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Itsy-bitsy beaded dog collar, and more

Itsy-bitsy beaded dog collar

One of our local pet shops had a motley assortment of clearance dog collars recently and I grabbed a few of them for beadwork projects.  Two of them were little faux leather collars that I didn’t quite realize were as tiny as they are; they will fit a dog with a neck size of 6″-8″ which is basically a really small toy breed dog. I just finished with the first one, it had a little green butterfly charm on it so I made a simple pattern that involved a similar shade of green. The other color is black and I think I am going with a 50s retro pink and black pattern for that one…

Either this:

pattern 1

Or this:

pattern 2

I like them both, I have had one person tell me the second one hurts their eyes, and another preferred that one. I guess it comes down to what might look better on a teeny (these collars are too small even for Cricket) little foo-foo dog. I haven’t decided yet. Input is welcome. 🙂

Last month I did this one:

Rainbow beaded dog collar

It’s the same width pattern but a bit more practical neck size, it will fit a 9-12″ neck. I love the colors, I just find them so cheery.

I got a new loom a while back and have been having a lot of fun with it. Especially since the garden was a dismal failure this year, so I’ve had more time… But I’ll save the saga of the garden for another post.

 

This one’s a ‘keeper’

I finally finished my Celtic knotwork bracelet:
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This one was a bit of a challenge, because the pattern I had was for bright blue and green intertwined knotwork on a black background, but what I really wanted was the look of stone on green grass,  so when I was following the word chart I had to mentally convert the seven color codes in the chart to my four colors. Generally,  anything that looks like numbers just turns into the equivalent of Charlie Brown’s teacher talking, in my head, so it took a while to really get into the flow of the pattern.
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It’s a little wider than I am used to but I really like it. It’s the first beadwork project that I made for myself, and the colors came out exactly how I’d pictured them in my mind. 🙂
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I bought a little brand-new Weaver Deer Ridge dog collar cheap at a local thrift store, and I guess that will be my next beading project. It’s for a medium-small dog so it wouldn’t fit either of our girls, but it would be good practice for learning to bead on leather.

A few more bead projects

I finished a few more beadwork projects…

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This is a little bracelet done in translucent orchid seed beads. I actually made a couple of these.

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My first work with delica beads, and the widest one I have tried so far. This is a 2″ patch for my dad, the number eight is his speedway bike race number. I used some clip art as a guide, but created the design from scratch. Flames came out pretty good 🙂

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Ladybug collar # 2. This one is for sale, by the way.

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A cuff bracelet done in delica beads. The design was a adapted from a free pattern I got from a Native American beading site, with the size and colors changed.

I really enjoy beading and love working with the delica beads. have yet to make anything that I have kept for myself. I am thinking maybe a cuff like the one above, but a Celtic knotwork pattern of some sort. ..

Finishing abandoned projects

Waaayyyy back in 2008, I took up pyrography (woodburning) and in a short time had a blast making about a half dozen plaques and other items I gave away as gifts. I decided I wanted more of a challenge and took it into my head that I was going to make my mom a portrait of her dog Bear from a photo she had sent me. A challenge is putting it mildly. Right off the bat I made a mistake transferring the outline I’d be working from and left a burn mark on the plaque that I had to try and sand out, then disguise. I also found out that subtle shading was a lot harder than bold lines, and I eventually got so frustrated with the project that I set it aside. Since I never finished that one, I felt guilty doing any of the easier pieces I had been enjoying working on, so that was the end of me doing any pyrography for nearly three years.

Recently, I decided it was time to buckle down and finish it. And I did!

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It’s not quite how I pictured it in my head before I started it, but it did turn out fairly decent and my mom loved it. I’m now free to go back to woodburning other projects, though I don’t think I will be trying out any more photo portraits any time soon.

I did also finish that beadwork piece I was making:

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and got it sewn onto a collar:

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I tried to get the loom warped again to complete a second collar design, with my original, wider ladybug pattern. Even though I now had the correct thread, it didn’t go any better than the first one and (once I’d untangled and salvaged all my expensive beading thread) I decided to just buy another loom. I was intrigued by one I had seen online that uses a technique that produces four finished edges – no snarl of warp threads to deal with at the end – and bought one off eBay.

Within two days I had my new Versa-Loom and was off and running with a small sample project (to learn the new technique before getting into something complicated) using some really pretty beads I’d bought years ago and never did anything with…

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That piece became a bracelet for Joy.

