Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goal Setting

When setting date related goals, it really helps to have one eye on the calendar. This is the book that holds the schedule and the book that holds the design ideas....

They work pretty well in unison, if one I can be cognizant of the actual date. I mean who knew that tomorrow was March 1st. When I announced my by the end of the month bead goal at breakfast this morning Mark informed me I had exactly one day, today to complete that goal.

I've got to say that's not likely, but there's always hope, so I will be beading today. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beading by the Bay is next week

And I'm teaching this!

This is the slightly under loved blue bronze which I happen to love.

But I can definitely see why the light colorado topaz and pacific opals won out as the favorite. It's such a soft, feminine pallette, and I love the length of it. It is one of my favorite pieces to wear.

It's all very exciting, 48 lively ladies, many many of whom I count as friends, a few new folks to meet, Sherry and Rachel and bff Susan, and Mark will join me and there will be a Malayna visit! And a visit with Santa Cruz friends Char and Rose who I've known for over 30 years, which is a long time to be friends.

If I appear excited it is because I have just put to bed almost every last detail that needs attending to, well if we don't count packing, and so now I have permission to be excited. We have some wonderful giveaways this year, which is going to make packing the car just a tad challenging.

Fortunately my San Diego family will house and dog sit, which gives us peace of mind when Maya can't come with.

And now I can return my energies to Beads in Motion which is currently experiencing a design phase. I decided to design eight pieces, and then write directions and illustrate before the next eight pieces. It breaks things up that way. I definitely like the design phase part, although it's all good.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Beads and Yarn

Really those are my two main mediums. Someday I might like to explore more nuno felting, perhaps some bronze clay, maybe enamel, but at the moment it's all beads and yarn.

I spent yesterday morning starting this, next up in the list of baby knits.

Only mine is in hot pink blue sky silk alpaca. A dream to work with. And aran style knitting may be my most favorite. There is a 16 pattern repeat on this, so every row for 16 rows is different. Just enough to keep it interesting.

Yesterday we had the pleasure of dinner out with Soly, the best growing up friend of daughter Casey. It is really nice seeing the teenage friends become responsible young adults. Casey and Soly spent the day wandering some of San Diego's boutiques and gifted me with this whimsical, feathery ring.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Learning to use illustrator

I continue all the time to learn to use illustrator in a way that is useful. There is a part of my personality that drives perfection in these learning quests.

Although I am nowhere near that skill level with illustrator, I am continually trying to figure things out. Rachel first told me about symbols. When I draw a bead and save it as a symbol, I can then easily change an illustration by replacing a symbol or editing the symbol definition. Sometimes when I use replace symbol, the new symbol does not pick up the orientation from the existing drawing. It might change the rotation to be 90 degrees off. I haven't figured out why it does this sometimes and not others.

I know....I don't expect you to be keeping up here, just giving you a flavor of what drives me. I want to know why it works sometimes and not others. When it doesn't work I resort instead to edit symbol definition and change the color and that seems to work well. It's a nuance that drives me crazy.....I like to know these things for sure. I want to become a bead illustrator expert and then .....I want to bead.

So I need to examine my motives and the time required. In the meantime I experiment and I learn. Here are the three colors of Aelia. I only drew one, then I saved it as a different filenameand changed the symbols.

I think it is effort that will be positively received and that my kit instructions will be better for it. I will not however be going backwards in time. Going forward, we'll see.

Just for the record this is a very small subset of aelia directions, figure 1 out of 22.

Black Dark Silver

Gold Pacific Opal - by far the favorite color way. This year I took pre-orders on the kits and gold pacific opal was the choice for almost everyone! Who knew, not me, I seem never be able to predict the popular color.
Usually I do three colors of a design, sometimes more, but almost always three. The third color for Aelia is my favorite F460J purple blue matte with blue metallic and purple velvet crystal.

It's a good thing I learned how to rotate around a center, because it comes in pretty handy with this design. I think back to my early days when I would manually place beads around a circle like this and of course they were never very accurate. I've come a pretty long way since then.

