Friday, December 2, 2016

The Double TINGBY, multi-position coffee table - an IKEA hack

by C & C Thomas

I do not only exercice my creativity in beading. I also cook and try lots of new recipes, have birds, fish, and plants. The apartment is not big, so we need creative solutions, which also takes thinking from time to time. Nearly all my furniture comes from IKEA.

Unfortunately, for the coffee table I had needs that they didn't meet. Other manufacturers didn't either. We wanted to be able to use the table for every day stuff, and in the evening, eat something on it without having plenty of things to (re)move: flowers, tablet, decorations, papers, magazines... you name it. We tried one LACK after the other, or together. They were either too big or too small. I wanted an extendable coffee table. And it had to be white. A long, frustrating search.

I also tried to design my own table but I was never happy with  it. This until I saw the new TINGBY (article no. 20295925). 
At first sight, TINGBY is not different from other coffee tables. An inert 64x64cm top with storage space below it (there is also a smaller Tingby, 50x50cm). But I immediately knew what I would do with it when I saw it. An extendible/stackable table.

Closed Double Tingby
Open Double Tingby

Differently Open Double Tingby
The only question was: how stable will it be, and what material will I need?
To answer this question, I could count on the best man in the world, my husbest.

Find below how he made my dream coffee table. (en français à la fin de cet article).

You need:

2 TINGBY tables by IKEA (we used the 64x64cm)
1 Pack of FIXA stick-on floor protectors also from IKEA
6x M8 nuts (8mm inside)
3x threaded rods M8 (8mm diameter) each 5cm long
Contact adhesive (strong all purpose glue)
eys, supplied by IKEA with each table.

Put a drop of glue on one end of each threaded rod. Screw a nut on each threaded rod so that half of the nut is still available. Let it dry. While drying, assemble the first table according to the IKEA instructions.

Open the second table package and take out 3 of the 4 wheels.
Insert a drop of glue in the nut and assemble each wheel, using the two keys to tighten. Let dry.

For the 2nd table, put only 3 feet under the table top. Glue 6 small FIXA protections under the top. This will allow the table to slide softly without damaging the top of the table below.
Screw 1 nut onto each rod at approx. 2.7cm of the end.

Screw the wheels under each foot. Do not tighten the nuts. Flip 2nd table (over the first). All FIXA should be in contact with the table below (the wheels should not touch the ground yet). Adjust their height starting with the first wheel, then the middle one, then the third. Have the wheels touch the ground without lifting the top. Tip: Use your other hand to hold both table tops tight. Once everything is even and straight, tighten the nuts.

And that's it! Enjoy your Double TINGBY.  

Careful: even though the tri-pod table can stand alone, it is highly recommended to not use this table if you have young children, unless you add something to prevent the top from sliding off the one below.

I have given this issue some thought. I think that a retractable button at the corner of the table top below (with a spring inside) designed to fit it the hole left by the missing foot in the top of the second table would be an interesting solution, but this means that the table top of the first table has to be opened somehow. I didn't want to risk this because I am happy with my table like this, but if you try making something like this, I'd love to hear from you. Note: like LACK, the table top is primarely a hollow struct.


*** Français***

Il vous faut

2 tables TINGBY (ici le format 64x64cm a été utilisé)
6 ecrous M8 (8mm)
3 tiges filtées M8 (8mm) de 5 cm de long
FIXA - protège-sols de chez IKEA
Colle de contact
2 clefs pour serrer les écrous (1 fournie avec chaque table)

Mettez une goutte de colle sur un bout de chaque tige filtée. Vissez un écrou sur chaque tige filtée de façon à avoir la moitié de l'écrou encore disponible. laissez sécher.

Assemblez la première table selon les instructions IKEA.

Ouvrez l'emballage de la deuxième table. Sortez 3 des 4 roues.
Inserez une goutte de colle dans chaque écrou sur tige filtée et assemblez chaque roue, utilisant le deux clefs pour pouvoir bien serrer. laissez sécher.

Pour la 2ème table, ne mettez que 3 pieds sous le plateau supérieur.

Collez les FIXA de petit diamètre pour permettre au plateau de dessus de glisser sur le plateau de dessous.
Vissez un écrou sur chaque tige de façon à env. 2,7cm du bout

Vissez les roues sous chaque pied. Ne serrez pas les écrous.

