Thursday, July 31, 2014

Romantica Re-visited

I've been wanting to make a new Romantica for some time now.  Fist of all it's a relatively simple bead, and second I get to change up that sweet little medallion.  With the advent of all the new bead shapes at our disposal, I am able to use the same thread path and get different results.



Here is one I did form myself using some half tilas, long megatamas and the new Swarovski raindrop pendant.  I won't' be kitting this one, as the key came from a pottery barn gift wrap and I used the large elliptical disc instead of the cosmic ring.


Here is the one currently available in golds and pacific opal.  The encrusted filigree ball informed the palette on this one.

Halfway through the medallion making for the next Romantica I just had to stop and make these.  The crystal was a gift and is violet opal and medium vitral….very pretty.



The medallions take advantage of the long rizo bead to form the center.   Lot's of thread passes insure they stay in place.

I love the new Swarovski spike and the new patina's so coming together in one piece is perfect for me!  One new pair of earrings, and 5 more medallions on their way to becoming the next Romantica.  All beautiful silvers and opaque whites.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

San Diego Bead Bazaar


This weekend August 2nd and 3d is the annual San Diego Bead Society Bead Bazaar.  To print a $2.00 off flyer click here.


This year promises to be amazing with a host of new vendors as well as many old favorites.  The Bird and bronze clay featured on the postcard are from the collaborative artists and partners Judie Mountain and Wayne Robbins.  They have long been favorites of mine. Wayne made the birds for my Robbins Nest Cuff.

For a full list of vendors click here.  My friend Judi Patuti  will be there with bead mats and my all time favorite thread catchers (or as I like to use them tool totes).

If you are a fan of seed beads, and crystals and pearls and all manner of cool stuff, then you'll want to visit Whim Beads.

The ever smiling Jonna  Faulkner will be there with her wonderful Art Clay pieces.  There will be lamp work and eclectic findings and crystals and gemstones and too many wonderful things not to be missed.  I know I'll be there!  It is possible I need another bead or two….How about you?


Evolution of a Design

I started out with an idea that just sort of demanded it be tried out immediately….and it worked how I envisioned it.  It's funny because I was total exhausted, on a plane and yet, my idea could not be denied.


It was cute….but where was it going?  I thought of several bands made into a bracelet….but as I continued on, a circle of sprockets seemed obvious.



and of course the tips needed adornment, and then there was the open center, perhaps a rivoli would be good?  Isn't' a rivoli always good, and what about a rivioli on each side, a different one?  Reversible?


And embellishment of course…..and then since it was already pretty ornate, maybe just a simple bail and ribbon, yes!  And I like it ok, but…..the colors were a little uninspired.  Mostly because I carried on with the original idea and at the time the pewter and blue seed beads were the only two beads I had with me. So…..


A little color was in order…and what about an 0 bead at the tip?


I started over with bright vibrant color, lots of it.  I decided that I needed to drop a pendant from the bottom, changing it from round to elongated, an element I quite like.  Oh wait, that bottom bit, that looks like the perfect earring.

But first, what about a different palette?  Different tips? 



Spikes and Melons?  And then….well I thought I put a sprocket in every other cube, but I didn't get up from the beading chair to confirm, until I realized that every other would be 12 sprockets, not 8 and I like it, a lot.  I changed up every other tip and added 0 beads to the face of the cubes, because I just love those little chalk white matte labrador O beads.


And then I just had to try out the earrings.  What looks fairly simple has a few hidden tricks to shape and join them.

And there you have the evolution of design or my convoluted process.  I think this one will get written as a bunch of options.  You choose your sprocket length, tip, number of sprockets and you put together your own…..Sort of a process/project class combined.  I'm a tad bit excited about this one!

It's debut will be at Beads by Blanche in November!



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Saying it out loud makes it real….

In 2004 I retired from my corporate job and had a bit of trouble finding what was next that made sense….I had beaded, I had taught beading, I just didn't know.   And then Susan asked if I would come teach, and then Carole and then Blanche and the second of my 'accidental' careers began.  I had taught for all three while entrenched in my corporate career and we go back a long way.  They believed in me when I was brand new and unsure and I love them all for that.

Lark Books called and asked if I would be interested in writing a book. Interweave's Beadwork magazine began their Designer of the Year series and asked if I would participate.  Bead and Button  Show accepted my classes, nominated me a top ten teacher and asked me to teach a Master Class in 2013.

I've traveled the world including Australia, England, Germany, and Japan.  I've met loads of really lovely beaders, on line and in real life.

I wrote two books and curated one, and contributed to a few others.  I've designed a lot of beadwork, learned illustrator to write directions, and put together a few kits.

I am fully engaged the rest of this year, but slowly….whispering…..I've been hinting at 'retirement' from this second accidental career.

I'm now saying it out loud.  I will not disappear from this wonderful bead world of ours, the one that has treated me so well and gained me so many friends.

I presume I will continue to design and I know that I will accept the odd engagement that really touches my fancy.  I have another video planned because I loved working with the Interweave team and I want to do it again.

I will continue to partner with friend Susan to bring you Beading by the Bay, and I would sure like to continue to teach for Bead and Button if they'll have me.  I have a couple of more European plans in store, and some far reaching, fun venues in the next couple of years.  There may be a cruise in my future as well.

