The first thing I did to make these little birds was to make two small forms from polymer clay shaped like a bean with a pointy “tail”. I made these pretty small compared to what size I wanted the birds to be because of the increase in size after the beads are added.
Initially I started beading these forms from the middle up then I went back and down the other end, but after I did a couple like that I found that ending the top of the head wasn't all that good looking this way so on my next trial I started at the top of the head.
I strung eight beads into a circle, four the color of the back of the bird's head, and four the color of the face. I had tried making a tiny little “cap” like Cricket has, a different color on top of her head then downwards somewhat shading into the color of her face but there really wasn't room enough on the form to use the beads that way...her eyes would have been on the upper part of her belly, so that's why I just started with the separate face and back of her head colors.
I increased to cover the form and changed the color of the beads on the back of her head to the basic green I used for her back. Once I got the number of beads increased to where there were enough to cover the bulk of the upper part of the form I wove another couple of rows and added the eyes. There weren't an even number of beads on her face because of the increases I made, so one eye is two beads in and one is only one bead in, but that to me means they're just looking off to one side a little, and it doesn't look funny that way so I left that as is. Then from there I beaded a couple of rows more down and changed to the colors for the belly and stuck with them and the basic green for the back the whole rest of the way. They were at that point two-sided birds, one color on the back, one color on the belly with a tiny face at the top.
After the face was done and I had enough length to the beadwork it became a lot easier because the beading began to stay put on the form better, before that the beadwork and the form wanted to separate continually. I just persisted and it finally came together.
Then I started what one would call in knitting, “short rows” to cover the expanding belly. I beaded across the belly and then turned around and beaded back across the belly again to add length, then beaded across the back. When I got back around to the belly I filled in the gap from the extra row, increasing with this maneuver by adding two beads instead of one in the gap, went across the belly and increased again to fill the gap on that side and then continued around the back. Then I did this again. Bead to the belly, bead across the belly, turn and bead back across the belly, bead around the back and across the belly increasing on either side of the extra row. Then across the back again. I did this either two or three times, I can't remember which. It was pretty obvious what needed to be done though.
Then I started decreasing the back beads to fit the beadwork to the form for the tail, one decrease on either side of the center bead. At the same time I was also decreasing in the front to fit the beading to that curving belly. Eventually all this came down to the bottom of the tail and I just tied the few remaining beads off into a tight circle to stretch and fit that end. I left the thread on the needle and just wove it back through to make feet.
The feet are just a branch fringe done pretty tightly. Five beads up, go back through the last four, through the opposite side of the bead on the belly that I came out of initially, back up three beads, add three, go back through two, down again through the three beads I came in from and through the bead on the belly, then I did that again for the third toe and one more time to make a fourth toe with only two beads.
I had enough thread left to go up between their eyes and add the five bead simple loop beak, out through the bead between her eyes, add five beads, back through the opposite side of the bead underneath the bead I came out of where I added beads for the beak. I reinforced this a couple of times and wove the thread through the bird, knotted and cut it and wove it into the beadwork.
Then I made the tail out of size 13/0 charlottes, really this is just a series of fringes spread across the very bottom rows, four twisted, four straight plain fringe. It did get pretty tight in those beads after weaving in and out of them a few times so I got creative with where I put them.
Then I made the wings by starting with four beads, increased at the end of the third row and added a darker metallic bead for the outside bead, turned and decreased by one bead at the end of the fourth row, turned and increased again at the end of the fifth row, again I added a metallic bead for the outside bead. I did this a total of three times, three increases, three decreases. After that I wove around the outside beads of the wing, added a couple of metallic beads to fill the gaps where there were increases there, and around the other edge where I added one small bead for each decrease I'd made on that side. I wanted to make the side with the metallic beads curve outward. Then I wove the thread through the outside edge beads one more time pulling tight to make an inside curve on the side with the plain green beads and remaining normal tension on the other side with the metallic beads. This did a pretty good job of making the wings curve the way I wanted them to and it also cupped them slightly which was also good. I made four of these and just stitched them onto the tiny birds fairly randomly. I made sure they were stitched pretty well nearer the front, the belly, and left them a little looser in the back. I didn't try to stitch each individual bead to the body in the back, just a couple to tack it down. Because the sizes of the beads varied somewhat I didn't fuss much and try to duplicate each wing exactly. I think one wing has one more bead on one side than the others, I just wanted four basic curved wings with metallic beads for feather tips on the outside curve which were about the same size. No two birds are alike :)
That's it, two birds. Except that now they need to be earrings.
