Saturday, April 14, 2012

Playing with Leather

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I purchased some fabulous leather from Mood Fabric in NYC when I was recently there.   I finally got around to playing with it a bit.   OK, I had a LOT to do in the store.   All those beady purchases weren't going to get priced and placed on the sales floor by themselves!

I wanted to stay pretty simple with my first venture with the leather, so I envisioned a fairly simple cuff with a bead embroidered cab.   I found an interesting druzy (from CBB, of course!) and went from there.

I chose an almost metallic finish black leather for the cuff, and kept it all in grays and gunmetal.     The edging is done in a steel color charlotte to give it an industrial feel.   I backed it with another piece of leather, suede side out for wearing comfort, and added two snaps for the closure.

I LOVE the way it turned out!!   It was easy enough to do the embroidery right on the leather, and even though this one was thin, I did not need to back it with any Lacy's; the second piece of leather for the backing gave it enough body.

Now my little brain is swimming in ideas for more leather cuffs.   I had better find myself some more snaps this weekend.....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

New York, New York

I spent a fabulous week in New York City.   All bead related.   Initially, I was going up to attend the Whole Bead Show, and see some of my wholesalers who have their showrooms in the city.   Then, I received an email from my fave Czech supplier, York Novelty.  They were sponsoring a bead event featuring workshops and classes with Laura McCabe and Maggie Roschyk just a couple of days before I was intending to be there.   Holy plan changer!   I couldn't pass up an opportunity to take a class from Larura McCabe!!  My usual four day visit turned into a week.

'the gang'
Laura, Perry Bookstein of York Novelty, Betsey, me, Nikia and Sherry

After making my plans, I heard some more good news.   First, on facebook, I found out that Nikia Angel (Buy the Kit) and Betsey Ventrilla (Beyond Beadery) were flying in to shop and support their beady buds.   Then, my pal Sherry Serafini messaged me that she would be there with Maggie.   It was like old home week at the Meet the Teachers wine and cheese event on the Thursday night before the workshops began.

Maggie, me and Sherry

I attended the Whole Bead Show on Friday, and again Sunday, buying lots and lots of goodies for the shop.   I even ran into a customer who was visiting her son in the city.   Saturday was class day.   Yippee!!   It was so much fun to be on the other side, being the student for a change, instead of the hostess.

 Monday and Tuesday were filled with wonderful beady shopping,    I shopped with  my favorite pearl and stone vendors, visited the folks who bring us the Thunderpolish crystal and saw their whlole line, and of course picked out my Czech beads from York (too busy taking classes and visiting friends to shop before.)

  But I am really excited about the leather!!    Sherry was all excited about getting leather from Mood Fabrics.   You may know that name from Project Runway and Project Accessory.   I went there and was floored!!   The beautiful leathers I saw!!   I purchased a few different pelts, and a snap and eyelet setting tool.   I am thinking bead embroidered leather cuffs, ala Laura McCabe (without her signature spikes.)   I did pick up some fabulous druzy cabs...Hmmmm.......

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The 'AHA' Moment

I have had an epiphany.   I wasn't looking for one, though I suppose one never does, they just happen.   Let me explain.

On Saturday, a lovely couple from Cleveland visited our shop.   They were in Pittsburgh for a concert.   Being the friendly folks that we are, we got to talking.   The woman inquired about any low cost, on sale beads that we may have for teenage girls.   I showed her our close-outs, but she said the girls would go through them too quickly even at that price.  

As they were shopping, the woman mentioned that they run an orphanage in Central America.   I asked, where in Central America, and she said in Honduras.   I know of the need in Honduras.   My hubby, John, took a cigar smoking trip there two years ago, and told me of the horrible poverty there.   When I mentioned that, the couple knew exactly where John had gone.   In fact, the cigar maker is a friend and benefactor of their orphanage, which lies just an hour away.  

