Sunday, January 31, 2010


Sometimes a design sneaks up when you're not looking....Aurelia was like that. I didn't have this in mind, not even a suggestion of it's final form, but it took shape one medallion at a time. At first it wanted to be a necklace, but as the connections were formed it turns out a bracelet was in the works! I like bracelets because I get to visually enjoy them myself.

A close up

Unfortunately this one will be enjoyed until tomorrow morning when it gets mailed off to it's photo shoot. But once I get a few minutes a second will be beaded, and a third.

I'm preparing my visual shopping list for Tucson, so I must get to it!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ocean Trees Ring

Aptly named, my Ocean Trees Ring arrived in my mailbox yesterday while I was out and about. Coming home to such a surprise was wonderful!

How did I get so fortunate as to receive such a treat, I'm not sure, it may have been that while I witnessed the first Ocean Trees Ring being made I went on and on and on about how much I loved it.....I guess I'm often not so subtle.

So Jeannette Cook, fellow bead artist, friend and neighbor made me my very own. The packaging, the presentation, the ring, all truly artistic. I'll never be able to part with the pretty little grey box, a Moo card hang tag adding splashes of color to the front.

And then the driftwood, signed and dated......

And then the ring which fits like a dream and is comfortable, can't wait to wear this one out in public.

I love it Jeannette!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Design Morph

Does this happen to you? I started out wanting to make a second double batted screwt bail,

which then decided that perhaps it would be a necklace, but during the necklace construction, a better bracelet presented itself. It's one of the wonders/pitfalls of component design. Make several components and it's easy to play with different design concepts. Only this one is on a deadline and the playing must cease and a design must emerge...soon.

It's one of the top questions people ask....'where do you get your design inspiration?' 'how do you move through the design process' and the answer is not so simple. For me there are many paths. This particular one started with a class with Kate McKinnon and a little ndebele screwt. Playing with the screwt I got a medallion, but it needed a top, so I stitched up a round medallion and sewed it to the top of the ndebele and got this very sweet component. Then I stitched up two smaller ones and played with arrangement. Next I will probably (there are no guarantees in this process) create two more smaller medallions (they need a name, Rachel? Kate? I never think up names like Screwt or O. Berstein) and connect them and design a closure of some sort and a new bracelet will be born. I love the dimensionality of these little muffin tops.

Ok, back to the design table.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Love this cover! None other then Ms Rachel, who in her usual fashion did not only 1 but 3 cuffs for the cover of Beadwork. Looks like my favorite bronze matched up with aqua, cobalt and pink and looks like it would be super comfortable to wear.

And should you want to, Rachel graciously made up kits for each of these pretty cuffs.

Now I'm off to finish up some deadline beading so that perhaps tomorrow you will have pictures!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Monkeys and birds and rhino's, oh my

San Diego has an excellent zoo. Yesterdays mild weather made for a great outing and lots of good picture taking.

I've always loved the excellent birds....

and the monkeys

and who could resist these two sleeping rhinos, I think they look like they are peacefully in love

and quite the pretty flamingos

We bought a zoo membership, they make the decision incredibly easy. With that days ticket stub you can buy a years membership for two, for an additional $49, how could you not?

Today I return from 'vacation' and get ready for Tucson shopping. I'll be getting all the supplies for my Beading by the Bay, Descending Nights. Lots of pretty fire polish and filligree and chain, plus a few other kit supplies best shopped for in Tucson.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I'm back from a wonderfully rejuvenating weekend. I live in San Diego so I don't know why I've never been to Ojai before. It is 3 hours and 20 Minutes North of me and 12 miles inland from the coastal town of Ventura.

The mountain views were beautiful, there were tree lined streets, a charming downtown with several artistic shops, and on Sunday an amazing farmers market.

We bought sage cheese and buttery olive oil and blistered almonds and pink lady apples...

We stayed at the Blue Iguana which in itself was charming

and then we took a walk over to the Emerald Iguana which was more secluded, quieter and closer to town. I would pick that next time and I'm sure there will be a next time.

Leaving Ojai we cut over to the coast avoiding LA traffic and took a leisurely drive to the Getty Villa, a replica of the Roman villa 'Villa de Papiri' which had been buried during the eruption of Vesuvius and subsequently excavated. The grounds and the art were breathtaking.

This a a fountain pool in the inner peristyle made of marble and lined with statues.

