Wednesday, December 25, 2013


One of my favorite things to do in beadwork is to collaborate with other artists.  I've gotten to do that with one of my all time favorite artists the talented sherry Serafini.  Our collaborative piece Oz was accepted into Bead dreams.

tomorrow I will visit the Santa Cruz studio of one of my all time favorite lampwork artists Wayne Robbins where we will plan the flock of glass birds that will adorn my Robbins nest cuff and ring.

Photos to follow!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Easily Elegant Earrings

Last year I made 29 pair of the easily elegant earrings and a few more pair through 2013 and I don't own a single pair myself!   This year they are my gift to you!  Dig out some pearls and crystals or some metal beads if you prefer, and have some fun.  I prefer mine to dangle from chain but if you rather subtle you can just add a headpin and ear wire and wear them short.

 You can find a link to the pdf on my sidebar!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Visual Planning, a year in beads!

I'm on a mission today to get the studio in order and ready for next year.  First up was a date with the calendar, having a look at the years engagements.

Next I created a visual plan by hanging the samples for each engagement together.   Here for example is Bead and Button.

Each project is grouped and I now visually know that I need a third Touch of Whimsy on the left, two more bird cuffs and a third sundial pendant.  Then I will work on supply lists for each in for a few directions still need to be fine tuned.  Each project/color gets a drawer to store the supply list and supplies, ready to be kitted.

 This is Beading by the Bay and the Bead Cruise.  One more Santa Lucia is in the works in Grey and Tanzanite.

There is a third board with some non essential kits, things I am not teaching but would be nice to provide kits for.

What organizational tools to you use to keep your beading world organized?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bead Camp, Bead and Button Show 2014

 I am a component designer by nature….I like to make a component and then decide how to use it in jewelry.

I took that concept seriously when designing the content for last years Master Class.  Three full days of playing with a large playground of components, with each of 32 people making their own unique creations.  We explored a number of design considerations, examined flow, color placement, and connections, and expanded on each component with a chapter on 'what if?'  You will be able to see many of the excellent projects in the February issue of Bead and Button Magazine.

This year Marlene's request was that I consider the second annual 'bead camp' format of classes.  Many of my pieces do use the style of re-usable components I am known for.  Unlike the master class, we will be working on the specific project featured on that day and not on combining multiple components into unique designs.  We will however have time in this all day, early evening format to explore how else one might use the components in the project at hand.

Bead camp registration will open today, December 10th and be available for sign ups. Click on the Caption to go right to the Bead Camp listing!  You may choose any number of the bead camp classes, 1, 2, 3 or all 4!  If you happen to be fairly local to Milwaukee this may be an ideal way to fit in a class without conflicting with any of your show week selections.  I will however teach two show week classes as well, so look for Duomos Romanticos on Wednesday the 4th and Robbins Nest Cuff on Tuesday June 3rd.

Duomos Romanticos
Robbins Nest Cuff

The beautiful Pacific Morning Glory makes an excellent ring, necklace or earring.  Kits will be available for the project as shown in the catalog, but if you think camp is for you, you might plan on bringing an assortment of seed beads, crystals and pearls to further your nighttime explorations.  Should you wish to relax and continue your beading, it will be possible for most of you to take home a finished project and perhaps a complimentary design.

The Pacific Morning Glory below is by far my favorite, but that may be because it is my newest one….I also have fuchsia and bronze, black and silver, pale green and lavender, and blue and silver.  Quite a nice assortment.

Pacific Morning Glory Saturday May 31st B141161
Pacific Morning Glory Ring (variation which may be explored, not kitted)

 Touch of Whimsy also comes in hot pink and turquoise with touches of gold and a yellow and pale grey is in the works.
Touch of Whimsy Friday May 30th B141163
Sundial Pendant is seen here in a soft aqua with bronze accents.  I believe I will also be doing it with silvers and pacific opal.  This pieces seems to call for soft and romantic.
Sundial Pendant Wednesday May 28 B141160

One of my classic favorites, Cassandra also lends itself to being changed into a ring, pendant or earrings.  It is also a fun color play….Stay tuned to see more variations.

Cassandra Thursday May 29th B141164

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

color prototyping

Once a design is perfected, the next thing I need to do is make it in multiple colors.  Some projects are easier then others to envision.  Beads that look great together in tubes do not always make up the way you expect.

This one in soft gold with lilac shadow and a volcano loch rosen with fuchsia accents is ok, but I think the gold should be substituted with a reddish bronze and the loch rosen should maybe be gold.

In the meantime though, I decided not to waste the prototype!  So I made a second and now I have more earrings!

