Saturday, 31 August 2013

Challenge of travel: Welcome to Bjäre!

Well, I didn't think I'd be able to make it in time with everything that's happened. However, Uggi (that's our youngest cat, who got very ill last weekend for those of you that don't follow my blog) is recovering fast and it's given me a big burst of energy. Or perhaps rather of happiness and relief, which could be turned into creative energy. So here it, my Challenge of Travel reveal!


First of all, before I forget, I must thank our hostess, Erin, for this fab challenge! Even when so much else took all my time and energy, I never wanted to give up on this challenge as it was so fun to work on. The 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel, which is themed Staycation, is a blog hop. To find links to all participants' reveals, please check out our hostess reveal post HERE.

This stop on the hop is an hommage to my hembygd (a word that has no direct english equivalent I can think of, but it's the area where you grew up and/or live and feel a connection to, the place where your roots are). I grew up -- and now live -- in a small hamlet located in the middle of Bjäre. A place you can see every time you visit my blog as the blog header features a view from home. Bjäre is a peninsula in the northwestern corner of the southern-most province in Sweden, Skåne (also known by it's latin name Scania) -- a province once called "a piece of the Continent attached to Sweden".

Making a long story short, the province became swedish in 1658 after long having been part of eastern Denmark. Half of Skåne sits on limestone bedrock, which makes it more like the countries of the Continent than of Sweden, which partially explains the quote above. We also have a distinct dialect and our own red-and-yellow flag. I guess we are also known for affluent farmland and the food. There are many regional specialities such as luad ål (smoked eel), äggakaga (a thick panecake-y thing served with lingonberry jam and bacon), skånsk äblakaga (apple pie), spickeskinka (dry-salted and cold smoked ham), kavring (sweet rye bread), mårtensgås (goose dinner on St Martin's day), spiddekaga (can't translate, please see Wikipedia for explanation), rabbemos (mashed rutabaga/swede and potato) etc. An old scanian saying goes "goen mad, möen mad og mad i rättan ti" ("good food, a lot of food and food at the right time").

Bjäre is part of what one scholar dubbed risbygden, a region "between the plough and the forest" ("mellan plogen och skogen") with a variegated nature and a landscape characterized by smallholdings. To the south of Bjäre is a second peninsula, Kullen, which you can see as a blue mountain ridge in the above photo, separated from Bjäre by the Skälderviken bay. Just off the the western Bjäre coast, by Torekov, is the island of Hallands Väderö placed in the sea called Kattegatt (which catlovers might be interested in learning that it is thought to mean "cat hole" or "cat gate" in dutch because it was so narrow it was difficult to navigate through). Like most of the Bjäre coastline, Väderön is a nature reserve.

In the north, you can see the ever present Hallandsåsen ridge and the northern half of Bjäre is characterized by the hilly terrain created by the ridge as it stretches from the inland out towards Hovs Hallar (the place where the knight plays chess with Death in Ingemar Bergman's film The Seventh Seal). The other half is more of a flat terrain spreading towards the sea. The two most famous towns here are the market town of Båstad and the former fishing village of Torekov (known locally as Torke).

I will however not dwell there, both as the places are already wellknown and packed with tourists and as they're too posh for a country girl like me. Well, at least they can be very posh during summer. No, despite interesting things I could tell (the attempted russian invasion of Båstad 1788, the tennis and Mr G, ridiculous upper-class party activities like vaskning, the Torekov compromise that created our current constitution, the first seaside resorts etc etc), I want to focus on the little hamlets and villages around where I live. The real countryside with hamlets, small-scale fields, grazing cows, bronze age burial mounds, small forests, strandängar, trails for ramblers, farm shops, miles of 19th century stone walls, local football fields, potato fields, art exhibits -- and a clog factory (yes, I did forget the golf courses on purpose). And trolls, you can't forget the trolls.

But first, let's place Bjäre and my hamlet of Svenstad on the map.

Click for a close up. Photo taken during spring, which explains this common sight.
If you want to check out Bjäre on Google Maps, here's a link to get you started.

The place marked on the first two maps is our hamlet. Svenstad is a very small hamlet, has been since it was depopulated during the danish-swedish wars (over provinces like Skåne) in the 17th century. There is however one name that has made this hamlet a bit better known than most others of its size: world famous opera singer and hovsångerska -- and cat lover -- Birgit Nilsson. Birgit and her husband Bertil were occasionally our neighbours as it was her she grew up on a farm she later inherited.  After her death, the work to turn her family home into a museum started and our road was renamed after her. So one of our nearest neighbours are now the Birgit Nilsson Museum.

