Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A spot of calm

Both a spot of calm and a spot of memories.....

The vase and perfume bottle came from a wonderfully eclectic gallery on a tiny cobblestoned street in Barcelona. Everything about that gallery was artistic, welcoming, special. I didn't buy either piece on my first trip (there are times I have moments of fiscal responsibility which I regret) but on a second trip, the same artist was still well represented and I bought these two pieces.

The wonderfully textural coral came from a beach on Rangiroa Tahiti. The shapes and textures are endlessly fascinating, like snowflakes, each one different then the next.

I would love to visit both Tahiti and Barcelona again, however there are so many other destinations I've yet to see and I still have wanderlust.

Soon I will be traveling to my roots, Boston, and then on to Nantucket where I've never been. From there to Toronto, another first in my travels. I'll be teaching at both BeadFX and Beads of Colour. Fortunately I continue to be enamored of seeing what new places have to offer.

Kit packaging improvement

People often write me to tell me they love the kit packaging and that it is like opening a present. Since I found the 'tiffany' blue packaging, and designed the label identifying the kit contents I've been mostly happy, but I've never been really wild about the plasti band around the middle.

Despite the claim of being environmentally friendly, I just never loved the look. I tried labels, but the stickiness didn't travel well and I also want to be able to open and close a kit should someone need to see the contents.

I thought on the idea of opening a present and decided ribbon was in order. With three well placed holes made with a hole puncher, and a pretty bit of ribbon, the packaging now looks like this!

I'm pretty happy with the result. The labor....oh well, it makes me happy to provide that little extra bit of presentation!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My favorite new beading spot!

It's a pretty time of year in Southern California. Perfect temperatures in the mid 70's every day. Morning cloud cover burning off to reveal blue skies, gentle breezes, and the perfect time to bead out of doors.

We're working on creating a backyard oasis, and we started with the veranda. It's my favorite new place to bead. I'm listening to the Girl Who Played with Fire, the second in a trilogy starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

And we christened it as a dining spot this week as well. I predict lots of wonderful evenings here. (you might notice the bead mat still on the side of the table.....)

And before the dining began I finished the second Aurelia, destined for Creative Castle. I'll be teaching Aurelia this year at The Beading Frenzy in San Mateo, California on Aug 14th, at Creative Castle in Newbury Park, California the weekend of Sept 25th and at Beads by Blanche in Bergenfield, New Jersey the weekend of Oct 2nd. It's a great project with multiple techniques, including ndebele, circular right angle weave and a touch of peyote.

The bracelet has lots of great texture and the clasp....peyote, imagine that!

And you thought I didn't know how?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kit production mode....

Once again I am in kit production mode.

But fortunately for me, I don't mind....I'm organized enough for the process to be relatively simple. Supplies have been ordered and have mostly arrived. I have offers of help next week (thank you Diane) and a good audio book to accompany me. When more focus is required I switch to Pandora radio with some bluesy jazz.

The weather is perfect and the breeze wanders through the pepper trees, a visual I love, making a mess that Mark does not love.

I am also fitting in some beading, working on the second Aurelia sample, to be followed by a third and fourth. Next years Beading by the Bay piece is also coming together nicely. Next will be a fresh new design for the Alaskan cruise in September of 2011 (details soon).

What's on your beading table?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New place to Bead!

There is a new beading venue at the DeCoster house. And it's outdoors.....The veranda tile is in place, furniture has been added, with nice bright cushy seat cushions. The perfect place for an afternoon of beading. A new awning which extends the overhang and shades this pretty spot from the strong sun. Soon there will be ceiling fans to provide a breeze on hot days.

The table is a 12 x 12 grid where the tiles can be changed out. These tiles are left over from the floor, but I can't wait to find some nice colorful, shiny ceramic tiles, and I'm thinking that some swarovski flat back design might be in order (hear that Kellie?)

The veranda is edged in this quartz stone tile which will eventually have companion tile on the fountain.

I can't wait to spend some lazy days beading here.....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I mentioned having the opportunity to see Margie Deeb speak this past weekend at the Bead Society of San Diego County.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as well as the opportunity to spend some time with Margie. I've always worked rather intuitively with color, but I am ready to delve into some more serious learning. And what better way then with Margie's books, Color reports, Podcasts, Blogposts and more, all on color! Where else can you get that kind of color education. Margie is also offering color courses on CraftEdu, an online learning forum.

Margie Deeb, a color expert, is the first artist /author to publish
books on color specifically addressing the challenges presented by
working with beads. Her books include the popular The Beader’s Guide
to Color
and The Beader’s Color Palette, which the Library Journal
voted the Best Craft How-To book of 2009

I was fortunate to have 3 of my pieces published in the Beaders Color Pallette. Here is a picture of Victoria.

Margie's background as a graphic artist serves her well. All of her publications are beautifully put together.

I look forward to more learning about color and beadwork!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Aurelia - Color Two

I love Aurelia, I first designed it back in January while on a mini vacation in Ojai. It has amazing dimension and texture, something I am seeing a lot of in beadwork these days.

