Monday, May 31, 2010

Victoria Earrings

Many years ago, 2004 to be exact, I designed Victoria while living in Holland. During a Victoria class at Crystal Creations, owner Glenda put her victoria medallion and fan together for earrings, and inspired this beautiful design.

It seems to me that CraftEdu will be the perfect forum for these fanciful but oh so wearable earrings. They are big enough to attract attention in all their lacy sparkle, but not so large as to be heavy.

They have just enough glitz for a dinner out but would be the perfect vacation earring with their dress up elegance.

I've done the first step, create a photo journal of the process. Now I must prepare the photos, the text, the narration and all the little bits that make a good broadcast, but soon enough these earrings will be coming to a computer near you!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

JudiPatuti does it beautifully!

I told you about the new bead mats this week, but now I have pictures! A well designed bead mat by JudiPatuti with a little help from her friends.....

These are just beautiful, and they will be with me at Bead and Button! I can't decide...the pink one on the bottom left, or the middle aqua blue lime on the right or the elegant center black and grey swirl or.... I love that there are so many patterns to choose from so everyone can express their own unique style. Oh, I just noticed the black, yellow and green polka dot......

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Future Beading

When I don't have time to actually bead I can at least stage the beading that needs to be done.

Aurelia is one of my new projects for my fall teaching schedule, well summer and fall! I"m scheduled to teach it at the Beading Frenzy in August. It will require that I make at least two additional samples and perhaps three.

I'm planning this colorway next!

Bird of Paradise is for next years Bead Cruise, so it can wait a while, but I couldn't resist this owl pendant from Earthenwood Studios.

I think I've selected a nice set of colors for this one as well.


A friend sent me a pair of her own beautifully beaded earrings a couple of weeks ago. No occasion, no conversation, just a lovely unsolicited little treat in the mail to brighten my day. And it did brighten my day considerably. It was such a tender thing to do.......

So I've been on an earring kick myself, you may have noticed....ppssst, I made the pink pair on the left for my friend, a little reward for being such a kind girl.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Under the Mast

After seeing Liz's dark silver 'Under the Mast' I couldn't resist, I had to do one more.....well two more actually, since this one is spoken for and I really really want to own one myself.

Fortunately it is a relatively easy bead. If you're comfortable with right angle weave that is. The back is done in size 15's which I realize is a challenge for some folks. But it's a small enough piece to be manageable with a little perseverance.

It is still a surprise to me how something so simple can be so effective. This necklace lets the beautiful crystal speak for itself and it's one of those pieces I enjoy wearing every day.

Unlike this one, which really can't be worn to the grocery store!

Not even by me who thinks sequins and crystals are perfectly acceptable wear for the morning walk!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Red Letter Day!

It's official, it's a red letter day - defined by Wikipedia

A red letter day (sometimes hyphenated as red-letter day or called scarlet day in academia) is any day of special significance.

The term originates from Medieval church calendars. Illuminated manuscripts often marked initial capitals and highlighted words in red ink, known as rubrics. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 decreed the saint's days, feasts and other holy days, which came to be printed on church calendars in red. The term came into wider usage with the appearance in 1549 of the first Book of Common Prayer in which the calendar showed special holy days in red ink.

What's so special? We got a permit for our landscaping project. Three trips to the permit office, many drawings and calculations, and the necessary piece of paper to proceed....and now the project really begins!

The backyard is now a clean slate, with Mark's demo work of the last few months. He has dug up no less then 5 previous sprinkler systems, jackhammered the hardscape, moved plants, installed new doors, put up awnings, sanded the patio and leveled dirt, all in readiness.

We have a plan which includes new hardscape, a fountain, a hot tub and many beautiful plants and trees. And now we are ready to create a garden oasis.

JudiPatuti Bead Mats

Remember these? My friend JudiPatuti designed these bright, fun, colorful mats for your bead travels. Excellent for taking a project on the road or for taking to class.

Attendees of the first Beading by the Bay bought the entire first run, but now there are more and they will be available at Bead and Button.

These two pictures are of the prototype run and belong to friends, but the latest set, well it's full of really wonderful fabrics. Judy has an eye for coordinating prints (she hasn't been in a fashion career her whole life for nothing!)

The mat rolls out to reveal a place for scissors, needles and tubes of beads. The included project box holds additional beads and your project. Fabric ties hold onto our thread and the whole thing rolls up for portability.