Should my next color idea not pan out I'll be making a coordinated ring!  Another idea would be to make the seven components for a bracelet all slightly different which would give it a very victorian flair but make it very difficult to kit!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Webstore is now open!

Between travel, and the need to change out shopping carts, you may have noticed the online store has been unavailable.

Well we finally got a bit of time this past weekend and we've now switched at least some of the inventory over to the new paypal shopping cart.

International orders can now be placed without having to wait for an invoice, and…..I've released Aelia, one of my all time favorite pendants.

The reverse side is a large czech glass button making the pendant fully reversible.  The right angle weave bezel is easily accomplished and the medallion is also a fairly quick bead.  A layered beaded bead creates the perfect bail.  This one is soft and romantic, but there is also a dramatic black and dark silver as well as an opulent metallic blue.  This is one of those pieces I wear often!

Beading by the Bay

I'm in beading mode and this weeks projects include the third Santa Lucia.  I was asked if I always match my project to my beading board.  The answer is if I can, yes.  I have a variety to choose from so the odds are good that I will have one that coordinates.

This color way with large purple pearls, light grey smaller pearls and Tanzanite crystals is designed to appeal to those who prefer silver tones to the bronze or vintage gold used in the first two.  I am so enamored with this design that it is possible I may go on to create one more variation.  I'm thinking perhaps my beloved platinum pearl with a chrysolite opal or since I happen to have a fuchsia fancy stone on hand, maybe fuchsia.

Off to see what other colors this stone comes in….It may be that I need to order a few more samples!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Santa Lucia

The second of three….Santa Lucia, named after my daughter Lucia.  This vintage gold and blackberry with Lilac Shadow crystals and fancy stone,  Swarovski Elements.

I can't wait to make a pair of earrings to compliment the necklace.  That and the classic little black dress and holiday dressing will be complete.

Beading is my full time job at the moment.  Next up is another La Navette, followed by the third Santa Lucia.  The plan is for silver pearls with tanzanite crystals.

Then I will be doing a third sundial pendant and a third Touch of Whimsy.  Fortunately for me beading never feels like work.

I have finished a second Touch of Whimsy which is a class at Bead and Button Bead Camp this year, along with a new Pacific Morning Glory, also a bead camp class.  You can register for Bead Camp as early as December 10th, so if the concept sounds like fun, class in the day, bead/design/play time with me in the evening then bead camp may just be a concept that you will like.  Classes run from Wednesday May 28 through Saturday May 31st and you can take any combination that you'd like.

Touch of whimsy includes ladder stitch, ndebele, right angle weave and peyote, all in a demure pendant.

Also on the schedule are the sundial pendant and Cassandra.  All of these projects use my component approach to design and as part of our evenings we can explore variations.   Here is a ring using the center of Pacific Morning Glory.

You may see a color trend here…..I'm having a love affair with the soft matte lavender paired with pacific opal and vintage silver.  I also changed up the bands of Pacific Morning Glory to include pearls instead of crystals.  A clever clasp allows the bracelet to be reversed so you can wear the matte lavender or the pacific opal side.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Photos of a beading trip through Japan

I had full in tensions of keeping you up to date while I was in Japan, and Google had other ideas……Deciding my iPad in Japan was a suspicious attempt to login to my google account I was locked out.  I could have course dealt with it…..however I didn't put the two together, as the error was 'your network is not ready to send'  Sigh….

The trip was lovely, landing on a Thursday evening at Narita airport, we were met my  Sonoko who guided us to our Yokohama hotel where we were thankful for beds after a long flight.

Friday morning we walked to the modern cruise terminal building where the Bead Art show was set up.

Kyoko who took my first class, Quattro Cupole, wore this impeccably beaded Leaf Slide necklace from Beads in Motion.  She also gave me a wonderful neck massage as the travel was catching up with me.

This was a BiBimBop at a Korean restaurant.

 In our last night in Nagoya Sonoko took us to a traditional sushi restaurant.  No need for plates here….fish and tamago were laid out on the counter.

Enjoying a glass of wine and salmon roe

Teaching was over and we took the fast train out to Fukiyama, near  Hiroshima for a visit to the Miyuki store, gallery and factory, followed by a stay at a traditional Japanese hotel. 

Kenji was the perfect host and factory tour guide!

 This ferry off our balcony took guests across to one of the islands you see here.  We however rested, beading with Sonoko and preparing for dinner.

After enjoying a Japanese bath (think small stone hot tub) with a beautiful view of our balcony, I changed into my Yukata in the room and prepared for our incredibly presented Japanese dinner.

 Here is just one of the many highlights from the Miyuki gallery.  Most of the work there was loomed and very impressive.

