Thursday 27 February 2014

Stashbusting for BB&B - Beads in Motion

Last weekend I decided to have a tidy up of my stash, what a wake up call! I have been mostly buying what I fancy without really considering what I am going to use it for and the result is that my storage is very overstretched. Yes, I could go out and buy more storage (and let's be honest, we have probably all done that), but I really think I'd like to get back to stashbusting.

I'm going to be doing a series of "Stashbusting for" specific topics and what better way to kick it off than tying in with Clair's Bead, Book and Bounce Challenge? I decided to go through my stash, identifying where I have a surplus of riches, matching them up with projects from the book and making up little kits to work on during the next month. There were some cases where I needed to improvise as I didn't have everything specified, but I'm not allowing myself to buy new stash for these projects.

While deciding what projects to make, I did hit on a little snag as the projects in this book use lots of 2mm and 3mm crystals, but I don't tend to buy a lot of them. I still did manage to kit up for two projects though!

The first kit is for the Revolution Ring, as I said, I don't have a lot of 3mm crystals, so I substituted some FP and will adapt the ring band to use seed beads.

The second kit is for the Swing Dance Earrings, I have lots of 15s and 11s, so that was no problem, but I did need to substitute beads for the edging and I don't have lots of chain, so I will need to improvise for the dangles.

See how I got on when Clair posts the reveal for BB&B.

Happy beading!


Tuesday 25 February 2014

February Challenge Last Chance Saloon!

Many of you will already have completed and sent in your February Challenge pieces but some, like myself, will probably have left it till the last minute. I made mine last Friday while watching the Rubgy and just playing with some beads in the right colours that I grabbed quickly out of the stash. Because I had no plan in mind, my entry doesn't have the twist. Since then though, I have had a few ideas for quick and easy herringbone straps that you just need to add a clasp to and voila, a bracelet that fully meets the challenge specs! I thought that I would share those simple ideas here to help anyone who has not yet had chance to join in with the challenge, you should still have enough time time to whip up something!

If you aren't familiar with herringbone stitch, Liz wrote some great instructions which you will find on the right of the blog. I have made up some small samples (shown below), using the colours in various simple patterns to show how easy it is to use this stitch in combination with a few different colours. Feel free to use any of them, or even better use them as a kick start to inspire your own pattern. So spill those seedies out on your bead mat, pointy needle at the ready and get herringboning :-).

All of these samples use Miyuki size 11 seed beads and are six beads across, which results in an 11mm wide bracelet.

Happy beading!


Thursday 20 February 2014

The February Giveaway

Hello! I'm happy to announce that I'm sponsoring this month's OTTBS Giveaway - and I have a little bit of a treat ready. I'm going to be giving one lucky winner a copy of Jean Power's Compendium Of Beading Techniques.

For a chance to win this amazing book, just comment on this post by 12 Noon (GMT) on Thursday 27th February. The winner will be drawn at random and announced, here on the blog, on the 28th February. This giveaway is open to entrants worldwide.
Clair x

Friday 7 February 2014

Beads In Motion {Bead, Book & Bounce}

As regular readers will know, every two months we choose one of the most popular beading and jewellery making books and challenge our readers to make something inspired by the techniques or projects covered within it's pages. And I'm a little bit excited to announce that the next book we'll be working from is Marcia De Coster's 'Beads In Motion'. 

Published in September 2013, Beads In Motion made it's way onto many beaders Christmas Wishlists! So if like me, you received a copy in your stocking but have yet to start (or finish) a project, please join us over the next two months while we work on projects inspired by Marcia's innovative designs! 

"My favorite pieces in the book? The whole book!" - Shala Kerrigan,  Bella Online

Free Projects -

Lark Craft's have released a free project from the book - Swing Dance Earrings - so, if the book isn't already on your bookshelf, you can still join in with this round Bead, Book & Bounce!

More From Marcia -

Visit Marcia's website Mad Designs, to see more images of her amazing work, oogle her beading kits, look up classes in your area and more!

When Will Projects From Beads In Motion Be Due? 

