Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Piece A Day

That's my goal until the craft show on October 10th. I'm actually a piece ahead at this point.

The piece I finished yesterday was gemstone donut focal. I created a funnel shape in tubular herringbone the size of the hole and finished it with a half bead technique. Though this way of working with a donut will actually hold it without a bezel I decided to add the bezel anyway. I added three beaded beads, double right angle strands and finished it with a very delicate single strand of strung beads. It turned out to be a very delicate piece. I'm toying with calling it "Absinthe" as the drink is often called "Green Goddess" or "Green Fairy" .

I started an urchin type bracelet last night in deep reds but I must have been tired because I kept screwing up...seems I wasn't able to count to four. But it was probably a good thing as I may have run out of the 3mm garnets making it so wide. So when I get back to it today I'll make it a teensy bit less wide and that should solve that problem. Then I just have to learn to count to four again.

I have a few things to do this morning to be ready for class this afternoon. Plus I have to send out the DBS newsletter that I finally finished last night. It's grown to four pages......ooooo....I can count to four.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Very Productive Weekend

Despite my brother visiting I managed to get a lot done this weekend.

I went into my UFO box and found three things that would get me ahead of the game. The first was a red and gold chevron two-drop peyote bracelet, I just added the ruffled edging and it was complete.

The second was a striped cuff that had 2/3 of the base done....finished the base, added some fire-polished embellishments and a clasp and it was complete.
Inspired by the way my embellishments were looking I took out one of the samples of my Diamond Windows kits, a small black one and got to work embellishing it....now I want to do the same to the other two samples I have.

Next I started a couple of new pieces. A purple urchin bracelet....pretty self explanatory.

The next was interesting. I'd bought some metal pendants on sale at Michaels a while back with the intent of bezelling them but had never gotten around to it. I guess the time was ripe and I sat down to see where this would go. The pendant had a little heart cut out and I had always imagined it being red, so I created a Delica backing for it before doing the bezel. This left me with a red back....pretty enough BUT........ I had some little metal flower charms, I cut off the loop and sanded it down then attached it to the back of the pendant with some 3mm black fire-polished rounds and a few 15s. Presto....My Schizophrenic Pendant.

I have another piece I started but only got about 2/3 of the way through it.... hopefully I'll complete it today.

Eleven days left to the show.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday, Sunday

I don't know about anyone else but I do a lot of my beading in the evening and sometimes it's hard to tear myself away and go to bed.

The piece I finished last night was one I'd actually started last December and it got put away in my UFO box. It's just a simple two-drop peyote in burgundy and gold....that part was done, all I needed to add was some embellishment. I went with a simple loop ruffle on each edge and finished it with a burgundy pearl as a closure.

I found another almost finished piece too. This one is a gunmetal/black and silver two-drop peyote bracelet. It needs another two inches for it to be a bracelet length and it definitely needs some embellishment. Right now it sits on a beading mat with a silver and black coin bead on top of it, I'm thinking of bezelling it on. It's interesting that pieces I thought were design complete a year ago now look unfinished to me. I think that says I've grown some as a designer.

I don't want to overwork things though. Simple is sometimes the best way to go. A perfect example of this are the bracelets Lisa over at http://www.abeadaday.blogspot.com/ is featuring today, lovely designs with memory wire and rubber tubing. I learned of the rubber tubing earlier this week on Lisa's blog...I'd never seen or heard of it. I really don't do anything with memory wire other than teach a class using it but I like the rubber tubing so I might be tempted. Lol....just saying that has ideas sparking. I'm definitely going to write a bit about the tubing in the bead society newsletter.

I think it's much harder trying to design things that I think will sell here in Southern Utah than designing the alternative stuff I know will go like hotcakes in San Francisco. It's just another tough deal about being tied to Utah. I may have to recruit a couple of girlfriends as agents once I get a stash of the alternative designs. One of my students has spent some time trying to figure out how she can let the Gothic chick on NCIS see my finger armor...lol! I said, the easy way was to just send her one. I have some cool and very supportive students!

Goal today: Finish the UFO bracelet and make a long necklace of some kind.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Playing Catch Up

I got caught up a little today. I went through my UFOs and found a bracelet that just needed some embellishment so I finished that. I bezeled a pendant too.....just not sure how I'll embellish it or what I'll hang it from. It's a little engraved metal pendant with a heart cut out so I backed it with red delicas in peyote stitch so the heart is now red. It's cute. So basically not my style at all...lol!

The brother came for a visit Friday and he'll leave tomorrow....so I may get a bit more catching up done. Visiting is cool and all but it sure messes up the productivity. Yeah...I know, I'm a workaholic.

I'm torn about what to make for the craft fair. On one hand I'd like to have a lot of stock, on the other hand I don't want to make a lot of lower price range things just to fill a booth. I think I'll just dress my table really well and do the less is more thing. I do need to make some of the finger armor pieces....I've been wearing the one I made and it's been getting rave reviews. Maybe that's waht I need to do tomorrow...er...today.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ready, Set......Go!

It totally feels that way....I'm beading to the clock.

I finally remembered to pick up a timer for my beading so I can figure out exactly how long it takes and price accordingly. It definitely keeps you focused. I did a narrow urchin bracelet tonight...in deep purples for my mid-range at the craft show.

I also finished the 'Urchin Wings' bracelet I was struggling with. I've got the design down now so it will be easy to reproduce. I'm finding this design adapts well and it will be fun to do lots of variations of it.
I'm trying to make one piece a day until the craft show on October 10th, right now I'm half a piece behind...lol! Hopefully I'll catch up tomorrow. I think I'll dig through my UFO box to see what's half made, that should catch me up.

Play with Clay & Project Runway

Hehehehe...I'm a poet!