But I want to balance all of that with hugging grand babies, spending time with my children, exploring this country and this world with the love of my life.  I'll bead of course and I'll knit, and I'm not sure what else.  I doubt I'll garden although I fantasize about it, I really don't like the dirt…..I'll read, I'll nap, I'll visit with dear friends.

I may bring artists into my studio, I'll for sure travel more in the airstream, I'll walk more beaches, hike more trails, enjoy more quiet time.  I'll cook more, and savor the recipes and I suspect I'll still bead.

I'll bring you new designs….I have a plan to revisit some older designs and make them better with new knowledge.  I hope that kits and at the least tutorials will be something I will share in the years to come.

I relish the rest of this year and all of the many bead friends I will spend time with.

And I relish what the future holds.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kitting with a little beading thrown in for good measure

In the midst of my kitting yesterday I decided that I needed a new Touch of Whimsy color way.  I previously had two and I prefer to have three color choices at a minimum!

I love the two originals with their pave teardrops and matching 12mm round pave beads, but I wanted an alternative solution so I decided to see what I could come up with using materials on hand.

One and two look like this…..



On this version I inverted a corrugated brass bead I had on hand and used a 12mm Swarovski glass pearl.  I love any opportunity to use my beloved loch rosen (crystal sequins) and in this design they really show up nicely.  Also beloved are 2mm crystals which give added sparkle to the top, in this case using the really precious 2mm gold arum's which are hard to come by.  I love how luminscent the resin balls are.  I usually make a simple raw chain to hang these from but in this case I used a ribbon I had on hand….if I weren't impulsive and impatient I would wait to show you one where the ribbon was a better match but you get the idea.

I think this color way takes the design from whimsy to regal which is a nice change, don't you think?


Most fun about this design is it is entirely doable in a one day class.  It is a rare day we have the possibility of finishing and wearing a seed bead project out of class, and I am not guaranteeing that of course, we all bead at different speeds, but with this one you will at least come within striking distance, which is a nice change of pace some times.  I'll be teaching this a few more times this year!

Now I return to the marathon kitting sessions, preparing for Europe, Beaded Bliss and Alaska all at the same time.  As I have only a few days between each engagement I know that I must be fully prepared before leaving here August 5th, so it's head down with the bead kits for the moment!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

return of the retro ringlets

Update:  All three kits have been sold.  I really should make these again some day, they are just happy beads.  For the time  being though they will be shipped to the three fast girls who ordered!


Return of the retro ringlets….

Well not really but I did find 3 sets in my stash and so I've put together 3 kits.  I'm not going to list them, but if you always wanted to make these now is your chance.


They are a happy little group of beads and perhaps some day I will kit them again, but in the meantime only these three exist, so if you are interested click here to let me know.  Remember I can only fill the first three orders that arrive, but I will respond and let you know if they've been sold.  This offer will expire at 7:00 a.m. pst on July 10th after which if they are not sold I will take them on my travels with me.

The beautiful  Heather Trimlett glass beads are the real value in this kit but I've I've included 6 aluminum rings and lots of the seed colors you see here so you can change up your designs.  The ball chain is also included so you can instantly wear your creations.  The kit is $95 plus postage (and tax if you live in California)

The five glass rings may or may not be exactly as pictured but they will be in these colors and coordinate nicely with the included seed beads.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Refining the sprocket design

Occasionally the first version of something is perfect…..very occasionally.  More often then not I see  design variations that I think will improve the overall effect I want to achieve.

Sprockets were born during a plane flight, one where I was exhausted and had not even packed beads.  For some reason as I settled in I had one of those what if moments that could not be denied.  So I took out the only two beads I had with me, one size 15 and one size 11.  The idea worked beautifully, but I wasn't quite sure how it would develop.  Over the next few days it grew up to be a pendant with a revolving rivoli center and a suspended sprocket.  The colors felt uninspired (based on my original two beads which were all I had with me) and I wasn't happy with the suspended sprocket, but all in all I knew there were possibilities.

Sprockets in and of themselves are a whimsical bit of bead work so I decided that whimsical colors were called for and pulled out a collection of brightly colored beads.  I added some ultra rivolis in pink and orange and sat down for a second session.

An added feature of the design….it's reversible!  I changed up the bottom to be teardrop shaped which I find more pleasing and added just one sprocket instead of the three from the original design.



The front (well whose to say it's the front, it's just the side I originally thought of as the front), has an extra row of sprockets off the front face.

The bottom teardrop will make a great sprockety earring, something I intend to work on in the near future.  For now I have another pendant that needs some attention before the Bead and Button submission deadline.


Here is the original sprocket.  I do love the little mint green o-beads beneath the crystal tips and perhaps adding the new teardrop shape to the bottom will reclaim this piece and be more to my liking.  There is still a lot of sprocket play to be done.  These sprockets are built from every third cube of the base, but perhaps every other cube would be appealing.  There are eight sprockets which turns out fits an 18mm rivoli center perfectly, but perhaps seven or nine would be better.  This one also has some short and some long sprockets, but if they are too long they tend to be wobbly and no one likes a wobbly sprocket!


Off to lunch with friends followed by some 'real' work and then I will bead.  My next pendant/earring is also awaiting some design evolution.  The shape makes beautiful earrings, but not everyone loves a large earring.   I'm adapting it into a pendant for perhaps wider appeal, but then it's a small pendant…..not everyone likes a large pendant, right?  So I'm torn as to which direction I will go.  I'm leaning toward offering a pendant with  the option to make earrings.  We shall see.