Saturday, December 29, 2012

A necklace for Mom

My mom had this simple multistrand necklace, made of coral beads, bought a million years ago nobody remembers where.
Last year I decided to destroy it since threads where getting yellow and the toggle was half rusty and not really safe...I wanted to make her a whole new necklace.
So I started to make experiments but most techniques didn't work right, because these beads are so irregular...I got discouraged and left everything here while getting back to Milan.
This summer I found the perfect way to use these beads, adding some sparkly rondelles, and made half the necklace; but I left it here again.
After 4 months here I am home again and it's finished:



It looks wonderful on my mom's neck and I'm happy she will wear it on new year's eve, since I'll not be here this year



Time to pack everything now: my vacation is over and I have my train back to Milan tonight.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Five red earrings for five cousins

Christmas is over and my hands are pretty grateful for that...I've been beading furiously for weeks and now I have one thing left to show you. Or should I say 5.
I was asked to make 5 red earrings for five cousins, so they had to be different from one another, not too big, red and a bit sparkly.

Unfortunately, caught in the "last minute rush", I didn't take pics of the last 2 pairs.
One of them is a copy of my Confetti earrings and you can see here the other one...


Pic taken in the dark with my cell.
Here are the 3 other pairs, gone to 3 sisters:

horseshoe


circles and beaded beads


and RAW sticks proposed by Marcia De Coster on her website


Hope to have chances to take better pics of the first ones!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Na...ivety

Isn't it wonderful? There are still 10 year old kids so naive and sweet, they still believe in magic. And in Santa Claus.
So some hours ago I agreed to play Santa for my uncle's nephew, who is still uncertain whether to believe in Santa or not.



Despite being a bit thin (I was wearing 2 padded jackets!!!) the dim lights made me look pretty plausible as Santa.
I had so much fun.


(here with my own dad!)

The beard and the amount of clothes really troubled me though...



Happy holidays to everybody, and may your Christmas be full of magic.

Source: Pinterest

Last minute gifts...

I'm still MAKING gifts. With my own hands.
Three days here and I've only managed to make custom orders and to be my parents' personal shopper...so here I am, this time crocheting, until the very last minute available.
Last night I finished these simple necklaces



for some of my aunts.
The donut pattern is from artbead.com, it's so easy and fast you can make dozens of these in a day!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why Preciosa Ornela?

When you have the right tools and supply, you can't help but making awesome creations.
That's why it is so easy to invent incredible new items with Preciosa Ornela beads.
The quality of their beads and their unique, innovative shapes make the beading experience a pleasure for both eyes and mind.
I am particularly pleased with the two-hole PRECIOSA Twin™ seed beads, which offer a lot of new solutions to achieve original, wonderful results in your jewels; from the casual-style bracelet



to the most elegant pendant; from a funny soccer ball to a sacred, delicate rosary.
Preciosa Ornela also offers on its website a lot of free tutorials to help you stimulate your creativity and get some familiarity with new kind of beads you have never experienced before. How incredible is that?
And, since perfection is not enough, this Czech company also takes responsability for their impact on the environment, reducing to a minimum any harm to water and air and scrupulously categorizing wastes.
So I am definitely choosing Preciosa Ornela for my beadwork.

Beadwork for men

If you have always thought beadwork was only for women, get ready to be disappointed.
This Christmas I made 2 nice gifts for a young man who is crazy for soccer and loves bracelets.
The first is a simple keychain with a soccer ball



You might add a beaded t-shirt or a string with the name of his favorite team to enrich it.
I left it quite simple 'cause over the years I've already made him enough black/red presents (he roots for Milan)...
If you want to make something similar you'll find a gorgoeus twin bead ball on Preciosa website or a peyote graph on etsy from Lost in Paradise shop.

The bracelet I made is adjustable and made with matte black seed beads and twin beads, so no risk of making it look "too beady"



If you look it from a distance it looks like kumihimo made with some leather rope, and looks pretty good on a man wrist.

You can find a lot of ideas for beaded man bracelets on Etsy: for the game-obsessed boy by Tarpan



for the country style loving guy by Beadbound



for the hidden rockstarby Thebeadedlily



Now I need to think about the ladies and time is running out...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Elf...

I'm just arrived and already at work, so I feel pretty much like an elf working hard the last days before Christmas



I have my little helpers too


They really keep me on track.
I'll show you the 5 red earrings I'm making next time, or you can take a sneak peek here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The end of the world

My consolation is that I'm leaving Milan tonight for Xmas holidays and going to my hometown, Brindisi - I'll arrive tomorrow morning with a night train, right on time to be with my family.
And I'll be warmer, much warmer: average temperature in Milan is -2°C these days, in Brindisi is 10°C! Some days it will even be 16°C. Almost spring.

