Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Images I love

I know we've covered this....a lot.....lately, but I am still enamored of the way I can create visual reference boards. I've added the Pinterest application to my iphone and ipad which means pinning anytime. And I've added a Pinterest link on my sidebar so you can go have a look at the images I find moving. Just click on the Pinterest logo to the right and you'll be transported to my visual library.

Last night I spent a few minutes adding a Places I've traveled board. This is sunset on the Thames river in London.

I'm not near complete, having done a lot of Europe, some of Tahiti, only a couple of my favorite U.S. cities, but it's still an amazing visual list of places I've been and for that I am so grateful.

And just this week I will get to add Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka to that visual list. Today is for finishing up last minute things that need doing and tomorrow is for packing and then we're off! First an overnight stay in downtown Seattle in a luxury hotel ( one of my favorite things....wasted on Mark, but that's ok I'll enjoy it enough for both of us) and then onto Holland America's Westerdam on Saturday. I've traveled Holland America before, although not this ship and I found it to be an excellent cruise line, with nice accommodations, lovely food, and an all around nice experience. Throw in a favorite bead store owner and some really nice beaders, and all the beautiful Alaskan scenery and I think it's going to be grand!

Towers are up!

Yesterday was the completion of the Bougainville tower project! The bougainvilleas were cut loose of the wide trellis they had been growing on and freed of their pots. The holes were lined with amended soil and the branches were fed up through the towers and tipped into place. We're hoping their growth will be fast now they are in the ground. We can't wait to see their beautiful flowers spill out of the top of these structures.

In a couple of weeks the custom gate should be installed in that opening, adding another artistic dimension. This yard will continue to be on going project as we hope to add citrus trees where the pepper trees were taken out. And then there is maintenance.....I spent my 15 minutes this morning, trimming off dead branches of the pygmy date palms, trimming up the edges of the ground cover and eliminating weeds.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Color Inspiration is everywhere

Well especially on Pinterest which at the moment is capturing my attention. I created a board for color inspiration, but now see that categorizing my color inspiration might be a better choice, blue greens, purple reds hot pinks, greens and bronzes....

I searched on beaded jewelry and found my very own Carousel on someones color inspiration board.

It was on a board with this excellent color inspiration photo

A google image of The Monarch Butterfly Dress — Luly Yang

I also created a Santa Cruz board with images and memories from my life there.

But back to color. Very soon I will get serious about creating the projects for my second book, and I want to have a very informed color story. But since I'm fickle, or I might say easily influenced, I change my mind about what strikes me as an excellent color combination on a moments notice. Add to that the translation from web photo to actual bead colors and it is not always what you expected. On top of that is proportion which I learned from Margie Deeb is a very important element to pay attention to. So I will continue to put some color boards together and sit with them for awhile, picking out my favorites and then picking out the beads.

Another reason for the importance of this task is symbols. Rachel taught me about symbols and symbol libraries in Adobe Illustrator.

My plan is to make several symbol libraries with the colors and shapes of beads I will draw with. There will be size 15's, 11's and 8's in all the colors I plan to use, then crystals, and pearls and fancy stones and pendants. Bonnie just graciously showed me how to draw a Swarovski pendant. Adding to an already built symbol library is just a touch tedious so I would like to have a really good reference to start with,which means knowing my colors. The other huge benefit of symbols, click on a symbol (bead) and replace it with another across the entire drawing with one keystroke. The bead used to be bronze and now you've made a purple sample....change the bronze symbol to the purple symbol and you're done!

I'm beginning to love what I'm able to do with Adobe Illustrator which is significant given that three weeks ago I wasn't sure I was up to the task of learning it and now I'm eager for each new tidbit. And fortunately I have any number of beaders who have gone before me and are willing to share. I'm grateful to each of them!

Monday, August 29, 2011


I'd been hearing the term Pinterest here and there, but it sometimes takes me awhile to tune in. When Heather Powers invited me last week I decided to have a closer look. Being a highly visual person, much more so then a word person, I think of this as a visual twitter. I can organize all the images that really speak to me in categories, all with links back to the source should I want to visit it again.

I can pin any photo I like and it also gives me links to websites and blogs and other pinterest members who are putting together their own pins. I'm intrigued. Above are the few photos I've pinned, and categorized for home, color inspiration, artisitic destinations.

I look forward to spending some more time developing the color inspiration board and travel board. Next year is our 25th wedding anniversary (really? how is that possible?) and we want to plan something special. I think this could be just the place to seek out some beautiful spots and catalog them for contemplation.


