Friday, September 30, 2011

Bead Dreams

Do you do that? Dream of beads, of patterns, of thread paths. I know I do. I'm putting together a necklace for the new book and the thread path didn't work out easily. After a nights sleep where my mind went to work on the problem, I woke up with the answer. I remember clearly thinking through how it would work, and it did, just the way I dreamed it.

Occasionally an entire piece shows up designed, but not as often lately and I think I know the reason. I am not allowing the time to expose myself to creative outlets. I am moving from one engagement to the next, packing, unpacking, sorting out things at home, paying bills, shipping ringlet kits, the things one must do to keep everything moving along.

I hope our visit to Holland and a wander around it's canals and cobblestone streets and into the museums and shops (a Dutch shop is called a winkel which I find quite whimsical, a beadstore is a kralen winkel) will do the trick to energize my creative needs.

This is the Droste factory down the street from where we lived in Haarlem. On the morning the factory was making chocolate it smelled like a huge chocolate cake was baking.

This beautiful canal is actually in Brugge, one of our many outings while living there

And this is the Grote Markt which happened every Saturday morning in the main town square just a few blocks from our home. The largest bouquet of flowers you could imagine was $5 euros. We took turns picking the weekly flowers, sometimes my taste and sometimes Mark's but we always had a fresh bouquet.

The trip to Holland will be followed by a trip to Bonn and the store of Petra Tismer, Das Perlament, where I will re-unite with my German friends from Bead and Button while teaching for 4 days. I will also be meeting with Perlen Poesie the German beading magazine....there will be an article involved....

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Psssttt....there are a few ringlet kits in stock

Heather made me ten more sets of the retro and pink lime green glass rings. I kitted up a few ringlet kits last week.

Be forewarned that we will be closing the store Monday morning for three weeks while we travel.

Back in the Studio

You may recall the day before leaving for Portland I decided to make some significant studio changes. While that might have been ill advised, it was nice to return home to the new cabinets and organized closet.

I replaced a table that had a tendency to accumulate mess

with these storage cabinets. More room is always welcome and I will be organizing and putting away all the various messes which now adorn the surfaces of the studio.

I neatened up the contents of the closet,

placing things in the labeled boxes. There is a somewhat loose relationship of the contents, but with good labeling I should be able to find the less used supplies like adhesives, rubber stamps and the like.

The boxes on top of the cabinets are there temporarily. I have been collecting beads to go with the four color palette's I've selected for the next book.

Here are two of them, one with goldy metallics and a hint of reds and oranges

and the next all pearlescent and crystally sparkliness with a hint of white alabaster and chrysolite, although I may have to add some erinite and peridot.

I still have a fair amount of studio work to do, to restore the studio to the zen like order that I prefer. And only a very few days to do it in so I will be getting busy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Travel Day

Last nights Portland Bead Society meeting was excellent, with many friendly faces in the audience. I was thrilled when Marcie Stone, husband Greg Hansen and mother Fran Stone walked in. Marcie who owned the Shepherdess in San Diego before her move to Oregon was influential and instrumental in my bead journey, and that of many many others.

Also in the room was Teresa Sullivan who I spent the afternoon with. And Isle, Jennifer, Joy, Karie, Dusti, Jeanine, Cindy and I could go on and on. I always find it amazing how many beaders I know all over the world.

Today finds me traveling home back to my sweetie. A few days of rest, at least that is the plan and then prepping for our next adventure to Holland and then Germany, where Mark will thankfully join me.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby Knits

It's so wonderful to see the hand knits being worn. I posted it's completion back in June and now I get to see her precious little self wearing it.

The darling Miss Malayna wearing a hand knit by her Grandma, yours truly!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011


Man I've had an excellent day. There were 11 very knowledgeable beaders there to learn Rings of Saturn. This is a classic design that I've taught for the last ten years, but beads and skills evolve and today Carmen closed her ring with light gold metallic 2 mm crystals with an excellent result (that I would totally share if I had photographed it, tomorrow).