I have many more photos and will share with you over the next few days.  One of the highlights for me was the factory tour.  My background in Manufacturing systems had me tour many a factory over the years, but never one who made beads!  It was fascinating.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bead Travels

I was able to get some crisp fall air in my travels to Beads by Blanche this weekend.  Three days of classes, dunkin donuts, hot pastrami and a walk through the fall foliage.  Below a beautiful yellow ginkgo tree.

One of the weekend's projects was Quattro Cupole.   This was the class debut and there were many excellent versions.  This one, I believe belonged to Joan and used a crystal blue metallic fancy stone.  Blanche had a nice supply of this stone, some of them like this one no longer available.

Of course if you have only one pretty stone, then a ring is a great option!  I set this one on the diagonal which I quite like.

 One of the things travel affords is some uninterrupted time beading on planes.  I put together this palette to create a second Santa Lucia for Beading by the Bay.  I did manage a little more then half the necklace before running out of crystals.  They are on order, so I will sorting out a third palette to take with me to Japan.

Off in the morning, landing Thursday evening in Japan.  My friend Pat, who you may know as my long time Meet the Teachers helper at Bead and Button is joining me.  First up is the Japanese Bead Show in Yokohama, followed by four days of teaching, two in Nagoya.  We'll meet up with Sonoko and on Thursday we'll visit one of the Japanese seed bead factories in Hiroshima.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fall time!

It's fall In New Jersey and I couldn't be happier about that! there is a chill in the air...55 ish, but with a pretty stiff breeze that makes one feel alive.
We had luck of the draw on today's flight with an empty middle seat. I crocheted 2/3 of the flower I need for my new shawl.
Our afternoon walk yielded a few fall foliage photos. This is a ginkgo leaf tree in wonderful yellows.

The reds in this maple were very vibrant, not entirely captured here.

tomorrow I see many friends at Beads by Blanche and if I'm lucky Wendy might take me to Dunkin Donuts, a childhood memory!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Scissors!

I have a love for nice tools and if they are pretty too, that is even better.  I've been collecting Gingher 4 inch designer series scissors for some time.

Sadly I was lax for a few years and do not have the full collection.  I do however share this love with a fellow collector and we are always on the lookout for the newest pair.  She's also kindly gifted me some pairs that she had duplicates of.

The local JoAnn's always has the Gingher's under the counter.  I seems like this well kept secret as no one seems to look there.  So not only did I spy a new series called Sharon yesterday, but I was able to use a 50% off coupon.

I love this fresh simple green pattern.  I have a suspicion that it may be that JoAnns has an exclusive on these.  I don't really know, but a search for them does not turn up results anywhere but at JoAnns.  The folks at my JoAnns could not confirm this and it may or may not be true.  I'm just happy that I have a pair!

In other non bead related news, I fell in love with a crocheted shawl with a big fancy flower.  If you love it to, the pattern can be found here.  I'm doing mine in ivory and lavender.  I've finished and blocked the chain stitch and will take the yarn along to work on the flower during tomorrows plane ride.

It's certainly more fashion then warmth but it's a fun accessory.  The netting took a little more than an hour to complete.  I"m sure the flower will take a bit longer, but still a pretty achievable little project to fill in a few spare minutes.  I may even want to do one in a deep hand painted red, we'll see.

Off to Beads by Blanche in the early early morning.  It will be nice to see all my New Jersey gals!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Images from the European Bead tour

In Shaftesbury we first stayed in a quaint and very English B&B.  The owners vacation plans impacted our last day and we moved over to the Grovesnor, a recently renovated hotel.  It was fresh and modern with an excellent restaurant.  I hope I will visit it again next year!

Petra's classroom at Das Perlament, beautiful.  I love everything about Petra's store, it is very Petra, colorful, electric, peaceful, creative, all at the same time.

The wonderfully artistic wall was at Tres Vinos Italian restaurant in Bad Godesberg.   The gold was all shimmery and beautiful.  I'd love to do this in my dining room.  I have not come close to capturing the beauty of it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Marcia DeCoster Presents

Book covers can be so compelling.  I really love the colors, and the layout of this one.  Also that each cover piece is someone who I hold very dear in the bead world.

Since the theme of my book is the connections that we make in the bead world, let me tell you about some of them.

There is Petra Tismer who I first met in a Bead and Button Class five years ago!  Petra owns Das Perlament in Germany.  She wrote a book on beads and friendship and asked me to participate.

Here is her beautiful shop classroom and a smiling Elke, also showcased in the book.

