Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crystal Creations or Beads Gone Wild

I'm in Florida, teaching for Glenda, owner of Beads Gone Wild. We decided today I've been teaching for Glenda for about ten years.

It's been a great ten years, starting with the rings of saturn, and this week Under the Mast, Descending Nights and tomorrow the Rising Sun!

The shop is beautiful with many samples of compelling projects designed by Glenda and daughter Lisa.

Here is Glenda with who else Little Hoot

Today in class I met beading friends Sharon and Rae who were darling together. Sharon had Whitby earrings and a most exquisite fanfare bracelet. Rae had on the cover necklace from Beaded Opulence (with a few well appointed variations.)

Rae graciously posed with Hoot

Isn't she the cutest?

And Cathee was there with a beautiful version of Etruscan Treasure from the book.

It's been a great weekend!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, April 29, 2011


Crystals Creations store dog!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is it ever right

to do wrong angle weave?

When we refer to single needle right angle weave, we think of a unit of four sides where the thread path passes through a shared side bead and travels clockwise and counter-clockwise. This avoids the dread exposed thread across the intersections of the units, the tell tale sign of wrong angle weave.

Besides being unsightly, this thread would also be in the way if we were to put an embellishment bead into that intersection.

But, often that is exactly the next step we take when completing our right angle weave fabric. We pick up a bead and place it into that intersection.

Well, what if we picked up a bead and traveled across that intersection during our original weave, completing the next unit in a clockwise direction and continuing on, adding a bead between every intersection and completing every unit clockwise?

In doing this I find the piece maintains the fabric quality (depending on tension of course) uses less thread and traveling in one direction is an easier rhythm for some folks to grasp. I'm not done playing with the concept. I want to vary tension, size of bead, contrast and see what shows up.

Sorry Cathi, it appears that wrong angle weave may have it's uses!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Medici Drop

In case you're new here or missed it, you may want to take a scroll down the side bar and click on the photo of medici drop earrings where you will find a free pdf tutorial with my latest variation.

While this pair has the newly added texture it does not have the sparkle of the 2 mm crystals. They really are a stellar addition to the design. Adding just the smallest touch of sparkle can make a huge difference. Give it a try!

No cubic zirconia teardrops? Lot's of different drops work perfectly. Raid your stash, you'll most likely find a suitable replacement.

Oh, and if you've made some, please send me a picture. I suspect it may be the most made item in the book, and I'd love to see what you did with them.

Lark Giveaway

Imagine winning all of these titles! Masters books, Beadweaving Master Class, Glass,Wire, Polymer, an entire library of amazing books. Visit the newly redesigned lark crafts website and leave a comment to win.

pppsssttt this is one of the books you could win...

En Pointe and Earrings

These are unrelated posts, but I wanted to share color two for 'En Pointe' which is turning out beautifully. The addition of the 2 mm crystal join is magic. I would love for this one to be a bracelet, it wants to be, desperately in fact, but the portfolio needs a necklace. I have Aurelia, Rising Sun, Carousel and Queen Anne's Lace, all bracelets, it's necklace time. It's not that En Pointe is not a pretty necklace, it is, but I can see this beautiful strip of beadwork backed by another in a different color, joined on the edges.

It is a design dilemma that happens when you consider teachability. I will most likely make a bracelet from this design as well.

In a rare daytime break Mark and I had lunch in Little Italy this week and wandered through Antiques on Kettner. What an amazing store! Beautiful vintage jewelry everywhere and plates and coins and books and furniture.

I came away with these. At first I thought they were matching brooches, too large to be an earring of course.

I was wrong, but given the lever back post they are quite comfortable to wear and work nicely with my hair.

Definitely a store to check out on a regular basis.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Beaded Bowls

Bits and pieces

I reached into the bowl of bits and pieces, forgotten pieces of beadwork that over time failed to hold my interest long enough to become completed projects.

But then Dustin gifted me a beaded bowl and Jeannette beaded a bowl ring and Kate talked about bowls and I reached in and pulled out this beautifully cupped pearl and crystal bowl and I'm love with it all over again. I don't know why it was abandoned, I want to bead it now. The lovely circular square stitch bowl in the background is Dustin's the pearl and crystal one is mine, but then I bet you would have guessed that.