This picture shows two fountains in the East Garden and a nicely crafted masonry wall.

Since we are about to begin a landscape project including fountains, gardens and a masonry wall it was an inspirational visit.

And, I beaded....I'm beading a piece for Margie Deeb's spring color report. I started out with one vision and as often happens ended up moving in an entirely different direction. Pictures when the piece has developed far enough along that design decisions are willing to stay put.

Today the zoo!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


My new hat from miss fitt, love it! Ojai is a charming, artistic town.
It's quite cold at the moment, but the sun is shining!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review

Michelle Mach, a published jewelry designer and writer, as well as an aspiring crocheter, knitter, scrapbooker, potter, and mixed media artist wrote a review of 'Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence' and I mention it here because I was thrilled with the thoroughness of her report. Michelle being an editor, it was well written, and I was gratified to see that she mentioned the very essence of what I was trying to do with the book. Showcase the stitches versatility while providing a range of doable projects within the different ways of using Right Angle Weave, and dispelling the fear of RAW that some experience.

And she does it with humor 'Marcia's version of these earrings are State Dinner; mine (pictured here) are Senior Prom.'

I love her version!

Given that I did all of my own illustration for the book I appreciated her reference to the instructions and drawings being easy to follow. I have Jean Campbell to thank for the easy to follow part, she is a master at bringing clarity to the written word.

Thank you Michelle! I hope you go on to make more projects from the book.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wild Wild Weather

It was, crazy, huge winds, light up the sky lightening, thunderous thunder, rainbows and gully washers, we had it all this week. It was perfect perfect knitting weather and I've done my share.

Tomorrow we will drive to Ojai, a wonderful (by reputation, I haven't been) artistic town inland from Ventura.

My guest this week accompanied me on my maiden California voyage with a two year old and all my possessions in a 1967 Dodge (it was 1981). Our cross country trek took seven days including a few highlights like the St Louis zoo, the Grand Canyon and Disneyland. On our way up the coast, after having left Disneyland we stayed in Ventura at the Pierpoint Inn and it's still there. I think a nostalgic visit may be in order.

Blogging could be intermittent, but I'll take beautiful pictures and report on the Ojai visit next week.

Enjoy a creative weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beading by the Bay

I'm happy to report that Beading by the Bay is filling up nicely. One of the many retreat highlights will be a visit from a Swarovski representative who will give us a trends presentation during the retreat.

It has been so wonderful to note the familiar names as registrations come in. So many folks that I've come to enjoy in past classes.

One of the things I love about this job is the countrywide relationships I've formed. There are folks coming from Alaska, in fact you might remember this post yep my man is coming, well he's Wanda's man actually but my first male student. Beth from Alaska is coming as well and Fae I met in Lake Tahoe, and Katie on a cruise and Chris at Creative Castle, and Nancy and Mona who I've known forever...oh it's going to be fun.

Not to mention a big long weekend of Jean and Maggie, and my dear friend Susan from the Beading Frenzy who is my partner for this retreat. And a shopping trip to San Francisco might know that previous to San Diego, Santa Cruz was my home for 25 years and we 'parked' our boat in San Francisco for at least 10, so for me the San Francisco Bay area is a trip home and I can't wait!

It was a cold and stormy day

It's crazy rainy and windy here and yes, that is something that I love, on a regular week I would be in heaven, all cozy in the house while the weather swirled about outside, but.....I wanted my guest to enjoy some California sunshine, and she did for about ten minutes yesterday the veranda was bathed in sunlight, and we enjoyed a trip to Balboa park and then onto Coronado to watch the surf.

This tree in the botanical gardens reminds me of something from the movie Avatar

The late afternoon found us home again, casting on Turkish socks, yes my second pair, but oh so cute.

Today will be devoted to making up some kits for the store, orders have been steady and inventory needs a boost.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guest Arrival

My dear friend from Boston is arriving today, the weather prediction? the worst Il Nino storms in 15 years! Now we all know that I love a good storm, but I think she was looking for a little California sunshine. But that will give us plenty of time to knit, sip tea and catch up. Yes a knitting friend, so wonderful to spend time knitting with someone else. You might detect that there's been a lot of knitting going on, it happens from time to time. Knitting was my first love and occassionally it vies for equal attention with the beads.

But lest you think I'm not beading at all, I finished the, second and third 'Under the Mast' yesterday for Bead and Button

and the second Descending Nights for Beading by the Bay

and today will begin the third Descending Nights.

