Monday, August 31, 2009

Seed Bead Fusion

What a great name and Ms.Rachel's book certainly lives up to it's name. The projects are completely innovative, and I love that they combine wire work with the bead weaving.

The cover gives you a clue about the bright light colorful and fresh layout you'll find inside. The combination of illustration and close up photo's of the various steps insures your beading success.

The book is gorgeous and can be bought from Ms. Rachel or from Amazon. Although it would be easy for me to be a tiny bit biased, I've known Rachel and loved her work for a long time, it is with true respect for her book that I mention it to you. It's very very well done in Rachel's usual artistic and competently technical style.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Recently I've been considering changing my hair, which means growing it longer since it's been short for many years, and I'm craving change (which probably requires contemplation, but for now I'm just going with it). I used to change jobs, change men (that was a looooong time ago) or change residences.

But now I love all three, my job, my man, my home. Change needs to come from other sources....Now don't look for this to be a definite thing, I'm reasonably fickle and I'm not sure I can manage the awful stage that is inevitable, but I'm giving it thought at least, and while cleaning out a space in the studio today, look what I found!

Me with long hair, considerably younger of course....

This was most likely an annual Christmas party since we never went for formal pictures otherwise.

and I found other pictures, and I was reminded that we kissed,

a lot....and that there was a day that I wore dainty pearl earrings and Mark's beard was not white.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Morning coffee and bead contemplations....

I seem to be having a love affair with hematite and fuschia. First there is abacus in the book, with hematite size 11 charlottes which catch the light and sparkle. Now Queen Anne's Lace my bracelet for the Bead Unique retreat! The third colorway is hematite and fuschia and it's quite beautiful. Originally I had planned some pretty fuschia faceted czech glass beads for the accent bead, but decided that the Swarovski briolet bead in jet hematite 2x would be wonderful......discontinued! Darn it all. What's a girl to do?

Tahoe promises to be quite a bit of fun. First of all crisp mountain air, beads, Sherri Serafini, Beki Haley and me! Lot's of excellent beaders, in a beautiful venue. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

museum of art san diego

Off to see the Calder Exhibit with friend Holli! Yee Haw! That's a

Studio Shots

You saw my lovely Marilyn Moore basket before, but here it is in it's proper place in my studio. I think it looks amazing among my other greens and whites. It's artistic lines and texture are set off beautifully against the natural urchin, and my Jonathan Adler collection. The Jonathan Adler collections lives in my studio because Mark doesn't really care for it, and I love it!

Another studio shot, a glass pear bought in Gozo which was minus a stem....I beaded a leaf and a stem and it's perfect.

It's quite nice to be home.....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


My friend Jonna's new website! You must go have a look, it is so beautifully done (by her dh Steve) and is the perfect compliment to her work. She is warm and funny and gracious and I'm so happy she's my friend AND she teaches! Check out her schedule and take a too can learn to make gorgeous jewelry under Jonna's competent guidance.

An invitation to participate

A new colorway of the Medici drops that are in the book. These cz's come in amazing colors, the hot pink being a favorite (and expensive) variation. These earrings would also be lovely done with any number of Swarovski pendants.

The original Medici Drops

Which brings up my desire to start a gallery of book inspired work on the website. So please please, don't be shy, send me pictures of your finished work that resulted from the book (Use my contact page and I'll respond with how to send photos). Try to use simple backgrounds and good light so the pieces will show themselves beautifully.

I'm so anxious to see where you'll all go with the designs I've created. Who's going to be first?

From the introduction 'So gather your beads, fondle them and let them trickle through your fingers as you consider colors and design variations, and then bring your own creative voice to the jewelry by being inventive in your choices. And when you're ready, be inspired by the stitch to create your own designs.'

I look forward to your pictures!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beadfest Shopping

Beadfest was a whirlwind for me this year, arriving late Wednesday night, teaching Thursday and Friday, Meet the Teachers Friday night and leaving Saturday morning, whew!

