Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tamara's Magazine Horrors and Triumphs

Hello again.....

2012 is almost over and I feel like I've gotten nowhere. Somewhere along the line of the past couple years, I've stopped entering beading competitions. Discouraging, I know, but I just got tired of expending all of my energy on them. So, I threw myself into making tutorial for magazines instead!! Last year I did great with this; I got published three or four times (one of those being BEADWORK on the first attempt ever!)

However, this year I've been in kind of a slump. My good editors have been sending back rejections. No hard feelings on my end, I promise. I'm used to the sting after having entered so many competitions. Maybe they were just practice for the things that really count? I also had a virtually done deal fall through. The contract was signed and everything when the editor contacted me two months before the publication date to tell me my article wouldn't fit. Boo.

On top of the lack of printed material in my life I had an emotional setback a couple weeks ago. I woke up early one morning to start sorting my book shelf. I was going to go through it and take out anything I'd never get around to reading. That done, I went to my stack of magazines (the ones I'm published in) to sort out the doubles in the hopes of passing them off to beading buddies who might want them. I have an upcoming destash giveaway that I'm planning. :-)

The whole stack was covered in mold on the bottom!! Eeewww....and some of the pages were sticking together from the moisture. It turns out the water from my bathtub seeped under the wall and rotted everything out. I can't win. :-(

I cried like a baby. I mean wept with tears streaming down my face and everything. My wonderful JD helped me get composed and suggested that I scan the pages before tossing the stack, which is exactly what I did. The whole thing was a bit silly, me crying over magazines that I could just go re-order, but my hard work was destroyed and I had no clue it was happening.

Then last week, I got this in the mail!!!!!!!

Bead Trends December 2012. I have to say that this magazine has by far the least hassle free submission process I've ever seen. You just upload your personal information, project summary, and images on an online form  through the North Ridge Publishing website. Easy peasy. The deadline is the 25th of every month, submissions are reviewed, and they contact you by the 3rd to send the rest of the materials via email by the 13th. I had no clue there would be such a quick turnaround! Yikes! Illustrate, write, and send instructions with the piece in just over a week. I couldn't have done it without JD's help.

Here is my Copper Garden necklace they published.

Photo by Bead Trends Magazine staff.

I am always astounded at the photographic quality of the staff. :-) They make my work look so much better than I could ever imagine doing myself. And their use of props is always amazing.

They also did justice to my diagrams, but you'll have to purchase the magazine to see them. Go check it out! I'm excited to see that they have a digital version for sale, for those of you who may also have mold problems in your home.

Long post aside, I have a mostly clean apartment, another publication under my belt, and a more positive outlook. To purchase the necklace, please visit my Etsy store.

Tune in next time for:

Tamara Has a Giveaway!


Tamara Gives Out Her Warp Method

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not Dead Yet

I'm not dead yet, and neither is my blog. As you may or may not have noticed, I have not posted on here or anywhere else in three months. I have, however, been contemplating the direction my work should take. I've got plenty of NEW pieces to show you guys soon.

I had an epiphany after about the fifth or sixth failed art/craft show this year! My target market (you guys) aren't there. I don't know where you're hiding, but it's not outside. Therefore, I'm taking a minute to pause, re-brand my work, and search elsewhere. You have to admit that the couple thousand dollars in show costs is an expensive way to learn a lesson.

I'm getting better.

Look for new work, new presentation, new web presentation, and a new outlook from me! And tell me a little bit more about yourselves so I know what to look for? What do you guys do for a living? Are you teachers? White water rafters? Outdoorsy types? Hermits? Gamers? Or super human mutant heroes? I want to know!

I feel happy!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

And the Winner is........


Congratulations! Please email me your shipping information to

I will mail the necklace and earrings the first chance I get. Probably on my lunch break or between jobs sometime this week. :-)

Thanks to those who entered. I am still/always taking advice and tips from anyone willing to share and will share what I know in return. Until next time.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Constructive Criticism (and a Giveaway)


I am in some sore need of criticism. Specifically speaking, I need to revamp my Etsy shop and am almost clueless as to how to go about doing it. What I would like from my readers is honest suggestions of what I could do to improve the overall look of the thing.