For a virtual view of the museum (and Svenstad), you can go to the street view at Google Maps here. A map of and info on the ancient monuments and historical relics -- mounds, stone carvings, culturally important buildings -- can be found on the Fornsök map at The Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) website. It's in swedish only, though.

Of cause, while this post is turning into a very long one, I still can't tell you all about Bjäre. If you're more interested, there are are few tourist websites for Båstad/Bjäre and Skåne. The official tourist website for Bjäre is and the official one for Skåne is Visit Skåne. Hallands väderö has its own website here while Torekov has a site in swedish here. If you're interested in hiking/rambling, there is a trail throughout the province called Skåneleden, which you can read about here. Apart from it there are several shorter, local trails. On Bjäre, it follows the coastline and there are two paths leading over the Hallandsåsen ridge towards the southern coasst. Upplev Bjäre is another tourist website, but it's in swedish only, but offer translations via Google Translate (in other words: do check it out, but don't expect great translations). The Birgit Nilsson website also have a few tips on this page, including the linen weaving mill in Boarp and Märta Måås-Fjetterström's studio in Båstad.

If you're interested in guided tours or hikes, there are many to be offered (though I'm not sure how many have english-speaking guides). Interested in local produce? So called "farm tourism" is booming at the moment and you can experience everything from farmer's markets and annual events (Day of the potato most notable here on Bjäre) to kosläpp (popular family event when the cows are let out on the pastures after a winter indoors) and culinary food hikes though the landscape. Completed with farm shops, farm cafés and countryside B&Bs. You can even pay for the opportunity to plant/set or harvest potatoes! Love of gardening? For example  Din Trädgård offer no less than four tours of private gardens and nurseries in Northwestern Skåne: Höstrundan ("the autumn tour"), Rosrundan ("the rose tour"), Månskensrundan ("the moonshine tour" visiting lit up gardens on an october evening) and Trädgårdsrundan ("the garden tour"). History and archaeology buff? Local societies like Föreningen Gamla Båstad and Bjäre arkeologivänner sometimes do guided tours in or around Båstad, talking about history and ancient monuments respectively. Naturskyddsföreningen do nature hikes, but I'm not sure if they're for members only or not. The tourist centres can also provide guide books and maps for your own explorations.

Oh, and by the way: Don't forget the artisan fair in Båstad, Hantverksmässan! An annual show during the last weekend of July where you sometimes even find a lampwork bead artist or two, but most of all handmade jewellery and kinds of other art and craft products from artists all over the country.

The most important question, then: are there any bead shops? Well, not exactly on Bjäre, but there are a few craft and bead shops nearby. On Bjäre you can find a craft/embroidery/yarn shop in Båstad and two fabric shops in Förslöv unless I'm mistaken. As for bead shops and craft shops with a bead range, I refer you to my website Svenska Pärlbutiker where you'll find a map of such shops in Sweden. 

For loads of photos of Bjäre -- Svenstad in particular -- please see the landscape photos label on this blog (you might have to scroll through a few pages to find the really good photos...). And for many more photos of the province of Skåne in general -- from the Turning Torso in Malmö to the iconic beech forests and yellow rapefields, from reconstructed viking cottages to the castles of the old nobility, from apple orchards to university buildings  -- please see my Skåne - Scania pinboard:

So from all this, where did I draw inspiration for my creation? For me, most of the things I love about Bjäre and Svenstad revolve around the nature, coastline, agriculture (cows, fields, farms, farmer families) and cultural history. Places like the burial mounds, which are ever present on the peninsula, often with troll legends attached to them , and Drottninghall with its prehistoric stone carvings shrouded in local folklore and overlooking Bjäre, Skälderviken bay and beyond that Kullen. I've written a few posts on local lore, from trolls to princess saints, which you can find here.

For the tourists, Bjäre and places like Torekov, Kattvik, Stora Hult and Båstad are places of summer and sunshine. Picturesque places of vacations. They only see one aspect of the peninsula. I see it and love it around the year. Love the changes in the landscape as summer turns into autumn, autumn turns into winter and winter turns into spring. For me, images like these are just as much my idea of Bjäre as a summer beach. Perhaps even more as that tourist summer thing is so ephemeral. The real Bjäre is easier to see once the tourists have returned home.

