Wednesday, November 18, 2015


I took a few earrings photos yesterday....I've made quite a few pair this past year and I'm getting ready to illustrate the directions.  I'll be debuting them as a class called 'going formal' on a cruise in May.  Some may show up before then because if you like earrings being able to make your own in a color of your choosing is pretty good.

Using the romantica component and a bit of diamond weave finished with a  beautiful pave drop.

Hubble Stitch from a craw base, very fluid and fabric'y.  Finished with metallic sunshine Swarovski drop.

Soft and beautiful, a craw teardrop finished with a sprocket and a praw-3 circle which attached the ear wire.  Finished with a Swarovski drop in metallic sunshine.

Swarovski fancy stone in unfoiled fuchsia, long since discontinued but I have a few.  Turquoise ab 2x and a golden shadow pave drop.

RAW bezel with 3 mm Iridescent green 2 x crystal and metallic sunshine fancy stone.

My newest favorite pair of shoulder dusters in dark silver with chain and a platinum pearl top.  This teardrop is made bottom up with the sprocket which contains the chain made first and then a split into two sides to complete the teardrop.

A second Romantica medallion pair for those of us who prefer silver.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Knitting with beads

You may have noticed over the years, when I'm not beading I'm likely knitting (and lately I've added sewing but that is another story.)

So knitting with beads combines the best of both worlds.

The pattern is Madli's stole by Nancy Bush published in the Estonian lace book.  It calls for nupps but I decided on using beads in the place of the nupps.  This is a long stole which will gradate through 6 skeins of yarn from green to fuchsia.  I've also picked a different bead for each of yarn color changes. It's fun to see this one evolve.  It's currently a little better than halfway.

Monday, November 9, 2015

MadDesigns is Open

We're trying a new business model and we hope you will like it.  I really really want to continue to share my designs with you, but carrying a large inventory or multiple color ways was starting to feel overwhelming with the amount of airstream traveling that we have planned.

I'd like to be able to pick one favorite kit, pull out the drawer, take piece part inventory, order necessary supplies and kit up a few.  So that's what we're going to try.  The website has been re-designed to support this model, so what you will see it four pretty photos of what is currently available for sale.  To see the current offerings, click here.

When the inventory is gone we'll add a new kit for sale.  With just four kits to manage we can even take the inventory with us while traveling and ship it from where ever we happen to be.  Some things may be available again and some will not.  For example in the dramatic La Navette black bracelet, both the dark red coral crystal and the Sphinx navette fancy stone have been discontinued.  Sadly the same is true for the light green pearls in Santa Lucia.  The Gold Chrysolite Duomos is brand new and will likely be available again but the current inventory is all there is right now.  

Your order will also include a pretty little bag of beads from my studio.  There may be bead soup (although I know that could make some of you shudder while others will be elated!) or a few sparkly beads for you to create with.

The store will remain open with new things being added all the time.  I'll primarily use Facebook to let you know when new inventory is being featured.  Check back often to see if your favorite is here!

Thank you for your support as we transition to our dream of more travel.  Be assured the beads always travel with me and I have made many of my favorite designs while on the road!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

New look

I left you on my last post with the description of our travel plans.  We've been working towards 'retirement' and more travel for a few years now and this is the year that we've really begun on that journey.  With this in mind I thought it would be fitting to change my banner to this years Bead Dreams Entry called 'Journey' which was a compilation of my bead journey over time.

I am going to a very exciting party tonight and I will wear Journey.  There aren't too many occasions for a piece like this, but tonight is definitely it.  You'll have to wait until the next post to hear all about my party going.

Since the last post we've done a 30 day caravan in the Rocky Mountains and a one week stay at a local state beach, both excellent.  If you have an interested you can read about our travels on Three Mad Wanderers.

