Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Every so often I create a piece that is entirely whimsical. It is not my usual design aesthetic but I'm always pleased when a touch of whimsy appears.

This piece, designed for The Bead Within, started out as a ring until I began playing with options and decided to tuck in the hot pink resin bead.

Could it be I was influenced by the color of my newest Bead On It board? You can see it's padded edge in the background.

I've designed 4 pieces in the last week and I'm in love with each of them, weeks like that are good! Each presented engineering challenges, and each came together into a really wearable piece of jewelry. I know because I've been wearing them!

This piece needs a small bit of redesign and then it will be added to the bulletin board which is my visual project schedule for The Bead Within. It lets me know how far along I am, and I think I'm in really good shape.

Although as in Beads in Motion, I am using a variety of stitches, there are more then a few which use cubic right angle weave. It suits so many of design ideas.

I've also used a few crystals here and there...but you expected that, right?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Design Immersion

When friends start to ask if I am ok, I know I've been away too long.  Thanks for standing by.  I gave myself a week of design immersion and have made great headway in the beading for the third book, The Bead Within.  I also got proofs for Beads in Motion which will be released on August of this year and is already available for pre-order.

It would seem that with each book there are things to be improved on, and I am Over the Moon (I love that British expression) with the pieces that are coming to life for this third book.

Last week I beaded day and night with some exercise and one outing thrown into the mix, so on Sunday I gave myself the day off, and made great progress on Malayna's newest knit, the Blue Sky Alpaca Lace Baby dress.  For the record the cast on was 549 stitches and 7 rows of knitting before a decrease to 275!

I of course stopped to make myself some pretty stitch markers because I do after all appreciate nice tools.  Speaking of which....

On Saturday, my one outing, I stopped by a trunk show at the Grove to see the beautiful shawl pins, made by Larry with enthusiastic appreciation from wife Claudia.  They are indeed beautifully crafted, light weight, and have a turned stick so they don't slide out of your shawl, which of course if brilliant as I have lost far too many shawl pins that way.  These are ones you will not want to lose.

Larry, being the multi talented guy he is, took up another of Claudia's challenges....a needle case to fit over those fragile circular needles we use for sock knitting.  He came up with the clever design you see here....yes Lisa, you definitely need this!  It  holds up to two size 8 needles and not only protects your needles, but keeps the stitches on the needles.   You can see mine in use on Malayna's dress.

To add to this talented duo, Claudia is an accomplished knitter with several beautiful yet simple knits you can find in her Etsy shop.  The stitches for casting on in the round and the join are already done for you!  Now that is customer service.  So if you have been intimidated by knitting in the round, this is a site you want to check out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Deruta Traveling Bracelet

I was lucky enough to receive Deruta in time for my travels to City Beads in Chicago last week.  You can read about it's adventures on the Traveling Bracelet Blog!

And of course the lovely Miss Maya posing!  She has gotten used to it now....

Friday, January 18, 2013

and the winner is!

Jamie Lubin!

Please send me your contact details www.marciadecoster.com contact us link, and I will send you some sparkle!  and provide your name to Kalmbach to be entered into their drawing to win a copy of Crystal Jewelry Inspiration!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It was cold in Chicago!

But then I really like it to be cold in January in the midwest....cold and wind both carry an aliveness for me that I like.

When I arrived it was unseasonably warm, 50 degrees in the day in Chicago!  I walked in the morning and had to take off my light fleece and walk in my tee shirt and leggings.  Day two things changed a bit with a 32 degree morning and I walked in my winter coat with earwarmers and gloves!

