Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Well maybe it's not all that brave, but during our outing to Palm Springs, Mark suggested a ride on the aerial tramway. Uh....ok, after all it is only fair to compromise.

He neglected to mention the fact that the platform of the tram rotated 360 degrees multiple times during the ascent up a very steep mountain. He knew it too, just thought not mentioning it would work in his favor to get me to join him.

Well I've forgiven him, the views up top were beautiful. There was snow and the air was mountain fresh and crystal clear.

And for the curious (Lisa W) the shawl is Bitterroot. There are beads added with a crochet hook during the last few rows. I did mine out of a Schaefer Heather worsted weight. It doesn't hold the points as much as I would like, but it is warm and cozy and works well when you need a little more then a light weight lace.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Forgive the interrupt

I never mean to leave you without a post and an explanation. I've left blogging to the capable ipad these days, it being the lightest thing to travel with. But while taking a mini vacation with my sweetie, blogpress the ipad ap for blogging failed to load. I suspect it has something to do with a number of aps needing an update, but since I only had 3 g and a limited data plan, updating couldn't happen.

I know it's a lot more then you needed to know, but that's just it, that there is an awful lot to know these days to make our businesses run. In the morning I'll sort out the ipad but for the time being I'm back at home in front of my beautiful imac, so I thought touching base might be in order.

We visited Palm Springs and took a tram ride to the top of a mountain. Was it pretty? I don't know I closed my eyes. I did not love the rotating tram or the slow sway whenever we passed a post. I spent my time up top recovering from the motion sickness....ah well, the rest of the trip was restful, the weather was perfect, the food delicious and the company my favorite.

I'll get organized later this week for a little giveaway and let you know how to participate. It's also time to get truly serious about the illustrations for the book.....It's possible I've been stalling just a big, but the time is now, so I'll be heads down for awhile. Although I'll visit you here as much as I can.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Etrsucan Treasure

Always one of my favorite designs, Hanne from Hamburg/Germany, sent me two examples that she made from Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence, along with some projects she was inspired to do with her new love of Right Angle Weave.

Hanne's coloration on both Etruscan Treasures is excellent, very rich and beautifully beaded.

An innovative ring
and bracelet

and one of the many crystal medallion bracelets I've seen done in multiple bright colors.

I love it when folks take the time to share their beautiful creations, thanks Hanne!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A little bit of exciting....

The cover of Perlen Poesie. Abrege, the diamond and ellipse bracelet that is so graceful. The design came about after my long love affair with the diamond and ellipse shapes. The blending of one ellipse into the next is my favorite part of the bracelet, and what adds just a bit of complexity. The edge join of 3 mm crystals also adds my trademark sparkle with just around a gross of crystal.

I think as has always been the case with this beautiful publication, that the cover images are outstanding. Ever since Freddie took an excellent photo of me at Bead and Button a few years back I was impressed with his photography skills. The photo in question ended up in the Perlen Poesie issue ten with a reference to my being in the next issue.

Although the magazine is in German, the photos and illustrations still make it striking, but now....there will be a free download of the English text. This makes owning a copy of each issue truly worthwhile for the English speaker. I think I'll be subscribing from now on.

Thanks to Andrea and Freddie, husband and wife and owners of Perlen Poesie for including me in their publication!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nice to be home

We got in last night, picked up the Maya girl and settled into the business of relaxing. The New York trip was wonderful, ending in the perfect day in Manhattan.

I got some excellent goodies during my New York Bead shopping including some vintage rivolis so I can continue making Abrege, at least the gold and silver. I still have a few of the black and dorado with the wonderful vintage tabac rivoli, but until I find more rivoli's (and don't think I"m not trying) this will be the last few.

We'll be having a small family gathering for Thanksgiving, requiring a turkey and the usual stuff, so this morning we went in search of a smallish fresh turkey and all of the fixings. In and out of the grocery store by 8:30 a.m. and no trauma.