Firstly....PR last night was awesome. Christopher was once again brilliant. I want that dress!

For those of you who didn't catch it the challenge was to create a costume for a character they made up in a film genre they got to draw cards for. Christopher chose "Period" and created a fabulous Victorian-inspired dress complete with bustle. It was the top that was sensational. He did a halter (not Victorian) that had a jabot in the back. He was squeezed out of first place by Nicholas who created a Sci-Fi ice queen, which was good but personally I think the L'Oreal hair and make-up crew won it for him with a sensational design. They had sugar syrup running down the model's hair and it looked just like icicles.

Play with Clay

This morning the blogs seem full of polymer clay beads and it's making me want to make them again.
www.artbeadscene.blogspot.com has a list of some great polymer bead artists today a lot with sales going on so head on over and check it out.
www.kokopelli.blogmonster.de is featuring a sweet little necklace she made with a birdie focal by bead artist Jeannie (http://store.jkdjewelry.com/)
Also check out Andrew Thornton's rummage sale http://andrewthornton.bigcartel.com/products where you can snatch up one of Andrew's destash treasures....gotta admit, the man has an eye!

My work

Yes, I actually did get some beading done last night...not finished but progress was made. The new design I'm working on, which I have given the working title of "Urchin Wings" is coming together. The piece has now got both it's wings and two strands of the band (I think there will be eight in the end). These strands resemble vertebrae and I'm calling them spines.
It's Gothic looking but elegant...definitely 'Gothic Grown-Up' and I'm seeing so many variations of it. I have already designed a finger armor piece to match it. I think I'll be playing with this design for quite a while.

I wish there were more hours in the day so I could do everything I want to.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Morganna Slept

Hmm....that sounds like the title for a necklace....I'll have to think about that one.

I thought she would keep me awake all night after she started throwing designs at me late last night (Morganna is my muse for those of you thinking "who the hell is Morganna?") but she let me sleep. That was good because I really needed it!

This morning I have some instructions to write but at least all the illustrations are done. Then it's errands, work on the newsletter and class tonight. Of course, after class I get to watch Project Runway....YAY!!!! I have to say that Christopher is my fave designer, I think he is just brilliant and very inspiring. The newspaper gown he created last week set my design brain spinning again and I have a necklace and bracelet design based on his awesome dress. I love that he's self-taught too.

I'll be honest, I don't have a lot of respect for degrees, back in college we used to say that "B.A" stood for "Bugger All". Why do I feel that way? Yeah...there's a story...it's me, what did ya expect?

I was in my second year of art college, leading the pack in figure drawing, mastering some of the old Master's techniques when we get a new 'professor'. She was straight out of college with a brand spanking new BA. The first thing she did was take all the easels and put them in storage. The second thing she did was to tell us we could only work in charcoal on newsprint and we had to lay on the floor to do it. WTF???? I was working in conte crayon at the time, black and white on grey pastel paper following Da Vinci, so as you can imagine I was not too pleased.

Rebel that I am I went and got me an easel. Then I continued working in the style I was studying. After spending an hour of the class working on a lovely seated nude which was really looking nice she came over, took a honking great stick of charcoal and proceeded to scrawl all over my delicate sketch. WTF????

Yeah...I stormed out. I went to see the head of the department and showed him what she did. She was told to leave me alone. I watched as she tried to teach life drawing and it became obvious she had no ability at all. The model would have had to had major bones broken to get into the positions she was drawing them in. She and I went head to head a few times, actual screaming matches, when she would interfere with my work. I was always backed up by the other professors in the department so I knew it wasn't just me.

A few months later I was in the textile lab at lunchtime finishing up a fabric print when she came in to chat with the textile proffessor. She said quite loudly, so I would hear, that she didn't know why they had her teaching life drawing because she was no good at it and never had been. It was nice that she was admitting it so I could hear but, why, oh why would you ruin someone's work or put students at a disadvantage by getting rid of the easels?

Anyway....that's where my lack of respect comes from. I don't care what school you went to, who you studied under, I want to see your work and my respect for you as an artist or designer will be based on that.

So, I love the fact Christopher is self-taught and I could care less that he didn't know what smocking was or that a fabric insert is called a godet. My fingers are crossed for him!

BTW....did you know that the long triangles on roads where one lane is phased out are called godets? I didn't...it was a question I got wrong on my driving test.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Tough Design Day

I intended getting a piece started and finished today but that's the kiss of death..

So, I've worked hard all day 'playing' with my beads. I've been working on what I guess is known as the 'urchin' technique. I first did the technique without knowing much about it and created my 'Cobblestone Wave' bracelet, the urchin is similar but the waves are closer.

I'm not using it for a regular urchin bracelet, I'm putting my own twist on it. What I have got done is looking good....a lot more delicate than the urchin bracelets I've seen and the colorway I'm working in has a very Gothic look to it...which we all know I love. It does have a break from the dark with a light peach Swarovski rivoli crystal as the center. I have been working with a second colorway too in a slightly bigger version. This is how it is when you're working on a new design....sometimes it just doesn't go together easy and it takes a few attempts to get it where you want it.
Ooooo....I just thought of something. A different version. HA! Wouldn't you know, I'm ready to go to bed and my muse wakes up.
Tomorrow is busy and probably not too much time to bead but maybe I'll get this new Gothic piece finished.

Watching the Magazine Racks

I keep stopping by the magazine racks waiting for the new arrivals so I can see my work in print and really feel like I'm getting somewhere.

Step by Step is going to publish the Watermelon & Peaches bracelet from the Colorworks challenge. I don't think I'm breaking any rules to tell you that I was selected by Beadwork magazine to take part in their "The Challenge" so I'm anxiously awaiting that issue of Beadwork.