It started it's life as brick stitch but turned into right angle weave, funny that.

The Medici drop variation

Update - Success, Click on the Medici Drop earring photo on the sidebar for a copy of the pdf illustrating this very fun variation. I've added texture and 2 mm crystals! or Click here

While cruising a few weeks ago now, I did a demo using 2 mm crystals and a variation of the medici drop earring, and I promised to provide the instructions here....and at the moment I am technically thwarted.

Directions are written, pdf created, but I need a place to host it and at the moment my website is unavailable for update....The technical assistance call has been made, so if you are waiting (Caroline) soon you shall have directions, I promise.

A serious day of beading

But first, a few photos

There was a point in my life where I made sweaters for bunnies and bears, now I have my second grandbaby, but I thought this bunny fitting to share for Easter. I found it in my mothers things and it is a nice reminder of the gifts she held precious.

How can sunflowers fail to create a bright spot

We like to change it up. Mostly we eat in the dining room, unless it's outside weather when we sit on the veranda and on lazy nights we might eat on the kitchen stools, but every once in awhile we bring our chairs into the living room and eat looking out into the yard. When the new fountain is tiled (due to happen in the next three weeks!) the view is going to be wonderful. I like setting a nice table, making a good meal and enjoying the ambiance. The beautiful etched glass table was bought in Santa Cruz at Heather Glass many years ago. It survived three teenagers and many a family dinner, but now it sits gracefully in the corner of the living room being only occasionally pressed into dinner service. I visited this table in Heather's showroom for about three years before finally deciding to own it and I love it as much as the day I bought it.

Here is a detail of the beautiful grape leaf etching that circles the edge.

And speaking of nice meals, here is one of my favorite well worn cookbooks. Gifted by a dear friend I'm going to guess 30 years ago, and I still use it! There are so many favorites, but I never do Caesar salad without consulting it and there is a double chocolate chocolate cake with chocolate chips, and wonderful muffin recipes. For the most part I don't hold onto things, having moved many times since it was gifted, it's a testament to my sentimental attachment to this book. Thank you JM.

At the time as a young working parent a Chunky candy bar often sufficed for lunch or dinner....the inscription reads 'man does not live by Chunky alone'

The cookbook was written by Renny Darling and a quick google search provided the information that Renny still writes cookbooks and still sells 'the Joy of Eating'

And now it's onto the beads. I don't usually check the time it takes me to bead, but since 'En Pointe' is a reasonably labor intensive piece and I'm deciding between offering it as a one or a two day class, I decided to do some time trials on the beading. It turns out it take me 30 minutes to bead the component and then connect it up to it's neighbor. There are 18 small components and one large central focal component. So while I might be able to teach all the skills within one day, I find it best for folks to accomplish some critical mass when beading a piece like this. There is much more likelihood of finishing. After all if you sign up for a class presumably because you like the piece, it's nice to have a wearable piece as a result.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sweet Noteboard

I took a time out today to join JudiPatuti for a class on making a notepad. Being a new Grandma I am acquiring a lot of the most precious ever photos and I want to display them where I can enjoy that darling little face.

I can sew, but I haven't taken the time lately and this is a non sew project. A piece of foamcore covered with batting, a lovely fabric of your choice and criss-crossed with ribbon. A fanciful button highlights the criss cross and your done.

Just add pictures.

I didn't ask Judy if she intends to repeat the class, but if she does and you live near San Diego you may want to go create your own. Join the Grove mailing list for class updates.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Swatching points

It's time to make a second 'points' (it really does need a proper name soon, but I'm growing fond of points in the meantime) and I am doing some swatching. Under the guidance of Margie Deeb I am thinking about using analogous colors rather then strong contrasts or even maybe using more then one color scheme within the piece. Margie points out how the eye is going to be drawn to different places in the geometry of the piece depending on color placement. And I'm trying to get a visual of that by swatching up some potential color combinations.

On the left there is a shiny bright translucent interior bead with a bronzy 3 cut bead which has red undertones. Using a smoke fireline darkened up the bronzy bead considerably which I like but I don't care for it showing through the really translucent interior bead. So I changed the interior bead to an opaque gold but also went to crystal fireline, far right. Too shiny for me. So I went back to smoke, but kept the gold interior.....maybe it's the one. And finally because I am totally enamored with the matte teal bead I swatched up a high contrast combination of gold and teal.

