Studio Musings

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Wholy Incomplete Project

This does seem to be the story of my life these days.  Day late, dollar short.  Today's the reveal for Kristi Bowman's Big Hole Hop and I'm still very much in process with my piece.

The paisley designs in Kristi's focal inspired me to try making my own paisleys.  I started with my basic snowflakes & stars, then working the paisley shape around them.  

I currently plan to have five paisleys in my final design.  So far I've managed to stitch up four. 

Also played with a lot of ideas about how to work the copper focal into the piece.  I wanted to use it as the closure, but its hole is just a little too small to fit a toggle through. 

I finally hit on using it as the button rather than the loop!  If I use one of my flower stars to fill the hole, Kristi's focal suddenly becomes a button.  Perfect! 

I've started working on the background; planning to fill it in with random right angle weave with my dark blue bead mix.  going to sprinkle some stars through the background.  And the focal will sit on top like a full, round moon.

That's the theory anyways.

 So, another work in progress - guess that gives me another blog post a little later.   The good and the bad.  Hopefully the process is interesting!

And in the meantime, check out all of finished pieces by the other participants in Kristi's hop:

Paisley laid out onto my design mockup - lots of stitching to go!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

101 Facebook Fan Winners

Thank you everyone who entered my 101 Facebook Fans drawing either here or over on Facebook itself! 

There were a number of different places where you could have entered - including several different threads on Facebook, although you did actually have to comment to enter.  So I printed them all out. taking screenshots of the comment threads from Facebook, because I couldn't figure out an easier way to do it. 

Then I sat down and numbered the entries - adding extra entries for those of you who had taken to post on your own blogs and Facebook pages.  Thanks for that!  In the end, I had 48 entries.  I gave 49 & 50 to Lyn Owen over at Silvermoonlyn as a thank you for all of the traffic she sent my way and to bring my drawing to a nice round number.

First up were the earrings, freeform peyote and right angle weave from my Earth & Sky colorway.   

freeform beaded earrings by Karen Williams, Earth & Sky color way
freeform beaded earrings, Earth & Sky color way

 I used for the number generator, and Narelle Donald; number 22 was you. 

Then it was time to draw for one of the two kit packages. The winner will get to choose from Package A: a combo pack with kits for my Lacework Bracelets and Corset & Stays beaded bead.  Or package B: containing my book Freeform Peyote Beading and a special kit in the color way from my Autumn Rain bracelet (which incidentally has been the profile pic for Skunk Hill Studio's FB page from day1)

Package A: cover pages for the two tutorials

Package B: Freeform Peyote Beading special kit

Turns out, Lyn didn't need the extra two entries for sending people my way.  Her number came up for her blog comment. 

So now it looks like I'll be shipping two packages round to the other side of the globe.  Narelle and Lyn/Lynette, please email me with your contact information so I can get these out to you.  Lynette, I'll need to verify which kit package you want. 

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this giveaway a huge success!  This was a full order of magnitude larger than the last drawing I did back in the fall.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Big Hole Hop Teaser

copper big hole copper focals by Kristi Bowman

Last month I was one of the lucky winners of Kristi Bowman's drawing.   I won one of her copper big hole copper focals and a chance to participate in her design challenge and blog hop.

copper big hole focal by Kristi Bowman, sketche by Karen Williams
Kristi Bowman's focal & my sad little sketch
I'll admit, I'd not-so-secretly hoped to receive one of her more organic patterns - they're right up my alley.  Instead, my focal is paisley.  Oops.  Guess I need to stretch.

First thing I discovered? I'm rather terrible at drawing paisley.  See what I mean?

I'd noticed that the heart of each of Kristi's paisley designs is a multi-pointed star.  Thinking I could work with that, I played with ways to incorporate some of my stars from my Snowflakes & Stars pattern into the design.

It still wasn't working, so then I went searching for further inspiration.

fabric from my sundress, doesn't work at all with the focal
I thought I might have found it in the patterning of my favorite sundress.

Turns out it's not actually paisley.  And didn't go with the focal worth a darn.  I did like the dark background, however.

A dark blue would be better though, whispered a little voice in my head. 

Dark blue night skies, paisley stars, comet trails.....

Starry Night by Vincent VanGogh

And then inspiration truly struck.  What if my focal was a big, fat lazy moon in a starry night sky?  Vincent,  I think you might have saved me!

The patterning in his painting even reminds me of the paisley in Kristi's design - wonderful comet trails of brush strokes.

So now I finally know where I'm going.  Curious how it's going to turn out?  So am I!

I'll be beading this coming week, then I'll share the piece with you here at the 'reveal' next Saturday, June 30th.

I'd better get cracking!  And in the meantime, check out the other participants.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thinking about Beadfest Texas (or Philadelphia)?

Beadfest Special Offer
If you're heading to Beadfest this summer or fall, then here's a little something the wonderful people over at Interweave gave me to pass along.  You can use it for a discount off of either a 6-hour or a 3-hour class.

