Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beading your Surroundings

Jean Campbell did an interesting post on the beads that surround you. Being the evening before I leave for the Bead Unique retreat and as of yet unshowered...and not quite ready, my photography did not capture every image I might have liked to,

But here are a few of my beady surroundings...Great topic Jean, I think that with which we surround ourselves does influence us

A Zebra? A Horse? From Monkey Biz, purchased at ABC home in New York

Huichol Bowl purchased in Manzanillo Mexico

Palm Tree Candelabra wrapped with plastic beads purchased in Solana Beach

Lampworked knitting needles, Greg Hanson

Beaded Dollface, gifted from Annie Hesse

A few of my favorites, although there are more and perhaps another time. For now, I must tuck myself in and get ready for my 4:00 a.m. wake up call. Tahoe awaits and I'm ready to get excited.

Haute Handbags

My friend Val is published this month in Haute Handbags.

Her work is incredibly artisitic and the workmanship is noneless then perfect. Attention to every tiny little detail, the finished product is always spectacular. She not only does handbags, but children's clothes and now adult clothes as well out of recycled materials. Go have a look!

I leave tomorrow for Lake Tahoe at 4:30 ish. When you live South of Los Angeles and you must go North of Los Angeles on a weekday, the only way to do it is to get ahead of the commute I likely will not see you tomorrow morning, but look for lot's of fun reports from the retreat!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's going to be cold

Or so I hear. The Lake Tahoe forecast is calling for snow showers, which would be totally awesome for me, if it would kindly wait until I am done driving. I grew up in Massachusetts, so I know snow and even driving in snow, but I would prefer to not rekindle my driving relationship with snow on a mountain road.

Now once there, I get to bring my wool things to wear.

An opportunity to wear Kiri

Or my slouch

or Satine

In contrast to my 90+ Julian weekend, I'm going to love the contrast! Perhaps I better think about what I'm packing soon.....Right after I finish a few more kits.....

Monday, September 28, 2009


Yep, ready for a big week, but fortified with a wonderful weekend of laughter, friendship, beads and good cooking. The five of us stayed in a gorgeous log home in Julian, thanks to a colleague of Judy's who gave us the gift of her home for the weekend.

The trend was towards beading, although we did cast on our Out of the Box sweater and made good progress, it is far from done.

We did however each complete a pair of Terracita earrings, and began work on 'Under the Mast'. Its great to debut a class among friends, to pin down the timing and observe where the teaching difficulties might present themselves. This is the second colorway that I did.

We also observed the wildlife who came to feed on the back patio.

And discovered that the flap on our judipatuti beading mats make a great coaster.

Next on the list is the Bead Unique Retreat in Lake Tahoe. We're driving on Thursday, 9 1/2 hours from San Diego! Three full days of fun and then home to get ready for Miami and then.....well let's just say it's a busy fall.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Off to Julian

I'm taking a vacation, yes I did just do that in Santa Barbara for two days, but this one is an annual retreat with my girls. We're going back to Julian to play with yarn and beads and eat and be merry for 3 days! Susan is making New England Clam Chowder, I am making waffles and egg salad (not for the same meal) Val is making dinner and Gail is bringing Quiche and Judy will bring all manner of snacks....we will not go hungry.....or thirsty for that matter, with each bringing wine for dinner and their own favorite pre-dinner cocktail.

The plan is to make this, Out of the Box Sweater

Mine will be pink, which I continue to insist is not the color I picked, but I am told I did and Susan has proof in writing apparently. It is 3 stitches to the inch on size 10 1/2 needles, supposedly a weekend knit, we'll see.

Because we also have beading planned. The girls would like to learn 'Under the Mast' now fondly called 'Shipwrecked' because Gail couldn't remember the proper name. I'm interested to teach them as it was accepted for next year's Bead and Button and it's always a good idea to understand where the teaching challenges might lie.

There's also a trip to Mountain Beadworks planned. We stopped by last year and it's an excellent bead store, lot's of pretty shiny crystal, and according to Patty's latest newsletter, lot's of new czech glass. We're going for the weekend, but Julian is an achievable day trip from San Diego, so if you're looking for an excellent outing that involves beads, this just may be it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


My friend Arlene is doing the most amazing feltwork. I got to visit the studio today and see her latest wearable art, a lavender tunic which is stunningly beautiful. So soft and textural and artistic, yes, if only I had taken a picture, heh? But I will wait until she picks the perfect outfit to compliment it, then take a picture as she models it.
In the meantime.....I picked this out. A trade for helping finish a sweater. Having artistic friends is the best!

Don't you think it just totally suits me? I love it!