Projects will be due on the 5th April! But don't worry, I'll remind you! 

And, if you haven't had chance already, please stop by and take a look at the lovely projects that were inspired by our last Bead, Book & Bounce choice, Twelve Modern Vintage Projects: The Reveal - a little bit of love is always appreciated!

Clair x

Thursday 6 February 2014

Twelve Modern Vintage Projects: The Reveal {Bead, Book & Bounce}

In our regular feature Bead, Book & Bounce, we choose one of the most popular beading and jewellery making books and challenge our readers to make something inspired by the techniques or projects covered within it's pages. Over the last two months, we've been working from The Best Of Beadwork: Twelve Modern Vintage Projects

I knew immediately that I wanted to make some of the components from Amy Haftkowycz's 'Floral Wreaths Bracelet' and Barbara Falkowitz's 'Hearts & Rosettes Necklace', which are pictured on the front cover of the book. Deciding to work in one colour scheme - because it makes the components a little more versatile - I rummaged around in my much neglected stash of Czech Firepolished Beads. 

I started with the Large Beaded Bead from 'The Hearts & Rosettes Necklace'. Each of the components worked up quickly and easily, with the crystal embellishment adding a beautiful finish that reminds me a little of a catherine-wheel! Instead of turning my components into a necklace - which I would never wear - I simply added a little loop of seed beads to make some earrings!

Made using Circular Right Angle Weave but with clear instructions and diagrams, this is the perfect little project for someone new to the stitch. Meanwhile, intermediate beaders will like how the versatile components can be combined, or altered using different sizes of beads!

The beaded beads from 'The Floral Wreaths Bracelet' are made in a slightly different way, but are embellished using the same method. Again, the instructions and diagrams were clear enough for a beginner to follow but overall, I didn't like them as much as the components from 'The Hearts & Rosettes Necklace'. I felt that, as a beaded bead, they weren't quite sturdy enough - and they were a bit too chunky for me to consider using in a bracelet! I'm waiting on some champagne chain, to turn them into earrings - with the chain running through the centre, they'll look like little wheels!

If you have made any pieces from The Best Of Beadwork: Twelve Modern Vintage Projects, please share your projects with us using the Mr Linky.
  • Please link directly to your The Best Of Beadwork: Twelve Modern Vintage Projects blog post, so that we can find it easily.
  • Please leave a comment here when you link up your project. 
  • Please try to visit the blogs of other participants when you can. We all love a bit of love!

We'll be issuing a new Bead, Book & Bounce challenge tomorrow, so please do pop back to see what book we'll be working from over the next two months. I can't wait to get started!

Clair x

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Mondrian Cuff Pattern

Regular readers of the OTTBS blog will recognize this fabulous design as one of the entries to our January challenge, where the theme was 'famous paintings'. Jeanne Evans chose a Piet Mondrian painting and has very kindly allowed us to share the pattern she created with all of you! The pattern is for either square stitch or loom work.

Sunday 2 February 2014

The February Challenge

Welcome to the February challenge! This month we'd like you to create something in Red, Black and Metallic Gold!

Gold must be traditional solid metallics only, shiny and/or matt: gold-lined beads of any description won't count for this challenge, neither will bronze/copper shades. Beads with AB/rainbow or Picasso finishes are allowed but due to the fabulous prizes on offer each month we’re pretty strict on the colours allowed, so no colours other than those specified please! Don't forget that with the exception of black, you can use mulitple shades of the challenge colours. *If you are using a cabochon or other focal bead in your design it can have small amounts of other colours in it, provided that the main colours of it fit our challenge. But the beads you use with it must be in our challenge colours only.

Now here's the twist...we'd like you to include some HERRINGBONE STITCH in your entry. The twist is entirely optional but if you choose to use the twist as well as the colour scheme then you will receive two entries into the draw! For those who have never done herringbone or would like a reminder, there's a fab tutorial right here on the blog.

How do I enter?
Simply email your photograph to Liz at

We're happy for you to post your photos on our Facebook group as well but please make sure that you've also emailed your entry. Entries that have not been emailed will not be accepted. By submitting your entry via email you are giving the admin of Operation Tackle That Bead Stash permission to share your email address with the sponsor should you be the lucky winner. We take your privacy very seriously and will not share your email address with anyone else.

