Saturday, December 27, 2014

Year-End Kit Clearance Sale

I'm having a sale on several beading kits available at to make way for new exciting designs in 2015! Additionally, several of the beading patterns associated with these kits are on sale as well. Here's a selection of the kits available during this special sale:

Check out the full list of discounted kits at The sale discounts are applied automatically at checkout so no coupon code is needed. The sale ends on December 31, 2014.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Molecular Holiday Beading

Presenting a beaded alpha-pinene molecule, the chemical responsible for the scent of Christmas trees:

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Pattern and Kits: Melon Ball Beaded Beads

My newest beading pattern is now complete! This design features etched melon beads woven into round beaded beads, so I've named them Melon Ball Beaded Beads.

Beaded Beads with Etched Melon Beads

When I first started working with these etched melon beads, I knew that I wanted to feature them in some kind of round beaded bead. I chose the structure of an octahedron to give a medium-sized beaded bead of less than 1" in diameter, however I spent a bunch of time experimenting with possible embellishments on this design. Several of my prototypes featured several layers of seed beads, which, while very pretty, detracted from the textures and colors of the etched melon beads.

I eventually settled on using two-hole triangles to embellish these beaded beads. I didn't expect to use two-hole triangles in this project, but I liked how the angular arrangement of these beads set off the textured, round shape of the etched melon beads. Only a handful of size 11° and 15° seed beads are needed to complete each beaded bead, and other 6 mm round beads can work in place of the etched melon beads.

Etched Melon Beads with Antique Cut Beads

I strung these beaded beads on necklaces along with two different sizes of antique cut beads. I like how the angles formed by the two-hole triangle beads complement the antique cut beads.

This version features silver etched melon beads and blue antique cut beads for a very wintery colorway.

The beading pattern for this design describes how to make the beaded beads and how to string them together with antique cut beads to create a necklace. The pattern is in the PDF format, and clocks in at 13 pages of step-by-step instructions with 42 full-color illustrations and photographs.

In this pattern, I describe a different method for weaving an octahedron beaded bead than I have in past patterns. I've found this method a little clearer to illustrate (especially taking into account the two different holes of the two-hole triangles), and it's my hope that anyone who follows this pattern will find it clearer to understand as well.

Three Limited Edition Kit Colorways

Kits for this design are available in the three colorways shown, and include all the beads and findings needed to make a necklace up to 21" in length containing five Melon Ball beaded beads. Unfortunately I'm not able to refill these kits once they are sold out, so these are limited edition kits - once they're gone, they're gone!

On that note, the last day to order kits for delivery before the new year is December 21: beading patterns can still be purchased and downloaded from the Bead Origami website, however all kits ordered during this time will ship after January 2.

Have a very warm and Happy Holiday Season!  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Color Play with Marsala: The Pantone 2015 Color of the Year

Marsala: Pantone's Color of the Year for 2015

I decided to try to make some beaded pendants using the color marsala, a brownish light red wine color that's also Pantone's Color of the Year for 2015. You can click over to Pantone's official site to see some of their examples of this color in action. I also colored a few of my beading illustrations using this hue:

(I should note that my illustrations tint marsala to the lighter side; the dark parts of these illustrations are closer to the official Pantone color).

First Color Experiment: Marsala Tints

I started with a monochromatic color palette made up of seed beads, Rizo beads, crystals, and freshwater pearls, that ironically enough had been sitting together on one of my bead trays since last August. Out of all the beads in my stash, a copper-lined seed bead that I found at Creative Castle most closely matched marsala, so I used this seed bead in each of the projects in these color experiments.

I decided to try to create the Tropical Dahlia Pendant with these beads, substituting drop-shaped freshwater pearls for the Czech drop beads called for in this pattern.

Unfortunately, these particular freshwater pearls are too thick at the base of the pearl, so they don't fit into this design when substituted one-to-one for the drop beads. I tried adjusting the seed bead count to compensate, but it still ended up too wonky.

So, for my next attempt, I found some reddish-brown iris Czech drop beads and also changed the color of the Rizo beads to a pink opal/sunset color, for a very monochromatic take on this design.

(Incidentally, while I was hunting for these drop beads, I learned that I have the same beads with the same color number from two different dye lots in my stash. In this case, the color difference is quite substantial!)

Second Color Experiment: Marsala with Purple

For my next experiment, I tried combining marsala with purple; I substituted shiny purple lentil beads for the outer ring of crystals, and I also used purple drop beads.

I like the look of this result, but in this particular pendant design I prefer a more even tint progression from the inner rivoli crystal to the outer edge of the pendant, so I tried again with a slightly different purple lentil bead for the outer edge, and one of those new patina rivoli crystals for the center.