The class is held in the light bright classroom of Fibers in Motion, owned by the very talented and inspiring LuAnn, who was delightful.

Cherie insist she is not photogenic but I think this picture of her is darn cute, look at those dimples. She is wearing her twilight from the book and the dark Greys and crystal look beautiful together.

After class Luann recommended that I would enjoy Switch and she was so right. I immediately bonded with all the gals there and discovered Wendy.

After a bit of discussion Wendy told me her friend also beaded. I asked her friends name....Fran Stone, who I just happen to know, such a small world as the saying goes. The green boots? Totally had to have them, handmade and so comfortable. My new friend Wendy owns a pair too, too bad we didn't get that photo op, but the sandals she did have on were amazing.

I thoroughly enjoyed a sushi dinner and now it's time for a little beading.

Tomorrow is day two of Rings of Saturn and I can't wait.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Before photos

I thought it only fair to show you the mess, the real mess that happens behind closed doors. The unproductive mess that unsettles me every time I need to retrieve something from the mess,

and the mess that collects on table tops as I come and go on my travels.

For starters the table was cleaned off, unassembled and moved to the garage, to be sold on Craig's list at some time when I'm home long enough.

Boxes are being assembled and labeled with the contents of the messy closet. Hopefully this is a good plan. The closet contains less often used craft supplies. So far a lot of thread, some vintage hiroshima beads and all of the shrink plastic, rubber stamp, colored pencil type supplies have been stored.

This is a funny time to be doing this, as Lori Pyler of Waterstone jewelry does a weekly Studio Feature and this week she featured mine! And made it look like the beautiful space it long as you don't open the closet. However I know the changes we are making will improve the space that much more. Now go have a look at Lori's blogpost to see the better side of my studio. And stay tuned for photos when we complete the latest 'remodel'.

Thank you Lori for sharing my space so beautifully.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Studio revamp again?!

Why do I wait until I don't think I can be any busier and then decide it is once again time for change? Well I'm not sure, but that is exactly what I'm doing. I decided today that the outer beadroom which houses a messy closet, the shipping department, a table and chairs, could be put to much better use.

I decided the table needs to go and I need storage units with closed doors. Off to IKEA with measurements in hand, I got several white boxes to at least unify the mess in the closet and 3 storage units with doors and shelves, working height so I can still use the tops to prep shipments, and 16 inches deep so I can still fit long narrow folding tables in the event I hold a class here.

I think it will open up the space nicely and reduce the clutter that collects on the table top. Well at least the clutter will be kept to a smaller space. Next I would like to hang 4 of the slick white magnet boards above the new cabinets for capturing inspiration, or maybe some shadow boxes of finished work, that might be fun.

Photos when all is complete.....but don't hold me to a schedule, the boxes need to be screwed together! Nine screws apiece, and the storage units, well most of us know how IKEA assembly goes.....

In the meantime Mark is kitting Ringlet kits in retro and orange pink lime. I'm taking the first batch with me to Portland. What is left will go to Europe and after that back onto the website. Which by the way, the store will be closing while we are in Europe, re-opening with some new inventory when we return.

I'll be back when I finish screwing 13 boxes together, nine screws each, I am not going to do the math, that would be depressing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yard Update

I've been remiss....last Thursday our semi-custom gate was installed. Semi because we got to pick the decorative panel, one side or two (we picked two) left or right handle, solid or perforated door panel (we picked solid) and sized to your opening. What we couldn't pick was the color of the interior panel which is black. We would have liked the same hammered grey as the railings and other grey yard accents, but black is what we got. With a lot of effort, it could be changed, but I'm thinking I will get used to it before a lot of effort is expended.

The first shot shows a peek through the plants of the veranda

and the second shows a little more of the decorative nature of it.