Renversez la 2ème table sur la première. la deuxième doit appuyer sur la première et les roues ne doivent pas toucher le sol. Ajuster/baissez les roues pour qu'elles touchent le sol sans soulever le plateau en commençant par la première, puis celle du milieu, puis la troisième. Astuce: aidez vous de votre main libre pour serrer les deux plateaux l'un contre l'autre. Une fois que tout est bien droit, serrez les écrous.

Avertissement: non indiqué pour famille avec jeunes enfants, à moins de rajouter un système de sécurité empêchant le plateau de dessus de s'écarter trop de la table de dessous.

J'ai d'ailleurs réfléchi à cette question. Je pense qu'un bouton rétractable au coin du plateau de la première table (avec un ressort à l'intérieur) adapté au trou laissé par le pied manquant dans le plateau de la deuxième table serait une solution intéressante, mais cela signifie que le dessus de la première table doit être perforé d'une manière ou d'une autre. Je ne voulais pas risquer cela parce que je suis contente de ma table telle quelle, mais si vous essayez de faire quelque chose comme ça, j'aimerais beaucoup avoir de vos nouvelles. Note: comme LACK, la structure est essentiellement creuse.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Leaf - a long DIP (Design in Progress)

Alain de Botton, a UK-based Swiss writer and philospher wrote: "For us to deem a work of architecture elegant, it is not enough that it look simple: we must feel that the simplicity it displays has been hard won...

It is my hope that this comes to mind when looking at my latest necklace, The Leaf.

Because some designs look really simple once they're finished, many think that it was easy. But the road leading to it was not necessarily simple or easy. This article is about the design process for this necklace. I took plenty of photos and made notes to write this post to show it to you. You will see that this design was not just made with Dimensional Peyote and Diamond Weave, but also with a looooot of frog stitch.

First Trapezino
I made this design for the annual International Bead Award (IBA), a beading contest organized by Perlen Poesie, a beautiful Magazine printed in Germany. In can only recommend it: it is very beautiful with many interesting projects and articles, and in this month's issue, the wonderful, incredibly talented Claudia Cattaneo is in the spot light.

The IBA contest is theme-based, this year Art Deco - Clean Lines / Simple Sophistication. I immediately started dreaming of beading something with Trapezino shapes, because I had made a deco-ish pendant with it already, which I really love. So I beaded and beaded Trapezinos and when I had a good pile of them I started playing with them. I also bought special hexagonal findings, which I included and assembled but nothing worked the way I wanted. It became quite a quest. A lot of frogstitching later, I decided to draw various necklaces with a software because beading this much was asking my arms too much. See the sketches with some annotations  below.

I like to put jewelry around
my neck when making it,
and ask hubby if he likes it.
Drawing with software does not necessarily translate into success, but it helps rejecting options. I put it all aside during a couple of months. After that, I came back to the Trapezinos with a fresh spirit, which resulted in something completely different and surprisingly beautiful: put in a certain sequence, a leaf became suddenly visible in the negative space between the shapes. I fell in love. Finally! It is necessary to fall in love with a design for a contest, at least for me: if it is not selected in the finals, I'm still happy with what I made, and the time invested is not regretted.

Already with nothing added, it was beautiful. With beautiful focals or pendants I find it more challenging to add material. I really wanted the leaf to stand out, but of course needed to add some 'sophistication' to the 'simple'.

What now?
Too crowded fringe....
First I added the pearl collar, using Diamond Weave. I think that DW creates a very beautiful, sleek look. I redid the band later to make button holes for the 'two-button' clasp. Then I added an extra row of Fire-polished beads for more color.


I thought of adding fringe, of course. Art Deco tassles are famous. But I was unhappy with the fringe - either it was too crowded with pearls, or not enough strands could be added (read: more frogstitching). A great tip from Diane Hyde is to print several copies of the photo of a necklace to see how it looks (photos reveal designing mistakes). I simply drew on the photos to see what I could add to the necklace. This is a
I decided to frame the leaf with a stylish, open lotus petal structure and to add fringe to the clasp.

