Saturday, October 18, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
People continue to tell me they like to start their morning with a cup of coffee and their favorite blogs, so here's me pulling up a chair to join you.. It is truly nice to be reminded that people do read and do enjoy what I have to share.
I've had a busy summer and fall which is a bit of an understatement. My schedule caught me a bit off guard (yes it was me who booked it!) but I neglected to realize that scheduling too many back to back engagements which also required kits, then throw in some foreign travel and things got a tad hectic here at MadDesigns.
It turns out that Touch of Whimsy is one of my favorite things to teach, which is a great thing because I'm teaching it for three days in Tyler Texas next weekend. This was the formerly maligned yellow polaris bead (or bon bon bead depending on your source!) At first glance it took some imagination to develop a set of colors that suited it, but Liz did it beautifully here and at the end of the day yellow became the new favorite!
I look forward to my next set of engagements and then I look forward to an airstream trip to Santa Cruz and lots of grand baby hugs and walks on the beach and visits with family and friends.
My recent trip to New Hampshire was a treat. Having grown up in Massachusetts I often crave the cool fall days and the beautiful colors, especially given that we were having an unseasonal 100 degree heat wave here in San Diego. I ate lots of 'Lobstah' (have you ever seen a lobster roll or taco that looked so good?!)
and enjoyed the company of the many who joined me in classes. My flight was scheduled late in the day on Monday so Judy offered to take me on an outing up the coast to some of her favorite ocean spots and then to Stonewall Kitchen for lunch and shopping. I'm excited to make the pumpkin layer cake that I purchased for guests on Sunday.
This is one of the beautiful spots where one can have lunch at Stonewall kitchen. Kathy instructed me to be sure to pick up there recipe cards which I did so now when I start to cook I will have lots of inspiration!
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
This was the case with the Deco bracelet that I designed for the Beading All Stars book published by Lark this September. It is a compilation of ten artists who each designed two piece for the book. If you haven't had a look you may want to as there are some beautiful designs in this book.
The 'lemon' fancy stone had just been released and I couldn't resist the allure of it's checkerboard racets and it's tapered shape. The foiled silver night stone was just so darn pretty and surrounded with a size 15 raw bezel really stood out as the focal piece.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Then I realized that it was time for me to start collecting those memories again. Busy is all relative anyways, there are people much busier then I am who live magnificently large and accomplish great things, and there are those who are less busy in a way that suits them.
Right now I'm too busy for my peace of mind, but I have arranged for that to be less so next year.
In the meantime, I think it's important for me to take some time outs, the work will wait (usually) or I will re-prioritize and let go of some things that I thought absolutely must be done.
This morning we drove to Coronado, a beautiful semi island on the coast directly opposite the downtown city of San Diego. What the heck is a semi island? One approaches Coronado from a long bridge which carries you over the bay water and out to the land of downtown Coronado. If you were to drive towards the ocean and then south for quite a few miles the 'strand' re-connects you the mainland.
At any rate, it is a pretty place to walk along the bay or along the ocean. It is home of the iconic Del Coronado hotel. Maya of course loves an outing where she comes along. We followed up our breakfast at the dog friendly outside patio of Tartine with a bay walk. We're both morning people so arriving prior to 8:00 a.m. means it's easy to get seated and since it's October I chose a most excellent moist, crusted with sugar, pumpkin scone. Decadent but oh so good.
We also had a dinner and movie date night and saw the 100 foot journey which I thoroughly enjoyed. Although I love to eat and to put a good meal on the table I am far from an accomplished cook, never mind chef, but the story was endearing and who doesn't love Helen Mirren?
On the bead front, I have a new Santa Lucia using the Swarovski coin pearls which I've wanted to try in this design ever since I saw them. My friend Tracy Stanley made a platinum version to wear to her daughters wedding this past summer. It was stunning so I asked if she minded if I borrowed her palette.
