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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Beading Around a Cabochon -- and Then Reworking It

Last Sunday, I taught a program project for beading around a cabochon. Each member interested in participating brought a one-inch round cabochon already glued to whatever she chose for an interfacing. I brought a picture jasper cabochon, admittedly larger than one inch in diameter, that I glued to Lacy's Stiff Stuff with E6000 glue. I used E6000 glue because once it dries, it's clear, and the glue is flexible enough that you can sew through it.

The picture jasper cabochon looked to me like mountains with the blue sky overhead. As I had told the members prior to the program, they should choose beads in different sizes that matched the colors in the cabochon. With that in mind, I chose tan, brown, and blue. The sizes I chose were 8/0, 10/0 triangles, Delicas (which are 12/0 actually, not 11/0), and 15/0.

I worked on my cabochon as I taught the class to the members. Because they had brought in smaller cabochons, several of them finished their cabochons by the end of the session. I had to finish mine at home. I got as far as half of the round of the Delicas of the third row of peyote in that color. At home, I finished that round, and then added one round of 15/0 to tighten up the beading at the crown of the cabochon.

Here's a picture of the cabochon after I glued the interfacing to the brown backing that I wanted to use on the piece:

picture jasper cabochon, work in process
The reflection on the stone is hiding a little bit of the blue part that looks like the sky, but it's at the top of the cabochon. When I was done with this work, I was happy with the way the colors coordinated with the cabochon, but not too happy that the beadwork was hiding the blue part of the stone.

So what I decided to do is take off four rows of peyote stitch, which will take off the 15/0 beads, and take off three rows of the blue Delicas. I replaced the last row of Delicas removed with a brown Delica, and this tightened up the beadwork. I still wanted to highlight the brown in the stone, so the picot edge that I'm going to sew to hide the edges of the interfacing and the facing will be a brown similar to the 15/0 beads here.

Below is the redesigned cabochon.
Re-designed Cabochon
Re-designed Cabochon

This reworking resulted in more of the blue showing on the stone, while still keeping a bit of brown on the inside beadwork. Using the same strong brown Delica, I finished the cabochon with a picot edge.

I was very pleased with the new look of the cabochon. Now I am thinking of designing a strand for it, and then perhaps fringe.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Part of being a Creative Circle Ambassador is getting the new products from Cousin's Prima Bead website and trying them out. Last month, we received kumihimo disks and supplies. We Ambassadors were told to enjoy and experiment.

I gladly took up this challenge and using the square disk, I made these braids:

Kumihimo Braid
This is not two bracelets, but one. I took pictures of each side and put them into one photo so you can see the difference of the two sides. This was ten strands, five red, five tan, with the colors opposite each other except for the two in the middle, which had one red and one tan.

So, what if the strands were next to each other, and I added some beads?
Kumihimo Braid
Kumihimo Braid with Beads
This gave me more of a tweed look, and the beads embellishing the braid matched so well that I was pleased with the results. This was my first flat braid.

I had made other Kumihimo jewelry designs using the round braids at a class at the Bead & Button show and using a traditional mauradai:

Kumihimo Necklace
Sheilah Cleary Design Taught at Bead & Button Show 2009

Once I returned from the Bead & Button Show, I did another like this with different beads and an accent bead I bought ten years ago at a show:

Kumihimo Necklace
Gail Devoid, Ph.D. Design

I wasn't done experimenting with the mauradai by any means. I went on to use another technique to create this one, which sold within weeks of listing it at my Need For Beads store at eBay:

Kumihimo Necklace

After playing around with the square disk from Prima Bead, I went into my stash and got some rattail satin cord and my round Kumihimo disk. I used the round disk even though you can make a round braid with a square disk, and vice versa. However, if you have both disks, why make it hard on yourself?

Kumihimo Braid
Round Braid with a Trinkette® from Cousin

The Trinkette® is attached using a chain that can be removed, but really, I think the bracelet looks better with it on. This was inspired by the trees in my area, which is Boscawen NH, starting to turn colors. It seems too soon for summer to end, but it is not too soon to start designing for fall and the holiday season. I hope this gives you some ideas of what you can do with simple Kumihimo braids.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Prima Bead Has Four New Class in a Box Offerings!

Part of being a Creative Circle Ambassador is getting the new products from Cousin's Prima Bead website and trying them out. This month, we received the newest styles of Class in a Box (CIAB), like the Casual Style. We Ambassadors were tasked with designing something original and not in the instruction book.
I gladly took up this challenge and from the Casual Style, this was a bracelet I designed:

Finished Necklace
One of the other new styles, Shimmer, was the one that I liked the best. With this CIAB, I decided to make a few things:
From the Shimmer Class in a Box
Pendant, Key Fob, Zipper Pull
I love earrings, and the Natural Class in a Box had some wood spacers I thought were interesting. The packaging for these new styles is really remarkable. The components and findings are each in their little bag, glued to the center of the box, and allows you to see everything included. Designing from these organized beauties becomes easy.


