Monday, June 22, 2015


Journey is the name of the piece I entered into Bead Dreams this year, a Bead and Button bead competition.  It was accepted and traveled to Milwaukee to be displayed.

I finished it just in time, took photos and then sent it off……Then I began seeing a part of the design that looked incomplete to me.  I am all for asymmetry done well, but this just looked unbalanced to me. Every time I looked at the photo I wondered why I hadn't seen it before and once I did I couldn't see anything else.

So when Journey was returned to me this week, I immediately set about filling in the big negative space that was taunting me.

It may be a subtle difference.  It is certainly still asymmetrical, but to me the difference is huge.  Should I undertake another large piece I would make sure to build in the time to photo it and then live with the photos before deciding on the pieces completeness.  I find you see things in photos that you don't necessarily see otherwise.

I'm a little sad that I didn't see this gaping flaw (as it became in my mind) before it was shared at Bead Dreams, but I am glad I had the opportunity to make it better in my eyes.

I will be teaching my master class in England next month and since this piece is really a study of my master class components and the technique of component design it will be a great teaching tool to have with me.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Let's Hubble…...

That is the title of Melanie de Miquel's new book and also the name of a new stitch she developed.

It takes a lot to develop a new stitch.  A lot of due diligence to see if it has existed previously, if it has design versatility, if it will have staying power.

I think Melanie did a good job of working through these challenges and her book Let's Hubble is the result.  The book is a nice size, and has the advantage of a covered spiral binding which allows you to lay the book open when using it.  I love that.  The illustrations are large and nicely done, leading you through  the basics and moving onto some variations and projects to use your new skills.

At first glance people have thought it resembled right angle weave, but there are no shared side beads and it has a much more open and lacy look.  There is a need to be careful with your tension to make sure it doesn't have too thready a look or get puckered from too much tension.

After my first few rows my next question was, can I make it structural?  I've tried and yes I can.  It also has huge embellishment possibilities but I wanted to be careful not to embellish so heavily that I lost all the charm of the lacy quality.

I've also begun to think of a multitude of design possibilities which I find to be a good thing.  When I can start to think in a stitch I think it bodes well for me using it well into the future.

Photos?  Well not quite yet.  The piece I am busy developing will be an exclusive retreat piece for a while, but as soon as I finish I intend to move onto some of the other ideas that are floating around in my head.  Then I'll be ready to share.

In the meantime, I highly recommend Let's Hubble.  Yes it's a tad expensive at the moment as it has to come over the ocean.  You'll find a few U.S. bead stores are carrying it.  I bought it from the U.K. and I'm happy I have it.

There is a Facebook page here if you'd like to look into it a little further.

Monday, June 8, 2015


That's what happen when you host a daughters wedding and attend Bead and Button on back to back weekends!

The wedding was magical.  Casey's vision was realized and the venue turned out beautiful.  Big thanks go to three dear friends who showed up and transformed our yard into a lovely spot for a wedding and did all the background work to make it happen.  Huge thanks to Mark as well who worked very hard to make the yard ready, made a wishing tree, ran a large number of wedding errands and as is usual was my rock.

Who doesn't love a dog in a tutu, and a beautiful bride?

  This is behind our house where the airstream is usually parked.  It was moved to the end, you can just make it out and was used as a photo booth.  We had a lot of fun with that.  And a popcorn bar, 36 inch white balloons, and lots of lots of beautiful flowers.

All of the rest of my kids and grand kids stayed with us through Wednesday.  We went to the zoo and a wonderful visit.  Malayna even helped in the studio, 4 is a good age for putting stickers on MadDesigns kits!

Then it was off to Bead and Button.  Tracy and I had matching polka dot leggings….of course.  What we didn't know is we also had matching polka dot dresses, hers was black and mine was white but it was the same dress!

Here is a pretty shot of the night sky and the river.  Home from dinner one night I decided to get out of the taxi half way and walk, needed those fitbit steps!

Here is my bead dreams piece in the case….with someones foot….it was nice to see it there.  Lots of incredible pieces in those cases.

Here I am with Huib whose beard matched my hair.  He is very dapper in a bow tie and colorful shirt.

I had a few saga's…..a box I shipped to myself full of kits went missing.  It turns out I had the zip code wrong by one digit, so much for proofreading.  For meet the teachers my wonderful helpers started an interest list for those who wanted the missing kits.  They have been found and should get back to me by the end of the week.  If you signed my interest list I will be in touch as soon as they arrive home.

I have three weeks until the next big adventure which happens in England. After that I will be really retired for this year.  I have no other beady engagements until next March's Beading by the Bay.   At Bead and Button I hear a lot that I was not doing a really good job of 'retiring' but I am about to embark on 7 months of no bead travel.  There will however be airstream travel and quite a bit of it.  I've started an airstream blog for that part of my life….I'll share it once it gets a bit more regular.

Oh and there will be kits and new projects here and there as time permits.  I'm not going to stop beading, just some of the bead travels!