Today I need to finish up the third set of directions. It is still quite labor intensive, after changing all 22 illustrations to the new color, I have to copy them into a separate file in order to export them to a jpg and then add them to the word file and update the text to refer to the new color/bead combination.

I still feel that in the end it will be time well spent. We keep Beading by the Bay designs exclusive until well after the event in fairness to our attendees. But the design will eventually be released in kit form and I think this process will definitely add value.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Exceptional Beadweaving

In this time of digital images and on line presence we are exposed to a lot of beautiful beadwork. At times a particular piece seems to stand out and then another and over time you begin to notice a theme of one artists work. This is what happened for me with Heather Collin.

I began to see some intricate shapes, which had a feeling of substantialness. The colors were interesting and the shapes were intriguing. As is often the case with me, I filed it somewhere in the back of my mind until the next piece caught my attention and again it belonged to Heather.

Curious as to who this bead weaver was I began exploring her Facebook photo book albums and her website and Etsy stores. Heather, who lives in South Africa, (it still boggles my mind how we can have a relationship across continents, connected by beads) creates patterns for her beadwork which she sells on line. Heather shared one of her patterns with me and I can attest to the well written and cleanly illustrated nature of her patterns.

I started corresponding with Heather and found her to be very gracious. My curiosity was piqued when she described her CRAW (cubic right angle weave) tutorial. With the recent popularity in CRAW I wanted to know how she did it and she graciously shared her knowledge with me. I've since done some CRAW exploration and oddly I do it differently then I've seen it described. I never really thought about it, when I wanted that, what I refer to as double walled RAW look, I sorted out how to go about it never looking to see how others were doing it. That will be a post for another day.

Heather tells me she started beading in 2007. She has certainly built an impressive body of work in that time. She is happy to be able to make a living at what has become her passion. She recently has added zentangle to her creative undertakings and is interested to see how she may bring it into her beadwork.

Her exquisitely textural Boyelen cuff was just featured in Perlen Poesie.

This fanciful ring I found on her blog

Hindia, her most recent pattern seems to have gone viral
I am particularly fond of cactus drops.
And now I need to go explore a few ideas I have for CRAW!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pretty in Pink

Here is the last sweater I made for Malayna together with the dress and flower I sent for her birthday.

Could she be any more precious. The girl is going to be a fashion plate.

And just yesterday I cast on a hot pink, cabled, hooded sweater which will be perfect for cool summer evenings in the summer. It will precede the lace dress I have planned for summer days.

And in two weeks I will get to see her! We did FaceTime today and she can point to my nose on the phone and her nose but it is not quite the same as being there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pod Cast

In the only seed bead related podcasts Mandi Ainsworth of Bead Circle brings you a series of interviews with Bead Designers.

Mandi and I had a bead and design related chat back in September and she's posted it here.

We talk among other things about finding design inspiration, playing with your beadwork and building fundamental skills.

Along with a number of other podcasts here.

I first met Mandi two years ago in a weekend of Dallas Bead Society classes. She is making it her mission to share the love of beads and her Bead Circle network is a great resource for beaders.

Thanks Mandi!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Direction Writing

Your thoughts.....

I used to write illustrate in black and white and use a legend to tell you which bead went where. It was never an exact science since I am very likely to change up beads on different color ways. What is a crystal bi-cone in one color might be a fire polish in another color.

It would be so much easier direction wise to make each project the same and just change up the colors, but I can never seem to force myself to do that. Beading by the Bay's Aelia has three colors. The gold uses mostly crystals, but the black and grey uses pearls and metal beads in the same places.

The dilemma is that since I have already decided to go to full color in the directions, do I now have to go to 3 full color sets of directions? And when I write the words do I need three sets, one that says pick up a bi-cone and one that says pick up a pearl? I know the answer should be yes and then I look at how daunting the work is to do it that way. It should be easier with illustrator, I should be able to just replace symbol, but it doesn't always work out. Sometimes the orientation of the bead doesn't change, but more often I have replaced some of the beads but not all, so if I change all gold crystals to jet crystals, maybe half of those jet crystals are now pearls and I will manually have to change those. Sigh.....

