st B added this round.

String 1B and pass down the next A of the prev. round, then up through the following A; repeat twice. Step up through the 1st B added this round.

Round 3:

String 2A, pass through the next B of the prev. round; repeat twice. Step up through the 1st A added this round.

String 2A, pass through the next B of the prev. round; repeat twice. Step up through the 1st A added this round.

Round 4:

String 1B, pass down through the next A of the prev. round, and up through the following A; repeat twice. Step up through the 1st B added this round.

String 1B, pass down through the next A of the prev. round, and up through the following A; repeat twice. Step up through the 1st B added this round.

Round 5 – repeat rounds 3 and 4 until desired length.

Final round – Always end with a round 3 repeat. Then without adding any beads, ladderstitch your threadpath so that your first and last rounds match.

So I know what I want for Christmas, and I DARE one of you to get it for me! My lovely advertiser, Amazon, has the coolest thing for a snarky person such as myself! I present to you the Sarcastic Ball! It basically says everything I already do, or when I need to think of something, I can just toss it! Please, please, please somebody get me this!

Sarcastic Ball

Sarcastic Ball

If one of you really gets me this, I swear I will remember you in my will! Of course that means I would have to have something to leave you…. Anyway, that wraps it up for this week folks. Please find that little email sign-up box on this page and fill it out, if you haven’t already. Just for doing so, you will be forever subscribed (until you opt out, but you won’t, you know you won’t) to my snarky (but witty!) and beady ramblings each and every single week! You could even leave me a comment below and that wouldn’t even hurt my sarcastic little feelings not one bit! Of course if you don’t, I might get snarkier on you next week! You all be good, Santa’s watching!

Until next time, stay smart, or stay smart sassy!

Becca

Sarcasm demonstrates Flat Chenille – Part 2


new design

I am VERY active in my Neighborhood Crime Watch, and that includes keeping up with all the postings in our neighborhood group on Facebook so that I can pass along any related posts. Unfortunately, our Facebook group is slam full of a lot of young people who think it’s a party zone for the neighborhood on Facebook and well, you know how these 20-somethings like their Facebook Drama. Anyway, one of them (let’s call her “Missy L”) called me “a bitter old lady with no life who interferes with everyone’s business in the neighborhood.” I had to bust out laughing. For one thing, I’m only 46. Is that really considered old??? Yes, I have grandchildren, but really, OLD??? The other thing “Missy L” said is I have no life.

like a good neighbor

Hmmmm. Well, let’s see. I take my grandkids to school and daycare every single day, AND pick them up and keep them every afternoon until their parents get off work. I volunteer on my grandson’s PTA, I volunteer and am also a block captain with my community Crime Watch. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and everything that comes with THAT, and oh yeah, I have my own freaking pretty darn successful jewelry business and a now successful blog to go with it!

So, this brings me to another thing. YOU, my readers, are simply UH-MAZING!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE each and every single one of you! As of today, did you know there are over 6,000 of you just since the end of June? I mean, I am utterly in shock (not speechless – never gonna happen) but totally blown away at you all! YOU ROCK!!! I never in a million years did I expect that something that I just thought I would try out for a 90 day “trial period” would turn into such an adventure that just keeps getting better every week. I can not thank you enough.

So last week I brought you the tutorial (which can be found here) for the new Flat Chenille Stitch. This week I have been playing around with it, and thought I would show you not only what I came up with, but give YOU my readers some input on what should be done next with it.

Flat Chenille Bracelet

Flat Chenille Bracelet

Flat Chenille Bracelet

Flat Chenille Bracelet

As you read on my last installment, I hate the thread showing on the edges, so I took some 4mm silver firepolished crystals and they fit perfectly between the 11/0 silver lined ruby red accent beads I used with the 8/0 forest green main color. I also expanded to using 12 beads across instead of the 8 that the tutorial called for, to make a wider cuff. I know my photos kinda suck, but I promise I’m getting a new camera, and besides, forest green is so hard to take a good pic of! Another thing, if you click on the pictures themselves, you get a MUCH better visual!

Ok, so the ball is in your court! Start commenting away at what YOU think should be the next step on this cuff. That’s the thing about this new Flat Chenille Stitch. It has so many possibilities! I can’t wait to read your comments! For that matter, I look forward to reading your comments every week anyway, so comment even if you don’t have a suggestion, and let me know what YOU are up to, or send me a good sarcasm meme to use in a future posting! If you haven’t already, (and you really should) go to that little box at the top or side of this page and sign up with your email and get my snarky and sarcastic beading and (yes, it’s coming!) yarn directly in your email inbox!

Until next time! Stay smart, or stay smart sassy!

Becca

 

Sarcasm learns a new stitch


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Welcome to November! Yup, Halloween is gone, Thanksgiving will be here before we know it and then ta-da! HOLIDAYS!!! You know, those things that every artist madly scrambles for three or four months before, trying to get ready for and then completely over-makes enough inventory to last until next summer? That’s exactly what I usually do, but with my current orders I am trying to keep up with, I will be lucky to have anything red or green, blue or white, or whatever else color comes in between!