Left and right with different
Briolettes? - No,
This part got frogstitched several times too, even one time because I made it intentionally "wrong": see the photo left: there is a a different left and right part, to see what would look best.

To see how a necklace drapes and how teardrops would look, and have a better sense of size, I like to work on a bust of my neck-size and use pins.

For a harmonious curve, the bottom 'leaf' became pretty long, and so I had to find something to fill that big empty space... I  tried to add a variety of drops/briolettes but found them to take away interest from the leaf.

Reversed pear?
What to add?
a V point? oh no, no, no...

Finding the right solution to
finish a design as hoped
is a source of great joy.
The front was nearly finished, but I really couldn't think of an acceptable finishing touch. That are moments where I can be pretty rude with Eddy, my muse. Forntunately, he (inspiration) came back quite fast under the form of a repetition of the arcs above!

And so voilà: the front was done.

To create a beautiful fringe,
a triangle with another leaf in
the negative space was added.

Then the clasp: a fringe hanging from a diamond was ok from an 'interspace' point of view, but the central diamond didn't offer many places to attach the strands.

I created an "obtuse isoceles", a triangle wider then high, also with a leaf design (trefoil) in the negative space. Each 'button' is attached to the two top points of the triangle.

I am very happy with this design. It is part of the nominees in the contest in company of very beautiful beadwork made by amazingly talented beaders:

I think that it looks great on me, but even more so on Fanny, who is a young nurse who works at the clinic where I have physiotherapy every week. Fanny accepted to model the necklace:

For the attribution of the public prize, you can vote for this necklace - and for other desighs - here:

Monday, September 5, 2016

Soul work

One day, very early in the morning, I was up before all the others at home and sat on the ground, on the carpet where I used to play with my brothers, somewhere between the dining table and the living room.

Pink Lillies
I was about 5 or 6 years old and sat there, looking at beautiful pink lilies in a vase near the carpet, one big flower bud right in front of my face. And suddenly, right before my eyes wide open of surprise, the flower opened up. Slowly, but steadily. It opened as if it had been waiting for me to say hello.

I will never forget it. It was so beautiful that it was life changing. That day the nature and animal lover in me awakened. It is probably also part of the reason why I founded the Facebook Group "From Petal to Pod".

Before I became light intollerant (lamps of all sorts, sun, electrosmog, etc.) I worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature. I was happy to do something for my planet, for Mother Nature.

Locked up at home, watching days go by, I felt totally useless. Fortunately, beading prevented me from going nuts, but still... I didn't want to be useless. The question "what can I do to fulfill my soul's unique purpose" remained.

Jane Goodall

Then, earlier this year, I saw this quote by Jane Goodall:
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Jane's quote woke me up. It is not necessary to be a super hero. I may be locked up because of my light intollerance, but still can do some things in addition to recycling everything that can be recycled. We all love Mother Nature, but often we don't know what to do to help her. The answer is: help those who help Mother Nature. I thought: I can bead, bead as only I can bead and sell what I make to raise funds.

Jane Goodall Pendant
with Gorilla bead up
Jane Goodall Pendant
with doll head up
So here is the result: a beaded sculpture / pendant / toy to raise funds. The proceeds will go to the Jane Goodall Institute. It is listed in my Etsy shop and entered in the Etsy Beadweavers' Team Challenge of September, which theme is "Our Wonderful World". Because our world, our planet, IS wonderful and worth every effort, small and big.

I also designed a little bumblebee to raise funds for Planet Bee. Because bees are dying worldwide at an worrying pace, and even though most countries have their food and drug security agencies who worry about bees, it is important that other organizations and foundations spread their knowledge and focus on subjects which are often not taken into consideration by governmental agencies.

Beaded Bumblebee
Tutorial in favor of Planet Bee

Planet Bead helping Planet Bee. Doesn't it sound wonderful?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hana thread review.

Hana Thread
Hi there!

So there is a new beading thread out there, Hana thread, for us beadweavers, and people are
searching for reviews. I answered to a question in a group on Facebook about it and thought that you might like to learn more about it too.
Here is what I think about it after using it in two projects.
(Note that I am not sponsored by one brand or another.)