This swatch also has the join using 2 mm gold aurum crystals!

Loving that and can't wait to see how they show up when I connect two teals. So it's off to the bead table I go.

This afternoon I have a girls date at the Grove where I will continue work on a Debbie Bliss sage green sweater for little miss Malayna Love, my newest grandbaby.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Full production mode

I'm gearing up for the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee which means back to full production mode. Fortunately following my weekend visitors and Bead Society class in the studio, the decks were cleared and I have a nice clean place to start from.

Today, four colors of Under the Mast will be kitted, and I'm planning a couple of more. I'd like a blue one with dark silver beads and a pink one with light silver perhaps, most likely not before B&B though.

In the meantime I am working on color for the second 'points' piece (it's temporary name) I definitely want to use a bronze chain so I'm working with bronze and gold beads. More analogous then the first, but I'm liking it so far. See those tiny little beads to the right? They are 2 mm gold aurum crystal...Wow! I'm thinking of using them on the ridged seams that join the points.

In this weekends 'Little Hoot' photo sessions I had thought I didn't manage a good shot of Kate, but I hadn't looked closely because I think this one is lovely.

Hoot was left behind on my recent cruise, hiding out in a suitcase from a previous trip, but he will definitely be joining me on my trip to Florida next week. I'll be teaching at Crystal Creations. Will I see you there?

Monday, April 18, 2011


A piece that has been in progress for some time. As with many pieces I design, the original component was done months ago. I made bunches and then played with layouts, settling on this join which adds a lot of texture and shows off the geometric nature.

While cruising this March, the double layered central part was designed with the intent of having baubly bits hanging from between the two elements. I'm ever mindful of part repeatability for kits, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and go with a pretty little lampwork bead I picked up from Bellisimo Beads in Australia. I'll worry about the kitting aspect of the project later.

I was lucky enough to have design consultations along the way with Liz, Jean, Kate and Dustin and I'm quite enamored with what we all worked out together. Kate always has me thinking about connections, and I'm pretty happy with this tab/ chain/ hook solution.

I love the gunmetal chain that compliments the dark silver beads and is an elegant addition to the overall design. And I'm glad to be finished! On number two I will be using bronze chain and fine tuning a couple of small design details. It is usually the third sample that has me ready to write directions.

I am going to go bask in the glow of having this one done before I contemplate the next sample and the next design.

My dapper man

In the spirit of Glitterganza at the Mingei museum this Saturday, Mark dressed up as an English Country Gentleman, complete with top hat, cane and white gloves.

photo by Kyle Cassidy

I think he looks amazingly dapper, displayed what a good sport he is and was a beautiful host all weekend. I love this man.

While Kyle was photographing this, several folks stopped to see what they thought might have been a bride and groom, ha! But I would of course marry him again any day of the week!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Photo workshop

Kyle Cassidy held a photo workshop at my home on Sunday. An interested student, took Kyle's direction to capture this photo of Kate's beautiful daughter Bria modeling this necklace.

The dress was an exquisite choice for showing off the beadwork and I'm so pleased to add this great photo to my collection of Kyle's weekend of photos.

There is also a flicker stream here with amazing shots from this weekends Glitterganza. It's hard to choose, but I'm fond of the pictures of Doriot with the skull and crossbone parasol, orange ballgown and green insect bracelet, Kate and Chalon with the white fur, Mark in his English Countryman's wear, and me in my glowing hat, Nibby in all her blue and yellow finery looking gorgeous and regal and happy, and Joyce Rooks and her Cello, quite possibly my favorites.

There are several of Kyle shot by Kate, with Kyle sporting his Edwardian lace cuffs (I truly have no idea if they were Edwardian, but it sounds correct).

The weekend was excellent as anticipated.

Weekend Guests

Posting with Little Hoot, Bria, Kate McKinnon's daughter

and Dustin Wedekind

It's been fun!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guests Arriving

I'm planning on an exceptional weekend visiting with exceptional folks. Both Kyle and Dustin will occupy the two guest rooms upstairs and Kate and myriad other folks will join us for dinner on Saturday night.

Saturday day will be the San Diego Bead Society meeting at the Mingei where Kate will talk all things beady, followed by the Glitterganza, bound to be fun. I've been wandering around the house collecting Glitterganza wear.

