Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pacific Morning Glory

The second  colorway in the series of Pacific Morning Glory, the piece I will teach this year at Beading by the Bay.  We are already full, but there is a waiting list you can join and there is always next year!  Usually the second saturday in September we open the retreat for the few spots left.

The first of these is a bold fuchsia and bronze

This time I went soft lavender and the palest of greens.  Of course tied together with the beautiful metallic bronze with a touch of green.

I love the structure of this design.  One of my first forays into cubic raw, two bands, studded by crystals, hold between them the central focal point.  Given the clasp can be changed from one side to the other, the piece really called out to be reversible, and so it is. In this example the colors are pale and the contrast is not high, so the change from side to side is subtle, but still a nice change of pace between the two sides. This is a back view to help you see how the focal is captured.

The next one I am aiming for a high contrast, perhaps black and silver, although I haven't decided yet.  I have to wait until the mood strikes.  I may want to do a blue one as well, maybe montana and crystal cal?  I predict this is going to be a fun one to do!  It remains exclusive for the retreat until a few months after, but then who knows where it might show up.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Embellished Right Angle Weave

or ERAW.....I used to call it wrong angle weave, but I've since decided it's not wrong and I don't want to give the wrong impression, so ERAW is what I'll call it.

What is it?  If you've done single needle right angle weave correctly one of the things you learned was to never cross the intersection.  You shared a side bead of a previous unit, one time exiting the top and traveling counter clockwise and one time exiting the bottom and traveling clockwise.  Alternating every other stitch and never crossing the intersection.  And then, if you're embellishing.....you exited one of those horizontal beads, picked up a bead and passed through the next horizontal bead.....crossing the intersection you just worked so hard not to cross.

What if instead you picked up that embellishment bead at the same time you wove the right angle weave?

There are a number of advantages to this approach.  Of course it only works when your  intent is to place a bead in the space, but with the Dream Keeper Vessel ring that is exactly my intent.  

  • First I can travel in the same direction every time, less confusing to some. 
  • Second it is faster
  • Third it uses less thread
  • Fourth it leaves more room in the holes, sometimes a good thing when additional thread paths are required
I've played with the concept and I can make a structural piece by pulling tight, popping the embellishment bead to the front of the space or I can keep it fluid by not pulling tight and letting the embellishment bead float in the space with little tension.  Both approaches have their use.  

In the Dream Keeper Vessel ring I've used this concept to make the most time efficient design.  I'm busy writing directions for the new ERAW approach, stay tuned, I'll let you know when it's ready!  Kits to follow.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

lazy blogging

Well not too lazy, I did put together a post for the Amazing Adventures of the traveling bracelets, so I am pointing  you to that post.  I send email with tales of the bracelet and photos and Sig puts up the post.

I've had five now you know, five traveling bracelets out of, well I've lost count, San Francisco was number 13, but I think 4 more went into the world after that, so 17?   Sig?  At any rate, I'm having withdrawals, two weeks without one, ok one and a half weeks, but if you'd like to send me one, I'd love to have it.  You can read about my quest here. This is also where I document each of the bracelets I've had and provided a link back to Sig's blogposts about my visits.

Update:  Just found out through the magic of facebook, that someone I know and love, who has been known to read this blog is going to be receiving paisley.....I love paisley and I am not past begging shamelessly for it to come my way.....I'm happy to provide my address 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Trusting the process

You would think that after twenty years of beading I would trust the process more.  I sometimes get into that place where a piece or in this case specifically the colors of the piece were definitely not speaking to me.  I wasn't sure about the white opal and did the steel grey pearls really go with the silver seeds, and all that beading a waste.

I know better, I really do, there are times a piece needs to be finished, the finishing touches bringing it to life.  So I persevered, I wrapped all those crystals, adding my favorite little Tierra Cast accent on the bottom with some antique silver fine chain, and then the Judy Payne tear drop center and well I must say I'm very happy with the outcome.  It may be my favorite Vienna yet, especially since antique silver seems to be my go to jewelry at the moment, and especially since the other two have made there way to shops without a decent length of time to actually wear them.

And so I present to you the 3rd Vienna

It will be getting a cubic raw necklace to replace the ribbon, but impulsive as I am I wanted to wear it out today and get a nice photo, so for now, the softest pale grey ribbon is it's necklace.

I have one more design decision to make....the chains slide through the end caps of cubic raw pearls, and with this fine a chain and little friction, they are forever sliding one very long and one short.  Mark thinks this is excellent, me I find it distracting and am tempted to make them fixed by taking a little stitch through a link, keeping them in formation.

I also finished a second Pacific Morning Glory which is the Beading by the Bay piece.  It is in bronze with soft lavender and pale green, and a tanzanite crystallized ball at it's center.  Reversible but not high contrast.  I think the next is going to be black and silver, we'll see.

