Friday, February 28, 2014

Color Challenges

I ordered the new tangerine crystal because I loved it, and then I sat down and tried to incorporate into a pair of earrings….you know bright colors.  I am not sure how it is that you can have a lot of seed beads and still not quite the right one?

I liked the turquoise and fuchsia but the orange metallic wasn't working at all, and I didn't have an appropriate drop, the gold one kind of got lost and….well I just wasn't happy and I also lost the motivation to play with more color.

You may also notice that I didn't take out the real camera so the blue you see on top is the same aqua you see on the bottom photo.  Which is somewhat unfair to all of those  who tried hard to give me some direction since they weren't really seeing the true colors.

I cut off all the bottom part, added a bright orange cz, made a second and I'm calling them done, this pair at least.  Since I'm leaving on a Bahamian cruise in a few weeks I think these ones will suit a pretty white dress I have.  Oooohhh….perhaps I need a necklace?

I may play more later, but for right now,   I'm moving one.  To what?     Well that is the next dilemma.  I've been piddling with bits of this and that.  I'm ready for a substantial piece but I can't settle on a direction.  I think I'll spend the afternoon with some books and see what I think.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A week to remember my blessings

Oddly after returning from my first DVD filming, I was feeling kind of blue and disconnected on Monday morning. The filming was great fun, and went well, so it wasn't related. I couldn't put my finger on anything wrong, but there it was, and then…..

I met my girlfriends for breakfast, our favorite Mission Cafe on University, and as we checked in with one another we laughed, told stories, empathized and excitedly planned our next ventures.  They tried to entice me into a quilt class but I had the good sense to say no….I never was precise enough for quilting.  They almost tempted me because Judi has such excellent fabrics, so if that is your thing, look into new quilt classes at the Grove .

I returned home with renewed energy, prepared the must do list and began knocking off tasks.

Tuesday found us face timing with the cute little Miss Malayna Pies who turned three that day!  She opened Calico Critters and her Princess necklace and we chatted.  How fortunate are we that we have the technology that allows that.  I remember thinking I don't want people to see me when I talk on the phone.  That was a long time ago.

Wednesday morning my Boston Bestie sent me a photo of her 12 week old long haired dachshund that melted my heart.  What a precious little cutie.

Susan and I did some last minute planning for Beading by the Bay which we look forward to with great enthusiasm, so many friends to see!

Then 6 lovely ladies showed up to spend a day of friendship and beading.  It was one of those easy days, everyone sharing, laughing and enjoying the connection that beads bring us.  Linda was working on a Sabine piece in preparation for being at Bead and Button.  Not quite as good as Sabine being in the room, but still nice to 'have her at the table' so to speak. As I mixed up a bead soup, we talked about how many of our colleagues would be horrified at the mix of beads on my bead board and we posted a picture.  Fun banter ensued and again I realized as I often do how amazing and interconnected this community is.

I ended the day with two chat windows, one a friend in Israel, who is co-crocheting the crocodile booties.  We compared notes, complete with photos…..aah technology again.

The second chat window was another friend from Marcia DeCoster presents.  One I am planning on meeting while he is in New York in the later summer.  I have a goal to meet in person everyone of the artists who participated in Marcia DeCoster presents and I am making good progress.  I think this year alone will bring an opportunity to meet Miriam, Helena, Isabella and Edgar and I couldn't be more excited.

So I woke this morning, thinking through the joys of the week and have banished the blues.  Today is hair day with daughter Casey.  It's rainy and grey which is a nice welcome change from sunshine, I know, those of you stuck in eternal winter long for our sunshine, but I love a nice rainy day or three, and we haven't had near enough this year.  I'm in such good overall shape on the to do list (unless I am in denial which is possible) that I will be able to enjoy some purely creative time in the studio these next couple of days before we pack it all up and leave for Northern California.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

multi functional jewelry!

I love it when I can create a piece that can be changed up to create a different wearable piece.  Pacific Morning Glory is like that in that it is reversible.

This is a piece I started out a good many months back.  Initially I had done a double wide band for the necklace part but I found it heave and awkward, so I took it a apart.  I left the bottom edge thinking I would dangle something….and I hadn't finished the clasp because, well because I didn't.

Yesterday I decided it was time.  I found an already complete set of dangles from another abandoned project and the colors were right so I added it.  The necklace was long which I liked but I wanted the option to wear it short as well.