Even picked up some Thanksgiving themed tulips for the dining room

The beautiful vase came from last years December visit to Santa Cruz. We've been buying glass at Lundberg Studios for many years. It is located in the small coast town of Davenport a few miles North of Santa Cruz on a beautiful stretch of road that winds along the ocean. The Roadhouse cafe makes an excellent lunch stop before having a look at the wonderful glass that Lundberg has to offer.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Manhattan Day

I love Manhattan! For a day or two at least. I'd probably like it more if I had a place to retreat to between excursions, but otherwise I get a bit overloaded from the stimulation of sights and sounds.

Today I will have lunch with friends, shop for some beads and for some wide brocade ribbon at MJ Trimmings. I passed up a pair of brocade ribbon wrist warmers lined with coordinating velvet when I was in Germany and I'd like to try to recreate them.

Yesterday Lydia came in with an Abrege necklace that was beautiful.

Lydia always finesses her finishing and the results are always gorgeous.

Here is Wendy, color queen of Blanches, who always pulls the most incredible palettes for class projects. She will insist she isn't photogenic, but I beg to differ, this is a really cute photo...

Another year full of fun at Blanches!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meeting new beaders

This year I met Joyce, who did such beautifully executed beadwork.

Joyce was incredibly sweet and oh so talented. This a great example of her work. A cubic raw bracelet with fire polish, closed with a crystal, but the magic was in the fringe.

Tomorrow I will try to upload photos of Lydia who finesses every finish and always picks the most stunning color combos.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Rivoli Heaven

See this cabinet of white drawers

Want to peek inside?

they hold a rivoli or two

Is that crazy amazing? I'm taking a few home with me. Beads by Blanche has an awesome collection of new and vintage rivolis.


Jaime's smiling face while she completes her Dream Keeper Vessel ring.

Jaime is responsible for this excellent version of the Rising Sun.

With matching earrings!

And this beautiful Aurelia

And Nancy brought this one from last year

here is the classroom mural

And later I'll show you the seed bead collection and the rivoli drawers!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, November 18, 2011

Beads By Blanche

So sadly I imported some photos from the iPhone to the ipad which didn't work as expected and the iPhone photos are now gone.

I expect to re create them tomorrow, given Jaime brings her stellar example of the rising sun again.

in the meantime I will ply you with cute baby pictures and tell you what a wonderful time I am having at Beads by Blanche.

So this is Miss Malayna Pies

That little open mouthed smile which is her form of a kiss.

When we last face-timed ( the apple app allowing us to see one another on an apple device) she full on kissed me via the phone, putting that precious little face onto the phone screen. I'm a smitten grandma!

And tomorrow, technology willing, we will have some beady content.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spinner Rings

These aren't really new, I've played with the concept ever since I did Carousel. I do that a lot, re-purpose components in a totally different design. I've often thought it would be a great concept for a book....

this is Carousel and you can see the spinner component on the front with the orange tips

The spinner is a clever bit of beadweaving using ladder stitch. I start ladder by putting all my beads on the thread and then picking them off.

and in the case of this one I added the tips into the original ladder, and then I pick up the accent beads as I go.

The middle bit is a crystal bezeled rivoli which slides through the spinner and the spinner can then be changed.

Here is a light metallic gold with platinum pearls. The Carousel spinner is bare, but the ring spinner has the addition of sparkle with the 3 mm crystals on the face of each tip.

and aqua with jet ab 2x

and here they are being worn together!

I'll be teaching Carousel at Beads by Blanche this weekend and rumor has it there are still spots available. The ring is a bonus project!

I'm also teaching En Pointe which I originally designed using size 15 beads with a 2 mm crystal join.

It's challenging, although I know the beaders at Blanches are up to the job, but I've also had it beaded up using size 11's, equally stunning

and there is always the bracelet version.

And if that weren't enough options we'll also be beading the Dream Keeper Vessel Ring.

Here is a beautiful version beaded by Suzanne in my Das Perlament classes last month

and a favorite version of mine

The ring is fun to create, has a personalized message inside and is great for gifting to the important girls in your life!

