Friday, December 31, 2010

A decade, really?

What a difference ten years can make. In the year 2000 I was the Director of Information Technology for a manufacturing company. Being in charge of systems Y2K was the major buzz word and much work went into planning for a smooth systems transition.

I lived in Santa Cruz with husband, and golden retriever Ladysmith. Our first granddaughter was 3 and was a delight to be around. We made pancakes in the shape of Christmas trees and took long walks on the beach.

I had been beading a few years and in 2001 published the 2001 Bead Odyssey calendar with my then beading partner Linda. Together we were MarLin Beads and began our bead teaching career together.

In 2002 I took what may be my all time favorite trip, a sailboat caravan through the islands of Tahiti. It was magic.

I frequently traveled to Europe for my work and became enamored with Holland. In 2003 we sold our Santa Cruz house, bought a condo in San Diego and moved to Holland for a year. It was a fabulous year with much incredible travel.

When we returned in 2004 I retired from corporate life and turned my attention to beads. I soon found downtown living not to be to my taste and we moved into our current 1940 art deco home where I am totally at home.

Around that same time we rescued Miss Maya our long haired chihuahua daschund who is such a sweet girl and so full of unconditional love.

I joined the Bead Society of San Diego and spent a two year span as the President. There I met many friends including several who came to speak. I hosted workshops at my home and fell in love with Robin Atkins, Christi Friessen and Kate McKinnon. This world was so different from my corporate life, full of art and artists.

I continued my bead teaching, combining travel and beads and my love of teaching.

Beadwork asked me to submit some designs for publication and then Step by Step and there I met all the wonderful women of Interweave.

Lark approached me about writing a book and illustrating it as well. The design part was easy, the illustration had some significantly steep learning curves, but I did it. Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence was released in 2009, second in the Master Class Series published by Lark.

I lost my brother in 2007 and my Mom in 2009. One daughter was married and soon we'll be grandparents again.

And so with gratitude for the happiness in my life, and hope for the exceptional things still to come, I look forward to how this decade will reveal itself.

Crystal Compass

My Crystal Compass is in this issue of Bead and Button.

It's a first for me. I had one project published in their special edition right angle weave, but never until now a piece in the Bead and Button magazine.

This summer I taught at Beads of Colour in Dundas Ontario. Debi has a well store well stocked with eclectic findings and there I found this vintage mesh bangle. Of course I had to add sparkle and this little bit of right angle weave was the perfect answer. The four little textured diamonds secure the bit of raw work to the bangle, therefore the reference to compass. Which is amusing for someone like me who has absolutely no sense of direction. I will walk out of a hotel room for an entire week and go left when the elevator is to the right. Eventually I catch on, but it's a slow process for me. Oh and by the way, you can get your own vintage mesh bangle from Beads of Colour.

pppssstttt.....this same piece of beadwork wrapped around the bangle makes a great's how I know

I love the simplicity, this has been my go to chain for awhile now, when I want something substantial enough to hold up to the focal pendant, but that doesn't compete for attention.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

the rising sun

scheduled for finishing this week!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Itty Bitty Nursery

I got the Itty Bitty Nursery book for Christmas so what is a Grandma to do but pick a project and knit?

I couldn't resist these two adorable pacifier holders.

For my facebook friends, here are the Elephant ears I spoke of.

And the cutest of flowers. For the curious, the front of the flower and elephant trunk holds onto a clip which attaches to baby's clothes and the back attaches to the pacifier. No more falling on the floor.

The flower petals were a very clever bit of tubular knitting that I had never done before. Nice to have some learning in the process, and pick up a crochet hook as well.

I am unfortunately not yet recovered from a winter cold so I'm going to spend a 7th day in rest mode hoping to feel better soon. The studio is waiting!

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wanna meet the girls?

You hear me talk about the Grove and Val's Art studio and JudiPatuti and 'artist dates' with my girls so I thought you might like to meet them.

In the middle Is the multi-talented Gail whose birthday it was. Gail's current endeavors are focused on creating a beautiful backyard oasis complete with koi pond and pergolas.

