Friday, January 30, 2009

Play Date

I made good progress on organizing supplies yesterday and am mostly ready for Tucson. Here is this years visual shopping list.

And so I've earned myself a play date with 'my girls' A few years back I wandered into the Grove in South Park San Diego. It was rather instantly home, a place you just feel good. Susan stocks a fabulous yarn store in the confines and Anne has a well rounded collection of books. Several other shops also reside at the Grove including some fun and funky clothing, fabric, bamboo products and intriquing gift items.

In my other life, the non bead artist life, I knit, and I've connected with a great group of women at the Grove who also knit, although our connection goes way beyond knitting it is the common thread. So today I treat myself to visiting and knitting among my dear friends. I'll be finishing my second Kiri a laceweight shawl, this one out of cream colored Habu Silk Mohair, kind of like knitting a cloud. This is my first, which I wear a lot! It's the perfect lacy scarf in just the right color for me.

The Grove is in the San Diego neighborhood of South Park which I love. Across the street you can get the best scone EVER at Rebecca's, next door is the Daily Scoop serving up delicious handmade ice cream and Krista's amazing cupcakes. Around the corner is Junque where Jeffrey stocks an electic shop of clothing, bags and various interesting house decor. And around the other corner is the Vagabond, excellent food and the best Basil martini. It's definitely a good destination!

See you tomorrow, I have a play date now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tucson Readiness

I like pretty things....16 years ago I quit smoking and decided that I would spend the money I saved on fresh flowers every week and it's a habit I still maintain. This bright spot of color on the kitchen counter makes me smile.

I continue to get ready for Tucson, which includes doing inventory on the kits which need to be kitted, putting together my visual shopping list, and generally readying the studio for production mode. I have many friends who have volunteered to come help me kit and I am so grateful for their help. I do need to be hyper organized so that I use their time wisely.

I'm excited about Tucson, not only for the beads, but for the parties and the chance to catch up with so many friends. Susan, owner of the Beading Frenzy in San Mateo, and Janet are flying to San Diego on Sunday and will be my guests until we drive to Tucson on Tuesday morning. Let the shopping and the partying begin!

Meet Scarlett....

But before meeting Scarlett, California continues to welcome me home with these stunning displays. This is the view from my verandah...

Scarlett first came to my attention early last year when I was asked by Beadwork magazine to participate in their new Designer of the Year series, along with Jamie Hogsett, Lisa Kan and Jean Campbell. At the time Jean was doing the technical edits for my book and we were having daily email conversations.

Jean mentioned a beadwork artist who would be a contributing editor to the magazine, named Scarlett Lanson. Having not previously been aware of Scarlett's work (where have I been?) I immediately googled her , found her website The Beaders Muse and was quite impressed at what she'd been up to. I had seen the amazing nautical purse in a Beadwork issue, but my retention being what it is these days hadn't remembered the name of the artist, yep, it was Scarlett. I've been following her work since then, including her new column in Beadwork and man oh man what a talent she is. And now she's put together a bead contest that you'll definitely want to go have a look at. And since I am going to Tucson and the Swarovski party this year, I'll get to meet Scarlett and see her work in person!

And speaking of Jean and Tucson, are you reading 'Beading Daily'? Jean wrote an excellent article on Tucson shopping. As Jean suggests I have a list to keep me focused. Since most of my Tucson purchases are things I use in kits, I typically have a sample of what I need. So I create a 'visual list' with the required goods in a 2 x 3 ziplock, and all of the ziplocks on a ring binder. This makes it really easy to show a vendor what I'm looking for.

This visual shopping list looks fairly shopworn because it's last years list, I really need to get going on this years list, now!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Travelling Bead Artist

One of the things I love about being a travelling bead artist is all of the folks I meet and get to reconnect with. And so it is that last night I had dinner with the Lovely Lisa. I met Lisa two years ago at the Great Lakes Bead Guild's Bead Daze and loved her immediately. She is smart, warm, funny, kind and does beautiful beadwork. Lisa picked me up, brought me home, provided me with wine (see why I think she's kind) and showed me some stunning beadwork she's been doing. You'd think I'd have pictures, but.....I was enjoying myself and forgot. Suffice it so say it was a really nice evening. Donna co-owner of Studio Beads joined us and many a laugh was had. Yes I have a really, really good job!

