Friday, May 31, 2013

Bead and Button time!

Well not quite, but I am in Milwaukee. A long time student and friend extended a lovely invitation to come stay with her a couple of days before Bead and Button. The perfect thing is that it forced me to be ready earlier then I might have been so a couple of days of relaxation have been built into the schedule. Which is why I can sit and bead

While looking out the window at the beautiful greenery of the midwest

I had a somewhat long travel day as I arrived at the airport at 6:15 expecting to get on my 7:30 flight to find that it had been cancelled. I was fortunately re-booked through Chicago on a plane that left at 9:15 but had a 3 hour layover in Chicago, making my previous in time for dinner flight, three hours past dinnertime. I was treated to amazing, dramatic clouds and a bumpy ride on our short flight from Chicago to Milwaukee and those clouds opened up into an impressive storm on our drive home.

I'm relaxing with beads right now and will shortly be treated to a yarn outing starting at my favorite River Boutique! Tonight we'll manage dinner together and then a little more yarn outing tomorrow before I arrive at the Milwaukee Area Technical College to set up for the Master Class. I'm very happy to be at the beginning of the end of this journey and to see how it all plays out and what glorious things will be created.

As of now, teaching is Sunday through Friday and every night and lunch and a couple of breakfasts are spoken for. However I will take photos and share with you along the way. So many friends to catch up with, beads to admire, so much shopping to be done, it's going to be a very good week and it is starting off wonderfully.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Time away from the beads

We took a few days out to visit Santa Cruz, our home of 25 years.  We visited with friends and family, surprising Granddaughter Sam on her 17th birthday and spending time with Malayana who at two changes so much every month we want to keep up!

Grandpa and Malayna sharing a few moments at the park.  Doesn't he look happy?  And of course Sam at 17 who is such a young lady.  First cousins, Sam and Malayna share the DeCoster red hair.  When Mark was young he had red hair and a red beard!

Also on the visit list were Rachel, Colin and baby Maryam.  It was wonderful to share in their happiness.  Baby Maryam is an exact replica of  Rachel, no mistaking who that baby belongs to!

We took a ride up the coast on route one as far as half moon bay.  The day was perfection with gentle ocean breezes and sunshine as we passed the beautiful beaches along the way.  We stopped at an RV and campground right on the California coast a few miles north of Davenport.  It looks like a beautiful spot for an airstream outing where family can join us in their  own cabins.  

It was rejuvenating and time well spent and now, back to the beads with one week until Bead and Button and my first Master Class 'Playing with Possibilities'.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lots of gold

I didn't want to go unadorned to bead and button of course and friend Susan who has made multiple Serena's agreed with me. so she made me a double wide Serena in gold aurum!

Isn't it spectacular?

Serena is a project in Beaded Opulence, one of my favorites! I have a double wide black one as well.

And speaking of books, the publisher usually gets a preview copy of a new book. Beads in Motion came last week. It appears it turned out excellent....Lot's of fun pieces to bead, some whimsical, some elegant,all wearable.

It will release in early August and I look forward to seeing which pieces you fall in love with.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm beading

Sometimes you just have to bead when the mood strikes, even if it is in the middle of Bead and Button class preparation.  All I want to do is bead.

As I packaged up some hammered gold rings I contemplated what a nice earring they would make, when I got to the filigree I decided I had to bead this pair of earrings right there and then.

A little Gilders paste on the filigree tied the coloring to the beadwork.  I love these Tierra Cast Earwires that give me the opportunity to add a little color at the top of the ear ring as well.

It's nice when a beaded earring works with another piece in your beaded wardrobe with being an exact match.   This pair works particularly well with this Crystal Collage.  All set for summer!

I haven't yet decided if Crystal Collage will be among the still is pretty classic for an eight year old design.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Last week I updated you on my book status.....and the fact that the business model will be changing a bit.

During our spring sale many of our kits sold out entirely (there are a few left).  Some I will not be kitting again.  On that list right now are Urchin lariat, Birds of Paradise, Aurelia and most likely Lilliana.

Some may get kitted in new colors....and there will be some entirely new designs as well.

So for the time being the store may seem a bit empty, but rest assured new designs are coming!  And they are exciting.  It will take a bit of time as we write directions and make up samples.

Some of course will be reserved for teaching.  Right now that list includes Pacific Morning Glory, Aelia, Cassandra and Vienna.

