Thursday, April 26, 2012

When I am old

Which at 59 I'm definitely not, but 'When I am old, I will wear purple'

well at least I used to embrace that poem, but then it got adopted by the red hats and I kind of lost interest.  But I must say I do like the purple.

When I arrived at the salon today for a little color I had teal in mind, but since teal was out of stock, I opted for the purple and I like it.

I'm off to Cherry Hill New Jersey where I will teach a fairly large group of seed beaders, first Dancing Light and then En Pointe, the bracelet version.  En Pointe is close to as challenging as Aberge....turning corners and keeping an inside contrasting color, but the result is beautiful.

And I get to meet two formally unmet Facebook friend and renew a couple of friendships from previous classes.  I'm hoping I'll see Hillary, and I know I'll see Stephanie, so life is good.

One of the previously unmet Facebook gals emailed me when I posted on Facebook that I was traveling to New Jersey.  In the back of my mind somewhere I heard a Kate blogpost, about Kyle Cassidy's philosophy of just say yes...and so I did.  Interestingly I fly into Philadelphia which is Kyle's city and I had hoped to meet up, but he is in Minneapolis taking photos of roller derby gals, and so taking my photo will have to wait to another time when we can meet up.

I'm traveling with the blog enabled iPad, so I'll be in touch.  Until then, have fun.

The allure of the seed bead

As I continue to bask in the glow of last weekends classes at Bead Creative in New Hampshire, I reflect on the community of seed beaders I've met over the years. I began to travel and teach in 1998 and the math suggests that is 14 years of meeting people through the love of seed beads.

Last weekend a group of twelve women took the challenge of Aberge.  I never intentionally design a project that is difficult, but this particular one does take a bit of perseverance.  The different size seed beads which create the gentle curve of the ellipse take on an angle that makes it a bit more difficult to see the pattern of 4 beads which make up the right angles.  Also the point of the first ellipse becomes the interior of the second ellipse making the positioning of the seed bead size and color an important consideration.  In the end however it is a beautiful bracelet and leaves you with an appreciation of the versatility of this stitch. I have a few more of the square vintage rivoli that is the stunning enter of this piece.  After that I will likely use a current production 18 mm round which is still quite pretty, but the vintage square really makes a statement.  I have one new color way coming in medium vitrial with fuchsia and green.   Although with Bead and Button and book deadlines, it may be a while.

Here is a shot of Tessarae, which I think of as a beginning point for me.  It was featured on the cover of Step by Step Beads back in   2007 and was the catalyst for Lark contacting me about authoring a book.  I love the crystal edging on this piece and the simple geometry of it.  It is not true cubic right angle weave, two flat pieces were joined on their edges.  If I were to do it today I might see how different it would look 
if it were true cubic.

And a final shot of my bead embroidered purse which went out on the town with me last night.  Ok, I don't really go out on the town, but I did meet my girlfriends for happy hour at our favorite C level lounge where we sat as close to the water as possible and took in the lights of  downtown San Diego and enjoyed laughter and friendship.

This purse was a gift from one of those people who came into my life through the love of seed beads...Ms Liz Thompson, aka, the bad Liz. You can't help but realize the love and friendship stitched into a gift like this.

Tomorrow it's plane travel again, off to the Southern Jersey Bead Guild to teach En Pointe and Dancing Light, and meet with more of the community. I know I will meet both old and new friends and I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Past photos...

I often amuse myself scrolling through photos from another time.  Here are two that are definitely a design departure for me. This is a treasure bracelet that I did in a Robin Atkins class when she visited the San Diego Bead Society a few years back. What I especially like about it is the use of an assortment of beads, vintage and otherwise. Many were one off beads that I picked up when traveling in Europe. Since the writing of books and making of kits I have gravitated towards repeatable beads, seeds and crystals and findings that I can reliably source. But I love looking at this eclectic piece and will one day return to this design aesthetic.

In that same time frame I decided to work on a bit of bead embroidery, inspired by my life in Holland and Van Gogh's paintings. I chose at the time not to pursue the medium of bead embroidery, but I would like to return to it one day. I still have high hopes of leisurely days where I bead and knit and explore other mediums....I know it's in my future.