Not this one, although this one holds plenty of excitement with my trip to Germany to teach a set of full classes at Das Perlament in Bonn, but the next October, the one in 2012 is shaping up to hold all kind of excitement as well.

October is my birth month, ten ten an easy to remember birthdate, and it's always been a favorite month with a return to a chill in the air, and in my growing up state of Massachusetts, the beautiful fall foliage. Last years birthday, ten ten ten found me in my home studio with visiting artist NanC Meinhardt, joined by several like minded bead artists and beading our artsticks.

This year I will be in Holland, followed by my trip to Germany. A favorite shot from the Spaarne canal at the end of the Bakkenessergracht where we lived in Holland.

and next year.......

Back to back excitement with my first participation in the Southern Bead Retreat followed immediately by a Beadventure in New York City. I will be leading a design workshop as well as visiting some of my favorite Manhattan venues for inspiration. And we get to hold class in one of the best bead stores with one of the most gracious bead store owners, Beads by Blanche. And if all that wasn't enough, Mother Hen for this trip (the person who helps me to keep everything organized and joins us on the adventure) will be Maggie Meister. I don't know about you, but I never get to see Maggie enough for my taste, so a week together in Manhattan...spectacular! It's the kind of fun you don't want to miss out on. Between us we know a lot about Manhattan, special places for shopping, for eating, for relaxing and of course for beads and beading.

My piece for the Southern Bead Retreat is designed and as soon as it's available for registration I'll tell you all about it. For the Beadventure I will be designing a piece as a starting point for inspiration and the beaders who join us will be able to use the design as the beginning for their own inspiration.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Drawing beads

Yesterday I showed you Dancing Llight

Today the Dancing Light illustration

Do you see a resemblance? If it looks a little messy and crazy it's because it's the folded in half version. I can and did rotate the beads perfectly around the circle, then I cut the circle in half, reflected the top half and moved it onto the second.

Color is expensive to print, but I am just loving it too much. The drawing comes so much more alive when I use beads the color of the sample. I am sure my Alaskan cruisers will appreciate their color copies.

A funny thing has happened....I am actually getting to like drawing beads. At first I was quite sure I wasn't going to be able to cope and then little by little I learned a few tricks and now....I'm pretty darn happy with the results.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dancing Light

The second (or third depending on how one counts) is now complete. Since I leave for Alaska next week and this is the Alaskan project, you might say none too soon. And that would be right. I made this many months ago but I wasn't satisfied with the engineering. So I made it again in a different colorway and perfected all the elements I was unhappy with.

And that might have been good enough except, everyone liked the bronze purple sample best and I couldn't bring along a sample that was less then my best work. So.....I got busy making the third sample. A third is usually when I really begin to understand a project, what works best for connections, single or double thread, where the fiddly bits show up, so it served me well to make this third one.

It's perfect, with the lovely folded fans showing just a peek of their Swarovksi crystals when you move. The subtle glittering that results certainly dances with the light. I'll be happy to be able to wear this on the cruise with the amazing dark green velvet wrap that I bought to go with it. It will be perfect with the cool Alaskan air.

The yard progresses

And I'm more in more in love....with Mark and the yard. The man can do anything! Ever since seeing the Bougainvillea towers at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, I have wanted them in the yard.

Mark being a man who can figure anything out, made a plan, purchased the reebar, a pipe bender and learned how to weld and now we have towers!

Here he is measuring their placement on either side of the entryway into the yard. The gate has been ordered and will be installed in a few weeks.

Here is a view of the two towers.

They are tall, dwarfing every other feature in the yard, but once the bougainvillea starts growing up through them and cascades over the top they will be drop dead gorgeous. A four year old dream coming to fruition.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Couch Knitting

Also known as plane knitting, tv knitting, group knitting, in other words mindless knitting. The kind of project you can pick up at any time, always knowing exactly where you are in the pattern, and knit a few rows. It's what I need right now. I have some more baby knitting on the needles, but I really wanted to make a garment for myself that didn't involve the counting of the lace I love so well, but would end up something I could wear.

Last night's visit to the Grove for the Schaefer yarn event provided just what I needed.

A Lisa Limber designed Shrugigan. I might have bypassed the sample had another customer not encouraged me to try it on. It is darn cute and this is only one of the ways to wear it. The long rectangle can also button at both ends creating 'sleeves' and a shawl that stays put. I think it will be perfect for my upcoming European travel so I hope to finish it by then. Schaefer has a beautiful line of handpainted yarns. Nancy that I picked has a nice thick thin boucle feel to it.

