Monday, September 30, 2013


I count myself extremely fortunate that Mark and I have similar travel personalties....we both love it!  So we look forward to Saturday's trip to England, followed by Germany.

We'll be gone quite awhile so we were lucky to find a house-sitting situation that works for both parties and for Miss Maya.  It's nice to know the plants will be watered, the hot tub will remain pristine, mail will be collected and Miss Maya will be well taken care of.  Don't worry Linda, I will let the house/dog sitters know of Miss Maya's fondness for carrots.

We're off to London for 5 full days of vacation!  Followed by two new teaching venues in the Midlands and Dorset and then onto Bad Goedesberg and Das Perlament!  That is an intinerary that makes me so darn happy.

We've spent a lot of time in London, but not so much in recent years so I look forward to it.  I will spend my birthday, 61 if you must know, at Alexander Palace at the huge stitch show there.  I have wanted to go for years and the timing was right!  The day after we'll travel out to Barton Under Needwood, a thatched roof village that I can't wait to visit.  Two days of teaching followed by 3 day s of play including a visit with Kerrie Slade who I am really really excited to meet!

Dorset will be next at Stitchncraft, another first for me, but I'm already signed up for next year!  Catalog to be released soon with four new classes from me.

We'll have a long travel day over to Germany where I will be beyond excited to once again visit Das Perlament and experience the pied piper of beads Petra as well as visit with all the German gals that I've met on the Internet and beyond.

We're staying at a trendy (at least I think so from photos and descriptions) Citizen M near the Tate Modern.

Off to get the rest of the pre-trip preparations complete!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The new La Navette

I am in love with the drama of this cuff, it's big and bold and it gets noticed!  It's also pretty doable, which has become my latest quest.  I am liking projects that are challenging enough for the intermediate beader so as not to bore them,  but that are also with most everyone's grasp with a little fortitude.

Then I like it to be manageable within a couple of days so it can be worn.  It is nice that there are teachable moments along the way where process meets project and you can impart some knowledge that comes in handy to the beaders who have come to learn your piece.

I like for it to be wearable and decorative, sometimes romantic, sometimes bold depending on color choices this very same cuff can be either.

The original gold version is rather Bollywood 'ish' don't you think?

And here it is in cool silvers and blue with a silver shade navette.

I'll be teaching it at Das Perlament in Bad Goedesberg in October and then at Beads by Blanche in New Jersey in November.  Also in New Jersey are Quattro Cupole and Pacific Morning Glory!

Quattro Cupole is brand new and destined to be a favorite.  The hint of color you see in the necklace is done using a modified raw stitch where the colored bead is placed between the silver peanuts as it is stitched.  A wonderful square snap beneath a fourth cupola (therefore the Quattro) makes an excellent closure.

Pacific Morning Glory has one of my favorite features in jewelry, it's reversible.  A rather clever clasp means each side can be done in distinctly different colors and it can be worn with either side showing.  This past weekend at Crystal Creations there were lot's of magical color ways!  A personal favorite was rose gold.  Light metallic gold and vintage rose was also wonderful as was Lori's blue and silver.

I also have lot's of variations to offer!  Pacific Morning Glory makes a great ring, a stunning necklace and dramatic earrings.  Come see me at Blanche's!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Beads in Motion AND Beaded Opulence giveaway!

Lark will be giving away both books to one lucky winner!  Click here to go the Lark blog and comment to enter!

And while you're there, there is a link for a free tutorial of the swing dance earrings!

Bead travels

Well we've not traveled too much so far, but we have practiced taking the airstream out and we have plans this year to go to Santa Cruz and maybe Newport Beach and definitely to Tucson, and perhaps Milwaukee.

You might notice the license plate says MADSGNS.  I'm hoping to create a life of travel and beads.  I often do my best design work while relaxing somewhere for a few days, so once we get the hang of it, I'm sure there will be lots of bead related travel.

I definitely want to spend some serious time in the Pacific Northwest, and see parts of this country I've not yet seen.  I'd love to do a New England fall foliage tour in 2015 and I think there may be a driveway there I can utilize.