Monday, April 23, 2012

crystal supplier

today, after 6 or so years of phone and email contact, I met Maurice for the first time. He sends me crystals!

and I saw lots of pretties

and new

and I traveled home with a bag or two

long day, but a big thank you to Cathi who hosted me so beautifully in New Hampshire, including walks on the beach and a lobster dinner. We finished the weekend off with a ride to Rhode Island to buy crystals, yes I did....and then to Logan airport.
Unfortunately weather related delays meant a re routing and a late arrival home...still in Dallas at the moment.
I look forward to a day off tomorrow!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bead Creative

Cathi, owner of Bead Creative with her new earrings!

With the drops from jp designs, pretty!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Maine Lobster!

Living on the West Coast Maine lobster is close to impossible to get and fried clams impossible....but on the East Coast in Hampton NH, my East Coast host and friends indulged me.

And after dinner a coastal ride and illegal u- turn to take photos of the swans.

Todays Abrege class went beautifully with everyone having success. Abrege can be takes a fair amount focus and couple of aha moments, but we got there. Totally worth it.

Tomorrow rain is predicted and if I'm lucky a thunder storm.

Play well and I'll be back soon.

Friday, April 20, 2012

New England

where have I been? I truly feel badly when I abandon you....I arrived safely at Logan International airport and was picked up and transported to Hampton New Hampshire. It's been two whirlwind days of teaching at Bead Creative with a lovely group of gals. Marge, Nancy, Karen, Barbara, Cathy, Deb...I love you. And all the new gals I've met,
I walked on the beach yesterday. The East Coast is my growing up coast and I love it here. It is significantly different then the west coast, the memories are magic.
Hampton Beach sunrise during my morning walk.

And another view

I am so enjoying this trip....the smell of the Atlantic is different as is the color. tomorrow night lobster!
Preceeded by Abrege!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And the winner is....

Number 36, Leora! Leora please go to my website and use the contact us form to give me your details.

Well that was fun.

I arrived safely into Boston Logan airport and had a nice drive out to Portsmouth New Hampshire.

Tomorrow morning a walk on the Atlantic Ocean followed by a class at Bead Creative. I can't wait to see the store. Owner Cathi has stocked it really well with seed beads and crystal! My kind of store.

I'm also in the land of Maine lobster and fried clams. I grew up in a Boston suburb so this is definitely a return to my roots!

I did manage some cubic raw on the plane and I have ideas for a new piece, but airline seats are getting so darn small, beading can be a bit challenging....

Pictures tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Master Class Book Giveaway

First another image to follow along with yesterdays clean studio theme....from when we moved everything and steam cleaned the carpet

The wide angle view. There are days I would like to repaint....and then reality sets in. I had a sagey green color in mind but for some reason this is the paint I got. When the house was built the studio was an outdoor porch with half cement walls. Sometime in the first two years the porch was closed in with wood paneling and a tin roof. The cement took a lot of paint and I decided that repainting was not going to happen. It's grown on me and there are other house projects that will take precedent...maybe someday. This was the first space we tackled when we moved in six years ago now. It was truly ugly with band aid color paint, a 1970's linoleum floor, dark wood paneling and lattice work in the openings you see here. It was truly horrible and now it is a light filled space where I spend most of my days.

But on to the important things. Last week I told you about the new Master Class book Beaded Fantasies.

It seems that I have an extra copy. Would you like it? Just leave me a comment between now and midnight tonight PST. Tomorrow sometime I'll use the random number generator and pick a winner. Now I'll be traveling all day tomorrow, so no promises on the timing...but check back Wednesday or Thursday to see if that winner is you.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New start

I'm about to be off for two back to back East Coast trips and then a Northern California family visit, so.....I wanted to make sure that I had a really clean space to come back to.

I've declared the book done as far as beading is concerned but there is still text and illustration for many of the projects so I will be spending a lot of days in the studio and at the computer. I get twitchy if my environment is not neat. You would think I might do a better job of keeping it picked up, but alas I do not. I tend to spill out beads onto trays in a fit of what I think is creativity, and as each new idea is tried out and abandoned, or explored further, tubes of beads, containers of crystals and pearls, tools, findings, books....all seem to make their way onto the table and various counter tops. And then the twitching starts and I get unsettled and anxious and there is nothing to be done but clear spaces. And so today that is how I spent my afternoon.

And I succeeded for the most part, although there are still a number of seed beads that need to have a spot on the wall, and some counter tops that could use a bit more clearing up, and an in box that requires some filing...but for the most part order has been restored.

