Monday, December 29, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Beadweaving Beauties

I just listed a necklace that needed to get out and stretch a bit after resting in the jewelry inventory box for a few months. It got picked up for a new treasury by binkaminka called "Bead Therapy". It's full of exquisite beadweaving and I'm very honored that my necklace was included. I'm still bummed out that I can't seem to get a screenshot of the the full treasury image, so apologies go out to the other artists whose photos are cut off at the lower edge. And thank you, binkaminka, for selecting my necklace ! Here is a gorgeous necklace from her shop:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Message

Holiday Message, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

This little Christmas tree was something I made over 10 years ago, before I got into beadweaving. I guess beading was already creeping into my soul ! I posted this photo on Flickr as a thank you for all the creativity I see on a daily basis through my Flickr friends' uploads. I'll also use it to wish all my blogging friends a Happy Holiday !

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brick Stitch Violin

Years ago when I first started beadweaving, my brother encouraged me to make some violin themed jewelry to sell at our family's violin shop. At the time, I was learning peyote stitch and didn't yet know how to do odd-count peyote (still haven't tried it, but I found some good tutorials recently). Plus, I hadn't learned brick stitch yet. The violin shape eluded me. Well, my brother got me started thinking about it again, and I decided to try it in brick stitch, and "viola" (ha, ha, I mean, "voila"-so funny when people write "viola" instead, that's the instrument I play !), and it looks halfway decent ! The size is an inch and a half, a little large (and obnoxious) for earrings, but made a nice, tiny pendant. I won't be wearing it however...every year, I get enough violin themed jewelry, ornaments and mugs to line a thrift store (where it ends up after the student quits !) BTW, I made the pattern with BeadTool 2.0 (need to upgrade, but it works pretty well).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Herringbone Necklace Needs Help !

I've been wanting to try the necklace design that uses herringbone stitch and a range of bead sizes. What I can't figure out is how to keep it from curving too steeply. It won't fit around the neck with this much curve, and it starts to curl when you try to straighten out the edge. I started over four times with different sizes and gave up after awhile, choosing just to add some brick stitch to the sides and a thin necklace chain. Any help will be welcome :P

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Check out this Phishing Scheme

I received this message today through Flickr and thought it was hilarious. There were lots of links to click on to "approve or reject" their request, so of course, I didn't click on anything. Here's the first part of the message:

"We at NowPublic are working on coverage of the top 10 worst fashion trends of 2008, and we are putting together a collection of photos. We came across your amazing photo on Flickr and it would be a great addition to our story. We would very much appreciate its use, with proper credit to you of course."

The funny part is that is says they are working on coverage of the top 10 WORST fashion trends of 2008. Now why would any sane person want to have their photo included in the WORST fashion trends. And I don't even know to which photo they are referring ???!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

..because I'm smart enough...

I was checking out the Talent Database profile of a very talented beadweaver Three Fates Design and decided to take a look at all my "acknowledgements." I realized that I am doing pretty well to get all these compliments and wanted to share the words that others have said about my work. I'm glad I've been able to get my beadwork out there and get such great feedback from other talented artists. Here are some of the comments on my Talent Database profile:

"And work is fantastic as always. :-)"
"excellent work and compositions in your portfolio. Keep up the great talent."
"Stunning work!!! And blue freeform bracelet is a masterpiece!!!!"
"Your beadwork is truly amazing. You have the most unique, interesting and beautiful pieces."
"I admire your work"
"WOW! I bow down and stand in awe...I do a bit of beadweaving, but nothing even approaching your work. Most beautiful!"
"I'm so glad to see you on here and to watch your beautiful beadwork from home! :)"
"Beautiful free form beading."
"I love your triangle twister bracelet.... it's so funky and different... LOVE it!"
"This is not just bead work, this BEAD WORK. Your creations are gorgeous."
"You have some of the most unusual and beautiful pieces."
"Stunning designs. I'm so impressed and in awe when I see designs like yours, you have such strong skills with intricate seed bead work!"
"I find your work amazing. Love the freeform look."
"Lovely work. I wish I had the patience for seed bead work sometimes ... especially when I see beautiful work like yours."
"The Russian Leaf pieces are great"
"Beautiful knitted necklaces, love the pink beads."
"I am such an admirer of your free-form beadweaving! It amazes what you can create with a needle, some thread, and those fabulous seed beads

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beading in Red, White and Black...Batala Hey !