On the left you can find Judy, yes that Judy of Judipatuti bead mat fame. Next, me and then Val of Val's Art Studio. Val is the maker of many things, mainly felted and all adorable. Next week I'll be showing off my backpack that Val made. And on the right is Susan, who you may know from the Grove. She is the head knitter of the group, the one we turn to with knitting quandaries.

I am so fortunate to have this group of talented women in my life. Not to say I am not surrounded by many other women whose friendship is all important to me. Today a gift will be opened by a friend whose been in my life since I lived in Boston and that was a mighty long time ago. And on New Years I'll join a friend who always makes me smile with her infectious joy of living. And last week I was gifted three pears (a favorite of mine) by a friend who shares my passion for beads. And in Santa Cruz I visited my dearest of friends whose history I've shared for 30 years. And then I beaded and had dinner with someone I've known since she was 17! and have watched become a star in the bead world. And soon I will share lunch with a friend whose love of felting results in the most beautiful of shawls and pillows. New Years Eve Day I hope to share waffles, and in February I get to spend time with friends in Detroit, and in March I get to see my Beading by the Bay partner Susan and many beading friends. All over the world I have people I call friends....some I only see once in awhile, but I know they are there, and I feel very fortunate.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


We had a week of pre-Christmas in a charming beach cottage in Santa Cruz this year.

Long ocean walks and really touching visits with family and friends.

And then I woke up sick and spent a few days nursing a major cold. I'm grateful that it didn't occur at a more inopportune major plans to interrupt, oh except Christmas.

Well with no time for preparation but still wanting to enjoy some festivities, Mark and I visited the local healthy grocery store and picked up 2 beef tenderloins.

We started the oven for stuffed mushrooms, made batter for popovers (so fancy) and measured all the ingredients for a brandied cream peppercorn sauce. Nothing makes me feel like more of a gourmet then using those little prep bowls to stage a recipe.

We retired to candlelight, cocktails, calls to family and opening presents. Then on to final meal prep.

More dining room candlelight and an excellent meal.

Simplicity was required but it suited the day beautifully.

Hope you also had an excellent day!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Casey is blogging

My stylist daughter, Ladyfirefury is blogging again. I appreciate her perspectives and her styling.....She's moved to Roots salon in Rancho Bernado so if you're looking for fabulous hair near San Diego she's quite the hair artist.

Otherwise you might just enjoy her commentary.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


This weeks rainstorms provided the perfect opportunity to get cozy and get some beading done.

And so it is I present you with the second color way of Carousel, my Beading by the Bay project.

I love the interplay of the silver lined turquoise and the saturated raspberry with just a touch of antique silver which adds that metallic accent. The 188 crystals in this one are cyclamen ab2x which is a brilliant color and I found the perfect matte purple fire polish to join the two bands.

Why carousel? The middle focal medallion spins! I love beadwork that has motion and the clever little ladder stitch spoked medallion spins around it's center post.

We have only a very few openings and a very few days to be entered into the drawing to win all three kits! If you register by January 5th you'll be added to the drawing. Each participants name will be added to a hat, and at our dessert reception on Thursday night some lucky participant will be selected to win!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lundberg Glass Studio

Thursday we enjoyed a beautiful drive through the Bonny Doon redwoods while the mid day light filtered through the trees.

Our destination was Lundberg glass studios in Davenport. The first birthday present Mark ever bought for me was a Lundberg blown glass vase and we've since added to the collection. We arrived to find that a recent fire had burned down the main showroom. Many beautiful and irreplaceable pieces were lost in that fire, but fortunately the factory was saved and a smaller showroom at the back of the property.

If you are local to Santa Cruz I am sure they can use you support. I selected this graceful vase

Perfect for my daughter Casey's favorite stargazers lilies

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knitting love

What can be sweeter then knitting for a new little one about to born? Since we found out that we would be grandparents a second time I've taken out the baby books, found the softest yarn and knit love into the cutest little clothes.

