Saturday, June 30, 2012

Still Beading

Amidst the knitting and crochet that got accomplished this week, I also beaded.

I'm working on a series of pieces that are made up of bits of beadwork that I combine.  Here is an Aurelia with a Cassandra, a modified Cassandra at that.  It is not symmetrical, the accent beads were placed with 6 and 4 pearls between rather then the 5 and 5 of the original medallion.  It changes the shape quite a bit and I love it for dangling the black diamond oval from JP Designs.

I intend to explore this path of component combinations for some time....I'll share the journey as I go.

And speaking of JP Designs, she will be exhibiting at the Pasadena Bead and Design Show.  I've just made plans to go for my first time ever!  Also there will be JudiPatuti with her colorful bead mats, thread catchers and totes, and two of my favorite clothing designers, Jane Mohr from Dressed to Kill and URU clothing.  This could be problematic, as clothing is the one place I still fail on spending conservatively, well maybe not the one place, but the one that most reliably undoes my good intentions.

And here for Ellen, who asked about Miss Maya, is her appearing as one of the family at the outside dining table.  Inside she would never attempt this, outside her manners are a little less in check.

It's back to beading today, or at least collecting beads for our two week vacation, where I expect a lot of beading time.  I have a number of bead assignments, including new colors for the Southern Bead Retreat piece, Spirit Flight, the finishing up of the Beading by the Bay piece, unnamed as of yet,  and the beginnings of the next book, The Bead Within.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hand Knit

There are certainly times I just want to bead or knit, or read or illustrate (well not really, that is always motivated by need) with no deadlines on the horizon, but that is not the life I've set up for myself at the moment.  I've been knitting leisurely on the latest baby sweater when I realized I'd be leaving for two and 1/2 weeks, and the prettiest little lacy white dress that was bought for under said sweater would be going to waste in the height of summer if I didn't get it mailed off.

And I didn't want to mail it off without it's companion sweater.  Mornings and nights can be cool in Northern California where the dress is going, and so I set a goal.  With half of the sleeves done on Wednesday night I decided to be finished for Friday mornings mail.

So the knitting became a little more focused and then the sewing together, which I totally would have talked myself out of had I not had this goal, got done.  I think it is most peoples least favorite part, mine included, but it needed to be done if it were going to be worn...

and so this morning, I got up early and I finished!

I totally should have taken a picture of the dress, it is white on white embroidery, soft soft cotton with a little capped sleeve, very darling.  I'm sure there will be photos and I'll probably share...

The pink is a whimsical bit of rick rack I happened to have.  It's tied through a little loop I added to the edge so that it could be taken out for washing, or exchanged for a different ribbon.  Polka dots would be cute of course, maybe I'll keep my eyes open.  I love the lace.  It was a super easy knit and I'm pretty happy with it!

This ones for you Malayna, a bit of Grandma love coming your way.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Does color come naturally to you?  I find that I can even when picking out a palette which I'm clearly happy with, I mean who can go wrong with bronze, olive, gold and a touch of's just not that simple.  Placement makes a huge difference, even in a small component, changing out a crystal for a pearl, choosing the bright gold seed versus the dark metallic, pink on the edge or pink just below the pearl, they all make a difference.  And then I start to confuse myself...I like the top of this one, but the bottom of this more sample....but what if?  And the prototyping goes on.

Now I know because I've asked, that for some of us that the choices are clear, but it just doesn't always work that way for me.  I am highly visual and I often have to see how the beads are going to interact.  It's not always just color either, the size or shape or finish I choose all contribute to the overall effect.

So you know what I've decided for this one?  Each component will be different!  Makes it really difficult to kit, and to write directions for placement, but it makes a great sample for classes and I will love doing it.

I have an idea for a large piece with these, so keeping the tedious factor down will be served by changing up each component.

It's been a wonderful week with a mix of knitting, crochet, beading, friends and keeping up with the to do's of the business.  There are photos to send and supply lists for future classes, some ordering to be done and some kits to be shipped, but all in all it's a pretty low key week where I can steal some hours for puttering about.  The weather has been about as perfect as one could ask for, clear, low 80's but with a gentle breeze.  It's the time of year that we live on the veranda and as we watch the landscaping from last year fill in and the potted succulents and ferns on the veranda surround us with greenery, we feel very content to be at home.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


The next Cassandra in the series.  This one the inverse of the one you see below.  Both beautiful soft palettes.  The one below features the brown pearl in the center surrounded by platinum pearls with accents of light gold metallic.  This one has a center of platinum surrounded by the brown and a sand opal crystal.  Interestingly they are quite a bit different.