Monday, November 14, 2011

In the Beginning

I was having a look through some of my early photos and came across this collage of projects. The time frame was probably around 2000, maybe 1999. I was still working full time and teaching the occasional class with my then bead partner Linda. It was pre web-site and we used to send portfolios to bead stores to be considered. My guess this is one that I sent.

I notice my wildly different skill level with the camera. It was all trial and error at the time, I didn't understand white balance, as evidenced by the photo of Bellisimo in the upper left. Bellisimo was beaded on a sailing cruise down the coast of Italy and was my first published piece in the Art and Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells.

Tessera bottom right got re-invented and showed up as the cover on Step by Step beads some years later. The color palette was a bit more shall we say refined then the earlier versions.

It was the article that caused Lark to approach me about doing a book, so it was fortuitous in that sense.

The Secret Garden front and center has always been a favorite. The top opens to reveal a garden suspended from the top.

Regency was a re-invention of Bellisimo with the addition of fiber in the beads and the beautiful glass heart.

Cuffed Elegance and Falling Leaves were both freeform pieces. I still like freeform although it seems to have waned in it's popularity.

It was a fun look at the past and a reminder of how my work has evolved.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

When I don't bead I knit

Or I write directions or order supplies or make kits, in other words I am always pretty active. Today none of those held me attention and I found myself antsy and restless. Kind of a funny feeling, none of my supplies moved me, none of my designs called out to be beaded.....

And then I took a look back, I finished two beautiful book pieces this week, got 11 new colorways in the store, shipped a big bunch of kits and maybe just sitting with a book or staring at the beautiful sky was enough.

Do you do that? I have always had a tendency in my life to look at what is in front of me and forget the accomplishments that I've piled up.

The piece I just finished is so lovely, the palette so soft and romantic and sparkling. I want to love every piece I create this much. No angst was had, the piece flowed, the colors worked, the beading was easy and the result spectacular. Every day should be so good.

I'm going to lean into this afternoon of doing nothing, see what it holds, revel in the quietness and see how it feels. At least I'm going to try.....

I think part of the issue is that I have enough active projects that launching into something new would be just plain silly, but sometimes that is where the excitement lies. I'd love to cast on a pair of Mrs. Beetons wristwarmers with the charcoal grey mohair studded with jet swarovski's yarn that I have. Or the lace shawlette interspersed with beads, but it really isn't practical. Many of the current projects have deadlines and I only have this one afternoon before I must get ready to travel. Learning the art of doing nothing is something I need to cultivate a bit more. I'll let you know how I do.

Friday, November 11, 2011

No time like the present

I'm married to that guy, the one who changes the oil before dinner and thinks nothing of it. Me, back in the days when I changed my own oil, I'd work up to it for a week or more. First off to the store to buy the oil, plan the time, get the drip pans out, find the jack, so much energy went into it.

And I'm still like that with onerous tasks. But I become no time like the present if there is shopping to be done, impulsive even, seeing a project and immediately buying the yarn for it. I've got a bandana cowl on the needles, a baby baby sweater which just needs sleeves and a baby jacket also needing sleeves....and right behind it a shruggigan and right behind that a lace shawlette.

I finished a book project yesterday and what I can tell you is I love it, the colors, the design, it all turned out just the way I wanted. I'm hoping for the same kind of flowing design success today.

Michelle is coming to finish up some kitting and I should be able to totally catch up on all shipments by Monday. AND, I just got twelve sets of retro rings from Heather, so they should be back in stock by tomorrow.

So if you are waiting on Romantica in this soft gold opal you'll be receiving it next week.

And the Add to Cart button should be back on Retro ringlets sometime tomorrow. Update, in his 'no time like the present style' Mark updated the site and retro ringlets are back, for a short while at least, there are eleven kits available.