The fourth new style, Classic, was wonderful as well. I love the classic style and made a pair of earrings that I really like. Simple, yes, ... easy to make, yes ... beautiful, definitely!


The little dangles came from the end of the chains included, and add movement to the earrings. The same design could use the black or red beads included in the box.

Doing this assignment was great fun, and you should check out these new offerings from Prima Bead. Even if you have never beaded before, the instruction book included with the Class in a Box styles will teach you everything you need to be successful.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Necklace - Bead & Button Show 2013

You saw the beginning idea for the necklace displayed by Cousin at Prima Bead's booth at the June 2013 Bead & Button Show. Now that the show is done, I can reveal the finished necklace, which took me 260 hours of stitching and beading to complete.

I had an April 1, 2013 deadline, but still had quite a bit of work to do. Cousin assured me that they would not be packing for the show for a few weeks, so I continued working. The picture below gives a good idea why things took so long!

Finished Necklace

Looking at this, you might think, "Looks awfully heavy!" and you would be correct. The way to make such a necklace comfortable to wear is to add a counterweight. By doing so, the necklace does not hang from your neck, but more rests on your shoulders. Here is a shot of the counterweight:

Yes, that looks heavy, too, but our shoulders are broad enough to bear the weight easily. I wore this to the Rotary Club of Concord's Changing of the Gavel, and it was very comfortable.

Finally, here's a shot of how it all came together in the back of the necklace:

Even though YOU can't see the back of a necklace, others can. I tried to make this as pretty as possible. I don't know how many occasions there will be for me to wear this, but it surely looks nice in the Need For Beads store. We had our Grand Opening in June.

The Cousin Creative Circle team members were at the Prima Booth at the Bead & Button Show, and we just had to take a group shot:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

PrimaBead Entry for Bead & Button Show

One of my pieces will be displayed by Cousin at PrimaBead's booth at the June 2013 Bead & Button Show. I decided to do an embroidered necklace and this picture shows the start after cutting out the shape of the bib. I have five white stones with one white and brown agate placed on the bib.

I then used different techniques to create bezels, including peyote stitch, backstitching, and couching.
Once I had the main accent stones done (except for the lower center one...there I am going to add some peyote stitching to the inside hole), I started embroidering the background.

Entry for PrimaBead

As you can see, progress is made, but this type of design takes a lot of work. This is how much I had done by March 15, 2013. There is an April 1, 2013 deadline for submission.

The fringe technique is called "corraling", and originated in Russia.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cousin Creative Circle Ambassadors Visit Cousin Corporation of America

On February 20, 2013, four of Cousin Corporation of America's (CCA) Creative Circle Ambassadors (CCCA) traveled to the Tampa Bay Area to visit CCA's headquarters and facility in Largo, Florida.

I was the first to land in Florida and spent hours with Chris White from the Sales Department. We traveled to Clearwater Beach, and spent lunchtime eating sandwiches outside at a local pub.

The rest of the day was spent picking up the other three CCCA's and giving them the tour. We all arrived at our beautiful Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Redington Beach around 4 PM and had a chance to unpack, enjoy the beautiful ocean view from our rooms and prepare for our photo shoot and reception.

Here's Chris heading towards the beach:

Chris White

After meeting the wonderful team at Cousin, formal photos were taken as the sun was setting.

CCA team on the beach at Redington

From the left, Jeff Cousin, Shelly Owen, Lisa Crone, Suzette Bentley, Gail Devoid, and Liz Heggy.

We enjoyed a wonderful reception and met several of the managers and staff from Cousin.

The next day, one of the fabulous things we did at the headquarters was browse the bead library to pick out whatever supplies we wanted to design whatever we could do in one hour. As we had just met the designers, I already had my head spinning with ideas, so I quickly picked out matching beads and findings and got to work.

I started with a bead board and the beads I chose in pink. Here's the necklace that sports a silver sand dollar, which was designed by Theresa Hyatt. In a conversation with Theresa, we learned that we both received inspiration from nature. It was no surprise to me that I loved her designs!

Here's a closeup of the silver sand dollar:

Silver Sand Dollar Pendant

The clasp that Theresa designed was a piece of enameled metal in the shape of coral connecting to a seahorse. Beautiful! Because of a twist designed into the coral side, the clasp is very secure.

Clasp-Coral and Seahorse

I found I had time left to make a pair of matching earrings with the leftovers from my supplies. I have noticed that Cousin gives enough materials in a strand for beaders to make these little extras.


A tour of the factory showed us how Cousin manages to ship so many orders a day, and we enjoyed meeting the oh-so-quick order pullers. All of the office walls at Cousin are decorated with pictures of past themes, jewelry, some of which have the actual jewelry on dress forms in front of the pictures. What an enjoyable visit!

That night I wore my latest design to the excellent dinner the group had at the Salt Rock Grill. The wine room was behind glass walls and doors and very impressive.

I cannot thank the team at Cousin Corporation of America for planning and preparing for our visit, and making it one of the highlights of 2013 for me.

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