Monday, January 31, 2011

A touch of color!

I love it when an errand to Tuesday Morning to look for a pillow yields a surprise. These rugs are a perfect spot of color in the studio. Adding some personality to the rather mundane, but affordable indoor outdoor carpet that we laid. Had I not been there at the point in time it's doubtful they would have lasted. Glad I stopped in.

Such happy colors


Completed for the trip to Tucson....I love the fabric of right angle weave and with these gold lined beads it's a perfect backdrop for the beaded diamond center. The ring on the left can be worn with or without the collar and the collar can be reversed to show the unembellished side or facing up with the pretty blue pacific opal crystals.

I love when a piece of jewelry has options. I awoke to that dreamy state when designs sometimes present themselves. I have an idea for a bracelet with multiple focal centers which can be changed out depending on mood, occasion or color needs. I'll need to capture it in sketch since there won't be time to bead it in the near future.

I keep a little black mole notebook handy for design inspirations. I've had three this week, all pretty fully formed, two which fit nicely into the theme of the books I'm considering.

But for now it's Tucson preparation day. I'll head out tomorrow morning. A weather check shows lows of high 20's and highs of 50 so I have to have a wardrobe adjustment, I was expecting warm.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Honored, Over the Moon......Kate mentioned me in her blog. Now it isn't like I didn't know she reads the blog, she comments regularly and we exchange conversation about things that she obviously read on the blog, but still, I was excited to have been mentioned as a blog she reads. I consider it a pretty high honor.

Kate writes regularly and does it well. Her photography along with her words are always compelling and thought provoking. I find myself often contemplating things in my life from a different perspective based on her words.

I'll be managing a visit this week while in Tucson and then again in April when Kate and Kyle will be coming to the Mingei for the Glitterganza. If you live anywhere near San Diego you will want to plan on attending. It's going to be fabulous. Kyle is responsible for the best picture of Mark and I ever taken and we've been together for 28 years so that is saying a lot.

Morning Walks

It's been an excellent weekend. Friday was an exceptional weather day, 75 with a gentle breeze. I was fortunate to have dinner with Stacy Creamer and Jeannette Cook. I first met Stacy at a Bead and Button and last year got to know her even better when she took my Crystal Collage class. We keep up on facebook and determined she was traveling to San Diego for an annual writers conference she attends. It was a huge pleasure to spend some time with her. She is an accomplished athlete recently winning the duathelete of the year. Truly amazing to me, and inspiring. Not that I have dreams of becoming an athlete of that caliber ever, but Stacy, being Stacy is modest and gracious and encourages my walking, which is nice.

Yesterday started with a walk on Dog Beach in Coronado followed by a day of beading on the Veranda. I'm making an ensemble for one of the Tucson parties. I'm wearing this

along with coordinating (not matching) earrings, bracelet and ring. I'll have to sort out the clothes next, who knows, maybe black? The ring is on the schedule for today, along with a pair of earrings to go with this (another party)

Today's walk was at Lake Murray

I've also picked up the Kiri lace mohair shawl started in July and found it to be within just a few repeats of being done. My goal is to have it to wear for the Bead Cruise in March. It's a nice aqua which will look lovely for a Carribean cruise.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Making the Kits

In the language of Jill Wiseman, I'm 'making the kits'. Well actually Michelle is making the kits. I have been fortunate enough to have some excellent help this year. Michelle's a thinker, remembering things like 'hey didn't we put a piece of paper in the gold kit like this?' (The Under the Mast affirmation paper) Me 'ah, yes we did, good catch' It's really nice having a second brain helping out! Mine can often be faulty but with Michele's help I am getting even more organized.

These are all destined for BeadDaze in Detroit and are soon to be followed by Beading by the Bay and the Bead Cruise.

Me, I'm getting ready to go shopping in Tucson. Preparing the visual shopping list, and sorting out what jewelry I'll wear to the party! Even making some new jewelry...

Which I best get to if I want to be wearing it. There could be pictures tommorrow, no promises, we'll see how the day unfolds. Seems like there is always an errand or two that needs doing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I got back from New York late last night having taken a 3 day time out from the beads to enjoy New York, a friends company and some knitting.

Saturday night we attended the gala dinner and were treated to these centerpieces. Quite an artful display of yarn balls, which just might find a way into my home decor. Lord knows I have yarn balls!

Little Hoot enjoyed the snow

while Little Hoots cousin

at the Simple Knits booth remained warm and dry.