And you may be noticing my hair is a tad longer and has, egads....product in it. My stylist daughter convinced me if I am to survive the growing out phase that product is required, so here it is with spray wax, imagine, but I am liking it so far.

Going public with my hair growing is risky as it has the potential to expose my fickleness......we'll see!


Color, such an important and personal component of an artists life.....I've had the good fortune to know quite a few folks whose knowledge of color has enhanced my beading life. For the most part I like to think I work intuitively..... but with guidance, and the further I explore, the more guidance I seek.

A few years back I was pleased to be asked by Margie Deeb to participate in her book 'The Beader's Color Pallete which is an excellent book.

Margie was always gracious with her knowledge and time and spoke to me on the phone as I contemplated writing my first book. Given the excellent quality of books Margie produces I was grateful for her input.

Margie has just released her 2009 Fall Color Report and in her usual fashion it is an excellently done publication with a huge amount of color information and inspiration. If you are looking to enhance your color story this will definitely be useful to you.

Next year in March 2010 Margie will be one of the featured artists on the 'Bead Cruise' sponsored by Humblebeads, Heather Powers. This would be an excellent chance for you to spend some solid time exploring your color sense with an expert! Margie Deeb, Mary Hettsmanperger, Barb Switzer, Beverly Herman and Melanie Brooks! Hard to go wrong with a line up like that. Then throw in a cruise with stops in the Virgin Islands....sigh, I have too many conflicts to make it this year, but with that group of artists all in one place I will be sorry to miss it!
And on a final note of appreciation, I am so honored to say that I have, in my travels, met everyone of the artists above and consider myself incredibly fortunate to have spent time with each of them. It's a good life I lead and I am grateful!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bead Mats!

My friend judipatuti (real name Judy) designed a wonderful bead mat. Judy was indoctrinated into the year of the bead with the rest of my knitting friends when they volunteered to come help me kit and quickly realized the appeal of shiny little objects.

Although all amazing artists in different mediums they had yet to fully explore beads and beadweaving. So in exchange for their kitting help a little instruction was given and they were off!

Gail the painter among us and the most organized of the bunch (I know you're reading, but you do all know it's true) helped come up with her ideal mat. Judy was open to the input, created a prototype, received more feedback and the design was complete! We all picked whimsical, fun, bright coordinated fabric for our own personal mats and Judy accommodated.

This is mine and it's as fashionable as it is practical.
It rolls up neatly around a box to hold your project and beads

Accommodates extra bead tubes, as well as providing pockets for your needles, scissors and what have you, with an extra cover to protect them from falling out

Has a clever strap of fabric to feed through the hole in your beading thread

And of course provides a beading surface

Judy is Brilliant!

Beading by the Bay!

Announcing Beading by the Bay, the inaugural beading retreat on San Francisco Bay!

Good things come in Threes....

Three nationally recognized Bead Artists, Three stunning seed bead projects, Three fabulous days of bead goodness.

Join Maggie Meister, Jean Campbell and Marcia DeCoster for this great event, March 12-14, 2010

Each of the artists have completed a unique piece of wearable art exclusive to the Beading by the Bay retreat.

Seen here, Marcia's Descending Night, Maggie's Laksmi, Jean's Lillium

Susan Kazarian, owner of The Beading Frenzy and co-promoter of the successful Hooked on Wire retreats, has been a friend since my early days of teaching and beading. On a trip earlier this year we developed the plan the offer a similar retreat experience for those among us who love weaving with that precious little shiny glass object, the seed bead!

We immediately shared our vision with Jean and Maggie and asked them to be part of this wonderful experience.

To register or to learn more, visit us at

Monday, September 21, 2009

Crystallized Birkenstocks

Crystallized Birkenstocks, which just might be an oxymoron.....I'm pretty sure my daughters would say so, not yet realizing the necessity of shoes that are comfortable vs shoes that are fashionable.

But with these I think I've managed both, at least in my world. I love these.

Kellie DeFries of invited me to her home studio and graciously schooled me in the ways of applying crystal. It takes some getting used to, applying just the right amount of glue, choosing the size and lining up the crystals....let's just say, it's a good thing they are on my feet and won't be subject to close inspection. But all in all, I pretty much love them.

Here's Kellie with baby shoes she crystallized for a client.

Kellie is a master of this technique, going so far as to crystallize her license plate, the logo on her Range Rover, the interior of her car, and just about anything you can think of. She is accurate and fast and makes it appear way easier then it is to do it well. She gets micro-detail even breaking 7ss crystals when needed to enhance the detail.

Her Mac, crystallized of course!