That includes my two classes: Lacework Bracelets and Corset & Stays Beaded Beads.  See how nicely it all comes together?   :)

And if you're planning to be at Beadfest Texas, let me know!  I'd love a chance to meet up with some of my online friends.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Progress Report Wednesday - Working on Bead Kits

I love this time of year when I can take my work outside!
Seemed like a simple enough thing, when I thought I'd give this a whirl as a regular Wednesday column.  Just take pictures of whatever I was working on that day and post it here.  Sort of like a bead table Wednesday, but a little more  process oriented.

I'm afraid all I've really worked on the past couple of days are beading kits, which aren't terribly glamorous.  On the plus side,  the weather was lovely this afternoon, so I took my work outside and set up at the table out in the garden.  It was much more comfortable than the previous day's workstation, camped out on the floor in my living room front of several windows (it was rainy and that was the best light to be had).

Trying to organize beads into kits and color ways
Since this is my first foray into kits in a very long time, I'd not realized just how long it would take to measure out all of the individual bead types.  I've spent a good eight to ten hours over the past two and a half days working on this. I'm hoping I can speed that up in the future as I spent a fair bit of time deciding upon the exact beads to use in each of the different color ways.

As of this evening, I've managed to measure out the beads for two sets each of twelve different color ways for my beaded beads. Can we say overkill?  I'm planning to take these to the Seedbeader's meeting this Sunday and see which colorways garner the most interest, and then make more of those. 

I also put together four to six each of six different color ways for my Lacework bracelets. I tried wherever possible to match the beads I've used in some of my previous bracelets but that wasn't always possible.  Some of the beads from my original bracelets had been in my stash for ages, and available bead colors seem to change from season to season.  Finding the right beads has definitely been part of the challenge. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

101 Face Book Fans Milestone Celebration and Giveaway

Last week, I hit one of my milestones of a hundred and one fans for my Skunk Hill Studio Facebook page.  To celebrate, I thought I'd host a giveaway.  No puppies, I promise!  None of those in residence here, without or without their spots.  What I do have a is ton of beads (sort of spot-like), so I thought I'd give some of them away in two separate prizes.

Openwork Freeform Beaded Earrings with right angle weave and peyote stitch by Karen Williams
In the first prize, the beads are cleverly disguised as a pair of earrings.  I've selected this pair at left.  They're a pair of openwork freeform beading using right angle weave and peyote stitch with Vintaj antique brass ear wires and a $45.00 value.  If you've followed my blog for a while, you might remember them from my January earring challenge.

I personally think they're a lovely pair, and was tempted to keep them for myself.  But, since I believe in the freedom of choice, I'll make you an additional offer.  You're welcome to look through my Etsy store - if you see another pair you prefer, favorite it on Etsy and let me know.  If you win the earrings, then the one you marked is yours. If you favorite more than one, make sure you let me know which is your top choice!

Freeform Peyote Beading Book and Kit; includes all the beads I used for my Autumn Rain bracelet
Freeform Peyote Beading kit - includes beads & book
The second prize is designed for my do-it-yourselfer friends, and also comes with a choice.  The winner may choose either:

Kit Package A: including both my Lacework Bracelets and my Corset Beads kits mentioned in my last blog post. The prize will include both tutorials and all beads necessary to make a single-color lacework bracelet and two corset beaded beads. 


Kit Package B: my book, Freeform Peyote Beading and all of the beads necessary to make a bracelet similar to my Autumn Rain.  During my original bead selection for the piece, I divided all of my beads into four portions.  One of each was used to make the bracelet, while I held the remain three of each in reserve.  Earlier this year, I combined the three remaining kits into two, to make the bead packets a little more robust.  So this is a very limited edition kit.  Both kits prizes have a $45.00 value.

If you have a preference as to which prize you win - earrings, kits or either - let me know.   I'd really like the kits to go to someone who will use them.  :)

Now that you know the prizes, here are the rules for entry:
  1. Since I'm celebrating my Facebook Fans, you need to be one to win.  If you're not already a fan, it's not too late become one.  :)  Update:  I'm already seeing a potential problem - if your Facebook profile name and Google profile name differ, please make sure there's an easy way for me to connect the two! 
  2. You can gain chances to win by any of the following (up to, I think four, chances):  Comment here on my blog and/or on my Facebook page.  Tell me what you'd like best or what you'd like to see more of.  Post about this on your blog or Facebook, and let me know that you've done so. 
I'll do the drawing a week and a half from today, on Wednesday, June 27th.

And thank you all!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Still not done, but boy have I been busy

Freeform peyote ruffles, process photo collage by Karen Williams
On Tuesday that I'd post my finished piece from the Time to Stitch blog hop today.  Well, as the title indicates, it's still not done.  Just in case anyone did indeed decide to check back, I thought I should at least post an update. 

I've managed another two or three hours of stitching since Tuesday, so not a lot. I do like what's starting to happen with the curls on either end.  It's about time to start working on some ruffles along the edges mid-center.  The question is whether I add the poppies now or later.  Placing them now will make it easier to know where I want the ruffles to frame them.  But working around them will be far more difficult.

Lacework Bracelet PDF tutorial featuring right angle weave by Karen Williams
So what else has kept me busy this week?  Thanks for asking!  Mostly I'm working to finish up a couple of different e-book tutorials which also double as class handouts when printed. 