But for now, I have some more Dream Keeper Vessel rings to make, that will be this weekends task!  It is supposed to be unseasonably warm with Santa Ana's coming our way, and high fire danger threat.  I guess both coasts will be on high weather alert.  Do what it takes to be safe.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I used to have a wonderful postcard with the image of the urchin lariat on it.  I still have the image but somehow lost the artwork and now I'm out  so......

I have gone into design mode with a couple of images I have.  I like to tuck these into my on line order boxes, or take them with me to shows.  I'm not sure they have a purpose necessarily, just a pretty picture, a place to write a note.....does anyone keep postcards?

Here are two different (very different) designs I've come up with, and I could of course do more, but it wasn't on the list of things to do, just got it in my head to do it this morning.

 I can see that the jpg save saved more then I meant for it too, so I still have a little work to do.

I am a fan of the blurred background photo but I know not everyone is....and I'm open to trying harder, but these are the first two.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Dream Keeper Vessel Ring

It was a year and half ago I first designed the Dream Keeper Vessel ring, the one with the shrink plastic dream inside.  I've taught it at several venues, but had been reluctant to release it to kit.....but it seems the interest is high since I've had many many emails asking for the pattern.

So this week I came to the conclusion the time is now, well not right now, as I will be making samples and I want to re-write the directions to add a few new and improved illustrations.  But in the next few weeks you should see some color choices on the website.  I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Here is color way number one, Aqua and Gold!

I think they are perfect for wearing two at a time, so each color way will have two rings, same colors but inverse placement, one with crystal top and the other with pearl top.  They will be priced individually or sold as a pair, your choice.  And if you don't wear a pair yourself, perhaps you have a friend, a mother, a daughter, a sister, who would like to wear your companion ring.

I love when a small piece of beadwork offers the opportunity to play with color and this one is going to get plenty of play!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My extended birthday

I arrived home from the Southern Bead Retreat to a package from a dear friend

If you don't know, I am really a New England girl.  Since my family is here, here is where I stay, on the West Coast, but I have true East Coast roots.


Memories of Autumn in New England

Autumn leaves, Cape Cod tea and cookies, the perfect gift for reminiscing....such a lovely treat to come home to, thanks jm!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Southern Bead Retreat

It's been quite the fun week her in Pine Mountain Georgia where I've renewed many beady relationships and made many more beady friends.
Paula, who owns the Bead Cage in Columbus Georgia, has put on a lovey event. Five days of classes with five different Bead artists, and a bonus class with Kim Stathis.

Here is a photo by Amy Blevins, owner of the Bead and Glass Studio in Pitman New Jersey. That is Amy on the left, followed by me, Diane, Huib, Sherry and Cynthia.

One more day of Spirit Light which has proved to be great fun, then I'm off to home with Mark and Maya.

And now a little cubic raw before today's class!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Playing with Possibilities

A Jade and Platinum Cassandra with a Spirit Flight Topper would make a great necklace.

Part of my playing with possibilities concept for the Bead and Button Master Class.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pacific morning glory two!

Beading by the Bay Piece Pacific morning glory lends itself to a reversible focal center, as the unique clasp allows the piece to be entirely flipped over.

I'm currently having an amazing time at the Southern Bead retreat but have snuck in a little beading time and this is the result....cyclamen opal with a matte lavender and a chrysolite opally seed bead on the reverse side....

next up is a third Vienna. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Coogee Bay Dress

Remember my desire to make this dress?

Well look who is helping me?

Huib Petersen crochets faster then anyone I've ever seen! I handed him the pattern and without a word of instruction he sat down had a quick look and proceeded to finish a square in a very short amount of time......I didn't time him.....but I'm hoping he'll do another while I'm here.

Wanda also expressed in interest in helping and is also at the Southern Bead retreat, and I did bring more cotton, so I may leave here with three more squares!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fun with iphonetography

I love to wander around the house and take little vignettes of artistry.....this a favorite mirror shadowbox with three votive candles, from way back when Illuminations was still in business.  I loved that shop but unfortunately, candles and candle accessories were not able to sustain a large retail chain.

I love how much of my home is reflected here, and the little photo bombing of me in the corner!  And of course my new favorite traveling bracelet.  Did you know if you you visit with a traveling bracelet you can request the pattern free of charge for that bracelet?  I do, because I'm pretty sure I need to be making this one.  It needs permanent residence in my home....

If you haven't seen past posts, the giant colorful totem is by Leslie Codina and was originally purchased for the yard...but I fell in love with it in the living room and there it stays.  It seems that ever beader who comes to visit is especially enamored of the totem.  Given they are kind of like giant beads, it makes sense!

A big birthday

Well I guess it is always relative, 16 was a big birthday and 21 of course, then 30, 40 and 50 and now 60!