Yesterday the class did Les Perles de la Mer, a beaded bead project.

There was Nada, new to right angle weave who did a fabulous job.

And there was Jackie and Mary and Annette and Mary and Fay....I thought I had Fay's picture, but apparently I was so enamored with Faye's palette that I only took a picture of Fay's beads and not Fay.

Forgive the slightly blurry picture of Studio Beads, it was taken from across the street at the Deerfield Bakery, a quite amazing place, beautiful pastries, cakes, donuts, bear claws, cupcakes.... Yes good beads and good pastry in this close proximity, you have to go!

And today I fly back home to my real life, where I have to finish unpacking and begin getting organized for Tucson.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I am having absolutely the best time at Studio Beads! Last night's dinner I had with Donna Zaidenberg coowner of Studio Beads and an accomplished bead artist. I was sans camera, but the lovely sushi was served with a tealight on the sushi plate, something I'd never experienced. An A for presentation!

This sign says it all for today's weather! But I'm finding it all rather refreshing and a big change from San Diego.

It is a beautifully stocked store and if you haven't been and live anywheres within driving range of Deerfield Village, Illinois, you really must. And if you are a seed bead artist, here is just ONE wall of there selection.

The store has an amazing ambiance with artistic touches in every corner.

A chandelier...


And the folks in class have been so fun.

Here's Patti, well Patti's knitted/beaded wristlets. Patti is so creative, and I totally bonded with her over her wristlets, having made 3 pair of my own.

And here is Donna, making a great face! with Sherry looking on.

And Cindy and Gretchen who are such good friends that Cindy got Gretchen hooked on beading but then had to move away to Ohio. She returned to Deerfield so they could take this class together.

And Mary, who wasn't in class, but looked so darn cute in this hat that I had to take her picture and come to find out she was in my class the next day and the next.

And Gail, how cute is she? Gail and Kim work for the Bead and Button show and it is always a highlight of my day to see their smiling faces come around. So I was delighted to see Gail show up in my class. (Gail, remember our agreement....) There was in fact a huge Milwaukee contingency, Helen and Jan, and Amy and I think Carla (ok girls we're going on memory now) but I thoroughly enjoyed everyone. Can't wait to touch base again in Milwaukee. Cathy came, but I don't think she was close to Milwaukee? Oh I do so try to remember..

And then there Shannon who is the sister of Ellen who lives in Kentucky and takes my classes in Milwaukee. Shannon's husband bought her this class for Christmas, how cool is that! Yeah, small world stuff. I loved Shannon. She had on the Tesserae from the cover of Step by Step Beads

If I don't have your picture, just remember, that I loved each and everyone of you and was so glad to have you in class. And am thrilled that many of you I get to see again in Milwaukee!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bead Enabler

Yesterday Kristina Logan and Heather Trimlett did a trunk show in San Diego, nothing like telling you afer the fact, heh? Two of my favorite bead artists in one place.

Well I was on a plane and unable to go, but I did 'encourage' friends of mine to attend. So today I give you Val's blog to see what wonderful treasures they came away with.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm in Chicago

And there's snow! It's not new snow, pretty, quiet, peaceful snow, it's kind of old snow, which is good because it reminds me that not all snow is that romantic first pristene beautiful snow, but I love it just the same.

My flight was flawless, I continued proof-reading of the book, landed uneventfully (always good) and checked into my very nice corporate La Quinta.

The lovely Jessica of Studio Beads picked me and took me to the store, which is stunningly beautiful and well stocked (and I've been in a few bead stores in my day).

I walked in to a class in session and got an immediate hug from Jean, who I've met a couple of times previously. She has long beautiful white hair in a french braid, which I've admired before, I've always wanted that elegant style, she wears it well.

I'm well cared for here, Donna and Jessica took me out to a wonderful steak dinner, nothing like a good mid western steak.

Tomorrow we have a full class for Romantica and I know I'll have a blast meeting new and old friends. Romantica has been such a fun class because people get to truly bring their own creative voice to the design.

So blogging on the road does work, although I promise more pictures for tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And I'm Off

I've been home for all of 4 days and it's time to be off. I'll be teaching at Studio Beads in Chicago,which I'm sure is going to be a treat given all the rave reviews I hear about it. It's always fun to travel to a new beadstore, so much to see.