Yesterday was the baby shower so I can finally unveil the knitting that has been going on. Unfortunately you cannot feel the softness of the cashmere, so light and beautiful. It was a dream to work on.

The pattern called for ribbon at the top of the leggings, but my rather vocal friends insisted that I knit I-cord and of course they were right.

And the cuddly kimono with miniature pom pom fringe attached with French knots.

And the wee newborn cotton kimono closed with rosebuds, and matching hat

I can't wait to meet this new little person being welcomed into a home full of love.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

A cup of tea and beads

Rachel came to bead! And she brought cookies from the Buttery and I made tea

Aren't they sweet and they were so good.

We're chatting and beading and it's been a good day.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Beach life

We're having a lovely time here at the beach. We have sunshine today which is apparently going to be a rare commodity this week, so I intend to enjoy a long walk along the waves, and some beading on the porch. I'm hoping to entice Ms Rachel to join me.Ms Rachel

Yesterday we went shopping in downtown Santa Cruz which is a favorite activity of mine. Stripe is a fun eclectic mix of vintage and new trinkets. Hoot found her people and posed

and I found a pair of hand warmers up cycled from sweater sleeves and embellished with buttons

and at Pacific Trading Company I found this! My new luggage....I have always had a love affair with luggage and this whimsical set caught my eye. It's the perfect carryon size to pack my jewelry when I travel.

The Crows Nest was the place we ate for special occasions and holds so many memories for us. Including a first family dinner for Mark's 35th birthday with his Mom and our three kids. That was in 1984!

Last night, 26 years later we enjoyed the ambiance of the Christmas decorations

and celebrated being with family!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A touch of nostalgia

We created many wonderful memories during the time we lived in Holland, one of which was the train travel.

We didn't have a car so the train was our main mode of transport. We took every opportunity to travel to different cities in Holland, Germany and Belgium.

This little train set is a reminder of those days spent exploring the sights, sounds and smells of the European cities we visited.

Now we are spending time with family, having rented a charming little beach cottage with views of the waves and the smell of the ocean. The little train set came with us, creating new memories and a sense of home for the holidays.

I'm beading of course, having brought lots of beads I'm working through all my color samples for my 2011 engagements!

Did you see the Bead and Button catalog is available

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Little Hoot goes to Santa Cruz!

You may remember that my friend Susan made Little Hoot to accompany me to Australia. He was a great comfort and enjoyed his many photo ops. When I returned, I took him to the Grove to be re-united with his family.

Susan is quite sure that I should never travel without Little Hoot and indeed he seems quite popular with requests to travel to the Great Lakes Bead Guild and to Beading by the Bay.

So today I made a special trip to the Grove to retrieve Little Hoot.

Here he is poised and ready! If only I were.....


Yesterday was unseasonably warm, crazy warm, 86 degrees warm in December!

Given that a good deal of the country has had snow and ice and sub-freezing temperatures, I know it's unsportmanship like of me to complain. But really....I like a bit of a chill in the air in December. I like to light a fire, and have candlelight dinners in the cozy dining room with the smell of evergreens reminding me of the season.

But instead, I set an outside table, it was that warm, even after the sun set, and made beet salad with goat cheese, grilled chicken and artichokes.

It was a delightful evening, but I'm ready for a little seasonal weather. ppsssttt...I 'ironed' the table cloth with photo shop......onlly slightly better then I ironed it in real life....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Baking

I christened the new Kitchen Aid mixer with donut muffins. They are a nostalgic treat for me. Filling the house with the smell of warm nutmeg and cinnamon.

Doughnut Muffins
12 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
4 large eggs
6 cups flour
1 tbs + 2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 2/3 cup milk
1/4 c buttermilk
for dipping cinnamon sugar, melted butter

cream the sugar and butter, and add eggs
sift the dry ingredients
combine the milk and buttermilk
alternately mix the dry and wet ingredients, ending with dry
mix until well combined but not overmixed
grease and flour a muffin tin
scoop batter into tin so batter is even with top
bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes until firm to the touch
when just cool enough to touch, dip top into melted butter and cinnamon sugar

Put on a pot of coffee and enjoy!

