Thursday, September 23, 2021

Have Fun Using Unconventional Items for Focals

 This is a bit of advice that can lead to hoarding if you're not careful. My mother is an art supply hoarder, as she works in mixed media. However, holding onto a few things can help you create some pieces like this:



Cool, isn't it? What is it, you ask? Well, obviously it's a hand drawn doodle on mat board! JD had a few of these lying around the house a while back that he was planning on getting rid of. They ranged in size from small scraps to 9"x9", with all sorts of colorful doodles on them. Let's take a close up look at this one:






I've bezeled it the mini drawing, along with a clear faceted piece of acrylic on top, in peyote stitch. I got creative and weird with the back and added a button over the hole of the acrylic, with accompanying leaves. All is strung on some exposed red beading wire with accent beads of various types. Nota a bad use for simple shaped bead stringing, I don't think.




I don't exactly remember which year I made this piece. Roughly 2015-2018 if I had to guess. I was also in the ZONE during creation, so have always loved the final result!

Sadly, I did not hold on to many of the other doodles, or the acrylic gems other than this one:






It's gorgeous! I know it's going to be a fabulous piece when I ever get around to making it, either with or without the rubberized leaves. I can't for the life of me find more of those. Does anybody have a source? I've broken down and purchased polymer clay (clay is my lifelong nemesis) to attempt to recreate the shape for myself. At any rate, it WILL be amazing and I will also kick myself for losing the rest of the doodles. JD and I have decluttered over and over and over again through the years, so who knows what happened to them. Oh well, I do have other things to do, too.

What's your favorite thing to upcycle? Is it something you normally wouldn't think of, or a moment of Serendipity? I'd like to know!


Thursday, September 9, 2021

A Lesson in Making 'Bad' Art

 Okay, so I'm not usually one to consider my work bad in any sense of the word. I typically have a fantastic sense of self esteem. All pieces are merely practice, even if you've done a technique or stitch before. 

BUT......there are those times where something is just not working, or not right, or an experiment gone wrong. Or something. This particular piece was one of those. I call it my spite bracelet.



Now, this piece isn't exactly my favorite thing in the world to look at. Some of you may say otherwise, and I love that! (One lady here in town did, and wore it home on her wrist.) For me though, the purple beads are a bit too washed out. I did remove them from my stash after this project. But my biggest disappointment is that the acrylic gears I interspersed throughout have just been taunting me forever. I've had them since I was a teenager and still haven't succeeded in making something I like with them. Ah well, next time maybe.

Or maybe not. From this larger project came two smaller pieces, originally intended to sit on either end before I decided against it. And these I DO like: 




And why is that, you say? Well, for me, it boils down to simplicity. There's much less going on here. It's actually wearable. It's a bit different than other things I've made, pendant wise. And that one single gear in the center can act as a fidgeting element! Still not pleased with that purple here either, but there's a lot going on in this smaller version of the piece that I quite like and can serve as a jumping off point to explore in updated versions of the design. And maybe I have found a use for the gears after all? Who knows?

I never would have if I hadn't finished the bracelet out of spite first. Challenge yourself, do the hard thing, push through. It'll 'bead' worth it in the end.



Saturday, September 4, 2021

Summer Sale Shop Update Live Now!!!

 Whoo! I get a huge pat on the back for this one! Party time!




Guys, I did the things. You might be like, "But we were promised more of things, Tamara, what's up with that?" :-p

Well, here's what happened. This is only my second shop update ever, I know. I also know not everything I advertised made it into the final shop update at the promised time of midnight on September 5th, 2021. But do you know what did happen??? This, this happened.




"So what, it's a few bujo trackers, what of them?" you say. Oh yeah, well the joke's on you! It was the sticky note work flow that really, really helped me figure out the best way for me to FINALLY be better about listing things online and doing all the small tasks to lead to them going online. Whoot! That, and the mini week schedule you see at the bottom there. Sometimes it's the small things that make us progress further.

When one is self employed, it is exceedingly hard to find a schedule and task flow that works for you. I'm very glad that I have now! My brain likes to have a semblance of routine, but not one that's so strict that stress happens. (Stress did happen, but I was flailing for a few weeks until this was set in place far too late to be really helpful.) Enough rambling, onto the details of what did and didn't happen.