"The Challenge" for those of you who don't know is like the cooking show "Chopped" where the chefs get the same box of ingredients and have to come up with a dish from them. In Beadwork's version they select three designers and a reader chosen at random and send them all the same bag of beads. We then have to come up with something original. The e-mail to tell me I had been selected arrived after the kit....so, just eight days after sending a picture of my work the mailman handed me a package.....boy, was I surprised. I had thought I was just putting my name in the hat to be a random reader, so it was an incredible honor to be selected as a designer.

The kit was challenging all right. There was a lot of Lucite, and heavy Lucite at that. As a bead weaver this is not an element I usually incorporate into my designs and at first I was a little flummoxed. However....I love a challenge! As I was teaching a class that day my conscious mind was occupied but as I was driving home after the class I realised my sub-conscious had been working and I had a design.

It took me three attempts to put it all together....I couldn't get the balance right. I turned to Miriam Haskell's work for inspiration. It was quite surprising to see that what I was putting together very much fit her style...it felt like I was channelling her....and the double strand she used frequently hit me in the head....the extra strand would give me the balance I was looking for. I added a couple more drops and there it was. I totally fell in love with the piece. I think it's one of the best things I've made and when I got an e-mail with a proof of the article to go along with my piece the other day it seems like Beadwork agrees.

I'm not going to post a picture because I like surprises, especially when I'm the one creating them. But be sure to check the upcoming issues of Beadwork Magazine for my "Twin Roses" in "The Challenge".

Cool things today...... I noticed on Jean Campbell's blog jeancampbellink.blogspot.com/ that she is doing a beading retreat next year. www.beadingbythebay.com/ Beading by the Bay will be in Burlinghame, a fave little town of mine just outside San Francisco, it reminds me of towns in Cornwall, England where I spent many a childhood vacation.
I wish I could afford to do the retreat but it's out of my league right now. To me spending a weekend beading with Jean, Marcia DeCoster and Maggie Meister would be pure heaven and to do it in my fave city....it doesn't get any better than that. Oh well.....

My goal is to be in San Jose next September for the Folsom Fringe event where I plan on having a booth and selling my 'alternative-style' beadwork. 'Alternative' is the easiest thing for me to design.....being a bit 'alternative' myself!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Yay! My ruffled cab piece has a name! Jeannie on BD came up with "Mystique" and it fits so well it now seems so obvious to me....what else would it be called.

I'll probably also think of it as my 'Cirque de Soliel' piece because it does remind me of the costumes plus it has a three ringed circus of cabs.

Thank you Jeannie.

Yesterday I was getting the package ready for the craft show in Mesquite next month....hopefully we'll be accepted and get a booth. I've said I wouldn't do another outdoor craft fair or any kind of craft fair in Utah but the price of this one is very low and it's in Nevada albeit just 30 mins away.

I have found craft fairs in Utah to be very different from anywhere else, the sales are poor and the people are quite rude. They will unabashedly take pictures of your work to go off and copy it while telling you your prices are too high and they don't like your work.

Last year I and a friend had a booth at the local Dickens festival and I met the most marvelous lampworker. She made these absolutely gorgeous pendants. They were hand forged silver spears with two silver lined lampwork beads and a hand made silver clay bead strung on hand dyed silk ribbon. Delightful and I thought a steal at $120. A woman took one off the display held it in the plam of her hand, shoved it under the artist's nose and said rudely "$120? Why?" The same woman wandered around our booth, quickly scanned everything and announced "Trash" loudly before she left. She left you so stunned you didn't get chance to say anything before she arrogantly strut away. Some people are so ignorant and rude it's a wonder someone hasn't shot them. There should be a season when it's legal to shoot the rude and stupid. (Now you know why I don't own a gun....I'm a good shot and it's way too tempting).

Thesedays I view craft fairs as advertising and I think $50 for two days advertising is enough to spend (and I want to split it with a friend too). This way I don't get discouraged if I don't sell anything and I don't feel robbed. If I do sell something it's just icing on the cake. Rather than spend hundreds on a booth at Dickens or What Women Want I'd rather take an ad in one of the bead magazines....and when I have a few hundred to spare that's exactly what I plan to do with it.

Deb over at the Bead Depot in AZ e-mailed me yesterday about stocking my kits, that would be awesome! My 'Learn-a-Stitch' kits were originally designed for the chain of craft stores where I teach, however, their lack of response, even though they requested I send them just left me frustrated. I think I'd rather have the kits in one or two good bead stores than a corporate chain anyway. We'll see what Deb thinks when she gets a sample kit.

I haven't heard anything from the gal who's opening the new local bead store, she didn't show up at the bead society meeting and hasn't e-mailed me. I don't understand someone opening a business and not taking advantage of such a great opportunity to meet future customers. I have people chomping at the bit to see her shop and I have no info as to when it opens. This is free advertising folks!

Speaking of free advertising, I was at the store yesterday and checked to see if the latest issues of the beading magazines had hit the stands yet. No luck! It seems all the stores are waiting for the delivery as the racks are empty. This issue of Step-by-Step should have my "Watermelon & Peaches" colorwork challenge bracelet in it. I won't feel that all the success I've been having in competitions is real until the magazines are in my anxious little hands.

Class today is my Byzantine Watchband. I'm a little perplexed because the rings I ordered from FMG are supposed to arrive today and I have a feeling it won't be till AFTER my class. This order took way too long to be shipped out....usually my orders from them arrive in just four days....why is it that when you need something by a certain date that is always the order that gets delayed? Oh right....my Irish heritage...a direct descendant of Murphy I am.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Giving The Finger

No....this isn't going to be a rant.

Last night I was at a loss of what to make as I didn't feel like starting a big piece. Then I remembered seeing Erin's finger ring on BD. She does some awesome beading, check her stuff out at www.beadsbeadingbeaded.com.

