Monday, December 29, 2014

Pattern review: Zonnetje pendant by Ellad2

Here's my version of Ellad2's Zonnetje Pendant, the pattern for which is on sale at her Etsy store.

I used black 11/0 and 8/0 seed beads and amber 11/0 Delicas, dark bronze 15/0 beads, gold 6mm pearls and a copper mix of Twin Beads (these are the ones that were too large to work for the Marquesa earrings).

The design is nicely balanced among elements -- no one type of bead dominates and I like that.

It's made with standard beads and even works with Czech Twin Beads (rather than SuperDuos). It's quite forgiving that way.

It's double sided, so looks good no matter which way it hangs.  As with all Ellad2 patterns I've tried, the instructions are super clear and it was a pleasure to stitch.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Another version of Sidonia's Bollywood Earrings

Here's another colour way!

12mm brown rivolis
3mm brown bicones
15/0 matte bronze seed beads

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Pattern review: Art Deco Style Earrings by Sidonia

This is my review of the bead weaving pattern for Art Deco Style Earrings by Italian designer Sidonia Petki sold through her Etsy shop ByAllBeads.

I used amethyst bicones, grey pearls and metallic silver 15/0 seed beads.

The instructions were quite clear and easy to follow. My word of advice is to keep some pretty serious tension going while you stitch this or the construction will be loose and floppy. I made another pair with red and bronze beads and the first earring was a bit loose and the second was tight so they didn't look enough alike :)

An easy stitch. RECOMMENDED

Friday, December 26, 2014

Pattern review: Bollywood Earrings by Sidonia

I finished my first pair of bead woven Bollywood Earrings following the pattern by Sidonia sold through her Etsy shop ByAllBeads.

I used a metallic bronze 15/0, some sort of pale AB coated 3mm bicones and aquamarine 12mm rivolis.

First of all, I LOVE this netted bezel! It allows more of the rivoli to be seen, and with a pale and brilliant colour like the aqua that's a plus.

The tutorial instructions were very clear, with diagrams and photos to explain some of the fiddlier bits. It's a pretty easy stitch and they go together quickly.

I usually prefer my earrings to be a bit more rigid but I like the light weight and unusual shape of these. All in all I'm going to make another pair for myself and see what I think.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas! I'm working on these Bollywood Earrings

I started them last night. They're from a pattern by ByAllBeads who sells her tutorials on Etsy. They're the Bollywood Earrings and I'm really enjoying the pattern.

I love these 12mm aqua rivolis and was happy to find a pattern that did them justice.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pattern review: Marquesa Earrings by NannyPinksPassion

This is my test of Marquesa Earring pattern by Angie Martin who sells from her Etsy shop, NannyPinksPassion

14mm Moss Green rivolis
4mm brass beads
11/0 matte transparent brown Miyukis
8/0 bronze matte Tohos

Like Linda Genaw of Linda's Crafty Inspiration Blog, I had some problems with using non-Superduo twin beads with this pattern. I had a tube of pretty matte copper Dazzle-It twin beads, also Czech but not labelled Superduo. They are too thick -- at least .5 of a mm thicker than real Superduos -- and the pattern simply didn't work with them.  I tried three times to make it work and finally gave up my pretty colour choices. If I hadn't read Linda's review, I would have given up on this pattern entirely!

But I retried it with the beads listed above and all was well :)

This is, hands down, the most clever way of bezelling a rivoli I've ever seen. It's really ingenious, and results in a rather pear shaped opening for a round rivoli. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't done it myself.

I have one tip -- when adding the netting for the bezel to the top of the earring, ignore Angie's directions about adding the loop for the earwire. I got a tad confused at this point in the pattern. Just carry on doing the netting for the bezel and add whatever you need for the earwire later.

I also used 1 11/0 1 8/0 1 11/0 for the picot at the bottom of the earring instead of 3 11/0s.