Since the world might not really end, I'm still making presents and a really scented one right now: gingerbread cookies. For the first time I'll give jar mixes to make these delicious cookies that only recently (thanks to IKEA) are becoming popular in Italy.

Source: Pinterest



I have a long history with them and their scent reminds me of college time.
After making the dough your hands will smell heavenly for hours and don't forget the mosturizing effect of butter and honey...
I don't have much time to bake them, so I really hope they'll come out nicely: a 12 hours train trip really calls for a treat.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Paper VS Internet

Some days ago my mom told me she would love to have a recipe journal, to eventually leave to us kids one day.
I was striked by the fact that someone (even someone as computer savvy as her!) still feels the need to write down stuff on PAPER. It's somehow reassuring.

On paper we can really set our deepest thoughts free, no need to be a professional illustrator to make some sketches of our ideas (ever seen drawings of the most famous fashion designers???you should!)

Source: Pinterest



Just a pen and a blank page.
I thought about starting a bead journal where I can also write down tips and tricks for every project, because when the light goes out or internet is not working, or the computer decides it's time to have something wrong...the only thing you can count on are magazines and notebooks.
First new year resolution: writing down all my most interesting Pins, favorite recipes, new ideas for tutorials.

In the meantime I'm giving my parents journals for Christmas, Recipe for my mom and Travel for my dad, so they might consider spending less time on the internet and more quality time with paper.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Emotional Roller Coaster

Last day to vote on the Etsy Beadweavers Blog for our december challenge, Emotional Roller Coaster:



"Find beady inspiration in a human emotion. Choose a feeling or state of being: joy, sorrow, cowardice, jealousy, anxiety, or anything that describes a powerful emotion. Create a beaded artwork that expresses your chosen emotion.

Think about the use of design elements as you work. Colors all have emotional connotations, and lines and textures do, too. You can use repetition, gradation, mass, scale and proportion, pattern, contrasts, balance or harmony, anything you can think of to make your work look and feel like your chosen emotion. Try to avoid using symbols, like a smiley face or emoticons.

The finished mosaic collection of our work will provide an "emotional roller coaster ride," a fast paced, whirlwind tour of feeling and sensation for our fans, as they view our many different interpretations of this theme. Remember to explain how you designed your work to demonstrate your chosen emotion in your description."

Perfect theme for this crazy time...between custom orders, Christmas dinners both as guest and host, presents to make...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Let it snow!

Tonight it started snowing, and it just stopped a few minutes ago. This is how piazza Duomo, Milan, looked this morning



and this is the view from my balcony



Not a big deal, I know, but it is for us: Italians are not so used to snow, and we always look at it as it was the first time!

Beading and sipping tea while the snow was dancing in the air outside lead me, FINALLY, to a grey Flower Power:



A simple, tiny necklace that's so cute. Grey is always my favorite, even when it comes to flowers!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Finally, Twin beads.

I've finally dedicated some time to PRECIOSA Twin™ beads.
I found 2 patterns I'm love with.
The first is a simple tutorial from Ewa to make beaded beads with PRECIOSA Twin™ beads, which I used in this bracelet



I used wood pink beads which I will surely buy in natural color for a necklace



The other is a bracelet by Victoria Rumiantzeva



I love the matte black/metallic fuchsia contrast



but I still need to put a toggle on it.
I also made some gorgeous snowflakes with transparent PRECIOSA Twin™ beads and I'm so pleased on how they reflect the light!
I'm in love with PRECIOSA Twin™ beads and can't wait to buy some more!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why beadwork is better: UNIQUENESS!

If you're still wondering why buying and gifting beadweaved objects is better...the "Wow effect" is the answer.
You will always have the "Wow effect" with something beaded.

Beads are everywhere, but beadweaved object are not.
Thousands of people can beadweave, but only few of them show it to the world on blogs or have online shops.
Many of them make really big, complicated and expensive jewelry which are not affordable by anyone (even though EVERYBODY would dream about buying one!).
Simple and original beaded objects are not that common. Finding an artisan who can make something personalized to give might be the best occasion to make a wonderful present spending less than you would ever think.

An examples:
My first sale ever on etsy was this turtle keychain.



It was december and this guy bought it telling me it was a surprise for his girlfriend, who was about to receive a lot of turtle-themed presents for Christmas.
He was so excited about something so small, because it was unique.
He might have found turtle-mugs, t-shirts or toys, but beaded turtles?
Mine was the only one.