Those of you who know me will know I'm big into costuming and I actually have chainmaille clothing I designed and made in my closet. Well, when I was doing the chainmaille I hung out on the armor sites and always wanted to make hand armor...I'd even designed some and made paper patterns. So, last night I dug out my old sketchbook and the patterns and translated it into beads. This is my first piece of finger armor.

I will definitely make a matching cuff and I may even join the pieces. I'd also like to work some designs with claws in them.....this based on the set of wire wrapped camel-bone claws I bought a few years back from Sean the Troll when I was in San Francisco.

As for 'giving the finger' I think I might know a couple of my wild child girlfriends who would love me to give them this finger.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Puffer Fish, Oh My!

So.... I finished the latest piece tonight and I'm kinda stuck for a name for it.

When I was making the ruffled cab it reminded me of a puffer fish. Then I thought of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz....the big mane of the lion....of course then there's the stripes of the cab which remind me of tigers.

The ruffle is also reminiscent of the Elizabethan era.

I'm stuck.


Tim Gunn Where Art Thou?

That's how I feel after seeing the photo of myself that went along with the article about me in the local paper today!
I need Tim badly! I need a new hairstyle, new makeup and Lord knows new clothes! (A new photographer would be good too...sorry Casie) To be honest I feel I've lost myself living in Utah. No one dresses up here, there's no where to go. Well...there are some places....musical theatre and the occasional art reception...but seriously, I'm used to California and costume parties and clubs. As I sit here my closet is open and my gold sequinned Rocky Horror tailcoat is peeping out as if to remind me of who I used to be and the fun I had.

I think my style at the moment says "What's the point?"
I have to get a grip and get it together, the publicity I'm getting requires it!
This week had the article in the paper and Lisa over at ABeadADay.blogspot.com kindly put me up as her featured designer this week. I've also had two of the bead magazines that I'll be featured in go to press this week.

I miss myself. I miss the Gothic me....she needs to make a comeback, Utah or not! I've always said, "I'm English and an artist, I can be as eccentric as I like and get away with it" it's about time I stepped up and owned that statement.

I should start exercising and lose the 10-15lbs I've put on since I stopped chasing the Alzheimer patients around....I was actually in a size 4 jean! And yes, they hang sweetly in my closet to remind me how much weight I've gained. The satin evening dress I was making hangs unfinished on my manikin simply because with no where to wear it I lost interest and I've never even worn the black lace Pride & Prejudice style dresscoat I made.

I think makeovers tend to start with the hair so I shall have to figure out that first....I think I need something softer than the ponytail I'm sporting most of the time thesedays. Something punky but classy.

The beading is going more Gothic too. I've had a zillion designs in my head for Gothic jewelry but, because I'm in Utah I have been pushing them aside. Time to bring them out of the closet! I say this because one of my wild child friends has asked me to make her my Byzantine Crown Daggers piece and another wild child wants me to design her a collar. Little does she know the design I'd love to do for her is based on her full sleeve tattoo and extends to meet it.
I think I'm actually scared to let go and put out my crazy designs but I'm trying to change....inspired by Rachel Nelson Smith's piece "Tongues and Torsos" www.rachelnelsonsmith.com
I guess it's a case of 'Watch this space'

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Slap me with Caffeine!

This morning saw me out of the house without my morning latte....ugh!
We had to go to the doctor's office for them to check on my Mom's eye surgery...she's doing fine and her eyesight is almost 20/20 now. It's pretty amazing what they can do today.

I was out of coffee and too lazy to run to the store last night so I paid for it this morning. I don't know if it's the caffeine or if it's just the habit. Anyway, we called at the store on the way back and now I'm enjoying my latte while I do my morning computor stuff. At the store I checked out the magazine rack to see if they had the new beading magazines in yet....they didn't! I'm waiting for the new Step-by-Step because I think that's the one that my colorworks challenge piece is going to be in. I have my work in three magazines all due out between now and Christmas but it doesn't feel real yet....and I doubt it will till I have the magazines in my hand.

The bracelet pictured is my "Fall Ruffled Dots". This design came from Christopher's winning red carpet dress on Project Runway...the choker which is black and cream isn't finished yet.

One of the things I do each morning while I have my latte is check my list of beading sites and blogs. I find this very inspiring and a great way to kick off my day. Some of the things I read and participate in are:

The forums at www.beadingdaily.com which has a great bunch of beaders. www.abeadaday.blogspot.com Lisa features a different bead everyday and shows us what she does with them....very inspiring. www.artbeadscene.blogspot.com which is a fabulous blog full of great tips...today's is a link to site where you can print paper rulers. www.kokopelli.blogmonster.de Today Kokopelli has a sweet chainmaille bracelet up for display.

I have to tell you....it beats the morning paper!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eye Surgery

Not me, my Mom.

We just got back from her first cataract surgery and all went well.
It makes one think about the future...is this kind of surgery in the cards for me?
Probably, genetics and all the close work I do probably will have ne seeing some kind of eye surgery in the future.

As an artist (with dark thoughts) I've often wondered what would be worse, loosing my eyesight or lossing the use of my hands. Without sight I could still sculpt, without hands, I would, no doubt, put a paintbrush in my mouth and still paint. I guess my survivor instincts will make sure I find an outlet for my creativity.

I've been a busy beader this week. I made all the samples for the new Beginning Beadweaving classes starting in October. I have to keep it simple for a few reasons, one being the fact that the store really doesn't carry a decent seed bead.

