Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Into The Forest Blog Hop

I must apologize to everyone. 

My blog & pictures are going to be very late! 

In the area where we live the Cedar trees are blooming outrageously this year. 

Unfortunately for me, I'm highly allergic & thus have been very sick. 

Today I went to the doctor after feeling sick for about two weeks now.  I have thrush (a yeast infection in the throat/mouth that usually babies get not adults), conjunctivitis, swollen glands which are so bad they've knocked my neck out of place which in turn has affected my left arm/shoulder/back area making moving very difficult. I feel like I have the flu but no just a very bad case of Cedar Fever! Yuck!

So I'm super sorry Lisa, I have not been able to finish my project or blog. Hopefully by Monday I will have finished and only be a little over a week late :(

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Soutache & Bead Embroidery - Book Review!

Soutache & Bead Embroidery

by Amee K. Sweet-McNamara
Published by Kalmbach Books

What is Soutache (pronounced as "su-tash")? It is embroidery with or without beads that many have called cording or braiding. It has been around for hundreds of years, used on upholstery, uniforms, wedding dresses, and used in making tassels. I myself have used it in upholstering furniture without really knowing the names of what I was doing. 

When I received this book, I was rather unsure of what Soutache  was. However, upon further study, research, and internet exploring, I found that this technique, art form, and jewelery design is very popular. Old has become "new" again - what goes around has come around again! 

Aren't these gorgeous!

The book begins with a wonderfully detailed Supply List - which is so important for those of us who don't know where to start. Next comes eight fabulous pages of Techniques. Each technique is named with a picture & detailed description. These pages were extremely helpful as I worked through a project to refer back to for assistance.

Chapter One: Creating Basic Shapes has 6 projects. Each building techniques so that your knowledge and ability to recognize these basics grow as you go! These core concepts begin even the most elaborate of projects or designs.
Princess Earrings on page 19
This first basic shape is also known as the "lollipop". It is the nucleus for many other shapes and projects. It is finished with the "Eskimo slipper" to make a complete basic shape.

Each project gives the basic shape learned, tools to be used, materials needed, & instructions with detailed picture.

For example, the Pinwheel Bracelet highlights the Basic Shapes of pinwheels and spirals. The Bonus Skill is embellishing edge beading.

Chapter Two: Adding Elements expands on talents learned in chapter one, adding in cabochons, flat beads, rhinestone chain and more. The instructions are simplified in this chapter but if you need help, refer to the Techniques pages 10-17 at the beginning of the book.
Suspended Stone Necklace on page 41
This is the first project in Chapter Two. Each of the projects in this chapter "Concentrates" on working with certain designs, techniques, materials, etc.. with an added Bonus Skill.

The Suspended Stone Necklace project concentrates on working with large, flat beads. The Bonus Skill is working with metallic braid. Obstacles that would be encountered are addressed and overcome.

Chapter Three: Layers and Light introduces techniques to use to break up the volume of your Soutache work so that it doesn't become "heavy" both in actual weight and visual mass.
 Each project in Chapter 3 also has a Concentration Skill and a Bonus Skill.

Blissful Abundance Necklace
For example, the Blissful Abundance Necklace project on pages 79-83 concentrates on designing with multiple techniques with a Bonus Skill of Soutache-wrapped straps. Incorporating multiple techniques into a single piece increases the perception of complexity and detail. I found these projects very intriguing to my creative muse. 

"Dangerous Liaisons" necklace, 2013 from the Gallery
This book has 18 detailed projects designed to challenge the beginner and the intermediate beader. However, I think even the most advanced beader would be intrigued. The book ends with a gallery of 16 beautiful Soutache & bead embroidered jewelry creations by the author.

I have totally enjoyed this book and my interest in Soutache is piqued!

Thank you Amee Sweet-McNamara and Kalmbach Books for publishing this beautiful book!