Sunday the house will be full of both Kate and Kyle's students. Kate's class on the Groovy cuff will fill up my studio and Kyle will wander about the rest of the house, sharing his photographic knowledge with those who have signed up to be part of this day. Space may still be available to join Kyle in what is bound to be an excellent day. Contact Kate McKinnon, should you like to attend.

I had THAT dream

The one where I was trying to get to class to teach. I was riding with someone whose car broke down, so I got out and walked in the rain, but I was lost. Finally I did get back to where I was staying and met up with Mark. I was running late, but on my way out the door NanC Meinhardt stopped by to chat. And then because in dreams things have no explanation, I was skyping with Dallas Lovett. It's 1:45 and the class started at 1:30........ and then I woke up.

I have the 'I messed up my teaching engagement' dream a lot. Sometimes I show up without directions, or I show up but I forget to teach or....well you get the picture. For the record, I have never actually been late, or forgotten the directions, although I did once forget all three samples of the piece I was teaching. That is when the Dundas girls rescued me and made me a sample.

It must be that I'm feeling more behind at the moment. Kit making for B&B is in good shape, and I have a new design almost ready to be shown, but a couple of more designs would be helpful and I'm thinking that contributes to the behindedness (funny that spell check doesn't like this word, it's such a good one.)

I'm grateful that I stopped having the escalator (staircase, road, etc.) is too steep and I fall over backwards dream. That one is apparently about thinking you won't reach your goals in life, so it's nice that particular recurring dream has left me.

Any recurring dreams for you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Last weekend I got to travel to one of my favorite stores, made that much more so by it's proximity to home. A short 3 hour early morning drive is all it takes for me to get to Creative Castle for a weekend of fun.

I listened to 'The Paris Wife' the story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley in Paris. I enjoyed the story as it kept me company on the road.

I had one new beader Diana who was a quick study and many of my favorite repeat students.

Chris was there with her completed Carousel from Beading by the Bay. In normal Chris fashion, she took the center medallion and the parts of the bracelet strap and turned them into a stunning necklace. She also brought her famous Chris color sense to the project, putting together golden bronze and ruby crystals.

Lisa came on Sunday wearing this gorgeous ring, which is really the component from disco squares.

Creative Castle owner Carole is always gracious and we had a nice relaxed visit Saturday evening, first enjoying Indian food and later a glass of wine by the firepit.

I did a little bit of shopping,picking up some vintage rose montees, and my first pack of the new Japanese tulip needle which seems to be working out nicely with many repeat uses and not even the hint of a bend. These may be my new favorite needles.

And on Sunday......Marlene brought my second favorite dog in the world, Bailey, for a visit.

I so appreciate that Marlene will go out of her way for me to have a 'Bailey fix'

Maya seems unaffected by my love affair with Bailey, I guess as long as I don't bring him home.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bead Cruise 2011

Yes I'm going backwards in time, but Pat just sent me this lovely picture of the beautiful Jean Campbell and I during one of our fabulous dinners together, so I thought I'd share.

Jean's stunning necklace is from her book 'Creating Glamorous Jewelry with Swarovski Elements' which if you don't, you should totally think about owning (oh and if you do, don't forget those reviews, I know I'm on a campaign to support our bead authors)

Thanks Pat!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Little Bead and Button Promo....

In general my classes are doing well and I'm pleased as every year to be going to Bead and Button and connecting with so many of the friends I've made over the years.

It's always a bit of a dilemna in offering a project a second year since I have so many people who come to my classroom every year, they are of course looking for something new. So I try to have a good mix and this year The Rising Sun and Aurelia were two new ones. (pppssstttt....I just happened to notice that one slot opened up in The Rising Sun, so you may want to have a look if you didn't already make other plans) It sold out within the first hour so an opening is a rare thing.

The workshop for Abrege is lightly attended but that is good, it's a challenging class which is why I am holding it for two days instead of the one, and I know two days is a big commitment of time but I promise you lots of learning and a great result. In two whole days I also get to share many of the variations that I have thought up for this combination of diamonds and ellipses.

The result is an exquisite bracelet, but it is not for the faint of heart. You need to be really comfortable with raw for this one.