Somehow the reality of the calendar escaped me and I thought I had two weeks between New York and Tucson. As it turns out I will be leaving next Tuesday for the drive, meeting Susan, my Beading by the Bay partner for a four day outing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Continental Knitting

While in New York at the Vogue Knitting Live event I took 4 classes. I loved the Edge of Color with Kristin Nicholas where I learned all kinds of colorful border knitting including a mitered corner and a bobble bind off. Kristin is an enthusiastic teacher with lots of ideas to share. What I learned presents all kind of inspiration for baby knitting!

Next I took a continental knitting class. Among the many benefits, any change of routine is good for the aging brain. Together with the ability to change easily between knit and purl stitches and the different hand motion it seemed like a good thing to try.

This is 300 stitches of Alpaca for Marks striped vest. The 3 inches of ribbing seemed the perfect application to practice.

The class was expertly taught by Lesley Solomon, owner of Woolstock in Maryland. She had an infectious sense of humor and an excellent method of explaining the technique.

Oh and did you notice the beautiful hot pink Silhouette needles? Beautiful needles, beautiful yarn...this project is going to be a dream.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, January 21, 2011

New York, New York

Well as you might imagine, attending a knitting conference with a good friend in New York City is officially a good way to spend time. Add a little dusting of snow to the occasion and it is truly excellent. As seen from my hotel (Hilton 51st and 6th)

In this mornings class I met Daniella who was both incredibly talented and sweet, oh and beautiful.

She owns Maschenkunst, a yarn store in Koln Germany which just happens to be around the corner from Bonn where I will visit in October. I will definitely be making a visit.

Then at lunch I had the wonderful pleasure of listening to the knitting humor and wisdom of Stephanie Pearl McPhee giving her talk 'this is your brain on knitting.'

Should you ever have the opportunity she is a very engaging speaker.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm off to New York City!

Three days of Vogue Knitting Live, in Manhattan.

Being an East Coast girl (born and raised in Massachusetts), I'm over the moon that there is a prediction for snow on Friday. The perfect scenario, I fly today into partly cloudy, it snows on Friday while I'm all cozily ensconced in knitting classes at the Hilton hotel in SoHo. I wander about in the falling snow after class and by Monday it clears up for my flight home!

I'm a happy girl.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


In all three colors! Here is my Beading by the Bay project in all three of it's colorways. I'm loving it! There is exactly one slot left for this years event. We hold it to an intimate number to insure your best experience.

Did you know it spins? Thus the name carousel.

Teal Raspberry with hints of dark silver

Purple Lime (with hints of purple metallic)

Hot pink and orange (with hints of bronze)

I'm trying to predict this years favorite. I'm often surprised. I think my pick would be the hot pink orange. What's yours?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Knitting more love

Knitting has always been love to me. I think everything I've ever knitted has love woven through every stitch.

I made a similar hat weeks ago from the Blue Sky Alpaca simple baby hat pattern.

But I got it into my head to change it up by adding these purl ribs using the prettiest of pale aqua ribbons with a glint of silver.

Then I added an i-cord top knot. Could it be any cuter?

Our soon to be born grandbaby has knitted things through 12 months old, so I'm turning my attention to Mark with a very soft blue sky alpaca knitted into a v-neck sweater vest with stripes. He's pretty much a sweater vest kind of guy so I think it's going to be excellent. A very classic knit out of the most wonderful yarn, it's going to be a dream to work on.

For Beki

Who so kindly remembered that I was going to post these pictures and thought she might have missed them.

I'm frustrated of late at my non-ability to take a good reliable picture. I know how to set the white balance, I understand exposure and depth of field, I try to sort out pleasing composition and yet still I'm not happy with the result.

So I was waiting for a slot of time since I'm really enamored with this piece and wanted to do it justice. I'm only moderately happy with the result. Sigh....But here it is.



I love that it's reversible and I love the shibori ribbon which means I can tie it at any length I happen to want on that day. Sometimes it looks best short, peeking out of a neckline and at other times I wear it long. Sometimes button side out and sometimes filligree side out.

Blanche from Beads by Blanche used the same button this fall when I was there teaching the Rising Sun. I'm not sure of her exact colors, but I used Pacific Opal and Light Colorado Topaz ab, with some gold lined seed beads. Blanche was also the source for the Shibori girl ribbon which she had sewn into tubes.

I added some beaded bead tips and a bail and I'm pretty darn happy with the result.