Now, this necklace didn't turn out at all like I wanted it to, but still showing it as it was the first idea I got. I wanted to use this hand-dyed silk thread for an autumnal design inspired by the apple orchards in Kattvik (which means "cat bay", by the way) and Båstad. Don't know if more than the one in Kattvik produce apples commercially, the rest are sadly abandoned -- on turned into a golf course. It also echoes of our own apple trees, many of which my dad has grown from seeds.

The bamboo charm is also a nod to our own garden -- I love bamboo and grew up with a couple of plants around the farm.

The second piece is also all about the flora. I chose the teal flower as it reminds me of the gardens, parks and farmland wrapped in mist in the late autumn when not much colour remains as the flowers wilt, but there's still a somewhat melancholic, serene beauty. Dew and mist drifting inland from the cold sea.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention the connection to the seaside park/public gardens of Norrvikens trädgårdar what with the sea-colour flower and beads. Norrviken have had some tough years, but in 2006 it won the award of most beautiful park in Sweden and went on to compete over the title of most beautiful in Europe, ending up in second place.

A small pic of its full length.

Then I struggled to create something with bronze. I have to include bronze as the bronze age is always just above or below the ground level here. But what to do? Not much bronze in my stash right now (had forgotten about a couple of bronze clay components I won ages ago), nothing but some round tags. But then this morning I got an idea and layered them with coloured copper tags on a flexible rubber bangle. Three charms on one bracelet, which might become three bangles with one charm each if I get more of those rubber bracelets.

As everything else is filled with symbolism, this got one too, apart from the bronze age heritage: the modern, sleek style and the colours stand for all our local artists (catlover? Check out the couple Ulla & Gustav Kraitz!). There's an annual konstrunda in Northwestern Skåne, an event where local artists open up their studios for the public, who will go around a route visiting as few or as many artists as they want. All artists are also represented in a collective exhibition in addition to the open studios. Arts represented include painting, graphics, fiber arts, sculpture, silversmithing, glass, photography etc. In 2013 148 artists were represented, at least 20 being in Bjäre as you can see in this map.

This piece isn't actually a challenge piece, it's just a test of my new Pébéo Fantasy paint, but I thought the result looked like one of our beaches on a sunny summer's day so it was a good fit here now that the test coincided with the challenge. The base is a 2x2 cm glass mosaic tile. I'll soon do a post on my first Pébéo experiments, which will include a close-up of this one.

Last but not least, the pièce de résistance. It took me a long while to come up with making this. I wanted to do something related to the stories I told earlier, the local legends and tales about Saint Tora, the stones in Hov, the trolls and Drottninghall. After a lot of thought, it struck me that a gold crown would be a possible common denominator: Tora is often depicted wearing a crown since the legends often portrait her as a princess, some of the stories about Drottninghall involve a queen and the trolls were well known for their treasures, which must've included crowns. Add to that my penchant for bridal crowns and I just had to give it a go.
It was a long time since I last made a crown and I'm afraid it shows, just as well as it shows that I just whipped this thing together yesterday, but I hope you still like it a little.

It wasn't my intention, but I discovered that it ended up being the same colours as our provincial flag, red (garnet) and yellow (brass)! Which perhaps was very fitting.

And so we come to the end. I hope you enjoyed my introduction to Bjäre, the place where I grew up and the place where I now once again live. Thank you for stopping by, taking the time to read and/or check out at my challenge creations!

I'm going to wrap up this long, long post the same way I started it:  

Welcome to Bjäre!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

August bead soup palette

Well, the bead mix inspiration of the month is late too, as usual. Like some of my earlier palettes, this one's pretty much just thrown together using a few of my favourite colours. But instead of a last minute hodgepodge, let's call it a tribute to coppar and velvety soft, shimmering matte metallics.

You can use the colours together or just go with either light copper satin or dark copper satin depend on how dark you want your colour scheme. I'm sure there are many gorgeous matte metallics to combine with these, but, alas, I didn't have any in my stash.

Unfortunately, I just realised I made a huge screw up. The typo is one thing (it's matte metallic dark raspberry iris, nothing else), but I got the piccies in the wrong order: the middle colour is "the raspberries" and the last one is dark copper satin. Oops....