Another example are beaded dolls, that you can shape to look like the recipient (as I did with a swap partner) or a cartoon charachter.



Just a small pendant you can attach to a key-ring, to a USB pen drive or to a cell phone can be a beautiful present. Something you'll never find anywhere else.

New Paika

Had a request for some purple and fuchsia Paika (by Mu Centperles), so here they are, although the purple beads look like brown with this light



They are so gorgeous and will be perfect with my customer's blonde hair!

Going on with Christmas orders, I need to make 5 different kind of red earrings. Not too big, one pair will be my red Bollywood confetti for sure, the other four...still searching for the right tutorial.
I'm also making experiments with twin beads, so stay tuned for more Christmas gifts ideas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

This Christmas, give time.

Since my 29th Christmas is approaching, I can say I have experienced many different kinds of holidays.
The years when you're still a kid and don't have to worry about making presents, because you are the center of the attention of the whole family; the excitement of waiting and wishing and shaking presents when no one is looking...
The ones as a grown up, when you realize it's the 24th of december and most of your presents are still to be found and you really don't have the time or the right mood to think about it.
The one when you have been working for a while, so let's share! A lot of presents for everybody and who cares about prices!
The ones when you barely have enough money to buy a ticket to go home and spend Christmas with your family, and don't really know how to buy a single present.
The one spent packing and saying goodbye before leaving a town, or just a house.
The one when you have too many people you want to spend your time with and feel bad because you can't please everybody; the one when all of your friends are not coming home for Christmas and who knows when you're going to see them again.
The ones when the whole family reunites and unwrapping presents lasts a couple of hours 'cause there are just too many people!
The one when your family is falling to pieces and nobody knows, and you can't seem to find the right place to stay.

So many different kinds of Christmas, but still it's exciting to pack a bag and go home, hug parents and grandmas, see how all of my cousins are growing up becoming adults (I still can't conceive some of them actually attend a university!)...a strange atmosphere, a bit nostalgic as the years go by, but also sweet and warm.

Presents are one of the things that make Christmas special and esciting; both receiving and making them.
It's so nice to receive something and realize you were in someone else's thoughts.



Handmade gifts are the best thing ever. Whenever I wear the scarves or socks my mom made, I can imagine her knitting and thinking about me, the cat looking at her with a resigned look in his eyes, the TV on and maybe something cooking in the oven.
I still have some cards made with pencils and salt glued on Santa's beard, made from my roommates, and the memory of Pandoro eaten with hot tea and lots of laughs with mouth covered in icing sugar.



Sometimes the smallest present can cheer up a person more than you can imagine; it has to be made with love and nothing more.
Maybe it's not what you were wishing to give; maybe it's not what you were expecting to receive; just remember the thought is actually what matters.
The thought that in this crazy, frenetic life, someone has put aside all of his problems and has spent his time thinking about you, maybe making something with his own hands; and time is priceless.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why beadwork is better - lightness!

Even if you know how to MAKE gorgeous jewelry, it doesn't mean you are willing to! It's nice sometimes to buy something ready. And different from beadwork.
Some days ago I was hypnotized by some gorgeous, huge earrings.
They were amazing and so sparkly, but too heavy, so I found another pair even more beautiful, but much lighter.
But still, I thought: there's no way I can stand these on for more than 20 minutes!
Beadweaved jewelry have a great quality: they might not be cheap sometimes, but they're (often) as light as a breeze even when they're big!



And they last longer, don't change color like those cheap metal bijoux which turn black or red after a week. Metallic beads often have a galvanized finish which has been improved over the years and can now guarantee a permanent duration.



So you can have silver or gold earrings but you won't take them away after 1 hour and experience itchy, red/hot earlobes!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Live, Laugh, Love!

Lately I have rediscovered the pleasure of simple, plain peyote technique.
After a couple of short bracelets, this time I made a longer one, to contain an important message



I love the ombre effect, which came into my mind while making the first word. I like that Love has the pink beads, as it's supposed to be!



I enjoyed so much making this one, I'm sure I'll make more.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wish list

I hate it when someone says it's difficult to buy me a present.
I read. A lot.
I love music. Can't live without it.
I love stationery. Who doesn't?!
I love tea.
I knit.
I bead.
I sometimes do cross stitch.
I'd love to try some new technique like metal stamping, beadwiring, or enameling. Or maybe just a book about them, so I can change my mind!
And I've never hidden I like any of these things.
I have wish lists on every website in my favourites, so it's pretty easy to take a sneek peek.
So why is it so difficult?
Maybe they don't realize that crafty people never have enough of their raw materials!
Just buy me some craft supply!!!
Here are some items from my wish lists.