A Shifting Routine

Mornings that used to be devoted to the blog are now devoted to walking...a 45 minute a day goal. On days like today, I'm then off to other ventures....a birthday lunch for Judipatuti, a visit to the Beach House retreat and a photo session of the beautiful buttons that were done.

As I settle into this new routine I may end my day with a blog post, we'll see how that all works out!

In the meantime, I'm off, have a great day and see you all tomorrow.

p.s. the weather here is amazing, 75 and sunshine, what a difference a year makes. This week last year, it was cold, it rained, there was thunder storms, high wind and even hail. Anyone remembering that?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Best Belgium waffles

Ever since living in Holland Mark has been on a quest to duplicate his favorite dense sugary Belgium waffle. Today he succeeded! The key turned out to be an ingredient called Pearl Sugar.

We're planning a trip to Holland in October and in celebration and due to the arrival of the necessary mail-ordered Pearl sugar, today we had waffles.

He's been experimenting with waffle recipes for the last several years, and has gotten quite good, but until today perfection escaped him. You can find today's Liege Belgium waffle recipe here.

I thought it fitting to use my D&E Dutch coffee cup and bring out the Nutella.

Eating one of these is really all that is possible, so we should have had company....

Now you'll have to excuse me, I think I need some exercise!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beach house bead retreat

Beady Eyed Women Jeannette Cook invited me to her beach house retreat.

We're making the bezeled button brooch. Here's Sharon, Yadasi Beads, enjoying her beads.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My very cool backpack

My friend Val is a master at the new upcycle trend, using cast off wool sweaters to create beautiful clothes, pillow, purses and more! This is her 'transportation' backpack and it's mine.

Val does everything beautifully, paying attention to every last detail and her color sense and combination of patterns is brilliant.

Even the inside is finished exquisitely.

It has the requisite, for me, outside pockets, one on each side (keys and cellphone) and a large one in the front (boarding pass)making it excellent for travel.

For local folks (San Diego) Val has a presence at
Austins Art Gallery in Coronado and will be doing the Talmadge art show in February.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where have I been?

Where have I been? Turns out that catching up from being sick two weeks is taking a big toll on my schedule. There were plans for all those days that didn't get done and now there are plans for these days which must absorb those days.....but it's working out. On top of that add my desire to put on those sneakers and walk daily, the blog has been ignored.

So what's new? Beading by the Bay is almost sold out, only three slots left, so if you're on the fence about taking time out of your schedule for a fabulous long weekend of beading, now is the time to decide. Susan and I are working on some fabulous prizes, Maggie Jean and I are putting together your kit choices, Ron Rock will be giving the Swarovski trend presentation and we're putting together a wonderful little surprise package for you.

Bead and Button show registration opened yesterday and The Rising Sun was this years popular project posting a sold out sign early.

I'm teaching 6 classes over 7 days, one with the Bad Liz, so I hope I will have a chance to see many of you there, if not in class then wandering the halls, or at our favorite haunt, the Chophouse.

I'm planning a succulent container garden and we went shopping for succulents this past weekend. So far they are on the patio table providing the backdrop for a photoshoot, but we have 3 pretty containers to plant them in.

This rivoli is bezeled with a new technique that I was shown by Jane Tyson in Australia. The bezel was destined for another project but didn't work out so I added it to this for a simple little pendant. The 'real' project is a nights worth from finishing and I hope tonight is the night. I'm in love with it.

I leave you with the beauty of last nights sunset!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A bit of Tucson Beading

Remember yesterday when I said I needed something new to wear to Tucson? Well I got it in my head that sparkly earrings would be good (now you expected the sparkle part didn't you?) and then I got to thinking, when you have short hair, it's important that the back of the earring be pretty too, right?

The color is a bit of a happy accident. I was putting away crystals and poured a few light colorado topaz ab into the pacific opal by accident. During the resulting sorting I was enamored of the combination and put a few aside to play with.

On the front of the earring we have a pretty matte lined gold seed bead, a little bit of bronze (about as expected as sparkle) and the pretty pale aqua pacific opal (I do have a cruise coming up)

And the center of the back is set off by a sweet little (yes that is the unexpected bit, sweet....) crystal ab margarita.

