Friday, January 31, 2014

And the winner is….

All comments were put in a hat and Mark pulled the winning entry, Coolmoon!  Use the Contact us page at and I will email you.  I will be sending out the book as soon as I hear from you.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful comments and for sharing the enthusiasm for Marcia DeCoster Presents.

A look inside shows us ' Aurora' by Miriam Cielo Shimon.

and a peek into Miriam's thoughts on beading.  Reading each artists comments in response to number of different questions is easily a favorite part of the book.  Well that and all the exquisite work they share!

For  those of you still wanting a chance to win your very own copy have a visit over at Jean's Blog where she's also doing a giveaway.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Marcia DeCoster Presents

As this book continues to make its way into the world I am delighted by how it is being received.  It is  not an attempt to be humble when I say, I had little to do with it's success beyond inviting some of the worlds most stellar bead artists to show their work.  They shared beautiful images and parts of themselves as they openly describe their process, their art, their inspirations and motivations.

I think Lark also did a beautiful job of presenting the images and the columns of the artists words which flank their images is nicely done.

I am however responsible for presenting a signed copy to one lucky reader of this blog(you must comment to enter) and the deadline for entering is today, at 12:00 noon pst. Sometime this afternoon I will have Mark draw the name out of the hat, and tomorrow morning I will post the winner.  So if you commented to win, make sure you're paying attention so I can get your details and mail off your book.

Thirty artists are featured in the book and in order to help make my selections I adopted the theme of celebrating our on-line beading community where I have developed so many wonderful relationships.

My only regret is that I wasn't able to select more artists whose work deserves to be shared.  Certainly the list today would be longer as I continue to experience new work and wish I had more pages for including it.  It may be that I will start a presents day on the blog and bring you more images that I admire.  We'll see….I am trying not to set myself up with tasks that extend me beyond a comfortable commitment level.

Three of the featured artists (that I know of, my memory is not longer a trustworthy thing….) have blogged about their experience with the book.  You can read Miriam Cielo Shimon's words here, Nancy Dale's words here, and Cynthia Newcomer Daniels words here.

The bottom left cover is Miriam's work and I find the piece to be very joyful.  The colors are brilliantly put together and Miriam's work is impeccable in coloration, form and workmanship.

I have on-line relationships with the majority of artists in the book, and I have been fortunate enough to have met many of them in person by virtue of the fact that I travel and I bead.  This year I will meet several more of the artists in person which brings me great joy.  I'll be sure to post as I do!

Thank goodness for the Bead Events that bring us together in different venues.  I will see lots of bead friends in Milwaukee this year and more in Hamburg.

I'll be traveling with a copy of the book so I can begin to collect the signatures of those artists whose paths I cross this year.  I'll start with Tucson w here I will see be seeing Beki Haley, Susan Blessinger and Debi Keir Nicholson!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Before we start….today and tomorrow are the last two days to comment on a blog post, any one or all between January 23rd and January 30 12:00 pst.  Commenting will enter you into a drawing for a signed copy of Marcia DeCoster Presents.  

Well sort of….If you know me I don't really camp, not as in tents on the ground in the wild, but we are taking the newly blinged Airstream to Tucson which should be quite the adventure.

Then I'll be prepping for a RAW video I will be shooting in Colorado for Beadwork magazine.  Followed by the annual Beading by the Bay retreat, which has often been described as camp for adults.

Did you go to camp when you were a kid?  I did, and it was always great fun.  I've always had the desire to travel and I guess that would be my early travels.  I still get a sense of adventure and wonder when I contemplate travel (even if parts of it are not quite so exciting anymore, the anticipation is still full of joy for me.)

Last year was Bead and Button's first bead camp and this year there are two, one for seed beads and one for metal.  You probably guessed I'm not teaching the metal one….That would be Robyn Cornelius.