This is a gorgeous pattern and well worth buying and stitching, but don't even try any twin bead that's not a SuperDuo.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Eau de source Pendant by Ellad2

Next up, another pendant designed by Ellad2 and stitched by me.

funny, but I had made this before and didn't like it as much as I thought I would -- but this time I like it much better :)  I changed a few things, but the basic structure is as designed.

You can find the tutorial on Ellad2's Etsy page.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Armoria pendant

I'm getting back into beadweaving as we move towards winter and here's my newest piece. The pattern is Armonia by Etsy seller FucsiaStyle. She's an Italian designer whose patterns are clear and easy to follow, and available in both English and Italian.

I enjoyed making this pendant -- it's a very simple method for bezelling a rivoli and I love learning more ways to do this! Clever use of SuperDuo beads, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New denim jacket

Got a denim jacket today! Good old Penningtons -- I'd looked at a lot of jackets online and in person and this was by far my favourite.

Good value, too -- $68.  

See it here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Really impressed by Reitmans plus size clothes for fall

I honestly don't think I've ever shopped at Reitman's before, which is odd considering how few stores there are offering plus size clothes in Canada.

Our local Penningtons closed down last year, so I thought that the closest place to buy plus size clothes in person was 100 km away in Halifax, but then I realized that Reitman's is really close (Bridgewater) and that THEY have plus size clothes!

Spent a pleasant half an hour there and came away with these:


The "love" sweatshirt is THE SOFTEST thing -- way more pretty and gorgeous in person than in the photo. They also have an amazing selection of scarves, especially infinity scarves, in their stores! I picked up two, I liked them so much :)

So, yay, Reitman's!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Plu size DIY Kimono, sewing without a pattern

I've been admiring kimono cardigans online for weeks now, and wanting to add at least one to my wardrobe. (I'm using the term "kimono" in the way it's used in current fashion -- a simple drapey jacket, duster or coat, largely constructed of rectangles -- rather than in the authentic Japanese way).


There are lots of kimono sewing tutorials out there but none especially for plus sizes. (I was especially amused by the one that cuts a T-shaped piece of fabric out of one width of material -- after leaving enough room for my magnificent body, this would give me a kimono with 3 inch long sleeves :))

This one is probably closest to the tutorial on Elle Apparel, although I think mine makes putting on the sleeves easier :) And mine doesn't have an extra shirt tail of fabric on the back (although that might not be a bad idea ...)

I had about three metres of a really lovely, slightly crinkled fine woven fabric in my stash, in a rich, orange, grey, green and black paisley print. I had bought it last season for a dress, but decided that it would be perfect for my first kimono! It's definitely got the exotic, boho feel I want.

Love this paisley pattern! The main colour is a super-saturated dark orange that's only a few steps from a tomato red.
This kind of kimono is made of 5 rectangles -- one big one for the back, another equal one, split vertically for the two front sides and two equal, smaller ones for the sleeves.

I'm a US 3X or 22/24 so this kimono is made to fit me.  It would actually work on a 4X, size 26 as well. It's roomy :)

1. Cut or rip a length of fabric that equals the length of garment you want. I used a 36" length. I took 2.5 inches off each side giving me a rectangle measuring 36" long by 40" wide (I originally thought I could use the full width of the fabric -- this gave me a really enormous and unflatteringly wide kimono :))

2. Cut or rip a second equal length and width, then cut or rip it in half vertically giving you two rectangles 36" long by 20" wide.

3. Sew the back to the fronts at the shoulders, leaving room for your neck. I left 4" on each side of the centre front opening.

I ripped a 16' wide strip of fabric from my left over piece and then ripped it in half giving me two 16" by 22.5" rectangles. These will be my sleeves.

5. I found the centre of these rectangles and put a pin in place to remind me where that centre was (you could also make a little notch in the fabric). I pinned the sleeves to the kimono, matching the centre of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, and sewed the sleeves on.

I then turned the sleeves out. 

Folding the kimono in half along the shoulder seam, right sides together, I sewed the bottom of the sleeves together, then turned the corner and sewed the side seam of the kimono. 