I'd love a new automatic pencil(EUR 2,40). I broke them all. Better if orange, or fuchsia. Or purple.




I have tons of block notes and no decent pencil. I remember a friend saying that, in order to have amazing ideas, you need a wonderful pencil to sketch it the moment it comes into your mind. When you are creative, a pencil can make the difference. Might even un-block your creator's block.
I seriously need a bead mat.



I can't go on pouring beads all over my kitchen!(Price: $1.99) Or my BF will kick me out of the apartment someday. He's really patient helping me picking beads up everytime, but there's a limit. Men and beads are not supposed to stay in the same room.
Some washi tape would be awesome!(price $2.77)



It's great on presents, on inspiration boards, on pretty much anything.
Or, if you really wanna splurge on a Star Wars poster with ALL the charachters in it ($5.99).



Pretty amazing. That would fill the void on my bedroom wall and would stimulate geeky pillow talk.
Finally, I love this Ravelry pattern to make polar bears.



Just $3.99 to make me happy and allow me to have some decent bears as Christmas decorations.
See?! I'm not that difficult.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hope

A couple of days ago I sold my FIGHT bracelet. I wanted to make another one but wasn't sure to have enough beads, so I changed the words and made a Hope bracelet:



Hope is the feeling of December.



The hope for nice holidays, for nice presents on Christmas, the hope of having a good time with all your family without any fuss; hope for a better year coming and for something new, unexpected and beautiful.

Triangles

The (in)famous necklace arrived safely to its destination on monday, so I feel enormously relieved!
Yesterday I managed to finish a Christmas order making these last triangle earrings in black



and bronze



I love the result and will make some more, but today my fingers just need some rest!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Back on track

Today I made some oval beaded rings to substitute the ceramic ones, left the "survivors" - giving the necklace a slightly asymmetrical look, packed it with a double wrap of pluriball and instructions on how to unwrap it and, most of all, how to NOT toss it on the ground...
I didn't even take a picture of it 'cause I was so scared to make another disaster!
Now let's just hope it will arrive safe!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I threw it on the ground

Ever seen this video?
I feel a bit this way about my necklace! LOL
Ok...from the beginning.

Having had insomnia since ever and being a very light sleeper, I consider sleep in general as something sacred.
I'm lucky 'cause my BF is, instead, a heavy sleeper, so when there's nothing I can do to fall in the arms of Morpheus, I can do whatever I want (watch a movie, have all the lights turned on, play a game) and he won't awake.
I feel terrible when I have to wake someone up, even if that person has told me to do it. I hate it.

So imagine how I felt tonight at 1 AM when, fixing a jump ring on my FINISHED necklace, almost going to pack it for the post office, it slipped from my hands and fell on the floor.
I was leaning on the table for extra security, had been taking care of the ceramic components for a week trying to avoid THIS kind of catastrophy. But somehow the necklace fell between my body and the table. On the floor.

(the necklace almost finished)

Half the ceramic components got broken. My heart too.

I was petrified and couldn't think of anything but to wake my BF up.
He was so cute, wanted to see the damage and calmed me down; we realized only some of the rings got broken and tried to understand wether to buy them again or do something different.
After 1 whole week of beading this...I feel exhausted. Buying the components again means to make the whole thing back from scrap, as they were connected by beaded rings, plus I'm not sure I want something so fragile to be gifted to my BF's mother.

So I have decided to just make beaded rings instead of the ceramic ones and send the necklace with one more day of delay.
I'd like to specify tha these components are sturdy and beautiful, but of course rings are a bit more fragile and, again, you're not supposed to throw them on the ground!

Just one more word about my BF, and boyfriends/husbands in general.
If you wake your man up in the middle of the night and he has to wake up early for work; if he is genuinly worried for your beadwork and is simpathetic to your tragic situation; if he even offers to find solutions with you, instead of just saying "let's go to bed and sleep over it";
then, ladies, THIS is real love.

P.S.
The funny thing is, since I ran out of beads and out of time, now I have to intentionally break the remaining rings...throwing them on the ground!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My earrings on Vogue Accessory...twice!

Just a quick note to share my happiness...and relief since I can finally say it: I've been featured on Vogue Accessory december 2012!!!
My fuchsia can tab earrings



and my Confetti red ones



are in the gift guide and I couldn't be any happier and proud!