I love living in the Washington, DC area for all the cultural opportunities it offers and in the last 5 years, I have gained close friends in the Bulgarian, Finnish, Ghanaian and Brazilian communities through music (visit my fiber art blog to read more). Since last year, I have been a member of the USA's only Batala band, which is an all-women Brazilian percussion band. Our band is in high demand in DC for parades, fundraisers, soccer halftime shows, honorary dinners and many other events. We have a visual identity that employs the colors red, white and black and right now, I am in full production mode for a supply of jewelry for our upcoming art gallery fundraiser. One of our members is a graphic artist and has invited other artists to paint portraits of band members as we play which will be auctioned off at the end of the party. I'm looking forward to selling lots of jewelry to band members and friends.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks for the "LBS" (local bead store)

After I wrap up the last hour of beading, I want to give thanks for the local bead store. If it weren't for those who take the time to count, weigh, bag and tag all those millions of tiny and not so tiny beads, findings and supplies, I wouldn't be able to run across town for an absolutely necessary article to finish a design at the last minute. So I raise my glass to the owners, managers and faithful employees of my local bead stores, Off the Beading Path, Star's Beads, Beads Ltd., Beads on Parade and several others along the I-95 corridor from Baltimore, MD to Richmond, VA. Thank you all, keep up your stock and I'll see you very soon !

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Work

Peachy Tubular Bracelet, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

Lately I've been trying to produce up to 10 bracelets and 10 pairs of earrings to submit to my co-op gallery. At this time of year, the membership (we have 70 members) submits most of their items for the holiday show. The gallery gets filled with more items than usual, so a couple years ago the board voted to create limits on the number of items we can submit. We have a 10 like-item limit, too, and what sells mostly for me is earrings so I have up to 10 I can sell during any month. We just had our last jury on Monday and we can replenish any items sold at our "mini jury" in mid December. I hope to have to replace all 26 items I submitted !

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Beadalon Offer

Update: Super-fast delivery ! I received two spools of Wild Fire today, only a couple days after ordering ! They sent me one spool of 12 lb in green and 10 lb in black, 50 yds each ! It says thermally bonded beadweaving thread-cannot be pierced with a needle. I hope I like working with it. I haven't been able to find a price anywhere because they didn't include a cover letter, just a catalog, but with no prices.
I got the following message through my website:

Subject: fireline
Message: Drop me a line and I will send you samples of our new Wild Fire. We have had many FireLine users say they like it much better.

Best regards,

Drew Potter

440 Highlands Blvd.
Coatesville, PA 19320
866-423-2325 x116
FAX: 610-384-7260

I sent my request for the samples, because I would love to have something less slippery and more supple, like Nymo thread (see my previous post where I mention my dislike for Fireline-what good timing !). I'll report back on the new thread after I receive it, or if anyone else tries it, please leave a comment.

Incremental Progress

Talk about lazy-that's been me lately. Spending way too much time on Facebook, reading blogs, watching TV and trying to referee the new kitty/old kitty battles. I haven't completed any new beading projects in months it seems. The newest project I've started which is still a WIP, is a brick stitch pin. I had some round metal pins (brooch) and have been experimenting with adapting the brick stitch earring design. I encircled the disc with wraps of Fireline and have been using a copper color palette. I intend to cover the wraps on the back with ultrasuede and stitch it down. Since I hate working with Fireline, I tend to put this project down frequently, but wanted to use it to prevent the metal edge from cutting the thread. Wish me luck on finishing this before Thanksgiving !

In other beading news, I'm enjoying using my new Beadalon sticky gel pad in my beading tin (the blue stuff in the photo). It's great for keeping beads from rolling.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Art Venue Opening

There's a new art and craft gallery in Hyattsville, MD called Artists on the Avenue and I will be showing my jewelry there. There are 30 artists, so it is quite an eclectic mix of art. This Saturday is the grand opening celebration which features the opportunity to make your own fused glass pendant for free !

Friday, August 15, 2008

Beadweaving Classes at Off the Beading Path !

Recently, I decided to leave the Artists' Undertaking Gallery in Occoquan, VA, where I had been a member for the past four years. I plan to focus on putting more of my beadwork and other fiber artwork in the Potomac Craftsmen Fiber Gallery in the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Just as I was planning to leave Occoquan, a new bead store called Off the Beading Path opened and the owner contacted me about teaching there. I am happy to retain my Occoquan connections as it is a delightful little town with some wonderful people and stores to visit. So, here are my upcoming classes !

