Thursday, July 17, 2014

Saying it out loud makes it real….

In 2004 I retired from my corporate job and had a bit of trouble finding what was next that made sense….I had beaded, I had taught beading, I just didn't know.   And then Susan asked if I would come teach, and then Carole and then Blanche and the second of my 'accidental' careers began.  I had taught for all three while entrenched in my corporate career and we go back a long way.  They believed in me when I was brand new and unsure and I love them all for that.

Lark Books called and asked if I would be interested in writing a book. Interweave's Beadwork magazine began their Designer of the Year series and asked if I would participate.  Bead and Button  Show accepted my classes, nominated me a top ten teacher and asked me to teach a Master Class in 2013.

I've traveled the world including Australia, England, Germany, and Japan.  I've met loads of really lovely beaders, on line and in real life.

I wrote two books and curated one, and contributed to a few others.  I've designed a lot of beadwork, learned illustrator to write directions, and put together a few kits.

I am fully engaged the rest of this year, but slowly….whispering…..I've been hinting at 'retirement' from this second accidental career.

I'm now saying it out loud.  I will not disappear from this wonderful bead world of ours, the one that has treated me so well and gained me so many friends.

I presume I will continue to design and I know that I will accept the odd engagement that really touches my fancy.  I have another video planned because I loved working with the Interweave team and I want to do it again.

I will continue to partner with friend Susan to bring you Beading by the Bay, and I would sure like to continue to teach for Bead and Button if they'll have me.  I have a couple of more European plans in store, and some far reaching, fun venues in the next couple of years.  There may be a cruise in my future as well.

But I want to balance all of that with hugging grand babies, spending time with my children, exploring this country and this world with the love of my life.  I'll bead of course and I'll knit, and I'm not sure what else.  I doubt I'll garden although I fantasize about it, I really don't like the dirt…..I'll read, I'll nap, I'll visit with dear friends.

I may bring artists into my studio, I'll for sure travel more in the airstream, I'll walk more beaches, hike more trails, enjoy more quiet time.  I'll cook more, and savor the recipes and I suspect I'll still bead.

I'll bring you new designs….I have a plan to revisit some older designs and make them better with new knowledge.  I hope that kits and at the least tutorials will be something I will share in the years to come.

I relish the rest of this year and all of the many bead friends I will spend time with.

And I relish what the future holds.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Kitting with a little beading thrown in for good measure

In the midst of my kitting yesterday I decided that I needed a new Touch of Whimsy color way.  I previously had two and I prefer to have three color choices at a minimum!

I love the two originals with their pave teardrops and matching 12mm round pave beads, but I wanted an alternative solution so I decided to see what I could come up with using materials on hand.

One and two look like this…..

On this version I inverted a corrugated brass bead I had on hand and used a 12mm Swarovski glass pearl.  I love any opportunity to use my beloved loch rosen (crystal sequins) and in this design they really show up nicely.  Also beloved are 2mm crystals which give added sparkle to the top, in this case using the really precious 2mm gold arum's which are hard to come by.  I love how luminscent the resin balls are.  I usually make a simple raw chain to hang these from but in this case I used a ribbon I had on hand….if I weren't impulsive and impatient I would wait to show you one where the ribbon was a better match but you get the idea.

I think this color way takes the design from whimsy to regal which is a nice change, don't you think?

Most fun about this design is it is entirely doable in a one day class.  It is a rare day we have the possibility of finishing and wearing a seed bead project out of class, and I am not guaranteeing that of course, we all bead at different speeds, but with this one you will at least come within striking distance, which is a nice change of pace some times.  I'll be teaching this a few more times this year!

Now I return to the marathon kitting sessions, preparing for Europe, Beaded Bliss and Alaska all at the same time.  As I have only a few days between each engagement I know that I must be fully prepared before leaving here August 5th, so it's head down with the bead kits for the moment!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

return of the retro ringlets

Update:  All three kits have been sold.  I really should make these again some day, they are just happy beads.  For the time  being though they will be shipped to the three fast girls who ordered!

Return of the retro ringlets….

Well not really but I did find 3 sets in my stash and so I've put together 3 kits.  I'm not going to list them, but if you always wanted to make these now is your chance.

They are a happy little group of beads and perhaps some day I will kit them again, but in the meantime only these three exist, so if you are interested click here to let me know.  Remember I can only fill the first three orders that arrive, but I will respond and let you know if they've been sold.  This offer will expire at 7:00 a.m. pst on July 10th after which if they are not sold I will take them on my travels with me.

The beautiful  Heather Trimlett glass beads are the real value in this kit but I've I've included 6 aluminum rings and lots of the seed colors you see here so you can change up your designs.  The ball chain is also included so you can instantly wear your creations.  The kit is $95 plus postage (and tax if you live in California)

The five glass rings may or may not be exactly as pictured but they will be in these colors and coordinate nicely with the included seed beads.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Refining the sprocket design

Occasionally the first version of something is perfect…..very occasionally.  More often then not I see  design variations that I think will improve the overall effect I want to achieve.