Then a new piece which is in my mind, but has yet to be executed.....and is due to be somewhere by February 1st, think I'll start that one this week.

And orders are flowing pretty steadily, so there is also kitting to be done, so the beads are not being neglected!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Turkish Socks, Finished!

These were a fun knit, clever construction (Churchmouse pattern) and I made them with pretty yarn (Paigewood Farms, purchased at the Grove).

I like short socks, and a little reverse stockinette cuff is in my book perfect. When I do them again, because I will, I would take the needle size down to a 2, the weave on these is a little loose to my taste. But all in all, I'm pretty pleased and now I can move on with the beading which is requiring my attention!

I was pretty clear I needed a new pair of Dansko shoes to go with my socks, (wait is that what the refer to as the tail wagging the dog?) but it was suggested that perhaps a pair of Dansko MaryJanes would be good, and wouldn't you know it, I have a pair of Bjorn MaryJanes lanquishing in the closet, and although not perfect, because the Dansko pair would be perfect, they do seem good enough to show off my new socks. Maybe pair 2 will get their own Dansko's, we'll see.

For the record Kate, that might tip the count past 50....

Friday, January 15, 2010

The lovely Kristina Logan

Kristina Logan is in San Diego! Which means I now have earrings which nicely compliment the ring I bought at Bead and Button last year.

I visited her trunk show at the Blue Dolphin in San Diego yesterday. I believe she is teaching today, but it may be you can still buy some her stunning work. And, Heather Trimlett another favorite is also there with her bright colorful beaded jewelry and beads.

And on an unrelated note, here is Charles,

adopting my knitting chair for his snooze (too bad he can't knit). We are fostering Charles for 3 months while his real foster dad travels. Daughter Casey volunteers for San Diego Pit Bull rescue and Charles is one of her favorites, so we agreed to try to help out so 11 year old Charles could enjoy staying in a home. He seems quite keen on being here. Maya however is a bit skeptical of the arrangement and we had some start up issues, but things seem to be settling down. And Maya is not complaining about going on walks twice a day (Charles can become rather insistent when he wants to walk!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bead and Button Show

Registration has opened for the Bead and Button Show and the excitement begins. Crystal Collage is full and I'm happy to have designed a new colorway for this years class!

I'm not happy that I lost track of time and did not register for Christi Friesens Steampunk bird on Monday night as I had intended, and now of course it is Sold Out which is good for Christi, just not so good for me.

I happen to love Christi Friesen and the wonderful creatures and botanicals that she makes with clay and the addition of gears and found objects and steampunky things, well darn it all!

I'll need to be a little more on top of my game next year, in the meantime I might just happen to purchase myself a piece of Christi's art.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Perlen Poesie

I can only tell you this now because I've already reserved my copies.....

Beads by Blanche has gotten in copies of the fabulous new German magazine Perlen Poesie. Yes it is in German and no I don't speak German but....oh the pictures and the illustrations and the layout, it is a most beautiful publication

Give Blanche a call and you too can have a copy

Looking forward to the Grey

Yep, when you live in San Diego a few grey days can be a relief. When I first moved to California from Boston (many many years ago now) the one thing I noticed was that there was no change of seasons to guide me in my life cycles. In Boston, summer was for water and outdoors, fall was for crisp walks and breathing in fresh air and winter was for hibernating and knitting and crafting (I didn't bead then, but sure wish I had experienced snowstorms with beads) and then spring was reawakening to the cycle.

With that missing, I would continue on the one faceted season of summer and my creative side was not nourished. I learned of course over time to adapt and in Northern California we had more of a differentiation then here in San Diego.

So today I look forward to five days with no committments (well no outside the house appointments at least, plenty of committments) some grey days, some tea, a clean studio (there will be some work required first) and some wonderful creative time.

Although snow is beyond unlikely I will be enjoying what reminders of seasonal diversity I can find, so I leave you with a beautiful snowy image.

And perhaps Deerfield will leave me some snow in March?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I've been busy

I've been beading away and took a few shots to show you today, but I have somethings to learn about the new I'll include a couple of shots for now

Beadwork and socks, well no, but as I put both the new Queen Anne's Lace and Turkish sock down to photograph, I noticed how well they coordinate. Which is a good thing right? I mean your bracelet should match your socks! This is a darling little sock by ChurchmouseYarns, although I don't know how to acquire the pattern, perhaps a phone call? It has a unique construction is easy to make and looks great with open backed clogs.