I cut and filed the ends of four pieces of dowel and burned the ends with a lighter to harden them up some as this wood is pretty soft.
Then I stitched the birds to their perches with monofilament thread though the last bead of each three-bead toe, around the dowel and through the tiny two-bead toe, back to go through another three-bead toe, back through the two-bead toe, and back again through the last three-bead toe and back one more time through the two-bead toe. Sitting on the dowel the three-bead toes are in the front and the two-bead toe is in the back. Then I tied the thread off, knotted it in the back, and melted the ends a tiny bit to secure the knot. I did all four feet, both birds, this way. Neither the birds nor I liked this maneuver much, it was tricky and they wanted to fly away most of the time, at least until they had one foot firmly attached to their perch.
After they were sitting happily on their perches I used monofilament again to string the top and bottom dowels together with the swarks. I tied the thread on at the bottom, adjusted the knot to land in the back, strung the beads on both of the pieces of monofilament, and tied an overhand knot on the top dowel, creating it to land in the back by holding the bird upside down and guiding the knot into place. I cut the thread, melt the ends a tiny bit, and that was done.
To make the loop for the earring I used some sterling silver wire and added the ruby swarovski crystal to match the tail “feathers”.
I used the monofilament because it was the best option for making the thread hold down the feet tightly and holding the two pieces of wood together “disappear”, in other words, not show much. Wire was too bulky and even white nylon thread just looked bad.
After all that, Cricket wanted me to ask Lois to name the babies for her!
Whew. That was fun!!!
OK, I'm off to make Franzl a daddy!
Is that slightly clearer than mud Dagi? Ask me whatever you need, I'll try
Oh! I love these Little Feathered Friends.
Thanks, for the Tutorial. My oldest daughter, has a Cockatiel, but loves all birds.
Good Job! These are just too Cute!
Blessed are those who can Give, without remembering
and Take with out Forgetting
Oh sweet, Mary! I love cockatiels! My brother and me always had budgies when we were kids and then I switched to lovebirds. Budgies are great, but lovebirds are more parrot-like. And I love them making nonsense. One of our budgies turned so old that he wouldn't even leave his cage and we always left the door open.
Pam, yes, clear as mud! A friend saw the printed instructions in office today and his comment was: "You know crazy people doing such stuff!" And I asked him: "What is more crazy: doing beadwork like this or building satellites to fly to Mars?" (We both work for a company building satellites.). He just smiled.
Personally I'd rather stay down here on earth and bead, but to each his own. Dagi is there something I can explain in more detail that will help?
Lots of people here have birds it seems Mary, and everybody loves them! That's nice your daughter has a cockatiel :)
Oh, I'd rather stay down on Mother Earth, too, and let the satellites have a look from up in space. I didn't see anything I don't understand so far, but maybe I'll come back to you on that one. Did you use 11/0 or 15/0 delicas?
Dagi, I used size 11 because that's what I had, size 15 would have been fun though, I might even have been able to get those little cheeks the right color....
OMG!! Those are soooooooooo CUTE! I wished I was so talented. I don't follow directions very well from paper. :( I have a frog pattern very similar that I've had for years, but I'll never get it done.
I have 5 Cockatiels. Two are talkers. They can be fun,but they sure can be dirty.
Thanks Nancy. Those directions aren't exactly clear as a bell in any case so it's no wonder if someone can't follow them.
Five cockatiels? You must have a great time with them! Whenever anyone says something about an animal being dirty though I always wonder what the animal says about us...cats for example, I wonder what cats think about us...in this case I wonder what your cockatiels say to each other about the habits of human beings, some of which must seem pretty odd to them...LOL...
Thanks, Pam! I do not own any 15's so I'll try with 11's. Just wanted to know if they'll get too big with them. I think I'll have to order some green delicas as I only own a few colors, mostly blue.
Pam, those earrings are adorable! Thank you for giving us the instructions -- it must have taken you many, many hours to work all that out. Whew! But the result was worth it. I'll bet Lois just can't quit giggling...
Thanks Lisa. It was fun too, and it took my mind off a lot of things!
Lisa-- that's it exactly! I have them hanging on a pair of candelabras that sit in my dining room, right next to my table (and Cricket's cage) where I do everything, JUST so I can see them every day!