What DID get done: 
1. I took photographs and videos for 23 product listings!
2. I got 13 of those listings onto my website, all of which have demo videos in the item descriptions, something I just recently figured out!
3. I got the above systems and trackers in place to easily figure out tasks needed for future listings!
4. I got the remaining 14 product listings that I hadn't managed to migrate over from my Etsy (except the Christmas tree earrings. Dunno how I managed to miss those. :-/) !!!
5. I got coupon codes entered in for the sale! (BIRTHDAY33 for Sep. 5th itself, BIRTHDAY22 for Sep. 6th-11th, and BIRTHDAY11 for the rest of the month, with the numbers in the codes relating to the discounts you'll be getting on those days!

What didn't happen, but will in the coming week(s).
1. Getting the remaining 10 products up and listed after a few days rest from nonstop work days.
2. Finally getting around to releasing a digital PDF of my Sunset Teardrop tutorial, possibly with on demand kits, as I do have the components and required materials at hand.
3. My first ever YouTube tutorial for a dimensional pendant made with Gem Duos (or Diamond Duos work too).

I'd say I did pretty well with 90% of my item listing tasks done! And the tutorials......well.....I'm still figuring out the system for that. It will come with time. 

In the meantime, head over to the shop to brows the new selections and pick something up for yourself this beautiful birthday month of September! 

I'm going to go take a well deserved bath and break for a little while. See ya soon.

Happy Shopping <3

Tamara Allison

Friday, August 27, 2021

New Shop Update!

Hello all!

It's been a while, I know. We all know I'm terrible at this blogging thing. But I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to announce my second shop update! The first one was in conjunction with the spring A Crafty Day In This Year. This one will be in conjunction with my birthday in just over a week, yay!

Soooooo.......on September 5th, a whole slew of new pieces will be listed in the shop. Twenty three items to be exact. I've been previewing a piece daily over on my Instagram account. 

Darn social media for being easier to use, right? I really miss the personal touch of blogs and am making efforts to reconnect with that part of my internet experience. Watch this space for probably more tutorial freebies down the road. 

I'm going to be leaning hard into the teaching aspect of things in the near future, as well as jumpstarting my exploration of YouTube and Patreon. As covid is spiking really bad in my part of the country, I am shifting gears for a more online focus in the next couple months. I'll have to stop setting up at the local farmer's market as I feel it's the right thing to do for personal safety. (Local government isn't cutting it for me.)

Hence why it's super important that I work hard at my online presence for once. I really do prefer the in person experience, but that's not a good idea right now. Make sure to check out the shop soon!

Oh, and tell me your thoughts on what you'd like to see me do from this point? Stitch basics? Certain styles of jewelry? Certain pieces turned into full scale tutorials? The sky is the limit! Scratch that, there are no limits!

In the meantime, you can always find me on Tuesdays at 2:00 PM CST on Twitch. I'm also going to be adding Saturdays (same time) into the mix as well to replace my market outings and while waiting for covid number to get back to a comfortable number.

Friday, March 19, 2021

A Crafty Day In: Spring Fling: March 19-20, 2021

 Hi all!

Have I told you before that I'm a participant in A Crafty Day In? What is A Crafty Day In, you say? It's a community over competition virtual event (a craft show of sorts) that stemmed from the creative lovelies in the Twitch crafting community! It features various vendors of all types, ranging from beading to basketweaving, cross stitch to crochet, and much more. To see all of the amazing vendors, please visit their website and peruse all the amazingly talented artists who are participating.


Also, guess what? Some of these artist will also be participating in a raid train live on www.twitch.tv. I will be one of them! My stream slot is near the end at 9:00PM EST. To see the whole schedule, consult below and feel free to drop in and chat with vendors and viewers alike!



In celebration of this event, I am holding a 25% off sale when you use the code CRAFTY at checkout here on the website. Hope over to the shop to browse my offerings. I'm still transitioning my listings from Etsy to here, so feel free to message me within the weekend if something hasn't made it over by the time you're ready to purchase. I will make sure you get that discount, commissions included, if you contact me by Sunday night at midnight CST. Promise.