And I still managed to fit in some shopping. A quick lunchtime trip on Friday, straight to one of my favorites, Gail Crosman Moore where I shopped and with Marlene Blessing's encouragement bought these

At meet the teachers I was able to peruse other artists work and after years of admiring Marilyn Moores work I decided it was time and I bought this wonderful basket. I love the color, the jaunty jester points, the shape, I love everything about it!

I'm now in Norwood where I grew up and have traveled memory lane, passing the homes of first boyfriends, various schools I attended, various homes I lived in, various restaraunts I frequented, it's been nice.

Tonight I return home to hugs and kisses from Mark and Maya and my own bed and studio for a few weeks in a row. The fall lineup begins October 1st with Bead Unique's Tahoe retreat and continues on to Miami, Dallas, California, New Jersey, Seattle and more!

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's been grand!

I am feeling such joy at the number of messages I've received from people who are pleased with the book. Many folks took their time to send me personal messages, contemplating which projects they might try or just their general excitement at the contents.

Here Fleur Fantaisie, in the Armature chapter is tubular right angle weave using size 11's and 8's to give it texture. The matte metallic seed beads compliment the matte metallic finish of this lampwork bead by Gail Crosman Moore.

Gabriella from the embellished chapter was named for Gabriella a Dutch friend I met in Atlanta who suggested the stone beads that embellish the front and back of this gracefully geometric pendant.

Also in the embellishment chapter is Cascade, a glittering coppery necklace with beautiful drape.

The writing, editing, printing, and distribution are all steps between the conception and release which must be completed in some kind of timely fashion so that you might all have the book in your hands.

For the most part they came easy (that may be a view that has been tempered with time). I conceived of the format, using different chapters to illustrate the stitches versatility. Project ideas presented themselves in my imagination and were beaded. I did the illustrations (ok, that part was not quite as easy, but I had great support, thanks Bonnie!). Each piece was sent to a tester, there were many and they were all wonderful, providing invaluable feedback. Then tech editing began with Jean Campbell who did an amazing job, creating a consistency of terminology (in my version I routinely passed through, traveled through and wove through beads) Jean gave me the right language and insured the connection between text and illustration . There was more editing at Lark and photography and art direction and layout.

And personally I think the result is a really nice book, one that is not only beautiful, but achieved my goal of bringing to you the amazing breadth of design possibilities that can be woven with right angle weave.

There are so many who supported me along the way and as I move forward, with their words of kindness and encouragement. Thank you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I get to drive this!

I've always wanted a mini-cooper, but Mark has the two seater in the
family. Yes the mini does technically have 4 seats it's just not a
practical choice for me....but for today I got to borrow this one and
I'm loving it!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I'm sentimental as I think of all the amazing friends I have in the
beautiful community of beads. I had the best time surrounded by beauty
and love. thanks to all who made my time special. and to all the
wonderful students who took my classes and all of the old and new
friends who took time to say hello at meet the teachers. And I have a
couple of new treasures that need to wait for a proper camera. will
share soon!

Sent from my iphone

ellipse and diamonds

just when I thought I was done playing with ellipse and diamonds this
showed up in a hotel rug, now where are my beads?

train travel

Beadfest was wonderful, on to Boston via my favorite mode of transport,
the train! this is the Philadelphia train station, wonderful lights
and architectural details

I met these gals!

so much fun, so much talent, so much kindness, Thank you girls!

Friday, August 21, 2009

a great young header!

Sarah's dad brought her to the show...

thanks dad!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What If?

what if the plane is really really cold and you didn't pack a scarf?

Sent from my iphone


a nice way to start the trip!

Sent from my iphone


As I wing my way to the East Coast today for Beadfest, travel is on my mind. I thought I would bring you some more past travel highlights.