Being the impulsive girl I can sometimes be I wound up the yarn and cast it on this morning. A few minutes of veranda knitting before I begin the multitude of other things which need doing before I leave for next week's Alaskan cruise.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The photo I missed

A visit to the Bead Society of San Diego website yielded this photo of Jean in her steampunk inspired getup. Jean can rock any look!

I've been involved with the Bead Society since I arrived in San Diego in 2004. In those days I had slightly more time, having just left my corporate job and not yet deciding on the life of a traveling bead artist. But I still try to get to a meeting whenever I am in town and have made it to three this year. The member artist presentation every month is a highlight, showcasing the talents and history of the BSSDC members. There is a lot of talent there.

Each month a different program is presented through a wide range of mediums including polymer, beadweaving, metalsmithing, wire, lapidary and more. Often the guest artist will also present a class on the day following the meeting which is always the third saturday of the month with the exception of July and December.

Bead Societies are a valuable resource and expose us to a wide range of artists and techniques. The Bead Society of San Diego also has the good fortune of meeting in the Mingei International Museum. The Mingei recently accepted the collection from the Glendale Bead Museum in Phoenix Arizona. It will be a treat when it is once again ready to be viewed.

Do you have a favorite Bead Society?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bead Mats

Pssst....the new collection is here. Click on the JudiPatuti link in my sidebar to see the fun combinations Judy came up with this time! I'm wondering which one I want....hhhhmmmm.

Steampunk and Glamour

Jean Campbell arrived in San Diego on Friday as the guest of the San Diego Bead Society. She was invited to give a talk on Steampunk jewelry, a subject she is well versed in after writing Steampunk Jewelry:Victorian, Fantasy and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets and Earrings.

There was a huge turnout for the meeting including some in full steampunk regalia. As Jean got up to speak she donned her bowler hat complete with goggles, and tucked the steampunked raygun into her belt. And as I clicked my first picture, the screen read, no memory card, sigh.......

Jean's talk gave the background of steampunk which was an education for many. I'm thinking we may see some more jewelry inspired by the style.

She brought many of the pieces from the book created from found objects and imagination. They were in huge contrast to her other pieces from Creating Glamorous Jewelry with Swarovski Elements: Classic Hollywood Designs with Crystal Beads and Stones. As always it is exceptional to be able to see pieces like this in person. I can tell you the cover piece for Glamourous Jewelry is stunningly beautiful.

After a relaxing evening Jean gave a class for the Bead Society on one of her classic designs the Star of India. A nice group of happy, accomplished beaders joined in and were well on their way to their own Star of India's
The necklace Jean is wearing is Quincy Street, a first in a series called Harvard Gates. It's a great combination of wire and seed beads, with the perfect amount of shine for me.

Here are some of the happy faces from class, Viola, looking her usual mischievous self.

Susan and Jean having a bit of a consult

and Ellen sporting a pair of Valerie Hector inspired earrings which were lovely
It appears that beads were enjoyed around the world as I watched facebook post of friends who were at BeadFest in Philadelphia and in Hamburg Germany. For me, it was a wonderful weekend of beads and friendship, just the way I like it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Outdoor room

We continue the work to make our veranda a welcoming outdoor space. New pots and pygmy date palms add to the tropical feel while closing in the the view and making it more intimate. It is especially cozy in the evening.

Best of all with the wonderful cool temps and gentle breeze we've experienced all summer it is an excellent place to bead!

Which is great, as Jean Campbell arrives today and who knows, there could be some beading involved! After I take her to C level lounge, my favorite on water restaurant in downtown San Diego.

Last night was one of those dreamy states where a fully formed design idea showed up in the night. It's theme will fit nicely with the first book, Beads in Motion and I'm anxious to get it down on paper as one of the many conceptual designs I've already drawn. There is a fleeting memory of an earring as well,however I did not do the prudent thing and get up out of bed to capture it's outlines, ah well, I'm grateful for the one that continues to occupy my mind.

Strange that dream state that results in designs. I'm always thankful for it and interested to see if it beads up according to my dreamy vision. I'll keep you posted, although it's fairly far down the list of things requiring beading at the moment, it may just make the top of the list, who knows.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Studio Deep Cleaning

A houseful of beader's will join in for Jean Campbell's Bead Society class being held here on Sunday, so....that always means the studio gets a nice deep clean. Well it should mean that, but it really means that all table surface stuff finds a nook or cranny in the ikea storage cabinets that line the walls. I did however move all the 'decor' and wipe down all surfaces and generally organized and neatened up. It's good to move things around and give them a new vantage point.