I'll be teaching four different classes during camp week.  I like the format because it will provide a lot of time to not only finish the days project but also to explore possible variations that might be achieved.  I'll be on hand to share as much as I can during our three hour evening session so you will be fully immersed in the learning.  Each day is a stand alone project so you can sign up for any day or multiple days and I promise to lead you on a journey of learning beyond the project at hand.  My classes can be found here.  Cassandra and Touch of Whimsy parts can be turned into rings, one is regal and the other whimsical.  Pacific Morning Glory makes great earrings, and a beautiful necklace.  Learning the curves of the Sundial Pendant in Cubic raw opens a whole range of shaping techniques.  I love to explore a projects variations and I love to share that exploration.

Robbins Nest Cuff and Duomos Romanticos will be taught Tuesday and Wednesday of the show week, Touch of Whimsy, Pacific Morning Glory Sundial Pendant and Cassandra are camp days. All six will result in beautiful pieces of wearable jewelry.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Airsreams have such an iconic look so when I decided I wanted to crystallize the logo, none other then the Crystal Ninja would do.  I'm incredibly fortunate to have met Kellie a number of years back when we were both doing art shows.  I'm also lucky that she lives near me.

I sent off a photo and she recommended the sizes.  I chose light gold metallic and I couldn't be happier, it is entirely what I envisioned.

Mark created a platform and shade

Here are the unadorned letters

 The Ninja, Kellie DeFries at work

 The beautiful result!  I love it.

Kellie patiently tutored me in the stone placement and I applied the stones to the second R, copying her placement.   Kellie really has the eye for how to best place the stones, but I was able to do a fair job under her guidance.  We'll be an airstream event in Tucson so I started with the front.  I'll do the back logo when I have a little more time.  Thanks Kellie!  A beautiful job as always.

Chatelaines and sleep beading

I am not really sure where I acquired this book, but I am very glad that I did.  It's a beautiful book full of inspiration for bead projects.

Chatelaines at it's current price is a bit beyond my reach so I'm glad I have a copy.  I open it often but have yet to bead one.  Yesterday I turned to a page that inspired but I couldn't quite sort out what stitch or how I'd go about creating the shapes in beads.

That is where sleep beading comes in.  Apparently my brain wanted to work on the problem while I was asleep and I found myself thinking of ideas and drawing thread paths all night long.  Now if I can just retain the ideas long enough to bead them that would be great!  I'm sure at a minimum I should take a few notes with my ideas, copy off the the page in question and write down my stitch plans.

Do you sleep bead?

Your comment will enter you into the drawing for a copy of Marcia DeCoster Presents.  The chance to enter ends this Thursday at 12:00 noon pst.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Design Overlap

I've touched on this subject quite a few times before, but whenever it comes up in my life, I like to mention it….

Independent co-design, design collision, design overlap, whatever we may call it, it happens.  I do think certain stitches, CRAW being one of them lend themselves to certain shapes and those classic shapes are bound to be explored by different designers simultaneously.

In last years master class one of the shapes we explored was what I inelegantly referred to as a CRAW pendant.  The shape was elongated and came to a point.

You see it above in pink, in bronze and in green.  It's a handy little shape.  Below you see it pressed into design action by Sandy Brock as well as Victoria Henson and Monica Powell.  Here you see pretty distinctly different designs on the far left and far right.

Yesterday I worked up a pretty little pendant, using the original shape and extending it with two more tiers of points.  It's pretty, but a little underwhelming.  I did get to thinking though that if I were to make the same component about 18 more times it would make quite the dramatic necklace.  I happened to be chatting with another beader and shot off a photo of what I had come up with.  Crazee!  was her response as she shot back a photo of an amazingly similar piece.

Oh, in case you've forgotten, commenting on this post or any one or more between January 23rd and January 30th will enter you into the drawing for a signed copy of Marcia DeCoster Presents.  Each comment is one entry, but only one comment per post will be counted.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Focal Clasp

I love when a beautifully designed clasp can be the focal point of a simple bracelet.  I showed you this last week, antique brass with jetab2x.  Friends were immediately enamored and wanting to make their own.

Here is Susan's, crystal copper pearls with rose gold crystals and a crystal copper clasp.  Since the clasp had not yet arrived, it was left for me to finish up as soon as the clasp was on the doorstep.  This meant I got to wear it before giving it up.  What I discovered is clasping the two together end to end and therefore being able to wrap four times around the wrist makes a really substantial bracelet!  These two were close enough in tone to look good together, but I can think of ether combinations.  Of course looking at it in a photo means I will be sourcing some copper headpins and re-wrapping these….Sometimes you can't just make do with what you have.

