Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sakura Charm Color Variations

Many cherry blossom trees are in an early full bloom here in Northern California, which inspired me to try a few color variations on my Sakura Beaded Charm. Here's a pair of earrings using the new-ish antique pink hue of Swarovski crystal:
For this pair, I went full sunflower. I know spring is just arriving, but I can dream of summer too, right?
I also had a few charms leftover from making the Silver Moon Sakura kit, so I put them into earrings as well:
All of these earrings are available for purchase in my Etsy shop: click on any of the images above to read more information about each item.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Beaded DNA: Chirality

I did some more experimenting with Gwen's beaded DNA pattern, this time delving into differences in DNA handedness, otherwise known as chirality. Like a hand or a foot, a double helix can have either a right-handed or a left-handed structure. You might have noticed in my previous posts that I was favoring the right-handed form for my beaded structures, even though the original design is flexible enough to be twisted into either conformation.
Image by Richard Wheeler, used with permission

The above image shows three forms of DNA; A-DNA, B-DNA, and Z-DNA. The B-DNA in the middle is by far the most common form that exists in biology, and it has a right-handed chirality. The A-DNA on the left is also right-handed, and it exists when DNA is dehydrated enough to form a crystal structure (usually only in the lab). The Z-DNA on the right is the only structure of the three that exists in the left-handed conformation, and it looks quite different compared to B-DNA.

Z-DNA is a little thinner, and the backbone of each strand of the double helix (in red and orange above, and in hematite below) isn't a smooth, ribbon-like path. Rather, Z-DNA has a jagged backbone that zigzags with each pair of bases up and down the double helix. Its major and minor grooves are also less pronounced than in B-DNA. Z-DNA forms rarely in biology, and is generally found in DNA with a specific sequence; in this case, alternating pyrimidine-purine sequences, such as CGCGCGCGCG.

With some tinkering, I was able to create a Z-DNA version of my beaded PI-MtuI sequence. The original B-DNA version is on the right, and the new Z-DNA version is on the left:
To create this version, I first worked up the design using my own variations on Gwen's pattern, but when it came time to peyote stitch up and down the backbones of each strand (at about the 7 minute mark in the pattern), I added two 11° seed beads where I would have added one 8° seed bead. Then I zipped up and down the backbones once more, adding a 15° seed bead at the same place as the 11° seed beads, alternating its placement on either side of the 11° beads so that the backbones zig zag:
The resulting structure is more flexible than the B-DNA version, and not as aesthetically pleasing either, but it remarkably mimics the appearance of Z-DNA. You can even see how the major and minor grooves are less pronounced, and how there are fewer base pairs per turn in this version:
Other forms of DNA exist in biology as well, such as the Y-shaped junctions formed during DNA replication, and the very cool Holliday junctions created during meiosis and in some kinds of DNA repair. However, those structures will have to be topics for another blog post.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New in the Shop: Pagoda Set, Rivoli Kaleidoscopes, and Sakura Earrings

I listed several new items in my Etsy shop over the past few weeks. If you're interested, click on the images to get the detailed information on each item.

First up is a pair of earrings in silver and red, created with my Pagoda Beaded Charm design:
...And also a matching Double Pagoda pendant:
Next there are three Rivoli Kaleidoscope Pendants; the first in red, crystal, and silver, and loosely matching the above Pagoda set. Do you see how I replaced some of the Miyuki drop beads with peanut-shaped seed beads?
Then there's this one in black, green, and gold:
And the larger variation in fern green, purple amethyst, and teal:
Finally, I listed two pairs of Sakura Charm earrings, the first in the original cherry blossom colors:
And the second in apple blossom hues:
All of these items are available for purchase in my Etsy shop: click on any of the images above to get more information about each item.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Crystal Sapphire Rivoli Kaleidoscopes

I made a set of Rivoli Kaleidoscope pendants with a sapphire rivoli for the center, and aquamarine and crystal AB one-hole rivoli pendants. The three pendants differ by the size of the center rivoli, the number of beads used, and the fold of the rotational symmetry of the pendant. The first follows the original pattern, and has 8-fold rotational symmetry:
The second pendant uses a slightly larger rivoli, which requires 9-fold rotational symmetry for the bezel to encompass the rivoli:
Continuing in this theme, an even larger rivoli requires 10-fold rotational symmetry:
Of course, rotational symmetry isn't the only example of geometry going on in this design; it also has reflection symmetry. Can you find all of its axes of symmetry?

The Rivoli Kaleidoscope pattern is available exclusively at my website if you'd like to make your own.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Tila Garden Pendant Alternate Colors

I've been tinkering with additional color schemes for my Tila Garden Pendant class at the Bead and Button show in June. This scheme uses more primary colors for the flowers, and darker, earthy-toned tila beads and seed beads:
In this pendant I was going for a white picket-fence garden look, but it came out more Easter-y than I had expected:
I adjusted the colors of this pendant with greener beads to give it more of a garden look, but now I think it looks slightly radioactive:
I think I'll tone down the green beads and try making this brighter version again. What do you think?

The Tila Gardens Pendant class is scheduled for two additional sessions on Friday, June 8, in either the morning or afternoon. More information about Bead and Button Show class registration, along with general information about the show can be found here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Light Clusters Kits and Jewelry

There are two color choices for Light Clusters beaded bead kits on my website. First up is a pink pearl color scheme; I've sold several pairs of earrings and a few pendants using these beaded beads, and the kit will make both.
The other choice is in hematite and silver; a shiny scheme that will go with just about anything.
Both kits are available at my website, and include all the beads needed to create two small and one large version of the design, a beading needle and the appropriate thread, and the pattern for the design delivered electronically in the PDF format.

I've also listed two pairs of earrings in my Etsy shop using the same kit materials. First is a pair of pink pearls earrings:
And next is a pair in hematite and silver. The seed beads used for this pair are slightly more subdued than those in the kit.
Both pairs are available in my Etsy shop, and ship in a handmade origami box folded by yours truly.
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