I have to work out which of the new ones I want, and the rest, they'll be available at the show!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Ok, totally unrelated to beading, but I never promised all beads all the time, sometimes you get my regular life.

When we lived in Holland, Mark became a connoisseur of the Belgium waffle, tasting one or sometimes more in every city.

And when we came home he researched several recipes and the experimenting began. Now he never did perfect the dense chewy waffle with the big sugar crystals that are common in Holland and Belgium, he did however perfect the cooked, light fluffy, big squares waffle, the breakfast kind.

Table setting and condiments are my job...

This recipe requires yeast, something that I fail at, so I stay away. There is a lot of preparation for these waffles. The mixing begins a couple of hours before meal time and the batter rises in a bath of warm water, draped with a dish towel.

For condiments there are several.... Fresh strawberries and blueberries mixed with a little cointreau, lemon and powdered sugar, nutella and of course good old fashioned American butter and syrup.

Add a pictcher of Mimosa's and good company and it was a delightful Sunday. I blame the Mimosas for not getting a picture of the actual waffles!

Now back to the beads.....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Travelling Woman

Could that be a more perfect name for the next little bit of lace knitting I have planned.

Now for the record, I haven't finished the Lace Fichu yet and that will definitely come first, it's halfway and a knit that I really love.

And of course at the moment there is not a single bit of knitting being done, since there is so much beading requiring my attention.

But, I do have a vacation planned with a dear friend this summer. A trip to Nantucket where I've never been and have longed to go. Leisurely days on an East Coast Ocean, my roots, and I am truly looking forward to it.

I think this will be the perfect bit of knitting to take along.

Sea Silk and the pattern for A Travelling Woman, perfect! Susan, my knitting hero cast it on less then a week ago and was close to done when I visited on Friday.

Girly time

I'm so not a girly girl, well if you don't count the sparkle I guess, or that I dress up to go to the hardware store....ok, maybe I'm a little girly, but not the pink ruffle kind of girly, or the make up kind of girly.

But for some reason when my last Swiss Army knife disappeared into the depths of the studio (I'm sure it will be found someday) I decided that a pink one would be the appropriate replacement.

Of course now that I think of it what would be better, would be to have it crystallized.....Kelli, are you listening? Have you done a Swiss Army Knife yet? Kelli owns Crystal Ninja and her repetoire of crystallized objects is beyond amazing. A Basketball, a laptop, a Range Rover!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Inspiration is everywhere

Over at Heather's blog she is providing us with a look at her inspiration process. It's rather nice to have a blog theme when things are busy...Heather, like me, getting ready for the Bead and Button show in (ssshhhh, two weeks)!

And over at Beverly's (who is also preparing for Bead and Button) she's participating in Color Week, led by Curious Girl Lisa. It's great fun to have a look through the colorful photography.

Me, I've been playing with diamonds....I often thumb through fashion magazines, pulling out photos that catch my eye. They end up, if I'm in full organizational mode, in my inspiration folder, but often in a pile next to my chair. So yesterday when moving the pile to make room for the vacuum, this one fluttered to the floor.

I think the design resemblance speaks for itself, I think I will be making some more earrings!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A plan is materializing.....

First off, that little circular gem of beadwork in the middle, it spins!

Yeah, beadwork in motion, I love that. One of my very first designs that received public attention Rings of Saturn, now in it's tenth year, also had this very desirable trait (in my book) of movement.

I pondered over where to go next with my 'spinner' and I think it really must be a bracelet because just you don't want to spin it! And that would be much harder as a necklace.

So I'm off to the Grove, my favorite place to hang out and visit, so much creativity happens there. And it's not really taking a day off if I'm beading while I'm there!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bead and Button Preparation....

Well not actually.....Instead I'm making earrings, crazy, yes....but I just want to bead, nonstop, everyday. One might think it is like that for me all the time, but it's not really, there are waves of creative productivity and I'm in one.

I have two new designs and a third planned.....I know you would like to see them, but they are not at there sharable point in the design process yet. It will happen, but in the meantime, here is

Medici Drop Textured

I was making up a few pair of Medici earrings, from the book

because they are simple and I love to wear them and then I did the NanC Meinhardt, 'what if' and I added a three bead picot between each interior bead and then I put a bead between each middle bead of the picot and here's what I got. I can see that I also changed up the crystal placement, putting the 3 mm bi-cones in the outside ring and using a size 11 in the interior, oh and it appears that I used 5 size 15 beads instead of 3 size 11, so you see you can play. I haven't tried pearls yet,, no, I must go back to work.

