Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm so having fun!

I absolutely love sewing sparkly thinks to felty things. The juxtaposition of texture, the wearability, the instant gratification.....the mess I've made.

I decided I was lacking earrings, and what better way to remedy that then to make a few pair. But I did require quick and easy, so with the seed bead and crystal stash just an arms reach away, I pulled out the felt balls from Ornamentea and began the beading.

I'm quite pleased with the result.

Purple pair share Heather Trimlett and Michelle Goldstein lampwork and are finished with Blue Iris Design earwires.

I love the almost candy like confection of the aqua with crystal sequins.

The pink pair swing from a short silver chain (swinging earrings fill in the jawline nicely)

Oh the fun I've had! Mark even got into the act with a suggestion for an asymmetrical pair. He remarked 'They would be more edgy' and if you know my dear husband, it totally cracked me up that he would say 'edgy'.

Now which pair am I going to wear first?

Happy New Years to all, enjoy, love, and stay safe!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Colors

With Beading by the Bay coming up in March, it was time for me to consider two additional colorways. I love the original Descending Nights with it's purple iris and volcano combination which is bold and beautiful, but I also wanted some different choices

Green and Gold, well not so much green as a brandied olivine and a touch of dorado on top of that sparkling crystal ab briolette, lovely, a spring or summer freshness but also would be a stunning holiday piece

And then there is gun metal with just a hint of the mauviest pink, accented with purple haze, a rather romantic variation

Which color is your favorite?

I'm taking a holiday the first week in January, and I'll be beading these up...and when I do I'll treat you to more pictures, this time of the entire necklace.

Bitter Root and Skydiving

Bitter Root and Skydiving, What is the relationship.......I have a friend who is skydiving today, with her entire family, which means there are four people who at least not so terrified as to not do this thing.....what am I doing, sitting on the couch and knitting Bitter Root.

I've shamelessly lifted this image off SwellKnits blogpost.....

mine is equally beautiful, but not quite so far along. Mine is an deep aqua/purple variegated yarn. And it is a beautiful knit.

But the whole knitting vs sky diving question kind of got me to thinking. I admire someone who enjoys life with such fullness (not mind you that beading and knitting can't provide a full life, it does) but I have visions of being that person who would skydive. I like the image of being that kind of adventurer.

But in reality I am an armchair adventurer. I love to read books extreme adventure books(One Man's Dream, One Woman's Nightmare) The title pretty much sums it up for me, but the difference is the woman in the book actually did it. I enjoyed the experience as long as I was in my armchair, dog snuggled next to me, plenty of heat and a good glass of wine, but doing it, no way. I also don't like to ski downhill, fast and out of control, not really an extreme sports kind of gal.

Now Extreme beading, that I can get behind. This piece named Hawaii is one of Suzanne Golden's amazing pieces.

And this one is Rachel's

What's your extreme pleasure?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A nice invitation

Jeannette Cook invited us to a small holiday gathering in her warm inviting home. It was a perfect evening with new friends, fine food, nice music and wonderful atmosphere.

Jeannette is a good cook so we knew we were going to enjoy the elk meatballs in spaghetti sauce with an excellent Caesar salad. Coupled with nice wine, and good conversation.

Here is one of the many lighted vignettes in Jeannette's home. Isn't it gorgeous?

I just had to break out the new camera and see what it can do....and I quite like the results, thanks to Jeannette for providing the exquisite subject.

And Maya loves to visit as well!

Her friend Jasmine lives time I will remember a picture of Jasmine, they're a tad bit of an unlikely pair, but they seem to enjoy one another.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I used to take a fair amount of pride in the quality of my illustration, but the bar has been seriously raised....There are many bead artists doing exceptional illustration these days. My personal experience with illustrating Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence increased my skill set significantly. While this is quite good, as I prepare to send out kits, there are some previous set of directions that I am no longer comfortable with. Amidst the myriad list of things that need doing I stopped to redraw La Boquita.

I'm very happy with the improvements, I hope you'll agree it is time well spent.

From this

to this

For the curious, I use Corel Draw, all illustrations in one file, then I group and select each illustration and export it to a jpg file. I insert the resulting .jpg file into Word using insert picture. This results in a small file size document which I then save as a pdf and burn onto a cd. I'd love to learn Adobe Illustrator, but at the moment I only own Corel. Since I routinely contemplate moving to an Apple platform, I don't want to invest in additional software or learning curve until that decision is made.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Today is a peaceful day.....gorgeous sunshine, plans for a beach walk, knitting, relaxing and enjoying the solitude of time spent with my dear husband....we love our home and as much as we love travel and venturing afar, we also love retreating to the beautiful space that we've created together.

