Welcome to ChrisBeads!

A Blog about Bead addiction, crochet, knitting and life in general.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

As some of you will know, I attended a class with Laura McCabe recently. I really liked the UBB class and made a necklace for my Mum's birthday yesterday using just the central beaded bead from that class. Since I could not get some of the components that Laura uses, I made it a bit bigger and the bicones on the corners are not flush with the work, but everyone who has seen it says it looks good, so I am pretty happy with the result. I think Mum liked it too. The bead is strung on a herringbone twist rope in size 15 beads.

Friday, December 18, 2009

One of my student's work!

Teaching others to bead is one of the nicest things about being a bead addict. Seeing the excited look on their faces once the project is complete is very rewarding. This lovely lady agreed for me to use my photos of her necklace. This is the pink version of my floral choker design. Susie did a lovely job of it and has made a matching bracelet as well. She was thrilled as the colour went so well with a blouse she had at home.

Floral Choker

Newest addition to my etsy shop is the Instructions for this Floral Choker. Constructed in ladder, herringbone and brick stitches, the necklace looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. My recent class of students managed the necklace very well and most have only been beading for a year or so. It looks good in other colours too.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Deck the Halls!

Golden Snowflakes to go with my golden baubles. This year my tree is a really basic one - a few dead branches off the gum tree and some golden baubles. Decided to make a few beaded snowflakes as well, but they are a little bit small. Might have to try and make some with larger beads so they show up better.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Another photo of my beaded lamp. This time at night, with the light on. My DH took this photo with a longer exposure. I particularly like the way the light reflects onto the glass topped table.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Exhibition pieces

The past couple of weeks have been frantically busy and I haven't really had time to concentrate on blogging, especially as I needed to take photos as well. These are the three pieces I entered into the BSV Melbourne Showcase 2009. As you will see I have had a bit of a triangle obsession this year.
The lamp started life as a purely decorative piece, but then morphed into a lamp with help from my electronically savvy DH.
The black and gold necklace followed on from the black and silver cuff which I made some time ago.
Then the silver necklace came from some further experimentation with triangles.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Laura McCabe Class - UBB

It has taken just over a week, but I did it! I finished my Laura McCabe class project - The Ultimate Beaded Bead! It was a bit hard on the eyes and caused many curses when things went awry, but I was determined. Now I am thinking of the best kind of necklace to make for it to hang from. I am using a black ribbon choker but it is a bit too short. I might have to buy MORE BEADS to do it justice. Thinking of a spiral rope to complement the colours.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Twenty years ago, when I was working in machine embroidery and textiles, I subscribed to a fascinating magazine called Textile Fibre Forum. This Australian magazine has always had a load of wonderful articles on the many and varied textile crafts and artists who produce them. Each issue has provided eye candy and inspiration and although my subscription has occasionally lapsed, I have always been drawn back in eventually.
Now the magazine is celebrating its 20th Birthday with a subscription drive which encourages subscribers to promote the magazine on their blogs and also to talk to their friends about subscribing. At AUD$38.50 for four issues it is not expensive as magazines go today and provides insight into the Australian Textile community.
Another advantage for Australian readers is the Subscribers Only newsletter which carries advance notice of the textile FORUMs which we all avidly look forward to every year.
Imagine a whole week's residential workshop with the artist of your choice, together with a large group of like minded folks all talking, making, eating and drinking together and producing wonderful work. If you have ever been to the Geelong FORUM or to Orange, you will know what I mean.
I am currently looking forward to attending the FibresBallarat Forum in April next year and to attending classes with Virginia Blakelock and Carol Perrenoud who are coming to Australia to teach at Ballarat and Orange.
May I suggest you subscribe to Textile Fibre Forum and become a member of the Australian Forum for Textile Arts and help this wonderful magazine survive the GFC.
The website is www.ggcreations.com.au/tafta/ for more information.

BSV Melbourne Bead Challenge 2009

Now that the Melbourne Bead Expo is over and the Bead Challenge 2009 has been finalised I can reveal which ones were my entries. Although I wasn't all that inspired by the beads initially, once I started on my first entry, I found that I kept having different ideas. So I had to make two.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Melbourne Bead Expo

If you are wondering where I have been over the past couple of weeks, then my only explanation is the amount of work that it takes to put on the Melbourne Bead Expo has used all my free time lately. The BSV Committee work very hard to ensure that the Expo is a great venue to buy MORE BEADS.