The decade between 50 and 60 has been pretty monumental for me.  At 50 I had worked full time in a corporate job for more then 30 years.  I lived in Santa Cruz, had married Mark, raised three children and dabbled in knitting, embroidery, candle making, needle point, art quilts, crochet and finally found my way to beads.

At 30 I had a room mate, worked in Silicon Valley and we had a house party, at 40 I flew around the world with Mark, at 50 I had high tea with my girlfriends at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, so 60 was kind of quiet.

It was fitting, I am more quiet, having settled into my life of being a full time bead artist which I began at 52, I am happy to be at home, playing with beads, writing books, knitting baby wear, visiting friends and family.  And that is how 60 went.  A visit from my girlfriends of 30 years, fun, laughter, nice food, a harbor cruise, Mark's famous waffles and a visit from daughter Casey and family.

A facetime session with daughter Lucia and grand daughter Malayna who at 20 months said 'Hapa Brda, Gandma!' so precious.

And a text chat with Grand daughter Sam who at 16 is a thoughtful, beautiful and smart young lady.

All of my dear ones checked in, jm with a picture from my New England past of pumpkins and fall foliage. Arlene with a beautiful felted bracelet she made.

A sign of the times, lots and lots of facebook birthday wishes from friends.

And per my quest, a traveling bracelet arrived, made especially for the occasion, picturing the Golden Gate bridge.  Northern California has a very special place in my heart, it is where I met my love, raised my family and discovered my passion for beads.  It is also where I met Sig Wynne Evans, so it was fitting.  This bracelet will go with me this weekend to the Southern Bead Retreat.

Lunch out with my Grove girls, who gifted me a whimsical crown which will find it's way to the garden as a memory of my 60th year.

And dinner with my love, by the water at my favorite sushi restaurant.  A beautiful week all the way around!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Sometimes beadwork calls for getting creative with a solution.  This is a cubic raw necklace I wove with gold beads.  The core of cubic raw lends itself to an armature and I wanted it to keep a round shape rather then drape where the front pendant was attached.

I used a black cable and pushed it through the center when the beadwork was completed, however no matter how many rows of cubic raw I completed it still had a tendency to slide down and leave 1/2' to an 1' of exposed cable on either side of the threaded clasp.

Aha.....a dot of super glue could keep it in place......um...not a good idea.  As careful as I was it spread into the clasp which then of course could no long turn, and the beadwork could not turn, it was kind of a mess.  One I wish I had seen coming.

I cut it apart and took the beadwork back down to where it was glue free, and rebeaded from there.  Solution this time?  I took a metal bead and forced it open wide enough to thread onto the cable by pushing it down onto an awl.  I then threaded it onto the cable and squeezed it tight with pliers.  Perhaps there is a crimp big enough to do this with, but I didn't have one, so the metal bead did the job. I did this on both sides of the clasp.  Then I beaded one additional row up over the stationery metal bead, and put a size 15 between each 11 and pulled tightly closed.  Now the bead work stays put and the cable does not show.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The second in the line up of Vienna's, the first being blues and greens with bronze and this being blue and greens with brown.  I am definitely going to go in an entirely different directions for number three...but in the meantime, here is number two.  I'm limited by my meager selection of size 6 crystals, which I think I will need to remedy soon.

Shaped cubic raw with pearl and crystal accents and crystal terminated chain, with a sweet drop in the center.

This one will be off to City Beads and number one is at Beads by Blanche, so I will making number three soon, to solidify the thread path in my mind and write directions.  I usually don't write until I've made the third one, because often I will find a better way to do things as I make number two and three...definitely true with this one so far.  And because I  can learn.....I took pretty good notes while making this one.  Of course there was a moment of panic when I couldn't find the notebook I took those notes in, but it's been found now.  Oh and will you look at those wire wraps?  I'm definitely getting better!  Which is good since there are 13 wire wraps required for Vienna.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Amazing Adventures of the Traveling Bracelets

Did you know, that you can purchase a traveling bracelet pattern?  It's funny because I think I go on and on about the traveling bracelets but when I go out into the bead world and ask, not everyone has heard of them, and I of course am kind of on a mission since my goal is to at one time or another visit with all.....I can't keep count the number keeps changing, but I think it may be 14 now.

The one you see above is one that Sig designed based on our Bay Area connection.  You might recognize the golden gate bridge, although Maya was not exactly still for this shot.  I'll show you better ones soon.

I'm the first to have this one and it has been having quite the birthday adventures all week.

Sig does a lot of work to document all of the travels and to launch each of these into the world.  And the patterns are so reasonably priced, I have so many favorites....who knows as my quest to visit them all continues I may decide I need to bead them all as well.  Funny because peyote graphs have not been my bead art of choice, but these are all so beautifully designed and very compelling.  Do you have a favorite?  You can see them all here.