In the meantime, we're changing things up at  I am still in design mode and still wanting to share those designs, although as I have fewer bead engagements and less time devoted to kitting we've had to decide how to best move forward.  Instead of a full array of kits in multiple colors we will make five kits available at a time.  So on any given week there may be a few pale blue sprockets, a couple of pale green Santa Lucia's, and for those of you hoping, I'm going to kit the silver white Romantica soon.  When a kit is sold out, we'll put up another kit.

Kits may or may not be repeated.  This will all depend on popular demand, availability of supplies,  time to kit and whatever may be newer on the horizon.  I've been working on a series of earrings which I'll start making available as well.  Eventually we'd like to move towards making some tutorials for sale without beads.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Off traveling

Yes, we've finally come to the point where travel in our airstream is taking precedence over the bead schedule.  We've been working towards this for a year and it's here.

That however does not mean I've stopped beading, designing and writing patterns.  I continue to do all of that.  I just received some of the new Swarovski launch pieces and immediately packed them for inspiration.

There are some gorgeous new colors including the scarabaeous green which is very dramatic.  I packed some 4470 with the thought of doing another duomos romanticos like this one.  This one is soft and romantic but the new one should be bold and dramatic.

As usual I suspect I've packed far more than I could begin to bead on this outing.  I've got plans to rebead a sprockets with bigger spikes, complete the second cryptex and start the third and I have some new earrings planned as well.  I'll take some photos for you along the way and if you want to keep up with our travels that would be my other blog

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The earring series

So....whats with the earrings?  Well I'm not entirely sure myself, I just seem to be really enamored with them lately.  I love that I can take a small left over pile of beads and make a beautiful piece of jewelry out of them.

I finished some wedding jewelry, a sash to be exact that will adorn a wedding gown, and I had all these nice gold beads.

Here is the stash I pulled for the wedding sash.  I used a shibori ribbon, seeds, crystal, pearls and some gold flowers.

The tray that was left when done h the seeds, crystal pearls and flowers and I set out to make some earrings.  I really like these.  They are going to be for my Going Formal Series that I will do for next years Beading Cruise through the Bahamas.

The bezel is hubble stitch which makes a great flexible bezel.  The first earring ended up being a prototype as the flower chain was too tight and didn't come out as I had envisioned.  I made a second, shown above which I was really happy with and then had to make the third to go with the second.  They are quite fancy pants !

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Travels in the Cottswolds

I've been home for three weeks and am preparing to travel again, this time in the airstream on holiday to   my beloved Santa Cruz.  All of my grand babies live there and two of my three children.  It's where we grew up the family and where I spent the majority of my corporate work life.  We'll visit family and friends and we'll be in a campground on a bluff above the ocean.  I'm looking forward to it.

But first I've been remiss on reporting about my last English experience.  We landed first in  Leeds, ware driven around York and stayed in Robin Hoods Bay.  This was followed by a stay in the Barton Under Needwork with visits to Birmingham and Bletchley Park and included teaching a master class.  Next up we were driven to Worcester where I taught in a garden center and enjoyed Jo's hospitality.

Our final stop we drove to the rendezvous point and were picked up by Jinnie.  We wound our way through the country side, arriving in the delightfully charming village of Stow on the Wold where we arrived at a cute little tea shop and bed and breakfast smack in the center within walking distance of restaurants and shops.  We had the rest of the afternoon and all day Friday to wander and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Our room was eclectic and serene and for me I easily walked under the mid room beam.  Mark had to remember to duck which he did about half the time.

Saturday and Sunday I taught sprockets and duomos romanticos.  The village hall was light filled and large and the beaders were very accomplished.  Here is a banner they all worked on together.

 and a couple of sprockets in progress.  I really must get some of that lime green metallic bead!

Speed beader Joan finished this but wasn't totally satisfied and was going to remake it at home.

Both days I was treated to a beautifully prepared and presented lunch by the members.  I will never forget Margaret who set a pretty table complete with lace table cloth and napkins and the loveliest lunch of fresh vegetables, and raspberries which came accompanied by a small pitcher of cream.  It was truly memorable.  

England was my last engagement for 2015.  Now I will focus a bit on beading, family, travel and relaxation!