Thursday was set up day and everything went relatively smoothly seeing there were some 60 exhibitors to get set up and organised as well as the Member's Bead Exhibition and the Bead Challenge 2009 to be set up. If you can get to the Camberwell Centre this weekend you will be in for a feast of wonderful beading.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend a class with Laura McCabe who is out here from the USA. She is a very inspiring teacher and a lovely person too. Thoroughly enjoyed the class.

No photos unfortunately but they will come in the next few days.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Finishing off

Last week my class learned how to make a beaded toggle for their necklaces. It is quite a simple thing, but for some reason, the blue one I made as a demonstration in class just kept getting in a tangle. It was very frustrating. This is the one I made for the photograph instructions.

This week we will be making the decorative flowers to go on the choker and I just hope the thread doesn't misbehave again. It had been waxed and all, but every time I did something it just ended up in a gigantic knotty mess. I haven't been having much better success with the rest of the necklace tonight either. The blue thread seems to be jinxed. As you can see the brown and gold ones have worked just fine. Hopefully it will all be OK tomorrow.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Amazing colours!

Last week I had to knuckle down and write up the tutorial for my Floral Choker, as the class started last Tuesday. I thought I had plenty of time, but you know how it is.... Procrastinated for far too long and then nothing went right from the start. Firstly, I didn't think I had any cube beads that appealed to me (apart from those I had set aside for class kits). Then I was short of certain sizes in the beads. Finally I got started with some cubes that I found in one of my bead stashes which I had completely forgotten about. They were a lovely clarety colour. The decision was confirmed when I realised I had enough Miyuki Triangles in the Gold/Amethyst lined colourway (1839) and that they went beautifully with 1166 - Rose lined Topaz Luster. It is quite an unusual combination, but works really well.

You may like to check out the completed necklace in the Green/Rose pink combination in my August 12 post.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lots of new babies

As mentioned in a previous blog, this year is the year of the baby for our family and friends. In June we had the arrival of our niece's twin girls, Alexandra and Angela, followed in August by twin grand babies for one of my best friends - a boy called Tyler and a girl Michaela. In early September two of my ex-workmates had a boy (Bill) and a girl (Sophie) within a day of each other. More recently the two girls who played a part in introducing my son to his wife a couple of years ago, each had a child - a girl (Chloe) and a boy (Mitchell). There are also a couple more new babies in our more extended circle of friends. Now we have the news that our nephew and his wife are also expecting twins, next year.
These arrivals have played a large part in my renewed interest in crochet as you can see from the little dresses here. I just love ChezPlum's Roselette Top and these two are made in four and five ply yarn so they are newborn size. The pattern is so easy to make and looks really cute on.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We have had lots of rain!

This past weekend has been a very busy one, as my sister and her husband have been visiting from interstate to help celebrate my parents' 60th Wedding Anniversary. We had a lovely night out on Saturday at a local restaurant and enjoyed ourselves very much. On Friday night, we were celebrating our daughter-in-law's 30th Birthday and went to a Teppanyaki restaurant for that. Both nights the weather was wet and freezing cold. In fact on Sunday, it was only 8 deg C during the morning. It is spring here, so we would expect it to be more like 16-18 deg C. Even in winter we only get a few days under 10 deg C.
We have also managed to reach our September rainfall average despite hardly any rain falling in the first couple of weeks of the month. I think it all fell on Friday and Saturday - something like 40 mm of rain in two days. For those of you who think in inches that is about 1.75 inches. Extremely heavy rain in any measurement.
Today there are signs the weather is improving again.
Yesterday, I picked up the beaded pieces which I had entered in the Colours of the Galaxy Exhibition at the Embroiderers Guild of Vic. No sales unfortunately.
Our very talented daughter missed the family celebrations as she was in New Zealand for the Montana World of Wearable Art Show Opening Night.
This is the second time she has had an entry in the Competition and as you will see if you have a look at their site, the competition is fierce. It has been a wonderful experience for her. The WOW people treat the International Designers as real celebrities, with special cocktail parties and functions over the three days of the International Designer Programme. You can view her previous entry in a July Post.
Now its back to the beading for me. I have still to finish one of my Bead Challenge pieces and the deadline is fast approaching.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