These done I turned my attention to a necklace, also sparkly, also light colorado topaz ab and pacific opal and also reversible. I hope to finish this weekend....we'll see how that goes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sherry Serafini rocks

You probably already know that, but this Lark interview introduces Sherry as the Rockstar of beading and it's so true. Her designs come together so beautifully her coloration and design flow appear effortless. Not to say that they are, lots of hours go into creating these beautiful pieces, but the outcome is always so pleasing and soothing to the eye that I think it is just a natural extension of Sherry's artistic sense that creates such incredible beadwork.

I've been incredibly fortunate to have met Sherry, teaching at the same venue in Lake Tahoe and again coming up at the Great Lakes Bead Guild. She is a true treasure to the beadworld and I am pleased to call her my friend.

You will definitely want to add her new book to your 'Sherry Serafini's Sensation Bead Embroidery' to your collection. I've seen it, and it is not to be missed!


Update: Despite the fact that I shared I used to be the Director of Information Technology in another life time....I neglected to think about using my bluetooth apple wireless keyboard with my iphone 4. Works like a charm, thanks Katie! Now I can make short work of entering the items into the item list, once I alphabetize them that is....word, table, sort....

I like the little bits of technology that make life simpler, or more complex depending on how one looks at things.

Most recently (after visiting Ms Rachel) I determined that a Wacom was in my near future. A professional pen tablet that can be used for drawing, and many other tasks usually done with a mouse. You see, I just might be getting ready to write again and all that thread path will definitely benefit from a pen tablet.

And then next up was a new credit card solution. During my Australia trip I failed to realize that 220 power would not be good for my transformer. But it was time anyway to have a more compact and inexpensive solution. Since my iphone is a constant companion, an iphone card reader seemed to fit the bill. It arrived yesterday and certainly at first glance is going to do the job nicely. I can even enter a list of items I sell, select them, charge them and send an email or text receipt. What I can't do is enter the items on a real keyboard and synch them and I can't alphabetize them which would be handy....but in general I think it's going to be a good solution.

So yes all this technology is a good thing, but occassionally the learning curve gets a tad overwhelming.....between software, hardware, and the overwhelming number of logins and passwords it's a lot to keep up with. Excuse me while I go download my google checkout account for December, how do I do that now?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lazy Blogging?

Well perhaps, but I had wanted to tell you ab out how excited we are that Beading by the Bay is almost full, and then I read Susan's Blog and well, she said it best, so here you go!

Yep, one more day to be entered into a drawing for all three of your kits free. With a maximum of 48 spaces, that is a one in 48 chance of it being you! Pretty good odds.

And while we're on the topic of Susan's blog, here is where she calls me her bff (Mark actuallly asked what that means, sometimes I wonder.....) and shows off her stunning version of Serena.

Which leads me to 'What the heck wonderful new thing am I going to where in Tucson?' I totally want to make this bracelet now, but really is that practical? I've been sick for two weeks, the kind of sick where very little work got done and now I'm playing catch up for three large engagements in February and March. I'm going to Manhattan for a 3 day vacation and 2 days of travel, and I'm going to Tucson......But really I want a new piece of fabulous beadwork.....hhhmmmm......

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Presenting the Aurelia Necklace

I've told the story before about how I was fortunate to meet 'the Bad Liz' who has been keeping me sane at Bead and Button for years, lending her calm proficiency during set up, and her expert bead techniques in the classroom.

One of the things we do, is to have Liz bead each of the new designs for that year, so that she is fully up to speed for assisting in the classroom. Aurelia was first up for this year. Her email subject line said 'I just cant.....' and the body of the email continued 'follow directions', so Liz, it made me laugh.

But I'm so glad she can't. It's really nice to take a design and mix it up. The Aurelia bracelet became the Aurelia necklace.

Stunning don't you think?

And a first this year, we will teach Under the Mast II together! Bead and Button Show, Tuesday June 7th. Registration starts January 13th.

I'm also lucky enough to have her assist me for Under the Mast at the Great Lakes Bead Guild in February ( so sorry that class is already full) and I'll see her yet again on the BeadCruise. This time I get to meet Alan as well!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bird of Paradise Two

While I was in Australia I came across some brass ball chain. This seemed the perfect combination to use with brass metal beads set off by some matte green and blue zircon.

This is the second bird of paradise color. I'm hoping for some wonderful hot pink dagger bead that I can use for the third colorway. That will be on this years Tucson list.

This charming little pendant is one of the class offerings for this years BeadCruise happening in March.

If I'm really lucky I will find the little fasteners that hold ball chain together.....I know there was a point in time I had them....