Some lovely views of the city of Copenhagen. While living in Holland we were fortunate enough to travel often and explored many European cities. Since we were with out automobile, train travel was our major mode of transportation with the occasional airplane trip followed by train travel. I love pretty much everything about train travel, the rhythm of the train, the views passing by, the romance (although I'm not entirely sure why I find it romantic, I do)

The most recognizable Copenhagen landmark was actually quite small

A dome that I found quite lovely against the cloudy sky

One of many European Angel statues that I've taken, I should really put them into a collection

I love the drama of this silhouetted angel against the dramatic sky

I enjoyed my days in Europe and am thankful to have had the opportunity of living and traveling through many of it's cities. But I'm equally thankful to be back in California, traveling the states and teaching beadwork. Life is grand!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What if?

Do you ever see those people traveling completely unencumbered, one small purse and a book perhaps? That wouldn't be me, I adhere to the 'What if?' theory instead.

What if I pack a knitting project but I didn't read all the directions and I don't have the right number of stitch markers and? I pack another project, just in case

What if they take my knitting needles away in flight, it happened only once in Europe, but still? I pack some beading projects, just in case

What if there is a crying baby on board? I pack my ipod, just in case

What if my 3g network doesn't work? I pack my laptop, just in case

What if my checked luggage doesn't arrive? I pack my toiletries, just in case

What if they don't feed me and I have not time between planes? I pack some food, just in case

So if you see me in Dallas or PA, struggling under the weight of my luggage, you'll know I'm prepared, just in case!

Beads...Knitting...Bead Knitting

It only seems natural, knitting being my first love and then the love of beads came and almost stole the spotlight.

I put down the knitting needles for several years and then when living in Holland it was much easier to knit on the train during my daily commute then it was to bead and the love of the fiber and needles was rekindled.

Combining the two, well what could be better. This cute wristlet pattern, by Katherine Matthews, called 'Rani' can be found on

I found a bead spinner to be a useful tool for stringing the 540 beads required for the pattern. It takes a bit of getting used to but in the end was faster then picking up one at a time with the needle. I counted the first 100 beads which was 8 inches and then I just measured my progress adding a couple of extra inches for good measure.

The pink ribbon yarn you see on the bottom is a crochet provisional cast on. I think that is among the simplest of the provisional cast ons, as long as one can find a suitable crochet hook nearby.

I'm already planning this pair in black with silver beads.....ooooh pretty.

And since I now have a bead presence in a yarn store, beaded knitting makes even more sense!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Florida in January!

I'll be teaching for the Florida Goldsmith Guild January 4th - 8th 2010. I know, it's the Goldsmith Guild, but they like beads too. This is their annual Winter Workshop with 5 fabulous artists in a resort setting on the beach in Florida! Read more details at

I'll be teaching two different classes and I'm doing something a little different. Both classes are exploration style.

A Study of Right Angle Weave beading for three days where we will delve into all the versatility right angle weave has to offer. Using my book 'Beaded Opulence' as a textbook we will explore flat, tubular, curves, embellishments, layering and more. If you've ever thought you'd like to learn this stitch in depth, this is your chance.

The Regency bead necklace is a two day class where beaded beads will come to life with many different variations. Your completed beads are yours to string into an eclectic necklace or bracelet.

Florida in January, the Atlantic Ocean, Right Angle Weave and Beads, it's going to be a grand time, you may want to consider joining all that fun!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kate's sale

Kate's sale still going on ....I check it daily, sometimes twice and since I missed out on the first treasure I wanted to own, I made sure not to hesitate today when I bought this.

Described by Kate 'This is, oddly, one of my favorite things I have ever made. It fits like a dream, and the little blue bead by Joyce Rooks is one of the loveliest color combos I've ever seen. Funny how such a simple bead can give such joy,'

This probably is the 7th or 8th of Kate's rings that I own, but I love how different and organic and artistic and, well how wondeful they are.

To find a treasure of your very own look here, but look often and don't hesitate

Kate McKinnon’s Fabulous Sale: Components, Materials, and Collectible Beads

Kate McKinnon’s Fabulous Sale: Jewelry, Kits, and Classes


And the beading is easy......yeah, feeling corny. I love that song though and the summertime has been so lovely here this year. Usually in August it becomes unbearably hot multiple days in a row, but not this year. Today the studio is 77 with windows open and a gentle breeze.