It seems the bar has been raised very high on direction writing and I think it is a good thing, but it is very time consuming. In the past people have always worked out my kits with black and white and a legend, but that can leave a lot up to interpretation, which isn 't necessarily a bad thing. I'm always striving to improve, but where do I draw the line?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Vertical Netting

I've seen work done with this stitch but in my nineteen years of beading I have never done a netted necklace. Odd how I could have completely ignored such a wonderful, versatile, fluid stitch. I have a gorgeous, spinny, focal center that will be stitched to the middle of's for the book, so you won't see it now, but the rest of the necklace I am in love with.

For some odd reason I decided to use a chevron chain start and I think it makes an excellent beginning, setting off the edge of the netting beautifully and giving it some body and substance from which to drape. And I of course added some crystal to the center end points.

Wanting more substance and texture I played with adding some soft matte green peanuts to the bottom of the chevron chain. When used as embellishment, they tend to tip and show up looking like just another size 8 in the space, but here where they are supported on both sides, their distinctive shape shows more.

I haven't woven off the threads yet, and I may take the peanuts out and place a small 3 cut 15 on either side of them. It doesn't look thready to the naked eye when being worn, but it's close up here shows more thread then I would like.

It was a marathon day of beading yesterday and I am well into the second eight projects for the book, plus which I finished the second Lilliana sample for Bead and Button. Today I need to put text to illustration, and illustrate the next two color ways for
Aelia. More on that later, I'm interested on everyone's thoughts in color specific directions.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

She's growing up!

A picture of sweet baby Malayna kissing the dog. They are great pals. Last February I was in Detroit teaching at the bead guild and hoping that Malayna would wait until our return to be born, and she did!

We get photos almost daily, and videos and we use FaceTime to follow her escapades, walking, clapping, pointing out her nose and head and all the wonderful things that children learn.

I think back to when my children were little. I took photos with an Kodak instamatic, took them to the drugstore to be developed, hoped for a good shot, had copies made, addressed envelopes and mailed them to my relatives. My how times have changed.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Studio Class

I often open my studio to other artists to teach in my home, but have rarely taught here myself. However a lovely group of ladies asked if I would be willing to teach Dancing Light and yesterday was the day we picked. What a perfect day we had.

I re-arranged the studio (which just may be permanent) to have two long tables lengthwise. That provided the optimum space for everyone and the optimum light.

Here is one of the unusual color combinations that I loved! This one by Ellen who is an extraordinary machine knitter, so I guess color combining comes naturally.

I also loved the use of the hex beads which are more cylindrical and worked beautifully for the spokes.

Here is how Agnes started out....

One of the things I love to do when teaching is share the hundred variations I've thought of for a component, so when I shared the spinner ring concept, Agnes was on it. I gifted each a pretty little light vitral rivoli for their ring center, you know for a bit of instant gratification

Agnes left wearing this!

It was a delightful day of friendship and laughter and I very much enjoyed it. And now......I'll be illustrating, I'll see you tomorrow. Hopefully with the next project done!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Early morning beading

The studio is both quiet and clean, so I decided an early morning bead session was in order. Yesterday I started on the St Petersburg necklace that accompanies Lilliana and I was anxious to get back to it.

The color way is so soft and the crystal tabac loch rosen are the perfect touch for the double Petersburg chain I've used as the bail. I'll be happy to finish it up and pick out a third color way. A certain beading friend is going to bead up the third one. LIz has been helping me in the Bead and Button classroom for over five years now and she always makes up the pieces so we're both well versed to assist.

The studio got a clean surface going through yesterday in preparation for today's class. Eight talented ladies will join me to learn my unique approach to the focal medallions that make up Dancing Light.

It is one of the pieces juried into 500 Beaded Jewelry. I can't wait to see that publication for a number of reasons. I was really pleased that a simpler piece of jewelry was juried in. I think this means we can look forward to not only some amazing large gallery type pieces, but some smaller wearable, relatable pieces as well.