I'll be teaching it at the Beading Frenzy in San Mateo and it's time to send off the sample so I thought I had best start the second sample. In the near future I will need two additional samples, four in total, but for now, I am really liking this brown iris and pacific opal with volcano sequins.

Father and Son

The backyard remodel is taking shape with the help of son Brian who drove down from Northern California to spend a couple of weeks helping out.

Here they are preparing forms to pour aggregate cement pads for the hardscaping.

Although I hardly think of him as 'old' I do love this picture.

We were able to christen the veranda with a new table and our first outdoor meal. We had to drag dining room chairs around the table to do it, but it's a start. I'll be off to look for chairs today!

And in more bead related content, I attended Margie Deeb's lecture at the Bead Society of San Diego meeting on Saturday. I was thrilled to see so many familiar faces. The lecture was excellent. Although I have all of Margie's books and subscribed to her spring and fall color trend reports, hearing her speak gave me an even better understanding of the material.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Margie in the afternoon and I will bring you the full report with pictures soon.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bead Society

When I first moved to San Diego, my gosh, six years ago now, I didn't know anyone. I had quit my corporate job and moved to San Diego all at the same time. I had always met people at work or through kids and now I had none of those things to connect me. But I did have beads!

It was suggested that I call Jeannette Cook of Beadyeyed Women fame,

and although I felt shy about it, I did. We met for lunch and became fast friends. Many of you know that we are now also neighbors, well not literally, but a mile apart in the same town.

Jeannette took me to my first Bead Society meeting and there I met all kinds of like minded people. I had time and a few skills from the corporate world, so I stepped in as President for a couple of years. Since then life has been a whirlwind of bead travel and it's a rare day I am home during the meeting times.

Today I'm home and the guest speaker is Margie Deeb! I couldn't feel more fortunate to be able to attend Margie's presentation and see some old friends as well. I've had pieces in Margie's last color book as well as her spring report, and I will be delivering a piece for the fall color report. Although I've met her briefly I've never had the pleasure of hearing her speak, so I'm quite thrilled at the prospect.

Friday, June 18, 2010

for the record

this is for you Sandy, please notice a new post every day this week, for your reading pleasure!

Brilliant Design

If you've been here for awhile, you know I like to showcase brilliant design. This beautiful bracelet is just that.

Dallas Lovett not only is brilliant in his choice of colors and shapes, but he is brilliant in his technical design as well.

The rivoli in this piece is captured with wire, and each of the links is articulated to bend around the wrist for a perfect and comfortable fit.

The links can be made smaller or larger to change the size which is again brilliant since bracelet size can be a challenge.

In case it's not obvious, I love this bracelet and am thrilled to be it's proud owner, and no, I didn't make it......I am still not a wire girl....

But since I just read that both Janice and Tracy, are making Jill's Night at the Opera (seed beads for the wired art girls!) , who knows, maybe there could be wire in my future.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Full Circle Freeform

A while back I decided to participate in the 3rd Use the Muse competition. I ordered the kit from Scarlett and when it arrived, I discovered the muse to be a metallic butterfly.

Having lost my Mom earlier that year, and being that butterflies were among her favorite things I knew immediately I would participate.

I pulled together her favorite colors, her most favorite being aqua and added a large selection.

I decided on freeform so I could wander with my thoughts.

Post competition I was asked by Gail Crosman Moore if I would consider contributing a piece for an auction to benefit Michelle Goldstein and her children after the loss of their father. I decided 'BellMabel' (Mom's name was Mabel Bell) would be the perfect piece. The auction happened, the piece was bid on and I was happy.....

And then! While at Bead and Button I got to hear the 'rest of the story'. You need to start with, I have always loved Kelly Angeley, since the first class of mine she sat in, her contribution to the gallery of my book, her journey to being a Bead and Button teacher, and her stunning smile, obvious talent and kindness. Over the years I run into her and husband Barry often and it's always a treat. It truly brings tears to my eyes, to have heard that Barry went to that auction site and was the high bidder on BellMabel which he bought for Kelly's birthday! I couldn't be any more pleased to know that Kelly owns that piece. You rock Barry!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bead and Button 2010

The memories of good times linger....

MaryAnn decked out with Melanie Potter necklace, Marcia DeCoster fanfare and a Kim Stathis bracelet you can't see here (sorry Kim, it was beautiful) Mary Ann is the speed beader who finished Under the Mast before lunch! Her fanfare, a project from Beaded Opulence which uses 14 gross of crystal, is done in crystal cal ab2x and was gorgeous.

Here are the matching phone covers, mine MadDesigns and Stephanie Dixon's, DixonChick

And here's Stephanie and me!

The lovely Ms Rachel

Bead Boy, Dustin Wedekind

What a week!

I had so many experiences, many of which I didn't get to capture on film. Helen Dahms gave me my first real tour of Milwaukee, including yarn stores, the Third Ward and my first visit to the famous Kopps for frozen custard.

I met many facebook friends in person, Linda Roberts, Carol Dean Sharpe, Jamie North, Deb Bednarek and of course the German girls, Sabine, Petra and Martina.