I've been warned that it's very cold and I'm sure I dont' have a proper winter coat, being a Southern California gal, but I'll make do with layers...

I took a quick beading break to make a repair on my Swarovski'd watch. Since I get to go the Swarovski party this year I decided it would be fitting. The watchface is under the rivoli which lifts up to reveal the time. The majority of it is beaded in peyote stitch....just to prove I can...

I hope to do some 'on the road' blogging this trip with my new little Canon point and shoot camera. I'll be traveling with laptop due to the ongoing book proofreading, so we'll see. And if not enjoy your beady adventures and I'll see you next week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Beginnings

What a powerful day....I'm teary eyed, moved, exhilirated, in awe, relieved, inspired, with so many feelings of hope.

And didn't Michelle look beautiful?

I bought this when my inverse twin Paula Best had her studio in Monterey. I think it's a fitting sentiment for the day

When the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power, the world will know Peace, Jim Hendrix

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Peek at the Studio or....

Things that make me incredibly happy to be home!


My funny Birds



And Beads!

On the Book Front....

The title is 'Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence, Elegant Projects with Right Angle Weave' has kind of a nice ring to it!

The book proof is here and I need to proof it. I did all of the illustration for the book and during the first tech edit, done by the multi-talented Jean Campbell, some illustrations were revised. I need to update my composite project illustrations with the revised ones so I can effectively determine if all of the correct illustrations made it to the book.

All of my projects will be returned to me in tomorrows UPS shipment minus a few that were sold. It will be nice to have them in my possession again, I've missed them.

The date for release is September of this year which right now seems like an incredibly long wait, but I'm sure will come before I know it.
Now off to begin proof reading....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Home Sweet Home

35 hours, 2400 miles, 2 1/2 days! We're home where the sunshine is beautiful and it's 68 degrees (Sorry Jean).

And while we were driving the proof copy of "Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence" arrived in my inbox. It's lovely.

More when I finish the unpacking and recover a bit....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Abilene Texas

We're guessing about the halfway point although we haven't done the actual math. Tomorrow's goal, Tucson, Sunday's goal Home!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We're off

I'm happy to be going home, I'm not happy to be driving. It bores me to tears to have idle hands, but unfortunately I am one of those folks rendered car sick by the mere thought of looking at something in the car. Not even mindless knitting spares me this fate. A 20 second look at a map is instant car sickness (thank goodness the gps has eliminated the need for a paper map)

On Monday I very efficiently packed up boxes that needed shipping and got them off to UPS. Among them was the purse where I had last seen my ipod, the one with all the downloaded books. Yeah well, that's what I get for being so efficient.

Fortunately I was able to sort out putting those same books onto Mark's ipod and so now we will have some entertainment. The Time Travelers wife, highly recommended, is first up.

I'll try to post along the way. First priority in a hotel is pet friendliness since Miss Maya Princess Angelina will be traveling with us.

We have to hide her pink travel case or she will spin circles and stay in it until it's time to leave. She loves to travel. I think this may be a better trip for her then for me. However if we're fortunate enough to find a pet friendly hotel with wireless internet, well then maybe there will be post worthy news.

And if not, well then I'll be back on Tuesday. At which point I will bring you beady news...

New Website

I'm getting excited! We've been working on a new website and it's starting to come together, well the look and feel at least. There is still much work to be done to get all of the content together. Here's a little preview of the new look. I used Adobe's Kuler program, pointed it at the urchin photo and selected the colors for the website. I like them.

It will be awhile before we'll see the new site live. Tomorrow we leave NC, driving to CA. I will be home for a full two days if all goes well. During those two days the proof copy for my book will arrive. That will have my full concentration on Wednesday and on Thursday's plane ride to Chicago where I will teach at Studio Beads. I'm looking forward to being in Chicago and catching up with many friends there. And secretly, as if a blog is secret, I'm hoping for snow. Luck will need to be with me, I would like just enough snow to appreciate it's sparkling newness, but not enough to interfere with my travel plans. I miss snow.

Returning from Studio Beads I will focus on organizing supplies for kits so I can be efficient in my Tucson shopping.

After Tucson I will begin the process of kitting, so that finally kits will be available on line again. That and a significant teaching schedule will keep me busy.