It will be nice when we finally get a bead store...we're about 6 weeks from that if the gal who's opening it is on time. I was disappointed that she didn't attend the Bead Society meeting as I don't have a contact number for her...I may have to play detective. She seemed excited that I would love to teach some bead weaving there and also interested in carrying my kits...I'm excited too! Anyway, I plan on focusing on Right Angle Weave, starting with a simple two row bracelet. The following week I'll step it up with an embellished version, then I'll take it to beaded beads for the earrings and the cross pendant. The extra week in October I'll teach a simple spiral.

The other things I made are the amethyst cabochon choker for Janice (a thank you for hosting DBS), a lariat (which I may submit to a magazine as a project) and I bezeled some cabs for a bracelet.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Talking to Oneself or Is Anybody Out There?

I guess that's the question when you write a blog. I've had a few comments and a couple of people tell me they read this but for the most part I just feel like I'm talking to myself....nothing new, I talk to myself a LOT!

Sometimes I just need to hear something that's rattling around in my head, it could be a design problem, a people problem or just me rehearsing lines for an upcoming class or event. I have a habit of explaining what I'm doing as I bead alone, a teacher thing (or that's what I tell myself). It's how I get the design into my head to write a pattern later.
I also talk out loud when I have a conversation coming up that I'm not comfortable with...I tend to rehearse all possible responses. People often say that I'm very calm, patient and I never seem to get angry.....that's pretty much because I have this ritual. If something happens that could make me angry I tend to suck it up at the moment so I can think about it with a clear head and decide if it's really worth getting angry about. That way I can tackle the issue or the person in a calm, collected manner.

The bad thing is not everyone responds to calm and collected. Some people only respond or 'get it' if you get up in their face and shout your head off. I had a room mate like that and the sit down and talk calmly thing didn't do a thing to stop her stealing food and putting empty boxes back in the cupboard. Getting in someone's face and shouting is not my way of dealing with things so if I have to do it I have to rely on my acting skills. And that, of course, needs rehearsal.

I have visions of myself as an old woman wandering around talking to myself and people thinking I'm crazy...not that they don't think that now.

So...what can you do to help me out? Just click one of the little 'reaction' boxes under my posts so I know this blog isn't just me talking to myself and that there are people out there.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Photos & Photo Boxes

So, yesterday I recieved an urgent e-mail. One of the bead magazines that I will be in is going to press and they discovered a problem with my headshot so I had to take a new one....immediately! I knew from my days in the print world that if they were working on a Sunday it really was urgent.

OK...so I didn't take it 'immediately' because no one would have wanted to see that. I changed, did my hair and make-up and set up my camera. Good Lord, I could NOT get a photo in focus! I'm so used to taking pictures of my beading using a white box and having them be perfect first time this was extremely frustrating. It took a while and Mom's help to finally get a picture where I looked halfway human. So I sent the photo off to the magazine....no one's gonna see it right? Ok...I really don't want to think about that!

I typically cheat when I have to send in a photo for anything....and send in my self portrait "Artist Bound" but I couldn't do that this time...bugger!
Maybe I need to do another portrait with beads....hmmm.....

I did bead yesterday....YAY...I started a new piece and am more than halfway finished. It's a lariat I'm calling "Spitting Snakes"...not sure if that's attractive enough to be the final title but that's what it reminds me of. Tha main color is a matte metalic olive green which I wish I had got more of because I love it! It was part of the stash I got from the bead show and there's no number, color or even manufacturer on it...grrr! So, I'm going to have to hunt for it online. I have enough to finish the piece but I have other things I'd like to use the beads in. Oh well.

I made myself a promise to not buy any more beads this month...I went over budget...and work with the stash I have. It's so easy to just keep buying...

My name is Mikki and I'm a beadaholic.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Planning the Future

I'm trying to plan long term and it's tough.
I've been getting things ready to submit to BeadFest Philadelphia and I'm now having doubts. The main concern is finances....it's a big trip and if it was next month I straight out couldn't afford it. Will I be able to afford it a year from now? Scarey!
Maybe I need to stay closer to home for the next year. Maybe I need to submit to shows in Nevada, Arizona and California. Then there is an event in San Francisco in September that I'd like to be at....that would be business and fun with friends. Ugh! Decisions.
Plus Christmas is coming and I think I should concentrate on getting a gallery or two to carry my bead work. All the business of beading is taking me away from actually beading....not a good thing.
I guess I need to set myself a goal....to have enough pieces to show a gallery by the end of the month? That will take a push but maybe it's doable. It will mean streamlining my calendar, being very strict with myself and probably a sore neck....

One other thing I need to think about....I have to come up with ideas for a bead work challenge....as I won the flower-inspired challenge experienced category I get to work with the winner of the beginner category and the organizer to choose the next theme. That puts my thinking cap on.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Inconsideration & Apathy

Rant warning!
I have to get this out. Yesterday I was scheduled to teach at Cedar City, 50 miles away and because of the distance there has to be a minimum sign up before I make the journey. I called in the morning to see how many students I had since I hadn't recieved an e-mail the day before telling me the classes were cancelled due to sign ups or lack thereof.
No one could find the sign up sheets, they were missing. They said they would track down the studio manager to find out what was going on and call me back. So, I called them back (after 2 hours) and was told that a special area had been set up for me which seemed to suggest I did have students.
I drive up there....no students for my first class...still no sign up forms and the studio manager isn't coming in till 5pm and has her phone turned off. I had taken work to do between classes and I sat and did that until the manager came to me at 4:30 to tell me she had finally reached the studio gal and I didn't have students for the evening class!
Not having students when you start up a class is normal, it takes a while to get going and get regulars so I'm not upset about that.
But...are you kidding me?
To not call me, or e-mail me, to not have the sign up sheets available, to have your phone turned off??? WTF???
I just wasted two hours of my time on the freeway! Not to mention the cost of gas.
And I have to say this.....I don't care how very, very, very, very, very sorry you are, you just cost me money! I hope this gal has the decency to offer to pay for my gas before I ask her for it, because I am going to ask her for it. I do not see why her screw up should cost me, I think it's the least she can do!

