Spring wire tree

I actually finished making this in March of last year, but didn’t get around to taking pictures of it until almost summer. By then it didn’t make sense to post about spring, which is why I waited to post it now.

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The entire thing stands a little under 8 inches tall.

I followed the basic idea from this tutorial. (The page no longer exists, which is why I’m linking to the Wayback Machine archive.)

I used an entire 20 gram bag of 11/0 seed beads for this tree. Cheap seed beads work well for this kind of project, because it doesn’t matter if the sizes aren’t uniform. Since most of the beads were so narrow, I ended up using 6 beads instead of 5 beads for many of the blossoms, to make them look fuller.

After twisting the wires somewhat randomly, I decided to aim for a peach tree look, so that’s how I distributed the blossoms on the branches. The hardest part was deciding how to assemble the branches, for a natural-looking tree form. Simply twisting all the stems together would result in a funny looking bouquet. I held the branches next to each other to see which ones looked better together, before twisting them.

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I secured the tree and rocks in the pot (it’s actually a 2.5″ diameter ramekin) with hot glue, as was shown in this tutorial.

I didn’t time how long this took me to make, but I’m sure I spent over 20 hours on twisting the wires alone.

A few days after completing it, I discovered a ladybug on my tree!

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My first successful beaded bead

Many years ago (back in the 1990s) Michael’s was selling bags of assorted jewelry making supplies for a discount, so my mom bought a bag. In it were these 12mm wooden beads. I had no idea what to do with them, so I left them alone and forgot about them until last year.

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I still wasn’t sure what to do with those pesky wooden beads until I came across tutorials for covering them with seed beads. Ah, so that’s what they’re used for!

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Last September, I tried making my own beaded bead by following a tutorial, but it wasn’t clear. I found another tutorial that was more complicated. I tried again, integrating what I had understood from the two tutorials. Unfortunately, I ran out of thread and couldn’t finish it. Those of you who follow my personal blog may have seen these pictures before.

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From left to right: top view, side view, bottom view. I wasn’t happy with what I had done, so I took it apart to reuse the beads.

Last October, I came across this picture of a beaded bead on Pinterest. Unfortunately, the link was dead. Although I tried to find the original source using reverse image searches, I was unable to locate it. After studying it carefully, I was able to figure out how many beads of each color were added each layer. Last week I decided to give it a try.

It was rather time consuming, but after I got the first half done, it became easier because I could see what comes next in the pattern. Since the photo only showed one half of the ball, I wasn’t sure what to do for the other half. I decided to go with a reflection of the top half.

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All seemed fine until I came to the points of the star. I had to get the point bead in between the two beads of the point in the layer above, but also connect it with the point bead of the previous layer, or else it’ll stick out. That requires looping the thread back around through the point bead in the previous layer, and as you can see in the picture below, it didn’t work out that nicely. I decided to scrap that idea.

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It would be easier for me to make the other half separately, and stitch the two halves together at the middle. I had seen some images showing that. It didn’t take me as long to make the second half, and I didn’t need to consult the image. The challenge now was figuring out how big to make each half.

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I was able to get it closed all the way around the wooden bead, but it got tight towards the end and the beads weren’t fitting snugly together. I wondered if it needed another layer, so I took it apart. Adding another layer actually requires adding three layers, because both halves need to be symmetrical, and then there’s the layer that connects the two halves.

Later I found this tutorial, and although it looks similar to what I made, I think that it’s done better. I’d like to give it a try.

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These Valentine’s Day colors were part of an Artbeads Designer Blend. I had only wanted three of the colors in the blend, but since they didn’t sell them separately, I bought the blend. After I sorted out the colors that I wanted, these were the ones that remained. I’m glad to have found a use for them.

I used size D Nymo for this project. I’m not sure why I did. Probably because this was a test piece and Nymo is relatively cheap. It’s not that difficult to work with after I ran it though beeswax, but the beeswax clogged the eye of my beading needle. I might use FireLine next time because it’s finer and doesn’t fray.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with this beaded bead. I might hook together a bunch of them to make a bracelet, or maybe make another one for a pair of earrings.

My first wire tree

I was not aware of wire trees until I saw this post by The Multicrafteral Lab. Later I discovered through Pinterest that they’re quite popular in Russia. More recently I came across such wire trees being called ming trees.