Art Glass

Back in November we visited the Piedmont Craftsmen Fair in Winston-Salem. As is usual, Mark and I wandered the aisles separately coming back together after a couple of hours to compare notes. Each of us was excited to share our favorite artist at the show. We chatted and meandered, stopping here and there. Eventually it became clearer that we were headed towards the same artist, could it be? It is so seldom that we have the same taste in art, but yes, as we approached we realized we were both drawn to the kilncast work of Jan Kransberger.

Well, there was only one thing to do, we needed to buy a piece. A discussion of favorites was narrowed down and together we decided on this one. Isn't she beautiful? I can't wait to take her home and find a special place. At times daylight passes through her translucent body and the aqua glass glows.

Jan is having an exhibition at Red Sky Gallery beginning February 13th. As much as I look forward to being home in California, I wish I were here to see more of Jan's work. It is captivating. So if you live near Charlotte, I highly recommend a visit.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Drawing Beads

Today, besides the packing....and I ask you, how can I have so many clothes and nothing to wear? but yes along with the packing I will be drawing beads.

The deadline is looming for my fourth 'Designer of the Year' project for Beadwork magazine. This is a new series that features four designers who will have a different project in each 2009 issue. The designers are Jean Campbell, Jamie Hogsett, Lisa Kan and myself! If you subscribe to Beadwork or pick up an issue at the newstand, I think you're in for a treat. According to the Beadwork site, we'll also be treated to a feature article by metal clay artist Kate McKinnon.

This d.o.y. piece showcases a stunning crystal gifted to me by Blanche of Beads by Blanche. A gifted bead is always a treasure, different then a bead acquired by Bead Begging which I've been known to do as well. I'm not proud of it, but sometimes....well it's just necessary, I'll tell a bead begging story another day.
The crystal is crystal colored, and not this crazy my real studio I take better pictures, home sweet home, coming soon.

Since I illustrated my own Right Angle Weave book this past summer (with copious amounts of help from Bonnie Brooks) I became reasonably proficient at the drawing of little beads. Let's hope my memory serves me well enough to make short work of this one, since there is still packing to be done!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Building of a Website

First off, I'm packing, really I am, see.....

It's just not quite urgent enough yet, so in between I'm working on the new website. I'm fortunate that husband Mark is a big assist in this area. I maintain my current site and know my way around Dreamweaver a bit, but he's the real brains. However look and feel, that's my department and yesterday I discovered Kuler!

Kuler, I am assuming pronounced, Color is an Adobe product. It suggests pallettes but will also create them from a picture. Once you upload your picture the program will create a pallette based on the picture. Options are Colorful, Bright, Muted, Deep, Dark or Custom. In custom you drag circles around the picture until you have selected 5 colors.

But the fun doesn't stop there. You name and save your pallette then click on an icon to display the HSV, RGB, CMYK, LAB or Hex values of the colors in your pallette.

But wait! You can also select a rule to change the pallette to analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary, compound or shades. This has potential for interferring with the packing schedule.

Can you tell I'm excited?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Charlotte Queen City Crown

Another temporary goodbye....Last summer the Charlotte Bead girls invited me to a gallery opening. They wanted me to meet bead artist Eleanor Wirth, who was having a gallery reception that evening. Before we met, I saw this beautiful piece!
and immediately knew Eleanor and I would connect, and we did. She is absolutely delightful and a huge talent. Her fabulous work can be viewed and purchased at the Red Sky Gallery. Yesterday I spent an inspired day in her studio sharing beady ideas. And we have plans, I know we will continue to see one another and the goodbye will be only temporary.
From yesterday's post I bring you my urchin

and one of the elements in Dallas's Parisian Pendant

I love Dallas's work. I admire his innovation, love the combination seeds and wire, and delight in the form of his pieces. There is some possibility it could even tempt me into doing wire....

And now, the packing really begins, really, time is running out, very little room left for procrastination, we leave on Thursday. Yikes!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cross medium inspiration

The bead and button show catalog has been shipped and 'A Chorus of Urchins' is on the cover. This was a collaborative piece I did with the Dallas Bead Society last year. It was entered and accepted into last years beaddreams and then was selected for the cover! I get to return to Dallas this year and look forward to a new collaboration. Ideas are starting to percolate....

The bead was originally inspired by a glass bead from Gail Crosman Moore, whose work I've loved and collected for years. Then while teaching with Dallas Lovett last year he said he had a wire piece inspired by urchin. I love cross-medium inspiration!

