An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Monday, August 30, 2010

Daffodils of hope - new free beading pattern

Last Friday (27th August 2010) I noticed that the daffodils planted at the front of our land are in full bloom. They are such a bright and hopeful sign that spring is on the way and it’s exciting to see more of them blooming this year than there were last year. Coincidentally, last Friday was also Daffodil Day in Australia. Daffodil Day is a major cancer awareness and fundraising day run by the Cancer Council of Australia. They describe it as a “day for all of us to give hope for a brighter, cancer-free future for ourselves, and for those we love”. As a person who has had relations and friends die from cancer it seemed timely to honor their memory and the spirit of Daffodil Day by designing a daffodil bead pattern.

I hope you like it. I’m off to bead it tonight. If you’d like to bead one the pattern is available free to all Fans and Followers. Just link here.

For more information:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Women's rights - free peyote pattern

I was working with a group of women in a community song writing workshop at the weekend and was reminded of how the message of women's rights is still very pertinent. Some of the women in the group are survivors of domestic violence. In honor of them and of the songwriting group I've chosen my next free pattern offer for Facebook Fans and Blog Followers - the women's rights symbol. Link here to my website to download the free pattern. Love to hear how you use it. Traditionally, for feminist there is a clinched fist in the middle but that was too much of a challenge to do in beadwork. Happy beading to all women.

Chocolate truffles, ‘in’ colours for beaders and southern skies

I’ve just downloaded a preview of the latest Margie Deeb Colour Report for Bead and
Jewelry Designers.
Margie ( writes prolifically on colour for beaders and I own her book The Beaders Guide to Colour (published by Watson-Guptill Publications.) Margie publishes regular seasonal colour reports for beaders that appraise them of the latest in colour trends for the upcoming season. I’ve have downloaded her latest report - the Fall/Winter 2010 report. It has some enticing colour combinations in it. I was drawn to those associated with the PANTONE® colour ‘Chocolate Truffle’. PANTONE® has created what is considered to be the definitive international reference for selecting, specifying, matching and controlling ink colours.

PANTONE® describe their 'Chocolate Truffle' as “Elegant.... evocative of delicious treats, is a rich brown with piquant plum undertones, that pairs tastefully with Purple Orchid." PANTONE® 19-1526. It sounds good enough to eat. Maggie suggests using Delica #1574 to emulate their rich brown.

I was just about to head off to my Delica stash to see if I had any when I realized that what might be ‘in’ for beaders in the northern hemisphere isn’t necessarily in for southern hemisphere beaders. We are just beginning to turn from winter to spring and instead of brown autumn leaves there yellow wattles bursting into flower and blue skies sneaking through the grey. So as delicious as chocolate truffles might look and sound should a southern beader be tempted by them?

Searching for advice online I’ve been rather overwhelmed by the wide range of fashion colour reports available to us beaders for inspiration. I’ve listed some key ones below but I haven’t yet found any that answers my question – what should a girl in the southern hemisphere do – be tempted by chocolate truffles or not? What do others think?

By the way those luscious choclate truffles in the picture above are from Chocolate Lushes Etsy shop - stop by for other temptations and/or inspirations.

Sources for colour inspiration and colour trends online
Pantone's website:

Fashion Trendsetter - has the following colour reports:
  • Pantone Fashion Colour Report for Fall 2010 - The CIFF Autumn/Winter 2010/2011 Fashion and Colour Trends
  • APLF Colour and Material Trends Fall/Winter 2010/2011
  • The Must-Have Colour Trends for Fall 2011
  • Inspiring Color Hues From Prada!
  • Lenzing Textile & Color Trends Autumn/Winter 2010/11
For Northern and Southern hemisphere trends -

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Synchrotrons, Ancient Egypt and a turquoise sort of day

The birds are singing, the sun is shining and I am looking out my window at the first bright blue sky in weeks here on the Bellarine Peninsula (Victoria, Australia) where I live. I think I can feel a walk on the beach (just a few minutes away) beaconing. It all feels very cheering after weeks of much needed rain, grey skies and cold winds. It could be called a ‘turquoise’ day. Apparently, as a gemstone turquoise makes the wearer feel happy and cheerful. Some say this is because it’s tones are produced through the combination of the light bright blue of sunny skies and the beautiful greens of the sea. Mind you ironically, turquoise should be protected from strong sunlight as it’s colour can fade in it. It is also a gemstone that promotes finiancial well-being. According to gemstone,org the ancient Persian scholar Al-Qazwini wrote: 'The hand that wears a turquoise and seals with it will never see poverty.' Maybe that is why some women in Ancient Egypt used to bake their own in the local bread oven! To explain:

Not content with managing the household it appears women in Ancient Egypt were also keeping the budget in the black with some home-based manufacturing. That is the conclusion an Australian team has drawn by using synchrotrons to analyse the synthetic turquoise that was popular during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten around 1300BC.

Amongst my gemstone stash are some lovely pieces of turquoise that I haven’t looked at in ages – so after this blog post I am off to choose one to use in my beading later today. I have been working hard on creating beaded beads for the last few weeks and feel an itch to do some beading with cabachons. I think that Mother Nature is calling me to honor the day by beading with turquoise today and I don’t feel quite up to baking any!

I hope you have a turquoise sort of day.


  • Cooper, Dan: Synchrotron probes Egyptian beads, May 2010,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Beading Needle Survey update - 25 in so far

Thanks to everyone who has filled out a survey so far - helpful comments and a clear winner emerging to date ... the suggestion about KRDesigns about a list of suppliers I'll take on board - where to buy the best needles at the best prices.... Let others who bead know about the survey - the more, the more likely we are to have a good guide to the best value, best quality needle.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Four broken beading needles: it's time for a beading needle quality survey

Last night I managed to break four beading needles whilst making a pair of peyote earrings. The needles are part of a batch of a pack of 25 needles that seem to just snap at will. I have decided never to buy that brand again! Once I believed that a beading needle is a beading needle. Now, I am learning that where needles are made (I have used needles made in the UK, USA, Japan, India, and China) is linked to how much use I get from them. I have also learnt that not all brands from a specific country are necessarily of the same quality. So, putting on my hat as a researcher I've decided it's time for a Beading Needle Quality Survey of the beading communities I am part of. If you are a beader I hope you'll join in during the month of August.

The survey takes a few minutes only to complete (unless you decide to write an essay on beading needles - which of course I'd love to read). It asks you to assess the quality of needle strength and durability, needle eyes for threading and fraying, needle sharpness and value for money.

Click here to take survey (Please note this will take you to Monkey Survey - an online survey site where I have placed the survey - it's free of charge!)

I'll post results of the survey on the blog in early September.

Dax Designs - now on Artisan Co-op