Friday, August 31, 2012

More Traveling Bracelet news

Well not really....just an update to a promised feature.

Over there on the sidebar is a link, it will take you to the page that tracks my quest to visit with each of the twelve bracelets of the Amazing Adventures of the Traveling Bracelets.

It will keep you up to date with which ones I've had, should you choose to help me in my quest.  It also has all of the links so you can follow the travels of all of the bracelets and add you name to the list should you too want to have one in your care.

I happen to love the Paisley one pictured here but there isn't one that I don't want to visit.  They all will have their own stories, and I'll have fun reading through their travels when I do have one.  Each has a book that accompanies it, and in that book is a list of the people and places it's been.

And in case you come across a bracelet in the right time frame....well it's a big birthday this year on ten ten I'll be sixty.  I'd love a bracelet to be visiting, and two days later I will leave for the Southern Bead Retreat which I think could be an excellent outing for a bracelet, don't you?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Beading by the Bay - Registration is upon us

Well almost.  For those who joined us last year, registration will open on September 1st.  You must have a look at your email for the special link that will allow you early sign up, and you'll want to do it before September 14th to make sure you have a spot.

This years artists are Sabine Lippert, Huib Petersen and myself!

Should we have spots left we'll open registration for the remaining spaces on September 15th at twelve noon pacific standard time.

I still sometimes marvel at how wonderful my world is.  Susan Kazarian and I brainstormed this event on a road trip to Tucson in February 2009.  We held our first Beading by the Bay retreat in 2010 and 2013 will be the fourth year.  Each year it is like greeting excellent friends as we welcome back last years students.

We've purposely decided to keep it intimate, although we'd love to extend a welcome to all who are interested, we wrestle instead with practical limitations.  Yet each year a few slots open up, so if you're wanting to come, will have all the information you need, and on September 15th at noon, there will also be a buy button!

The Amazing Adventures of the Traveling Bracelets

Yes!  The call went out, I had so much fun having the first one, and I am so enamored of the idea of these bracelets, twelve of them!  Twelve! Wandering around the world.  I desperately wanted to spend time with all of them.  Sig is recording the travel of each bracelet on the traveling bracelets blog.

Well I wrote to Sig, getting her blessing on my quest and as we continued our dialog I might have suggested (which I thought the minute I hit send was kind of nervy of me) that maybe the the number ten could be expanded to twelve and the symmetry of the image would be know, 3 columns of 3 with 1 column of 1 didn't seem quite right.  Of course 2 columns of 5 would have worked perfectly, but I didn't think of that until after my suggestion.

Well as it turns out Sig had been thinking that very thing, the twelve thing I mean, and decided to put the already done Ganesha into the mix.   The twelfth is Machu Picchu and will accompany Sig to Machu Picchu in November, after which it will continue it's travels.

Now Sig didn't share with me that she had picked me to be first, but yesterday the doorbell rang and I found a package on the doorstep, and I recognized it, and I opened it and I am delighted to be entrusted with the care of another bracelet.

Isn't the tissue paper fun?

Maya has it down pat now....the perfect model

 This one is Ganesha.  I love the brilliant metallic orange as a backdrop to the image.

According to Wikipedia

Although he is known by many other attributes, Ganesha's elephant head makes him particularly easy to identify.[9]Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles[10] and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles (Vighnesha (Sanskrit: विघ्नेश; IAST: Vighneśa), Vighneshvara (Sanskrit: विघ्नेश्वर; IAST: Vighneśvara),[11]patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.[12] He is honoured at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions.[13] Several texts relate mythological anecdotesassociated with his birth and exploits and explain his distinct iconography.

Rumor has it that I will receive another one next week, which is perfect as I have a big celebration of sorts planned, it's a surprise, involves family and I'll  share next week, but there will be a bracelet joining us and I'm darn excited about that.

Should you have one and care to entrust me with it's care and help with my quest, I'd be happy to be the recipient.  If you have someone in mind to give it to, I'll gladly pass it on to that person for you.  If you don't I will select from the list of those who signed up on Sig's Traveling Bracelet Blog, unless I'm traveling during the week I have one, in which case I will pass it on to someone in my travels.   Sound fair?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Beaded Home

Well it would be the beaded home if I took the time to realize all of my my mind I would like to bead around all of the shade pulls in my studio, that would be 8 big beaded beads, so I haven't done it, and then the fan pulls for all of the ceiling fans, that would be 6, and then a sculpture or two.  I have a salt and pepper set waiting for bead embellishment.  It would be fun to apply beadwork to functional things in my home, but for now that dream is saved for retirement, but I did do this

This is the back of the new chair, the cozy studio chair, which you might be sick of by now, but I'm still settling into how wonderful it is.  My guess is these were installed on the chair as bumpers, so when reclined you wouldn't be marring the wall, but really, white plastic?  I couldn't bear it, so now

They are covered with these, a pretty little Terracita medallion, which almost makes me want to bead another Terracita.  I loved it in it's day, and sometimes when I go back to a design with a few more years of beading under my belt, I have different ideas for it, and new color ways.  Terracita was published in Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence so you can make a bracelet of your own, or button covers for your chair!

