Thursday, April 21, 2022

Are YOU Having a Grape Day?

 I totally am! Or at least try to. I finally got around to doing something with this little grape that's been sitting in my component box ever since I realized it was too small for a needle minder commission I got over a year ago now.


Cute, huh? I WAS going to turn it into a pair of earrings, but guess what? Too lazy for that. Just slap a jump ring and a phone charm cord on it and call it done! My mantra for the past several months and years has been "Put a chain on it." This is a phrase my mother told me in high school as I was making ginormous, fully beaded work. It took me many years to realize the wisdom in that advice. I tell her that every time my business comes up in conversation.


I also believe this is about the point where I entirely gave up on trying to get Delica 0565 to even contrast with any of my other greens. This past month I finally used it up and won't be ordering it in future. I have switched over to Delica 0566 entirely, despite liking the color slightly less. Contrast is everything and I've since ordered it in bulk. The grape charm isn't a piece that suffers from the lack of contrast, thankfully, but future pieces will benefit from the switch.


There's only one available at the moment, but like all my simple stitched pieces, it is made to order indefinitely. To purchase please click below.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Going Overboard with Albion Stitch

 Alright, so I make an almost weekly habit of frequenting my local library (post farmer's market cuz it's right down the street) and checking out far more books than I'd ever read in a three week time frame. That goes double for when I ILL a book from another library. Hence this necklace:




The edge bezel is a modification of the center portion of one of Heather Kingsley Heath's bracelets in her book Introducing: Albion Stitch. And of course I unintentionally jumped right into advanced difficulty in attempting to bezel anything in the first place. After four failed attempts, it did turn out, but mostly because I finished it out of spite.


I even made matching earrings to go with the necklace station elements!


Also, a netted back to set off the solidly painted back of the piece of matt board the flower is drawn on.



Pictured here is one of my first three attempts cast aside, next to a bead soup pile of even prior attempts, and the final version in progress. Getting the initial math right for this was HARD!


And to torture myself even more, I opted to stitch in the ditch to create a second bezel layer UNDERNEATH the first one. What kind of crazy am I? The kind who needs to fill up extra space, that's what. The depth of this was significant without it. I did end up taking the red leaf out, as I did cover the drilled hole of the faceted acrylic cabochon in the end. And it cluttered the design.


So, what do you think? Love it enough to buy it? You can do that here:


Sunday, April 10, 2022

Getting Back to the Bench

 It's been what feels like EONS since I've sat down and done any piercing work. At all. Like, I can't tell you how excited I am to have finished this little set!!!! 





It's quite beautiful and nice. I've had it on hold for.......two years or so now? Because, well, I didn't have a bench and doing piercing work for me at a standard desk is more of a hassle than it should ever be.

BUT! That all changed a few weeks ago. My partner found this amazing beauty at a local yard sale type place!


I can't even begin to express how grateful I am to him and his super power level thrifting instincts. I am soooooo lucky to have scored this bench for far below asking price. I was like a tempest leaving the house and rushing over there. I literally exclaimed at the lady "MINE!" while excitedly pointing and could throw my money at her fast enough.


Needless to say, there's a lot more work and setup to do prior to being able to be at max functionality. I've never had a proper home studio setup before, but I have a ton of the basics leftover from my college courses, with a few upgrades over the years. But I still lack a functioning torch (not pictured). The one that was given to me a while back I'm searching for parts and ensuring safety before getting to work, and then we'll be in business baby!

In the meantime, feel free to check out the newest piece and click below to purchase.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Surprise Store Drop! Ladybug Collection

 Surprise! I managed to knock out an entire ladybug collection just in time for spring. 


Lookit. A full set of bracelets, all in black, white, red, and gold, for your classy spring debut.


Never fear, they're all made to order and a constant availability on the store. Go ahead, check out the ladybugs and all their friends.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Elephant and Heart Brooch Commission


 Why don't elephants pack a suitcase when they go on vacation? Because they already have a trunk!