And not only is she talented, but is sweet and gracious and hospitable. I had a grand time making these under her accomplished guidance. Thank you Kellie!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Your regularly scheduled morning blog is being interrupted by a trip to the landscape arhcitect to review plans followed by a trip to the ninja of crystallization to finish blinging my Birdenstocks! Ta ta! See you tomorrow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Does anyone know the source of these little beauties? They were purchased somewhere in Germany I believe and seem to be a hard plastic...

The fun striping would make them an ideal design element in a number of fun ways. Anyone?

Black and White

My newest color way complimenting Heather Trimlett beads.

Last night Heather delivered 18 sets of 4 colorways to be made up into kits for Miami and Dallas venues! Ringlets are a satisfying little bit of beadwork. Just the way I like it, not too hard, endlessly changeable and fun to wear. It's always fun to see what variations others come up with so I look forward to teaching these 3 times this fall! They will have their Bellevue debut as well at Quiltworks Northwest.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


While we were in Santa Barbara we stopped into a store with a huge collection of unrelated stuff and the name was Random. At Random we found a chrome pedestal sink with a glass bowl which we bought for our eventual master bathroom remodel. First of all it is a rare event when Mark and I both instantly agree on a decision like that with no angst, and add to that it was a purchase for a future day? Truly out of character for him, must have been vacation. It reminds me of the commercial with the faucet and the women saying to the architect 'I want you design a house around this'. But I ramble, the point was, this is a random post.

I finally got the cord out and removed my 227 iphone photos onto my computer, so randomly, here are a few

Miss Maya in her newest dogbed, the combined work of Susan (knitted edging) and Judy (fabric liner) she is such a pampered dog, a custom bed in every room

My palm tree candle collection in my dining room

My newly registered plates, MadDesigns

A pretty fountain in Santa Barbara. Our house is art deco style so this is not likely the style we will choose for our water feature, but it is pretty....

Today is all about finishing up directions, writing the supply lists and readying for kit production on 3 new bracelets. I truly need to get ahead of the curve here as October is a busy month, all fun, but busy. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Use the Muse!

Seeing all the fun going on in Use the Muse I and II, I decided that I needed to join in Use the Muse III. This is a design competition brought to us by Scarlet Lansen of the Beaders Muse. Scarlett conceived of the competition to bring together a community of beaders who might not otherwise compete in some of the larger and perhaps more intimidating venues. And by the caliber of the entries I think she has drawn on a very talented group of beaders. It has been great fun to meander through all of the entries in 'The Big Reveal' and see the diversity of design work being done, all with one common element, the Muse.

Yesterday my kit arrived, beautifully put together with an inspired color pallette....and although it is beautiful, the Muse immediately spoke to me in a different way. I was surprised by this, having at least some trepidation that I would be stricken with bead block, unable to design within the constraints of a given component and in the time allotted....worrisome....

I received my kit with the arrival of postman around noon, and could barely contain myself while finishing up some directions. I then went to the seed bead wall and pulled this pallette together and began beading.

So I too will be part of the next Big Reveal.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Instant Gratification

Beadweaving is not usually associated with instant gratification....

But a felt ball, a pile of little sparklies, a mesh necklace....and you can have a charming little bauble in no time.

Yesterday was a fun day, crazy busy, but still fun. Starting with a trip to Kellie DeFries studio for some crystallizing. Kellie is the queen of crystallization, who I first met at a Talmadge art show a few years back. We crossed paths again in Tucson where she won an award from Swarovski for her fabulous crystallized artwork which fully covered a laptop. There is something about crystallized technology that I love. Many of Kellie's pieces are her original artwork, painted beautifully onto the object to be crystallized and then overlayed with crystals. And the results are gorgeous. I'm crystallizing my Birkenstocks and am entirely enamored with the process. (So enamored in fact that I neglected to take pictures of the darling Kellie, and the many artistic touches in her lovely home) But I'm going back and if I don't lose my mind once again, I'll have pictures for you next time.

From Kellie's,it was onto the Grove where folks came by to have a look at many of the pieces from the book, and to have their books signed by me. If you missed that event and would still love a signed book, there are several at the Grove, all signed by me, so head over. Several of the book projects will remain there are a couple of more weeks before they go on the road with me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Unfortunately after naming this piece for an outing to Turkey, I wasn't able to go. But the name lived on and here is one that my friend Judy completed for her daughter.

This is Judy's second one and prior to this she had not done any beadweaving. Certainly not right angle weave (ssshhhhh....I didn't tell her that some people find right angle weave a tad more difficult to learn, it's not really) Susan, Gail and Val all have Cappadocia Cuffs as well and some day I will capture them on film. They all did an excellent job.

It's a great project to start on because the right angle weave base is done in 3 mm fire-polished beads with a 4 mm edge to give it the flair. Alternating rows of size 15 and size 8 embellishment give it structure.