I made a slide for the two ends to pass through so they can be pulled through to make a short necklace or extended their full length for a long necklace.

I decided to terminate the ends with a pretty crystal drop and a bit of netting to extend over the top.  It's a happy piece, aqua on one side and purple on the other, and best of all it's finished!  and wearable!

What will I bead next….. that is the dilemma.  I'm not sure, I have ideas but not one that is raisins it's hand to be first…..perhaps I need so surround myself with some inspiration?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

With a little help from my friends

Duomos Romanticos is one of my all time favorite designs.  I've made it into earrings, rings, a necklace and bracelet.  The necklace version is called quattro cupole and uses the same component, but with the addition of a peanut bead necklace.

While sampling one of the bracelets I came up with the idea to make one that was double wide.  However as is sometimes the case my ideas exceed my beading time capacity.  I'm fortunate though to have met many excellent beaders over the course of my bead teaching career.  So it came that Karen offered to do some test/sample beading for me.  AHA!  A double Duomos Romantico, are you sure, I mean it's kind of a lot of beading?  Karen was up for it and just sent me the completed bracelet.  It's a beauty.  I put together a pretty golden bronze seed bead with lilac shadow fancy stones and fuchsia 2 mm crystals, topped with a 5mm gold aurum loch rosen (crystal sequin).

I added some right angle weave to capture a magnetic bar clasp by Ezel finding.  This is one pretty bracelet!  Thank you Karen.  She's doing her own now, one of the advantages to test beading, she gets to make her own.

I'll be teaching this at Bead and Button this year, the single wide version, but if you can make a single wide you can make a double wide as well.  It is admittedly a lot of bracelet, but I kind of like big and chunky and sparkly.  If your fast runs simpler, the single wide version is very romanticos!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bead soup!

I happen to love a good bead soup.  Back when freeform was more in vogue I delighted in putting together mixes to work from with lot's of textural variety and of course sparkle.

Oddly when I do freeform I don't really pick up 'freely' or randomly, but I still prefer to work from the soup.  I think mixing the beads helps the artistic process.

So I've turned over one of my talenti jars to bead soup of the month and I've been including a bag with each order I ship.  This is probably only useful to those who don't mind taking on a bit of freeform or who  just appreciate a nice little mix of beads.  I do worry about those who might twitch from having their beads mixed up, but to them, I will say gift it to a friend who might appreciate the mix.

On the right is the next mix I think I will work up….more pastel and springlike for those who are weary of winter!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Playing with possibilities

I had a great time speaking at the San Diego Bead Society on Saturday and then on Sunday teaching in my home studio which is something I rarely do.  One nice benefit is that I end up with a clean studio!  So this week I will be putting the final touches on my preparation to film a dvd on right angle weave.  This means I get to go to Colorado on Thursday.  I am hoping to see snow, but not so much that driving is treacherous….wish me luck with that.  If you have an artsy destination in Denver that you recommend, let me know that too.  We have carved out 3/4 of a play day before flying out on Saturday.

But back to Playing with Possibilities.  You may know that I most often design with small components which I bring together into pieces of jewelry and that I often re-use bits and pieces of tried and true thread paths changing them up with sizes, color, and different counts.  A ten sided pacific morning glory when made with 11 sides and folded becomes an earring or when made with 7 sides, another earring.

This is the class we did yesterday and sadly I didn't take a lot of photos.  Many of the gals brought their own beads so there were a lot of lovely color combinations.

These are my favorite fancy pants earrings to wear.  I used 2 mm light metallic gold crystals between the spines so they have a lot of sparkle.

But the real star here is a piece done by Agnes Montano, President of the San Diego Bead Society.  She wore it to the meeting on Saturday and I couldn't stop staring at it.  There are so many beautiful elements here.  The connections between the ellipses are perfect, with each side ending in a drop.  The center focal piece is edged with 2mm gold aurum crystals and each ellipse around the neck has a 2 mm top and bottom inside the ellipse.  This makes the necklace twinkle and is part of what draws your attention to it's beauty.  The little daggerette flowers were designed by Cindy Holsclaw (pretty sure that is not a word, but it seems fitting)  There is also a very clever clasp which I didn't photograph.  It was a treat to experience this gorgeous piece of beadwork.  

I would love to make this, and perhaps it will one day be a pattern, but for now I just admire it's beauty, don't you?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Making your Mark

The Dot.  This book was gifted to me by a dear friend.