The first has already been sent on it's way as a sample so I can't compare them side by side as I'd like to.  It could be several months before they live together again, I may just have to remake the one with the brown pearl centers since I love it so much.  It is an afternoon of beading if I'm really focused.  Next up  on the beading table however is the fourth version with bronze pearls and fucshia accents.

And here is what happens when you're not paying attention to the count...the bottom medallion is asymmetrical, which is not a bad thing but doesn't work out so well for making a sample which will be the same as the I made it into a pendant.  The red in the photo is much more as I'd really like to see it.  In reality it is more of a brown red, but I do think it is set off nicely with the gold.  I suspect I'll string a choker length necklace of pearls and crystals and keep this in my personal collection.

More bead play today!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breakfast on the veranda

Mark's famous waffles were on the menu for a day in the studio with my girlfriends!
  Look at these spectacular roses!
 and the long view

A perfect morning and now time in the studio with friends!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cassandra...the pendant

I've been taking some creative time, sitting in the beautiful weather out on the veranda and beading.  This is a component from a design session a couple of weeks ago where an earring morphed into a bracelet.  This started life as the third sample in a series of four.  After changing my mind and using sand opal crystals in the join instead of the light gold metallic on the medallion I decided I didn't want to continue, I wanted to begin again using the sand opal....but there was perfectly good beadwork not to be wasted, and so....a pendant!

 I was looking around for a prop since the top medallion has a hidden bail behind the pearl and goes goes a little wonky when the piece is laid flat.  My Voluspa candle did the job nicely, although it could be argued it is a bit busy, I like the way the colors, the feel of the piece and the images work together. The necklace was borrowed from another piece, which is a positive of working in the same palette for a stretch!  I'm still enamored of this color combination, could be I'll move on soon, but no telling, so far it is still speaking to me.

I really want to bead all day every day at the moment, but I must clear the decks in the studio which has gotten to be quite a mess during my illustration marathon of the last few weeks.  I find it hard to work in a mess so I've been taking my beads outside to work which is lovely, but it is time to restore order in the studio.  I'm always well rewarded by a sense of creative well being when I take the time to put things away and neaten up my spaces. Plus which the girls are coming to bead with me on Monday.  Inviting company is always a good way to hasten the cleaning process!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry

While living in Holland I received the call for entries for 500 Beaded Objects, curated by Carol Wilcox Wells.  I had an inspiration, but sadly neither access to good materials, nor enough technical competence to reach my vision.  I didn't submit and when that beautiful book came out I regretted not having pushed to be part of it.  

And now....I am honored to have pieces accepted into Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry.


A lot has changed since that first call for entries that I missed in 2004.  My skills have improved, my design aesthetic has matured and my corporate career was traded in for one of a full time artist, working with beads on a daily basis.

The shift was difficult at first, finances were challenging and a big move away from my support base left me feeling a bit adrift.  Beads saved me, creating relationships that come together both in person and on line.  I am honored to know so many of my bead idols and mentors personally and I am honored to have been juried into this book.   I know I will treasure turning the pages and taking in the breadth of talent that will be displayed here.  I know based on the pieces of mine that were accepted that we will see a range of styles from simple to incredible and I think this will serve the subject well.  Nice job Ray!  Can't wait to see it.

And if you would like to win a copy, signed by Ray, hop over to this post on Lark's blog and leave a comment!  You could be the first to own this incredible book.

Thursday, June 21, 2012



A photo I took of a particularly beautiful deep red flower against a brilliant blue and sparsely clouded sky.  For some reason it shouts celebration to me, and that is what I am doing today.

The bulk of the work for Beads in Motion has been completed and I will be packaging up the illustrations and text for delivery very soon.  I say bulk because I will still need to respond to the tech edits and change some illustrations and prepare each of the files for export to an eps format but for now, I've met my deadline and I'm ecstatic!