A Medici with more visual interest, with texture and color complexity. I love it when a lot of beads come together in a small place with opportunity to change up the colors and see the endless options. So here's another.....ooooh, dark metallilc bronze with pacific opal, lovely

and there are bound to be more, but for now, I must go kit some more!

By the Way, if you would like to experience more NanC Meinhardt 'What If's?' in your work there are still a couple of spots in the October 8-10th workshop in San Diego.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm a morning girl

The before dawn kind of morning when the world is just waking up, the sun comes up over the hills, the birds begin their daily songs against the quiet backdrop of morning. It's my favorite time to be creative. Which after all is the part of my beadlife I most enjoy, watching as some new design takes shape before my eyes. That is what this morning was like.

Before many of life's other necessities showed themselves, before the dog needed feeding, the body needed exercise, the paperwork needed attention.....I sat and beaded and took in the solitude.

I borrowed a sunrise from another time, this one a Bed and Breakfast in Purton England. It's May Gray in Southern California, so I have to be content with the morning mist.

Mind you I'm useless at night, 9:00 p.m. usually finds me done with the day, ready for rest.

I'd like to bead all day, but as I may have mentioned there is much preparation to be done for Bead and Button!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The production line

Every year, pre June, which in my studio means pre Bead and Button season, my studio becomes a production line. Thank goodness I spent the majority of my career working in Manufacturing Systems because it certainly helps to have a system.

The making of a kit starts off with a design, and then the directions. It's a rather big job so it helps to be hyper organized. Each design has a folder on the computer with a sub folder for the color. Each set of directions is updated with a photo of that color and the legend specific to that color. The legend is created from the supply list where I do the math, in otherwise count, add, multiply, then divide to get the number of grams of the seed beads involved. Then I count the crystals, the accent beads, any special items required.

The supply list becomes a legend for that kit, identifying where each bead is placed in the design. A, base of raw medallion, B, embellishment necklace, etc.

Now it's time to get physical, the bags are labeled, and counted for the number of kits being made. This is where that all occurs!

Seed beads are weighed, poured into tubes and marked with the correct level. Bags are filled, crystals are counted. The bags are collected into a kit, a label is printed for the packaging and a label for the cd. Directions are burned onto a cd and the entire package is assembled.

It may be a lot of work, but it's work I like. There is a rhythm to it, and in the end there is a design which can be shared with others. Picking up needle and thread and shiny little beads and creating your own beautiful piece of jewelry.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Peonies Season!

It's May and that means Peonies at Trader Joes. Every spring for a few short weeks, it's possible to buy Peonies, and I always take the opportunity. It is such a splashy flower, going from a small tight bud, unfurling into it's full glory with all those spectacular petals.

And the bouquet in back from last weeks Farmers Market is still going strong. So pink is the order of the day at the moment.

I'm off to purchase Avatar. I can't wait to re watch it, pausing and sketching some of those incredible visuals. I am sure there is some beadweaving inspiration there.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What a difference a bead makes.....

Occasionally supply or more accurately lack of supply of a certain bead will force the change to a kit. Sometimes these substitutions are subtle enough to go quietly unnoticed, but sometimes, nothing but change to the sample will do.

I think that was the case with Queen Anne's Lace in the matte metallic colorway. I couldn't locate the original blue green iris, which by the way looked lovely.

So I went looking for something else and I discovered this wonderful translucent cathedral bead with bronzed edges. I decided this big a change required a redo of the sample, not the whole piece mind you, I just cut the thread holding the original bead and wove in the new ones. I love the result. This new bead comes to life and sets off the sparkle of the 232 jet ab2x crystals nicely.

I think the translucence of this bead suits the design beautifully

I will have a few of these at Bead and Button, probably a very few.

I love the lacy organicness (yes I know it's not a word, spellcheck did not approve, but it fits) of this design but I am also considering a less organic version for the future.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Colors of Bead and Button

All the color samples are done and photographed. Most have been done for some time but the total picture needed to wait for the couple of stragglers which just got completed.

I always make three colors in what is hopefully a good range so students are likely to find at least one that suits them.

Here is the crystal medallion bracelet, Amethyst and Aqua, Gold and Blue, and the original Multi color!