It is the last slide of a presentation I've done at bead societies on design principles and tools.  The message of the Dot is for me, two fold.

It's the story of a young artist who thought she had no skills.  She was encouraged to put a dot on a piece of paper and then asked to sign it.  She went on to draw many dots, large, small, colored and eventually had an exhibition of her dot paintings.

A young boy approached her insisting he couldn't draw at all.  She said, just draw a line, now sign it.

For all of those who struggle with the value of our art, and I think we all do at some point, this simple story is about just making your mark, but then and almost more importantly, pay it forward by encouraging someone else to make their mark.

Thank you Lynne you always believed in my mark even when I didn't.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Layered necklaces

One of the bonuses of being in a color rut, or at least in finding some colors you love and using them a lot, is you end up with a lot of pieces that coordinate beautifully.

My recent forays have all been silvers with purples and fuchsias and a little pacific opal thrown in for good measure.  So when you have a lot of pieces that go together I think it's fun to wear them all at the same time.  I call it the layered look.

This particular grouping looks like I have a bunch of medals around my neck and I'm good with that.  We all deserve a medal at some time or another, these are mine!

I still have not grown bored of the cubic raw earring and now that I am doing in in 4mm pearls and crystals they are wonderfully chunky.  My only limitation is that my 4mm stash is not nearly as big as my 3mm stash, something I need to remedy I'm sure.   If you need a pair of these, there is a link on my sidebar to the free directions.

Looks like the new Swarovski elements Tangerine might be just the right color to add to my collection!

Monday, February 10, 2014


I had a great visit in Tucson with many friends and colleagues.  It seems that at every show I knew quite a few people and it was a pleasure getting to speak with them if only for a few minutes here and there.

Our trip this year was two fold, as we took the airstream and joined an airstream rally at a local rv park. It was the first outing where I drove the airstream.   You may not think of that as such a big deal, but I'm kind of a chicken at heart so I have to work on stretching to accomplish the 'uncomfortable'.  I did it and I am happy with the sense of accomplishment.

Here is Mark and I enjoying a party!

In between having dinners with friends and visiting shows, we did a little bit of touristy and I accomplished some beading as well.

I am all about pendants these days.  They are fast, fun and infinitely wearable.  This one uses two beautiful druzy's that have been in my collection for some time.  A perfect compliment, this silk hand dyed ribbon finishes it off.  It is also my first foray into the two holed beads.  These are the new czech mate triangles from Starman and I love them.  

I also treated myself to a class while in Tucson.  Gail Crosman Moore and Anne Mitchell often team up to bring a collaborative piece to the classroom.  Their knowledge and styles work nicely together and it was a fun workshop with lot's of learning.  I was amazed at the number of skills packed into the one day and one project.  I certainly have a ways to go in finessing my elements here.  This is not yet finished but is close and I can't wait to do some more work with the molds and paper clay.  What an excellent medium.

It's a busy week (when is it not?) getting ready for a talk at the San Diego Bead Society, followed by a Sunday class in my studio.  Like to join us?  We'll be doing Pacific Morning Glory, one of my favorites.  I will have a few kits available or you can bring a selection of your own beads.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


This year we are attending the Tucson gem and mineral show in conjunction with alumna fiesta an airstream event being held coincidentally at the same time!

For us San Diego to Tucson is an easy drive and now that we have a few practice trips under our belt it has gotten less daunting.  In fact I took my first turn at the wheel! which is kind of a feat because I'm a pretty big chicken when it comes to driving. I was not terrified, in fact I did ok!

Today's Bead True Blue show was a treat, chatting with many of my favorite vendors and doing a little bit of shopping as well!

Sometimes the right ribbon is the perfect finish for a pendant and I found perfect ribbons for two different groups today!

Dinner with friends tonight, more shopping tomorrow!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pacific Morning Glory in Lemon Grove!

It is a pretty rare day that I teach in my home studio, but I will be speaking for the San Diego Bead Society in February and then teaching in my home studio the next day….February 15th for speaking and February 16th for the class.

I will be teaching Pacific Morning Glory, an all time favorite project, a reversible cuff!


We have a nice group registered and a few more seats if you wish to join us!  There will be a few available kits or you will be sent a supply list….

My latest favorite substitutes the bands crystals with 3 mm pearls…..what colors would you do?

We'll have a really nice day, so consider joining us if you live near San Diego  California.