Thursday, April 17, 2014

Work in Progress: Spring Colors

This week I’m feeling a little slow and distracted in my workspace, and I’ve taken a couple of days to rest my creative muscles. Sometimes it’s good to just step away for awhile, and when it’s time to work again, there’s that much more enthusiasm.

I’m still just getting started on the new medallion pendant, but I’m loving the colors so far. Before I get any further, I’ll have to clean up that bead spill! I’ve recently switched to Nymo for embroidery, and although the technique doesn’t really call for conditioning, I find that the extra stretch involved in waxing the thread really helps. Plus the beeswax smells divine.

Medallion and Collar in Progress

I’m also testing out colors for a new collar idea. It’s a spring/summer palette with yellow, pink and chartreuse, inspired by 1960’s patterns. We’ll see how it goes!

What are you making this week?

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Medallion Pendant Collaboration

It’s time to reveal the secret behind my new line of bead embroidered pendants! So far this ongoing project has been one of my absolute favorites, and I hope to continue it for as long as I can. It all depends on my new beading partner.

Several weeks ago, I was reading an article about a mother-daughter art team that creates the most unusual and exciting sketches. First Mica Angela Hendricks takes some portrait inspiration from vintage photos. Then she lets her daughter fill in the rest of the picture with her limitless imagination. Mom adds a bit of color and an amazing work of art is born.

Spring Pharaoh Embroidered Pendant Mermaid Print by Mica Angela Hendricks and Daughter

I loved the prints, but it was the collaboration that really caught my attention. I immediately wanted a piece of that creativity for myself. I turned the idea over and over, hoping to come up with an teamwork method that I could use with my own designs. Then I had it! Embroidered medallions are quick to make, and offer a design process that would allow me to involve my own munchkin without expecting him to work a needle.

He was really excited at first, and it only took a few seconds for him to make his first selections. We start with the focal bead, which he chooses from 3 or 4 options that I provide, rotating through my collection of coins and cabochons. Then he picks a felt color and the first round of seed beads. One by one he selects all of the following rows, and I keep on adding color until he tells me it’s done.

Earthy Blue Medallion Pendant Snow White Embroidered Pendant

Not only has the project been a great way for us to do something together, but we’re both learning a lot. At his age, the names of colors are particularly interesting, and it’s fun to watch him catalogue them for future reference, then bring them out again when it’s time to choose the next round. Robin’s egg is a favorite right now.

For me, it’s been another experience in letting go, just like with the Ugly Necklace series. There have been a few times when I thought his color choices crazy, until they absolutely worked. I've learned to be a lot more trusting, and it’s awesome to be able to say to him “You made this, and it’s perfect!”.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Inspired Beader: Little Sweet Candy Shop

Crochet Nursing Bracelet by Little Sweet Candy Shop

When choosing from the millions of combinations of materials, we don’t often think of the many interesting ways in which jewelry can be used. Not just for looking pretty, jewelry can be so much more. Today’s guest is crochet artist Olesya of Little Sweet Candy Shop, who combines fiber and beads to make lovely necklaces and accessories for moms - and everyone else!

Inspirational Beading: When did you first get started with crochet?

Olesya: For me, crochet has always been a hobby, I learned this as a child from my mom, she was mistress of all trades.

Inspirational Beading: Have you always been interested in jewelry design? How did you get started?

Olesya: Seriously started doing it 6 years ago when a friend offered me a job as a designer and creator of children's toys and beads for moms. This work completely intrigued me, all the time I spent creating new designs, products. Then come up with a whole series of jewelry for women and girls.

My best friend Tanya helped me to create a site with which I have accomplished warriors first sale not only in Ukraine, but also in America, Germany, Denmark. Now my card sales is very extensive, I have made many friends around the world and I'm happy. Half a year ago I discovered Etsy. My shop is rather new, but there are already a lot of fans, friends and associates.

Inspirational Beading: Do you remember your first piece? Where is it today?

Olesya: Like everyone else, probably my first items I gave generously to friends and family. This is my first fans and support group. The first were crocheted earrings - grapefruits. Many years have passed and they are still stored at my sister.

Red Crochet Earrings by Little Sweet Candy Shop Gray and Black Crochet Necklace by Little Sweet Candy Shop

Inspirational Beading: Where do you look for your favorite inspiration?