Waking up with a huge headache without virtue of wine or gin is entirely not fair. Here is the reason, a huge dip in barometric pressure. It seems whenever I wake up with an 'unexplained' headache vs. the explained kind, I can trace it to a change in barometric pressure. Apparently this is a known Phenomenon.... How to handle the dreaded barometric pressure headache! This did not fit into my packing plans for yesterday. These headaches tend not to respond to aspirin, execdrin, tylenol or all the usual remedies. They make me sick to my stomach and generally require some time in bed. Good thing for me I work best under pressure!

Miss Maya

As I get ready for this busy year Maya is registering her protest. This is her actually in my suitcase as if to say please don't go without me!

She is the most darling little girl, a rescue dog, part chihuahua part daschund and pure happiness. Life is a party for Maya and she reminds me to live with exuberance.

Last night I beaded with the Charlotte girls. A group I was fortunate to meet at last years Bead and Button and who included me in their beaded get togethers. It may have been farewell, but I know that many I will see again at various future bead events.

Today I will begin packing for the drive back to California. We did a 'volume check' yesterday (I'm married to an engineer) and determined tha we can fit 5 suitcases, 6 boxes, 2 adults and 1 dog into my Saturn SUV. I will need to pack from most important to least....let's see, first there are the beads, well then there are some more beads....I guess I will have to ship the clothes.

I look forward to being in my own home, most especially in my own studio and among old friends.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Color Influences

I love pretty tools and these new Gingher Scissors caught my eye while visiting my in-laws in White Bear Lake over Thanksgiving.

This is my new Abrege you think I may be easily influenced?

I can't stop playing with these ellipse and diamond shapes. There are so many possibilities here. In the abrege bracelet two bands are interlaced through one another making a complex design with lots of texture.

In the Portico bracelet, two bands are stitched together with a crystal edge and in the Portico pendant an edging of beads and surface embellishment adds yet another design element.

Look for Porticos at the Bead and Button Show An Abrege pendant (I told you I couldn't stop) will be featured in the Feb/March issue of Beadwork magazine.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Colors

I have alwyas loved Heather Trimlett's beads from way back......199?, well from ever ago. And now she's my neighbor, well not literally, but in the next town, close enough for the occassional hello in her studio. A recent visit yielded this colorful stash which inspired the beaded ringlets. It's a departure for me, I tend to work in dark bronzy metallics and luminous pearlescent colors. I love these bright fun colors so much I've neglected to pick up the beaded remants from the coffee table. Who knows another project might spring forth from that tray.

Today it will go in the mail to Alaska Bead Company for my April visit there. Hard to believe, but I've never been to Alaska. Dear husband has rather tropical tastes in travel and somehow Alaska just never made the list, so I am super excited to be going.

I must go savor some more of this quiet rainy morning before I launch into the business of beads today. I love early morning with the darling little Miss Maya Princess Angelina DeCoster nestled at my side while I knit just one more row.

Monday, January 5, 2009

de allerbeste wensen voor het nieuwe jaar

Best Wishes for the New Year! We had a fabulous holiday season in Holland. The lovely Gabriella who I met last year at Beadazzles was kind enough to offer us the use of her home in Amsterdam. It was right on a canal and was the perfect venue to explore the city and then come back and relax. Inviting and comfortable. I spent many hours beading while enjoying the beautiful canal view.

I also saw this which struck me as funny, It's not so obvious, but below the Vodka Museum sign is one that says souvenirs. This one's for you Swellknits

On New Years we stayed in the Stempels hotel in Haarlem which is the town we lived in when we lived in Holland in 2004.

It was great to return to all our favorite places.We also visited with my former colleague Stephanie, her husband and two beautiful children. We stayed with them at their stylish new home in Frijsland in the North of Holland. A first for me was rum in hot chocolate and I highly recommend it, thanks Nico! The perfect antidote to a coooolllld day watching the little ones play on the frozen canals.

I am now in the planning stages of managing a very busy year! I have lots of travel to exotic bead locations around the country and world planned. I will shop in Tucson, teach at bead and button, Beadfest in Pa (with my bead pal Rachel!) and Bead Unique's fall Tahoe retreat.

But first I must get home. We begin the long drive from Charlotte NC to Lemon Grove CA next week (and here I sit making a new blog, there's packing to be done!) And I best get to it!