I tried on the kimono at this point, danced around for a while and and then hemmed the sleeves and the bottom edges.

8. The last edge to finish is the centre front/neck.  You could shape this edge and then bind it with either self binding or contrast. You could make a facing. Or you could do what I did: I turned in the front edge from the side of the neck opening to the centre front to create a straight line and trimmed off the excess fabric.  I then turned in the edge twice to contain the raw edge and hemmed all the way around the front opening and back of the neck. After pressing, this looked just fine to me.

Here's how it looks at the end of today. I'm going to buy some fringed trim for the bottom edge, partly to give it a little weight (that will bring out the drapey-ness of the fabric) and partly because it looks extra bohemian that way!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Punky Colour Fire Red ombre hair diy

So I bought this jar of Punky Colour Fire Red semi-permanent hair dye a few weeks ago out of a fit of intense boredom with my greying, ash-blonde streaked brown hair.

I have played with hair colour for decades, moving from various red/brown combinations in my twenties and thirties to a more staid and light look that I thought was suitable for my age.

But I'm so BORED! I want my hair to be fun and I really want it to reflect who I feel I am inside, which is not a polite middle aged woman.

I had directed Orpheus in the Underworld this summer and had bought some gorgeous ombre wigs for a few of the goddesses.  Then I searched for any examples of women over 50 (hell, over 30 would have done) doing this -- couldn't find anything except Helen Mirren's really pretty pink hair.

Today I finally said, "Let's go!:, I don't care", and dyed it red ombre.

Here's what I did:  Painted on the colour on the bottom three inches of my hair quite thickly, waited 20 minutes, then painted very lightly on the three inches above that, and timed for a final 20 minutes.

And I love it. I don't know what I'm going to do with it but it just plain makes me happy :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What I wore today: Coco and Juan, Laura Plus, Additionelle

I took some new items for a walk -- over-knee leather boots by Addition-Elle (on sale at 25% off), infinity scarf by Addition-Elle, lagenlook Angel Tunic in espresso brown by Coco and Juan - with my favourite long jacket from a previous Laura Plus collection.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Making Ellad2's Marigold Bracelet

Oh, Ellad2, how I love your patterns! I'd been eyeing this one, with its central rivoli, for a while: here's how it looks in her promotional photos:

Here's mine, about halfway through adding the pearls to the base's netting: I used a 12mm Swarovski tivoli in their new colour, Crystal Lilac Shadow, as the focal here. The pattern also calls for 4 mm bicones (Burgundy) and 4 mm pearls (also Burgundy).

I used too much tension on the first half of the band, meaning that the work became very tight when I got to the final stages:

It's much, much better on the other side!  By the way, I really like the look of the netting only, so if you wanted an airier piece, you could just leave off the final layer of pearls and you'd be good to go.

Once again, thanks to Ellad2 for another wonderful pattern!

You can buy this pattern at Ellad2's own website: or from her Etsy store:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Beaded ropes: chenille stitch

I really like beaded ropes! They make great simple bracelets and necklaces on their own, or wonderful ways to show off a beaded or bead embroidered pendant.

It's a hybrid between herringbone and netting stitch, and it makes a lacy, fairly open rope.

I learned this stitch yesterday and worked up two examples of it.  The bottom version is worked in size 11/0 seed beads: Miyuki colour Salmon  SB11-0553  for the main colour and black for the netting.

The top version is worked in size 8/0 beads: a brown mix for the main colour and copper metal for the netting.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beaded ropes - spiral stitch

Spiral bead weaving stitch is probably my favourite kind of beaded rope -- it works up quickly, is sturdy and I think it's very attractive without being too bulky.

All three examples above are made with the same basic recipe: a core of 4 8/0 seed beads and the outer spiral of 1 11/0, 1 4 mm fire polished bead and 1 11/0.


Spiral Stitch Tutorial at Ruby's Bead Work

Spiral rope stitch at beadingdaily