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I Apologize

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Sorry to have been absent for so long. I have had family and computer issues, some of which are resolved.

We did get a little trip to the desert with my daughter and granddaughter. My daughter isn’t much of an outdoors person, as she was raised in Florida. Her idea of hiking is a day at the beach with a good book. So, I am teaching my granddaughter to hike safely. She is pretty good at it and loves the adventure.

My latest adventure is finally completed. It is a little clutch purse. It started out as a piece of vintage kimono fabric that I thought would be a great pendant for a necklace. Alas, it was too big. Anyway, he finished result is pretty spectacular. Now I am making felt beads, an idea I got from Paula Best. I haven’t photographed any yet, but check our her site. They are pretty cool, and each one is different.

I will try to do a better job of keeping up with this blog in the future. Meanwhile, here is a photo of the purse.Image

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Just A Few Musings

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It has been a really busy few weeks. But summer is here and the snowbirds are leaving. That usually means things slow down. So, I was just going to write a happy mom’s day to all you mom’s out there, but didn’t even find time to do that.
I’m back at it, but a little pushed for time, so this will be short.
Although I bought that really good book about fabric beads, there are just some things you have to learn by trial and error. So, if you’ve taken an interest in this subject, hang in there.
One tip I’d give is that you must be very careful when rolling the beads to get the ends perfectly even, or you’ll be trimming them–a big time waster. Also, you’re gonna find that some fabrics just don’t roll well, so stick with silk, cotton, linen and leather. Sometimes polyester will work, but you’ll probably have to reglue them at the edges. Which reminds me, use only enough glue to coat the fabric strip. If it bleeds thru, it will leave dark places. As will getting it anywhere on the front side as you work, so keep a wet cloth handy to wipe your hands and a dry towel to dry them.
I finally received the bail I’d ordered from Art Beads and made the necklace I showed the beads for. I will photograph it once I get earrings made and post it for all to see.
Unfortunately or not, I need several projects going at once to be happy, so the earrings are not done yet. But I have comitted to competing everything I have going before I start anything new.
If you’re delving into this adventure with fabric, good luck and enjoy the journey.

Today’s the Day

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Expanding the Horizons of Fabric Beads

I just finished a blog and lost it. How on earth does that happen. Anyway it was about actually making the beads now that you have some fabric decided on.

I make two types of beads: tubes and ovals. Use a rotary cutter on a mat for the most consistant beads. You’ll also need a 18″ plastic ruler–the type used to cut fabric for quilts. You will cut your fabric lengths with consideration for the thickness of the fabric and the diameter of the straw. Here are the basics, but you’ll have to do a little experimenting to see what works for you: thin coffee stirrers, cut strips in 11/2″-2″ lengths; regular straws, cut fabric strips in 3″ lengths; jumbo straws, cut fabric strips in 5″-6″ lengths. These lengths make for good, sturdy beads. Remeber to cut with the grain of the fabric.

Tringles start with rectangles. The width of the bead ranges from 1/2″ to 2″. I like the shorter beads best as they lay nicest. Once you have your rectangle, place the ruler about 1/2″ up the bead and diagonally between the edge and the center of the bead. Do the same on the other side. You will generally roll these on the coffee stirrers.

Prepare a drying rack. You can use chopsticks with a rubber band wrapped around several times and stuck into a container with dry beans in it, or toothpicks stuck into packing foam blocks. That is my preferance.

For gluing you will need your fabric strips, straws, Weldbond glue, spatula (small), and newsprint or newspaper. I also keep a wet rag hand for wiping hands. You don’t want glue on the exterior of the bead as it leaves a smudge. Pleace the fabric face side down on the paper, add a bit of glue at the top and fold it over the straw. Add glue to the rest of the fabric, smooth with the spatula, and roll around the straw. Voila, your first bead. Place it on the drying rack and step away from the bead. Don’t futz with it or you chance ruining it. Beads must dry thoroughly befor they will release from the straw.

Now that you have some dry beads, take them off the straws, trim loose fibers and prepare to paint the ends. This ensures they will be solid. I love metallic acrylic paint for this, but do use acrylic craft paint as well. Shake the bottle well, then dip the ends into the cap where paint has settled. Do one end at a time and wait for it to dry before you do the other end. Your beads are now ready to string.

What do you know about making jewelry? This is where the real adventure begins. I had to buy more books and find a beading buddy so that I wan’t reinventing the wheel. I must say that my supplies have grown with my knowledge. Can’t walk into a Joann’s or Michael’s without heading for the bead section, never mind a specialty bead store. And I’ve expanded the range of what I do. The following photo is an example of uisng fun fur and wrapped wooden beads.

Let me know what you need instruction in and I’ll be glad to share what I know.

Expanding the Horizons of Fabric Beads

Fun Fur and Fun