I have to tell you about the UH-mazing group of Ladies on Facebook. There is a public group called The Ladies Artisan Group. They are a multi-talented group of women who share their work in hopes of selling it, and I have got to tell you, they are one amazingly talented group. From watercolors to jewelry to glasswork, and everything in between, you will not find a more talented group of women. This month they had a contest to see which works would be on their cover/banner photo for the group and I was honored to have one of my works chosen to be one featured in the photo. You can find their group here. They are just an amazing group of ladies. The picture below is the one of mine that they included in their banner.

watermarked-blue skies

Blue lace agate in freeform peyote bezel with 18 inch Chenille stitch rope

Another thing I got to celebrate this week was my page Becca’s Beaded Bangles on Facebook not only hit 1,000 likes, but went past it! I am beyond thrilled and honored to have so many of you kind people looking at and liking my page on Facebook and can not thank you enough! Everything I do is sewn one tiny little bead at a time, and I LOVE what I do, but you all make it so worth it. You ROCK!!! Thank you!!!

So, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am working on the new flat chenille stitch that came out in Beading Daily’s email this week. Regular chenille stitch is my go-to stitch for ropes and bracelets anyway, so I definitely wanted to give this a go. I am finding this just as easy, if not easier than regular chenille! You can find it on Beading Daily here, but I’m going to go ahead and give it to you right here on my blog!

This is from Diana Balogh:

For this pattern, Diana used size 15 seed beads (A) and size 11 seed beads (B), but you could use all size 11 seed beads for a different look.

Row 1: Add a stop bead to the end of a comfortable length of thread. String 8B check this link right here now (Fig. 1, blue thread).

Row 2: String 1A, 1B, and 1A; pass back through the second-to-last B of Row 1. String 1A and pass back through the next 2B of Row 1; repeat. String 1A; pass back through the next B of Row 1 Read Full Article (Fig. 2, red thread).

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 1

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 1

 

Row 3: String 1A and 1B; pass back through the last A of Row 2. String 2B and pass through the next A of the previous row; repeat twice. Weave through beads to exit from the last B added, toward the center of the work arava cost (Fig. 2).

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 2

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 2

 

Row 4: String 1A and pass back through the next 2B of Row 3; repeat twice (Fig. 3).

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 3

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 3

 

Row 5: String 2B and pass back through the next A of Row 4; repeat twice. String 2B; square-stitch to the adjacent 2B of Row 3, then exit through the first B of the 2B just added (Fig. 4).

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 4

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 4

 

Row 6: String 1A; pass through the next B of Row 5. String 1A and 1B; pass back through the first A of this row and the following 2B of Row 5. String 1A and pass back through the next 2B of Row 5; repeat twice (Fig. 5).

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 5

Flat Chenille Stitch Figure 5

 

Rows 7 and on: Repeat Rows 2 – 6 to the desired length.

Here is my completed sample:

Flat Chenille Stitch

Flat Chenille Stitch

Thanks to Beading Daily for the diagrams and directions! I hope you find this as informative and fun as I have! I love this newer take on chenille stitch! It has great possibilities for things such as embellishing, using buttons as closures, and other things. I have a few ideas myself I can’t wait to try out!

I hope this week finds you happy, healthy, and full of candy, ha! As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what YOU are up to this week and what you would like to see from me in the future! Leave me a sarcasm meme and I will use it in a future blog! If you are new to my blog, don’t forget to sign up in that little box at the top/side to get my snarky sarcasm about beads and sometimes yarn directly in your email inbox!

Until next week, stay smart or stay smart sassy!

Becca

 

Sarcasm does Superduos


2015-08-30 22.06.37

I have grandchildren that I love very, very much. I take care of them every single day except Saturdays. And boy, do I cherish my Saturdays! Not that I don’t love my Doodlebug and My Little Man, it’s just that even a doting Gamma needs a break at least ONE day a week. Well yesterday was my Saturday and I spent it in the ER with a flipping migraine, so no, I did NOT enjoy my Saturday! Insert snark of choice here! No, actually, today is Grandparents Day and I actually can’t wait for the little stinkers to get over here and that’s not for a few more hours, so pardon me if today’s blog is a little short so I can run go get them myself!

Anyway, I had this gosh awful fear of working with two hole beads for the longest time, until a friend kept urging me to try them. So, I tried a simple superduo pattern and by george, I was hooked. Now I can’t get my hands on the new ones coming out fast enough (or as fast as my husband will shell out the $$$). But with superduos I have a special affinity, and have managed to work up a rope bangle that is a little different from the other ones out there. It’s something I came up with after a little trial and error, but it works for me, and comes out beautifully, if not a little time consuming.

Black and Silver

Black and Silver

Cream Pearl

Cream Pearl

These two bangles were done in my layered rope style. The top one in jet black and silver superduos, and the bottom one in cream pearl superduos. They are really quite simple to make, but time consuming. I have found they are not easy to teach either, nor have I found a good way to write out a tutorial for them. However, if you would like one, you know where to find me!