I was drawn to this result color-wise, as I love purple and I like the tint progression in this beaded pendant. However the patina of the crystal competes with the complexity of the overall design, and this version has the least marsala out of all the experiments.

Still, I had to create a pair of matching Sakura earrings before continuing :)

Third Color Experiment: Marsala with Magic Wine

For my third experiment, I wanted to get back to the red wine flavor of marsala that Pantone shows off on their website, so I switched back to a mahogany rivoli crystal and added magic wine Rizo beads, cranberry drop beads, and a light magic green shade of lentil bead:

While it's on the darker side, I think this Tropical Dahlia pendant most closely matches the red wine richness that's most appealing about the marsala color.

Fourth Color Experiment: Marsala with Matte Sunset/Tan

For my final experiment, I switched to the Rivoli Kaleidoscope design, and used lighter, browner shades of lentils, crystals, and drop beads for this pendant.

The result is more monochromatic and, with the addition of the matte sunset drop beads, a little more on the Desert Sand side of the marsala spectrum. It's probably not the best representation of this color, but I think this palette could benefit from more light peach Duracoat/PF seed beads.

I also couldn't resist making another pair of matching Sakura earrings :)

Marsala Color Experiments: Results and Conclusions

My takeaway from these experiments? I think the marsala color has a lot of potential, particularly when paired with darker, richer wine-like reds. It also blends with purple, so it could be used as a secondary or tertiary color to warm up a purple-heavy color palette. At least in my hands, marsala is less effective in a monochromatic color palette, particularly with related colors of similar value.

I was also glad to learn a couple of design lessons from these experiments. Namely: freshwater pearls don't work very well in the Tropical Dahlia design, but lentil beads substitute for the outer crystals quite well.

What do you think of Pantone's choice of marsala for 2015? Love it? No? Drop me a line in the comments :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Pattern and Kits: Sparkling Compass Set

I recently retired the Sparkling Compass Set from my teaching portfolio, and it's now available as a pattern on my website.

A Delicate Bracelet

The Sparkling Compass Set features the four-pointed Sparkling Compass component woven from a collection of round crystal pearls, bicone crystals, and shaped and round seed beads. This versatile component can be combined with galactic crystals for a delicate bracelet.

An Intricate Beaded Bead

Six components can be woven off of a common base for an intricate beaded bead.

Elegant Earrings

Finally, individual components can be attached to pendant crystals for a pair of earrings. This pair features rhombus crystals, but I've also created them with galactic crystals.

Several Bead Options

Different bead options are possible in this design as well. In this set of earrings, the pair on the left includes a couple of Rizo beads for a more four-pointed compass look.

Three Kit Colorways

The pattern for this design is now available on my website at, and it describes how to make the beaded Sparkling Compass component, and how to use the components to create the bracelet, beaded bead, and earrings. The circular peyote and circular netting stitches are used to create each component. The pattern is in the PDF format, and clocks in at 15 pages of step-by-step instructions with 45 full-color illustrations and photographs. Kits for this design are available in three colorways, and contain all the beads and findings needed to create the bracelet, earrings, and beaded bead.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New Pattern: Poinsettia Bracelet

After a long, hot summer I've been quite ready for Christmas, so I wholeheartedly dived into holiday beading right after Thanksgiving. Dragon Scale beads in particular have previously spoken "flower petals" to me in other designs, but I've recently found them particularly suited to poinsettias.

Miniature Beaded Poinsettias

The Poinsettia Bracelet features miniature beaded Poinsettias joined together in a delicate a bracelet. I chose the reddest Dragon Scale beads that I had in my stash for the poinsettia flower, but I didn't have any that were green enough for the leaves. So, I used bugle beads instead to mimic the angular, pointed shape of the poinsettia leaf. A handful of tiny 15° seed beads and some stabilizing Half Tila beads complete each flower.

Red and White Poinsettias

I had so much fun making the red poinsettia bracelet that I had to make one depicting white poinsettias too.

I used crystal AB Dragon Scale beads for the white poinsettias. These beads are so shiny!

Matching Earrings

Since this is a component-based design, the individual poinsettia flowers are easily adapted into matching earrings. I used gold seed beads in the center of each flower in this pair, which more accurately mimics the poinsettia flower.

Holiday Beading Pattern

The pattern for this design is now available on my website at, and it describes how to make the beaded poinsettia component and how to weave several components together to make this bracelet. The circular peyote stitch is used to weave most of each component, and a variation on the cubic right angle weave (CRAW) technique is used to finish each flower. The pattern is in the PDF format, and clocks in at 12 pages of step-by-step instructions with 32 full-color illustrations and photographs.

Thanks for looking and Happy Holidays!
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