I was asked earlier this year if I wanted to bead for a high end interior designer and it looked like a hugely fun offer, but after some examination I realized that was an entirely different career path and so I declined the opportunity, but it was fun to contemplate.

Do you bead for your home?  Have you come up with some interesting design solutions?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beading Cozy

My studio is very functional, table and chairs, beads, desk, storage, a bit of art, but somehow it was missing the cozy and the comfortable.

It's a great place to kit, host a class, illustrate etc, but I found that when I beaded I would take my beads and hit my comfy chair in the family room, or in nice weather the veranda.  But this resulted in many a trip back to the studio to retrieve whatever tool, bead, book that I was missing.

I decided I needed to create some cozy comfort in the studio.  It's furnished in my modern contemporary IKEA style, but I pictured a big overstuffed chair with side tables for the cup of tea, the iPad and beads of course.

A trip to the local consignment provided the chair I blogged a couple of weeks back (yes it reclines and is super comfortable), but I needed tables.  I don't like to make a career of the search, but a trip to IKEA just didn't present the perfect option (although it was a hot date, we wandered the aisles and had dinner followed by a frozen yogurt, yes we live an exciting life), so next I visited cost plus world market, where I found a great table with a shelf and casters....sort of rustic industrial, but I deemed it not the right look.  I will sometimes get enamored with a 'look' and forget the environment it needs to fit into. While electic can be done well, it's not really my strong suit to pull off.

So onto Pier One where I found glass mosaic nesting tables!  Perfect coloration, size and the right amount of real estate for holding all my tools and beads nearby.  And now I can bead for hours, listening to a book, or watching TED talks or listening to Pandora, and all my needs are just steps away.  Now I just need some hours!

Next up is a floor lamp to provide evening light without the glare of the fluorescent overheads, and I think my cozy space will be complete.  Perhaps a trip to Lamps Plus?

Have you perfected a comfortable place to bead?  Please share.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ohio, one stop bead shop and friends

I arrived Thursday night and owner Lisa picked me up and we had dinner together, where we both talked non stop and became fast friends. We'd only ever met for ten minutes at Bead and Button, so it was excellent getting to spend some solid time together.

On Friday I taught Aelia and many beautiful versions showed up. The classroom was large and full of enthusiastic people. Liz came down from Detroit and helped me both days in the classroom which was a rare treat and very welcome.

Also in class was Speedy Beader Dot, who I've met at different venues over the years. Dot is an amazing beader but also a famed doll maker. I got to visit her home and be amazed by the fanciful dolls she has made. Oggi is coming home with me!

Gotta love the spandex and that snaggel tooth.

The lovely Nancy showed up in class wearing a beautiful Etruscan Treasure!

And the gang all hung out together

The bunny another of Dot's creations, along with Little Hoot, Liitle Brach and Oggi.

A fun filled weekend and home early to enjoy Sunday night with my honey, and a first class upgrade, always my favorite way to fly!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memories of Istanbul, the final report

Along with the privilege of being the one week steward of one of Sig's traveling bracelets, is the responsibility to tell the story of it's time with you and perhaps a bit about yourself, and a photo or two to be included in the 'Amazing Adventures of the Traveling Bracelets' blog.  It's a small price to pay for being part of this story, and last night after preparing for this mornings travel, I forwarded my 'report' to Sig.

I think Sig deserves a big round of applause for keeping up with the weeklong travels of ten different bracelets and maintaining the blog so we can all share in the fun.  You can read my story here.  And if you'd like to get involved there is a sign up for the bracelets here.  And if you fall in love with the patterns, you can purchase them here.

My first bracelet will be passed on tomorrow evening after a day of teaching in Ohio.  I say first, since I hope it will be the first of many.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Traveling Bracelet

Meets the Bead Gals

complete with Emily Rose....Maya was a tad jealous of Emily Rose's pearl necklace and dress!