I love my studio in this state. I have an English visitor arriving between trips two and three so it will be helpful to try to maintain this neat space in the event she thinks I'm always this neat.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a giveaway, it appears I have two of one of the latest master class books and I'm going to share one with you.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Play time

Well that is not how this started out. How it started is that I needed to refresh my memory on how the rows of peyote went on the back of this medallion. I didn't trust that I had done the counts right and I wanted to make sure what my math suggested when I drew it would indeed work. So I started out to remake the pendant for the book.....and then inspiration occurred when I decided I wanted to use the Swarovski encrusted components I purchased in Tucson from JP Designs.

I am in love with these....and the picture doesn't capture just how beautiful they are in real life. I have not taken them off yet. They make me feel pretty. They are elegant and sparkly and vintage looking and classy, and just the right size, and they go with everything I own....dress up or dress down they seem to work. Oh and by the way, I think that is a pretty decent wire wrap on those drops. I struggle with neat wire wrapping....goodness knows I've been shown, and rescued. Susan one time cut off all of my wraps and re-wrapped them for me. So this time I was super careful and I think they'll pass muster. Susan?

And now I want to go make six more pairs in different colors, but I won't because I have a tassel in the works that needs some beading done. The good news is it uses more of the JP Designs pieces, in beautiful silver and montana blue. I'm also using bi-cones and wild hearts and gunmetal chain. Oh, and some 2 mm crystals in with the cubic raw top that they will all be suspended from. Betcha can't wait, me either!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Metallic delicas

Sometimes it seems the simplest project gives me the most challenges in the illustration. Yesterdays was like that. Illustrating circular Right Angle Weave with different size beads....but I got it done after a few trials and tribulations.

Then it was on to brick stitch with delicas, much simpler

And since there is a matching ring to this piece, there are some economies to be had in the illustrating. Although each of the medallions has a different count so it will need to be redrawn, but at least now I have the process for getting the right spacing. It's quite a bit of math, well for me. When I have needle and thread in hand I can decide that 18 around is a good size, but then to actually draw that 18 around I need to divide 36 into 360, ok, I know that is not hard, but knowing that is what I need to do to get the angles of rotating beads correct, well that is the hard part. If the medallion is 14 around then I need to rotate my guide lines at 12.857 or 360 divided by 28.

I will say that the learning keeps the brain young, or least that is my plan!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A zoo walk

This morning's walk was at the world famous San Diego Zoo. We have an annual pass so we try to get there once a week for our morning walk. If they opened at 7:00 a.m. I might manage every day, but as it is the 9:00 a.m. opening is a little late in the day for me.

This morning we walked down through the center, past the monkeys and up Panda canyon. It was breakfast time.
We walked up one large hill and then down again, past the elephants, through the tar pit and past the polar bears. We decided the Skyfari would be a fun way back up to the top!

The sky was incredibly dramatic from that vantage point with the tower of Balboa park in the distance.

And this darling little fur ball 'Emily Rose' is a Pomeranian who attended yesterdays Lilliana class with her Momma Dee Ann.

Beaded Fantasies has arrived

Next in Lark's Master Class Series and authored by Sabine Lippert (I was looking for the right description, but I think she may defy description, or at least the one word kind. She's funny, kind, talented, intelligent, prolific....and next years Beading by the Bay teacher. Like how I snuck that in?)

The pictures are beautiful
Her use of crystal and pearls stunning
an exceptional cover
and my very own Sabine bauble gifted to me when I visited Bonn Germany this past fall.

An excellent addition to the Master Class series. Job well done Sabine!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Design Decisions

Beki Haley of Whim Beads has a way of asking just the right questions on Facebook and the answers can be enlightening. This weeks Have you ever forced yourself to complete a project that you just weren't liking? Maybe the colors were off, or the original idea had morphed into something you really couldn't wrap your mind around. Or maybe it was a commission and the customers idea just wasn't working for you but you persisted anyway? And if you did do this, what was the final outcome?

Ah yes....all the time....Well maybe not all the time. There are those times I sit down with a vision and the beading all goes well and the piece comes to life the way I hoped it would and then....

There are those times where you have a vision and then you decide to 'play' with the piece and maybe this curve would be good instead of a straight piece. It seems each design decision then undoes the previous step. If it's not going to be straight and I won't be adding more rows then the chains of crystal will be needing more crystal at the top, and if I'm going to go with a curve should I put a flat band across the top to hold it and then, if I put 2 mm crystals in the spaces, the inside curve is not big enough, so perhaps I should put the crystals on the edge of the weave instead....and on it goes.