Saturday, August 23rd from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm: Spiral Rope Bracelet and Earrings Set

Sunday, September 7th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm: Glass Gem Ring

Saturday, September 20th from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm: Three Earring Designs with Delica Beads

All the materials are available in the store with a friendly 10% discount on purchases for class participants. My kits will also be available for $20 each.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vacation Treats

Vacation is all about treating yourself, right ? Well, here's how I treated myself this past week on my trip to Boston and the NE corridor. In Boston, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts where I was too cheap to pay the $17 entrance fee (I'm used to the freebie museums here in Washington, DC), but spent about two hours in the amazing bookstore there. I found a copy of "Zulu Beadwork" which was on my "to-buy" list and snagged it. I'm interested in the triangular tube patterns. The next day, I chanced upon a delightful little bead shop called Beadworks where I spent about an hour picking up some fresh colors and findings. Next stop after Boston was Bar Harbor, Maine where I found some agate slabs and disks at Willi's Rock Shop.

Monday, August 4, 2008

New Local Bead Shop

Bead shop, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

There's a new bead shop within 5 miles of my house ! It's unbelievable ! The shop just opened up at the end of June and is already doing brisk business. I have acquainted myself with the owner and she invited me to teach classes there. I will be teaching three classes in the coming weeks, including my gem ring, spiral rope bracelet and earring set, and three Czech bead earring designs. I sure hope Off the Beading Path is here to stay !

Occoquan Memories

Occoquan, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

Today was my last day in the gallery, where I've been a member for the last four years. I've made some dear friends in Artists' Undertaking and in Occoquan, and fortunately, it's not a real goodbye. I will now be teaching some beadweaving classes at the new bead store in town, Off the Beading Path and I'll be coming in to see what's new in town, shop for gifts at the gallery and say hi to old friends. It's a great little place to get to know. Enjoy the photos !

Monday, July 21, 2008

Earring Tutorial on YouTube !

My husband put together a video tutorial of the still photos of my "Starflower" herringbone earrings. It features the music of our friend, Nana Frimpong, a master drummer and kalimba player from Ghana. Since there wasn't space for the text on each photo, I have a link to download the directions from my website. Try it and leave a comment on YouTube or here. Also, I have a Flickr set of all the photos here . Thanks for looking !

Friday, July 18, 2008

Join me on Facebook !

Join me on Facebook !, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

My husband got me to set up a Facebook account, and now I'm hooked ! But I need more BEAD FRIENDS !!! I've already discovered Shirley and Regina but I know more EBWers are out there ! Add me (Carol Holmes) as your friend or send me your name and I'll add you. Or look for the Facebook icon on the left sidebar to go right to my page. See you on Facebook !

Monday, July 14, 2008

Viking Knit Circle Earrings

My exhibit at Artists' Undertaking is finally finished. I kept working on more necklaces and earrings to display and now it looks complete. I worked out this circle technique in my new viking knit skills and I'm pretty happy with the way they've been turning out. A little bit hard on the fingers, but since the process goes pretty fast, I don't mind. I had some itty-bitty beaded beads that needed to be put to use, and they were the perfect size for the center of the wire circles.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Viking Knit Necklace

Viking Knit Necklace, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

I'm a featured artist this month at the Artists' Undertaking Gallery in Occoquan, Virginia. Along with the other artist, painter, Barbara Henris, we entitled our show "New Directions" to highlight the recent changes to our styles of work. I have hit a low point in sales at the gallery and decided to add my newest technique learned; viking knit . There is a silver jeweler across the hall from our gallery, and I wanted to try and interest some of the customers who are more attracted to silver and metals. We shall see how that goes ! In any case, I am having fun with viking knit and experimenting with a variety of shapes beyond the basic, yet beautiful rope shape. More to come ;-)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Keeping Busy

My other obsession is vintage clothing, textiles and sewing (see my other blog: Fiberlines ), and I just finished up a dozen recycled apron totebags for the Ballston Arts and Crafts Market two weekends ago.

So in other words, I need to catch up on beadweaving, and I have the next gallery jury day at Potomac Craftsmen Gallery on Monday. As usual, it coincides with a weekend filled with rehearsals for an early music concert (I play baroque violin and viola for a living LOL), which will take up all my time for beading (darn mortgage payment and food !!!) so here's a new item that I managed to whip up while gallery sitting the other day. It's very simple, but hey, it's stock.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My First Etsy Front Page !

