Monday, 30 December 2013

BJP 2013 ~ December Ta-dah

When I joined the BJP for 2013 I really had no idea whether I could successfully start a blog or what I would create over the year. My initial sketch appeared on my new blog on the 16th December 2012 after a few practice posts and I waited patiently for January to start. Each month a new leaf was beaded and a blog post written and always someone wrote a comment. It was lovely to know someone somewhere was looking so a big thank you to those who left me a comment and encouraged me along the way.
December's leaf is based on the Christmas Rose otherwise known as Lenten Rose or Hellebore. Ours don't come into flower until about February so I have a little while to wait to see them in the garden.

Most of my leaves develop as they go but this time I knew I wanted to make a brick stitch rosette to represent a Christmas bauble. So I picked out all my christmassy coloured beads and round and round I went.

It is the first time I have used the cube beads in a rosette and I really like the effect. What do you think?
Finally the whole leaf.
Bits and bobs had been collected for displaying the leaves together so I started by making labels on woven ribbon with back stitch. I then made a cross stitch title, sewed on ribbon for the stem and as a border and beaded a couple of felt hearts for decoration before finally sewing all twelve leaves in place.

 A few tacking stitches still need to be removed but here they are altogether just in time.

One of the things I like best is that friends and family that visit all have their favourite leaf and each leaf is the favourite of someone. Me, I just love the fact that over the year, step by step, I made twelve leaves and they are so colourful and each leaf looks better because of the others round it.

On to the next challenge of trying to write a post and put photos onto Facebook. I have a few ideas for 2014. I really liked beading the Red Admiral for the August leaf and would like to do more and perhaps a felt picture with beaded beach huts would be good. We shall see what the New Year brings. Wishing you all health and happiness in the New Year :)

Friday, 6 December 2013

BJP 2013 ~ November Ta-dah

I love the look of  hydrangea flowers as autumn fades into winter. The beautiful shades of blues and pinks turn to the colour of vintage linens and lace. Earlier in the year my Mum moved from her home of 50 years and I unpacked boxes that had been hidden under beds and in cupboards. In one of the boxes were pieces of lace saved by my grandmother and her sisters for one day. I sorted through boxes of beads and broken jewellery also saved for one day. So although I never knew my grandmother and her sisters I do have photos of them and I feel I have a connection with them as I see their handiwork and the pieces they saved and my Mum saved as too precious to throw away.

My grandmother, Muriel, is in the middle with her older sister, Gertrude, on the left and her younger sister, Letty, on the right.

Imagine my delight as I realised I had the perfect place for one piece of lace and some of the beads. One day had come for a piece of lace that was just the right size for my November felt leaf and I had beautiful antique cream lustre beads that could make a pretty border.

I didn't want to cover too much of the lace work and I wanted to develop the circular shape of the large hydrangea heads and have the smaller flowers that make up the larger heads. I added wooden beads to complete the circle of lace flowers and then added cream and pink individual flowers in another circle.

I added a few more flowers with larger beads in the middle.

I hope my grandmother and her sisters would like my finished leaf.

I can't resist showing one of the small boxes of beads I came across for 'good children' and some of the glass bottles I'm filling up as I sort the beads.

I have nearly finished my December leaf and I am collecting together everything I need to display all the leaves together so hope to finish before the New Year :)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

BJP 2013 ~ October Ta-dah

It was a set of mugs given to me by friends for a birthday that inspired us to plant a Toad Lily in the garden. The flowers are small but so exquisite especially against the red leaves of Autumn.

They are so precise in the centre but goodness knows how I would create them in beads so I put it off and started with a red autumn leaf and a bud.

Next came the petals before finally trying to work out a way to bead the centre.
The flower in the middle has a tube which divides into three and around it six filaments and anthers so I made a tube of size 6 green beads with three clusters coming out of the top using size 15 beads and I used the same size beads to make striped filaments with a size 6 bead at the top. Not as pretty and exact as the flower but I quite like my quirky centres.

I wish I could have made the flowers more delicate or perhaps I should made the autumn leaf larger.

So this is my October leaf capturing a bit of autumn colour and the Toad Lily in beads.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

BJP 2013 ~ September Ta-dah

Beading a Helenium for my September leaf caused me to inspect the flowers closer.

The way the centres develop is fascinating as they start with a brown dome across which waves of yellow pollen spread until a sphere is created. I love beading a bead and knew the same technique would work well as a centre. I just used a felt bead and covered it three quarters of the way.

I decided to needle felt some background flowers before adding bright red beads for the petals.

The final addition was a picot edging.