Oh the clasp, Ezel Findings.  Always a well thought out design and perfect finish for your beadwork.

And in case you've forgotten, comment on this post, or any post between January 23rd and January 30th 12:00 noon pst and you will be entered to win a signed copy of Marcia DeCoster Presents.  You will be entered once for each post you comment on, but only one comment per post.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bead Storage

Talenti containers pressed into action!  You may notice there are still a few empties.  I'm busy filling them up.  I was not responsible for eating all of this myself….many folks have been kind enough to gift me their empties.  It's a rather impressive wall, current count 92 containers, 19 columns by 5 high, with 3 missing to make it 5 high in all 19 columns.  Then I'm out of room on that cabinet.  I must say it makes a nice visual inventory of what is in stock.

Oh and that subtle little necklace on the left, I have 2 more months of custody before I return it to Sherry for her turn.  It is called Oz and is really the most beautiful piece.  Even for me it's not a grocery store piece though, so I wear it as often as I can get away with, whenever the occasion merits bead dress up!  I think I'll take it to Tucson with me, perhaps there will be a party or two where it might make sense.

Don't forget that a comment on any or all blog posts between January 23rd and January 30 (12:00 noon PST) will enter you into the drawing to win a copy of Marcia DeCoster Presents. (your name will be entered for each post you comment on, but only once per post)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Giveaway - Marcia DeCoster Presents

To celebrate Marcia DeCoster Presents making it's way out into the world, I will be gifting one signed copy to a reader of!

I will randomly pick a winner from all blog comments between now and Thursday, January 30 at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Clicking on the link will take you to the Amazon listing which has the very nice Look Inside feature so you can get a peak at the caliber of artists included.  On the cover Petra, Sian, Beki, Miriam, Melissa and Petra again!  I love all the beautiful images, but I also love having the opportunity to hear each persons story as it relates to their art.

On the back cover, Martina, Heather, Marsha and Ann!

I am totally enamored with the artistry of each and every contributor to this book and pleased with the excellent layout and art direction done by Lark.  

And….comments begin now!  Psst…you can comment on this post or any post written between January 23, 2014 and January 30, 2014.  Your name will be entered for each comment you write, but only one per post.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Not beads….food post

Yes yes, this is mostly a blog about beading and I did bead today, with friends and made myself a simple little right angle weave neck chain, to go with a Swarovski Element heart pendant that I made quite a while back.  As I often do, I randomly incorporated a 2 mm crystal into the neck chain so that I get a bit of sparkle at the neckline.  Photos tomorrow!

But, we all need to eat.  Although I've never considered myself anywheres close to a foodie or a gourmet, I do like to put a nice meal on the table.  Given my short attention span, a meal has to be easy to shop for, not too many crazy ingredients and be big on flavor.

I mentioned previously, The Joy of Eating, gifted by a friend so many years ago, a well worn reference.  Thirty years later I was gifted a second cookbook and I couldn't love it more.

EATS by Mary Rolph Lamontagne

As the cover describes, 135 colorful recipes to savour & save.  The book is arranged by color which is a unique perspective and makes one think.  Also listed are the health benefits of the main ingredient as well as a master recipe and a second which uses the master in a new fresh way.  I am a huge fan of leftovers since I don't want to waste the time I do spend in the kitchen.  So far I can vouch for the lemon infused asparagus quinoa on page 21.  I know some who do not embrace quinoa (Susan) but this recipe has such a huge flavor quotient it is definitely worth a try.

So if you also like to put an easy, flavorful and unique meal on the table I highly recommend this book!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bead Organization

Organization is required to be really efficient, but the time spent doing it always feels like nothing is really getting accomplished….

I've been through this phase enough times to know that is not true, without it things can spiral quickly out of control and more time is spent trying to make up for the lack of planning then if one had just planned.

Still I am not enamored with having to spend the time as I did today, making room in drawers for new kit materials, putting away materials for kits that I will no longer make and generally getting this years work organized.