Images of Christmas taken with the new camera!

There was a Hummel time in my life, this is all that remains of the collection, bought in Germany during my first travels to Europe, I still love this charming boy.

Now I'm more of a sparkle girl, can you tell? I think this reindeer has regal lines

And I love my sparkly snowflake collection

I have much to learn. I am reading the manual in small doses with hopes of retaining the pertinent information.The automatic features produce a great result, but next is photographing the jewelry, which was the primary stated reason for this purchase......In the meantime, Miss Maya was happy to pose for a Christmas portrait.

May you all be enjoying the best of times!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'm knitting lace!

I couldn't resist, the winter knitty is out and I found this Bitterroot shawl, lace with beads!

It is my favorite 'accessory' knitting, (close your ears Susan) no gauge required. At least in my book, a shawl is a shawl, it will be bigger or littler based on my yarn choice. And I've chosen a hand dyed Schaefer yarn called Heather. It is merino and silk and so soft, a dream to work on.

This will be my evening, beside the couch project, as there is much beading to be done! I plan on organizing that this weekend, picking pallettes and assembling the supplies. Pictures soon, and speaking of pictures, my new Canon Rebel should arrive this morning. I expect a learning curve, but perhaps by next week you will see pictures with the new camera!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A full year...

Next year is approaching and it is looking full and wonderful. A couple of new and fabulous travel opportunities including Toronto, and Australia, the inaugural Beading by the Bay retreat,

a Mexican vacation cruise and East Coast vacation to Nantucket, a shopping trip to Tucson, the Bead and Button Show, many of my old favorite stores and a couple of new ones.....

It looks like a serious planning session is in order. Time to print out a blank calendar and organize the time. What samples need to be sent and when, what kits needed kitted, what supplies need ordered, what samples need beaded, what competitions will be entered, what collaborations will be considered.

It seems that the end of a year is a time for looking back as well as forward and as this year closes I remember fondly our many trips to Holland. It's been five years since we lived there and one year since we visited last Christmas. Here are a few of my favorite photos

This winged foot was at the end of the canal where we lived in Haarlem

The swan was a daily visitor in front of the house. This is the canal Mark fell in on Christmas Day while running a remote controlled boat. He was not nearly as amused as the rest of us...

Snow! Probably the last time I was in a live snowstorm (never happens in San Diego)

I continue to love to travel but as I contemplate further travel restrictions yet...I'm not sure the romance of travel still exists.

Hiroshima Beads

I was gifted a rather large stash of Hiroshima beads.

Never having heard of them, I immediately googled and was reminded as I am often am how amazing it is to have instant access to information. If I think back to 15 years ago I wonder how I would have approached researching the history of these beads. Now in 15 seconds I am informed. Hiroshima Glass Bead Industry was established in 1953 and the predecessor to today's Miyuki Co, ltd. which was begun in 1974. Which all means I have some pretty old beads in my possession! Thanks Michelle, I'll be making you something wonderful with your gift.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Visons of Oysters

Danced in our heads! My granddaughter Sam and I have been eating oysters together since she was 5. Yesterday a lunch stop at the Fish Market in San Diego brought us the biggest oysters either of us have every seen....Greek Isle oysters.

And here is Sam fully outfitted in Christmas presents, the aqua slouch hat and handwarmers, knit by grandma (me), new shirt with Christmas money and new CoolPix camera from Dad

And speaking of cameras, Grandma just ordered a new Canon Rebel and is pretty darn excited. It will arrive Christmas Eve day which will give me plenty of time to read up and practice its capabilities before some post holiday travel plans!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Big Reveal

Use the Muse III competition is complete and the winners have been revealed. It's an excellent contest for those wanting to participate on a smaller scale then some of the really big competitions. The time frame of seven ish weeks is just about right for considering, creating and photographing your finished piece.

The entries are excellent. I especially love the shared 'muse' which truly shows the different creative directions that can be taken with one inspiration piece.

This is the first time I participated. The butterfly was a constant theme in my Mom's life. She passed away this summer and I thought it fitting that I dedicate the piece to her. Her favorite color was aqua, so I selected a few aqua's complimented by some copper beads and used freeform to set off the butterfly's flight.