Cat photo of the week -- the "poor Ubbi" edition

I'm always late with Meowy Monday these days so I guess no ones missed it. However, there was a special reason I missed it this week: all time and energy has been put into Uggi, who fell in on Friday. Playful, vigorous Ubbi was gone, all that was left was tried, indifferent Ubbi. At first it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, just an upset stomach and a refusal to eat due to that, but what was less than ordinary was that time and the usual tricks didn't solve the problems. He got worse and we were really worried, even after it got a bit better last night and this morning. It may have been just a few days, but trust me, it felt like weeks.

At last, we got an appointment at the vet's today and he's now got medicine, a nutritious paste to boost his appetite (he loves it!) and a round of iv fluid to hydrate him. Oh, how he hated that, but not as much as he hated getting his temperature checked! Poor sweetie! And to that a sunny, relatively hot day in and old car without modern ac to cool him down. But hopefully this horrible ordeal will have him back to his old self real soon. (Same can't be said for my wallet, but you can't put a price on a pet, of cause -- and it could've been worse in terms of cost.)

So all in all, he's tired from the stressful afternoon today, but after a good rest he'll hopefully keep getting better and better (and his poo less and less stinky; right now the stink level is biological warfare). I can already see signs that he's more interested in food and he loves his new paste and the egg yolk part of his diet. We should've been more observant regarding dehydration from the beginning, especially since dad has often shown us the severity of the issue the last year or so, but cat symptoms are often somewhat hidden and we saw him drink -- just not enough to balance the loss of fluids in the beginning of the illness.

I've been really stressed, upset and worried, but today I'm just relieved. Tired and relieved. He started showing signs of getting slightly better even before going to the vet today and now with the meds I just feel safe knowing he'll soon be back to this:

Jinja might not agree, not with that particular kind of "back to his old self" anyway...

PS! Because of all this, I'm also running late on my schedule for the Challenge of Travel, which will be revealed on saturday. Or should be, I should say as it might be a matter of racing against the clock while caring for a sad little cat at the same time. But I hope to have something to show at one point or another during the weekend.

Friday, 23 August 2013

The golden hour

I took these photos on 12 august. Still summer, but you can really feel what season is coming. The photos were taken during the golden hour (which actually is longer than an hour this far from the equator) and the sky was filled with dark clouds after a rainy day, which gave the sunset some extra glow.

 The rowantrees are looking lovely right now, especially in the golden evening light.

 The rallarros (aka mjölkört, rosebay willowherb, firewood, Chamerion angustifolium) also gets a vibrand, warm colour. Unfortunately, the sun was setting fast and there wasn't enough light left to get a sharp photo without tripod so the below photo was the best I got.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The legend of saint Tora

S:t Thoras Sten
S:ta Thoras sten. Photo by Yabosid [via]. License: Creative Commons by-sa 2.0

On the pebbled beach in Torekov, you can see this boulder, a glacial erratic. It looks like many other boulder and it's not even impressively big. it does, however, has an interesting story attached to it. It's not a "jättekast" (a name for glacial erratics in general, but boulders said to have been thrown by a giant in particular -- compare with the Hov legend.), but a stone infused with a legend of saints.

Like with my last post on local lore, this is a tad long and requires a break. Be sure to click the "Read more" below for the whole story of the girl who became the symbol for the Bjäre peninsula.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Just a pic -- august evenings

Going through photos I uploaded today, I came to this and noticed that there was a ferry on the horizon that I never saw when taking the photo. Or, I guess it's the ferry as the go on that route from Denmark to the west coast and Norway, but there are also real, fancy cruise ships in these waters during summer (the local morning paper even keep their readers update of all cruise ships passing through the strait or stopping by Helsingborg in a cruise log). Hopefully I'll have some more pics to show soon, but I'm partially busy with challenge projects so not making any promises.

The white spot on the right is one of several cows grazing in a field, by the way.

Meowy Monday: Cat photos of the week (and paint musings)

I was taking some photos of the worktable we have outdoors, mainly used for paint jobs which has given it layers upon layers of paint (blobs, sprays, drips, splashes) covered by a weathered patina -- perfect for photo textures! -- when some of the cats decided they wanted to join in. Don't know how many times I had to put down Uggi on the ground and move Mimi. After giving up taking more photos of the tabletop, I decided to take a few pics of the cats and the table. As the cats were in the way the whole time, I might as well give up and take photos of them instead. This is what happened then:

Oh, so now you can get off the table and stay off it, Uggi...

Pardon? You wonder what the tabletop look like? Well, I'm taking more and hopefully better (= cat free) pics tomorrow, hopefully, but if you're curious here's one photo I got from a section of the masonite surface.