I find the big decisions very difficult, will I like it when it's complete? It is something about scale and permanence. Beadwork I can tear out, not a huge loss....Honey I don't really like that gate.....not really good, so it intimidates me. But all in all I am happy with this addition to the yard and especially happy with the privacy it affords.

The writing of a book

I've begun in earnest, moving from the conceptual to the actual process of beginning a book. And here are the two books that travel everywhere with me.

The colorful notebook is the planner. I'm a project manager at heart having had that role often in my corporate career. The notebook has a calendar of all my engagements, teaching and personal, and then I slot in the days for kitting, for beading and for illustrating around the travel days. I try to fit in some days for play as well. It also contains my correspondence, my annual kit requirements, show applications and any call for entry information that might interest me.

The black reporter's style mole notebook has blank pages rather then lined which I find easier to sketch on. I don't sketch pieces in detail, just enough to get a sense of the design and some notes about what beads to use. This one is designated for Beads in Motion. All the palettes are listed and there are a number of conceptual designs already planned out. I'll use it to make notes while I'm stitching and list things that need to be ordered. In fact yesterday I ordered size 15, 11 and 8 in each of the 4 color palettes I selected.

This one is tentatively called Forest so that I have a reference, it's alternatively called palette three.

Tabac, olivine, golden shadow, jet nut and a touch of jet.

Now it's time to order some crystal before my birthday lunch begins. No, it is not my birthday, in fact it's not even my birthday month, but I won't be here next Tuesday and the Tuesday after I leave for Europe and the Tuesday after I'll be in Europe. Tuesday is designated five girls get together and birthday lunch day, so I get to celebrate mine early. No doubt I will celebrate again, maybe a few times.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A is for Abacus

The very fitting name of Cynthia's second blogpost on her Adventures in Beaded Opulence blog. I have to agree with Cynthia, I love this cuff, the fluidity of the right angle weave fabric and the relaxed drape as it hugs your wrist make it worth every bit of beading.

My friend Gabriella is in the process of one now with a labradorite gemstone chip in place of the 'squarelettes' During her visit we found the perfect purple haze briolettes for the closure.

A bit of back story on Abacus. The book was ready to be turned in and one of the 24 projects being submitted was a business card case. Lark wanted to position the book as a jewelry book so they advised against having a non jewelry project. The business card case in process was size 11 one cuts with a matte size 15 as the contrasting bead. It was laying on the work table and next to it just happened to be the hot pink squares......I decided with just a bit more beading it could be come a cuff, and there you have it, the rest of the story.

I had so much fun reading Cynthia's latest blogpost as it showcases her ever present humor. It is going to be great fun watching this unfold!

I'm back

From a little unexpected blog vacation.

It was a bit of wild week last week. Starting with Wednesday night when I thought it would be fun to open registration at midnight for Beading by the Bay. Well starting before that as we prepped the website, tested out new inventory program and sent out emails to the interested parties. What was I thinking? Well I was thinking it would be just a bit of fun, but really people would get up in the morning and register. Since we open registration to returning students early it was true that there were a limited number of seats, and a lot of interest in those seats. So folks did indeed set their alarms (sorry East Coast and midwest, next time I will know better) and got up and registered. Which was all very exciting until about 3:00 a.m. when I got back to bed for an hour or two. When I got back up a couple of hours later, we were able to watch the new inventory system in action as it counted down the available seats and posted sold out in place of the Add to Cart button at 7:00 a.m.

Following that bit of fun, a friend arrived for a visit and we spent solid studio time working through color choices for the new book and then beading and visiting. It was delightful as she is an exceptional artist and it was wonderful to be able to talk through design choices of some of the projects I'll be working on.

Which leads me to the dilemma could get mighty boring around here as most of the beadwork I'll be working on won't be of the shareable nature, although I'm sure a sneak peek here and there will work out. So what to do, well I have still have my engagements where I get to run around the world and meet beaders and I'll be sharing those of course. I'm off to Portland on Friday, a venue I've never been to and look forward to. That is almost immediately (yikes) followed by a three week trip to Holland and Germany. In Germany I will join friends Petra, Martine, Kathrin and Sabine and meet many others including Sian from England! This is very exciting as we discovered on another in blog land a couple of years ago and Petra discovered Sian through my blog and they have become fast friends and Sian is coming to Germany!