Friend Karen Firnberg an accomplished beader offered to bead up the sample for me, and so here you have my design, Tracy's colors and Karens beadwork. I am very pleased with the result. The only thing I changed up from Tracy's version is using coin pearls and the new rose patina on the Swarvoski fancy stone.
While I was in Alaska, Shampagne beaded up a Touch of Whimsy and added a wild heart to the bottom which was a great addition. We both thought that adding a Swarovski skull might be another fun adornment and I hope to find some time to achieve that as well. I promise to show you when I do.
Friday, September 19, 2014
It's been a a grey rainy week in Alaska which some might find disappointing, however my home of San Diego has had record highs all week. I'm good with grey and rainy.
I had teaching engagements on the weekend and evenings but days have been free to sit in a beautiful space and bead.
We did make the drive to Seward on Monday which has stunning views. There were trees that had turned vibrant shades of yellow and Sunrays shooting through clouds.
Lunch at Rays seafood produced the best chowder I've ever eaten and a stop at a meat processor resulted in reindeer bratwurst that Mark cooked for dinner.
This is the serene view from Rays.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I'll be home for a couple of weeks in late September followed by New Hampshire in October which I booked purposely to experience some fall foliage! I'm from Massachusetts and I still miss the brilliant fall colors. I'll be teaching at Bead Creative including for the first time the Spirit Flight earring! I'll also be teaching La Navette and I think the two will wear well together.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
By thread I usually mean 6lb fire line but I am giving Miyuki thread a try since I am worried about the long term availability of fire line suited for beading and I appreciate the color choices.
Back to double thread…..I think that I have both better tension and a longer MTBF (mean time between failures) if I have two threads. I am often asked if you can use one 10 lb instead of 2 6 lb pieces and the answer is probably yes, but….I am still of the opinion (and it is just that) that a failure comes from a thread being abraded in a place where it is rubbed and that you are much less likely to abrade two threads in the same place.
Second most popular question 'Can I just make two passes?' Well yes you can but for me these old hands need to last me for a good long time of beading, knitting, crocheting and whatever else may cross my path so I don't to use them twice when I can use them once.
For me I find I have better tension with two threads but I know for sure there are some beaders who are able to get amazing tension with one thread, if that's you and tension is the goal then one thread may be right for you.
On to addressing the most common complaints.
My thread always gets tangles. Two solutions, use slightly shorter thread lengths (I know that means weaving in more often, but really you are a beader, that part is a fact of life.) and use wax. I like beeswax on fire line to hold the two pieces together. So far I've not used wax on the Miyuki, but I do pull slower to avoid tangles.
What if I have to pull my work back? For me, I actually find double thread easier to pull back. I find the working bead, pull until I can grasp the working thread and continue pulling back until the eye of the needle is at the work. A gentle wiggle will almost always result in the needle following the thread through the beads. In the event you've turned a corner as in ndebele, you may have to push the needle through some beads eye first and then come back to method one for the next set of beads. It saves having to unthread and rethread a needle each time you undo the work. This in my book is faster.
The last question that comes up is what if I have to change my needle because it breaks or I need a smaller needle. To solve this particular dilemma I cut one of the threads down at the body of the work, unthread my needle and thread a new one. Then I pull the cut thread 2 to 3 inches past the body of the work and hold onto it for the first two or three stitches and once again I have double thread. I also use this method if I have to switch from double to single in the course of a piece, for example if I was using double with size 15 and the design changes to s ice 15 beads where I might want to use single thread.
I know I am in the minority but over the course of the years I have managed to convince some of this way of working. What about you, single or double?
and for those of you who prefer to see pretty pictures, here is some beadwork, all done with double thread!
All three of these designs benefit from the extra tension I get using my thread double. A Touch of Whimsy looks better if the top is sprightly like here. It's not good having a floppy top!
Duomos Romanticos counts on having a firm cubic right angle base to hold the fancy stone in place.
Robbins nest ring also needs a firm tension to surround the bird so beautifully.