Agnes is sporting the bracelet, next to Sylvia, then Susan, Ellen, in back Jody, Viola, DeeAnn and Emily Rose.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Girlfriends and Memories

Memories of Istanbul that is....Here are Judy of Judy Patuti and Susan from the Grove (Swellsknits) who came for a visit yesterday.  We played with beads all day, stopping to pose with a shot of the bracelet.  Miss Maya is not one to miss out hopping into the chair for a little pet, so once again she is posed with the 'crown'.

Pop over to Susan's blog to see the next thing I think Miss Malayna needs in her wardrobe.  Isn't that a darn cute little skirt and looks like a pretty easy knit.  I got stalled on Malayna's latest sweater due to some technical challenges and some lack of time.  I'm not sure if I'll pick it back up in time for it to fit her.  I've moved on, and am thinking lace dress might be next up, we'll see.

Susan and Judy weren't originally beaders, Judy being darn good with the fabric and Susan a non stop knitter, but they've fallen under the spell and yesterday we worked on a joint project, something pretty and sparkly. Judy brought me my new favorite bead mat (I did not beg, I promise), from this years collection.  Twice a year Judy picks new fabrics and creates a new collection, and there are several I fall in love with every time....yes I have a few bead mats....and a few thread catchers, butI am a beader after all.

Today I need to be in high gear to get ready for this weekends travel, so I'll leave you until tomorrow, when I'll bring you more adventures of the traveling bracelet!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Traveling Bracelets

The brainstorm of long time beader Sig Wynne Evans, The Amazing Adventures of the Traveling Bracelets is indeed an amazing adventure.

Sig has created ten different bracelets and sent them out in the world to be worn for one week at a time and passed on to the next person.  Her blog tracks the travels of each one and it's great fun to see their journey.  I always marvel at  how inter connected the bead community is and so I watch with interest the number of people I know who are connected to the bracelets. Here you can read how I came to have Memories of Istanbul.

Cynthia who writes her own blog post here, has been a Facebook friend for some years.  When I posted a travel plan that would take me through her hometown earlier this year, she wrote to invite me to stop and we did, and then we did again and now I think we've created a tradition. Cynthia happened to have Memories of Istanbul at the time of our last visit in Morro Bay and as she tells it the sparkle in my eye when I put it on made her decide that I would be next on the list.....really I begged, it's not flattering (Liz knows how I can beg) well I tried to be gracious, it was low-key begging....and this week Memories of Istanbul came to me.   Thanks Cynthia!

And so I will show you pictures of Maya posing and Amy posing and the bracelet will have a fine week here, but before I do, I want to tell you of my quest.  I am so enamored of this idea of the traveling bracelets and the inter-connectedness of the bead world (not mind you that you have to be a beader to participate, but it seems beaders do know one another, worldwide) I got it into my head that I would love to visit with each bracelet during it's travels.  I couldn't decide if that was an appropriate goal, lot's of people would like to have them of course, but they have a lifetime of journeys and so one week stop in San Diego in the scheme of things should be ok.....but I decided it was polite to get Sig's blessing and so I wrote and she's ok with my quest.

It came up when I read A2Susan a long time friend who I first met at the Great Lakes Bead Guild had Caribbean, another of the bracelets.  Susan and I have cruised together and had many a class together.  I restrained myself from begging yet again....but the idea was born.

So....if you have a traveling bracelet and you would like to support my goal of visiting with each one, I promise that I will show it a good time and if you had a special someone you wanted to send it on to, I would be happy to send it on to that person.  I'll think of way to let you know which ones I've had already....perhaps a link on the sidebar, so far I've had only the one, Memories of Istanbul, but I'll keep you posted.

If this is your first introduction to the bracelets, there is a 'sign up' on the comments block of the blog if you would like to participate.

Sig has put a lot of work into tracking the travels and keeping us updated, not to mention making each of the bracelets, and I'd like to thank her for her efforts.

And now, the first photos

Amy Blevins of Glass and Bead Boutique in Ptiman New Jersey came for a visit.  I met Amy when I traveled to Southern New Jersey early this year and again at Bead and Button.  I got to visit her beautifully stocked store and large comfortable class room. Miss Maya always takes the opportunity for a pet when I have visitors.

 Here is Maya, the reluctant model for Memories of Istanbul.

A group of gals I bead with re-arranged their timing and location so that they could have a visit with the traveling bracelet.  I suspect there will be a trip to Balboa park during the week, and then on Thursday I head off to the One Stop Bead Shop in Ohio.  The bracelet will go with me, enjoy the weekend and be passed on to it's next recipient!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Website update

With so many places to keep up with, and the blog and Facebook page being the most dynamic, I had let the website get woefully behind.