Having gotten the basic hang of working with the Versa-Loom, it was back to ladybugs. One problem I ran into, which was more noticeable with my wider pattern, was that even though all my beads were 11/0, the green was a different source than the other colors and slightly smaller, which made the rows a wee bit uneven (hardly detectable in the finished pieces, but it annoyed the crap out of me) so I’m looking forward to having them gone… at the same time, I didn’t want to waste them. I am now almost finished the original ladybug design which will go on a 1″ collar. I am not sure what I am going to do with it since it’s not really Paddy’s style but I had a ton of beads in those colors to use up, and really wanted to see my original design in a finished state. The smaller one I made for Gwen lost a lot of the detail of the head and antennae of the bugs.  I am going to be using delica beads from this point on, which are a lot more uniform and come in a huge variety of colors and finishes.

I have some great patterns I found online and more ideas for designs of my own, and am having fun with the beading. It doesn’t involve a lot of setup, unlike sewing (since I still don’t have a place to permanently set up my machine) or worrying about pets snagging power cords and burning themselves (or me burning myself) as is the problem with woodburning. It’s something I can sit, anywhere, and do as much or as little at a time as I feel like, and the process is very calming, almost meditative.

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One thing though, I don’t think I will want to see another ladybug for a long time after this. 😉

Arts and crafts: a nice relaxing way to have a nervous breakdown

Spring is coming, the energy is changing around me and I feel the urge to create something. It’s too soon to garden, so I took it into my head to pick back up on a crafting project I’d set aside a few years back when the logistics of what I wanted to do vs. my actual skill level ran up against each other. It was a loom beadwork design I’d made myself, but I needed it to be 10″ long, and the little hobby loom I have allows for about a third of that.  Since I wasn’t sure if the finished item (beaded dog collar) would work out, or if I’d have any desire to ever pick up a loom again after that attempt, forking out twenty bucks or so for a larger adjustable loom seemed unwise.

  • Several days were devoted to Googling the problem I had run into before.
  • Another day spent trying an alternate technique for the project, which didn’t pan out.
  • Several more days passed before I could pick up a buckle dog collar, which was needed.
  • And today, being off work and up bright and early, I decided to embark upon the actual project!

Ideally I would need Nymo or some other nylon thread, some tiny pliers, and beeswax. Again, refer back to the “what if this is something I will lose interest in,  better not spend a bunch of money” mental argument, above. Plus all these things come from Earth Guild in Asheville, and my plans for the morning didn’t involve driving all the way Asheville and parking downtown.  I figured I could use the cotton thread I already have for sewing, a bit of a regular candle, and in a pinch (no pun intended) my teeth, for nipping out errant beads. And if I actually finished this, and it turned out well, then I could pick up the proper equipment if I was still interested in beading.

OK, so the first hitch I hit was that my existing pattern I’d made was one row too wide for the collar. Back to the design table.

  • An hour was spent Googling for free patterns I could use that were the right size. Nope.
  • Another hour or so looking for the original pattern and software, realizing both were apparently lost to a drive crash a few years back, and then redownloading the software, which had been upgraded since I last used it.
  • Not sure if I am going to stick with this, so reluctant to pay for the upgrade, seemed to work in a trial mode so lets recreate the design. Spent about a half hour on that.
  • It would have helped if I’d noted that I would not be able to print in trial mode. Went back to the site, paid for upgrade, which thankfully unlocked it right away.

From what I’d researched, to make the longer item I needed, I should cut warp threads three times the length of the actual project, then string the little craft loom as I normally would, except wrapping the excess thread around the wooden spindle so I could let out more as the project progressed. It sounded pretty straightforward.

What ensued was another hour spent trying to untangle the 16 30″ threads over and over, I thought maybe if I waxed them that might help but then they just got sticky. I tried combing them apart and now I have wax on my only comb. At one point I was actually attached to the loom with a snarl of tacky black thread; the phone rang in the middle of this and I knew if I tried to untangle myself to get it, I’d never get the knots out. The urge to take a pair of scissors to it, toss it in the trash, and Never Speak of This Again was great, but I was determined not to give up.

I tried taping down various strands I’d freed, adding uncooperative generic scotch tape to the mix. I did eventually get the loom strung, though it remains to be seen what is going to happen when I try to reel out the additional warp strings. By now I was pretty defeated, but after all that work I was bound and determined to bead. Yes, I did spill beads everywhere — I’m sure anyone reading this saw that one coming — and spent who knows how long crawling around on the floor picking them up.

I am very, very, grateful that at the last second before starting, I did realize I had the loom reversed and all that extra warp thread would have been on the wrong end once I started beading. Finding that out later on after I’d put several hours of work in would most likely have been the end of me and crafts.  I’m also thankful that no cats came to help until just as I was ready to stop and put the loom away anyway.

My eyes are a bit sore, I have a headache, my neck hurts, and I’ve wasted half a day to spend a half hour of actual beading, but here’s what I have so far:

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Ladybugs!