All of this is fine in the world where you have plenty of time, although really who ever has plenty of time? It is after all the part of design process that I enjoy, sometimes. This is the second to last piece that needs completing for the book. It's so close....but just not exactly how I want it to be. I find these kind of challenges really must be met in the studio. If I were to take this with me on my upcoming plane rides I would inevitably think of the perfect bead required to really finesse the design, and it would be at home. Perhaps I can carve some time out of this weekend.

How often does your design process work from start to finish without a major turn of events?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lemon Bread, the Upate

Yesterday I decided to celebrate my Mom's birthday by making her Lemon Bread recipe......I told the story here....

Well, apparently I am not the cook my mother was. I excitedly served Mark an after dinner piece of my mother's famous recipe

An old index card I found in her recipe box, in her own writing revealed the recipe

Mark 'You've got a long way to go to make your mother's lemon bread'

Me 'What's different?'

Mark 'Well, uh, the color, the texture, the lightness the taste, pretty much everything...'

Sigh. So if you are craving lemon bread I suggest you use google to look up a recipe, at least until I perfect this one. I'm thinking that although it said shortening, she may have actually used butter. And since there was a temperature but no time, perhaps I over cooked it. I may try again, or I may leave it as one of those sweet memories of my Mom.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lemon Bread

Update: Read my next post before embarking on any making of this lemon bread.....

My Mom was an excellent cook and entertaining was one of her favorite things in the world to do. She would often make this lemon bread in batches of ten or so small loaves and give them to neighbors. And to my husband Mark. It was their little tradition, her way of saying I love you. She loved that it was between the two of them and would never give me the recipe.

She's been gone almost three years and today would have been her birthday. Her recipe box is now mine and yes there was the lemon bread recipe, among other family treasures. It wasn't until this year that I was finally ready to make it.

Mae's Lemon Bread ( 2 loaves)

1 c shortening
2 c. sugar
4 eggs slightly beaten
2 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c milk

cream the shortening and sugar
add the eggs
mix dry ingredients
alternate adding flour and milk

Bake at 350 for one hour

mix 1/2 c of sugar with lemon juice, pour over the top when cooled

I added some lemon zest to the batter, I think it was a good addition, but I guess Mark will be the ultimate judge. It's whats for dessert tonight. I'll let you know.

Happy Birthday Mom, I Love you!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Where have I been?

It's unlike me to miss two days of blogging in a row! As I continue to approach both Bead and Button and Beads in Motion deadlines, and try to keep up a schedule of walking.....well time is just getting short these days.The last few days have been spent drawing Lilliana,

my fullest class at Bead and Button with 20 people. Thank goodness for Liz, who again has agreed to join me and be my co-teacher so that we can make sure everyone is attended to as needed. It's an advanced class, incorporating my version of cubic raw for the top and embellishment and a St. Petersburg lace necklace. St. Petersburg is simple enough, even the double part for the bail, but not everyone is versed in it, so I expect there will be some learning involved.

I also continue to debate with myself the use of colored directions and a step further, color specific directions per kit. It is a lot of overhead to accomplish that, but the difference in quality is also an added bonus to the beader......

At a minimum I would like to make a color specific supply list, like this one, still overhead, but maybe not quite as goal is to have Lilliana complete and ready for kitting by Monday so I can return to book illustration full time.

But one does need some down time, and today we're off for a longer walk with Miss Maya in tow, the highlight of her days!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Turkish loops crochet

and other random thoughts....

A few months back at a San Diego Bead Society meeting, Sylvia Sur was showing her vast body of work using bead crochet. One technique in particular caught my eye. Syliva graciously offered to come to my home and share her knowledge with me. Not one to turn down a learning opportunity I accepted and we picked yesterday.

Sylvia arrived with a number of pre-strung options and samples, a suitcase of different thread options, a padded crochet hook and a set of instructions. I do know how to crochet and I have even done bead crochet, but this one was a bit different and its was good to have her guidance as she showed me how to pick up the loops, change to new thread and start. I strung on some fire polish and some seed beads and started. I'm kind of all thumbs learning to hold the strung beads, and to turn the tiny hook just right so as not to drop the loop, and maintain a good tension. Sound familiar. It's good to be reminded occasionally how things feel to someone who is learning. I love the result, I'm just not sure my hands will be happy about the new motion. I remember from my last try that there is something about the manipulation of the hook that hurts my thumb joint. I'll have to see if it is temporary and make decisions accordingly. But for now, I have this pretty bit of Turkish loop crochet.