Now I'm going to go knit, and then perhaps bead.  The sun is shining, the temperature is perfect and there is nothing I absolutely must do at the moment.  Mind you there are a lot of things I could do, but instead I choose to revel in the freedom of not sitting at the computer.

I did take myself on an outing yesterday which included the purchase of a darling white cotton jersey dress with a white on white embroidered bodice for Miss Malayna.  This was purchased as the accompaniment to the latest sweater which is 2/3 complete and which I can't wait to finish so she can wear it!

Tomorrow is house cleaning day, sorbet making day (I bought a new ice cream maker) and then list making day.  There are quite a few tasks that have been waiting for the books completeness and will need to be attended to in the next week. And as you might imagine the studio has gotten a bit out control and will need some heavy handed organization to get back to a state of a creativity inspiring space.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Swarovski Elements

Such pretties!  The new Swarovski Elements mesh ball comes with or without jumping.  I think I'll be using these for another pair of earrings.!  The large pearl will be surrounded by smaller pearls or perhaps some crystal bi-cones and the mesh ball will dangle from a fine gun metal chain. 

Or perhaps I'll use the oval cosmic rings.....or both, maybe two pairs of earrings.  In the meantime this tray is stored in front of my keyboard, invoking all of the lovely possibilities while I continue to write.  

My intention is to be complete with my current commitments by Sunday of this week at which point the following three weeks are going to be all play, all of the time.  There will be bead play of course, and shopping and visiting with friends and bead play and travel with Mark and bead play.  I tend to be at my most creative when I step out of routines, so I have high hopes for this three week break from writing.

When do your best ideas show up?  Last week I blogged a that just came out of nowhere.   I wasn't planning a new design I was trying to simplify an existing one. A bit of play, pinching and folding and stitching and an entirely new component showed up.  It's one that is easily doable, but not boring, has the possibility of changing up the bead types to keep things fresh, and can probably be worn home by most folks in a 6 hour class, or at the least easily completed with a couple of more hours.     It can morph in to a beautiful choker and earrings would be classic.  

And a bit of cubic raw play promises a second new design. It just needs a little more time to finesse the finishing details.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Beader's Floral

The beautiful cover of this book, The Beader's Floral, by Liz Thornton & Jill Devon promises Stitches, Designs, Projects and Inspiration for beadwork flowers, and that is what it delivers. Having never explored beaded flowers, I must say I was enamored when Liz Thornton who took one of my Milwaukee Bead and Button classes walked in wearing a gorgeous blue flower brooch. Typically as a class gets underway and everyone is busy beading I take some time to chat privately with each of the students learning a little more about their beading background, their whereabouts in the world, their attachment to beads. Liz's whereabouts were clearly given away with her British accent and it turns out we have several friends in common. Then I discovered that she had authored the book on flowers. The next day she kindly left a copy in my classroom.

Chapters include a Stitch Primer, the Flower Collection, Buds and Greenery, Flowery Braids and the Projects which by the way includes the anemone Corsage worn in this photo by Liz.

There is an entire garden of inspiration in this book and I'm sure exploring the stitches would lead to new discoveries. Thank you Liz, it is a lovely book.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A weekend outing and a little beading....

I decided to take some time off, although for me that includes beading. I don't consider beading time work. The veranda is the perfect outdoor beading spot, with awnings extended, it becomes a huge outdoor room. A pile of beads, my iPad and Miss Maya all accompanied me and the second Cassandra  was completed.


I surrounded the large Jade Swarovski pearls with smaller platinum pearls. It's a beautiful summer bracelet, but would look equally elegant with a platinum colored silk dress during the holidays. It's neutral but includes color which I'm happy with.

Since Sunday was the perfect Southern California weather we decided on an outing to Balboa park. We strolled through Spanish village and on to the Art Museum. The gift shop carries Alexis Bittar jewelry so I decided on a peek. I guess I'm really into neutrals at the moment because I decided these were a must own. They have a bit of sparkle, and his trademark luminescent Lucite drops. The pendant is Aelia, and I think they go together well.