I thought I might have recieved an e-mail from her apologizing.....but no. I really do not understand the irresponsibility of people or how they get away with it.

Rant over!

I did finish the amethyst cabochon choker I'm making for a friend, it came out very nicely. Now, I'm at a loss what to do next. It seems that Morganna is giving me a design a night as I woke up with a lariat design in my head this morning. It's part of the way done as it uses some peyote tube beads I made a while ago.....very contemporary black and white with a touch of red.

I should finish the Project Runway inspired choker...lots of little ruffled dots to make. I have another choker designed too.....gothic/vampire style, just trying to figure out how I want it to fasten. I have so many designs in my head, I just need the time to put them together.

And it doesn't help when someone wastes hours of your time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

More Days in the Week, Please

That's how I feel today.....if there was just one more day this week I could get so much more done. Gee....that makes me sound like the workaholic I am.

It was a lively class last night and everyone did so well...I was so proud of them. I think one of the nicest things to hear at the end of a class is "I'm going to make one in blue, one in red...." and I got to hear that last night. It makes all the hard work of preparing for a class...designing, planning time, writing and illustrating instructions worth it. Today I have two classes up in Cedar City and I hope they go just as well and are as well attended.

When I got home last night I turned on Project Runway and picked up my beads. I thought it was a good show, I liked the challenge of having the models be the client (though there were some I wouldn't have wanted to work with) and some of the results very successful. I felt bad for Logan because he really tried to give the model what she wanted and it almost got him eliminated...I think the model's idea was immature for the event she was attending. And if I was Logan and found out she chose NOT to wear the dress that almost cost him the contest I would be ticked! At least he was saved.

As I watched I bezeled an amethyst cabochon for a choker I'm making for Janice who hosted the beading society meeting. She said she liked purple and choker length and I had a sweet little amethyst which I've paired with amethyst fire polished drops, some tiny pink pearls, 3mm pink luster FPs, amethyst seed beads and silver 15s. I'm putting double spiral strands on it. It's simple, but I think sweet and striking....I hope she likes it. I'll finish it between classes tonight.

I was also dreaming of a right angle weave necklace....I guess Morganna was in the mood (Morganna is my muse). She came up with an interesting design and I can't wait to put it together....and for some reason I'm feeling greens. I'm very into cabochons right now and I'd like to incorporate three. I guess that's my weekend planned, and if I complete the green one it will make three pieces made from start to finish this week...not bad with four classes and a society meeting.
I love when I'm productive.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Society Success

The first meeting of the Dixie Bead Society was a success. We had a nice turnout, great group of ladies and even though I was a bit nervous it all went well. A couple of people mentioned that they might have to leave early and so I speeded up the meeting and was surprised that I got through everything 30mins early which meant everyone stayed till the end. Though, I think when people do leave it tends to make everyone feel they should leave too. I actually didn't realise it was so early...of course the few of us left ended up chatting for another couple of hours...lol!

I'm feeling that it's been worth the effort I've put in and am excited for where we can go from here. A Bead Swap is on the books for the next meeting and plans for a Christmas Bead Bazaar are underway.

Of course now I have to scout locations for the Bead Bazaar and work out costs....I'd like to see it cost $25 to $30 per vendor. The first place I looked at it would have to be $50 but that did include tables with cloths. I just want it to be low enough so that people can easily make their money back.

Class tonight is my Deco Pendant.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Big Day

Today is the day of the first Dixie Beading Society meeting. My baby gets to take it's first steps....question is "will it fall flat on it's face"?
There is a fear, of course, that our beading society will succumb, like so many have, to the wrong kind of women....you know the ones...the bitchy, stab-you-in-the-back kind. I've already met some of those women and late at night I can hear them heckling me....the paranoia hour.
I've always been someone who believed in women, who has her friends' backs and tries to help any way I can. We are so much stronger if we stick together. But the reality is that a lot of women aren't that way...they'll bitch about you behind your back while smiling sweetly at your face, they'll not think twice about taking your boyfriend or flirting with your husband. And, I think most of all, they seem to hate another woman suceeding and will do anything to bring her down.
The last bit was a big part of the reason I quit my last job, a woman who was determined to not see anyone else succeed in her old job to the point that she actually sabotaged them. And that's not paranoia talking....she actually told me how she was going to sabotage her successor.....then later tried to pull the same stunts on me.
So...I have some fears.
A saving grace is that I've just reconnected with some of the great women I know in California, friends of years, but who I haven't seen much since I've been here in Utah. I recently joined Facebook and found my girls again. They remind me that there are some awesome women out there and it is possible to have great women friends. That's a lesson I learned late in life as I was always the girl the 'mean girls' targeted....to the point that they almost killed me a few times (and no, I'm actually not being over dramatic).
I don't want to be negative because I have met some great women here, women I hope will be long term friends but I just can't seem to shake that nervousness.
I just need to remember to stay centered, hold on to me, go in with an open heart and a positive attitude. Spray Raid on the demons under my bed and trust in karma. Of course there's always that visualization of a bucket of ice water being dumped on the mean girls...that always makes me feel better.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dodgy Dinosaur Bits

So...as I was driving right by the dinosaur museum I thought I'd stop in and see what they knew about the petrified dinosaur bone cabochons I'd found online.
The girl was really nice but didn't seem to understand and tried to sell me some jewelry. I guess she never met anyone who made it. She didn't know much but brought in a guy who knew a little. Apparently, there's a black market for dinosaur bones...who knew....and I was told I should be careful buying anything dinosaur online as it may be dodgy.
They didn't have anything I could look at to see if what was being sold was actually dinosaur bone and not just petrified dinosaur poop. I could easily see me selling a lovely necklace with a dinosaur bone cab and the buyer finding out they were wearing Bronto's number twos and not being so happy with me.
On the other hand....dino poop necklaces could be quite chic in New York's Soho....hey, if pubic hair art sells...