And speaking of paint -- I just ordered some. Actually I was just going to order some shells so I could make a copy of this necklace of mine for grandma as she liked my necklace, but it was too dear for me to give her. Those shells aren't always easy to find. Especially not if buying a cheap large bag from the US isn't an option. Luckily, a shop I have a long wishlist in recently added the shells to their range and it just happened to be a shop selling Pébéo's fantasy paints -- paints I've been dying to play with for many months (if you follow me on Pinterest, you've probably seen that).

I'd like to paint more.Colourizing metal, creating mixed media components, painting fabric for (bead) embroidery), staining paper, make glass cabochons -- or just doodle. Paint is exciting, especially with all the amazing colour and effect paints and media available today.

Painting is fun, but it's not something I've dabbled with that much for the last 15 or so years. Though back then it was mostly about painting pictures. When giving up all but the occasional watercolour doodle, I would just use paint a couple of times for furniture makeover. Staining that unpainted ikea chair I got for the student apartment, adding colour to a wooden box or revamping the old mirror my parents gave me. That sort of thing.

The painting I want to do now is really just more related to that than to the artist dreams I had as a kid. More about playing with crackle and patina effects, simple paint techniques, stamping/stenciling/printing projects etc. Like you can see in my pinboards (mostly Colour it! and Crackle, patina and faux finishes, but also Stamping and printing techniques). Besides encaustic wax, paint is probably the thing that interest me the most right now.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A tale of trolls

Having written about the stones in Hov, the second and most important story I want to tell is the story of the trolls and mounds, which I've alluded to in a couple of blog posts (e.g. here) but never really told the whole story about. As it's a really long post, I've added a break so be sure to click below to read the whole tale of the trolls.

Friday, 16 August 2013

The story of the giant and the church bells in Hov

I thought I was going to write a little about Bjäre and more specifically about the old stories surrounding different places here on the peninsula before the Challenge of Travel reveal. Sort of mention a few things I don't have room to talk about in the reveal post and created a wider picture of some of my inspiration sources. The first legend I wanted to write about is the story of the stones and the church in Hov.

Hov is a village I've often passed by, stopped by or just taken photos of (if you see a photo with a church in the background on this blog, it'll most likely be the church in Hov). It's situated when the road between Torekov and Båstad meets the road from Västra Karup, which in the other direction continues south through Grevie and Förslöv. If you arrive at Hov from the west, from Torekov, the first thing you'll see is  the church on the hill and in front of it the two standing stones (bautastenar, menhirs, liths) just outside the church wall. The two stones are the most visible markers of the old bronze age/iron age gravefield, indicating the ritual importance of the place as a place of worship and counsels long before the arrival of christianity.  People have been buried here continuously for almost 4000 years.

The iconic silhouette dominating the landscape can be seen in the necklace above with the stone setting, standing stones and the burial mound Klockarehögen in the fourground and the church bell tower in the background.

Photo by Guillaume Baviere via License: Creative Commons CC BY 2.0
Anyway, of cause there's a story behind these ancient monuments. It's a classic tale, really, about a giant who couldn't stand the sound of the church bells. The giants and trolls inhabited the lands long before the humans came along, but they seemed to be more at peace before christianity arrived. In fact, it seems like the giants emigrated after the churches came as they simply couldn't stand these new intruders. Many were the trolls and giants that suffered in the new times, but the toll was harder on the giants that on the trolls (provided we make a clear difference between the two, which isn't easily done).

After the first church was built in Hov -- the one you see in the pendant is the current 19th century church -- and the church bells began to ring life got hard for the giant woman living on Kullaberg on the neighbouring Kullen peninsula. The bells caused her ears and head to ache, non-christians being especially susceptible to anything christian -- you might even say they were allergic to things like bell ringing, holy water and crosses. Soon she got so mad at this horrible new thing that she picked up a stone and, using her garter as a sling, hurled it at the church across the Skälderviken bay. But, alas, as in all these stories about giants and churches, the stone landed just before hitting the church. Infuriated, she tried again, but this time too, she missed her marks. The magic powers of the church were stronger than her muscle power. In the end, she did like so many of her peers and moved to a more secluded place, untouched by christianity, where she could live her life in peace, far from any ache-inducing church bells.

Hov and Hov's church seen from Svenstad

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Got it right this time

Ok, so this is what I planned on doing when I ended up with the variations you got to see yesterday. As you see, a very different result so don't ask me how I could miss that I strung the bead wrong. To my defence, the oopsie stated with my using mini-drops and I really liked that result so it never occurred to me that something was wrong. As a comparison, yesterday's photo has been added below.

