Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ancient Bells

AND to update the update, although we sold out, we ordered more beads to do a second limited run…if you order on the website we will be building and shipping these kits in the next two weeks!  

Click here to order!

Ancient Bells has had an interesting trajectory…..

I was visiting with Perry at  York beads (and meeting Edgar!) back in August when Perry showed me the Ancient beads.  I brought a few home with me and told Perry I would design something for his 90th anniversary.

The idea being the pattern would be used to promote bead sales of the ancient beads.  The talented Melissa Grakowsky illustrated the pattern which was provided to stores who purchased the ancient beads.  Psst, if you are a bead artist requiring illustration services, Mellissa can provide that service and she's good.  Typically I would illustrate my own, but since this was a special case, Perry engaged Melissa to to it.

 Anyways, the pattern seems to have struck a cord with many….I've seen a lot of these made and posted, and all have been beautiful.

The other cool thing about this pattern is that it teaches a nice gradual increase using craw which results in that graceful bell shape you see.

I have made these two color ways and I have put together the kits with the small stash of ancient beads I have, you see they are at the moment no longer available from the original supplier, although you will find a few bead stores here and there with remaining inventory.

I've sold almost all of the first batch but a small number will be available, hopefully later today.  Mark is 'revamping' the website, which is indeed needed but it's slowing the process for adding new kits to the store!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm building a house

A wee little house, 1 inch square and maybe 2 inches high, small enough to wear as a ring, or maybe to hang as a pendant.

I'm taking a David Chatt class and I wanted to do something that would use a lot of skills and be a challenge, so size 15 craw with different interior and exterior wall colors, windows and a door and a stepped roof.

Yesterday was the second of a four day class which has been a huge treat for me.  A lovely group of beaders with David in our midst, available to help us explore, challenge and add to our skill levels, and make us think, all with a healthy dose of humor.

David brings a long a huge inventory of bits and pieces and will explain the technology of each design. I find that I am somewhat challenged in thinking in 3D and that I need to make a piece before I can cement it in my mind.  So I've made several little bits and pieces which will remind me of the direction I might take.

We have 4 days in between and I hope to put a little time in on the house, my mind was busy all night thinking through the thread paths of how I might approach the roof, and there was also a new reversible bracelet pattern that I'm thinking of.

This is pretty much the ultimate artist date to spend the time being exposed to so much brilliant work and having access to and guidance from the artist who created it.

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Birthday Cuff

For our birthdays, we've been making beaded bead necklaces for one another, but Judy, always traveling to her own beat, wanted a cuff, a bead embroidered cuff.  The big reveal was today!

Two weeks back we gathered in the studio and Judy picked out colors and decided that the large La Navette focal would be the perfect center. The rest of us then set to work with me giving a mini lesson which was totally tuned out, can you believe I allow this?  They went about their business knitting and discussing the right choice of yarn for a soon to be crocheted koigu lap throw and gave me the occasional, uh huh as I showed them how to back stitch and make fringe and fill in an area.

I will say next time an embroidered cuff is the choice we need to start a little sooner then two weeks before the big day.

I prepped the lacy's, put together a kit of sorts with the colors, bezeled a coin pearl and two chatons and beaded up La Navette.

Susan took over and did a lot of the heavy lifting as far as the bead embroidery was concerned (I did repeat a bit of the tuned out lesson), then Susan called Gail to work on the cuff since it was to be a birthday gift collaboration.  Susan had the brilliant idea to include all of our initials, so there is J, S, M and G outlined in 2mm fuchsia crystal.

Bead embroidery done it was given back to me to put the backing on and complete the edge treatment.  I added a gold button clasp, and the fringy bits on the bottom of the focal.

It ended up being a beautiful piece and Judy was thrilled to open it at todays Torrey Pines Lodge Spa and lunch day.

It is a treat to look across a table and see a piece completed with so much love.   You did good girls.  Happy Birthday Judy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


It's really rare for me to sell my finished jewelry, time is of course always precious and I chose the designer, author, teacher, kitting route for my business model.  I find it's hard to do that in parallel with selling finished goods.

Every once in awhile someone comes along with a level of enthusiasm and asks so nicely that I'm inclined to grant their request.  So these beautiful earrings are winging their way to Florida today.