I need to sort out some bead storage strategies and I need to get a tad more comfortable with the whole towing thing.  I recently met a women in Alaska who tows a fifth wheel by herself from Arkansas to Alaska every year so there's hope for me.

Also in Alaska, while taking in the amazing beauty of Tracy Arms Fjord, I heard the naturalist who was speaking repeat the quote 'Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone' and it really resonated with me.  I'm excited as we contemplate how life will be changing for us.  

Maya is excited as well because it means she gets to come with us!  She absolutely loves car travel and is right at home in the airstream.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Design Tools

Often while designing I take a piece in progress, lay it on white paper and draw out some options.

I had the task of beading a Gatsby inspired head piece for an event my daughter was attending.  I decided bead embroidery was the right medium to work in and set to cutting out some dyed lacy's stiff stuff in the desired shape.  I beaded during my Alaskan cruise and was happy with the progress until more then one person pointed out the resemblance to a starfish.....which was not the look I was going for.

This was an inspiration photo and the beginning of the piece.  Nancy Cain brilliantly suggested that I add more black which I did, but still I had a starfish....I tried to ignore it but a quick post to facebook informed me that it wasn't be ignored.


Here I laid it on paper and drew in a few additional components, and moved the metal accent to the side.  I was much happier with the overall shape so I proceeded to cut out and embroider the extra bits, attaching them together at the end.

I think the finished result was quite beautiful!  I also attached a pinback so it could be worn on a headband or on a jacket.

Doesn't hurt that Casey is so beautiful!  I think she rocked it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The wind beneath my wings

Some of you go all the way back to my beginning, the days when I taught with a partner and together we were MarLin Beads.

Those were really really fun times.  I look back on my early teaching and beading and I've come along way since then, but, I am not sure I would have even started on this career path if it were not for the support, encouragement and friendship of my good friend Linda.

Rings of Saturn, the cover of Beads in Motion was a collaboration in our early design careers!

Lives changed, we moved apart, far apart, children grew, grandchildren arrived and jobs changed.  We lost touch and it broke my heart on a regular basis.  Linda was truly the wind beneath my wings.

I lost and found another friend and I am forever grateful that she reached out to me, and now we make sure to stay in touch and plan trips to see one another.

Recently I made a trek up to Creative Castle to see Maggie Meister because it had been so long since I'd seen her.  I got to talking about how I missed Linda, and was encouraged by another good friend Carole, to continue to search and I did and I found her!

Friends are so important in this life.  Each of mine are very very dear to me.  I pledge to work harder at being in touch and making time.  I love my husband dearly, the ultimate friend really, but each day is made brighter by all of the people I hold dear in my life.  I love you.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I have to say I think I picked the right time to fly to Seattle and board an Alaskan cruise.  It has been hot AND humid for days now.  I know many in the country experience this on a regular basis, but here on the West Coast it is unusual and not my favorite weather pattern.

I miss the veranda, I miss the hot tub, neither of which are enjoyable in the heat.

However since beads and bead travel and bead kit preparation are the order of the day I've been spending my days inside.

I was just in Seattle a couple of weeks ago during which we visited the Chihuly museum which is fabulous.  The color and form and drama were just spectacular.

I bought yarn at Too Much Yarn and will be taking my knitting along with me on the cruise

I taught Cassandra which I will also be teaching on the cruise.  Here are a couple of the colorways that people worked on at Fusion Beads

A rather artistic shot of the ferris wheel on the waterfront

 and the iconic space needle viewed from our ferry boat on the way over to Bainbridge Island.  Happy to be spending a little more Seattle time before and after the cruise....half days in both cases, but I look forward to it.

and to seeing Nancy Cain and Dallas Lovett and a whole bunch of bead people and a whole lot of incredible scenery!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New kits from MadDesigns

Every once in awhile I design something simple to create, but beautifully elegant.  The Woven Pearls bracelet is just that.  In four colors, with a simple bamboo magnetic clasp to compliment the palette, this is a nice piece.  If you haven't done cubic right angle weave, it is a rather meditative stitch and starting with pearls and crystals is a great way to learn.  If you have then you might just appreciate all the parts being put together for you along with an easy to follow set of directions.