Crystal Collage now in it's 5th year is approaching full and I have introduced a new colorway this year, with rich chocolate brown, crystal rivoli, gold and silver accents, nice.

Under the Mast is the one with quite a few spots left, funny because it also sold out last year immediately.

So here is the thing with Under the Mast, it is a very doable and very wearable project by a broader range of wearers then some of the designs us seed beaders like to wear. In my mind this makes it really giftable, perfect for Aunt Harriet or your boss or cousin or best friend who may like their jewelry more classic. Most people finished or approached finishing in class. What a perfect thing to be able to make a piece for a friend and then there is the little piece of paper tucked under the crystal which makes it personal and can carry any sentiment you like. Ron who took the class last year had this to say

And then, there is Under the Mast Two which I am co teaching with the Bad Liz on Tuesday.

It has the addition of some sweet little bezeled rivolis which hang from the pendant in case you want a little more swing. So if your B&B plans are still forming, there is some food for thought here.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's sometimes hard to fathom

What makes one class more popular then another, color sample, level of complexity, day of the week.....

My Rising Sun Bead and Button class sold out in the first hour yet there are still spaces this Sunday April 10th at Creative Castle. It's one of my favorite places to teach and if you haven't been there, or if you have (then you know what an excellent store it is) and you live remotely close you should consider joining us. After all it's way less expensive then making your way to Bead and Button.

I delivered Carole the black and gold sample which I happen to love, but often black just does not translate well in a design. The other two colorways are fresher and brighter and more spring like and perhaps would have enticed people better.

Very pretty, teal and light gold metallic which is more of an antique silver in my book...

The original.....teal and orange

You of course can bring whatever colors you like to the mix, you'll be in a bead store after all. Between Carole and I we have lots of buttons to trigger your imagination.

The Rising sun has a very crystally bezel surrounding a czech button and is finished with a textured band which is both fun and useful for other applications.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Amazon book reviews

Recently Sherry's book, Sensational Bead Embroidery was released and everywhere I go I hear rave reviews. This book is fourth in the Lark's Beadweaving Master Class series. If you are one of those people who are enamored with the beautiful content in this book, why not take a couple of minutes to write your five star Amazon review.

It's easy and is one of the best ways you can share your delight and help others to decide on this excellent book. go to Amazon, search on the book title or author, click on the book, click on reviews and then on write a review, it's easy!

I was reluctant about asking you to review my own book, but I won't be shy about Sherry's, Maggie's or Rachel's (both due out this Fall). So many people sent me personal emails, but either didn't know or were to shy to write a public review. Your words don't have to be profound, just list some of the things that make you happy about the book and don't forget to check those stars!

In general any book you enjoy can benefit from a good Amazon review, but since I am a member of this bead community, I really urge you to help out those authors by sharing your comments and acknowledging their hard work.

I myself have to get better at taking this advice, but I've now reviewed Kate's (the Jewelry Architect) and Sherry's (Sensational Bead Embroidery) book and will be sure to give any book I enjoy that vote of confidence. Please won't you do the same, it makes a difference. Thank you.

Oh and if you are so inclined reviews for 'Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence' can be written here

I have the best friends!

While cruising this past week, while I was working, the Bad Liz signed up for Dallas's wired earring class with the intent of making and gifting me this beautiful pair of earrings!

Could I be any luckier? And they just happen to go beautifully with the special edition Rings of Saturn I posted yesterday. Nice of Dallas to design a complimentary colorway. I think Dallas is a huge talent and I love all of his designs, but in the essence of time I never get to sit in a Dallas class and bend wire. Thank you Liz, I love them!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Books on the Horizon

Well the distant horizon.....but I did just sign a contract with Lark, publisher of Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence for two new books.

The themes are 'Beads in Motion', think Rings of Saturn and other similarly designed pieces with moving parts...

And the Bead Within, think beads around beads, beads inside beads......

I have sketches of many of my intended pieces, now to turn them into reality.

I once again have committed to doing the illustrations for the two new books. I am contemplating a switch to a MAC and a switch to Adobe Illustrator. The completion of taxes will reveal the available budget and reality of the change.

Sadly our local Continuing Ed has discontinued their Illustrator classes due to budget cuts. I'm hoping to find a class at one of the community colleges to expedite the learning curve.