This is also the first time I have taught this one without benefit of a kit, so it will be fun to see what color ways people will be making. And if you happen to be going to Milwaukee in June or New Jersey in April you too can have a Dancing Light necklace.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red tulips

After 28 years, we don't always remember to be romantic so I was touched this morning to walk into the kitchen and find a pot of red tulips on the kitchen table, along with a card full of loving sentiment.

The sky is full of dramatic clouds which promise more rain and the possibility of thunder. It will be gray and cloudy tomorrow as well which in my book is perfect beading weather. A group of beaders is descending on my studio to learn Dancing Light. I think it's bound to be a fun day.

Yesterday I promised knitting photos....I did make the decision to rip back so there are only 3 rows for you to see here, but you can appreciate the gorgeous hand dyed yarn with it's vibrant pink and orange. This is jeweled cowl a free Ravelry download. It is a large cowl, worked in the round with an open weave of beaded stitches which shift every row so that the design ends up being diagonal. Fortunately there are only 15 beads every other round of 200 stitches. This pattern calls for them to be placed on the stitch with a teeny tiny crochet hook rather then being pre-strung. This orients the bead with the hole vertical as opposed to strung beads which are oriented horizontally on the ladder between stitches.

It is really good mindless knitting, the kind you can do comfortably after a long day of book related work. It's what I need right now,

And speaking of book, just to be clear, yesterdays photo was not a piece from my next book Beads in Motion published by Lark....those I'm keeping mostly under wraps (although if you see me out and about I could be wearing one, test marketing you know). Yesterdays piece was for a Kalmbach book featuring Swarovski crystals, due out next year, summer I think....

Monday, February 13, 2012

oooh sparkle

Yep, this piece is loaded with Swarovski elements...xilions, ovals, graphic bead, rhombus, and pearls, with a few seed beads thrown in for good measure and to hold it all together.

It will be in a publication next year, so if you like your sparkle as much as I do directions will be available. I'll keep you posted.

Yesterdays milestone of the first 8 book projects was big. This piece needs to be sent off with directions tomorrow, and then a class at the studio on Wednesday followed by three more days of direction writing, independent of the book. Then I should be free and clear for all book all the time.

I also need to do a bit of studio clearing so my guests will have a place to work on Wednesday! The studio surfaces have gotten a tad out of control again!

Oh and I cast on a new jeweled cowl out of hand dyed is so luscious I can hardly wait to show you. I may however make the decision to start again since I trusted my memory which is a foolish thing to do and the pattern repeat is a little off. Perhaps tomorrow.....oranges and fuchsias, so pretty.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Meeting Milestones

The project manager in me has a pretty strong work ethic....I love being able to lay out those milestones and meet them and today I achieved a big is actually a tad bit behind schedule with my Tucson trip creating a small interrupt. But now...this tells the story.

The first 8 projects for Beads in Motion, are DONE! Beaded, photographed, supply lists written, illustrations drawn, directions written, whew!

I'd like to celebrate for a minute of two, but I still have to write 5 more sets of directions and illustrations which are not Beads in Motion related, so......I'll have a cup of tea, a snuggle with Maya and start the next project, due Tuesday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Urban Stitch Studio

A couple of years ago at a Swarovski event in Tucson I met Pat Reisenburger for the first time. She was delightful and I felt like we connected, but our time was brief as it often is at these shows.

But this time, Pat and I had a little more time to chat and it was excellent getting to spend that time with her. Her current body of work is all about felting and crystal, a combination I love. I wish I had taken more pictures because all of her work was stunning. I did manage to acquire a pair of the earrings that I admired so much. I stopped at one pair, but there were covered hoops I loved as well and fortunately for me, she sells them as kits over at her website Urban Stitch Studio.

Pat also writes a very entertaining blog and keeps the urban stitch Facebook page up to date. There you can see a photo of the poinsettia holiday pillow that she was stitching as we were visiting in Tucson.

So I encourage you to have a visit over at Urban Stitch Studios where the lovely Pat Reisenburger presides.