6-18-08 ALL EBW FRONT PAGE, originally uploaded by Sand Fibers.

Thanks to EtsyBeadweaver extraordinaire, Carol Dean Sharpe, aka SandFibers , who created this wonderful treasury and included my "Limelight Bracelet" along with a few other gloriously green beadwoven treasures. Please visit her Etsy shop where you'll find her beautiful bracelets and pendants.

I found myself in three more treasuries at the same time (what a surprise!) so I want to thank annabeads , enchantedbeads , and Grandma Marilyn .

Monday, May 26, 2008

Green Glass Herringbone Bracelet

This bracelet started out as an earring, spent several hours as a ring, then finally morphed into a bracelet.

Identify this stitch !

Identify this stitch !, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

A friend asked me to repair this necklace. All it needs is a new loop, so I accepted. Usually, I decline repairs of jewelry that I didn't make. Obviously, this is some type of African stitch, and according to Carol Huber Cypher's Mastering Beadwork, it resembles African Polygon. It looks interesting enough to try, so if anyone has any knowledge, please pass it this way. THX

Monday, May 19, 2008

Triangular Tones Bracelet

Triangular Tones Bracelet, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

This was supposed to be another box, and when the corners of the triangle started to rise up instead of lie flat, I changed it into a bracelet and finished it the next day. I added a vintage glass button in the center. It's now listed here .

Tiny Triangle Box

Tiny Triangle Box, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

I finished the box I was experimenting with last week. It's only a little bigger than an inch along one side with the lid an inch and a half. Actually, I made the lid a little too big (boo-hoo). I took a guess at the the number of rows needed before starting the side and wanted to make sure it would fit over the box. I'll probably attach a short chain of beads so the two pieces stay together.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dutch Spiral Necklace-It's Finished !

Dutch Spiral Necklace, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

UPDATE !!! Mom loved the necklace !!!

Back in November, my mom commissioned me to make a necklace in brown, cream and black beads. I have been planning to get around to the dutch spiral technique, and finally gave it a shot. I like how the necklace turned out, but I won't be doing another one anytime soon. I like to work tight, but this stitch is so unbelievably floppy, I just couldn't get a grip on it. After hours and days of fighting it like a snake, I gave up and finished the necklace with tubular herringbone stitch and a vintage glass button. Haven't given it to mom yet, because I had to get a couple photos done first.

Amber Glass Earrings

Amber Glass Earrings, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

Just tried the brick stitch technique to make these earrings. Since I haven't figured out how to keep the glass bead to stay flat with the beadwork, I think I'll use round or oval beads for the center next time.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Zoya is a Winner !

My dear friend, Zoya Gutina has won again in the Rings & Things "Your Designs Rock !" competition ! She won first place in the glass category with her Mermaid's Garden entry and honorable mention in the gemstones and pearls category with her Egyptian Nights. Take a minute to feast your eyes on these beadwoven beauties and see more of her dazzling beadwork here. If you are ever in the Washington, DC area, make sure to stop by the Potomac Craftsmen Fiber Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. Zoya always has some of her wonderful beadwork on display there.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Elan Calendar May '08

Elan Calendar May '08, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

Elan magazine published my "Embarcadero Palm" necklace in this month's issue. It's on the calendar page to promote the Artists' Undertaking Gallery May group show entitled "Art Springs Eternal." Elan magazine is marketed to high-end real estate buyers and shoppers in upscale neighborhoods in Northern Virginia. It's my first magazine publication !

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Lovely Beads Newsletter

I've been featured in Zoya's newsletter this month ! Click here to read it, then make sure to visit her website to see her fabulous beaded creations. Zoya's latest work was accepted into the Bead & Button competition and she was also juried into the Torpedo Factory Art Center as a studio artist. Go Zoya and thank you for featuring me ! and hurray for beadweaving finally getting respect as an art form !

Friday, April 25, 2008

Free Money !

....spend it HERE !!!
I just signed up for RME (Revolution Money Exchange) after reading about it in the Etsy forums. It's a no-fee version of PayPal. There are quite a few Etsy sellers who are accepting it now, and when you sign up, they automatically put $25.00 in your account. If you put a button on your website or blog, you can get $10.00 for referrals (hint, hint...look to the left...see a large green button ?).

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April Etsy BeadWeavers Challenge

UPDATE: WE HAVE WINNER !!! Wolf took the top prize with her unbelievable creation, Flower of Fire's Heart Congratulations, Wolf !!! Even though voting is over, it's not too late to have a closer look at all the wonderful beadwork. See the list below.