Ridiculously Cute

Is this not the cutest baby hat ever?

Cute is not usually part of my repertoire unless it concerns babies of course. This one is destined for the yet to be born baby of the young couple next door.

I made it with Blue Sky Alpaca skinny organic cotton which is really really soft. The pattern, simple baby hat, is on the Blue Sky site and couldn't have been easier. It called for a 12 inch size 5 circular needle changing to double pointeds for decreasing. I used the two circular needle method which meant I didn't have to have a 12 inch length handy and I didn't have to switch to double pointeds. Working in the round is so much better for baby hats with no seams to bother their soft little heads.

The darling little petal loops and button were my contribution to the design. Oh so cute!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

True friends in Tiara's

Update - Sadly not being impulsive has it's downside....I took the measurements, was clear it was the right purchase, drove back to the Urban Barn never thinking that in one half day the piece I wanted would belong to someone else, sigh....

Well I dont have a picture, but I did have a fabulous outing yesterday up to the Urban Barn in Escondido. It's a shabby chic sort of space with a few industrial galvanized metal pieces, and some odd bits of bric or brac.

The four of us each found some thing to catch our fancy, including some quite fun tiaras which we naturally tried on and then made a scene taking pictures of one another.

I fell in love with this armoire,

which Judy photographed for me. I deem it the perfect addition to the guest room. I can see it holding linens, little bottles of goodness, scented candles and of course tea and chocolates for my guests. Mark never quite seems to catch on to the evolution of decor. His input was you already have a cabinet in that room. And he would be right, but this is a better cabinet, one with personality. I would have brought it home but in an attempt to not be impulsive (and the fact that it wouldn't fit with 3 other passengers) I took measurements and am pondering. The cabinet that is currently there will make a great addition to linen storage in the downstairs bathroom.....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Free Kits, really?

Yep, really.....Register for Beading by the Bay by January 5th and you will be entered into a drawing to win all three project kits! If you've already signed up, don't worry, you too are included in the drawing.

Thursday night's dessert reception is bound to be an amazing event with Ron Rock sharing his breadth of Swarovski knowledge during the latest trend presentation,

lot's of sparklies,

delicious dessert,

the handing out of the 2nd annual Beading by the Bay gift bag

AND the drawing to win all three kits!

This is going to be an excellent three days. Maybe a nice long weekend of beady goodness is just what you've been dreaming about. We're located an easy ten minutes from the accessible San Franciso International airport and if you're local to the Bay area, we're right off Highway 101. Much fun and laughter was had at our first annual event, pretty much a given with Jean Campbell and Maggie Meister!

The owl bangle

While in Australia I attended the Victoria Bead Societies Bead Expo and met the delightful and talented Georgie. You may recall I was completely enamored with her lampworked owls and ended up with what one might refer to as a 'collection'. And I have a plan for that collection, here is the beginning of the plan....

This one started out simply with a beaded band around the bangle and a suspended owl. I love the color complexity one can get with layering right angle weave. These colors are subtle, but there are 7 different beads in that little space.

I have in the vicinity of ten remaining owls and I think the next bangle will adorned with multiple owls.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Bead Mats are here!

Judi Patuti continues to put together the best fabric combinations ever! She just announced the Beadmat winter collection, and I definitely need one of these new ones.

I already own two of these, but I'm tempted by each one of these incredible new color combinations!

Judi Patuti in real life is Judy Thacker a dear and talented friend of mine. You've heard me mention the Grove, and Judy is one of my 'Grove girls'.

And if you signed up for Beading by the Bay, Judy once again is donating a mat to be raffled off, which one will it be....I get to choose, and I suspect I best choose fast!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rings of Saturn Special Edition

Yep! It's finally here, I did it. This design has been a favorite of mine since it graced the cover of 2001 A Bead Odyssey back in 2001. For it's ten year anniversary I wanted to honor it's timeless design and re-create it using incredible colors and materials.