I happen to love a bare tree silhouette

 and one covered in ice delights the senses

Friday night dinner out with a favorite group of folks, Lisa, Bev, Gabriella, NanC and Jeroen.  Gabriella I was fortunate to meet in a bead class a few years back in Atlanta.  I'm lucky like that, I get to meet and maintain so many wonderful relationships that started with the love of beads.  NanC was one of my first teachers when the show was still called Embellishment.  I did a little freefrom brick stitch vessel in that class and she encouraged me...and I was so grateful.  Fast forward a few years when I was writing the first book and I was 'too close' to it and couldn't decide if the work was compelling or trite and again NanC encouraged me. Lisa I met at a Great Lakes Bead Guild bead daze so many years ago.  Maggie introduced as and I knew at once she would stay in my life.  Bev and I meet up at Bead and Button and this year, a first she took Aelia with me on Saturday.

 And a highlight of the weekend (well there were many) was meeting Jan, son Ewan and husband Jeremy.  We've been facebook friends for a long time, that kind of facebook friend that just kind of creeps in, with a comment here and there and then all of a sudden you 'know' them, know a bit about their life, their beadwork, their family, their knitting....and then you get to meet them and they are even lovelier in person.

I have a date in Chicago next year same time!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crystal Jewelry Inspiration Blog Hop and Giveaway

It is not a big secret that I am a fan of sparkle, and what better way to create it then with lots and lots of Swarovski Elements.
When Kalmbach publishing invited each of the Swarovski Ambassadors to contribute to book about jewelry using crystal, it was the perfect opportunity to put together my beadweaving skills with my wire wrapping skills.
First I created the base of this piece with crystals in the corners of each diamond for maximum sparkle, and built up each diamond for some excellent texture.
And it was pretty, but it was plain....Each of those intersections was an opportunity to add more crystal!  So with a nice bold jumpring and a stockpile of Swarovski pendants and pearls, I wire wrapped up a few dangles.
Now the bracelet has not only a lot of bling, but it has wonderful movement as well!

Two by Two the base

Two by Two Adorned

The book, Crystal Jewelry Inspiration  , is as diverse as the group of women and men who make up the Swarovski ambassador team. I invite you to read up on each of their stories at the links below.
Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for a prize from me (Swarovski maybe....???) and that name will also be provided to Kalmbach publishing who will be drawing a winner who will receive their very own copy of Crystal Jewelry Inspiration!

Monday, 1/14June BeachBeach Haus Designswww.beachhausdesigns.blogspot.com
Lilian ChenGold Gatsby Designwww.liliangoldgatsby.blogspot.com
Fernando daSilvaModern Expressionswww.modern-expressions.blogspot.com
Marcia DeCosterMad Designswww.maddesignsbeads.blogspot.com
Stephanie DixonThe Dixon Chickwww.thedixonchick.blogspot.com
Tuesday, 1/15

Katie HackerKatie's Beading Blogwww.katiehacker.blogspot.com
Monica HanCYS Dreambeadswww.cysdreambeads.blogspot.com
Diane HertzlerDiane Hertzler Beading Experienceswww.dianehertzler.blogspot.com
Val HirataCBY Sparklewww.cbysparkle.com/blog
Jamie HogsettJamie Hogsettwww.jamiehogsett.blogspot.com
Tamara HonomanArtfully Inspiredwww.thonaman.com/Tams_blog_dir/blogs/index.php

Thursday, 1/17Lisa PavelkaLisa Pavelka's Creative Musingswww.lisapavelka.typepad.com
Margot PotterMargot Potterwww.margotpottertheimpatientcrafter.blogspot.com
Pat RiesenburgerUrban Stitch Studiowww.urbanstitchstudio.blogspot.com
Leslie RogalskiSleepless Beaderwww.sleeplessbeader.blogspot.com
Nadia Sanchez RamosFou Fou Chat by the Terror Sisterswww.foufouchat.blogspot.com
Renata Sanchez RamosFou Fou Chat by the Terror Sisterswww.foufouchat.blogspot.com
Debra SaucierDebra Saucier As The Crystal Turnswww.debrasaucier.blogspot.com
Friday, 1/18Brenda SchwederBrenda Schwederwww.BrendaSchweder.com
Debbi SimonDebbie Simonwww.debbisimon.blogspot.com
Kim St. JeanStudio St. Jeanwww.kimstjean.blogspot.com
Laura TimmonsTherabeadingwww.therabeading.blogspot.com
Kristal WickKristal Wickwww.kristalwick.wordpress.com
Diane WhitingSparkles and Smileswww.sparklesandsmiles.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 12, 2013

City Beads

The girls at City Beads in Chicago making Aelia and playing with Deruta

here is Bev wearing it

And just to show you I can make a mess anywhere!