For example my Huichol Rooster is now sporting a necklace t hat I did back long long ago, with bellisimo beads and lampwork.

The book shelves are beyond full

so I decided to stack this collection.

I think they look pretty good together! I like owning the whole set. I can't imagine one of them I could do without.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gifted - a beaded ring

I'm a lucky girl, I have many friends who are artists. It wasn't always like that for me. Although I always made things with my hands I didn't really know any other creative people. I spent my life working in a corporate environment, where knitting and beading were not really celebrated skillsets.

When I was in my early forties I joined a quilt guild, not because I quilted but because I thought it would be a place to meet other creatives, and I was right. There I met a women named Vicki who's last name I sadly don't remember. She was wearing an amulet purse and I asked if she would teach me how to make one. That was the beginning of my bead journey.

Since leaving my corporate job in 2004 I've created a life of beads and have developed many friendships in this world.

Jeannette Cook of Beady Eyed Women is my neighbor and we frequently do things together. Recently she gave me this ring.

I love it photographed on the black, don't you agree?

Here is another of her series of rings, although I have to admit to loving mine best.

This weekend Jean Campbell will be speaking at the San Diego Bead Society. Another accomplished bead artist whose friendship I enjoy. Sunday's class will be held in my studio so once again a house full of talented beaders which always makes my day!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beading Debut

This weekend I debuted two new projects at the Beading Frenzy in San Mateo. The first time you teach a project can sometimes be a challenge so I appreciate the accomplished students that always greet me at the Beading Frenzy. This year along with many who I've known for years I was also introduced to Carol and Claire from Oregon and met facebook friend Sharon, and her friend Carol, as well as the delightful Leslie who chose to spend her 50th birthday with me!

Claire walked in wearing this stunning example of Etruscan treasure which makes me want to make it all over again. I love the beautiful blue vintage crystal she used for the center and the organically shaped pearls she studded the bands with.

Claire was also responsible for this excellent version of Quetzal, using a long twisted bugle down two of the sides and a swarovski square sequin on it's top. Beautiful work!

Here is a picture of me with Claire on the left and Carol, owner of Dancing Beads in Medford Oregon, standing in front of Beading Frenzy's wall of Swarovski Crystal!

I've often told the tale of one of Beaded Opulences most unsung designs, Serena. And again I implore you to have a second look at this project. Beader's at the Beading Frenzy have made a study of every possible colorway! And you may notice they've made it double wide. This is an 8 bar clasp with 17 units wide in the cuff and I can vouch for just how spectacular these are. Becky is responsible for the various ones you see here. Owner Susan has made two, one with Dorado crystal, soft brown seeds with a dark yellow accent, and a black on black which is amazing.

Here is Hoot posing on the stack.

And details of the silver and turquoise

and white on white 117 and if you need supplies call the Beading Frenzy and Susan will be happy to help you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

American Craft Council

Yesterday Susan, owner of the Beading Frenzy and I took the rare day off and drove to San Francisco to visit the American Craft Council show. We meandered through the city, parking on the bay at Green Field and waling the 1/2 mile or so over to Fort Mason.

I was unusually disciplined walking the entire show before deciding what artist's work I would like to take home with me.

I decided on a pair of bright graphic, beautifully crafted pair of earrings from Susan Dyer.

They are incredibly fun and Susan herself was a delight. Turns out she is from Milwaukee Wisconsin so we had a chat about the annual Bead and Button show and she was a knitter so we shared yarn store stories.

I especially love the asymmetry of these. Susan graciously offered to change out the bottoms or tails as she calls them So the would be mismatched.

Last night we had a nice dinner invitation for a home cooked meal in a beautiful garden and today En Pointe has it's debut!

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dream Keeper Vessel Ring

I'm very excited to be teaching this ring. Everywhere I go people fall in love with it. The directions are written and tested and this weekend it will have it's debut at the Beading Frenzy.

Also being debuted is En Pointe which is a bit of fanciful geometry.

The alternating points are joined with 2 mm crystal or for those wanting a little less sparkle, the join can be completed with size 11 seed beads. The join creates a raised ridge between components adding texture and emphasizing the architecture of the piece. The fussy bit on this, besides being size 15 right angle weave, is keeping the inner perimeter in the contrasting color.