I'll have plenty to share, just not necessarily photos of new beadwork.

Will this do? It's sparkly, my new little Swarovski studded purse from Kippys, an institution in downtown Coronado. We visited the Artwalk yesterday where I visited with many friends who had booths there this year.

I've panicked myself with that little realization that I return home from Portland on Wednesday and leave for Europe the following Tuesday. I need to organize travel beads as I plan on getting a lot of book projects done. Fortunately I have some excellent palettes to work with, but I do need to order some beads. So I'll be going now. Bead well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Inner Nerd

Whenever I bead in public the first statement is 'You must have really good eyesight' Followed by 'How long does that take?' and the classic 'You must have so much patience' (which I by the way have never considered my strong suit).

In the eyesight department I did require glasses to read, bead, knit pretty much any thing close, the day I turned 40, I swear it was that very day! I opted for progressives since the whole on off, finding the readers or wearing them on a chain around my neck didn't appeal. For the most part this worked out and I also like the fashion of glasses, kind of like jewelry for your face.

So I have a couple of pairs or 3 or 4.....

When I was approached by Craft Optics to use a pair of there loops and provide feedback I wasn't sure I was there best candidate. I was doing pretty ok with my glasses, well except when the light was dim or the beads were particularly tiny or I had a knot....but ok.

And then I received a pair of Craft Optics, with my own prescription in the glasses and two telescopic lenses on the front (think your dentist). I wasn't wild about the fashion statement, but after a tiny bit of adjustment I was able to see detail like crazy. The beadwork appeared so close I was stitching air for the first few passes until my eye hand coordination caught up. I could see but I still didn't fully adopt them, getting up to get them if I had something I needed to see in more detail, or putting them on in a class to examine a students thread path closely.

Somewhere along the line I realized I was not using them for their full potential and I decided to give them an all out try wearing them every time I do beadwork. I'm really sensitive to different lenses so it took a little getting used to, but I noticed that my eyes didn't get fatigued, and my beading position was more comfortable. And I could see in gory detail (I do need a better manicure) every bead, every thread path, every knot that needs untangling. Ever bead in less then optimum light and wake up the next day to huge drag of thread that didn't get woven in and you didn't see it? I've overcome that.

So here I am....made only slightly more nerdy by the fact that I am also listening to a book on tape while I read, this one State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

If you are doing a lot of fine detail work you might consider looking into these. Price is relative, not as expensive as my fancy framed progressive lensed eyewear that I usually wear but more then a pair of readers or magnifier, or other lower tech solutions.

I just got the light option, clipped to the middle of the frame above your nose with a wire running to the battery pack, yes nerdier yet, but when I was beading in bed last night I could see like daylight and I will no longer be at the effect of low wattage lamps in hotel rooms, or carrying my ott light, I'll just bring my glasses and light and try not to order room service (lest I scare someone)

Jeff Caplan owner of Craft Optics has been a pleasure to work with and very responsive to any questions I've had. They were at Bead and Button this past year and will be in Tucson at the Bead True Blue show as well as some other beady venues where you'll be able to try a pair on for yourself and see if it's a solution for you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Could it be a color rut?

It happens, I get enamored with a certain bead or combination of beads and all of a sudden it shows up in multiple projects, and usually without intent. I wish I could say that it was planned, but I think it's rather subliminal. I don't even always realize I am gravitating to the same palette until I take photos and it becomes obvious to me.

I think at the moment, deep raspberry, fuchsia and dorado are making an appearance.