Please pop over and have a look. For everyone who leaves a comment, I'll put you in a draw for this simple button necklace in a recent color scheme. I have earrings to match, but no photo to show. (sorry) They will be included as well. Lookie!

Here is what I'm looking for. (I already had my banner redone a few weeks ago and am currently happy with it, but also welcome new ideas.)

1. Photo quality.
2. Background preference: solid or props? or other?
3. Overall feel.
4. Quality of description of pieces.
5. Tips on other information. Ex. shipping, repairs, etc.
6. Shop Sections.
7. Should I have a crap ton of tutorials for sale?
8. Anything else you can think of! The more info, the better.
9. Shop owners, I would also appreciate tips and techniques that work for you. :-)

Please, please comment. I'll be taking advice from now until August 7th. Shortly after, I will post the winner! Share with your friends and let them on the action too. International entries welcome. I'll ship anywhere.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vintage Style

Tada! I have recently decided to drag myself to the grocery store to mooch internet every chance I get. The reason: to show you guys the wonderful, yet sometimes many months old pieces I have recently made and finally edited. This one I know for sure made it on Facebook right when I completed it, but did  not earn a blog to the best of my knowledge. So, here is Baroque Heart!

Notice the tiny gears? Yep those are stitched in. Even I'm not crazy enough to attempt rivets that small.

Full view, including a button I bought on Portobello Road in London.

Alas, I cannot duplicate the earrings, for I have forgotten where I bought the findings and cannot find them locally. Plus, internet ordering is not something I participate in unless absolutely hounded by someone to finish a certain project with no exceptions. If you would like to purchase the necklace or see more pictures, you can traipse on over to my Etsy listing for a closer look. 

In regards to my bead stash, it keeps growing even without the help of monetary assistance on my part. Over the years, I meet a variety of people who, for one reason or another, give up beading as a hobby or prioritize their jewelry making skills along other lines. This means I usually get a ton of seed beads running my direction and spilling out of my drawers. So, last night I bought a ton of circular containers and attempted to tame part of the overflow. I'm still working on it and will eventually upload a glamour shot of my collection in all its rainbow organized glory! (hopefully)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Diamond in the Rough

Matching earrings to a necklace that is being published in a magazine in December!!! And here I was thinking that 2012 was going to pass by uneventful. These little guys didn't make it into the box, and since the publication had only seen the necklace, I figured I'd post them here and in my Etsy shop. Diamond earrings anyone?

In other news, I'm 100% free of my student loans! I paid that sucker off three days before my grace period ended. It's possible if you pretend that you don't have any money for a stretch of nine months straight. Granted, it was under $5,000 to start with, but I'm still pretty stoked! :-)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Booth Shot


So, so, sorry that I've been busy. That's a good thing, right? Anyway......I'm going to be debt free on Thursday!!!!!! My student loan is going to kick the bucket in one fell swoop. Maybe I can start buying things for myself again, such as.....beads??

Nah. I have to pay off my Trimline first. I love it! Ish. The heavy contraption takes me an hour and a half of pure sweat and torture to put up, and then another five hours for my display. Here's a recent booth shot, albeit minus the Trimline because my sister has my camera and memory cards with current photos at the moment.

Nice, huh? I am SO relieved all the clutter is gone and my work can be seen. No more fighting with the displays. Unfortunately, this was an indoor show with pipe and drape. My current curtains tend to conflict a little. Still working on a solution for that and thinking about wall displays with shelving. (An artist is never satisfied.)

And this is my newest listing! Made it last fall. Eileen Bracelet-Computer Parts.

Quick question before Hastings closes:

Should I change my online avatar? I'm getting kind of bored with mine and think I want to change it to something else. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Listing!!

Again. I love this shape. I've been on an asymmetrical necklace kick lately. Somehow I managed to forget to show you guys the last one, but this is my most recent. It also conveniently matches the OTTBS color scheme for May! Lookie......