Here is one of my favorite book pieces (although I have lots of favorites) This one was literally an 11th hour design when we decided not to use the business card case. A friend had beaded a length of the hematite charlottes and the pink squares were sitting nearby on the studio table. The two were combined and I called it abacus, perhaps you can see why. It is such a supple cuff, and so sparkly from the cut on the size 11 charlottes. And the briolette swarovski beads that close the cuff are a favorite of mine, so it all came together quite wonderfully.

I remember in my previous life when I took Saturdays off. Not that I'm complaining, but it seems every day is needed to keep at least only slightly behind the to do list. Shipping books is taking a good deal of my time at the moment, but I think those of you who ordered will appreciate how I am spending my time.

Today book shipping continues, side by side with labeling inventory for my store at the Grove, and starting to prepare for Beadfest next week. Yikes, I leave Wednesday morning. But I love the shows. It seems I have so many dear friends around this country and being at a show is when I get to see them. I am completely looking forward to being surrounded by large amounts of talent and large amounts of friendship.

If you're going, I'll see you soon!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Perlen Poesie

No I haven't recently learned German, although I wish I had, as this is a beautiful new magazine published in Germany.

The content, layout, photography and illustrations are all beautifully done. This issue features an interview with Carol Cypher, along with many outstanding articles and designs.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A lovely reprieve

A lovely reprieve from the day to day (although my day to day is pretty good), a visit with two precious beings. Sam and Oli were here visitng from Santa Cruz. We played Rummy-O, ate hot fudge sundaes, German pancakes, corn on the cob, had a tea party with sugar cubes and tea cookies, visited Sea World,

made sparkly bracelets, it was all very very good.

And during it we even shipped out 40 books with grandkids helping, and made kits and ordered supplies. They're on their way home and Mark and I will spend the rest of the day shipping the rest of the books, or so we hope.....We're working just as fast as we can, so you can have yours just as fast as possible...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Go visit Kate!

Really, she has the most amazing 'soul clearing sale' going on and there are things there you are going to want. And hesitating will not be a good thing, as someone named Naomi bought the Flower Circlet I so dearly loved. I'm glad Naomi has it, really I am, but I did have fantasies of owning it myself.

At any rate, Kate's work is magnificent and you'll want to go see before it's too late. Lest I start to feel too bad for myself, I did send Kate off a check for a beautiful ring with a most excellent patina, and then there is my 'returning bird' ring which will be returning to me soon.

Your turn....

It occurred to me that after I hit post that I am entirely sure that everyone knows that must mean Kate McKinnon, but just in case....

It's officially a good day

It's a good day when your first book ever, the one you spent a year of your life working on and 20 years of your life getting ready to work on becomes number one on Amazon, in both beadwork and jewelry categories. There are many people who made it possible, a big thank you to all my supporters. As it makes it's way out in the world I look forward to seeing what you all do with the designs. Please do send me a photo. I'll be starting a gallery of book inspired beadwork on the website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The Grove has long been a favorite spot of mine and now it's even better. Better because we've transformed the space, added fabric and beads to the already stellar collection of yarn.

This weekend we removed the oak bookcases and installed wonderful new clean bright glass ones. And we painted and re-arranged and generally worked pretty darn hard, with lot's of help from various husbands....

Richard, David and Mark....

Judy, Judi Patuti fabrics, painting windowsills

Is it level yet?

Maya waits patiently while we work

Susan and Gail completing the transformation with YARN!

I enjoy many a happy day in this place and if you live anywhere near San Diego or manage a visit you should too!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Van Gogh Series

A few years ago now I embroidered this cuff. You may recognize it as Van Gogh's Starry Night' It was my first foray into true bead embroidery and I loved the process of picking the palette, selecting the part of the painting I would bead, and laying down the beads.

It has me thinking about doing a series....

This one,

Maybe this one?

Or this one?

If only my time were as vast as my imagination, they'd be done by now....