This, this is one of those pieces you can't help but love. From the first stitch and beyond. I was approached by a long time friend and his mother recently at the local Home & Garden Show. They were out for the day. I had no clue he wanted to buy her a piece of mine, since she's been a long time fan. So, in talking about my work and pointing to several things, they ended up commissioning me for an elephant, her favorite animal. With a heart, or a balloon. I chipped in and suggested a heart shaped balloon. And here we are. I fear I may have gone a little overboard but I don't even care:



Tell me you're loving the dual brooch approach as much as I am? Don't lie, I know you are! There was no way it was going to be a single brooch. How else would the elephant be holding onto the balloons? The chains are too cute.


Can we also for a moment appreciate the fact that the fill on his body is entirely made up of PEANUT beads?!?! Heh, I think I'm funny. It also happened to be the only decent color of grey I have on hand at the moment, as I was asked for a traditional colored elephant. I can't even express how elated I am at having found a good use for them. This texture is well fitting for the little guy.


And if you're wondering why orange? Well, that's due entirely to the fact that the only hearts I owned when choosing beads were that color. So orange it is! I just love when the bead stash makes the decisions for me, and then it's up to me to balance the limited supplies I have to work with.


And lastly, I'm pleasantly surprised by how the copper box chain was the perfect choice for the edging when stitching the felt and leather backing together. Unexpected and gorgeous. Makes me want to rush out and purchase more in this size. I will say it was a little tricky curving it around the tight corners of the trunk, but that happened to give the piece more movement, something about which I can't complain.


Process photos and fridge magnet inspiration^^^^^


Have a fun and lovely day! May you find a new piece to love in your day to day creations.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Project Update: New Piano Hammer Necklace!

Now, I know what you're thinking. This is the SECOND year in a row I've made one of these things? Well, I was surprised as well. This piece came about because well, I can no longer source the rubberized beads in the original designs.


I'd bought some polymer clay a long while back with the intent to make the leaves on this, but promptly ignored that idea in favor of anything not clay. Untill.....my partner made a beautiful shell piece that had broken. So I did some inlay to revive the shape, and while I was at it, I made these leaves. On stream. Live, not knowing a thing about polymer clay. It was a fun experience.


For someone who's had a lifelong battle with all forms of clay, I've got to say I'm pretty pleased with these. I didn't like the base color of the clay I used in the end, and gave it a coat of maroon paint to more closely match the interior felt of the piano hammer. And I couldn't bead happier!!!!


I'm pretty darn stoked with the matching earrings as well! And conveniently had just enough of the flower beads to complete the project. How neat is that?

If you're interested in seeing what other crazy shenanigans I get up to on stream, come watch me live on Twitch at 2PM CST on Tuesday afternoons! Soon to announce a consistent glow stream schedule, too! 

If you're interested in purchasing this set, please click below, or feel free to browse my other works.


Friday, November 26, 2021

It's A Crafty Day In time!

 Hello, and welcome to the raid train! Those who are streaming for ACDI are underway (and yikes, I'm next in line as of the time of this writing)! Here is the official two day schedule for your convenience: 



This is a fun filled event of community over competition, in support of as many small business artists as we could get our hands on (38+). Although the ones listed above are scheduled to be live, there are many more if you head over to www.acraftydayin.com to see the full list and browse the shops. Many of them are having sales if you use the coupon code CRAFTY21 across the board for all your handmade holiday shopping needs.

I'm bead streaming some Christmas themed loomed bracelets as inventory and demonstration. Come hand out if you can! And if you can't, or come across this post next time, these events are ongoing, so feel free to sign up or tune in next time if you so choose.

Happy and Safe Holidays to All,

Tamara

Monday, November 22, 2021

A Crafty Day In: Black Friday/Small Business Saturday Edition

 Hello bead bugs!



It's that time again. I'm once again participating in A Crafty Day In, this time in a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday edition. 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 resin work, 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 on Friday morning, November 26th, from 12PM - 4PM 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 CRAFTY21 at checkout here on the website. Hope over to the shop to browse my offerings. Coupon code valid only from the 26th - 30th. The majority of my holiday pieces have yet to make it to the shop, 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 November 30th at midnight CST. Promise.




In the meantime, please have a lovely and safe Thanksgiving this year. Especially the staying safe part.

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.