Olesya: Inspiration for me has always been music (classical, rock, Celtic, ethnic, pop), nature, the work of talented artists - regardless of the type of art. . And the last 4 years the inspiration - this is my family and my daughter.

Inspirational Beading: What’s the most interesting or unique thing about your design process?

Olesya: I like the whole process of all its components from the beginning to the end. But most interesting to me is sketching, selection of materials, tools (this can be engaged around the clock). Wherever I went - always with me a notebook for sketches because ideas can visit me anytime and anywhere.

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite color to work with?

Olesya: Basically I create jewelry accessories, toys for kids that creativity I choose bright different colors, I try to embrace the whole palette, be varied. Children need to be surrounded by happiness, light and love. For the women's collection I choose pastel colors and contrast - turquoise, yellow, green, gray. It depends on my mood, sometimes the wishes of customers.

Funny Fruit Crochet Toys by Little Sweet Candy Shop Miniature Crochet Bear Toys by Little Sweet Candy Shop

Inspirational Beading: What are some of your favorite tools or materials?

Olesya: By virtue of my hobbies, I like a lot of things. This wood, especially juniper (it is so fragrant), natural fabrics, yarn (soft cotton comfort for the body), as well as natural stones, which are also used for jewelry.

Inspirational Beading: What is the most exciting design in your shop right now?

Olesya: I think that is a collection of "funny fruit" - they are all crocheted soft toys with funny faces, which are very popular with children and adults. This collection I thought of 5 years ago.

Wood and Crochet Jewelry by Little Sweet Candy Shop

Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

Olesya: In general, I am very happy if I can inspire someone to do creative work. I want to add a little beauty to the world, to create small toys and jewelry that will delight people, toys that help kids develop, surround them with care, will be safe and useful for them.

You can see more unique jewelry and crochet designs at Little Sweet Candy Shop on Etsy. For the latest designs and inspirations, follow along on Facebook, or on Olesya’s blog.

Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading and Little Sweet Candy Shop
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Work in Progress: Brand New Beads

Right now there are some really exciting things happening on my bead tray: I’m about to open several hanks and strands of new beads. It’s one of those great moments in beading, where everything is just right. The palette is selected, the pattern sketched out, and - best of all - fresh, untouched beads are ready to go to work.

Mystery Beadwork and Hank Opening in Progress

There are two projects just about to begin. The first is a new top secret bracelet with some natural and ancient inspiration. The second is medallion number five, featuring a brand new scarab color. These amazing little Czech beads are surprisingly hard to come by, so it’s always nice when a strand pops up in a favorite shop.

Last week’s collar is finally finished. The colors didn't have the tribal effect that I was looking for, but they do have an amazing summer feel that draws you right in. Now that the Egyptian Gods challenge is over, I’m looking forward to more simple experiments with color in collars, just to see what happens.

Summer Spice Collar

What are you working on right now?

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Bead Stash Favorites

Although there’s really no such thing as too many beads, it can be a bit tricky finding inspiration when there are so many wonderful baubles waiting to be stitched. I’ve really beefed up my bead stash recently, and now I just don’t know where to begin! Spring and summer inspirations are definitely having some influence, which is why these three bead picks are at the top of my list right now.

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled lately for great buttons, particularly those that are metal free. This usually leaves rather expensive crystal, glass, and ceramic buttons, so when I saw these totally affordable beauties at, I couldn’t resist. These hand painted flower buttons are made from coconut, so they’re really lightweight despite their size - 35 mm of flowery goodness.

Coconut Flower Buttons

The only thing better than a lovely, organic baroque pearl is a blue one! Although these beads aren’t always drilled ideally for bead weaving, I can’t get enough of the fun shapes. I'm planning to experiment a bit with any culled pieces and see if I can work them into bead embroidery in a satisfactory way. It's not good to waste such gorgeous beads, even if the holes are a mess. The dark blue color of these pearls from Fire Mountain Gems is definitely beach worthy, but I can see them just as easily in some Egyptian inspired pieces.

Blue Baroque Pearls

And finally, in my quest to find great seed bead colors to substitute for gold, I recently fell in love with matte mustard yellow from They’re a little bit yellow and a little bit brown, and the matte finish gives them a wonderful earthy look. Although I usually stay away from matte finish seed beads - I find them far too crunchy for beadwork - I can't pass up a good shade of non-metal gold. I can’t wait to try them out with cobalt and jet black!

Matte Mustard Yellow Seed Beads

What beads are inspiring you right now?

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