There are 75 of these drawers…..and about 30 new kits.

I have one spreadsheet which tracks what kits will be made in what quantity and for what venue.  A second sheet in that workbook has a running tally of what I've ordered so far (so I don't have a heart attack when the bills come!).

Each kit has a supply list, and about 1/2 of the supplies have been ordered, another big order coming this week.  That's where the draw cleaning comes in, I need somewhere to collect each of the bits that will make up a kit.

I look back on my first year of kitting for Bead and Button when I lived in a one bedroom condo and the dining room consisted of boxes of supplies on the floor.  I've progressed since then and I often think I'll be good at this job just about the time I want to retire!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


In preparation for filming a video on Right angle weave I am making up little samples of things and then combining them into jewelry because it seems to make sense.

I prepared a few step outs on turning corners in cubic raw which left me with a frame, so I naturally plopped a crystal on top, a 4470 chili pepper to be exact.  Then I did a step out on bezeling with flat raw, so combining the two was next.  I've had this wonderful bronze clay arrowhead from Judie Mountain since last year, and it worked so perfectly with the colors I decided to add it with a bit of right angle weave of course.

This raspberry ribbon was handy but I do intend to make a cubic raw strap to complete the design.

There is more going on in the photo then there should be, one textured prop is probably sufficient but I was being a bit lazy and working with what was near at hand.  

This exercise has me thinking about what I respond to in beadwork and lately it seems to be analogous color combinations, the juxtaposition of shiny with the matte metal and a lot of texture.

But then I'm fickle, tomorrow it may be simple shapes and clean lines.  What styles of beadwork do you respond to?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One of those days….

You know the one's, those days you really shouldn't be beading because nothing is going right, but you keep beading anyway?

All I wanted to do was connect this Judie Mountain arrowhead to the bottom of a beaded pendant.   You would think that would be easy.  I mean it should have been.

First time around I chose the wrong two points to attach to….ones that were not directly opposite the two that the top medallion was connected to.

This mistake caused the arrowhead to bend at a 45 degree angle from the top of the pendant, not so attractive…..I cut if off and began again.  This time I securely attached two lengths of size 15 right angle weave….and realized I had attached the arrowhead backwards!  Really….you would think that maybe I would be beyond such silly mistakes.  At this point the poor size 15 gold beads had been thrashed with too much thread so I needed to rip them back and replace them before attempting a third time. 

On a good note, Cindy Holsclaw was impressed that my count was 11 points around because apparently designing in prime numbers is a good thing!

 It's done, I'm happy and now I think I will pick up some knitting!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sometimes it's all just perfect

Every teaching engagement is a bit different and I am not suggesting that some venues are better then others, but that just sometimes, it all comes together in a way that is just extra special.

This weekends trip to Chicago's City Beads was like that.  I like to think I'm always a thoughtful teacher who can make a classroom fun, but sometimes I am just more, I don't know, more on top of my game then other times.  The people in the classroom are all lovely, my hotel is beautiful, and I have good friends in the city I am visiting.

When I get to spend time with Gabriella, who I first met in her first beading class in Atlanta a few years back, well when I get to spend time with her and husband Jeroen, I'm always happy.  This time we got to spend two lovely evenings together.

The Renaissance where I stayed, has a recently remodeled lobby that is just to my taste and big comfy beds with extra nice linens.

The weather had warmed up from the polar vortex of earlier in the week, and although Friday night was crazy nasty rain and slushy puddles, Lisa navigated us through that and we had an excellent meal in a perfect restaurant, and lot's of time to visit.

The three projects were well received and successfully beaded, and I had a really excellent time.

And now…..back to real work!  Supply lists and the mundane tasks associated with kit making and illustration writing.  A few full days will be required before I can play again, although I am carving out one day to visit with my bead group where I've been absent for months.

I did however make a decision to attend the Perlen Poesie show in Hamburg in August!  Lot's to look forward to.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

City Beads

I managed to miss the polar vortex which is quite ok with me. I do like winter and snow but any temperatures below zero are just too cold.

It's been a great trip so far and tomorrow there will be one more fun filled day teaching Quattro cupole.

