Monday, 3 April 2017

Festive Beading Three by Julie Ashford

It's here! For all those bauble beaders and collectors, the greatly anticipated third instalment in the Festive Beading series has arrived!

My copy landed on the doormat just a day after it arrived at Spellbound HQ and provided the perfect reading material for my overdue visit to the hair salon. Bev, my hairdresser, was a little bemused by the fact I was reading a 'Christmas book' in March but as I explained to her, if you want to make a few of the designs in time for the festive season, you really do need to make a start now!
That's not to say that many of the designs in this latest book can't be displayed and enjoyed at any time of the year but given the complexity of some of the more intricate baubles, it really does make senses to get going now, especially now the clocks have sprung forward and we are enjoying lighter evenings!

Those of you familiar with the previous festive beading books will know what to expect from this edition. If you haven't discovered Julie's projects up 'til now then there is no reason why you shouldn't dive straight into this book (you are sure to be ordering books 1 and 2 this year!) and be beading beautiful baubles in no time.

As is usual with Julie's books, all the projects are given a grading of difficulty from one star through to four. For beginners, it's a good idea to start with one of the two easiest projects but intermediate beaders might want to jump straight into the two or three star designs. It is nice that the largest junk of the tutorials in this book are graded three stars which makes them achievable for most of us. There are 13 main projects plus an additional four earring designs contained in this book.

As in previous titles, there are stunning main projects to master plus smaller projects - Inspiration Mini Projects - that will allow you develop a motif further. There is nothing to stop you having a go at one of the mini projects before you start on the main event either. Many have standalone instructions whilst others use clear sections from the main project. The Celestial Bauble is a good example where you might like to begin with the Snowflake Strand. It gives you a faster finished item and gets you up to speed with the technique before you attempt the bauble.

I have to say that I am really tempted by the beautiful Holly Wreath project but can't see myself managing to complete the whole piece in time for next Christmas let alone this year! Having looked at the instructions though, I am pretty confident that I could devise my own brooch using the holly and berry motifs included in the main project. Because the stages are so clearly summarised at the start, it's easy to see which steps you need to complete the component(s) you want.

It's always a good idea with any complex beading project, to read through the instructions before you start. Julie provides lots of useful hints and tips in the form of 'Extra Info' boxes for all the projects and mini inspiration projects. You'll find lots of help with techniques (in addition to the comprehensive chapter at the beginning of the book) as well as details of common pitfalls.

As I mentioned previously, there are projects that could easily be made for other times of the year beyond Christmas. Perhaps try the present earrings in non-festive colours for a special birthday or make a cute Owl bauble or Prague bauble that is perfect for any season?
Even the Wenceslas Bauble would be a gorgeous decoration with jewel colours that remind you of an Indian Summer.

I always like to try a project from the book I am reviewing and so it's really useful to find a comprehensive list of all the bead packs available to buy to complement the designs in the book. You'll find a sheet with all the pack details and prices (with handy page references) tucked into the front cover of your copy. You'll even find a separate section on the Spellbound website containing all the packs to go with the book.

I decided to try the Seraphim angel and completed it in around an hour. You'll find enough beads in the pack to make at least three angels so at £6.95 is really is good value. It's also available in silver. You'll need to provide your own coordinating thread but a needle is included in the pack. 

GIVEAWAY!Like our Facebook page and like and share our giveaway post to win a copy of this book and a Snowflake Strands bead pack too!

Festive Beading Three is available from the Spellbound Bead Co website, priced at £14.95

ISBN 978-0956503084