I sometimes find it difficult to pair the right earring with beaded jewelry. It requires one that compliments but doesn't detract. I think these fit the bill nicely. I've collected Alexis Bittar since the early 1990's when I discovered him at Annie Glass in Santa Cruz. His work was pricey even then, and more expensive now, but I fall back on my 'cost to wear' theory. I think this pair will serve me well.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I've returned full time to finishing up the book. Beaded Opulence had a focus on right angle weave, so the fundamental chapter focused on one stitch. This one has netting and brick and peyote and chevron and St. Petersburg and Ndebele and diamond lace and spiral and....well way more. But they are fun illustrations to do. Pretty beads, easy thread path, the kind of illustration I'm finally pretty accomplished with. So this part has been fun. I've metered out the days and it just may be that I'm done early. Last book I turned in one week before the deadline and I may manage with this one as well. Funny how we tend to take up all the allotted time working until the last minute. I did miss one intermediate deadline this time, but in general I made up for it, delivering the past due and the current all by the next deadline. I remember a boss who taught me 'it's all in the recovery' and I've never forgotten it. I'm feeling so confident that I'll be taking a day off tomorrow to cavort with friends, knit, and possibly visit a favorite retail shop for a look at their eclectic planters. The veranda could use a little update. It's been cold so far this year. It seems that 69 should not be cold, but with a breeze and a cloudy sky, 69 is not balmy enough to enjoy the verandah in the evening, although I did enjoy a hot tub!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Elke's Scarf

Yesterday I mentioned my German knitting friend Elke. She arrived in Milwaukee last week in time to join me on my annual knitting outing. And she gifted me this beautiful little neck wrap. I happen to be of the mind that if my neck is warm then I'm warm, so I'm always looking for the perfect little neck accessory. And then there is the Nora Ephron 'I feel bad about my neck' factor, of the aging neck. So I love my little ruffled, warm, and colorful neck warmer. Thanks Elke, I love it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My annual yarn outing

It's become tradition that I have a yarn outing in Milwaukee with my friend Helen, also a bead artist and knitter and a lover of fashion.  This year I invited along another knitterly friend, Elke from Germany.  She knits beautiful things.  I fell in love with a hot pink Birch, a lace mohair knit that she wore last fall in Germany.  It's on my list, but I'm still knitting for my little Love, Malayna.  I want to insure that she always a Grandma knit to wear.    During our yarn outing to the River Boutique and Yarn in Brookfield Wisconsin, I purchased the second Sublime baby silk and bamboo dk book.  The yarn is a dream to work with.  The pattern is simple and I being nothing if not impulsive, bought the right size needles so I could knit on the plane on the way home.  I accomplished all of this on my flight from Milwaukee to San Diego, so I predict it's going to be a fast knit.

Also along and joining us for lunch was Maggie Roschyk.  It was great fun getting to spend some solid time together.  Helen guided us to the Middle Eastern restaurant Casablanca  on Brady street where I had the dolmas and hummus.

Sublime Little Constance Cardi
Baby silk and Bamboo DK

Culinary delights and visits with friends continued through the week including dinner with my German friends at Calderones, dinner at the Noble with the Bad Liz, Debi from Beads of Colour, and Janice, a wired art girl.

Saturday night was Downtown Dining at the Chophouse with Huib and friends Gabriella and Jeroen.  Gabriella shared with me her Beads in Motion gallery design which is in typical Gabriella style a piece of unique and thoughtful beauty.

Sunday was a wind down evening with friend Judy of Judipatuti who was a vendor this year selling her beadmat, thread catcher and tote collection.  This latest collection will be available on line soon and it's all I could do not to purchase my 6th or 7th bead mat.  So many new prints I was in love with.

And continuing our culinary outings, we had Monday morning brunch at the Noble, where the eclectic menu satisfied the taste buds with a lamb burger topped with fried egg.  Beautiful flavors.  We were joined by Amy Blevins who I only recently met and love.  She has an infectious sense of humor.  Her and Bad Liz became fast friends cavorting around the show floor taking photos with an interesting point of view.

Amidst all of this fun, Liz and I taught four classes, met many new and old friends at Meet the Teachers where Pat joined us.  Liz took me shopping to a 14th floor trunk show, where I fell in love with a clothing line by Mary of Facets.  I ended up with a Shibori died mesh top and skirt in, hard to believe, red, well kind of a fuchsia red.  Very versatile, very good for travel.

So now, a day to unpack, do laundry, grocery shop and attend to some of life's more mundane details.  A return to reality and to the last bit of work to do on Beads of Motion.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bead and button show wind down....