I've been making Romantica style earrings for awhile, but I love the addition of the rizos and the melon balls with an accent of pave teardrops!  I've got a new black pair with the baroque pendant on the bottom which are dark and mysterious and a pair with silver and fuchsia.  Now that I've solved my illustrator issues by abandoning my old CS5 installation and purchasing a creative cloud subscription, I can return to tutorial writing and I think I'll be writing these up.

and just because pretty packaging is also important…..

Today is bead with friends day and  I'm working on a bead embroidered cuff.  My job is to put the backing on and complete the edging.  The finished product is a surprise but I promise to take photos and show you after the reveal!

Bead well my friends!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Amulet Purses

Maybe I'm feeling nostalgic, my beading career started in the early 1990's where I was drawn to an amulet purse worn by a woman at a quilt guild meeting that I attended.  She taught me that sweet little amulet purse and I went on to make several more.

I made the one on the cover of the Nicolette Stessin amulet purse book, designed by David Chatt, my first foray into Right Angle Weave.  I made a nautical one and put all kinds of sailing talisman into it and wore it daily as Mark sailed safely from Santa Cruz to San Diego and back.  I attended the first retreat put on by Carol Wilcox Wells in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I made her caged amulet.  I wish I could show you photos of all of them, but it was before I felt the need to record all of these.  I only have one amulet left, however I have girlfriends who own and still proudly wear some of my first beading attempts (makes me shudder, but they still enjoy them).

Here is one that I did as part of a round robin.  I made the purse using Embellished Raw which made a beautifully supple bag.  It was then sent on it's way for embellishment, fringe and a neckstrap by different artists.  I believe Darcy did the beautiful spiral rope, and Nancy Dale did the fringe (swoon) and I am thinking, but not positive so forgive me, I'm thinking Laura Zeiner did the embellishment, or perhaps I embellished hers and someone else did this.

It has gotten me to thinking that I would really really like to do an amulet purse again…..

Friday, January 9, 2015


If you were one of those that signed up to take Sprockets at Bead and Button I thank you for seeing the promise in this piece.  One of the things I find hard to do is capture everything that is going on in a bigger piece in a smallish photo.  

It's important to get the entire piece in the shot so that there is an understanding of the overall form, but then you lose the detail when scaling it down to a 2 inch photo.  This makes it hard to convey all that is going on in this piece.

For one thing the pendant is totally reversible, with different embellishment and color opportunities on each side.  The spokes are a bit of cubic raw which counts on increases and decreases to add interest and to capture the melons and spikes (or crystals or pyramids or whatever you might like)  The interior circle is shaped with size 15's and 11's and the bezeled rivolis are captured and beaded back to back adding to the reversibility.  In other words there is a lot going on in this piece that will create learning and interest and present design ideas for your own work.

Look at all the juicy detail you can when I get up close and personal 

But you lose the fact there is a pendant and the overall shape or that it's reversible

You may recall that sprockets started out with an experiment that looked like this

And I still have an idea to make some sprockets bangles….or earrings or…..well let's just say I have not finished exploring the sprocket possibilities.

I really need to spend some time photographing these other colors to their best advantage.  Seeing them now I want to make another color way immediately, but I am pretty sure that is not fitting on the calendar!  

And in the event you're going to Bead and Button and your Tuesday dance card is not yet full, you can find the link for Sprockets here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Portico Pendant Re-invented

I'm happily home for a good spell and enjoying some creative time in my studio.  A couple of days ago I showed you some choices I was thinking about for re-inventing a portico pendant that was years old and needed some new love.

Number one was the winner and yesterday while beading with friends I made myself a little component (the one in the photo is reserved for an other project) and I bezeled in the navette stone.

I'm pretty darn pleased with the result!  Now to find something to wear it with.

Top down and side view so you can appreciate both the form and the layered construction of that top bit.  Oh and the original, so you can see how it was fancied up!


and fancy!

I continue to be really happy with how well my new camera, Canon Power shot  G16 is functioning!

Some of you might remember that I promised to open the kit store in January….and it's still my plan.  I have some Beading by the Bay work to finish this week (if you're waiting on that) and then onto kits.  Finding this retirement balance turns out to be not so easy.  I seem to putter a lot and I just realized that a deadline I thought was in November is in April.  But I will try to have a little more focus and get some of your favorite kits available soon.