I watched the Beaducation gals and guys sing karaoke, pppssstttt, I have video.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There's a man in my class!

I first made a similar blogpost last year when I visited Alaska, only that one said 'History is made' since Byron was my first male student in 12 years of teaching.

Ronald who took my 'Under the Mast' class at this years Bead and Button is now my 4th male, so perhaps a trend......

It does still tickle me however, like when a man knits, something out of the norm about it fascinates me. So when Ronald arrived in class I asked him a bit about his experience. It turns out he's been beading for quite awhile and has a long class history including classes with Diane Fitzgerald and Sonoko's master class.

He patiently set about creating the back of the bezel in size 15 right angle weave and before the day was out had bezel set his 27 mm crystal.

I always like to provide some learning with my designs so I asked Ronald if he had learned anything new. He answered 'oh yes' but did not elaborate.

He later wrote me a detailed email explaining how he had been too excited at his bezel setting success to answer well. He then elaborated all of the various things he had learned by making 'Under the Mast'. Ronald has also made several pieces from Beaded Opulence and has promised pictures when his life is not quite so busy. Thanks Ronald!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Day after Bead and Button

As much as I loved coming home, it's hard not to miss all the excitement, the constant running into folks that you really enjoy spending time with, all the sparkle and amazing things to see....

But of course it's necessary, so I contented myself with puttering about the studio and putting things away.
Look at this, post kit production table

time to bead!

Bead and Button 2010

Well I'm home after an uneventful day of travel. Although teaching energizes me, when I stop, exhaustion sets in. So I actually slept on the second leg of the flight which is almost unheard of for me, but was a welcome way to spend the time.

I had the usual brilliant good time at the show. Our classes were full of wonderfully talented beaders and full of good energy. The Bad Liz has been coming to help me in the class room for the last five years and she is an invaluable asset. Thanks Liz!

And Pat helps out at Meet the Teachers every year, I'm quite sure I would be totally inept without these two! Pat in blue and Liz in coral, both with stunning necklaces. Liz's is her own lovely design and I got to borrow and wear it one of the show days.

Here's a particularly cute picture of Lisa Kelly and Janice, of course they are both cute so it was easy. I love the coordinated clothing.....I didn't get the memo, I wore my usual black.

Good friends and good cheer, Tracy, me, Jeannette, Janice and Liz

There was a lot of colored hair this year, here is Rita and despite this picture our pinks were fairly closely matched....

And here is the lovely Carol Dean Sharpe of SandFibers. She is known for her fabulously patterned peyote cuffs, but took Ripplestiltskin to expand her R.A.W. horizons. Although her 'practice' cuff that she did pre-show for learning, indicates she is already R.A.W. accomplished. Carol is a force in the beaders facebook community but this was my first chance to meet her and she is delightful! You would think I may have managed to capture her beautiful pendant as well, but this was the picture of her I liked best......

I'm taking the day off, well sort of, there is some studio straightening up to be done....some grocery shopping, some banking, life's normal stuff....it may take a while to ease into the rhythm of a non bead show week!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

bead and button

Much fun was had, many friendships renewed, new ones made, classes
taught, parties attended, beads bought and it's time to head home to
family and miss Maya...and the real computer where I'll write a real
blog and post pictures! See you then!

www. marciadecoster.com
Sent from my iphone

Saturday, June 12, 2010


my favorite store in Milwaukee!

bead and button

beady eyed women, Jeannette Cook

bead and button

classes were wonderful, 4 full days of bead fun, Liz and Janice at the
celebratory last dinner!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

try to be better's

Sabine Lippert doing crystal collage

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


frozen custard! gotta love the cows......

yarn shopping

at Fiberwood!

I met Tali

and she's darling!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crazy Lace!

I have been missing the feel of fiber in my hands, missing my yarn.

It's been far too long since I've been able to sit down and pick up knitting needles. Part of the issue is that totally mindless knitting bores me to tears, but the challenge of picking up a new pattern just doesn't fit into my day at the moment (something about a bead show)...

But I stopped in at the Grove yesterday, and Susan had gotten in a copy of Crazy Lace, an artistic approach to creative lace knitting, at my request.

Sadly I forget who brought this book to my attention, but thank you! It is just exactly the right book. Author Myra Wood includes a chapter on thinking creatively and learning to let go, which relates not only to knitting, but many other artistic endeavors as well.

The pictures are all gorgeous beginning with the beautifully done cover. The process to begin knitting lace creatively is well explained and can be planned or completely random.

I think completely random sounds good to me. And for the record, I totally want a pair of the hot pink silhouette needles in the upper right of this picture, totally. I made Mark go write down the details. I could of course just buy them, but needles this pretty need to be gifted, even if I have to be explicit in the request - hot pink, long, size 5

Many of the books examples are done with exquisitely handpainted yarn. I love the whimsy of the irregular borders, the transition of color, the open weave....everything really. This is the answer to having something on the needles which does not require me to learn a pattern, but is not so mindless as to bore me. So of course I started.... This beautiful handpainted mohair laceweight was gifted to me by a friend, making it that much more special

Isn't it pretty?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A bit of silliness

A self portrait of sorts.....