The branches are filling up and I've got some fabric for the background but apart from embroidering the stems I'm still not sure how to add the months and names of the flowers. Any ideas?

Perhaps a border or tags, printed or sown. Well I have a few months to play around :) Happy days.

Friday, 20 September 2013

BJP 2013 ~ August Ta-dah

April's butterfly cuff definitely inspired this month's leaf. We have a buddleia bush by the back door which attracts butterflies throughout the summer. I chose a Red Admiral to try and bead.

 A variety of different sized beads were used to capture the buddleia flower in the background.

So what do you think?

I can't believe that I only have four more leaves to go.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

BJP 2013 ~ July Ta-dah

This month was started then sat around for a while because I couldn't quite visualise how to do what I wanted ~ a wildflower meadow or herbaceous border. Then inspiration came in some beads from a broken necklace Mum had held onto from an Aunt.

The blue beads washed up a treat.

The differing sizes of the same flower were just perfect for grouping into clusters and soon I had my wildflower meadow and herbaceous border.

Definitely the most colourful leaf so far.

My August leaf is already finished so hopefully will follow shortly.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

BJP 2013 June ~ Ta-dah

June is when our iris flower next to the pond. They inspire me to draw, paint and to pick up my camera. They have a page in my garden scrapbook.

We have had a heat wave here in England in July but when I took my photo in June they were covered in raindrops.

When I started to work with felt I made a felt picture but it just sat in a box with other felt picture experiments until I had the idea of using it as the base for my June leaf.

I didn't want to cover too much of the felt so started by outlining the petals and then added a beaded edge.

Not so much beading this time but I like the blend of the felt and the different coloured beads.

On to July!

Monday, 24 June 2013

BJP 2013 May ~ Ta dah

May is about remembrance for me so the forget- me- not was the starting point followed by apple blossom.

My sister passed away from cancer on the 18th May 2009 and her birthday was the 1st of May. We shared a love of flowers and gardens so when I walk around the garden in May I love seeing the drifts of blue forget-me-nots. The garden we grew up in had two large apple trees and the apple blossom in my garden always triggers many happy memories.

So on the leaf are forget-me-nots and apple blossom but it wasn't until after I had finished that I smiled at the border I had done. You see May was the month Mum moved after fifty years in the same house. Some of the furniture and 127 boxes were moved to her new bungalow. I watched boxes being packed, loaded and unloaded and then we set about unpacking them all. Now doesn't that border look like boxes? Totally unintentional I just thought the colour of the bugle beads went with the background felt colour but now when I look at the leaf I see boxes. The leaf will always remind of Mum's move and the best thing is now she lives just around the corner instead of nearly 200 miles away and she is happy settling into her new home.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

BJP 2013 April ~ Ta-dah

When I started my tulip because the shape was simple I thought I would finish it in a couple of days.

 In truth I would bead a petal and then undo it as the colours didn't work or the beading looked messy. Simple ideas show up mistakes! The colours on the tulips in the garden just blend so beautifully the beaded version was always disappointing. I think if I had more colour choice of the tiny beads I would have found it easier. But after much trial and error I think I have something I'm happy with. I wonder how I will feel about it at the end of the year? In contrast to the stop start nature of beading the petals the bugle bead border was a breeze and I like the random mix of colours.

And for you April I have taken a photo of the first four leaves on my rough sketch. Still not decided on background material and whether to add words. I do love Linda's words and thoughts she includes in her art.

I'm really looking forward to catching up on everybody's blogs with a cup of coffee after being away and planning for my May leaf.

Being away at the moment is going to my Mum's house from which she is moving  after 50 years. As I mentioned last time I am looking at my family history and was delighted to find an old family bible in a drawer. By old I mean published in 1625 and with names and dates going back to 1704. Couldn't resist including a couple of  photos.

Happy beading :)

Monday, 25 March 2013

BJP 2013 March ~ Ta-dah

In our garden on March the first, St. David's Day, there are always the first few daffodils to be seen.

I just needed to work out how to make a daffodil trumpet.

The first ones were too thin, too tall and too fat.

But one was just right.

Ready to take centre stage on my leaf.

Next was beading around the centre.

I love the way things evolve and the half circle fans that appeared just seemed to fit so well.

The view from the side shows the daffodil trumpets off.

And finally my finished leaf is a celebration of my Welsh roots. I am scrap booking my family history and I am now back to around the 1750's. I love solving the puzzles and finding out about the stories of my ancestors lives and although I was born in England and my husband and children are English I still find myself cheering on the Welsh rugby team just as I did as a child with my Welsh parents.