I got to share a beautiful meal with friends Jeroen and Gabriella on Thursday night and was treated royally by friend and store owner Lisa.  Last night was cold and rainy and we chose to wait out the traffic and eat near the store at Bistro Campagne on the north side of Chicago.  The decor was electic and the atmosphere intimate.  Our table looked out onto the snow covered garden seating which added an element of coziness.  The service was impeccable and the food was exquisite.  Rather a nice experience.

Yesterday's class brought the treat of meeting Deb Wozniak.  Deb was the high bidder on the Gabriella necklace from beaded opulence.  I donated the necklace as a fundraiser and when we discovered that Deb would be in my class, it was decided that I would personally deliver fun!

Here is Deb with her Gabriella!

(Technology has thwarted my ability to share this photo with you.  For weeks blog press has not worked on the ipad and now does not offer camera roll as an option for selecting photos.  I will update when I arrive home)

I was able to share time with many friends from previous years and meet a few new ones as well.  Two southern ladies actually braved  Chicago in January to join me and both have been a delight.

Bead well and more stories to follow.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Simply Elegant Earrings

I haven't yet tired of this earring, especially since I can change up the feel endlessly just by changing the accents I use.

And……I can whip a pair up in under 1/2 hour to go with any outfit which doesn't yet have a matching pair.  Such was the case when I put on my usual black, but with the red accent of a deep red velvet scarf with black polka dots.  I had no red at all in my earring stash.  What's a girl to do but make some!

Since I don't have a lot of red crystal in my stash, I opted for the really neutral platinum pearls with light metallic gold crystal and then used a size 15 silver line dark red to accent in between each of the craw corners.  A loch rosen (crystal sequin) finishes up the bottom, with the crystallized tear drop.  These are also kicked up a notch by using 4mm crystals and pearls instead of the 3 mm's I'd used previously.  Want to make a pair?  Directions are in the link on the sidebar.  If you do, send photos!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sketching vs. Beading

In my imagination I have notebooks filled with lovely sketches of the beadwork I intend to bead.  They are all full, match and are arranged in order of my beading history.

In reality, they are all mis matched (I'm always trying to find the perfect one!) but I do have a large number of moleskine brand with unlined pages.  My sketches are little bits of line drawings that serve to suggest to me whatever my design vision is.  My sketches are in no way pretty and my handwriting is worse!  I start out trying to be neat……perhaps this will be my solution.

A group I belong to has just set down a design challenge to sketch first and bead second which is not my typical design process.  My notebook arrives next week and I'm going to give it a try.

 Lynn Firth of Stitchncraft shared her love of Evernote with me, I decided to embrace it as a great organizational tool.  I only travel with phone and iPad these days.  My desktop iMac is a tad too large and I no longer have a laptop computer.   I can accomplish most of what I want to on the iPad. Evernote has allowed me to track all sorts of documents together in one place.  I send important emails to my evernote email account or cc myself when answering and I have a record.  I've organized my notebooks with one for teaching, one for the airstream, one for portfolios of recent work, one for travel, etc.  

Evernote has teamed up with Moleskine to provide a sketchbook which can be photographed with the iPad and become a digitally editable document in Evernote or PenUltimate.  I'm still learning how these all work together, but I'm hopeful this will be a great tool for designing or at the least for taking design notes while stitching.

Do you have any good Evernote tips for me?  I'm still learning!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Beading step outs

I will be filming a Right Angle Weave instructional video for Interweave in February.  This requires that I think out the different types of right angle weave I want to share and prepare small step outs to illustrate the steps I will be describing.

I also think it's nice if you are going to show 2 bead to a side RAW, and diagonal embellishments, that a bit of jewelry using that technique can be shown as well.

Hence the two wrap, bracelet, featuring the always beautiful EZEL clasp.

Of course I can't ignore Cubic Right Angle weave, so here I have done the earrings that you find on my side bar with size 4 mm pearls and crystals instead of 3's.  They really chunk up the design and I am loving them.  That and who can go wrong with Swarovski elements antique brass and jet ab2x.

Next up I will be addressing circular right angle weave with graduated sizes of beads.  I have the beautiful Aelia already beaded to illustrate what a versatile stitch circular right angle weave can be.