In the meantime, please enjoy the fact that I have managed to get my shop upgraded and can now offer digital PDF tutorials here on the site! (Finally, geez.)

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Glowing Rocket Ship

Need I say anything else? Nah, not today.

To purchase, see here:


I'm slowly migrating all of my pieces to the shop here, easily accessible for everyone. My made to order and easily reproducible pieces, as well as tutorials will remain on Etsy in addition to here. All one of a kind pieces will be exclusive to the website. More to come!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

It's Glowing To Be a Good Time

 I've been working on a new thing with my pieces. Black light reactive beadwork!

For a bit of a back track, I must first tell how this idea came about. Immediately after graduating from college, circa late 2011-early 2012, I had picked up a second job at an indoor glow in the dark putt-putt place in my local mall. It was a low effort and somewhat slow job. After tiring of the selection of books I had to read, I decided to bring small projects to work on and make utilizing the small desk light by the register.

Lo and behold I learned that some of my beads glowed under the overhead black lights in the room! This opened up quite a few possibilities for me. Unfortunately I do not have photographs of those early pieces, but I have purchased new lights for my home and oh boy, do some of my pieces glow! 

My reversible King of All Cosmos/Robo King loom woven bracelet is one such piece:

It's available here for purchase here:

As far as other pieces go, I have recently completed this intentionally designed glow flower necklace, the entirety of which I streamed live on Twitch:

This piece was such a blast to make! To watch me make similar works in future, please do consider following me at www.twitch.tv/vanishingpearl. It is also the first piece that I made for the express purpose of glowing under the black light. One day I hope to have a body of work to display in such a setting. This is a great start!

How can I source my own glow beads, you ask? Easy! Just search for beads that have either neon or luminous in the title or description when ordering. Or go through what you already have on hand. You'd be surprised what materials light up. Occasionally color lined and ceylon finishes also glow. Oddly enough, white does not unless it's acrylic. But a variety of my compressed felts do, as well as some coiled French wire/bouillon. These will all be interesting to experiment with in future. I'll leave you with comparison images of a recent purchase:


Happy beading! I hope this post was informative. Let me know if you make any black light discoveries of your own.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Piano Hammer Necklace and Some Other Work

Hello all! I've been working on new pieces recently. I have recently created a new piano hammer necklace from doing some color picking for My Lovely Beads' Fashion Colorworks Contest. I had thought I was choosing colors for the 2020 gold/green/blush pink combo. It turns out that those had been for 2019 instead. Oops! Regardless, after abandoning the pink in the mix, and playing with beads for a few days, I had the inspiration to create this piece:




If you remember from what feels like eons ago, probably 2011-2012 or so, I had made a similar piece that JD had drawn up for me. 


I was very thrilled to be able to recreate the design, as the rubberized leaf beads have been in short supply as of late. They're pretty impossible for me to track down and I would like to continue this composition up in the future. If you know of/own any, please do let me know!

My other recent finish was this braid stitch necklace designed by Virgina Jensen. I was in a low brain power mood the other night, but wanted to bead still. Why not learn something new where all the really hard parts have already been done for you? I think it turned out nice and has a lovely drape. However, beadwork of a solid stitch tends to get repetitive for my brain, and it begins to lack a challenge. Regardless, I did manage to finish and list it, for which I am very proud of myself!





*pats self on back*

I am also extremely happy to have figured out the Buy Now button option for my EcWid store plugin. Whoo!!! Have a lovely weekend.

I'll 'bead' around.




Sunday, March 1, 2020

My Work is Changing and I'm Learning Things

Check it out! I figured out how to import shoppable items directly into my blog posts. Sweetness!

Instagram came along and I abandoned my poor little blog. For the next little while, I'll be updating it into a full fledged website. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Watermelon Cool Down Time

It's been a HOT summer.

But no more than usual. I did have the foresight to limit my daily yard work hours so that I finish by 11AM. It can still get hot by then though.

So guess what I've been making???