And speaking of directions, I've been doing them in color. I've debated since once I go to kit on a design do I really want to write the directions to be color appropriate to the kit. This will be an extra labor intensive step. If I were to plan really well I could go in and recolor each illustration by changing the definition of the symbol, but right now that seems a little daunting to plan into the first set of directions. And color ink is expensive, but it does look pretty darn good.

My plan was to print them in greyscale, but that functionality seems to be buried somewhere deep in the current Word software. It used to be a straightforward option when you selected the print dialog box. Not anymore. So the full color version will be in class this weekend.

If you don't have plans why not join us? It's always a fun group at The Beading Frenzy. I've been teaching there for over ten years!

I'm flying up this morning so that Susan and I can attend the American Craft Council show at Fort Mason in San Francisco on Friday. The news suggests that if consumer confidence wanes and spending is held back a recession could become a self fulfilling prophecy. I hope to support an artist or two with purchases at the show.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

little by little

The yard is taking shape. It's been two years since we first formed a plan and I never thought it would be such a long time.....but Mark is doing the majority of the work himself, which I get, it saves money and with his work ethic we have an exceptional result.

So, today, we had the curved wall stuccoed. And man what an amazing difference. The wall is stuccoed to match the house. We tiled both sides of the interior gate to match the fountain. It's beautiful. We are creating an oasis and every day I love it more.

This morning we had this

And tonight we have this

Next up is a gate, watering the fountain

and building a deck for the hot tub surround

The landscaping is filling in nicely and it's all coming together. What a beautiful place to spend time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


When in Seattle I got to see friends Janice and Tracy, also known as the Wired Arts Girls, for dinner one evening. If we're lucky we get that pleasure 2 or 3 times a year, always at Bead and Button, always in Tucson and sometimes another time or two. This year I cruised with Tracy in March so it's been an excellent year for spending some quality time together.

I suspect I might have carried on about how much I loved the crystal wild heart she'd been wearing at Bead and Button. I may or may not have drawn the line at actual bead begging, I don't recall. But I was truly enamored of the way she put together the wire holding onto my favorite of the Swarovski Elements hearts, the wild heart.

We also laughed over her posting of her naked hand on facebook since I had gifted Janice a Dream Keeper Vessel ring (there is a story and Janice needed hers first and all has been forgiven but...) Tracy's hand remained naked. So last week I made Tracy's ring with her special dream inside. Whew, am I glad because at dinner Tracy presented me with this!

Oh my gosh. I could not love it anymore. It is perfect! Hers is worn on a chunky chain and I had a look, but chain is a tad expensive these days....and then my very own stash turned up the perfect chain. A right angle weave chain done in dark silver size 8's studded at every intersection with a crystal rose montee and long enough to wear double.. I have not taken it off and I don't intend to any time soon. Thank you Tracy!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Lure of the Triangle

I've been watching the fascination with triangles over at Kate's blog, stoically resisting the urge to participate......really I don't have the time and I'm afraid of the pull.

It all started in May at the seed bead summit. and now Jean's got about ten years on me and Kate and Dustin have a few months, but it's like light months with the intensity.

well last night, I may have succumbed.....since I sent Jean Power an order, paid with paypal and downloaded this

Oh and I started a triangle. I may be doomed.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

I loved it!

I had the best time in Seattle.m Today's Rising Sun was a huge success with everyone turning out beautifully colored bezeled focal beads.

Look at the stunning examples here. Lots of people chose stone cabochons with excellent results.

Victoria was a sport and kissed Hoot.

Lindsay picked me up for dinner out, the best pad Thai and pork salad seasoned interestingly with mint. A beautiful meal, followed by....

The famous Molly Moon with such favorite flavors as salted caramel, lavender honey and strawberry balsamic. I had the caramelized peach. It definitely held up to it's reputation.

And their mascot is pretty cute too!

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More Fusion

Yesterday was Aurelia and as always the different color combinations impressed me. One of my favorite things is to see a design interpreted in different colors.

Linda worked on silvers

Cyn in gold lined beads with green

And Elaine did a beautiful soft palette of mustard yellow and green with jet nut crystals.

There were many more excellent choices that I didn't capture well.

Class was followed by a visit from my friends the wired art girls. It was so nice to see them! We headed off to dinner at

recommended by Mel the lovely store manager of Fusion Beads. We were joined by Cyn and Mel joined us in time for dessert. We had a wonderfully delicious meal in an eclectic environment.

Mel, Janice and Tracy enjoying the company.

Today a full house for The Rising Sun!

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