Will be receiving two precious grandchildren via American Airlines today. Legoland? Zoo? Seaworld? Disneyland? Thankfully Seaworld won out this year and we'll be doing that tomorrow. This afternoon, ice cream at the Daily Scoop in South Park, back to school shopping, packing Tuesday's picnic and a few games of Rummy-O. There are traditions to be withheld.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm grateful

Grateful that I have during my 'other' life working in information technology, acquired a number of skills that serve me well.

Being an artist is never about just being an artist. There are so many different things that need to all come together if you wish to be an artist with a roof over your head and food on the table. I'm exceedingly fond of both those things.

So I feel very fortunate to be able to write directions, photograph my work, write about my work on this blog, tell you about my work on my website, manufacture my work to bring you kits, and generally manage this little business called MadDesigns.

And when I'm stumped, Mark is always willing to step in and be my partner. And if I need help I have many friends who are willing to do the same. Life is good.

And so today I turned the illustrations and directions for the business card case into a little booklet which will accompany any book ordered from me.

And then we put together the assembly line, saran wrap, cardboard, heavy duty stapler, labels, ready set go, now all we need is books, which I hear are on their way and should arrive this week!

Friday, August 7, 2009

What I am doing

What I am doing and what I should be doing are two different things....I should be doing, well nevermind, if I told some of you might worry that I won't be ready for what I should be doing, but I always am, at least so far in my bead life.

So instead of what I should be doing, I'm making these

Cute little stitch markers for my February Lady Sweater (coming along, thanks for asking, pictures as soon as there is something to see) I've been told by those that go before me that I need a lot of stitch markers and these are so cute, and yes I did make some others, but then I got the Swarovski briolettes and I love the sparkle and I know it will make me incredibly happy as I am knitting interminably long lengths of lace to have these little beauties swinging from the needles.

and then I'm getting ready to make these

well at least they combine the yarn and the beads. Something which seems to make good sense since I am selling my beads in a yarn store! They are Rani from the latest I'm using Blue Sky Alpaca silk mohair and I'm loving the softness.

And later today I will be writing directions for an upcoming project.

I really will, just as soon as I complete my sweet little stitch markers.

Supply list

3 inches of beadalon .015 stringing wire silver
2 crimps
1 3 mm olivine ab crystal
1 flower cupped sequin
1 faceted swarovski briolette crystal ab
1 4 mm olivine ab crystal

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The creative process

Since I've talked about the anxiety of the creative process previously on this blog, I found this video to be hugely helpful. Especially as I prepare for my book to be out in the world for all to experience.

I'm going to point you to my friend Val's blog to have a look at this 'TED' from the author of Eat, Pray, Love.


Thanks to everyone for all the name suggestions, there were many great ones. But since I asked Mark first, and he came up with a good one, and I think he may have some name pride going on...It's going to be called Descending Nights.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Out of Synch

My schedule is off, but I'm giving myself a bit of a pass....keeping busy is good, but I am choosing what I keep busy at, only the fun stuff for the moment and the necessary stuff.

I have a great plan in place for Mom which requires a trip to Boston later in the month. Mom was from Boston and never lost her accent. My name was still Maasha according to my Mom. I also have a dear friend in Boston who I will be able to see while I'm there.

In the meantime, I moved into the Grove, well I mean the beads moved in. Handling all those pretty seed beads and crystals was quite soothing.

No photos of the beads at the moment, so I direct you to Susan's blogpost.

And keeping the excitement going, a minor shipment of the books arrived on my doorstep today.

These are my personal copies destined for the many who helped me by testing each of the projects in the book. We've sorted out a packaging arrangement, mail merged an address label program, and will prepare to begin shipping just as soon as the rest of the books arrive. I'm hoping to begin shipping batches mid next week and I'll be shipping as many as I can per day in order of your pre-order date. Trust me I love all of my bead and knitting books and realize the anxiety of the waiting so I will accomplish the shipments as quickly as possible. I do warn of a three day interrupt however while grandaughters Samantha and Ollie come to play next week.