The flower bell beads was something I wanted to try already after making the first version with bicones (see below). Didn't know how it'd pan out as I thought the beads would be too big. As it turned out, what the flowers did do was to tilt inwards as I strung them and tightened the threads. Just to see what a difference it'd make I restrung the last three flowers facing the other way around.

I prefer them strung the way I did it first, but the downside is that there's quite a lot of exposed thread along the edge of the flowers. You do need a strong thread that'll blend in with the flower beads if stringing the beads this way.

For more piggy bead experiments and other two-hole beads, please see the 2-hole bead label.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

One more -- comparing bead choices (and making mistakes)

After I made the little sample you can see in the last piggy post, I added a section with bicones (as in this post) plus one with Miyuki's new baroque beads.  The idea was to compare the different bead choices side by side. See what works and what needs to be tweaked. See what bead shapes and sizes work better than others.

And -- it turns out at the end of this post -- see what a difference the placement of the beads make. Yes, without knowing I did something different when adding beads in this sample compared to the first one where I added beads between the piggies. Notice that this is a mistake I didn't notice until writing almost all of the post so I decided to keep the text more or less untouched, leaving it as it was before spotting the oopsie instead of rewriting everything, pretending that the mistake was an intentional alteration/experiment or that I noticed right after finishing it.  My excuse is that I did the last two sections late at night after a long day that including having to get up early to go to town after barely having slept the previous night due to the thunder.

"natural scale"

Don't know about you, but as you can see I'm pretty fond of this way of stringing piggy beads. The size and shape of the bead you choose to add between the piggies really alter the final result and some fit better than others. There are so many options to choose between. I've only tried three this far (not counting stringing without any other beads at all).

Using 4 mm bicones was my first version and still a favourite -- even if it can create gaps where the thread is exposed. [Ok, this is the mistake so notice that the text talks about the new bicone varition, not the one, which is the one that's my real favourite!]. Not sure if covering the thread with a seed beads is a good option of if it will push the piggy beads apart so my plan right now is to find smaller bicones and give that a try.

I do have a few 3 mm ones, but feel like they might be too small for what I want. Does anyone make 3,5 mm bicones? It's something I think I've seen, but maybe I've just imagined it? Or got them mixed up so it's swarovski 2,5 mm bicones I'm thinking of? Did a quick googling and found a few copper beads that shape and size so even if there aren't any crystal beads in the size there are other 3,5 mm bicones.

My second version was made using 2,8 mm drops, as seen in the previous post. They nestled perfectly between the piggy beads and created a more compact zig-zag design than using big bicones. The drop shape is the same as the gap created between the piggies: smaller near the hole and wider at the edge. The perfect fit?

For this sample I also added baroque beads. Baroques come in two sizes, this is the smaller size 6/0. As you can see, the rounded shape of the large seed beads doesnt' fit the gap in the same way as neither the drop nor the bicone. A smaller seed bead size would probably be a better choice unless you like how these beads stick out.

And, yes, I did forget to mention the versions I made with rizos and 4 mm fire-polished respectively as I didn't make a section with those beads this time, but I might as well collect all variations here so here you go. Why not add the original version without extra beads too, just as a reference?

Oh! I just realised I made an oopsie! A big one! Do you notice it? In my first attempt to use bicones I placed them in the middle of the piggy bead cup (pic above), which made the beads nestle better than in the version I made yesterday where I placed the bicones on the edge, creating bigger gaps and therefore seeing more exposed threads. What a slip up... Stupid, stupid. But I guess it could be a good thing as you now get to see what a difference it makes how you string the beads.

Let's see them side by side:

Ack, now I need to redo the other sections, I think, to see what a difference that makes. Because one difference does become very clear when comparing these two samples: by adding beads on top of an edge hole you get more of a zig-zag pattern -- which I liked so much in the mini-drops sample -- and when adding beads in the cup of the beads, stringing through the centre hole, you get more of an overlapped pattern.

Well, at least this taught me that a small alteration -- intentional or mistake -- can make a big difference. When I take about tweaking experimental samples it really is all in the little tweaks. Like choosing the right hole to put the next bead over.

Live and learn. Live and learn...

Note: I'm using a thin beading thread here just because it's cheap, for a finished piece of jewellery I'd definitely go with a flexible beading wire instead.
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