I showed you En Pointe bracelet yesterday but this is a better shot (I hate it when I'm lazy on the photos)

Here is Lilliana (a name I've always loved, and a person dear to me) which I will be teaching at Bead and Button next year. I think it's really graceful, and it's cubic raw so it has a lot to offer in upping one's right angle weave skills

And here is the Dream Keeper Vessel Ring in new colors. I could make this ring day after day and not get tired of it. It's doable in a reasonably short period of time (5 hours, that's short right?) and it such a good opportunity to play with color, and placing a dream inside, you have to love that and it's a great gift. I just sent off one of these to Beads by Blanche where I will teach it in November and the other is destined for City Beads where I will teach it in December.

It may be a color rut, but I don't think I'm ready to stop exploring it yet. Do you have a set of go to colors? Are you color challenged? Do your colors change with your mood or with the seasons? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

En Pointe

The bracelet version that is.

I decided to do a size 11 version of En Pointe using 3 mm crystals on one side

and 2 mm crystal on the other

The back join is smooth and even with the points, the front side is raised adding depth and texture. I love the structure of this piece. I am waiting on a magnetic bar clasp from Ezel Findings that I think will finish it perfectly. The challenge will be to size it for different sized wrists, so I need to give that a bit of thought.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I love venturing out to see new things and I love coming home, back to the familiar, the ambiance we've created, the quiet and peacefulness of our space. Last night dusk arrived around 7:30 in time for a candlelight dinner that welcomed us home.

This morning we took a nice walk at Mission Trails park and now it's time to put things back in order. I looked forward to taking the day off, but I always forget how much it takes, the getting ready and the settling back in. There are bags to be unpacked, laundry to be done, plants to be watered, groceries to be shopped for, the things of life. I hope to be quick so that I can get back to the almost complete EnPointe bracelet.

The Seattle airport has some nice shops and this one appealed to the Grandma in me......I couldn't resist this sweet dress for Miss Malayna Pies. It looks to me like some red velvet mary janes are in order.

It's going to be an excellent week. My friend Gabriella will visit and we'll spend some beading time together and perhaps a trip to the Coronado Art Walk this weekend. Leslee Frumin is the speaker at the San Diego Bead Society and I may get to yet another meeting this year, we'll see how the week progresses.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back in Seattle

Waiting for our flight to take us home to our little Miss Maya and our relaxing veranda.

I believe I have lost track if reality a today I pondered what was in my schedule for the next couple of weeks. I need to regroup and prioritize. It's time to get the book started which means picking colors, setting up my adobe workspace and beginning to bead and illustrate. But lest I leave the glow of our latest adventure to soon let me share our last day of Alaskan cruising.

Thursday night we made our way from Ketchikan back to Victoria by way of the ocean (as opposed to the more protected waters we'd been in) This meant I got to enjoy a lovely rocking sleep. I've got Mark thinking and he dreamt of a way to create that gentle sway in our bed at home.

Friday we enjoyed out last day of beading together

Anne, Marcia, Fae and JoEllen standing,
Carole, Kathy, Marlene and Maxie in front.

Look closely and you will see Anne, Kathy and Maxie wearing their Dancing Light. The others were minutes away from finishing as well. It was wonderful to see this piece come to life during the Span of the cruise.

This one's for Liz who loves Moose, this was the best we could do at the Totem Park gift shop and museum

We arrived in Victoria in time for Mark's birthday dinner which we enjoyed at the Ferris oyster Bar in downtown Victoria (if you go we enjoyed the upstairs) The ambiance was perfect, the oysters may be the best I've ever eaten and that's saying a lot. Mark was in sparkling good humor as we held hands and enjoyed being together. We strolled back to the boat through the lights of Victoria

It's been an excellent trip made more so by the wonderful beader's that I shared my time with and my dear husband, whose company I always enjoy.

Happy Birthday To my favorite travel partner!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011


Just a quick post as we leave Ketchikan with an ocean sail to Victoria British Columbia.

The day was rainy but we managed a tour of the totem pole park which was wonderfully worthwhile.