Now, I’m off to get my grandbabies! As always, please don’t forget to subscribe to my blog with your email to get those pop-up, you never know when, mid-week postings, and leave me a comment below to say hi and let me know how I’m doing or what you would like to see.

Until next time, stay smart, or stay smart sassy!

Becca

Sarcasm is a rockhound


sarcasm2A couple of years after I got into beading, my favorite Bead Fairy, Cyn Wilson, introduced me to the use of focal pieces in my work and how to do peyote bezels of cabochons. What, wait, these beautiful…..rocks! That’s right, rocks. Most people hear me talking about my rock obsession or see me scrolling through my Facebook feed looking at slabs and cabs and think either A.) she’s got a screw loose; or B.) does she know something I don’t and are these valuable? Well, the answer is B! The right kinds of rocks can be extremely valuable, and I have learned so much from them!

rockmeme10

My favorites to work with are blue lace agate, moonstone, lepidolite, and pietersite. Most people who collect or buy mineral cabochons do so for wire wrapped jewelry. That is something that I desperately want to be good at, but right now I am all thumbs, as you can see.

My first wire wrapped cabochon, an agate wrapped in copper.

My first wire wrapped cabochon, an agate wrapped in copper.

I have discovered that I have a knack for bezeling these lovely stones with peyote stitch into some fairly decent looking pendants. Then they are either placed for sale in my online store here, or I add a beaded rope, usually done in chenille stitch, and sell them as necklaces, also in my online store. These two are available now. I so enjoyed doing this Shasta Chrysocolla cabochon mined in 1 specific mine from California in a hand beaded bezel of chocolate and mint to accentuate the lovely vein of Chrysocolla running through it. The cabochon was provided by Danny Wade. The black Chinese Writing Stone by Ken Sexton is incredible with its markings and challenging shape. It comes with an 18 inch black and silver chenille stitch beaded rope.

Chinese Writing Stone with 18 inch chenille stitch beaded rope.

Chinese Writing Stone hand bezeled with 18 inch chenille stitch beaded rope.

Shasta Chrysocolla mined in California hand bezeled in turquoise and chocolate Japanese seed beads.

Shasta Chrysocolla mined in California hand bezeled in turquoise and chocolate Japanese seed beads.

My husband keeps threatening to take my bank card away from me because of my rock addiction. I have a display case full, plus enough to fill another. That doesn’t even count all the dichroic glass, polymer clay, and resin cabochons. I have even started making a lot of my own polymer clay cabs for bead embroidery. I love to work with the sun/moon faces as focal pieces, but most of the ones you find for sale online are hand carved out of bone, making them rather pricey. I can make a dozen of them in whatever colors my piece calls for in less than half the money.

This has been a rough week. My home away from home, The Enchanted Bead had to close their doors permanently as of this past Friday at 5:00 p.m., due to the owner’s illness. Cyn Wilson has been a blessing to me, a sister, a friend, but most important, she is a survivor, and will fight like hell with her newest health challenge. I love her and will miss the bead shop, but more important, will miss seeing her on a regular basis. I have learned so much from her, and hope to continue to do so. I am currently working on a project in her honor.

Until next time, stay smart, or stay smart sassy!

Becca

 

Sarcasm Inherited


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Sarcasm comes naturally to me. It is something that I basically inherited and learned from my Dad, who would have turned 66 today. Sadly and suddenly, I lost him 2 years ago. For a long time after he died I had no desire to do anything, and definitely no desire to be creative. But with an amazing support system of family and friends, especially Cyn Wilson of The Enchanted Bead, I began to live my life again, albeit on shaky ground. I finally found my bead muse whispering in my ear that it was time to move on and create something beautiful.

watermarked-chenille heart“Coming Out of the Darkness”

This a 3 inch rose quartz heart my (at the time) 3 year old grandson found at the McWane Center Gift Shop while I was at a doctor’s appointment in Birmingham, Alabama. They have a lot of really cool geodes and cabochons for sale for junior rockhounds. I bezeled it with freeform peyote in black and translucent grey AB and made an 18 inch chenille rope in black and silver. Oh, and by the way, heart-shaped cabochons are not the easiest in the world to bezel!

Cyn encouraged me to place it in her glass showcase, and within a few days of doing so, a customer came in and purchased it on the spot. It was my first jewelry sale – ever. I would like to think my Dad was watching over me and had something to do with that. I named it “Coming Out of the Darkness” because my heart was shrouded in black, like the necklace. I so enjoyed making that piece, and have done several others similar to it since.

I don’t have any snarkiness for you today. I’m remembering my Dad and have been very sick the last few days, but I forge through. I’m playing with the new Czechmate bars and quadra tiles I got Friday from Artbeads, and the Tango triangle beads I got yesterday from Too Cute Beads. I can’t wait to show you what I come up with working with all of those new beads! As always, please leave me a comment and sign up to receive my weekly dose of snark directly in your inbox!

Until next time, stay smart or stay smart sassy!

Becca