This sample will do double duty showing tubular and layered right angle weave in the beaded bead bail.  Of the three Aelia's this is the most popular color way.  I like to wear this and the special edition Romantica together, but really my favorite Aelia to wear is the Dark Silver and Platinum pearl color way.

Fortunately for me I've got a lot of work in Right Angle Weave to demonstrate the various stitch variations that I will be describing.  I think though as I delve further into the stitches versatile nature a few new simple designs may show up.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Memory Vase

I've noticed among my friends a desire to save this years memories in a jar to be read back in the New Year.  I think it would be a lovely tradition to start…..and so I have!

I thought this beautiful heart vase would be the perfect vessel for keeping track of beautiful sentiments.  For many years I collected art glass vases from Lundberg glass in Davenport on the coast of Northern California.  This is one of my favorites from that time.  It is signed and dated 1995, so next year when it unveils the year of handwritten highlights it will be twenty years old.

Yesterday I received a lovely note, appreciating who I was in someone's life.  I was very touched and thought that to be a fitting start for adding to the memory vase.

Certainly my blog tracks a great deal of my history over the last few years and I am happy to have that life journal.  I think this however will be a wonderful look back at the things that make up the magic moments.  I would like to work towards living more mindfully and I suspect this will be a good start.  I can see also making a pretty box that will hold each years memories as the vase moves into the next year.

I'm off for an ocean walk and then a session of taming the studio and readying it for the work that must begin.  I will begin planning for the first of this years engagements.  I also have some not well shapen ideas for some new beading and….I'd like to put a bit of focus into making the Robbin's nest bird ring available as a kit.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 begins!

I got off to a shaky start with a few days of illness but all is now well and I'm looking forward to an exciting year.

I can report that our first long and extended Airstream outing was a great success.  We set off for Santa Cruz on Saturday, deciding to stay in Bakersfield, the halfway point, overnight.  The Airstream is a very cozy retreat, which we kept warm with our space heater and full of holiday cheer and ambience with our candles.  We spent the week then traveled to Newport Beach to join an airstream rally.  This is where illness go the best of me and we headed home missing our first airstream New Years Eve, but I know there will be more.

My two favorite Grand daughters, what a treat to visit with them both on the same day.  Thanks to Grandpa for a nice photo of the three of us.  We shopped for shoes for Malayna, it was always my delight when Sam was little to buy her new shoes and I still buy the occasional pair, but this trip was Malayna's turn, with a pair of purple flowered Tom  ankle high boots picked out by Sam.  Malayna was delighted.

The year is going to be full of stellar engagements, the first of which is City Beads in Chicago next week!  Chicago in January yikes!  I like some chill in my air but lately it's been too darn cold in the midwest.  Mid twenties would be ok with me.  I'm teaching three of my favorites, Pacific Morning Glory, Quattro Cupole and La Navette.   Fortunately Lisa has a warm and inviting space and we'll be cozy while enjoying the beads!

Quattro Cupole
La Navette
Pacific Morning Glory

In February we'll be off to Tucson, this year taking the airstream and combining the trip with an airstream rally and Tucson gem show shopping!

Then March will be our fifth annual Beading by the Bay!  Santa Lucia is my offering and is one of my all time favorites to wear.  It stay exclusive to retreat members until after June, but then it may show up in a class at some of my usual spots.

With the retreat behind us we're going to be off to the Bahamas to join friends Tracy, Beki, Heather and Leslie  on the Bead Cruise.  I signed up to go spend a week with my friends, but Heather kindly asked if I'd like to teach as well, so I will be teaching a pendant class.  I love the versatility of Cassandra, easily made and infinitely wearable.

That takes us through March, but I have a lot going on all year!  There will of course be Bead and Button, a trip to teach in Kentucky, a favorite venue, Alaska, Beaded Bliss, Stitchncraft and…..well the calendar has the schedule.

I'll also be filming a right angle weave video with Interweave, and looking forward to the February release of Marcia DeCoster presents.  30 of my favorite artists, all together for your viewing pleasure.

I'm still treading slowly, giving myself a couple of more recovery days before hitting the studio full time.  See you soon!