I loved the colors and the stories surrounding each of the poles.

The rest of the group traveled off to the Point where they visited a bead and yarn store And I was sorry to miss out on that. But since Mark agreed to travel with me this trip I left the free day planning up to him.

I'll meet up with everyone in our bead room shortly and see all the wonderful things they purchased.

I'll leave you with a photo of leaving Sitka yesterday, so majestic.

Tomorrow night we'll celebrate Mark's birthday in Victoria and then we arrive into Seattle and fly home, always sweet no matter how good a trip is.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Sitka was a lazy day for me, a leisurely stroll through the downtown, an Alaskan White beer

and back to the boat for lunch and an afternoon of beading.

The harbor we anchored in is gorgeous and more so because of the streaming sunshine, beautiful puffy white clouds and warm temperatures.

I especially love this Ansel Adam like shot showing layer upon layer of mountains receding into the haze (not to compare myself to that level of photographic expertise certainly but one does get the feeling of the depth)

The natural beauty here continues to astound me, so much out of my normal realm of experiences.

This one's for you Sandy....a nice sign in Sitka

The afternoon has been productive with half the bracelet completed if it remains a single layer and one quarter if it becomes the reversible cuff I am envisioning. The yellowy green gold, deep raspberry and dorado is a beautiful color combination.

We've just pulled out of port so no Internet soon....

I'll report tomorrow from Ketchikan!


It turns out the trip we made to avoid a Pacific storm was one of the most picturesque days. As we sat and beaded in the beautiful room with huge windows, we were treated to a spectacular show. The ship made it's way into Tracy Arms and into a very narrow fjord with sheer rock cliff on either side of the water passage. Beautiful waterfalls abounded and large pieces of very blue glacier floated by. A visual treat every few moments and just exactly what I had hoped to experience.

In the afternoon I took a relaxing hottub followed by a bathrobed session of beading in the cozy room and each glance up from the beads brought another picture perfect glimpse of nature.

During the night we ventured back out into the Pacific Ocean and the boat fell into a gentle rocking motion which made for a very nice evening of sleep.

The sun came out for our short trip into the town of Sitka and the mid 60 temps made for a shirt sleeved day as we strolled around the shops.

And now, it's back to the beads as I am midway into the En Pointe bracelet version. I have an idea to make it double layered and fully reversible.....we'll see.

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Monday, September 5, 2011


Or ice, which is really the case, but it reminds me of a piece of Steuben or some other intricately carved piece of glass

I love the cool greys of the photo.

Our cruising guide for tomorrow has arrived and we learned that we will be going to Tracy Arms and viewing a fjord from 7:30 a.m. To 4:30 at which point if weather conditions allow we will travel to Sitka.

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Seattle to Alaska

Saturday we set sail on Holland America's Westerdam for Juneau Alaska.

The view of Seattle from the vantage point of the ship was excellent.

I am pretty sure I could have lived in Seattle, except for the fact that Mark would be unlikely to join me. He is way more of a tropical traveler.

The ride was gentle and bonine kept me feeling ok although I hear there were many sick from the ocean swell, I thankfully did just fine.

Our dining table is in the aft window of the ship which affords a really stellar view.

Day one at sea was day one of the Dancing light class and given the caliber of beader on board I suspect there are going to be many done by weeks end.

Day two we arrived mid day in Juneau and Mark and I opted for bike and brew. We rode bikes ten miles along bike trails stopping first at a lake across from the glacier and then at the glacier.

Here's my sweetie looking adorable in his biking and rain gear...yes it did rain.

The ice formations were interesting and ever changing sculpture garden.

A strong storm with hurricane force winds has changed our plans from a day at Hubbard glacier to a nearby and more protected bay. I'm onboard with that change. We'll be beading and then in my free afternoon I'll be beading. Finishing up a second dream keeper in fuchsia and's a good one.

Internet will not be available again for a couple of days so bead well and see you Wednesday!

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