Pacific Morning Glory




We'll also take a look at the soon to be released Beads in Motion and decide if some of the projects there are kit worthy.  I know often it is hard to source all of the materials necessary and people appreciate being able to buy them all together.  I have some favorites of course and we'll be looking at those.  Victorian Slide Bracelet is one that seems to have evoked a positive response, at least with one beader!  So I'll be looking at that.

Victorian Slide Bracelet

I especially love the little Tierra Cast Metal beads which cap the ends of the slides, and platinum pearls are pretty much my current favorite.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Playing with fish leather

I know, eeewww fish leather, really? is the first thing that comes to mind.  But this is processed and has no fishy smell at all.  The hand is flexible and the surface can be shiny or matte, but you might  have noticed somewhere along the line I tend towards shiny.

I picked mine up a couple of years ago in Tucson and set it aside.  We all have the set aside purchases right?  The things we purchased with a full vision of inspiration and then we came home and put it aside and life took over.  Tell me you know?

Agnes was over last week and had a plan to use her fish leather with filigree and some beadwork.  So I guess I was unduly influenced and went in search of my fish leather stash.  The filigree had been sitting in my 'odd bin' stash, the stuff you don't know where else to put it away, and it was the perfect patina and shape (if only I knew where I purchased it....)  I bent it into the cuff shape, drilled a hole in the center and attached it to the leather with crystal sequins.

Two Spirit flight components, one with cold aurum 2 mm crystals are nested together with a corrugated brass center.

Green ultra suede was cut the shape of the fish leather and a bit of bead embroidery was added to the edge...since this one is for me I chose to use 2 mm gold aurum crystals on each point of the picot edging.  It has quite a lot of sparkle!

I think it will go nicely with my simple black dress and my matching earrings. The earrings incorporate two of the master class components, Spirit Flight (same as the cuff) and Carousel.  The top bit behind the bezeled rivoli is a small version of the carousel ladder done with size 11's and 6 spines.  The versatility of the repeatable thread path.

And when I'm not wearing this cuff I have another Serena made with gold seed beads and 3 mm gold aurums, courtesy of vbff Susan who didn't want me to go to Bead and Button looking bead impoverished.  It is stunning and I'll show you soon!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sometimes I knit

Recently I finished this mohair scarf in a hot pink which feels heavenly wrapped around my neck.  If there is a chill in the air I can warm up by having something at my neck.  I always travel with some form of neck warmer when I'm flying since temperature regulation can be iffy.  This will fit the bill nicely.

While digging in the yarn room for my next project I came across this felted purse which I am going to put back into circulation.  I love the colors and the fanciful bit of beadwork at the sides.  Since my bead teaching uniforms are mostly black a bright spot of color is always suitable.  A pair of earrings to match would be excellent but I'm not sure the time budget will allow for that.  

Today I am resting up after catching a bit of a cold.  I hope to nip it in the bud with a day of knitting (a cabled slouch hat) relaxing in the hot tub and drinking tea.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Finding Balance

I let myself get a little overwhelmed with too many commitments in too short a time frame and I was missing some of the joy of the life I've created with beads.  That is not to say I haven't loved the things I've been doing.  I always look forward to Beading by the Bay, the March retreat I do with Susan in San Francisco.  It is a long weekend of laughter, and a chance to be with my colleagues as well.  This year Huib and Sabine and I spent some fabulous time together.

This was followed by a a two day trek with lots more fun and laughter down to San Diego where I hosted a Sabine workshop in my home.  Again a wonderful, electric time.  I love hosting artists in my home as I have a houseful of friendly beaders by day and a chance to share more special quiet time with my guest bead artist.  It is something I can see myself doing more of going forward.

During all this time I was preparing for the June Bead and Button master class as well as working on projects for a third book.  It got to be a lot of keeping up, with every day having demands that needed to be met.

This is not a complaint at all, I am very fortunate to live the life I do and I was heartily reminded of this when I traveled to New Hampshire last week and got to share my time with so many wonderful beaders.  I do love to be out and about in the world connecting with other beaders, it is always very energizing.

I took a hard look at what could change to insure that I still had time to be creative and to enjoy special times with my husband and family.  With that in mind, and with the second book 'Beads in Motion' complete and due to be released this August, I have decided that a third book is not where I can best spend my time.

I've let go of completing 'The Bead Within' as a book, however many of the projects that I am so happy with will soon be making their way to a teaching venue near you or to the website in the form of kits and in some cases tutorials.  That will be new for me and I will be thinking through how that part of things will work.