Deciding it was time for a major update, I started listing new pieces for workshops.....turns out there were several that had never made it to the website.  We've fixed that...All new since the last update!  

and while we were at it....we added a couple of new kits. Dancing Light and Lilliana are both new. The gold silver Abrege with the stunning center Vintage Capri blue rivoli is down to 5....with no more blue rivolis found this may be a last chance.

Thanks to Mark who is not only making kits, but maintains the site for me!  He does point out that he needs a little direction, so it was entirely my fault the lack of updates, but it's done for now.  We'll be working on more kits during the year so stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Independent Co-Design

When good designs happens, probably more then we imagine, two beaders independently coming up with really similar ideas....and sometimes it ends well.  They travel in the same beady spheres, the work of one gets completed, the other happens to see it and laughter and appreciation for one another's design aesthetic can be shared.

You might look at the sketch on the left and consider that I had drawn it in preparation for the piece on the right.  Yes it morphed along the way, but it's rather similar don't you think?  

The sketch on the left belongs to Beki Haley, the design on the right Vienna was beaded by me.  I never saw Beki's sketch, she never saw my Vienna, until it was done and posted and she wrote me, attaching her sketch. Update, Beki posted her own story here.

So what would have happened if we hadn't known each other, if Beki went on to bead her sketch and posted it.  In Beki's words, we might have gotten 'our knickers in a twist' having thought one or the other was 'highly influenced' but we would have been wrong.  I think the properties of certain stitches lend themselves to certain ways of designing and CRAW, cubic right angle weave lends itself to 'drawing with the beads' to creating curves and angles.  It's natural to change bead sizes along the way and the result is often similar.

When I was making Vienna I was really aiming to make the aqua and gold shape you see here,  only larger.....but when I got half way through the first side, I did what I do, I play with my beadwork and I curved it and joined it and the top half was formed.  The center pendant just appeared in my imagination and I beaded it up without much thought.

Look however at the shape I was trying to make, pretty darn similar to these beautiful earrings that Helen Fountain made.....The shape was the same the bottom in larger beads was the same and then I pinched mine in with one more cubic connection.  I never saw Helen's earrings until she sent me a photo because I'd been extolling the virtues of CRAW on a previous blog entry.

There are certainly occasions where someones work is more derivative then we might be comfortable with, feeling that our hard won design session is benefitting someone else, however I think often multiple people arrive at the same place through bead exploration.  It's nice when we can have a laugh over it and move forward to the next bead design in our sketch books.  Thank you Beki and Helen for being so gracious.


My Cubic Right Angle Weave exploration brought me a new design last week.  I never quite know when a new design will show up.....I don't always set out with something in mind, or even know that I'm in design mode.  Ocassionally I'm just playing with a stitch and it guides me gently in a direction.  Such was the case with Vienna.

Judging from the Facebook page response, its a design that I think many are going to enjoy.  A long piece can be hard to photograph to show all it's parts.  Usually I would lay a piece flat and curl up the necklace so you could see the closure as well, but with chains, hanging the design for it's photo shoot was really the only way to go.  But I love the closure on this, the way the shape is integrated into the rest of the design, so I put together a little collage so you can see the details.  Since I used antique brass pearls in the cubic raw pendant top I chose a 12 mm antique brass pearl with a dorado loch rosen.  The dorado loch rosen is being discontinued this fall, obviously no one asked me about that decision!  I'm bereft.  Ok, perhaps not bereft, I just love that word, but I will miss that beautiful bronze color.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Abrege was published in the December 2011 issue of Perlen Poesie and is the cover photo.

An Kara Sesentayseis posted this lovely version that she beaded on my Facebook wall.

Everything about it is beautiful.  It is clear that An Kara has beautiful workmanship and her color choices here are exquiste.  Thank you An Kara for posting it.  

Mark, as you may know is taking care of kitting for MadDesigns while I remain busy with book writing.  Just last week he kitted the last of the Gold Silver and Capri Blue Abreges.  If you'd like one, now would be the time to order it.

 The Capri blue rivoli is vintage and the last 7 have now been kitted.  That color way will be retired when these 7 are gone.  I have one new color way waiting in the wings for some time to get it's supply list sorted out and parts ordered.  Lilliana's will like be on the website soon, and perhaps a few more new pieces.   

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Alphabet Beads

Spell out Malayna, who is loving her newest bracelet, with sterling silver alphabet beads...