Crystal Collage comes in Light vitral with teal and bronze, Amethyst with green and bronze and Light vitral with summery aqua's and golds.

Under the Mast I went all out and did 4 colors

Crystal with silver, Medium vitral with green, Golden shadow with light metallic gold ab and Golden shadow with green.

And Ripplestiltskin in Olivine ab with teal, Copper iris with teal, and Gold lined aqua with tabac.

It's always fun to try to predict the favorite colorway. I'm often surprised. I take the class total and multiply by 60% and that is how many I bring of each. That will almost always insure everyone gets their first pick but occasionally when I think one may be the runaway favorite I'll bring more of that.

Do you have a runaway favorite here?


Not only a stunningly beautiful flower,

but such a fanciful name....Stargazer, the images it brings to mind.

These two gorgeous blooms kept themselves hidden in this otherwise subdued arrangement, but I knew their brilliance would present itself in due time, like a good design shows up just when you need it (at least one hopes).

In the midst of much busy-ness I've got a new design, a design that I truly love. It's not time to share quite yet, the design process is not complete, but I can tell you, it spins! Elegance and fun, something to play with during the dull minutes, a fanciful bit of beadwork, I'm quite happy with the result, can you tell?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crystal Medallion Bracelet

Finis! The third colorway for the crystal medallion bracelet is finished and I might add it's quite a pretty one!

Samples complete, well at least B&B samples, there is still Aurelia and Oz for this year fall schedule, but that will be for another day.


I continue to get ready for Bead and Button and I'm in either really good shape or denial, I'm not entirely sure which right now. But two of the four teaching kits are completely done and the other two are getting started and I still have 4 weeks before I get on the plane.....

If you're signed up for a class expect to hear from me soon and I'll show you color choices as well. That part of things, the sample part (I make 3 different colors per project) and the taking picture part should be done by tomorrow so I'll be able to prepare a correspondence.

I'm honored that many of the names on my roster are folks that I get the pleasure of seeing every year.

I love going to this show and renewing all of the amazing friendships I've made over the years. This is my 5th year and every year I get a little better at being organized.

Pictures tomorrow! Today I have a sample to go finish!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I don't like beets!

Really I don't and I know I don't, but.....I keep trying. The allure of these golden beets at Little Italy's Farmers market made me decide to reconsider.

Something about the color and the freshness and the beauty of how they looked.

I tossed them with spring greens, goat cheese, candied pecans and a wonderful olive oil. And you know what? They weren't half bad, in fact I sorta liked them.

I continue to get ready for Bead and Button, preparing samples and kits, but I did take time out yesterday for a lovely stroll through Balboa park with my daughter and her boyfriend. It was the perfect day for that. The local art glass guild had a show in Spanish Village, trees were in bloom, street performers were entertaining crowds, couples were strolling hand in hand. It was the perfect interlude to my busy schedule.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Are you Hooked on Wire?

You may know me as a seed bead girl, and that would be true, but man I admire those wire artists and Hooked on Wire has three of the best! Lisa Niven Kelly, Dallas Lovett, and Barb Switzer and the projects this year are amazing.

I'm pretty sure they've been amazing every year, but boy these are pretty. Barb captured a rivoli in wire, I'm in love. You get me every time if you put seeds with the wire and Dallas does that so well. And the scrolls on Lisa's piece are romantic and swirly and so darn pretty. Every year I threaten to attend Hooked on Wire, but I'm an amateur at best, and although these projects all look pretty doable to me, I'm sure they would be more fitting for the wire enthusiasts among you.

Susan Kazarian, my Beading by the Bay partner and owner of the Beading Frenzy in San Mateo has been hosting Hooked on Wire with Lisa Niven Kelly since it's inception. The venue is on San Francisco Bay just a short hop from the airport.

It's Sept 10th through 12th which is a lovely time of year to be in Northern California. And there's optional evening classes with many more of your favorite wire artists. So, if you love the wire, this may be for you.

Judging and Competition

You may know that today is the Big Reveal over at the Use the Muse contest.
This years muse!

Scarlett Lanson has put together a great concept. A beading competition that includes everyone having the same muse, and a timeline which makes it doable. There are several categories you can compete in, including one in Beadweaving. This is the Fourth Use the Muse and I felt both honor and trepidation at being asked to be the guest judge in the beadweaving category.