To me, Hana thread seems to be nearly the same as KO thread and I love KO.
KO seems to have a (very little) bit more wax on it than Hana, but this seems to vary according to the batches. I like the little bit more wax when it is there.

Both threads are nice for bead weaving and bead embroidery. 
Both threads aren't too slippery and have the same resistance to abrasion. It is not like Fireline, it can fray, in particular when frog-stitching. When you frog stitch, better cut it and use a new thread.
KO thread
Tangling / untangling / unwelcome knots: can happen, are not a big issue, and seem to be the same for both threads. (It is probable that I am the main factor for this rather than the thread).
Even if it seems to be a twisted thread, to me Hana seems to be flat like KO. 
Hana stretches less than KO, but still can be stretched a little bit. (But because I always "unstretch" my thread before beading, the result is that there is little bit more thread in 50' KO than in 50' Hana.)
I was amazed how easily one can thread a needle onto Hana thread. Record breaking fast. If you struggle with threading, Hana is the thread for you.
Hana colors are really very bright, strong, which doesn't suit all projects.

The Hana bobbin has a great edge to block the thread in (fantastic) but is a bit too big to my taste... Mini bobbins like Nymo would be more practical to take with the beads in a little tin or bead buddy. Big bobbins only take up more space in the tool box.
I haven't been obliged to untwist my thread with needle more with one thread than the other.

I will use both brands with pleasure.

Happy Beading!


FYI: KO has recently added more colors, including a very welcome-in-my-stash-light-green, seen that I still make petals for the petal to pod project).

New KO colors

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stitch story

Do you know Geneviève Liebaert?

If you know chenille stitch, then you should know her, because she is the
Chenille ropes
designer who invented this lovely technique. But I don't think that many of you do know her.

The 'Chenille spiral', which is the original name of this creation, is
a lovely design and the variations suggested by Geneviève in her little tutorial, recommending the use of other seed bead sizes and/or types, consequently are her designs. The frontier between technique and design are a bit unclear sometimes. And techniques can normally not be copyrighted - they can be protected if the process is really very complicated, with specific step-by-step intstructions... Where the level of complication lies or how many steps are necessary to make a technique eligible to be protected is a mystery...

Back in the days where 2 huge francophone fora were counting more than a thousand beaders connected every evening, sharing their tips, patterns and designs with fellow beaders for free, Geneviève was one of the best, most talented designers, admired under the name Sereine. She wrote her tutorials for all to use for free, but asked for credit and a little "thank you" on her blog. It was all for the love of beading. Free doesn't mean that there is no copyright. She didn't want her work to be used by shops to sell beads, but of course shops benefited massively from her inventiveness and patterns, because the number of seed bead weavers increased drastically during these days of beadevolution. However, not only did Sereine's work get used without credit or thanks, but some, when asked, pretended that the design was theirs, and some even sold her patterns in their shops. After many hopeless attempts to "educate" them a bit, Sereine stopped beading. That day, we lost a treasure of a designer in the battle of good against evil.

She took her tutorials away from her blog, but left them on the forum "Ile aux Perles". Sadly, that website got destroyed several years ago in a mega cyber attack on the American servers where it was hosted. Because there was no backup, years of knowledge and designs had gone in an instant.

Sereine's website and blog still exist, but are not updated anymore. There are very little tutorials written by her still visible on the Internet, and if it wasn't for those who saved a pattern and re-hosted it, like the one linked to above, there would be no trace of her work.

Chenille stitch, however, became very popular, and this thanks to Sara Spoltore, who mentions that she thought of it herself, but she credits Sereine (aka Geneviève), as the first inventor of it, which is class. But now, when people make a Chenille rope, it is the one who posted the latest video gone viral who is thanked...  Below is Sara's video.

For those who wonder, Chenille means caterpillar in French, but it is the result of a brilliant Belgian beady brain. If another beader had invented this rope in another corner of the world, this rope would probably not have kept the name it had initially been given, so somehow, there is a bit of legacy.

Beadwork made with
Albion Stitch
For that is what happens with techniques. They one day are invented by brilliant persons, become popular, and in the end the persons who developed it are forgotten... It lasts only as long as the names of the inventors are mentioned.

If the stitch isn't given the name of the inventor(s), only the name of the technique will be remembered, like peyote stitch, which is the name of the stitch created by Native Americans to create beautiful adornments for their celebrations involving the use of a cactus of the same name.