Upon hearing that, I grabbed a bag and filled it with close-out beads for her kids.   A small gesture, to be sure.   When I gave the bag'o'beads to Karen, her eyes teared up, and she opened up about kids they help.   I was amazed when she told me of the young girl who got a scholarship for high school, how all the other kids are making jewelry to sell to help her with her expenses, and that my bag of throw away beads will cover all of her expenses through school.

That is when it hit me.   The AHA Moment.   We all have left over, unloved, unwanted beads in our stash.   Why not set up a drive to collect them at Cystal Bead Bazaar?   I told Karen and John we could collect the beads, and send them to Cleveland.   We love Pittsburgh, they said, we will be happy to drive here to collect them!   We all hugged, teary eyed, when they were ready to leave.

I thought about Karen and John, and the stories they told me.   Honduras is the poorest country in the Americas, this I knew, but they put names and stories to the poverty.   I checked out their website, and saw the happy faces of these children who have lived such hard little lives.   Now, I have to tell you that my eyes are filled with tears as I am writing this.

To think that items that mean next to nothing to us can make such a profound difference to a child!   On the website, I learned that the children also crochet.   I know that many of us are cross crafters, and many of us have a left over ball or skein of yarn from a project.   We can collect them too!

Won't you help, too?   Just drop off your unwanted and left over beads, yarn and craft supplies at Crystal Bead Bazaar.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Projects, projects, projects!!

How many different projects are you working on?   I am currently working on three, well, three that I can say I am actively working on.   First, is Edwardian Ruffles bracelet by  Leslie Frazier in the current issue of  Beadwork.   I am about half done with that, but haven't picked it up in a couple of weeks.   I seem to have gotten waylayed by a couple of other things.

This is what I am currently obsessed with.   I think my lace collar is coming along well.   I am going to allow a bit of the lace to show through, but I need to fill in the 'holes' where the Lacy's peeks through with beading.   But something else popped up that is keeping me from working on it.

I need to donate a piece for our neighborhood Gourmet Spaghetti Dinner.   This year it is raising funds for the Bernard Memorial Dog Park, a cause doubly close to my heart.   First, it is a very much needed in our neighborhood dog park, and it is named for my dear departed friend, Jay Bernard, of Jay Design soap store.   Because it is so important to me, I wanted to donate something special, not the usual strung bracelet, or simple earrings.

I dug out this lariat made with St. Petersburg chain that I made last year and never finished.   I guess I realized that I would not wear this green and pink necklace, so I did not finish it.  (I do not like pink!!!)   I made a few Russian leaves and flowers, ala Lisa Kan in her book, Bead Romantique.   I have one side done, only one more to do, then I can go back to what I want to work on!!

Of course, I still have my long term project, the beaded cigar box, but I can't find it.    How many active projects are you working on?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lace Collars

Barb Cherwaty taught her Bead Embroidered Lace Collar this past Saturday.   Her lace collar is really big, and I think it scared potential students off.

 Barb kindly gave me a lace collar to play with.   I started working on it during the Super Bowl.  OK, I listened for the good commercials...especially liked the one with the racing French bulldog (of course!) but I digress.   Since I started with an off white collar, I wanted to keep it in the ivory family, with subtle colors.   I thought Swarovski elements Silk would be a perfect color, but I did not have a rivoli or large stone in that color.   After thinking about it a while, I hit upon using a large coin pearl for my starting point.

What do you think so far?

Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm Back!!!

After a long (long, long, long) absence, I am back on the blog.   You know, this is really tough for a 50+ person such as myself to figure out how to utilize this stuff.   But I am trying.

Anyway,  I wanted to share with you my latest project.   It is straight from the pages of Beadwork Magazine.    This month's issue is fantastic, with lots of projects that I cannot wait to sink my teeth into.   This particular one is from Carole Horn.   I just need to get a couple of snaps, and it is all done!

Next up, I think I will do Leslie Frazier's ruffle bracelet from the same issue.