This is the color I can barely keep in stock. I do have one more set of primary Heather beads that I will be beading up some coordinating ringlets for some time soon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Swarvoski Create Your Own Style

In Tucson! Click here to see all of the classes being offered. This year a new venue, the Westin Paloma Resort and Inn, where I will stay and explore the Tucson shows. I'm also teaching two workshops, both right angle weave (that doesn't surprise you does it?) and both rather classically elegant with Swarovski pearls and Crystal.

The bracelet will be offered Wednesday Night February 1st from 5:00 to 8:30

and the necklace on Thursday February 2nd from 4:00 to 5:30

If you need a respite from the shopping, a class might be just the R&R you need, or stop by and say hello. Many of the ambassadors will be on hand and selling their work.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Studio time with friends

I particularly love a day in the studio shared with friends and I was fortunate that the wired arts girls stopped by between California shows. We spent a wonderful two evenings laughing over dinner and wine, and a long leisurely day in the studio, each working on our own work while enjoying one another's company.

We were well fortified by Mark's Belgium waffles and when we started to think about lunch he was ready with tuna melts, enjoyed in the sunshine of the veranda. By dinner I thought it might be appropriate for me to contribute and I had a plan. A google search for black bean soup recipes turned up one with canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce. It was excellent. I accompanied it with little dishes of sour cream, deep fried strips of tortilla, and a little chopped jalapeno. Jeannette joined us and brought the blood orange sorbet and chocolate cookies.

Tracy worked on a stamped, riveted and wire wrapped heart and made it all look easy. I didn't get a photo, but I did get one of these rings she is doing. Notice the crystal? And we placed an order for some volcano briolettes that are going to be excellent with the metals.

Janice was journaling, drawing and using watercolor, no wire wrapping in the studio, but I did find these in her stash, notice the crystal?.

I began work on a book project, the last for this quarter before I begin illustration, which is certainly a shift of gears. I'm off to Beads by Blanche next week and the girls are off to BABE in Oakland California. I love the BABE show, having lived as I did for 25 years in Northern California, but there was no way to fit it in the schedule. So we go our separate ways for now, knowing we'll do it again one day.

Monday, November 7, 2011


A verb, first coined by Jeannette Cook. It means to socialize on the veranda, preferably with good friends, nice food and a bottle of wine wouldn't hurt.

When we bought this house in 2006, first we worked on my studio which was pitiful at the time. Dark paneling, dated and mismatched linoleum floors, lattice work in the openings, all painted a lovely shade of band-aid. We've come along way, taking the kitchen down to bare studs and installing shiny modern white cabinets and marble countertops. The only thing we kept was the black sink which Mark was adamant about and I was reluctant about. He was right.

Mark reclaimed space for a workshop, we tiled the bathroom, took popcorn off the ceilings, painted and cleaned and then we turned our attention outside. It's been a transformation and I continue to add to the veranda, making it more room like and comfortable.

It's the perfect place to bead, to relax, have a morning coffee or an evening cocktail.

Today I added this planter in the corner and the balls in the tall hurricane pedestal. The first came bottom only, the glass had broken, but soon after I found a second one. They fill out the corner and bring the plants to the other side of the 'room'. Mark doesn't get at all why that is important to me....but he did cut and install the cable so that it would hang at the perfect height.

I also snuck this little fairy into a plant. Mark likes things simple. He is forever putting things away hoping perhaps I won't notice. A candle holder left on the counter top for any length of time is sure to turn up missing and vases are relegated to the back of cabinets. This fairy has been around for at least fifteen years and I think he suits the veranda beautifully.

This is all in time for my company, the wired arts girls, who arrive today. Forever we've tried to plan a little get together when three busy schedules would allow and this week we've managed it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A first

First time teaching at Beadology in Huntington Beach to a full class who want to learn The Rising Sun!

Love the little textured bump in the band.

Yesterday was a full day of kit preparation and website updating.......11 new kits in the store, including the pretty new Romantica featured in this months Beadwork, cool products section.

The fact that it came out much earlier then expected caught me a bit off guard, but I'm ready now!