WATERMELONS!!
Bracelets
Earrings
Wait....I spy a pizza. Hmm.....
Pendants

None of them actually cool anybody down, but they do make you smile! You can purchase the red pendants from my Etsy shop as of now. The rest have yet to be listed, but just let me know if you want any. As of this writing, all are available.

These incredibly fun triangle motifs are indeed my actual designs. I couldn't find suitable patterns for a kaleidocycle I was attempting to make, so I just made my own! Aren't they just delectable?

Happy Beading!

Tamara

P.S. Today's listening pleasure is Musical Starstreams, an old ambiance music broadcast I found playing on UNT's college radio while in DFW yesterday. So....relaxing.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Tip #9: Fuze Your Photos

I recently found this tool. FotoFuze.com is a freeware (with optional upgrades) tool that can be used to make the whitest of white backgrounds for your product photographs. See?

FotoFuze.com Edit. 
Photoshop Edit
Unedited


I'm fairly pleased with today's experiments. The Photoshop edit is pretty decent, but I sometimes have a hard time getting a nice enough background. However, FotoFuze does a better job. Not on everything mind you, but well enough. And it's super fast too!

Typically, I use colored backgrounds to counteract the difficulty in getting clear white. That will probably change in the future after this!

Coincidentally, this necklace was just listed in my Etsy Store

The necklace, too, was an experiment in new things. I used triangle seed beads and bead quilled them together around the box chain circles. That part I'm happy with. The iridescent purple drops? Not so much. But hey, I made a thing and learned from it. :-)

Go try FotoFuze to improve your Etsy photos! It is the number 1 or 2 piece of advice you always hear. HAVE GOOD PHOTOS. I'm doing my best and going as fast as I can. One step at a time.

Happy Beading!

Tamara Allison

P.S. Today's listening: How to Steal a Dragon's Sword (Audiobook. Performed by David Tennant.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

My Mother Always Said Ideas Come in Waves

I remember it clearly. Two of my sisters and I were sitting down to watch the first Gremlins movie. Once again. It's great, that movie is. During the commercial break, my mom said that she'd once had the idea for almost the exact same plot. It was a couple years prior to the release date for the film, but she'd never gotten much further than thinking up the plot, and maybe scribbling it down. She'd long stopped writing stories by that point and had moved on to other forms of art.

Somebody in Hollywood hadn't passed up the idea though. And thus a classic film was born.

I'm 100% positive that there are other people out there, like my mother, who wish they'd been able to get the story out there first. I've seen it happen in beadweaving as well.

In 2008, I made this necklace out of a plumbing repair kit:

Fire Powered Plumbing. 2008.

I've also made many many other similar pieces in the years since. This one got published in Bead Magazine in 2011 I think. It was part of a Winter Sparkle Special.

Ice Circles. 2010.

And now, my brick stitched and embellished washers look more like this:

Pastel Teardrop. 2018.

Okay, so it's not a washer, but I'll bead around anything with a hole or holes in it. See:

Acrylic Beaded Fan Pendant. 2015.

Embellished Gears. 2015.

Brick Stitched Box Chain Pendant. 2016.

Button Ring Pendant. 2018.

The button piece above is closely inspired by a piece made by Leslie Rogalski, which appeared in Bead Unique in early 2009 or late 2008. However, both of us came up with very similar brick stitched and embellished washers and o rings. Coincidence? I think not. Ideas come in waves. 

The two of us have continued to create variations on a theme all this time as well. My pieces have evolved some, and so have hers I'm sure. The difference? She's been published many many times and I have not. I got one in, but I wasn't the first. And I won't be the last. Neither will I get the credit for starting that trend, because who can make a claim to that?

A simple Google search for 'beaded washers' will produce thousands of results now. At the time? Not so much. If I'd been smart, I could have busted my butt to be THE person known for it. But alas, the time for that is long gone. 

Yet, I still greatly enjoy making these pieces. Not quite as ambitions as my first few, mind you, but enjoy them I do. And so do many many other artists long after the appeal of the technique has caught on. Plenty of brick stitched circular designs exist. Because we've all been riding this wave. Some of us just caught it first. Others, like myself, didn't make it but never gave up. I enjoy the swim just as well.

What fantastic ideas have you had that passed you up?