Damn Printers & Dinosaurs!

Grrrr.....it's so frustrating! I ran out of ink. I usually keep a couple of ink cartridges on hand as I tend to go through a lot and it's much cheaper buying them online than at the local store, however finances were tight last month so I held off placing my order. So, of course, my ink ran out before my order got here (I expect it today) and I had to run out to the local Staples and pick up ink.
I typically buy the jumbo cartridges but as it was just to tide me over for a couple of days I got the singles and let me say....there is no freaking way they print anywhere near as many pages as they say! I had to replace the black already and this morning the color decided to die on me. As my ink order should arrive today I didn't want to spend another $17 on a single cartridge (I pay the same online for the triple one) so, I dug into my supplies and pulled out a refill kit. I figured that might work at a pinch and I had nothing to lose.
YAY! It worked. For about a second! Then it decided to print every other copy in pretty shades of pink with a flash of blue just on a whim! How the hell can it print one page perfect and the next in Pepto Bismol pink? And then print the next one perfect?

Ok...enough ranting!
I have a chainmaille class today and some errands to run. But this evening should see me finishing the latest piece....a faux lariat. What's a faux lariat you ask? Well, I created these nice little beaded bead drops and thought the would make wonderful ends for a lariat, however, I wanted to add a bezeled tiger's eye as a pendant...hmmmm...problemo. So the solution was to make the piece look like a wrapped lariat. It's turning out really pretty and very up-to-the-minute fashionwise. I just need to make three more drop beads, the clasp and do the bezel pendant....so it should be done tonight.
I'd love to make this one in silver and black but I have to find the right stone for the pendant. I did go gem hunting online last night and found a great site for cabochons www.barlowsgems.net and they have some magnetite and pyrite cabs that would go great with black and silver. They also have some dinosaur bone cabs...I never knew there was such a thing....but it would be way cool to be wearing a bit of dinosaur. And the petrified dinosaur bone actually comes from Utah (ha, something good to come out of Utah)! So, dinosaur bone cabs are now on my wish list and I'm going to scout locally to see if I can find some, I wonder if they have them at the local dinosaur museum.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Deco Things

Looking back over previous posts I realised I had never posted the Deco pieces I promised... so here they are. These are class projects and beginner level....yep, I teach beginners this and they do very well.
We'll be making the pendant on Thursday, we made the ring last week.

I was busy yesterday finishing my Ruffled Dots bracelet. I wasn't sure at first if I liked it...I think after doing things with lots of Swarovski crystals this one looks, well, I want to say plain but I'm finding it's one of those pieces that grows on you. It's different, original and perfect for fall. I'll post pics as soon as I take them.

I started a new piece with the stash from the bead show. So far it's a double strand necklace and will have beaded beads and a bezeled tiger's eye cabochon. I'm very happy with it so far and can already see two different but matching earrings for it.
I also got a gorgeous brown jasper cab and some matching chips which I'm dying to put together. I need to get a lot of work together so I can approach the galleries. I've met quite a few women lately who have their work in galleries and I feel my work is definitely comparable....I just need to believe in myself and get out and show my work. Like a lot of artists I have a hard time selling my creations,
jeez....it took me forever to even feel comfortable calling myself an artist. I think that all goes back to my childhood when I was told to keep my light under a bushel, not to let people know what I do and just wait to be discovered. Self promotion does not come easy to me....even though people who see me do it think it does (Kenneth Brannagh told me I was a natural actress and this is where it comes in) it's all an act guys!

However....they do say "act it till you become it"....and I'm trying.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day weekend means you labor...right?

I really don't call beading 'labor' but I guess technically it is. That's what I will be doing today & tomorrow... nowhere to be, nothing to do, so I get to indulge in the art.

I'm working on finishing the Ruffled Dots bracelet, I made a clasp last night as I forgot to pick one up when I was in Vegas. My wire techniques have improved so much I really need to start working in silver...if only to make my own clasps. The one I made for this bracelet is a two hook and eye clasp for four strands made in copper and embellished with bronze seed beads, it's a new design and it came out really well. What is that saying "Necessity is the mother of invention"? I'm also dying to take a hammer to some metal....lol!

There are so many techniques to jewelry making and it's now my life goal to learn them all...that should keep Alzheimer's at bay! Once I finish Ruffled Dots I've got a couple of designs I want to make up...one I see as a watchband. I have this desire to get people away from those huge (and often ugly) watchbands that are the rage right now. They remind me of platform shoes in that I can see people looking back in a few years and saying to themselves "what was I thinking?" But I've always been one for a classy stiletto myself....Tim Gunn would be proud.

I have the cube beads I got at the bead show in mind for the watchband, I'm thinking silvers and blues. The other design is one for my 'Trapped Pearls' line and I'm thinking black, silver and red....something vampirish. I actually have a wild idea for this one (inspired by Rachel Nelson-Smith to think outside the box)....but it would mean my doing some polymer sculpting or finding a clever lampworker. The wild version may have to go on hold.

One step at a time.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stormy Weather

We had a torrential storm last night and I slept through it!

In fact I slept through my alarm this morning...something that has happened maybe four times in my life! It's a good job I wasn't needed for the start of the bead show today because I would have been late...and I HATE being late for anything. If I get somewhere five minutes early that's late in my book.
I admit tardiness bugs me. To me it shows lack of respect for another person's time. I do try to deal with friends who are constantly late by always having something to do when I am meeting them. I'll have my sketchbook with me at a coffee shop so I can work on designs until the tardy individual decides they have time for me. And if you're one of them reading this....now you know! Lol!