I've used real silver metal beads, updated the necklace to a 30 inch Russian Spiral, added some amazing crystal cal ab2x bi-cones and a fancy little beaded ring and toggle to close it. The peyote core which holds the revolving rings (yes they do move freely about their center structure) is highlighted with little glints of light, courtesy of 2mm ab crystals.

Right angle weave with size 15's and peyote with increasing and decreasing are necessary skills should you want to undertake owning one of your very own.

Ten years is a long time and my illustration skills have advanced quite a bit in that time, so the directions are completely re-written and are in color!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A holiday necklace

That is how I think of this pretty little bit of sparkle. Especially since I made it to go with a velvet jacket to wear to a holiday outing. The crystals are light gold metallic which I think have more of dark silver feel but I love them. The seed beads are antique zinc metal with a soft frosted amethyst accent. And spotted daggers, I have a love affair with spotted daggers!

You may recognize it as the piece in last month Beadwork magazine. The original was done with beads that were sent to me and published in the challenge section. I then auctioned it off to help out a fellow artist.

I found myself missing it and decided a new one in different colors was in order. It had it's debut last night along with these.

It makes a really pretty set. Sets is something I didn't used to do, but Sharon,

an Australian beader who I met at Bead Expo was never satisfied until she had a necklace, bracelet and pair of earrings. She did it really well, never a matchy matchy set, but a thoughtful use of color and repeated but changed design elements made a complete statement.

So now I'm thinking I might need a bracelet, afterall, there is no such thing as over-adorned is there?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Susan, owner of the Beading Frenzy, longtime friend and my co-producer of Beading by the Bay has a blog!

Serena is featured in one of her posts and it is an absolutely beautiful bracelet, done by a customer. I often tell people to give Serena a try. It's an under appreciated book piece.

It's hard to realize the dimension and the sparkle that this pattern creates. It's a cubic right angle weave piece so if you've been wanting to try your hand at dimension this is a great project. Becky has done this one wider then the book calls for. That and her excellent color sense make this a stunning bracelet.

A handmade life

I just came across that term (although I can be decidely behind the times, having just heard the term flash mob this week), I think in 'Where Women Create' and I am so grateful to be part of the handmade culture. I've arranged my life simply enough that I'm able to sustain my needs by the things I make with my hands. It's a good way to live.

Having made 'stuff' since I can remember, learning to knit at age ten, I've always had the urge to create. I made stuffed animals, learning to knit on circular double pointed needles in the round to make a stuffed mouse filled with lavender (don't laugh Gail). I made candles when that was in vogue, macrame plant hangers with big Indian glass beads, painted ceramics (remember those Christmas trees with light holes and plastic pegs? I shudder at the thought)I knit sweaters for teddy bears and made teddy bears. I knit sweaters for boyfriends. I sewed Halloween costumes, and made dough ornaments, crocheted and starched stars from perle cotton. I embroidered my jeans, and peasant shirts. I did a lot, but when I found beads, I found the medium that was going to nurture my creative desires more then any other.

Although if you read often you know I still knit, and knit quite a lot in fact. Who can resist knitting for babies? I will have pictures to show you post baby shower. The cashmere sweater and leggings are complete and could not be softer or more adorable. Plus a kimono style sweater out of Berrocco Plush and a newborn white kimono out of Frog tree cotton, oh so soft and pure.

But back to the beads....I'm making my second and third sample for Beading by the Bay, and my third for Bead and Button, and in the midst of it I decided I needed a new necklace to wear to a fancy dinner tomorrow evening. I'll finish it up today and then you'll have a post with pictures. It looks like this one, only in different colors.

Jeannette is coming to bead today, imagine living so close to a fellow bead artist. Working from home can be a solitary endeavour and it is nice to have a friend to bead with.

I'm happy with the life I've carved out. I can't imagine it any other way really, making a living with my hands, a dream of my twenties, realized in my fifties, life is good.