I've judged a number of competitions in my beady career and it is a weighty task. Those of us who take the time to enter put so much our ourselves into our pieces and it's very personal. I honor every single person who puts their work into a competition. I think there are many motivations, pushing ourselves beyond our usual boundaries, participating in the excitement, developing a piece that we're proud of and wanting to share, the prizes.....recognition, skill building, it's all good.

I can tell you the task is always difficult. I look at pieces and I take notes on my impressions, then I go back and review and review, looking at detail, composition, coloration, design aesthetic, technical skill, attention to detail, overall cohesiveness, scale, relative visual weight of the components, as well as competition guidelines and judging criteria. It usally ends up being nuance that separates the entries. Some small bit of finessing that differentiates a piece.

My point is, and I did have one, the job is difficult, I take it seriously and I thought there were many many amazing entries. So if you took the time to enter, job well done! Revel in your success and enjoy your beautiful piece.

And the winners are! It turns out this time that the winning pieces were both in the Beadweaving category.

Laurel Boyle - The Jewel in the Lotus Grand Prize Winner

Martina Nagele - Woodland Steampunk First Prize Beadweaving Category

You may read my comments about these two winning here

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Artist in Residence

There is nothing I love more then being in the company of other artists. I spent so much of my childhood and adulthood not understanding that need. Now that I've found the aliveness in it I can't get enough! That would explain my love of going to the big shows, where I get to enjoy time experiencing all my creative friends, and my love of teaching where so much wonderful art shows up in the classroom.

But one of my truly favorite things in the world is opening my studio to other artists and their students. I've done this a number of times and it's always worked out wonderfully.

So it is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to NanC Meinhardt teaching her 3 day art stick workshop at my home October 8, 9th and 10th of this year. I go back a very long way with NanC, probably much further then she remembers. As a brand new beader I took a freeform brick stitch vessel class from NanC at an early Embellishment. If I had to guess I'd say maybe 1997 ish. I still have that little vessel. It's quite humble, but NanC encouraged me in a way that inspired me to continue to explore this medium. I'm rather glad I did.

If you'd like to join us for the artstick workshop you can find details here.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Vela is a piece I designed for CraftEdu. CraftEdu is the brainchild of Donna Kato and will bring many on-line classs to you across a very broad range of artistic mediums. The product moved into it's Beta testing last week and I'm amazed at the talent accumulated on this platform.

This is the second of three colorways I plan for Vela.

You may remember the first

Putting together an on-line course was fun. I broke down the project into the important learning steps and photographed along the way. I also added the occasional illustration when I thought it would help to clarify a step further. Each slide contains bulleted points of relevant information as well as the audio of me explaining the step. To go along with the voice is annotation, where a circle, line, or arrow helps to illustrate the talking point.

Vela is a project where the learning will serve you well beyond the actual project. Right angle weave is a very good stitch for bezeling because of the flexibility of the stitch. And it's lacy little chain would suit any number of necklaces.

Although I love to travel and teach and I do believe there is a huge benefit to being in the classroom with an instructor, that is not always possible. People often write to me that they are located where no classes are available, or perhaps travel is difficult. CraftEdu will be a great option to experience a number of classes you might not otherwise be able to attend.

The Beta release is about making sure the platform runs smoothly for everyone, and once it is completed CraftEdu will be coming to a computer near you. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Playing with Beads.....

Yep, sometimes it's just sheer play. I'm writing directions, ordering supplies, kitting up projects, sending off shipments, but sometimes the lure of the beads cannot be ignored. A couple of weeks back I mentioned carving out some time, and finally I was able to.

So yesterday afternoon, which was a perfect San Diego weather day, I took a tray of beads to the veranda and started to work through a design I had in my mind. It didn't exactly work out as planned, and I abandoned the first try, but during the process I saw a couple of more design opportunities.....still denied, and then I cut one of the pieces and it splayed out and presented the perfect embellished curved bit of sparkle. can I do that intentionally? I always urge people to pick up the beads and play with them. Fold a piece of beadwork in half, curve it, fondle it, and sometimes you'll see something you wouldn't have seen.

So I recreated that curve into a perfect embellished circle which just happened to fit over the raised cap in the abandoned piece. It is now three dimensional and it spins! I love beadwork that moves.....Rings of Saturn, one of my earliest designs featured rings that spin around a central core.

The Calendar 2001 A Bead Odyssey featured this gold, green and pink Rings of Saturn.

This piece is far different and so far is only one component, but the potential is huge. I love it when I get excited about the beads!