What can I make?
Anything as long as it involves beads! Any technique is accepted, from beadweaving and stringing to wire work and bead embroidery. Lampworkers and polymer clay artists are also welcome to submit beads they've made. We're sorry but any entries that do not include beads in some form or another will not be accepted. Your entry must be made especially for the challenge, please do not submit something that was made before February 1st 2014.

Does it have to be my own design?
No. We're happy for you to make something using a pattern from a book, magazine or tutorial but if you do please let us know the designer's name so that we can give them credit.

What about findings?
Findings (clasps, earwires, metal spacer beads etc) are exempt from the colour challenge so you can use silver, gold or any other colour findings that fit in with your project.

When is the deadline for entries?
The deadline is MIDNIGHT in your own time zone on Friday the 28th of February. The challenge winner will be announced the following day.

Can I enter more than once?
You can make as many pieces as you like using the chosen colour way. All entries will be shown here on the blog but you will only be entered into the draw once.

I'm not in the UK, can I still join in?
Yes of course! We welcome submissions from around the world so don't worry if you're not in the UK. Our sponsors have agreed to post prizes overseas so you can still enter and be eligible for the prize!

Any other questions?
If you have any questions about the challenge please feel free to email Liz at

The Prize
This month our sponsor is Celia and she's offering one lucky winner £15 to spend in her online shop Jencel!

The winner will be drawn by Liz on the 1st of March using the random list generator at and announced the same day.

Good luck everyone and happy beading!

Saturday 1 February 2014

The January Challenge - And the winner is...

Huge thanks to everyone who joined in with our January challenge, where we asked you to create something inspired by a famous painting. We had a massive response and a great range of paintings and artists chosen! Before we announce the winner, please take a look at all the fabulous entries!

Asri was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Blossoming Almond Tree"

Carolyn was inspired by Degas' "The Sunrise"

Catherine was inspired by Georgia O'Keefe's "Oriental Poppies"

Coral was inspired by DaVinci's "Mona Lisa"

Dawn was inspired by Kevin Sloan's "Fog, Flowers and Bees"

Esther was inspired by Monet's "Water Lillies"

Ericka was inspired by Alphonse Mucha's "Reverie"

Gloria was inspired by DaVinci's "Female Head"

Iryna was inspired by Van Gogh's "Sunflowers"

Janice was inspired by Michaelangelo's "The Creation of Adam"
(Pattern by Pam Gordon)

Jeanne was inspired by Piet Mondrian's "Trafalgar Square"

 Jenny was inspired by Gustav Klimt's "Flower Garden"

Kristen was inspired by Picasso's "Portrait of Marie-Therese"
(Design by Mikki Ferrugiaro)

Louise was inspired by Monet's "Irises in Monet's Garden"

 Mary Kearney was inspired by Johannes Vermeer's "The Girl With a Pearl Earring"

Mary Marshall was inspired by Monet's "Water Lillies"

 Michelle was inspired by Josephine Wall's "Eros and Psyche"

 Liz was inspired by Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa"

 Pam was inspired by Andy Warhol's "Marilyn Monroe"

 Rachael was inspired by Van Gogh's "Starr Night"

 Sarah was inspired by Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss"

 Sherry was inspired by Van Gogh's "Self Portrait with Straw Hat"

 Caroline was inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

 Stephwas also inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

 Tammy was inspired by Tamara de Lempicka's "Arums"

Tanya was inspired by Bruce Gray's "Raindrops"

 Tracy was inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

 Yasmine was inspired by Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa"

Ev was inspired by Monet's Le Dejeuner sur l'Herbe

Everyone's names were put in the list randomizer at and the lucky beader who is at the top of the list is...

Congratulations Gloria, you're the winner of the £25 worth of beads from this month's sponsor Beads and More by Yashma!

We hope you've all enjoyed this challenge, pop back tomorrow when we'll have a brand new challenge for February!