This is one I gift to friends of mine who might appreciate a bit of beadwork, but prefer their jewelry to have a classic feel.  Sorry this color palette was a gift and is not yet available!  If you like it, let me know, it could be....

Also new on are kits for three of the projects from the book!

After many years of Tiffany Blue packaging I've changed things up and am happy with this fresh new approach!  Hope you like it.

I'll be traveling, but Mark will be here in charge of the store while supplies last!  He's busy kitting projects for our European and Japan travels this fall, so when these kits run out there may be a delay in restocking them.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The designers dilemma

Or how to practice consistency.

I start out all well and good, I used a loch rosen on the first example, I used a delica on the bottom edge and a 2 mm on the top edge.  I beaded an open square and a toggle bar for the clasp.

Then onto sample two, I used a loch rosen, a delica a 2 mm crystal and then.......I was sent this exquisite clasp from Ezel findings.  The entire piece has the look of marquisite and I just absolutely could not resist using this clasp.  Ezel findings have such an attention to detail and quality and this one was the perfect fit for this bracelet.

It's not a problem really unless you intend to kit said design and then a lack of consistency makes things difficult. You end up with different price points, different supply lists, different expectations.  So it maybe this sample is just mine.  Or it may be that I bead it up again using the previously designed toggle and offer this clasp for sale for those who prefer it.  It is expensive, but I think you'll agree quality is worth paying for and I do love it in this design.

Designer's Alliance

Ah the issue of copyright infringement.....There are so many different facets to this discussion and I've been doing this long enough to experience my thoughts on this from many different perspectives.

I may or may not have told this story previously, but in my very very early start as a beader, another beading enthusiast admired a necklace that I was wearing.  No problem I said, I'll bring you the directions, and I did.  I went home and copied them from the book they were in and delivered them.  It was my nice nature, my wanting to share my enthusiasm for beads, my not understanding that this was wrong.  So I do have empathy for those nice people who are sharing and not realizing this is wrong.

Also, I am a huge believer in sharing and will gladly discuss technique, taking a project and explaining to an interested beader in gory detail how they can bead my piece.  But that is my way, and I don't expect it to be everyone's way.

I like to think I've learned and I now pass on what I believe to be appropriate protocol, which is to please purchase the book, magazine or tutorial for your own use.  I do this with knitting as well, although knitters seem to share pretty freely, I always purchase the pattern from the designer if it is something I am going to make.  I also try to educate anyone who would willingly share a pattern with me by thanking them and letting them know that I will purchase it to make sure the designer is paid for their work.

Seems simple but there are so many gray areas.  There are some patterns that are quite easy and more technique.  Over time they become kind of public domain.  Spiral rope comes to mind, I wouldn't know who to credit for it.  I'm currently doing a cubic raw bangle with crystals and pearls, but it is cubic raw, a stitch, not something I feel that I can own in anyway  (although mine is sort of pretty, with a beautiful and classic magnetic clasp)

There are projects like this where the original designer gets lost over time.  But there are also times where people knowingly either share someone else's tutorial or set out to copy a piece bead for bead, or maybe changing up a bead or two and then calling it their own, sharing it with friends or teaching it in stores.  This of course cuts the original designer out of the revenue loop, and since beaded designs is how we make our revenue, it becomes rather problematic.  Making a living being a bead artist is hard enough without losing the income from our own designs.

The discussion usually cycles around to 'how do we educate folks to how they should behave?'  I think that Sabine Lippert has totally the correct approach in wanting a positive outcome for both designers and bead shops.  So along those lines she has created a campaign of education where there is a mutual respect for one another.  In return for agreeing to not share or teach projects that belong to a designer without permission, a group of designers will provide free projects that they can openly share.   This would appear to be a win for everyone, as often bead stores do not have the time to design, yet they want to promote the beads that they sell.  The designer is acknowledged and everyone has more awareness of appropriate protocol.

I've changed my facebook banner to reflect my alliance with this group.  As we move forward with the concept, badges will be available for stores, and free projects will become available to those that respect designers rights.   I will keep you posted as I learn more about how to participate.