There was a time I never made earrings, and now it seems that I almost never buy earrings...having the ability to make my own, in whatever color or style I want, often in an afternoon, though not always....

I have made two pair this week though, this is the second.  I love the use of the 2mm Swarovski Element crystals.  Quite a few of the colors have been discontinued but lucky for me some of my favorites have not been.  They can be substituted for a size 11 in most beadweaving projects and add such a perfect glint of light.

Here I have used the fuchsia to accent the middle of the beaded bead.  The base was done with a contrasting shiny gold, and then a matte delica was added between the spaces of the base beads.  I used the delicas as the top and bottom of the right angle weave unit and the fuchsia 2 mm crystals as the side beads.  It gives the earring a nice dimension.  Finally I added the top and bottom bead caps with a fancy headpin.  I am taking great care with my wire wraps and I dare say they are improving some.  Enough to be shown close up in a photo!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Master Class Preparation

The master class for Bead and Button is not until next June, but preparations have begun.  Since I first accepted the role of master class teacher, my concept was designing with components.  I envisioned a 'playground' of those components for people to arrange into their design visions.

I called upon many of my previous designs and one or two new ones, and began the work of selecting a neutral palette and documenting the designs. 

I've been fortunate to enlist the help of three different groups around the country to help with the beading and the work is well underway.  It's exciting to see it come together.

Although the components may be familiar to you, especially if you follow my work or have taken classes, I think of this as a positive.  By working with a set number of familiar components, the focus changes from learning a new thread path to focusing on design.  I think there are times when the master class title conjures up images of needing to do a profound piece, but it is my hope that participants will come away with lots of unique ideas for doable, wearable jewelry.

I don't expect everyone to want to use all five components in one design but as I completed the fifth one in the chosen colorway yesterday, I couldn't help but see what arrangement I could put together using all five.....I like it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

on writing a book

Progress on the 3rd book is underway, the theme, The Bead Within

You may recall a little bit about my process from Beads in Motion, which was the last effort, and currently being laid out, soon to be proofread before being sent off to the printer.  It's release date is September of 2013.

I clearly remember when both ideas showed up in my brain and took shape.  It is interesting to have such a definitive theme to a book of beaded jewelry.  It really informs every design decision, which some times is really hard, and sometimes really easy.  You are clear about the goal at least.

As with the first, Beaded Opulence and the second, Beads in Motion, after the concept, the contract, the sketches, it really starts to come together with 'the book' about the book.  Here I three hole punch any inspiration photos, I have a word table which lists the projects and their status, beaded, designed not yet beaded and purely conceptual.  They are numbered of course so I can see where I stand against the goal. As pieces are documented the illustration files and text files and a photo are added to the book.

Beaded pieces are  hung on the bulletin board, some  just a conceptual component waiting for it's design time to become a piece of jewelry, some beaded but wanting a new color to bring it alive, and some complete, ready to be illustrated.  

This time I hope to intersperse the illustrating with the beading, but having said that I'm still not sure.....there are certain economies of scale when you illustrate every day for a couple of months, you get better, the rhythm works itself out and speed accompanies that.  We'll see, I do love seeing the beading complete, but I try to just work as things show up.  A vision becomes a sketch, becomes a prototype, gets its colors selected, gets beaded and joins the bulletin board.  When that is happening I am hard pressed to stop the flow for the sake of illustration.

This year, the book is side by side with preparations for the Bead and Button Master Class, also exciting.  Work  continues on that front and I am definitely enamored with the concept of Playing with Possibilities.  Master Classes are done by lottery and not done on line.  Requests to attend are done by lottery on December 27 and must be postmarked by December 21st.  Please let me know if you are considering it and if I can answer questions for you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Cassandra pendant

One of the wonderful things about teaching is watching all the different colorways people choose.  Last week while at Creative Castle, Sherry made the Cassandra component using all jade pearls.

In the past I have made them all using two contrasting pearls, a center color, the first round of 3mm in a contrasting color and the second round of 4 mm pearls the same as the center.   Or the center one color and the 3 and 4 mm pearls another as in this bracelet version.

I hadn't considered doing all three pearls the same color, but it turns out with the contrasting seed bead it was a brilliant combination.

I couldn't resist using the same colors and making up this pendant.

The pendant part goes really fast....the spiral, well that is a tad more tedious.  The spiral is alternating the 3 mm antique brass pearl with a 2 mm aqua brandy crystal....subtle but the perfect use of the 2 mm's as it adds sparkle all the way up your neckline.

I'll be teaching Cassandra at Beads by Blanche in November.  It turning out to be a very versatile component.  So far I've made a bracelet, pendant and earrings, but I think it would make an excellent rings as well!

 I'll also be teaching the very pretty Dancing Light and the brand new Vienna!  And it will be fall in New England, which is perfect for me, I crave a little of the good crisp fall weather now and then.

Dancing Light