I'm happy with the texture, the folds, the dangles and the butterfly focal piece. Thank you Scarlett for all the work behind 'Use the Muse' and your contribution to 'elevating the craft of beading to an art'

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas to all and to all

A good night! Christmas is here early for us, our family celebration is tonight. Preparations are underway for a Turkey with all of the fixings, presents are wrapped under the tree (well mostly) and there is a German pancake breakfast plan.

My grandaughter Sam is here and given her choice, she would choose German pancake each morning of the visit. But we may persuade her towards waffles or french toast another day.

Hope you're all enjoying your Holiday preparations!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Childhood Memories

A favorite childhood memory rediscovered. I grew up in Massachusetts in a time and place where neighbors and neighborhoods were a larger part of my life. Across the street was a family of five girls and they were my refuge.(If by the miracle of the internet, you lived on Manchester Road and were one of five sisters Barbara, Eileen, Peggy, MaryLou and Patricia, I've never forgotten!) They taught me to cook and taught me to knit. They moved away when I was 14 and I've lost touch, but these doughnut muffins were of that time and the smell of nutmeg brings back those memories.

Doughnut Muffins

12 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
4 large eggs
6 cups flower
1 tbs + 2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp sal
1 tsp ground netmeg
1 2/3 cup milk
1/4 c buttermilk

for dipping cinnamon sugar, melted butter

cream the sugar and butter, and add eggs
sift the dry ingredients
combine the milk and buttermilk
alternately mix the dry and wet ingredients, ending with dry
mix until well combined but not overmixed
grease and flour a muffin tin
scoop batter into tin so batter is even with top
bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes until firm to the touch

when just cool enough to touch, dip top into melted butter and cinnamon sugar

Put on a pot of coffee and enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bead and Button Show

Have you noticed, Bead and Button show class previews are available on-line! While you can't register yet, you can begin the planning....

There are many fabulous classes! I am hoping to take Christi Friesen's Steampunk Bird Focal. Christi taught at my home studio a couple of years ago and I made the cutest ever dragon (me, who was no way going to touch the polymer, uh uh, not me, too much to do, hey that looks cute, could I try?). Too late at the moment to take a picture, perhaps tomorrow, but suffice it to say I think it's a most excellent dragon.

I'm teaching Square medallion bracelet

Under the Mast (fondly referred to by my girls as 'shipwrecked')

and Crystal Collage

I've confirmed my hotel and Liz will join me in the classroom as always. We're a good team, Liz and I. She's an accomplished beader who has made all the pieces AND she keeps me sane and amused all at the same time!

Mirrored Swirls

I fell in love with this piece from Carol Dean Sharpe's SandFibers collection. I tend to be attracted to colors in waves, and the current wave seems to be orange.

This cuff with orange and silver in the magical mirrored swirls feels wonderful on my skin all cool and supple and soft. Funny to think of glass beads as soft, but the fabric they create, especially in this three wide peyote cuff is indeed 'soft'.

Carol is a master of pattern and if you have a look in her etsy shop you may find your perfect pattern. Bargello Peaks and Punchinella Peyote and....well go have a look!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Screwting a verb: to screwt - seems like it is happening all over - Kate started it with the bat ended screwt bracelet. Last week I posted this rather tame version.

A visit to Jeannette's blog this morning and she to is screwting!

Yesterday a friend enamored with my screwted bail version came over for some screwting and I made this second version.

Last weeks double double screwt ended up as the bail for this fun 'little' bauble.

Not sure if I'm screwted out yet, there could be more, stay tuned.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beading by the Bay!

San Francisco Bay that is. What could be better! And as Jean points out this might be just the gift to ask for! We're going to have a grand time, how could we not?

Have you ever taken classes with these talented gals? If you have, then you know, they're tons of fun, and if you haven't, well this just might be the right time!

Have a look here for more details and consider joining us!


1985, that is the date of the first blown glass ornaments that Mark brought home from a business trip. That was the start of a tradition. Each year we would go on an outing to select our ornaments, often to Macy's in San Francisco.

We would initial and date each of the choices and each year it is fun to unwrap and remember.

I always chose Santa's which made the selection easier for me

and Mark always chose nautical themes (he's a sailor),

there's fish and lighthouses and mermaids and boats.

Thank goodness the kids provided diversity since we also have

artichokes and angels and pickles and such......

I loved the time spent throughout the years and cherish the yearly opening and memories of those wonderful times.