And here's Lisa, owner at City Beads, and a dear friend....

It's been a stellar trip so far

Dinner with friends, a nice walk this morning and a great group of gals, who are proving so proficient today that I have little to do!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2nd master class!

Playing with Possibilities is proving to be a popular concept so we'll be holding a second one!

Every time I work with the components I am excited by the concept and find new arrangements.

If you missed the first class and would like to register for the second or find out more you can do that here..

Oh the Possibilities!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Kandra ring

I love a project where I can tuck a message into the beadwork, a message that is intended for the individual who will wear that beadwork.  Previously I designed 'Under the Mast' which  had this characteristic.
When I completed it and I told husband Mark, a sailor, about the message, he replied 'Oh, like when boat builders put a coin under the mast for good luck' and I thought that was a fitting name.  I gifted a good many Under the Masts, a really doable project, and perfect for those of us beaders who have friends who prefer a simpler more classic piece of jewelry then some we might make!

When a dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer I immediately made her one tucking in a message of health and well being.  She is well now, but continues to enjoy wearing her simple pendant.
When I first designed the Dream Keeper I wanted to put a message more durable then paper since rings might get wet and take a little more wear and tear.  About that same time I found a shrink plastic artist and took a class.  This was the perfect medium.   You could write your dream, personalize it, and then shrink it into hard plastic which not only carried your message, but also gave the ring structural integrity.
Also being a design where color play happens in a small space, I started making dream keepers and couldn't stop.....just one more color combination.
And then I read another dear friend was struggling with a scary diagnosis.  She needed a ring, I was sure of it, one with her own message of healing.  For this one I wanted not only crystals or pearls, but I wanted a metal bead, one that evoked strength to go along with the sparkle that is Kandra.

She was touched when she received her ring.  I'm sure that knowing we have this large community of friends who cheer us on and care about us is a huge comfort.  I am in awe of this community of beaders who support one another.  Well the good news is that Kandra is recovering and her diagnosis has been revised and she is returning to optimum health.
Thank you for stopping by, and thank you to Lori for inviting me to participate in the Memories and Thanks Blog Hop.
Visit with other bloggers here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lost and Found!

It was cold this morning, well by Southern California standards, 46 degrees.  I wanted to finish an early morning walk so I could get right to work, so with no sun to warm me I reached into the closet for a warm fleece.  Once I haven't worn since a winter in North Carolina, which was in 2008.

I reached into the pocket and found my favorite ever Mrs. Beetons wrist warmers that I had given up on ever finding long ago!  

If you are a knitter you can find the pattern here.  The original calls for the mohair on top and the worsted weight on the bottom, but I changed that up.  The fussiest part is adding the beads to the cast on across double pointed needles, after that they are pretty easy.

I'm so happy to have them again!  I'll be wearing them to Chicago this weekend, where I just heard that by Friday temps may be in the 50's.....which is nice I suppose but I was looking forward to the cold.  I promised Mary that I would not wish for snow since that makes it hard for everyone to get to class.

I'll be at City Beads for the first time, but I've known Lisa for a good while now and and am looking forward to being with her and in her store.  In fact there are all kinds of lovely people in Chicago I look forward to seeing!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dream Keeper Kandra

You may remember that each set of DreamKeepers is named after a women who is important in my life in some way.

Well this set is named Kandra, and is sparkly, vibrant and strong, just like Kandra.

