Friday, December 31, 2010

I Never Knew How Hard Beading Was!

I've always wanted to try beading and have admired beautiful crazy quilt creations with beading and ornaments created with beading for a long time.

I've also admired goddess dolls and have wanted to try my hand at creating some of the beautiful beaded goddess dolls that I've seen.  Back in 2009 when I wrote about the goddess dolls in a Linda's Blog post entitled "Why Not Be Adventuresome?" and "My Goddess Doll Adventure So Far!" I was hoping to have some time to create some of them.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do so as of yet.  I'm still hoping that maybe this year I will find just a smidgen of time.

I was first introduced into beaded ornaments many, many years ago when a colleague at work brought in some of the beaded tree ornaments she had made and was selling.  She had some large blue beaded ornaments like those shown in the picture below and some smaller white beaded ornaments like those shown in the 2nd picture below.  So, I bought three of the large blue ones and 3 of the smaller white ones.  They quickly became some of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments.

Several years ago my Mother and I were shopping at a local A.C. Moore store and found some interesting beaded ornament kits that we thought might make a nice craft project. I, of course, was remembering the wonderful blue and white beaded ornaments I had bought from a work colleague years ago and which adorned my Christmas tree every year since then. So, we decided to give it a try.

Some were Merri Mac Kits from Mac Enterprises and some were Holiday Keepsakes from Cousin Corporation.   From the pictures they looked easy enough.  Little did we know.

What my Mother and I didn't know was exactly how difficult beading was until we tried our hand at creating some of the beaded ornaments we had bought.  My Mother decided to start on the gold bells ornament which is shown in the picture above.  It wasn't exactly a beaded ornament in my mind, but she thought it would be a good beginning.

I, on the other hand, decided to dive right in and create the white, red, and green beaded tree shown in the 2nd picture from the left in the collage above.  I figured I'd tackle one of the tougher ornaments first.

For the most part we didn't have any problems with the directions.  Where we ran into problems was with containment of the beads.  Foolishly I hadn't thought about organizing the beads by color and size and putting them in separate containers or multi sectional containers like you might use for painting.  I just dumped them all out on the table and, well as you can imagine, they didn't stay where they were put.  Foolish beads - rolling all over the place.  More like foolish me!

For awhile we were laughing at the beads going everywhere, but after my Mother and I got through picking all the beads up off the floor for like the 10th time she finally said, "Linda, this is not going to work.  We need to put the beads into something."  So, I quickly found some little bowls that we could use as I knew my Mother was running out of patience on this.  Whenever she emphasized "Linda" I knew I was in trouble!

The other problem we ran into with the beads was exactly how to pick them up.  They were so small you couldn't just pick them up with your fingers.  You could thread them onto the tip of your needle which was fine for me, but my Mother was having a hard time as she couldn't see the holes - even with her glasses on.  So, I got a magnifying glass for her.

Well, needless to say creating beaded ornaments wasn't exactly as easy as we thought. However, we managed to make a few of the ornaments like the white cross shown in the 1st picture on the left in the collage above and the green spiral tree which is shown in the last picture on the right in the collage above.

We didn't make all of the beaded ornaments kits that year.  There were 4 left to do.  I did, however, get the chance two years ago to make the beaded icicles shown in the 3rd picture form the left in the collage above.  This time I had partitioned containers for the beads and the project went rather smoothly.  Time consuming, but this time there were no beads on the floor.

My sister's favorite bird is a cardinal and every year I try to give her something handmade with a cardinal on it.  This year I found a painted red cardinal sled ornament with the words "Joy" on it at a craft shown hubby and I went to.  It was perfect for my sister so I bought it.

Earlier in the year I had also bought several Mill Hill beaded ornaments kits including a Mill Hill Tiny Treasured Diamond "Holiday Cardinal" ornament kit (MHTD20).

It was a kit for a 3.25" x 5" embellished ornament with a cardinal on it and I thought my sister would surely love it.  It didn't seem too involved and looked like it would be something I could make in a relativity short period of time.  For the most part I didn't have any problems with the instructions or the symbol chart & legend.

The problem I ran into was more with the 28 count fabric supplied with the kit.  It wasn't exactly the easiest to count the threads on to position your beads.  As a result some of my beads weren't quite aligned where they should have been so I had to adjust my design accordingly.  Because of this my design wasn't exactly as square as it should have been.  Oh, well - it was a first attempt at this after all.

Also, some of the red beads were really, really tiny and the needle used to thread some of the tiniest beads was so thin and so small that it kept piercing the skin on one of my fingers.  Needless to say by the time I was finished with my beaded ornament the tips of one of my fingers was a little sore.

However, I was really pleased with the way my ornament came out (altered design or not) and knew my sister would love it.  My finished (altered) ornament is shown in the picture at the beginning of this post.

I still have the Mill Hill Tiny Treasured Diamond Icy Snowflake beaded ornament (MHTD24) and the Mill Hill Tiny Treasured Diamonds Ice Blue Snowflake beaded ornament (MHTD17).

I'm hoping to make these next year.  I'll let you know how these turn out.

While my finger wasn't happy with the Mill Hill Tiny Treasured Diamond "Holiday Cardinal" ornament kit my sister was. She absolutely loved it and couldn't believe I had made it with all those tiny, tiny beads. My finger couldn't either, but I didn't tell my baby sister that.

I hope when she puts it on her tree she'll take a picture for me.  I'll bet it will look really nice.

Stay tuned.

Sis, I need a picture - hint- hint.

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