"Ndebele stitch" which is still used for herringbone stitch, reminds of the tribe where the stitch was invented initially, but this tends to be forgotten.

Beadwork made with
Hubble stitch
The origins of Right Angle Weave are forgotten. It seems to be attributed to
Africa, but I am inclined to think that it is originating from Asia, somewhere in China, seen that there are extremely old beadwoven soldier's coats made with bamboo beads in musea there, made with this stitch.

Zulu stitch and Pondo stitch still have the name of their native tribes in Africa. St. Petersburg stitch is clearly mentioning that it's origin is Russian.

For how long will people remember that Hubble stitch was created and
developed by Melanie de Miguel? That Albion stitch was invented by Heather Kingsley Heath? That Gerlinde Lenz created and developed "Rautenstich" (Diamond Weave)? Will people remember them as English, or European, or German? If I am not mistaking, Albion is an old name for the Island of England, so that might well help finding back its origin in the future... and only the future will tell. It is my wish that many will remember their names.

Beadwork made with Diamond Weave

And that is why I wanted to write this post: to honor all inventors of beading techniques which bring us so much creative joy, and to say


for your gift to planet bead.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Etsy Bead Weavers (EBW) Spring Swap 2016

I participated in the Spring Swap organized by the Etsy Beadweavers Team, which I'm part of. A swap is something fun and exciting at the same time. One has to make (bead) something for another participant, according to guidelines transmitted by EBW leader Jacquie Champion, who lives in Canada. Swaps are exciting. Beading for another beader without knowing her personally is quite an adventure and expecting a little package from another mystery beader adds even more fun. It was just wonderful to open the little box I received from Erica Sándor. She made a lovely brooch in bronze and pink for me. I love it.

Keeping everything secret during more than 2 months waiting for all the participants to receive their swap was the hardest part for me. It is always difficult to wait to show something we feel proud of.

My "swapee" is the lovely Meg Thomson who lives in Australia. Exactly on the other side of the globe for me - right under my feet. I love how we are connected with friends all over the world thanks to the Internet. Meet Meg and see the beautiful beadwork she makes and sells in her Etsy shop, ABeadedWorld.

Meg said that she likes Victorian and Edwardian jewelry, but... she added that she didn't like chokers... That was challenging, because I love to make chokers, and during these two eras, chokers were legion.

I wanted to make something special and beautiful Meg would love to wear and perhaps even cherish, so I did a bit of research to find out what kind of longer necklaces were fashionable back then. It appeared that besides the simple long pearl strands and fine sautoirs, jewelled tassels were a rage under Edward VII, so I decided to make a tassel for her. But not just any tassel: I included a little perfume bottle; and to 'cathify' the necklace, I used my butterfly rope design. I had great fun. The little bottle was in my stash since a while, waiting to be used in a special design - this was the right occasion!

Edwardian jewelry is often composed of pearls, in combination with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and other expensive, A+ grade gemstones. I had a hank of lovely sapphire blue faceted crystal beads and matte gold Superduo beads. These two were begging to be associated with something pearlescent, so I chose Preciosa Ornella pearl seed beads.

I started by embellishing the little bottle, which ended up looking like an Edwardian corset. This feminine aspect is enhanced by the lacy, skirt-like tassel.

Seeing the very small cork, I was a bit puzzled. It was not attached or glued to the bottle, and could be lost. To hold it in place and make sure that it would not come off of the flask too easily, I attached a - centered - fringe to it with two strands on the side, and these two strands pass through the double connections of the neck cord, so even if Meg has to run for some reason and the cork comes off, she won't loose it.

In the end, the resulting design looks more Gregorian, or French Louis XIV to me. That made me a bit nervous, but Meg said that she really loves it, so I am happy - and also relieved that this "Philtre Phial" has safely arrived.

Wait a second - I nearly forgot to say that I made it using herringbone (with a bit of Diamond Weave 'hints' to take it further), and MRAW and a little netting.

Take some time to visit our Etsy Beadweavers Team Blog to see all the beautiful pieces made by the participants in this swap, everything is worth seeing, and/or read the impressions of participants on Erika's blog.