Fun day of being grandparents!

Also spent the day with my 16 year old grandbaby who has become such a beautiful young women. She is smart, funny, thoughtful, caring and kind. An excellent day of family. Today we go watch swim lessons with the little one and then on to visiting some friends. This was our home for 20 or so years, much to do each time we come.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More MadDesigns

I've created a Facebook page for Marcia DeCoster.  It helps to segregate me and MadDesigns a bit.  Family and friends who don't want to see all beads all the time will still go to my people page.

If you're interested you can go to the page and give it a like.  Hovering over the like button and making sure 'show in newsfeed' is checked will insure you'll get to see new posts.

I'll be showing you pretty pictures and updating you on what's new, where I'll be and in general what's going on at MadDesigns. Right now it looks like this.  There are photo albums of work, and a pretty place to peruse kit offerings.  There's links should you wish to purchase a kit.  It's all still in development but I'll be working to make it complete as the days move forward.

I won't abandon you here though.  I hear often how many people come to read on a daily basis, seeing the latest granddaughter knits or photos of Miss Maya along with the beads of course.  Just one more place to visit with you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jewelry for the little one

Malayna's last sweater was very sweet and feminine so I decided at close to 18 months her first jewelry to go with it was in order.
I used alphabet beads and crystals to make a sweet little bracelet.  I guess she's going to be a girly girl because she loves it.

So what's a Grandma to do but make more! This time I have some sterling silver alphabet beads with some pretty little bali spacer beads, oh and some crystal. And this time I'll be delivering it personally! We've planned a visit and I can't wait.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cubic Right Angle Weave

I've been playing with CRAW, making shapes which is an excellent property of this stitch.  It's fluid and pliable and lends itself to both curves and angles.

As you can see I'm not finished, 6 more crystals to wire wrap.  The color is fern ab2x and I love the little brass heishi beads from Tierra Cast.  There's more, a pretty little pearl and crystal studded shape the pendant dangles from and a simple bail.  Next up is sorting out the best necklace, simple, but not entirely plain.  I'll keep you posted, especially when I name it something besides CRAW pendant.  It has an art nouveau look to it, so I'll be looking to that genre for some naming influence.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Design Mode

I've finished up Beads in Motion, well almost, still a few administrative details to attend to and now I'm on to The Bead Within.

I've been playing with cubic raw and I'm liking how it flows.  A piece of cubic raw is so flexible, yet has some heft to it and the combination makes for bits of beadwork that you can 'draw' with.  It will bend into different shapes, make itself into curlicues, lends itself to curves and creates geometry with angles.

Huib Petersen is one of the masters of this technique as is Heather Collin.  I'm just starting to explore it, and incorporated a wee bit into my Beading by the Bay piece.

My next design, the one that is currently in prototype mode uses cubic raw with changes in bead sizes to create interest.  I'm happy so far with the result, but it's at that point.....the how do I connect it to a necklace point.  Always somewhat anxiety producing for me these design cross roads.  Thinking about what direction to take, working out the engineering, the sizing.  Since I typically start with a pile of beads and little to no plan, I don't always see the challenges coming.  The curved top of my piece is an even count.....had it been an odd count the bail I had in mind would have worked better.  Do I overcome the challenge with another plan, or do I remake the entire first element with an odd count?

I don't know either.....I'm going shopping instead...San Diego Bead Bazaar is this weekend and I'm going to go have a wander!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beading by the Bay Project Reveal

A few images from the 2013 Beading by the Bay.  Four years ago, during a drive to Tucson, friend Susan Kazarian and I dreamed up a seed bead retreat on San Francisco Bay.  In 2010 our first Beading by the Bay was held and attended with much enthusiasm.  2013 will be our fourth annual retreat and we'll be bringing you great designs from Sabine Lippert, Huib Petersen and myself.

Huib's Celtic influenced choker is a masterpiece of cubic and triangular interlaced connections.  It's fluid  movement drapes beautifully and would be a pleasure to wear.

It seems that both Sabine and I carried on the theme of Beads in Motion as I surprised myself with Pacific Morning Glory, a bracelet with a stunning focal of ndbele captured between crystal studded bands of raw. Yes it does spin!

Sabine's pendulum features bars of seed beads and ends of embellished pearls and rivolis which all slide within the neckband that captures them.

Besides learning three beautiful project pieces, you will experience the intimacy that comes with a small group of beaders, a beautiful and convenient bay side venue, a fabulous dessert reception and daily lunches in our private dining room.

Registration opens September 15th, and if you joined us last year you may register on September 1st.