I will admit that this is the first time in a LONG time that I have actually turned to my beading magazines for help. The reason being: well, I just don't feel like I'm caught up on recent techniques. Therefore, I dug through last year's projects for inspiration!!

You can find it listed here in my Etsy shop!!!

I've also been on a beaded washer kick. (Duh, since they're on my inventory list for this year. I've made 24ish pendants w/matching earrings so far!) And this is the first of my beaded CRAW washers. Yes, I have finally tackled cubic right angle weave. Not sure what the fuss is about. I didn't find it too difficult, but maybe my brain works different. OR maybe it was because I wasn't following any directions, playing with my beads, working in the round, and making it all up myself? Yep. The last one. I'm almost sure I skipped some steps and came out with the same results. (*mental note to double check against somebody's instructions) Have a look!

I took this set to Lubbock with me and finished the earrings while I was there. Just as soon as I was done, my Aunt Nancy bought it off of me. (The woman has impeccable taste in fashion and has done this with work I've made in the past. Always takes my favorite. :-) I had to ask her for this picture because I hadn't photographed it yet. The rest of the show was a bust and she turned out to be my best customer.

.......and that's all folks!

Monday, March 12, 2012

High Strung

Illustration by JD Dixon.

January BJP Finished!

I finished one! Granted, it was two weeks ago, but I did finish. :-) One piece down, eleven to go, and two months behind. *sigh* Have a look!

Please excuse the poor quality photos?

February's project is already planned out. Hopefully it will go faster once I get down to beading it. Here's the pattern....

And the template....

I tried to keep in mind that each side will be a different composition and that the center line will cut design elements off if I don't watch my placement. Wish me luck! I also have the pieces for March and April all drawn out, too!

Things I've learned since last post:

1. I lost some design appeal when folding the focal in half. The onion shaped element doesn't look as cool as it did at first.

2. I want to use brighter colors on the next piece!

3. Waitressing is not so splendid after all. I did get the job. :-)

4. I fear I will never stop procrastinating and/or ever catch up.

5. A tutorial a week is out of the question. I'm hoping for one a month right now.

6. I miss my internet friends because I only have access at coffee shops now. Please comment for support. I do appreciate it. <3

Thursday, February 16, 2012

First 'Professional' Tutorial

I'm really excited to announce that I have my first 'professional' tutorial up for sale in my Etsy shop!!! I've written for magazines in the past, held a small class or two for friends, and uploaded freebies on my blog, but nothing feels quite as good as having a well put together set of instructions for sale!

The piece in question is my Scallop Stitched Double Washer Pendant. You can see the original post here, where I initially wanted to show just half of the process. However, I got a request from a friend to do a full tutorial, which is where my work needs to head if I'm going to make a productive living.

I never thought it would feel this great to share my knowledge this way! *HUGE sigh of relief for completing a promise to myself* I hope you guys enjoy!

Now available HERE in my Etsy Shop.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Olympics 2012: Bead Threading

Illustration by JD Dixon

Revisiting Old Ideas

One amazing aspect of having a significant other that's also an artist is being given creative input on things you shove under their nose. I was sorting through my bead stash the other day and managed to get rid of six containers by condensing everything I still want down into three compartmentalized boxes! In the process JD tells me that one of my Wal-Mart clearance finds looks a lot like this piece I made and sold a while back.

And that's why I made this necklace yesterday. The color scheme of brown/purple/silver was also a suggestion. And of course I couldn't help but put a small beaded gear in the center.

You can find it listed for sale in my Etsy shop. :-)

I plan on making another with turquoise and copper accents soon, which is whenever I pop another disc of Farscape into the computer. The design is fairly simple, while the execution takes time in determining the proper balance of elements. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two for Tuesday: Josephine's Garden Necklace


.....hello. I've been in kind of a bum mood lately. I've been fully enjoying being able to bead all I want between jobs. However, I know that it's not going to last. I think this is the reason I've been way too lax on producing the tutorials I promised myself I'd make. I think I'm too much of a flake for my own good. I am a work in progress. Thank you all for being here to encourage me onward.