There is of course also Pat, Casey, and Christine, and in time there will be Liz and Lucia, and probably more since I am enjoying these so thoroughly.

But for now, Mark and I have teamed up to make Kandra available on the website.

Dream Keeper Vessel Ring - Kandra
I used a tierra cast metal bead at the top edge of one of these, and I like the bit of metal with this palette.  You might also remember that the construction takes advantage of ERAW, or embellished right angle weave, to place the accent bead between each of the beads on rows one through five, so it is a reasonably easy bead (which of course is all relative) but it is doable, the fussiest part being working with the first two rows of size 15's.  But you will be rewarded with a place to tuck your special message, and lot's of sparkle in a small space.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jungle Bells

Yesterday was the last day of my 'vacation' and I wanted to spend it well.  A group of friends came and beaded at the new table and it held us all comfortably.  I beaded, and with the help of Cindy Holsclaw worked out a challenging turn.  I wanted to keep the pattern but create a 90 degree angle in the beadwork.  Sounds simple, and there are only 4 sides to the pattern, 8 beads to be placed and yet I still found it difficult.  But Cindy has that kind of mind, and I was so sure she would be able to help sort me out and she did.  Nice having competent beaders around, I'm so glad she lives here now.  Her beaded beads are crazy good!  Some day I should try one.

She is going to be a guest speaker for the San Diego Bead Society in April.  Beki Haley from Whimbeads will be coming in January and presenting a talk on color and finish influences in beadwork, and in February Gail Crosman Moore will be here.  I would say that is a pretty good run of accomplished guest artists coming our way this year.  Each of these artists is also giving a class, so check out the San Diego Bead Society Blog and have a look.  Class fees for members are lower, so consider joining, but  you can also join in on a class if you are not a member.  Just look for the contact us link on the blog.

Whew, just thought I should bring you up to date on all the excellent artists who will be in San Diego, but back to my day off.

We finished up beading in the late afternoon.  I also made excellent progress on the cuff I creating for the large focal I did.  Of course now there is the clasp dilemna as always.

Mark and I decided on a date night and began the night as it turned dark at the San Diego Zoo's Jungle Bells event.  The park is open and night and lit up with Christmas lights.  We started with a Skyfari ride which was kind of romantic.  It was a nice outing, but crazy crowded, and this after the holidays, it must have been crazier last week.

Here is one of the moving light displays....cute.

We finished up with a visit to the sushi restaurant in the Fish Market.  Their fish is so incredibly fresh and I love that it is on the water.  All in all a nice last day of vacation.  Now the work begins!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

bead pattern

Funny I almost never do patterns in my beadwork, well not intentional ones at least.  A pattern might emerge in the way I choose to embellish differently in every other or every third space.  It might become apparent with the use of different colors, but to sit and create an intentional pattern is not something I usually do.

But an idea showed up which required for me to chart out the placement of beads.  I have seen people who can bead fairly complicated patterns without charting them out, but my brain just doesn't work that way.

So I drew myself a right angle weave grid and then colored in the beads.  This isn't really accurate as the round white beads will all be gold and the pink and turquoise will be 3 mm crystals.

Now that I've put it up here, it looks embarrassingly simplistic, like I ought to be able to bead it without the graphed aid I've created....but my brain can be easily confused by pattern.

I have another idea that will require pattern as well.  When I examine the fact that I seldom gravitate towards pattern I think it has to do with my impulsive nature.  Beading a pattern takes some pre-work, paying attention to counts, making a graph like this one.  I usually prefer just sitting down with a pile of beads to start the process.

I look at the work that is coming out of the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork book, and there are people producing the most amazing patterned pieces.  It's stunning to me, the way the placement of colors makes such a huge difference in the overall success of a piece, and there are so many who do that so beautifully.

For the time being I'll be beading up my simple design and contemplating one a bit more complex for my next project.

What about you?  Do you enjoy the process of creating pattern?