Next is a new colorway for Crystal Collage which I will be teaching for the 3rd or 4th year at Bead and Button Show (Did you now registration opened today!)I love this one, tabac and muted lilac with some jet nut and light colorado topaz ab.

I'm also almost finished with the olivine Descending Nights for Beading by the Bay and a Medium Vitral 'Under the Mast' also for Bead and Button. More photos tomorrow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Photography Class in San Diego!

How fortunate can a girl get? I buy a new camera but of course a camera is only a part of the equation. Knowing how to use it and get professional results for your product (in my case beadwork) settings, lighting, depth of field, white balance,all the nuances that make a great compelling photo, well, those are the other part of the equation.

And a class addressing all of the necessary knowledge for great photos of your small objects is being offered right in San Diego on March 19, and March 20-21 by Kyle Cassidy, in conjunction with Kate McKinnon.

an excerpt from his blog

'I'm doing two photography workshops this March -- these are geared towards jewelry makers but would work for anyone interested in photographing small things (coin/doll collectors, ebay resellers, miniature painters, whatnot). It's being held in San Diego California in a really swank studio and will also feature Kate Freaking Mckinnon world renown, globetrotting metalsmith, and author....'

And I almost missed it. I was traveling out of affordable Internet range and didn't get Kate's email about this opportunity until I returned. As luck would have it, she checked my schedule and I'm available and I'll be there! I'm really looking forward to working with such an expert and improving my abilities in this area.

If you're quick you too can sign up

Huichol Beadwork

This was my treat to myself during my recent Mexican vacation. There was much good art in Puerto Vallarta and some of the best Huichol that I've seen. There was a huge selection, but having a few other birds in my studio I thought this rooster fit perfectly and is the right scale to not get lost among too many small things. He stands about 14 inhces tall.

Plus which I think he has attitude and I like him for that.

I was also completely intrigued with a set of Sergio Bustamante candlesticks (unfortunately not found on this link) that were definitely not in the budget and a beautiful bronze by Victor Hugo ?????oh dear, that will have to wait for unpacking when I locate the catalog.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I'm back

Back from vacation that is, and it was very nice. Mark and I got on a cruise in San Diego, no planes involved and cruised our way down to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and back. Cruising is not necessarily my favorite type of vacation, but it has highlights. This particular one, a highlight was not having to fly. Then there is the fact that I sleep so well, with the gentle rocking of the boat. The ports were interesting, we ate well in Mazatlan, saw lots of nice art in Puerto Vallarta and drank Maragaritas on the beach in Cabo San Lucas.

On the boat I beaded and I knit, finishing up my one panel contribution to a group knit for a dear friends husband. He is recovering from illness and always cold so we got together and made him a Misti Alpaca afghan. I'm also working on Bitter root a lace shawl and will join a knit along at the Grove later today. I worked on a second colorway for Beading by the Bay and a fourth colorway for Queen Anne's Lace, pictures to follow this week.

In the meantime a few vacation pictures for your viewing pleasure.

A Christmas Tree in Cabo San Lucas on Luxury Avenue, you might guess the rest of the sign says Swarovski

My dear cute husband, looking his dapper self in a new hat and sunglasses. The man has quite a substantial hat collection and he looks good in all of them.

How often do you see a merman? One of the many excellent statues on the boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta

This couple was very endearing

And finally one of my favorite cruise ship spots, I loved these chairs, wish I could have brought them home

Tomorrow I'll photo my very excellent Huichol rooster which I added to my bird collection in my studio!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year

Yes I am a day late....I had a rather rough start to the year with a little medical upset but I'm fine now and ready for a little r&r, so dear reader you will be left to your own devices until I return next Sunday. Now go play with your beads!

Last nights sunset was so stunning it was hard to believe as it kept changing and getting better and better with each passing minute. I'm fortunate to live on a slight hill so this is the view from my verandah. Next year, there will be a view from the hottub!

It was right up there with the top ten most incredible sunsets I've ever seen,, which is a pretty subjective thing to say because there is no side by side comparison, but truly it was amazing! And if you live in San Diego I'm pretty sure you would agree. It is so hard to capture, at least with my inexperience in this area of photography. The sky was on fire, but then it had ribbons of carribean blue running through it, something my camera did not capture at all. But the oranges and reds, oh my!

Have a great week!