BSV Party Food

Today was the big day on the Bead Society of Victoria calendar. At last the 15th Anniversary party was here. The Committee gathered to decorate the room and organise the tables and chairs, commencing at 8.30 a.m. and by the time the first party goers arrived all of the silver and purple tablecloths and balloons were in place and looked spectacular. As people arrived their "talking point" necklaces were admired and they were directed to the bead kit table and issued with their beads, as our project was for us all to make beaded beads which are to be made into a necklace and raffled to raise funds for our community service projects.
There were some very special necklaces, with our President Joanne wearing a collection of UFOs which had spent some time hanging out in her beading room, but were transformed into a splendid multi technique necklace. Marg had disassembled a set of head phones and came up with a spectacular double pendant. Jean and Karen had raided the lolly jar and came up with edible wearable art. Many of the members wore their most prized necklaces and a wonderful lot of techniques were represented.
Margaret had a really interesting piece of bark from the tan bark in her garden, made into a wonderful African inspired pendant necklace.

As usual, I had got a little carried away and my current obsession with peyote triangles had blossomed into a "Party Food" necklace. Each triangle represents a different item of food: Three different types of sandwiches, plus fairy bread, pizza, three cakes, cheesecake, pavlova, and to finish, a slice of watermelon. Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Opening of the Colours of the Galaxy Exhibition.

Tonight was opening night for the Embroiderers' Guild of Victoria Members Exhibition, Colours of the Galaxy. There are some wonderful embroideries, especially the gold work, as well as quilts and items of clothing. One beautiful dress has LEDs built into the bodice and twinkle, twinkle little star takes on a whole new meaning. My "Heavenly Bodies" Challenge piece is a tiny brooch (30 mm across) based on the colours of the Orion Nebula from a photograph given to me by a friend. The beads are mostly size 15/0 and Delicas.

Then there is my Christmas Star which is all in size 11/0 beads and will take pride of place on my Christmas Tree (unless someone likes it enough to purchase it).

The third item is a cuff made in peyote triangles, which I am exploring at present and which was inspired by the Art Deco period.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

How Annoying is That??

I've noticed a lot of bloggers have this picture on their site. It used to lead to a great place where just a few clicks led to a lot of drops. Nowadays however, it leads to a very frustrating page which states "server not found". Maybe some of you reading this did not know about the change. I took the picture off my site quite a while ago. Don't really know what happened, so if anyone knows, perhaps they can clue me in.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hectic times

The past couple of weeks have been busy ones, with the deadlines for the two major Exhibitions for Embroiderers and Beaders falling within three weeks of each other. I managed to get all my items in for the Embroiderers Guild Exhibition and am now finalising entries for the Bead Society Exhibition.
Have just been informed that my "Frog on a Lilypad" has been chosen as a class for the January Bead Retreat in 2010. This year I hope to go for the entire three days of the retreat and hopefully attend some classes myself as well as teach one. Last year I was only able to go for one day (the Sunday) where I was teaching my "Glam Ring" Class. It was so much fun that I really want to go for the whole time next year.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Term Four Classes

Class timetable for term four has now been confirmed with a couple of the Neighbourhood houses where I will be tutoring. This time, the students had some input into the classes they wanted for the rest of the year. The floral necklace which I put up in an earlier blog is the first three week class, followed by a bracelet in tubular twisted herringbone.
The Wave bracelet pictured is also scheduled for the end of November at another NH nearby.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Brooch the Subject III

Recently I entered an Exhibition being run by the Contemporary Art Society. It is called Brooch the Subject III and is currently running at the Fitzroy Library, in Melbourne. It is open until 6th October. Today I received an email to say all of the images are now up on the CAS website and there is a section where you can vote on the exhibits. You might like to take a look at all the amazing brooches on display.
My brooch is called "Looking through the Eye of Love" and was inspired by my recent reading of the Twilight series of books. Peyote stitch has been used to construct the eye, which was then embellished with daggers and drops. The red heart can represent either the loving heart or the eye of a vampire.
There are at least two other members of the Bead Society of Victoria who have entered the exhibition.
Hope you can vote for your favourite.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'll be glad when winter is over.