(It occurred to me that this might sound like I don't take my commitments seriously, and I can assure you that I take them very seriously.  Adding to this decision were some changes in the publishing world that impacted revenues, so there was a component to this decision that had to do with financial viability as well.)

In the meantime some of the older kits will be retired to make room in the studio for newer projects.  Since I've been enamored of cubic raw lately and since size 15 cubic raw might present a challenge, I will be offering some of these projects as 'advanced' kits for those of you who enjoy that challenge.  I have some simpler and pretty projects as well.

These pieces will be among those that will be added to my teaching workshops in the near future.

I will keep a fairly full travel schedule, traveling to some of my favorite places in the world and visiting with some of my favorite people.

I believe I've found appropriate balance and look forward to seeing many of you in my travels.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Designer weekend at Bead Creative

Designer weekend is what I like to think of classes that give students the freedom to make their own design choices.  Some of my designs like Under the Mast are pretty specific without much room for adding one's own design voice.  Having said that it is still a delightful piece which is personalized by placing one's own message beneath the crystal.  There is just not a lot of opportunity for changing things up.

Aelia on the other hand can be made to look different depending on the myriad of choices when selecting beads for the medallion and the bottom drop as well as variations that can be incorporated into the necklace.

This is probably my favorite kind of design to teach and this past weekend was no exception.

This one belongs to Carolyn and the coloration is just gorgeous!

Below is Natasha's carousel.  She used colors from one of my Rising Sun's as influence, but the translucent ab orange was really an excellent touch as were the turquoise stones rather then pearls.

Edi, made a lacier version of the back medallion for Aelia and added the line of pale orange seeds that frame the side rondelles.

Kristin came to class wearing this beautifully done gemstone necklace with accents of silver.  She was inspired by Amphora in Bead Opulence and although after she told me that I can see the influence, however I think it was a mere jumping off point for her own design aesthetic which is very elegant.

Springtime in New England included views of Forsythia 

and meals of lobster!

Since I had such an excellent time I will be returning in October of 2014, the 10th, 11th and 12th to be exact.  Classes have already been picked and scheduled!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Return to Blogging!

Yes,  I've been absent from the blog and I realize there are those of you who have enjoyed my daily ramblings over the years.  When I'm out and about talking to beaders I come to realize that I have engaged in a relationship with many of you through the blog.

I was truly reminded of this when Judy, one of the six Massachusetts girls (I grew up in Mass.) came to class this weekend bringing a tray of donut muffins!  Referencing a blog from a few years back, they have now become popular in her family.  Despite my commitment to healthy eating there was no way I could resist and I loved every bite.  There needs to be room for the occasional treat.

I feel the connection to each of you deeply and I just got a little lost in the amount of tasks that I had committed myself to.  I've done some work to prioritize and build some more creative time into my schedule and am feeling back in balance.

This past weekend I spent in New Hampshire at Bead Creative.  This was my third time and I am happy to report that I have many repeat students who have become friends, and I met a few new ones as well.

A highlight of this trip and there were many.....was meeting Nancy Dale for the first time.  I 'met' Nancy in 2010 on line and have been a fan of her work.  I saw Dryad, a Bead Dreams finalist a few years back but other then that I have had to admire her work in photos.

Nancy and husband Sherwood drove from their Vermont home to Hampton Falls and she kindly brought some of her finished work for me to admire.  I didn't take photos, because Sherwood does it so beautifully I didn't want to diminish any of the pieces, but I did try on 'October's Goddess' and Sherwood captured it.

One of the things I love about Nancy's work is the asymmetry that she has mastered so well.  On the right there are two russian leaves with bead embroidery on the left there are one.  I know that I may have been tempted to go with two and two or three and three and Nancy's choice was much more effective.

I arrived back after a long day of travel delays, and now I will be turning my full attention to the Bead and Button Master Class preparations.  I am so looking forward to this class because I am incredibly excited about the concept and about teaching process rather then project.  

Once home from Bead and Button my focus will be on illustrating new projects and making some new kits available on the website.  Until then though I have lot's to share with you, so look forward to a return to full time blogging!

Monday, May 6, 2013


Save is a really useful tool and if I had used it you would be reading a nice long blogpost about my excellent weekend....

Instead you will have to wait until tomorrow, today I will be flying.