Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Rice salad

Thanksgiving is full of traditional foods so when asked to bring a salad to a Thanksgiving dinner I wasn't quite sure what kind of salad would be right.  Then I remembered the Black Rice Salad that I had at a dinner party a couple of years back.

It was such a hit that the recipe was emailed to many who attended and I promptly made it, a little too often for Mark's taste I think, so it because one of those recipes that falls by the wayside.  For some reason it popped into my head as the perfect Thanksgiving salad and the small miracle was that I could actually find the recipe.

I suspect that my hosts had salad in mind, like something green with lettuce and tomato.  Though called salad, this one really is more of a hearty side dish or a vegetarian main course.

It was  originally published in Sunset magazine but typing the name into a search window and I found the recipe at  The black rice gives an earthy flavor, roasted butternut squash adds a sweet flavor along with a tiny bit of maple syrup and the pomegranate seeds and roasted pecan provide crunch and color.  It's a festive looking salad and a great one to take to a pot luck.  I had my first experience with de-seeding a pomegranate (I usually take the lazy way out and buy the seeds at Trader Joes, but if you wait until Thanksgiving morning to shop that is not an option)  It wasn't hard but I did lose my grip and send half a pomegranate skittering across the kitchen floor splashing red all over the hem of Mark's pants.  He did not find it quite as humorous as I did.  Maya ever hopeful for the dropping of food tried a taste and was unimpressed.

Don't forget a winner will be chosen to win Marcia DeCoster's Right Angle Weave video.  Enter to win by commenting on the post here.  Tune in tomorrow to see if you're a winner!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I have much thanks!

Thanks that in 2004 I left my corporate job, encouraged by my husband to explore my creative roots and be with the beads full time.

Thanks that many of the relationships I had made saw something in me and gave me the opportunity to teach in their stores.  Thank you Susan, Carole, Blanche, Julie, Lisa and Kathy, you believed in me when I was less sure.

Thank you to Bead and Button who also took a chance on my skills...I always tried to do my best, but a class or two fell short, and I was given the opportunity by students and staff to make up for that failure.

Thanks to the magazines, Jean Cox, Marlene Blessing and Leslie Rogalski who have showcased my work.

Thanks to Lark books, who helped to develop and promote the books that I wrote and curated, and special thanks to Ray Hemachandra, Bonnie Brooks, Nathalie Mornu and Jean Cox who were all instrumental in their success.  Also thanks to the many artists who trusted me with their work in Marcia DeCoster presents.

Thanks to my wonderful children who continue to excel and make me proud.  Thanks to my first grandbaby Sam who has and has always had my heart.  Thanks to all my children for keeping me in their and their children's lives.  It is my most important time.

Thanks to the group of friends I've kept through my corporate life, my early life, created in my bead life and spend time with in my home life, I love  you all.  Dearest Just Me, you are in my thoughts always.

Thanks especially to my husband who supports me and makes my life special in every way.

It's been a magical few years.

I  have much to give thanks for.  May you all have a wonderful day, however you spend it.

Beading for the home

My main beading has always been jewelry as I love personal adornment and it was my impetus to begin beading in the early 90's.   But lately I'd like to use those skills to bring a few personal touches to home decor.  We've been working on the bedroom and I bought new lampshades to update and freshen up the lamps we have.

When at the lamp store I was given two resin ball finials and had the thought that a Touch of Whimsy would be a fun treatment.  I also wanted to bring the silver and gold of the shade to the top.  I've finished the one and the jury is out.  I can't decide if it meets the goal of whimsical, or is just the wrong scale and looks silly.

I always get disappointed with unrealized visions….it was so perfect in my mind.  Ah well….I suspect I'll do the second and will come to appreciate them.  We shall see.

Have you beaded any home decor?  Vessels?  Wall hangings?  Finials?  Wondering how to bring a bit of beadwork to the rest of the home and not just the jewelry in the studio.  This was my last foray, although hardly a noticeable statement.

On the other had I am loving the dark grey wall behind the bed and the new lampshades add a touch of modern.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The bedroom remodel

Non beady content, but a fun project.

Seems that somehow in all the homes we've lived in, the bedroom decor gets done in the beginning and never really evolves.  Other rooms, you know the public rooms that people see take precedence and the yard projects and years go by and the bedroom is dull and boring.

We had white walls, a bed that I never really liked, a dresser that came with the house and a mirror that was much too small in scale.  The wood slat blinds that are throughout the house are in a level of disrepair requiring new tapes and the mattress needed replacing.

And so the remodel began.  I decided on this bed!  I had seen it a two or three years ago and was pretty sure Mark would not see the same charm that I did.  I'm not sure he does, but he agreed that I should buy it and I did.

