French Beaded Christmas Wreath progress picture - Lauren Harpster

A Big Honkin Update!

Hello dear blog readers! This is a really big blog post, and I do apologize for dumping so much at all once. It’s been a wild few months and I’m finally getting a few minutes to update my blog with all the new things that are happening.

New Technique Tutorial!

First off, let’s talk about my newest freebie. I’ve recently overhauled my courses in the Learn French Beading section on my website. You’ll find that many techniques have been moved around. I’ve done this after some long reflection about what should be considered a Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced technique. Some techniques that were previously in the Beginner Course have been moved to the Intermediate Course, and then some Intermediate and random techniques have been moved to the Advanced Course. 

My most recent new addition is to my Advanced Course – Lesson Three: Spokes. In this lesson you’ll learn how to make extra points along the edges of a leaf, like the one shown here. 

French beading tutorial - Spokes Technique - by Lauren Harpster from Bead & Blossom
Lesson Three: Spokes

New Patterns

I’ve also published a few patterns since I’ve been away from the blog. 

The first is a Miniature Moth Orchid. This was not a planned pattern! It just kind of happened. It was getting near to the end of the school year and I realized that I hadn’t made gifts for my kids’ school teachers. I needed something that was nice, could be made quickly, and preferably something I already had a prototype for so I wouldn’t have to spend as much time on the design. I made miniature roses for my kids’ teachers last year, so I didn’t want to do that again.

Instead, I made some Mini Moth Orchids, which you can see in the first picture below. I first made a prototype for this design a few years ago. I even included a couple of mini orchids in last year’s Color Wheel One-a-day wreath project. Well those just whipped up so quickly that I decided to just make another one for myself, but this time in 15/0 seed beads. That’s the purple one shown below. I used this plant to take pictures and write instructions for the pattern. You can make both the 15/0 and 11/0 versions from the same pattern. Most of the parts use the same bead counts. The leaves and roots are the only things that change, and I do give the altered 11/0 sizes in the pattern. 

The second pattern that I’ve published was another unplanned, spur of the moment idea. In fact, this pattern is my newest speed record. Three days from idea to published pattern! This happened one night as I was up until 5 am with a toddler who just would not sleep. Somehow my brain come up with a way to solve a problem that’s been on the back shelf of my “to-do” list for a while. Specifically, I figured out how to add a flower into the length of a Vertical Continuous Basic Frame unit, while still using a single continuous length of wire. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present my first accessory pattern! A French Beaded Daisy headband, made on one continuous length of wire. Now why on earth is this a big deal? Previously when I’ve made headbands, or just accessories in general, there’s a large bulk of wire beneath flowers. This wire bulk raises the flowers higher off the headband, makes assembly trickier, and adds excess weight, which is detrimental for accessories. 

The pattern will show step by step making the single-daisy version. Then give wire lengths and flower placements for the double and quintuple daisy versions – though both of these do use really long working wires. I personally don’t mind long wires. To me it’s not a great deal different than working from a spool. The only annoying part, for me, is having to remove extra beads from the previous color before adding in the next color. 

French Beaded Daisy Headband by Lauren Harpster
French Beaded Daisy Headband by Lauren Harpster (5)

I have made a few more prototypes of headbands, one of which I’ll show you. Below is one design that I’m still working on. I don’t show prototypes very often, but thought it might be fun to see an evolution of a design. This design uses two lengths of wire, which is still a major reduction. The first picture below is my first trial. I only meant to make a small flower, but I got a little carried away and made a huge flower. It wasn’t as nice as I pictured, plus the huge flower made it super heavy and uncomfortable to wear. 

So, for the second trial I made the flower smaller, changed a few other aspects of the design, and figured out a new way to seamlessly join in the second wire. All of which I will teach once the pattern is published. 🙂 

Prototype French Beaded Dahlia headband
Prototype French Beaded Dahlia headband

I did make a headband that I don’t really intend to publish a pattern for, unless there is a large number of people asking for it. It was a last-minute project that I made for myself to wear for the Fourth of July. 🙂 There are 50 Swarovski Crystals in the petals, obviously for the 50 states. Then I added in some more Swarovski crystals an stars in the center, just for fun. 

This last pattern is one that I actually published a couple years ago. It’s part of my Christmas Collection, but I’ve had lots of people say they would like to have a separate PDF for just the Christmas Tree available. So, that’s what I’ve done. This is the exact same tree as the one in my book, just now available as a standalone pattern for those who only want the tree pattern without having to buy the whole book. 

One-a-Day Christmas Wreath Update

I’ve also finally got some pictures for the current progress on my 2019 One-A-Day project! I’m estimating it will be 22-24 inches wide once finished. It’s already ridiculously heavy. I’ve been working on the pine cone branches. Since I took these pictures I’ve put together two more of the pine cone branches, they weren’t assembled in time for the pictures so they didn’t make it in. I also made a sample Fir Branch, because I had an idea and wanted to see if it would work. So, once I finish the last two pine cones for my last pine cone branch (there will be 5 total pine cone branches), I’ll make more of the Fir Branches. 

French Beaded Christmas Wreath progress picture - Lauren Harpster
French Beaded Christmas wreath one-a-day project update - Lauren Harpster

Stargazer Lily bead sets

I decided to make a few more of the bead sets for my Stargazer Lily pattern. There are currently three available in my Etsy shop. Just a reminder that these are just for the beads to help make getting the same beads I used a little easier. I will be making more in the future, just not sure when or how often just yet. 

You can find those beads sets available only on Etsy (because I want these to be available worldwide and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to set up international shipping here on this website):

https://www.etsy.com/listing/697013131/bead-set-french-beaded-stargazer-lily

Unfortunately I cannot offer the coupon code in my email for these bead sets as I’ve already set the price for as low as I reasonably can. 

french beaded stargazer lily by Lauren Harpster

Other Updates

My family is moving this year. The last couple of months we have been working hard to get our house ready for sale. This wasn’t in our original plans for the year, but a great opportunity to build a new home in a great little community opened up, and we jumped. Unfortunately this means I’ve had to move a lot of my beading plans aside to make time for this big change in my personal life. 

We might end up in a rental between selling our current home and moving into our new home. Which might mean I end up with lots of my beading supplies in storage for a couple months. Right now everything is up in the air and I don’t know exactly how my publication plans for the year are going to work out, but I’ll update when there’s any news. 

Happy beading! 

Lauren

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