We are seeing signs that spring is coming, but the weather is still cold and wet. My garden is in need of attention, but it has been way too cold to venture out and I still haven't completely recovered from my bout of (swine?)flu recently. Just need a bit of cheering up really.

Yesterday, I had requests from three different neighbourhood houses for teaching proposals. Not sure if they will all run as it always depends on the number of students. Must be a good sign though.

Term 4, 2009 looks like being a busy one. This is the project I have put forward for one of the classes:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why can't all Beads be Created Smooth!

Guess it will teach me a lesson to only buy expensive beads! I have been trying to make a pair of earrings and although the first one worked out perfectly, the second one of the pair is proving a trial. I have quite a number of the same beads to use in the centre of the earring and have so far made the earring up three times. Each time I get to the last row of beads, and put some strain on the thread to get it through and finish off, I have had a catastrophe. The bottom thread holding the brick stitch has been cut through and the earring falls apart.
I have carefully looked at the beads and felt them and discarded the sharp ones, but so far, haven't had any luck.
Any chance of a new style - one fancy earring and one plain?

Monday, July 20, 2009


Yesterday was the big day. Catriona got her notification that her World of Wearable Art entry has once again been accepted. The WOW Show is held every year in Wellington New Zealand and in the world of costume is a very prestigious event. To have your garment selected from 300 entries from around the world is a fantastic effort.
Some of you will know that this is the second time Cat has managed to get into the Show, last time with her Green Tee Goddess, shown in the pictures here. This garment was beaded with over 6,500 golf tees and was very elegant. During the WOW show performance, as the model spun around, the tees made a very satisfying clickety click as they whirled out from the dress.
Her latest creation cannot be revealed until Showtime in September, but as usual it is beautifully made from some rather unusual components.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Craft and Quilt Show 2009

In just over a week we will be setting up our 15th Anniversary Display for the Bead Society of Victoria at the Craft and Quilt Show, Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Yesterday at our Bead Society meeting everyone was very excited about the Show and our involvement in it. We are having the biggest booth we ever had and the race is on to make the display the best ever. There are several large display cases to hold the beautiful pieces made by our members, as well as a demonstration table and a large TV screen to show some promotional material about the BSV.
One of our displays will include entries from previous Bead Challenges. So far I have entered four Challenges.

This was my 2006 entry - the Challenge beads are the metallic larger looking ones. I used freeform peyote and added the metal beads in wherever they seemed to fit. The focal bead is a wooden button.

In 2007, the beads were in colours which I don't rush to use normally so it was a bit harder. I ended up doing one of my button necklaces and adding the Challenge beads into the Herringbone rope. It gets quite a few comments, and I like to wear it even though it was definitely not elegant enough to win.

The beads this year are featured in a previous blog. I am about 1/3 of the way through this year's Challenge and not sure whether I like it or not.

For those of you in Melbourne, see you at Jeff's Shed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

This has been a horrible weekend.

Two lovely blokes celebrating an engagement, some two years ago. One our neighbour of 28 years and the other my son. This weekend, the neighbour was in the wrong place at the wrong time, on his motorbike and was sideswiped by a car which came out of a side street. Instantly life changed for us all. Michael of the lovely smile, is gone and my son has lost a mate.
Today I went in to see his Mum, Dad, and elder sister who are bravely trying to cope with their sudden loss. Words are not enough. We hugged.
A wonderful cheerful young man has lost his life and we are bereft. If my family feels the pain so badly, what are his family feeling!
Please be careful on the roads and LOOK BIKE! We all get sick of seeing the RTA ads about the carnage on the roads, but when it is somebody close, the feeling is mind numbing. All that potential!
We can only be there for his grieving folks and hope that our own children stay safe. My heart goes out to all the families in similar situations. Make sure you tell all of your family and friends how much you love them because who knows what is around the corner.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The weeks are going too quickly....

The past couple of weeks have passed much too quickly and partly owing to a bout of flu I haven't been firing on all cylinders. Couldn't believe that it was over a week since my last blog.
Being the Secretary of the Bead Society of Victoria (Australia)is taking up a bit of time at present as we are about to celebrate our 15th Anniversary and there are quite a few things to organise. In September we are having a special party luncheon at our monthly meeting. At the end of July, there will be a much larger than usual display at the Craft and Quilt Show in Melbourne and we want to promote the Society with a really special display of the work of our members. You might like to check out the Bead Society website to see some of the amazing creations from our members.