It was hard for me to find a tutorial on how to make a wire tree with beads, and when I did, most of them were very complicated and used two different gauges of wire. I found this tutorial by Ele on Cut Out + Keep to be helpful, and loosely followed this video tutorial by CamilleSharon because she used 22 gauge wire and it was one of the simpler ones. I had a spool of 22 gauge vintage bronze wire that I wasn’t sure what to do with, so I was hoping to use it for this.*

What I like about this project is that it doesn’t require precision. If I wasn’t paying attention and strayed from the original schema, it didn’t matter. It’s not necessary to make every branch uniform, because real trees aren’t like that. Besides, with all the branches and leaves, any “mistakes” aren’t readily noticeable. This made it quite a relaxing activity, except after some time, twisting the 22 gauge wire made my fingers sore.

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It can stand on its own, but the ends are sharp.

The terra cotta pot that I have measures about 1.5 inches tall, with a diameter of a little under 2 inches at the widest part, so I wanted to keep my tree small so that it’d be proportionate. I started with a 16 inch piece of wire, then tried 20 inch pieces, and finally settled on 18 inch pieces. One drawback of having the tree be so small is that I couldn’t make more detailed branches.

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This whole thing stands 5 7/8 inches (15 cm) tall.

I am currently working on a Christmas tree and a tree with spring blossoms, modeled after this tutorial, but I’m using 26 gauge wire, and I also have larger containers for them to go in.

* I bought it in an attempt to match the color of an antique brass chain, but the color in the photo didn’t match the color in reality, and it would cost more to send it back, so I kept it. Even antique brass wire didn’t match that chain. It’s incredibly difficult to match the colors of metals made by different manufacturers, because each one uses a different alloy.

Big Twist Earrings

This is a design I wish I had come up with, but alas, it’s not mine. I learned it from watching the Orecchini Big Twist Tutorial video by MilkyBeads Bijoux. The video is in Italian, but since she showed every step, I was able to follow along. (Orecchini is Italian for “earring.”) I actually made written instructions and a photo tutorial for my personal use, so I wouldn’t have to rewatch the video every time I wasn’t sure what to do next. However, I am hesitant to share it here for copyright reasons: one being that it’s not my design, and I don’t want my photos to get made into a collage for a DIY site.

A few months ago my boyfriend commissioned me to make a birthday gift for his cousin. Her favorite color is blue, so I chose to use silver-lined dark aqua (Toho color code #23B) seed beads, as I like that color, too. The photos don’t really show the color correctly. The beads really are more aqua than blue.

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In this photo I’ve tried to correct the color of the beads.

One thing I like about this design is how flexible the completed pieces are. It’s kind of fun to bend them. 😛

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I actually ended up making two pairs. I hadn’t bothered tying the string after making the initial circle of beads, thinking that would give adequate space for sticking the second layer of beads in between the beads of the first layer. Instead, I figured I would just pull the tail tightly. It worked when I did the same design using size 11 Preciosa (Czech) seed beads, but those are smaller than size 11 Toho seed beads. The inner layers ended up getting loose, and pulling the tail only helped tighten the two centermost layers. The exposed string didn’t look good. It wasn’t that obvious from far away, but I didn’t feel comfortable giving those to someone, so I kept those for myself and was more careful when making the second pair.

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Side by side comparison of the one with exposed threads (left) and the one that was made nice and tight (right). The threads/gaps are not as obvious in the photos than in person, but you can click for a larger image and look closely from the 3 o’clock position to 6 o’clock.

I hope I can take the general idea and come up with my own design, as I have thought of linking several of these motifs to make a necklace.

Rainbow “flower” necklace

This was a necklace that I designed back in 2009, but didn’t get around to making until a few months ago. I had had a dry spell for at least three years, but someone told me that I’m creative, and a few days later I was sitting in church when this idea (and four others) came to mind. I plan on making this in other colors, but my reason for choosing the “rainbow” scheme this time was that I had too many orange beads lying around unused, and this design was able to incorporate orange without it being too much. (For those of you wondering why I’m talking about orange in particular, it’s my least favorite color.)

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In the event that I do get around to opening an Etsy store, this item will be available. I’m currently trying to come up with a good store name. Any suggestions?