Sprockets were born during a plane flight, one where I was exhausted and had not even packed beads.  For some reason as I settled in I had one of those what if moments that could not be denied.  So I took out the only two beads I had with me, one size 15 and one size 11.  The idea worked beautifully, but I wasn't quite sure how it would develop.  Over the next few days it grew up to be a pendant with a revolving rivoli center and a suspended sprocket.  The colors felt uninspired (based on my original two beads which were all I had with me) and I wasn't happy with the suspended sprocket, but all in all I knew there were possibilities.

Sprockets in and of themselves are a whimsical bit of bead work so I decided that whimsical colors were called for and pulled out a collection of brightly colored beads.  I added some ultra rivolis in pink and orange and sat down for a second session.

An added feature of the design….it's reversible!  I changed up the bottom to be teardrop shaped which I find more pleasing and added just one sprocket instead of the three from the original design.

The front (well whose to say it's the front, it's just the side I originally thought of as the front), has an extra row of sprockets off the front face.

The bottom teardrop will make a great sprockety earring, something I intend to work on in the near future.  For now I have another pendant that needs some attention before the Bead and Button submission deadline.

Here is the original sprocket.  I do love the little mint green o-beads beneath the crystal tips and perhaps adding the new teardrop shape to the bottom will reclaim this piece and be more to my liking.  There is still a lot of sprocket play to be done.  These sprockets are built from every third cube of the base, but perhaps every other cube would be appealing.  There are eight sprockets which turns out fits an 18mm rivoli center perfectly, but perhaps seven or nine would be better.  This one also has some short and some long sprockets, but if they are too long they tend to be wobbly and no one likes a wobbly sprocket!

Off to lunch with friends followed by some 'real' work and then I will bead.  My next pendant/earring is also awaiting some design evolution.  The shape makes beautiful earrings, but not everyone loves a large earring.   I'm adapting it into a pendant for perhaps wider appeal, but then it's a small pendant…..not everyone likes a large pendant, right?  So I'm torn as to which direction I will go.  I'm leaning toward offering a pendant with  the option to make earrings.  We shall see.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A few new kits!

A number of my projects are still being actively taught which means they stay exclusive to the teaching circuit for the time being, but a few have ended up on the teaching retirement list, which means good news for those of you waiting for some new designs!

Being released are Vienna

The Cassandra Bracelet

The Sundial Pendant

 A new design, the Spirit Flight Ring

I still have a significant travel and teaching schedule, so I have limited quantities and I don't know when they'll be replenished, but if you've been waiting, I wouldn't wait too long!

I'm home (mostly, with one trip to Creative Castle) until August 5th when I leave for Europe, followed by Alaska, Milwaukee, New Hampshire, Texas, New Jersey, Florida and Georgia!  Whew… year will not be so much of a whirlwind, and there will be more kits in the store!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Feeling colorful

I do tend to swing back and forth on the color pendulum, although mostly I go for the muted matte metallics, the other side of that equation sometimes shows up.

Party Girl, a collaboration with the Dallas Bead Society, featuring Heather Trimlett glass.

Do you see a connection?

Here is the Pat version of Dream Keeper Vessel Rings, named after friend Pat whose go to colors are Aqua and Gold

Ringlets, I've discontinued the kit, but  it could make a reappearance one of these days….it so so fun and colorful!

I admit that I struggle more with the brights, getting the proportion and values of the different colors seems harder to me…..but my newest design 'sprightly sprockets' really called out out for color.  It's a whimsical piece and in my book at least whimsy equates to color.

A Touch of Whimsy

These beautiful ultra rivolis will be the perfect addition to this whimsical, colorful design.

Although having said that I may give it a go with some beautiful golds or bronzes….At the moment I am in love with these 'sprockets'  So much opportunity for embellishment, and a cool little shape.  This one will turn into a pendant, but I'm anxious to do up some earrings, maybe a bracelet, incorporate some mini spikes, maybe some pearls…..I think this design may keep me busy for a bit.

Also on the design front, I finished my Beading by the Bay piece yesterday and I am totally in love with it.  Seems like  you always want that outcome, I do of course, but in the end some designs resonate more than others, this one, it resonates beautifully!  Reveal coming soon…..

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Earlier this year I filmed a video in the Interweave studios. It's been available for a while now and I must say I am happy with it. I think the Interweave team does a great job. Audio and close up beading shots are very clear making it quite easy to see what is going on.


Initially we had scheduled only RAW instruction but I stepped out some CRAW fundamentals in the event we had time and we did. If you have been struggling with CRAW this may be helpful to you. I go over starting, counting cubes, turning corners, making a join and doing multiple rows.

The video is available for download or on DVD and comes with accompanying illustrations. do be clear though, there are no project instructions, this is a process or skill set video of a project video. having said that you will gain the skills to tackle most any CRAW or RAW project you come across.


The video can be purchased here.