French Beaded African Violets by Lauren Harpster

French Beaded African Violets

This past week I realized that it was teacher appreciation week. I few years ago I decided to start a personal tradition of making gifts for my kids’ teachers to show my appreciation. Last year I made Mini Orchids, the year before I made bouquets of my Miniature Roses. This year, I almost didn’t make any. I wasn’t sure how I’d get them to the teachers, since I won’t get to see them. I’ve been so busy desperately trying to finish a book while homeschooling my boys. I just couldn’t see as how I had time to make anything without further delaying my already-delayed plans. But, this year has been so weird. Teachers everywhere have had to adjust their regular methods of teaching to accommodate online learning while we’re all in lock-down/quarantine. They’ve recorded video lessons, held video conferences with two dozen children all at once. Individual video lessons with children who need extra help, or to test them. Not to mention trying to grade assignments turned in via picture upload. So I would have felt terrible if I didn’t find some way to show my thanks. 

In February I was looking into making African Violets, and decided on Primroses instead. So they were fresh on my mind as I was trying to figure out what project I could make quickly that would still be cute and well-received. I already had the beads and wire. And the school sent a message that we could bring gifts for teachers to the school office and they will deliver them for us. So I set out working the same day I got that text. I stayed up until 4 am and managed to make all the pieces for two pots of African Violets. 

I originally would have liked to make “veining” in the leaves by using a shading pattern and multiple colors in one leaf. But, that takes extra time, and that’s one thing I didn’t have. But I also knew that if I made them all in the same bead, they’d blend into each other and look like a mass of green with little to no definition to the shapes of individual leaves. So I decided to do a little experiment and make the leaves solid colors, but in multiple shades of green. And I’m pleased to say that I like the results! 

I posted the picture above of all my pieces on a few of my social media accounts, and some people commented or messaged that they’d love for me to publish the pattern. Being short on time and really wanting to work more on my book, I wasn’t sure if that was the best way to spend my time. But, then I realized that this is a great beginner pattern, and I don’t have enough of those available. Most of my patterns are either intermediate or advanced. So I stayed up late another night to take pictures while I assembled them, and then pulled another late night to finish the writing and picture editing. Still took a couple days after to tidy and check everything, but it’s done! 

 

So, here are my finished pots of African Violets made in the French Beading method. This pattern is now available in my shop here, and in my Etsy Shop. (As a side-note, Paypal should be functioning properly now. After many attempts at getting whatever issue was happening to some, but not all people at checkout… eventually I had the idea to switch to a different Paypal plugin, and I haven’t had anyone saying there were issues since I switched.) 

In other news, next week I should have more bead sets available for my Stargazer Lily pattern. And sometime at the end of May or beginning of June I will have more Kit + Book bundles for my Beginner Course flowers. So if you’ve been wanting them, they are coming! 

And, I put a new cover on my Christmas Collection book. So if you see that floating around, it’s the same book just with a more attractive cover and a couple fixed typos. Don’t buy it again if you already have one. Haha. 

AND… I completely forgot to tell you all about this last month. But… I discovered that Kindle Direct Publishing (who I use to print and distribute my books) has an easy way to make print replica Kindle books from PDFs. Before I learned about this program, I thought that I’d have to remake my entire book in a different program in order to make it available for Kindles. But no, they had a tool the whole time and just never told me about it. After several hours working with the tool to add in the Table of Contents markers, and getting the file set up… I now have Kindle editions of both of the books that I have published so far. Those are both available on Amazon. 

Christmas Collection here
Beginner Course here

My Beginner Course is still going on YouTube! If you can’t follow along right now, you don’t need to worry. I won’t be taking those videos down ever. Right now we are working on the Wild Clematis. I’ve got the first two videos up, teaching the Stamen, Petals, & Leaves. This Friday I’ll be publishing the video on assembly. 

If you want to work through the course in a group setting to share your progress and finished flowers, come and join me and Fen Li from the Bead Flora Studio in our Facebook Group – Learn how to make French Beaded Flowers! (We had to change the name from “Learn French Beading” since there were a lot of people trying to join who thought it was group to learn the French language. Some answered the questions required to join the group correctly, so they still got in. One lady in particular came to the group, had a look around, and still posted asking someone to teach her French in exchange for learning Spanish… so… we just wanted to clear it up a little! Hopefully there won’t be anymore confused people.) 

Hope you are all well! Happy beading! 

~ Lauren Harpster ~

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