We chose to replace the Terracita medallion clasp shown in the book version

with a bezeled rivoli (also in the book, but on the Twilight bracelet)

I think it's an excellent variation!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book Signing!

I'll be signing Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence at the Grove, in South Park San Diego this Sunday, Sept 13th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. So if you live in or near San Diego and would like a copy of the book, I have them! And I'll sign it and give you the bonus 'Doing Business' pattern.

Many of the actual book pieces will be there for your viewing pleasure so if you're curious about a piece come have a look.

Also at the Grove, beads, seed beads AND Crystal! Lot's of crystal, I do like my sparkle.

Susan co-owner of the Grove and supplier of beautiful yarns has been endeared to the beads as well and will be teaching a free stitch marker class at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday Sept 12th before Saturday's Clapotis knit along. If you don't know Clapotis, it is a viral knit, made popular by and knit by about a million people. I was quite sure I wasn't going to be one of the million, but....ahem, I bought the yarn last week. Assured by my knitterly friends that it was a hugely fun knit and I really did need to own one (I am my own person, I am my own person.....) I am a lover of nice tools and nice stitch markers, pretty little sparkly ones, well it makes for happy knitting.

And Sept 20th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Susan will be teaching the wonderful Medici Drop earrings from the book.

You must own a copy of the book (available at the Grove) and purchase your parts at the Grove, but the class will be free! So come make a pair or two. Samples will be at the Grove this week so you can choose a variation that suits you. You'll be amazed at how quickly they make up and how impressed your friends will be with your talent. And might I add, they make a sensational gift!


It's finished and I'm in love! This version of the Portico bracelet is destined for Beads by Blanche (in today's mail) and I'll be sad to see it go off....cause pretty much it's my new favorite piece. It's often like that when I finish something, I love it best for awhile, but some pieces stand out even beyond that initial lust that comes with the finishing and I'm pretty sure this is one of those!

I love the colors, the extra little detailing around each of the ellipse interiors, the beautifully faceted center fancy stone, did I mention I kind of love this piece.

And if you love it too, I'm teaching it at Beads by Blanche in New Jersey. I'm also teaching it at Creative Castle in California, so you have two coasts to choose from.

I'll also be signing my book, Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence at both venues, so come join the fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Birthday!

We've had a wonderful two day holiday which ends on Mark's birthday. The love of my life for the last 25 years, I celebrate this day with him and look forward to many more. We love being together, at home, or on the road, time spent with one another is the best. He is so comfortable, easy, supportive, calm, the one who is always there for me.

I love you sweetheart!

Santa Barbara - room with a view!

I previously blogged about my view room in Alaska. See I'm a bit of a hotel snob, I like a nice view and I really appreciate a nice room to go along with it. When Mark presented me with some Santa Barbara options gleaned from the Internet, I called one and asked about the view for the published rate. It turned out that rate was a first floor, further back, no view. I didn't miss a beat when advised of the 2nd floor harbor view option with the higher rate. Altough we'll both travel at the drop of hat, we do have substantially different styles about accommodations. But since this is a two day holiday including his birthday, I won out.

And not only is there a private balcony from which to enjoy the view, the room is beautiflly furnished with contemporary furnishings, flat panel tv, nice linens, crown molding and granite in the bathroom. And it's big, exactly my kind of room!

I spent time relaxing and beading yesterday (See that extra bit of detail inside the curve of the ellipse, pretty, heh?)

before a lovely dinner out within walking distance, followed by a stroll along the harbor and a sit in the hottub. Officially a nice day.

Monday, September 7, 2009


On our way to Santa Barbara, we were treated to the site of these
gorgeous dahlias planted in the unlikliest of places the border of a
gas station. So refreshing when someone takes the time to create

Sunday, September 6, 2009


We spent the weekend in Santa Cruz attending a lovely wedding, visiting with friends and family. On our way back to San Diego we're spending a couple of days in Santa Barbara. Two days of luxury and relaxation, which we are looking forward to.

Today I fit in a bit of beading and developed a new element to the diamond and ellipse series...I'm now calling it a 'series' since I continue to play with the possibilities...'series' has a nice ring to it and helps me to justify the endless fascination I am having with the shape. I'll take pictures soon, it's rather pretty, all gold and silver and sapphire blue....lovely....and had I remembered my camera's memory stick I'd share (I'm quite short on memory these days, camera and otherwise) , but as it turns out I believe it was left in the computer at home, so you'll need to wait a bit more.

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure as we contemplate our approaching landscape project, we're looking through photos from Balboa Park in San Diego. A water feature is a definite consideration.

And these are quite beautiful.

Next post, Santa Barbara!


Saturday, September 5, 2009

where it all began!

Rachel and I in front of Bead It in Santa Cruz