Sian Nolan who Petra first reached out to when looking for the Disco Squares pattern that I had designed. Sian had beaded one and they soon became fast friends and bead sisters.  Sian came to Germany two years ago while I was teaching at Das Perlament.  It was a treat to see all her colorful beadwork in person.  This year I saw her both at Bead and Button and at Stitchncraft.

There is long time friend Beki Haley who is the purveyor of colorful seed beads and crystals.  Beki has been such a strong influence in the bead community for as long as I can remember.

I had the pleasure of meeting Melissa Ingram at a workshop in Melbourne Australia many years ago.  During that same trip Patrick Duggan joined me for Romantica North of Sydney.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel invited me to visit her home during a trip to Northern California. I got to fondle her beadwork as we excitedly talked about our passion for the beads.

Nancy Dale drove 2 hours with husband sherwood to meet with me when I was in New Hampshire last year.  It was a rare treat to spend a full day looking at her beautiful work.

This year I arranged to meet Kerrie Slade whose work captured me with it's soft romanticism.  She was as delightful as her work.

I've met Elke and Martina at Bead and Button and in Germany, enough times that it always seems like a reunion when I get to see them again.

This year I also met Heather Kingsley Heath whose work flows from whimsical to sophisticated to clever, a very broad range of design sense.

I have on line relationships with all of these artists, some I have had not yet had the chance to meet in person, but I hope for the day that I do!

I am very pleased with this book at it highlights the beautiful work of many excellent bead artists.  I think you will enjoy the diversity of their work as well as learning a little bit about each of them and their creative process.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Where does creativity come from?  I still often ponder this question.  I only know that I have always had a strong sense to create, to make something where nothing existed before.  PlayDoh was probably my first medium.  In my young childhood I built forts with branches and leaves and I decorated the insides.  I was more of a tomboy then and woods were more plentiful.

At ten a neighbor showed me how to knit and from then on my hands have never stopped.  I've done ceramics, candle making, macrame, embroidery, quilting, sewing, crochet, felting and beads.

I came home from Europe on Monday thinking I would take a couple of days off, but my hands it seems had other ideas.  I have been beading everyday.  Taking in the way it soothes me.  

After finishing La Navette in Petra's new color way I realized that I did not have the appropriate earrings.  I wanted something large and dramatic and a vintage silver, with sparkle of course.

I have this same pair in gold and I wear them a lot so I decided rather then create a new design I would bead up a pair in dark silver.  I used 2 mm light metallic gold between the spines so the sparkle factor is definitely there.  I'd say they met the dramatic criteria as well.

Earring like this compete too much to wear a necklace, but a bracelet is perfect.  

I'm off to visit some friends today and then I must begin preparations for my next set of travels.

First to Blanche's in New Jersey, followed by the arrival of my friend Pat who will accompany me to Japan.  Pssstt......if you live near Bergenfield New Jersey I will be there next weekend, November 7, 8 and 9.  And if you're signed up for Pacific Morning Glory I have so many variations to share with you. The original bracelet is reversible and a beautiful project, but you can also make it into a necklace, a ring or these earrings!

Martina, who assisted me in class in Germany designed a necklace which I unfortunately cannot come across a photo of.  Claudia who took the class beaded this with Martina's design inspiration.

And Pat who will assist me in Japan did it this way.

Or you might do it this way

So many possibilities and I will be sharing them all!

Oh and La Navette and Quattro Cupole.  Since this is the first time for Quattro Cupole and the second for La Navette it is always fun to see what colors show up.  Hint, Martina did a black and rose gold Pacific Morning Glory that was stunning.  My only defense in not having photos is that I was at the end of a long teaching trip and my reflexes were a little compromised.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Another La Navette finished

Every once in awhile in my design career a piece comes along that just begs to be beaded again and again because each new palette brings something different to the table.  This is my fifth La Navette and I still have one more I am considering......

I'll be teaching this twice in the near future, once at Beads by Blanche next weekend, November 10th and again at City Beads in Chicago January 11th.

The top one is the newest, colorway compliments of Petra Tismer at Das Perlament.  Petra being Petra and a full service bead store, beads up a sample for any class that she will assist in so that she is fully versed in the project.  When I saw her breathtaking color choices of luminous green and bronze shade with a pewtery silver I immediately had to bead one too.  Petra, again being Petra, graciously made me up a kit so that I could bead on the plane and I did.  It took a few more hours of beading at home to complete the band.

I am really partial to the clasps designed by Sunyoung of Ezel findings.  The are so beautifully constructed and really add a level of perfection to the complete design.

Here are the colors so far, do you have a favorite?  I do, but I'm not telling.  Well actually it depends on what day and what I am wearing.  I like them all, but there is one I tend to pick a little more often then the others.