Today I've decided to post a Two for Tuesday, mostly because I spent yesterday ripping apart really old projects to recycle the beads. I should have been working on the BJP instead, but hey, plans change right?

This piece is called Josephine's Garden. I sketched the centerpiece while looking for Victorian inspiration on the internet in early 2010. I had a Victorian craft show I was going to that December and wanted some ideas. I finished this piece last summer after having created the centerpiece in the spring of 2011.

I hand cut the copper with my jeweler's saw, gave it a VERY light etching, soldered on the twisted wire bezel, and cut out the little triangle dangle. The plastic cabochon is glued into the center. (I know, cheating, excuse here. Oops.) I achieved the patina by blackening the copper with the soldering torch and then using wire brushes and a flex shaft to make the copper reappear in areas.

I obviously didn't use a profile cameo like I intended because black just didn't go with the metal. I am particularly proud of the beading on this piece. All of it was stitched in a 16 hour beading marathon!!! That's both Lion Kings and some weird Indie film I can't remember, plus several reruns of TV shows online.

The fold-over triangle bail took FOREVER, as most do anyway. The design on it was by whim. The herringbone bezel for the triangle drop was experimental, with beads popping up between the stitches. By proudest achievement was the bugle bead dutch spiral rope. I had to dig back to a really old issue of B&B to find any sort of instructions, (forgot the designer, sorry). However, I modified the stitch to make the ladders more open and strung glass pearls inside of the rope!!! I used Cynthia Rutledge's peyote ring design from a recent issue of BEADWORK for the toggle loop and modified it to use bugle beads instead. I also make a peyote toggle to match. This necklace was just one big AHA moment waiting to happen. :-)

What do you think?

Also, wish me luck on my job interview tomorrow! I've never been a waitress before.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January BJP progress II

Hello all! I've made a little progress since last week. To be exact, 4 hours of embroidery yesterday afternoon while watching Farscape on DVD. :-)

First of all, I want to give credit to the inspiration for the type of bead embroidery I'm using for this piece. Joanne Teague of ThistleDew for you has what I consider a unique technique of attaching beads to a base. I know techniques aren't copyrighted, but giving a shout out is always appreciated.

So, here's what I did......

Attach the beads one at a time along the center edge of the desired shape. I had a black like as well, so included that before doing the outer edge of the shape.

Outline the outer edge of the shape and begin to fill in the interior. Basically, coloring with beads! 

Look at the back! It looks totally different than the short line segments I'm used to.

This is as far as I got. It's more ambitious than I intended, but I like the results so far.

Things I've learned this time:

1. Joanne Teague is a wonderful artist.
2. I have no idea if this is faster than normal or not.
3. The back looks funky.
4. There seems to be much less shrinkage than normal for me. (It could be that I unconsciously kept the tension looser?)
5. Farscape is still amazing, especially if you're a Jim Henson fan.
6. You guys are great for commenting and giving support!

Friday, January 27, 2012

January BJP progress

Welcome to the wonderful world of Allison's Antics, where procrastination abounds and new ideas are constantly left in the dust! This should be the new tag line for my life. (Shame on yourself, Tamara.)

I can't believe it's been four years since my last attempt at the Bead Journal Project. Wow. Let's get started shall we.

First of all, you might want to know what I've chosen for my bead embroidered theme. Well, I wanted to go small-ish. I have been sorely neglecting bead embroidery for the last couple years and want to ease back into the process. Sooooo.......always with a usable end product in mind, I chose to do an Art Deco styled necklace each month with three pendants. Each will depict a portion of one of Henry Moore's textile designs from the early 20th century. I just love the patterns and have wanted to make inspirational pieces for quite some....months.

Here is the piece I chose as inspiration for January. Why not just start with my favorite and go from there, right?
My former piece made with this design in mind can be seen here.