1. Flaming Roses by artzilla
2. Hades Garden Beadwoven Bracelet by myfairladyvt4
3. The Flower of Fire Brooch by enchantedbeads
4. Flames and Flowers by enchantedbeads
5. Le Sacre du Printemps- Blue Flame by SalamanderHouse
6. Slave Bracelet- Blue Flames on Rose Buds by valhallaforge
7. Hana-Bi by thebeadedlily
8. Blaze - Peyote Cuff Bracelet by totallytwisted
9. Flame Flower Necklace by clairecreations
10. Fire Daisy Choker by nemeton
11. Mephaestus and Pan by ThreeFatesDesign
12. Fire and Flowers Bracelet by Emarah
13. Blazing Blossoms Amulet Necklace Waiting Room Series 2 by cigarboxbeads
14. Tattoo Flames Bracelet by PinkPoochDesigns
15. Firewheel by SweetFreedom
16. LUCIFER'S TONGUE Beaded Lariat by dawnchastain
17. Flower of Fire's Heart by DantesSpirit
18. Huang by SilverDragon
19. Flamboyant Flower Brooch by enchantedbeads
20. Mi Cala en Llamas by lolos
21. Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Fire by jstinson
22. Petals of Flame Bracelet by AmethystRavenstar
23. Fire and Flowers by BeadedKeepsakes
24. Blazing Flowers by triz
25. Fire Lotus by hands2heal
26. Fire Blossom by playnwithbeads
27. Flower of Flame by onathousandhills
28. A Moth to Fire and Flowers by PFordCustomJewelry
29. Ring of Fire by ThePreciousBeads
30. Summer Flame by SandFibers

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Delica Heaven

Delicas, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

Here is a shot of the box of Delicas I have been sharing my home with for the past few months. Little by little, they are finding new homes and becoming transformed into wonderful beaded creations. Email beadweaving[at] if are interested in any of these. They are available at half off the retail price.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Silver & Grey Freeform Peyote Bracelet

Update: Sold the bracelet this week at Potomac Craftsmen Gallery

This bracelet got started about 3 months ago while working at Potomac Craftsmen Gallery but my heart wasn't quite into it then. I picked it up over the weekend to try and finish in time for the next gallery jury day. I thought I could finish it during the day on Sunday, but I kept on adding more and more beads to even out the sides. It finally took on a pleasing overall shape, but by then it was 10:30 pm at night. So much for the other beading designs I planned to finish by midnight.

(added on Tuesday) I forgot to mention that I discovered a helpful hint for people who are too intimidated to do freeform: do it in a hurry !! That way you are forced to live with the stitches that you've already done, and it cuts down on the indecisiveness that usually occurs if you're not comfortable with freeform. Sure helped me with finishing this piece in time. HTH anyone putting off trying it :o)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Lovely Beads-Zoya Gutina

My colleague and friend at Potomac Craftsmen Fiber Gallery, Zoya Gutina, has graciously included my "Starflower Earring Tutorial" in her latest newsletter this month. Her beadwork is spectacular, and she is a regular beading competition winner. I invite you to check out her website, My Lovely Beads.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

New beadweaving tutorial: Starflower Earrings

Try your herringbone stitch skills with my "starflower" earring tutorial .

Flowering Edge Herringbone Bracelet

Here's a little experiment I did the other night. I started with a long ladder of beads and wanted to create a ruffle on each side in herringbone stitch. Didn't have any success with that idea, and rather than starting over, I decided to build on the ladder row. I ended up making one row of herringbone in black with one colored bead in between each pair. Then I went back around in RAW with each colored bead to create the "daisies."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Beadweaving Classes

I'll be teaching three classes at Beads on Parade in Fredericksburg, VA in February. It's a wonderful little shop just north of Fredericksburg on Route 17 between I-95 and Route 1. They have a good selection of gemstone, glass and seed beads and findings in a cute bungalow. They offer a wide range of classes in beadwork and wirework. I'll be teaching two earring classes; my three designs using Czech beads and three designs using Delicas, also my Chevron Chain and Peyote bracelet pattern.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Metropolis" Bracelet

"Metropolis" Bracelet, originally uploaded by ambrosianbeads.

Another recently finished bracelet. I used herringbone stitch again with Delicas. I call it "Metropolis" because the design reminds me of art deco patterns.