As part of the BSV Bead Expo in November, there is a Bead Challenge and the beads pictured are the "Challenge" beads. The idea is to make something spectacular, using all of the Challenge beads, plus whatever else takes your fancy. This year's beads are proving quite difficult because there are fewer of them than in previous years.
I have started my Challenge piece but it will have to remain secret for a few more months.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Twice as Nice

Our niece has had twins and we are all very excited about them. Twin girls which is lovely and so I got to try out my new pattern from SylvChezPlum. They seemed to need a flower, so have made them one each. At first I was going to make them different colours, but decided to go with the same.
It was really easy to make and I can see that I will be making more as time goes by and the girls grow.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lady Charis Necklace

Had a lovely beady day on Saturday, tutoring some members of the Bead Society of Victoria. The project was my "Lady Charis Necklace" which is a beginner level project combining brick stitch medallions joined together with small strung sections. It always surprises me how many variations come from the class as people become inspired to "do their own thing". Just the individual colour choices make the project look completely different in each case.

The first image is my sample necklace for the class, in a colour of beads which I particularly like from Miyuki. The beads are limey green with a purple lining and they are quite stunning.

The black bracelet is one using the same technique with the medallions, but turning them into a bracelet instead.

These earrings have been brick stitched using round instead of oval beads and it makes quite a difference to the look of the medallion.
Just love those seedies!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Owls, but this time Blue!

With quite a few babies due to arrive amongst family and friends over the next few months, I have improvised a baby cardigan pattern with the owl design on it. I think it worked quite well. Not sure if I will put any buttons on the eyes or not this time.

I wonder when I will get inspired to bead again? Having too much fun with knitting and crochet at present.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


A good friend has two owls which have taken up residence in the trees in her garden since the bush fires. They come during the day and sometimes cuddle up, but other times are in different trees. They leave at dusk to hunt.

When we went to her house for dinner recently, it seemed a good idea to take her one of my owl hats to wear. She says the owls said "Who?".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm on a roll - more etsy sales

June has been the best month for etsy in quite a while. Another tute went off today. It was the bobbly bracelet one, which is one of my favourites.

This is one of the alternative colours that I have made and is the one I wear the most. Love those Miyuki triangles.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Is anyone reading this blog anymore?

I don't think I have had such a long time between comments as I have lately. Maybe there is no one reading my blog anymore. Do you hate knitting..... Is the blog boring.... wish I knew the answer. It gives me quite a buzz to see the comments and I also try to comment on blogs I like, myself.

My current beading projects are all for exhibitions towards the latter part of the year and the criteria in each case does not allow the work to be seen before the exhibition. Therefore, a lot of my bead work won't be appearing until later on. In the meantime, I am knitting when I get a spare few minutes.

I have adapted the owl pattern and used beads knitted into the pattern for the eyes instead of buttons sewn on after. Since the hat is black, the detail is hard to see. I think it works though. Daughter and mother both have one now and they seem to like them.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Regatta Bracelet Inspiration

The dinner set in the kitchen at the holiday house we stayed in recently inspired a bracelet destined as a gift to the owner of the house who kindly allowed us to stay there.
The dinner set has a white background, with straight light blue, dark blue and gold lines, representing water and the reflection of the sun which is in the sky. On the water are a group of yachts, obviously tacking backwards and forwards in a regatta formation. This is the bracelet which I came up with which I think has the same feel as the plates. The clasp is the sun shining brightly.

This morning I received a phone call from the lady I sent the bracelet to and she is quite delighted with it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Living Creatively Blog Roll

A few weeks ago I applied for my blogsite to be listed on the Living Creatively site. Today LC's email about their blog roll and the new LC Blog arrived in my email in box and when I checked it out, it was to discover I'VE BEEN LISTED. The Living Creatively site has lots of great things for everyone who is at all creative and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

Humour - EBW Challenge

The latest EBW Challenge is now on. You can vote for your favourite at the EBW blogsite until 15 June. Once again, there are an amazing group of beady goodies to choose from.