Yep it's over for another year. I spent an extra day...doing a demo in the Toho booth this morning

Then some shopping and visiting with friends, the best part!

Here is
Sabine, Amy and really suits her, and I love Amy's curls.

And I visited Perry from York and Kerrie Slades beadwork which was in the York booth, fabulous design aesthetic.

Huib and Petra. Petra is the Pied Piper of beads, her enthusiasm creates a lot of followers.
Huib is looking extremely dapper!

Off to brunch at the Noble and then the trek home. I'll have the company of JudiPatuti of bead mat fame, who is on the same flight with me.

I am planning a re-entry day of relaxation and then the final book push before my anniversary vacation.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Crystal Collage

Saturday's bead and button class.....ten accomplished beaders are prolifically creating the embellished bezeled rivolis

And shortly there will be more of these!

the gals are studiously beading, and all is quiet. I think they are focusing. contrary to popular belief, beading all day everyday can be hard work.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bead and Button

I know I promised updates.....but I'm staying up past my bedtime and getting up early and am busy the entire time in between having lots of fun!

so a few photos...

the lovely Sherry wearing a Sabine Lippert pattern.It was stunning!

The bad Liz

Laurel's rings of Saturn necklace, brilliant

The beautiful crystal ninja Kellie DeFries.

My favorite Hilton employee Tim, helping me get to meet the teachers.

It's been a great time teaching and visiting with friends.

More later!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Finished in class

Jennifer Ehrichs finished the rising sun in class, a first!

Jennifer is the gal who beaded every piece in Beaded Opulence. Yes she is faster then your average beader!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

and I'm off

Well at 4:45 a.m. I'll be off....flying Southwest, through Las Vegas and onto Milwaukee arriving mid afternoon to begin the adventure that is Bead and Button.

I taught for them once in the 2000 ish time frame and then due to corporate job constraints I didn't apply again until 2003 and I was rejected and I applied in 2004 and was rejected and applying for 2005 was really really hard....and I was accepted.

And I've taught ever since.  I love teaching, I love the classroom and sharing the passion for beads and I love seeing all the folks that I only see once or maybe twice a year if I'm really lucky.

I've seen Liz once already this year, and again this week.  I saw the German girls in October of last year and again this week.  I manage to keep in touch with Gabriella multiple times a year and again this week.  I'll see Pat, who I usually manage to see in October as well.   And any number of folks who come to my classroom each year, all of whom I've grown really fond of.  And I'll see vendors I adore, and Debi and Lisa and the Wired Arts Girls of course, and all of the Swarovski ambassadors....

It's a magical week really.  I'm traveling with the iPad, the camera equipped iPad so I hope to share some moments with you. I'm meeting with Sonoko, and I'm taking my book for her to sign, and my Making Wire & Bead Jewelry for Janice and Tracy to sign.  I would like to travel with all my books, but I suspect my luggage is already in the overweight category.

I'll do my best to honor requests if you have one.  A favorite bead teacher I can catch for you, a bead dreams you'd like to see, your favorite vendor?  No guarantees, but if it's possible I'll work it out.

and I'm off!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Color Theme

It seems that all my jewelry lately is using soft colored pearls and metallic crystals.  And I can't say I mind.  If you work in a theme for awhile you end up with jewelry that all works together.  

Which is a great bonus.  Each of these pieces while subtly different in their coloration, when worn to together make for a very coordinated look.  And with my, white, some lavender thrown in for good measure and some hot pink, these look excellent with all of them.  

It may be this will be my Bead and Button 'uniform' cuts down on the decision making.

Do you have a tendency to work in a color theme?  I know at least one artist who has made an exploration of stitch construction and texture, using all one color seed beads.  It makes a stunning statement.

The bracelet I showed you in process the other day is done, you can see it in the background there.  I love it, and can't wait to do the next one, or three.  I want to do this one in the inverse colors.  The 12 mm platinum pearl is on order so I have to find some patience.  Although I think I may have same mauve in the 12 mm and if I do that will be my plane project.

I thought I had sworn off of 6:30 a.m. flights, but apparently never seems so bad when you're making the reservation, but getting up at 4:30, it's a tad early.

A few more preparations, signage, important paper organization, some packing and perhaps tomorrow will be a day of relaxation before Monday's early morning flight to Milwaukee!