I'm in the final stages of proofing and editing a complete overhaul for my Lacework Bracelet tutorial, expanding it from eight to sixteen pages.  The overhaul included replacing many of the old photographs with new, better ones, expanding and improving the section on color mixing, adding several new project notebook pages which walk through the creation process and reviewing all of the text instructions.  I may also decide to replace the images on the cover.

I've included a screen shot of one of the two-page layouts below, just to give you a feel for what I'm doing with the interiors.

Lacework Bracelets tutorial by Karen Williams
2-page spread screenshot from Lacework Bracelets
Corset, Caps & Stays Bead Beads tutorial by Karen Williams
 I'm also working on the tutorial for my Corset & Stays Beaded Beads.   The Tutorials full title is "Corset, Caps & Stays" because I plan to include two distinct, but related patterns.  The corset beads shown below, and then their opposites, with beaded caps and open stays across the center of the beads. 

The tutorial also includes detailed diagrams and instructions for single needle right angle weave, including decreases, two different types of increases and joins - expanding upon the free instructions from my website. 

My hope is to have both available on Etsy before the end of June, with kits to follow shortly after. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Freeform Peyote, Very Much in Process

Nearly a month has passed since I signed up for Christine and Therese's Time to Stitch blog hop focusing on peyote and herringbone stitch.  Surely more than enough time to create a single piece of freeform peyote, I thought.  Well, it should have been, but life does have a way....

So, my piece is more than a little underdone, but I thought I'd share what I have anyways. 

It all started with this hat.  It's a cute hat, but rather plain.  Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, to remake it for spring, like ladies used to do in times past?  So I traipsed down to the ribbon store for ribbons, to find a new hat band as a first step in the process.   

Meanwhile, the poppies have begun blooming in my yard, which was my deadline for creating a piece using Lynne Bowland's lovely enameled poppies.  Wouldn't it be fun, I thought, to create a beaded hat ornament?

So I started stitching,

Freeform peyote always looks so awkward in its early stages!
A ways to go before I can add the enamel poppies
Beading by 8pm last night - still a ways to go

I'm using greens and neutrals for most of my beading to provide a neutral background for the enamel poppies.  I do like how the curl at left echoes that of an unopened poppy bud.

Since it's obviously yet complete, my fall-back plan is to have this finished by the end of the week.  So, if you're curious how it will turn out, check back on Saturday and I'll let you know!

In the meantime, check out the other entries in this hop and see wonderful examples of both stitches (completed, unlike mine!):

Lisa Stukel

Mandy Duffy

Cynthia Machata
Shirley Moore

Now time for bed as I really am up at 3:00am finishing up this post.  Hope it makes sense when I look at it in the morning!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tutankhamun and the Great Pharohs

Courtiers bowing
The Tutankhamun and the Great Pharohs exhibit just opened at the Pacific Science Center last week. 

The exhibit will be here through early January of next year, so you have a little time to see it if you've not yet had a chance, and just happen to be visiting Seattle in the next six months. But fair warning; this is the last US stop before the exhibit returns to Egypt.

It's chock full of interesting statues and artifacts from a wide swath of time - at least a thousand years of Egyptian history - as well as a stunning number of artifacts from King Tut's tomb. 

I thought I'd share six of my favorite pieces here.  First, I fell in love with a number of the carved stone tablets. 
Even cats got an afterlife in ancient Egypt!

I didn't manage to write down where the stone carving above came from, though I can tell you it's part of a much larger wall piece.  When I first saw it, I thought they were all leaning forward in anticipation.  I love the sense of depth and movement in the piece.

As a cat lover, I had to photograph the sarcophagus for Prince Thutmose's Cat, 1430-1372BC.  This cat is all set, complete with a feast for the afterlife and his own cat mummy!

Sketch of princess eating duck from the Amarna Period

This carving reminded me of a clay tablet carving.  I loved the naturalistic lines - so different from the stylization typical of ancient Egyptian art.

Apparently the Amarna period (during the later half of the eighteenth dynasty and includes pharaoh's such as Akhetaten and Tutankhamun) is the only time such a sketch would have been possible.

This collar feature teensy tiny gold seed beads!
And then I rounded a corner and saw the jewelry.   First up, collar with suspended rows of amphora-shaped glass pendants. What truly delighted me were the teensy tiny gold beads used as spacers between the pendants.  Very close to the size 11 seed beads I use today!  I couldn't stop smiling, seeing this very real connection between the then and now.

The Eagle Collar features three eagles heads - one on either shoulder and a third at the top of the the tassel at center back.  Again, I love the expressiveness and lines of the carvings.  The center back tassels is a fun touch, too. 

The last necklace pictured below is from King Tut's tomb.  While there were quite a number of gorgeous gold pieces, I liked the simplicity of large-holed stone beads.  Interestingly, it's still strung on its original rope, which looks to be hemp or something else sort of straw like.  I tried to get a closer look at that in the detail shot.

Golden eagle heads with bugle-shaped stone beads

Large-holed disks strung on a plant fiber rope