Saturday, February 19, 2011

BeadEnCounter - a New Beginning

We've got a new logo, folks, after long and dedicated work by our designer, Ed Lewis

This logo will establish the identity and look of our software, our new website, and all collateral materials. I think it's classic, yet dynamic enough to carry our efforts forward.  The two different versions will be used in various applications. 

Yay!  I know it's just the first part of producing all the content and distributing all the materials and marketing, but it seems like we're finally moving off dead center.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Great Changes Coming

In the next few weeks this blog will become an appendage, rather than the main event. It will become a link off a website dedicated to the BeadEnCounter software that I've been working to design and bring to market.

As part of that effort, will mutate into a marketing and information tool for everyone interested in the software. There will be feature lists, FAQ sections, support and help for the software, and screen shots.

The blog will continue, because I can't imagine not beading and blogging about it. And I suspect I'll be agonizing in print over the process of getting a new software product to market. It's much more difficult than you would think.

So watch this space, as there will be announcements, I hope including the opportunity to participate in a beta testing program.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

I have managed to do a few other pieces in between bouts of frustration.

This one in particular I love. The translucent AB finish on the bugles gives a shimmer to the bracelet that is lovely. I happened to have some size 15s in the same color and finish, and used them to construct my first button-hole and button closure. It works really well, surprisingly. I used a vintage mirrored bead turned upside down as the button, since the mirrored back had the same shimmer as the beads.

I haven't seen anyone use small bugles for peyote work, but it's just like two-drop peyote, only with fewer beads to pick up. It creates a very nice "hand" to the piece, as it's wonderfully flexible across the length, it folds and feels almost like fabric.

The bugles, though are not as consistent in size as round beads, so you have to be on watch for overly long or short beads, and pull the work tight to maintain tension and sizing. Otherwise the edges wobble. Even though the difference between the bead lengths may be less than half a millimeter, it does become obvious in such precise work. 

Because I was having such a good time doing the peyote, the length got away from me a little bit. It's sized for a larger wrist, or would actually look good around a black silk opera glove.  Anyone planning on attending the opera soon, dressed to the nines?

Right now, I'm working on a bugle peyote necklace with the blue/plum raku beads, and a raku pendant from Xaz Beads I found at the Pasadena Bead Show.  The peyote is very soothing after beating my head against the wall

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Unbeading, or Two Steps Forward, Two Back

Struggling. That's how I feel about this bead project. I've been struggling from the beginning.

Let's face it. I'm so impressed by the winning competitor of each Etsy Beadweavers Team challenge. So, after December, in which I got a big Two Countem' TWO votes for my entry, I determined I was going to pull out all the stops for the next challenge in February. My goal was get more than two votes. 

Come to find out, many people recruit votes for themselves on Facebook and other social media. That's cool, because it drives more traffic to all of our Etsy stores. My stats certainly went up. 

And the winning pieces are always incredible. In the spirit of elevating my own work, I was going for nearly-incredible. I'd had this idea in mind for a long while, but not the whole integrated piece. Bits of it. The netted rope. The netting on the forest green ultrasuede background. The donut was a late addition, but it really sparked a whole lot of the design. I was planning to cut around the donut and suspend it from the peyote straps, not touching the embroidered piece elsewhere. I could hardly wait to move on to the fringe I had planned for the bottom. It was gonna be spectacular.  

But, that part about integration is not negligible. How to connect Tab A and Slot B can be problematic. Netted rope with an embroidered piece hanging off it? How does that connection work? How do you sew netting onto a base fabric? I thought that would be easy enough. Netting isn't hard. Bead embroidery isn't hard. Separately, they're cake. 

Holy crap getting one onto the other is HARD!!!  The pictures here are of my fifth attempt. That's right, five times I started and got a fair way into it before I gave up, tore it all out, and salvaged the beads.  

Drawing straight lines and trying to bead along them didn't work. Anchoring each vertex bead in the netting down as I went didn't work. Then I made a square piece of netting, sewed that down in the center and tried to work outward from there. That was slightly more successful, but then I got to the outer corners. Fitting netting into curves is no fun. In fact, it started to look worse the farther up the curve I went. 
These pictures were taken right before I got out my scissors, cut off all that netting, and excised the two cabochons into separate pieces, just so I wouldn't be tempted to make a sixth attempt at something that is clearly not meant to be, or at least not at my current level of expertise.

I still don't have any firm idea of how to attach the bit with the cabochons to the netted rope. I don't have a clue as to what's going around the neck.  This one is going to have to lie fallow for a bit.

I hate unbeading. 

This will teach me not to have a fairly substantial concept of where I'm going before I start. The entire project doesn't have to be planned to the last detail, and things will certainly evolve as I work, they always do. But no more of these "oh just do the bits and it'll all fall together." Because what will happen is that I'll spend a lot of time learning the sad lessons of unbeading, and getting no farther forward.

So there won't be an entry from me in February. Of course, if I did enter anything, it would be titled "Queen of the Fat Chance" after seeing this entry.   Perhaps "Our Lady of No Way In Hell."