We have black hardwood floors throughout the house so this is a really good fit with the decor.  I chose bedding from  Restoration hardware in shades of grey.  I chose two greys for the walls, one really dark grey for the wall behind the bed and the rest medium grey.  It's still in process so the room is chaotic, but I must say the change is totally amazing.  I go to sleep and wake up feeling like I'm being hugged by the warmth of the room.

I've bought new lampshades for existing lamps and this morning decided that I shall bead the round ball  finials with a touch of whimsy in silver and golds!  I'm very excited for that.  Bringing more whimsical touches into the room.  The top would look like this with little bands of raw coming around the clear ball of the finial.  

I still need to pick the perfect rug, take the blinds to be re-taped and paint the back of the built in book case with some shiny metallic paint.  I'd also like to replace the heavy sliding closet doors with sumptuous dark grey velvet curtains….we'll see if time and money allows that extra bit of luxury.

I hope soon to have the bedroom sanctuary that I've always dreamed of and then I will show you pictures!

Bead and Button Santa Lucia!

As promised, here is a look at my Santa Lucia that I will teach on Thursday of Bead and Button. I've taught this enough times to understand that it is a really doable project that results in a really pretty necklace.

I've seen many different color combinations and I'd love to make them all!  For now there are these four with the intent to do one or two more colors, we'll see.

There are only a few of the Topaz left as both the antique brass and dark green pearls have been discontinued.  But I've got a really pretty light green and vintage gold one in the works  (the green is also discontinued, but I have some inventory!)

Occasionally there is a design which I want to make in every possible color combination, this is one of those!  When I originally designed it the Swarovski coin pearls did not exist….my friend Tracy who took this class at Beading by the Bay made the platinum color way to wear to her daughters wedding.  It is truly a wedding piece done in these colors perfect for the mother of the bride or the bride!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bead and Button 2015

The online and in print catalogs start arriving mid December for us to see all the beautiful class offerings.  I know for many of us the ability to go is a dream not easily obtainable.  For others who save for many months to be able to attend and use precious vacation time, it's a highlight.  I wish I had a magic wand so that everyone who wanted to experience the show could, but alas I do not.

I do know that 2015 will mark my tenth year of teaching there and I love being immersed in so many beads, so many beautiful pieces of beaded art, so many beady people and I love the chance to be surrounded by dear friends some of whom I only get to see this one time a year.

Like the rest of my bead life I have also scaled back the number of days I will teach at Bead and Button and to that end I have offered all brand new classes so that people that I've been fortunate enough to have in class year over year will have good choices.

First up is Tuesday, and I'll be teaching Sprockets!  Man how I love sprockets, a truly fun project to make, and totally wearable, on either of it's reversible sides.  I will have these three colors at a minimum!  It's a lot of beading though, so I've offered it in the slightly longer workshop format.

Tomorrow I'll share with you the current Santa Lucia choices and then we'll see what happens with the sprocket earrings!  You will notice if you are paying attention that the sprocket earring is the bottom of the sprocket pendant, so you wouldn't want to take both.  Sprocket earrings will be a 3 hour class on Wedneday before Meet the Teachers which may fit nicely into your schedule.  It's a bit of shaped beadwork with a sprocket on the tip just for fun.  I haven't created all the color ways yet, but these three will probably make the list and a couple of others if I'm productive.

Psst….I've also limited the number of students I take from 20 to 16.  Since I lost my assistant the Bad Liz to her own well deserved teaching career I've decided to make things a tad easier on myself.  Having said that I do have some excellent help lined up as I like to make sure to have an assistant in the classroom making sure that everyone gets what they need.  And…..there is a rumor that Liz may return to help a bit on her day off!  Last year I tried to steer her in the direction of embracing her own teacherhood, this year I said I'd love to have you if you're available.  Cuz pretty much I miss her and I bet you do to!

Do you RAW…..CRAW?

I'm giving away one DVD which will be randomly selected from comments to this blog post from now through Friday midnight.

Even if you're friends with right angle weave and cubic right angle weave this video may have some tips for you.  If either is a stitch you've been wanting to master I think you'll find this a pretty comprehensive guide with up close and personal demonstrations of many techniques.

I'm proud of the job that Interweave did in filming and editing this 90 minute video and I'd like to share it with you so if you'd like the opportunity to win this dvd please leave me a comment on your RAW CRAW desires!

While the focus is on RAW with all it's variations, flat, tubular, increases, decreases, embellished, armatures and layers, I did manage to work in 30 minutes of some CRAW fundamentals, including starting, turning corners, joining and doing multiple rows.

Should you not be the lucky winner, it appears that it is currently on sale in the Interweave store.  I'm never sure when it will be on sale or for how much, but I just noticed that at the moment it is a particularly good price!

Next year I will be filming the sequel, Cubic Right Angle Weave and Prismatic Weave (which shares a thread path with cubic right angle weave but has more or less sides than a cube.)