Wednesday I started the second Lilliana for my Bead and Button class and I love this soft pale aqua matte bead, together with the 2 mm gold arum crystal. I predict it will be a new favorite!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Easily Amused

Yep, sometimes I can be amused by simple things

Like the fact that the Swarovski color wheel is interactive and it spins...

Go have a look for this icon on the sidebar and click to go to the interactive version, and when you arrive it will spin. I am enamored with the technology that makes things like this possible.

Given my next book is called Beads in Motion we are exploring ways for you to see the movement of some of the pieces. We will probably accomplish it with a series of photographs...we'll see.

Time ....

is not on my side at the moment. Yesterday I spent a relaxing day of beading with Jeanette Cook an Paulette Baron, in the beautiful weather. We took our trays out to the veranda and enjoyed the warmness and the gentle breeze. I also beaded up the most of a new Lilliana in a delectable soft aqua and gold. Once again I am using the 2mm gold aurum crystals which I really wanted to hoard for myself, but they were the perfect addition so I used them.

Photos tomorrow when I have more time. Linda Roberts is due shortly for an impromptu Illustrator lesson. Funny since only a few weeks back I was lamenting if I'd ever learn and now think I'm ready to pay it forward with giving another bead artist a few pointers. Rachel Nelson Smith, Bonnie Brooks and Florence Turnour all took times out of their schedule to help me so when Linda posted that she really wanted to illustrate her new metal beads raw bracelet I volunteered to help. She lives reasonably close by so we set today as a time to spend a couple of hours going over some bead drawing basics.

I had hinted at an artist profile on the site, but since I want to do a good job I will be waiting until I have a bit more time.

I will however leave you with a pretty view of Maya's new collar, fit for the princess that she is!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Time Out

Just a short one, but no time for blogging today. Paulette Baron is coming for a visit, we'll take a quick look at illustrator together, and then some beading time. I met up with her in Tucson and it turns out her husband had a business engagement in San Diego this week, so we made a plan to spend a day together.

I will be working on two new colors for Lilliana.

I'm thinking an aqua one, nice and summery, and haven't decided on the third color yet....

Back tomorrow, where I hope to spend some time showcasing the work of a a seed bead artist whose work I love! Don't hold me to could be that it will wait until the weekend, we'll see.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

When it all succeeds

I feel like I've had a number of false starts.....a project I envisioned which didn't go as planned. There are times that is fine, another direction presents itself and it all works out and there are times that the plan needs to be abandoned all together, and then.....

There are those times where you have a vision, the materials are perfect, the beading falls into place and the result is magic. Last night I created magic and it felt really good. Alas, it was book magic so I won't be showing you the entire piece.

I started with a LillyPilly Designs donut in pearl and aqua and added a compliment of beadwork.

I wanted a neutral backdrop and when Susan suggested netting I thought it might be perfect and it is!

I'm delighted with this piece and am anxious to finish it....perhaps tonight I will be beading, today is for instructions.

The day started with a soak in the hot tub and a stunning view of the sunrise,

but the forecast is for 80 percent chance of rain, so it looks like a cozy indoor day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Miss Princess Maya Angelina DeCoster

Has a new collar!

Such a pretty princess!

One of my favorites

One of my favorite photos from our Swarovski evening at the Westing La Paloma

Debra Saucier, Sherry Serafini and me!

500 Beaded Jewelry

This is bound to be a very cool book!

This book gathers photographs of 500 of the most breathtaking beaded jewelry designs created in recent years. The techniques the beaders employ are as varied as the aesthetic sensibilities they bring to their gorgeous creations and include beadweaving in every stitch imaginable, embroidery, quilling, loom weaving, and kumihimo braiding, as well as basic stringing, simple wirework, and fine metalwork. Sometimes, a bead maker’s focal piece simply is set in a straightforward, unpretentious, and beautiful design.