Earlier this week, I began the first stages of my year long project. I made a template of my 36 shapes (one large and two small for each month)..........

Then I traced over the Henry Moore textile design above. Did you know Lacy's Stiff Stuff is see through enough to trace an image directly from your computer screen? I didn't. I opened the image in Photoshop and zoomed in several times to find a segment that worked with my shape.

Next came coloring! *still a kid*

Last, I cut out the shapes.

The plan is to embroider the shapes, while leaving some space horizontally to fold each shape in half and edge the sides. This might be easier to explain if I had gotten that far and had pictures to illustrate what's in my head. I fear I will start off the year a little behind. Hmmm....better get to work then. Anyway, they will be fabulous!!! And strung on....something......

Things I've learned so far:
1. I haven't embroidered much in the last couple years.
2. Despite attempting to start out small, I have relapsed into biting off more than I could chew.
3. I am almost out of Lacy's Stiff Stuff for other projects.
4. Henry Moore is still amazing.
5. Lacy's Stiff Stuff is see through.
6. Bic marker's could possibly have some ill effects on your senses. O.o
7. Manilla envelopes makes a much better backdrop than ratty carpet.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Two for Tuesday: Victorian Mourning

Hey look, I remembered!

All the Two for Tuesday sketches I've shown you so far have been from the same sketch book. And I found another one I think might interest my readers.

Victorian Mourning came about when I was planning on going to a Victorian craft show in Galveston, TX. I roamed around the internet for inspiration and came up with this design...

Early last year I got around to making the nickel silver centerpiece. Then I beaded it with black and off white seed beads. Who says plastic cameos aren't just as gorgeous as the real thing? The necklace is part of my senior exhibition and remains one of the most recent pieces I'm proud of.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It Looks So Good You Could Eat It! Free Candy Beadwork Tutorial. can eat it.

New for 2012! Edible beadwork! :-)

I have decided this year to take on a tutorial every week. This will be a huge undertaking for me, but I hope to have a good selection of patterns for sale, freebies, and magazine submissions by the end of it. Therefore, for the first Sunday of every month my readers (you wonderful friends who follow this blog) will get a totally, 100% free photo tutorial to work on. Personal use only, please.

Feel free to submit any images of your creations to I will create a reader gallery (once I figure out how to do it) for everyone to see. :-)

Now, down to business.....

Beaded Gummi Ring

Candy necklaces. Your little niece bounding home on Valentine's Day, covered in glitter and stickers and childhood joy and enough sugar to induce a coma or two. C'mon, admit it: you've eyed them with curiosity, and then dismissed what essentially boils down to nasty sweethearts on a string.
For shame, crafty beader, for SHAME. You know better than that. Now, go get your little niece for some quality bonding time. Get enough thread for two, get a good spot on the couch, tap her on the shoulder, and steal some of that Valentine's stash when she looks the other way to make this necklace.


Apple gummy ring (peach if you have different colored beads)

Green candy necklace beads

Coconut flavored Jelly Beans


Sewing needle (anything really that has a larger eye than a standard beading needle)


Step 1: Attaching the floss to a gummy ring.

Make a loop with the tail of your floss using an overhand knot (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Make a lark's head knot around a gummy ring by passing the needle through the ring and the through the loop (Fig. 2). Pull, but be careful not to cut through the gummy ring. Too much tension may slice it in half. If this is the case, eat it, start again, and be more careful next time.

Fig. 2

Step 2: First Round

String two candy beads. Pass the floss under the gummy ring and back through the second bead.

Using this brick stitch technique, continue adding one bead at a time until the ring is stitched with an even number of beads. Pass down through the first bead, under the ring, and back through the first bead. The first round is complete (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Step 3: Round Two

String one candy bead, stab a Jelly Bean  near one end (to make a drop), and string another candy bead. Pass down through the second base bead and up the third (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4

Repeat around the ring

Knot and trim the floss.

Your beaded gummy ring is now finished! (Fig. 5)


Step 4:

Consume your delicious, sugar filled creation.

Don't forget to floss your teeth!