Next up on the random list is the pretty cathedral bead. I first bought them in Brooklyn a few years back and decided I needed more. This was a wholesale purchase and more then I need, but I love the finish on them so much. There was an aqua one too which I may have to break down and buy.....I think I need to design something that uses them!

And continuing on random, we noticed two birds checking out the hanging succulent garden for a possible nest location. Since we didn't think the corner of the veranda would be a good longterm home for them, we decided to move it before any real nesting had begun. They came back, clearly confused, and were having a big old conversation on the railing. She was obviously unhappy and I'm quite sure she was berating him for having fallen down on the job of look out. I retrieved my camera in the hopes of capturing their antics, but I was too instead I pointed at a few of my favorite areas of our outdoor space. A succulent in bloom

and the glorious windmill palms which rattle in the breeze. They add so much personality to the space.

Well I've struggled a bit with focus this week and I need a good session with the calendar to get me back on a schedule that will result with an on time delivery of my next book. Today I need to finish up my Bead and Button directions and clear some of the other minor tasks out of the way so I can get into a really dedicated frame of mind.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Inventory Management

You would think having a background in manufacturing systems I would have been the better inventory control person....but not so. My method was to allow orders even if I had no inventory and then to make the kit if I received an order. Not so bad I thought, but since Mark has been managing things and he prefers a bit more order, when the last of an item is sold (and he knows because he keeps accurate up to the minute records, unlike someone else I know...) and because he also maintains the website, he changes the status to sold out when there are none, until we make them again.

He also has a spreadsheet with kits that need to be built, how many and by when and if they are destined for a show or a website and if the supply list has been reviewed for piece parts.....he's way more organized then I ever was, but in my defense, I was keeping up the design part of the business. It's nice to have his help.

So today he finished the next two kits on the spreadsheet and I am pleased to say Under the Mast Gold Golden Shadow and Romantica Gold Opal are both back in stock.

Next he'll be bothering me to complete the supply lists for Lilliana so he can begin the Bead and Button process and Dancing Light for New's touch having a boss after all these years!

Bits and Pieces

A few of the disparate pieces that are part of the design process....

I sat down to make the top to an olivine ellipse earring.....somehow I didn't see when I added the fuchsia 2 mm crystals that I was making a Christmas wreath. If it were Christmas time and I had wanted a wreath this might have been perfect, but it definitely was not the look I was after....

The odd bits get added to the odd bit bowl and sometimes they will be pressed into action for later development. Or sometimes testing....The ellipse was a piece added to the bowl some years ago. As I went to write instructions for Lilliana I needed to experiment on the best way to illustrate the embellishment row...

The odd colored teal and raspberry was made when I was in Australia last year .....perhaps someday it will be made into something, and the mauve oval is a bezel I was playing with in cubic has possibilities.

All in all these bits are a necessary part of the design process but occasionally as in the weekend it felt like wasted beading time as none really progressed into the desired finished project. I think it might be a character flaw that I want to sit down and make something, start to finish, no false starts, no wasted time, no unfinished bits. It's a little unrealistic actually, but still I persevere in that expectation.

Do you have an odd bits bowl that you revisit?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lace socks for everyone

Well that is what I declared last night at least

As I was wearing my eight year old pair of lace anklets that first pair of socks. I think they were from a Cat Bordhi book, but I can't be sure. I've always knitted going through great spurts at various times in my life, but had not picked up needles for awhile when I lived in Holland in 2003. I took the train to work which was usually crowded and not really conducive to pulling out a beading tray. So I began to knit again in earnest and haven't stopped.

Socks to me are pure love, I guess because you really must be able to knit your own socks or know someone who can. You can buy socks at a store of course but you can't buy handmade socks, and lace ones, well they are the best in my book. I also love short socks, so I always make mine ankle length.

I'd make more socks, but I still have to think about them, I'm not completely natural with the whole heel turning thing. I need to devote some sock learning time and at the moment it isn't in the schedule. But when I do retire, well when I do cut back a bit.....I would really like to knit socks. I might just read novels, cook and make socks for a year, and take long walks on the beach and play with grand baby's. It's nice to contemplate but for the next few years at least I have a full schedule, and then who knows?