Virtually all of the world’s most famous beaders who make jewelry have pieces included -- including Carol Wilcox Wells, Diane Fitzgerald, Marcia DeCoster, Jamie Cloud Eakin, Huib Petersen, Paulette Baron, Sabine Lippert, Sherry Serafini, Margie Deeb, Maggie Meister, Melanie Potter, Ann Tevepaugh Mitchell, Laura McCabe, Suzanne Golden, Jean Campbell, Rachel Nelson-Smith, Eva Dobos, and many more -- but we also present work from many artists who have never been published before. All together, this extensive, international, and fabulous survey of 500 pieces includes work from nearly 300 artists from 30 countries and reveals the striking vision and ambition of today’s beading community.

Create Your Style

It is no secret that I have a love affair with crystal, that I like the sparkle, sometimes big sparkle, think fan fare,

and sometimes subtle sparkle like in Lilliana

or En Pointe. It may not be entirely obvious, but each of these components are joined together with a 2 mm crystal......subtly sparkly.

Last year I was asked to be an ambassador to the company that creates all that sparkle, Swarovski. The company has put together Create Your Style website, which is a wealth of information. Here you will find design ideas, an interactive color wheel, information on the latest innovations, a calendar of events or ambassador specific events, and lot's more.

You might even check out my ambassador blog or my design photos.

This year Swarovski is sponsoring my Bead and button Classes since they all involve, yes......crystal!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

the Tucson bubble

I forget from year to year how much of a whirlwind it is to be in Tucson. Morning until night is full of visiting,shopping and visual stimulation. I tend to miss out on real news as I navigate the days trying to fit in as much as possible.

Yesterday, our first and only non teaching day we managed a lunch visit with Janice and Tracy, shopping at the gem mall, followed by the Best Bead show, followed by To Bead True Blue, whew, all of that followed by a meeting I was unaware of and finally a late dinner.

Mostly I shopped for interesting bits to work into book projects and I did a good job.

Not too much in the way of photos but here are a couple....

Stephanie, the Dixon Chick, Toronto's Swarovski ambassador

a beautiful felted flower from Pat Reisenberger

Cosmic Quatrefoil bracelet by my BFF Susan Kazairian.

Classes were great, visiting was wonderful, shopping was productive and I look forward to today's travel home and a night with my honey. Susan looks forward to Mark's famous Belgium waffles for Sunday breakfast.

Miss Maya doesn't know it yet, but she is going to be the belle of the ball in her new collar!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

To Bead True Blue

During yesterday's visit to the To Bead True Blue show I again did more visiting then shopping.

One of the highlights was a visit with Paula Best whose current work is whimsical doll faces, adorned with beadwork and feathers, and charms.

here is Paula on the right and Teresa, who from what I can tell is one of those perpetually young people.

Here are the fun displays that Paula uses to display the jewelry, a perfect match to her work.

And one of her uncommon bead necklaces.

Today a visit to Kate's, one more Swarovski class and then more shopping!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


We arrived in Tucson after a 6 hour drive and immediately went to the To Bead True Blue show. How fun! A shout out to Pam a long time blog reader who I met at the show, thanks for saying Hi!

And then there was Bronwen and Karen Ovington and Steff Korsage and Paula Best and Susan and Meredith from Beadalon and Julie and Sarah and Tracy from Tierra Cast and Susan with Wire Knitz and Perry from York and Jeannette from Beady Eyed Women and

Well let's just say I didn't get much shopping done with all that visiting!

Then off to the resort where all of the Create Your Own Style Swarovski events are happening.

And where this is the view from the balcony. The pool is heated and still too chilly for me to consider, although daytime temps are a balmy mid 70's, evenings are closer to mid 40's.

The evening brought many more visits with the Swarovski ambassadors, Katie from Fusion, Andrew from Green Girl.....all followed by a trend presentation with Swarovski's newest innovations and colors. The ellipse pendant, wow, the one and two-hole column beads, can't wait, the luminous green color, excellent!

It was a late night by my standards, but it was all good. Today, more shopping, more visiting, and tonight my first Swarovski class, Timeless Pearl Bracelet. And hopefully more picture taking!