Anyhoo....the bead show was great yesterday, for anyone taking notes the classes I was supposed to teach in Cedar City were cancelled due to lack of sign-ups...Labor Day weekend, to be expected. I worked six hours and could not believe what a good turn out there was from my mailing list. I think pretty much everyone who has taken a class from me showed up. I also met some very cool people, a couple who I think will become bead buddies in the sparkle of a Swarovski.

It's a small show by ABC Direct out of AZ but they have some nice beads and some very cool vintage Swarovski that you get to see if you know to ask. I walked away with a very generous bead stash for my work. Thanks, Tomas.

It was a very cool day all way round, I met a local lampworker who is opening a bead store a couple of towns over (about a 30min drive). I think she was as excited to meet me as I was to meet her. I've wanted to work with a lampworker for quite a while now and I can't wait to see all her stuff. We also talked about my teaching classes there...and she is interested in stocking my bead kits...so, WOO HOO!!!

Now we will have a place to actually buy some cylinder beads and she's stocking Tohos so as I plan on carrying Delicas in my studio we shouldn't encroach on each other and I'm sure we'll be sending each other business as neither of us will be able to carry all the colors. She likes to barter too so we'll be able to trade off and keep our overheads low.

On a different creative side I voted today in Apartment Therapy's Design Showcase for Cat Merrick's gorgeous winter scene plate...an easy vote. I was led to the contest by Andrew Thornton's blog (http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/)
he's raffling off one of his necklaces to people who vote for his friend Cat and then post on his blog. It's a pretty necklace but I'm much more interested in supporting a fellow artisan.

We'll see if the bead show needs me today....it seems everyone came out yesterday. We handed out flyers for the Bead Society, our first meeting is Wednesday so the timing couldn't be better, and people who didn't know about it got very excited and I was thanked many times for starting the society. Nice to know it's appreciated and that we may well have a good turn out on Wednesday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

I feel like I'm at the starting gate this morning as the next three days are going to be a bit on the crazy side.

I have a bunch of work to do this morning, this afternoon I'm supposed to meet up with the bead show guy and help him set up, and tonight I have a class. Tomorrow will see me stopping by the bead show in the morning and heading out in the afternoon for my two classes in Cedar City. Saturday will see me working the bead show. I definitely see me being pooped on Sunday.

I had a couple of interesting e-mails yesterday. One was a mini-interview for the Dixie college webzine and the other was...well...something that pushed a couple of my buttons.

**Soapbox Alert**

It was from a person I don't know who had read a post of mine on a beading forum where I had thanked the author of a thread for reminding me about netting stitch as I realised that it would be a great stitch for one of my classes. The e-mailer suggested to me some patterns I might like to teach that she had found on the web, stating that that's how she teaches her classes.
I was gobsmacked! Can I scream copyright enfringement?

The thing is we designers work hard to design new things, we put in many hours writing instructions, taking photos and illustrating our patterns...it's how we make our living. This person doesn't do that....she just takes the easy (and actually illegal) road. She could approach the designers and ask for permission...she may get it, one designer I know who publishes her patterns on a beading website is willing to give permission. I myself gave some of my students permission to sell my designs at one event (just for that event).

I have come across this before unfortunately. I even advised one person that she could not enter a competition with a piece designed by someone else and was told I didn't know what I was talking about and that if a pattern is published anyone can do what they like with it. This is not true. Patterns are published for personal use only and not for monetary gain....most magazines and patterns state this. You need permission from the designer to sell or teach their designs.

I do wish people would put themselves in the other person's shoes.....because I just know that if the shoe was on the other foot these design thieves would be screaming unfair at the top of their lungs. As one beader said "they're taking money out of my pocket, and my pocket feeds my family". Some starving artists are starving because people keep ripping off their work!

OK....I'll get off my soapbox now because I have instructions to write and illustrate!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I cannot believe it! I just got a note from Rachel Nelson-Smith to tell me my 'Doodles' bracelet "rocks".
For anyone who doesn't know, Rachel is one of THE hottest bead artists out there. Her new book is called "Seed Bead Fusion" and you can take a look at it here http://www.interweavestore.com/Beading-Jewelry/Books/Seed-Bead-Fusion.html
Rachel won an Editor's Choice award in the Pattern Play Challenge where my 'Doodles' took an Off the Wall award. I felt honored enough to be be in the same competition let alone a winner and now to get kudos from Rachel....
This is definitely a good day!

Will Work for Beads

At my class yesterday one of my students brought in an ad for a bead show in town this weekend so I just had to look into it. Apparently it's just one guy with 2000lbs of beads coming in from Arizona.
I've got the bead society a 10% discount and he's asked if I can help with staffing the show as his wife who usually travels with him isn't. He's paying in beads, of course, which is fun for a beader and you always make out better than if you're paid in cash. So, now I've got questions out to one of my beady friends in Az to get the lowdown on the guy....lol! The beading world is really quite small and it seems everyone knows everyone.

I worked on two projects last night, my Ruffled Dots bracelet which....well, I'm not sure about. The only shiny thing in it are the pearls...and I'm wondering if that will be enough. So, I put it down and started working on the Haute Couture piece. On that one I'm not sure if I need to work around a wood bead or if it will hold up on it's own. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Not quite, I woke up hoarse this morning....from all the talking and the lethal smog in Vegas, I have never seen it so bad!

I managed to get back just after 6pm, tired, happy with what I bought and then kicking myself when I realized I for got a clasp for something....I'm hoping they'll ship it because I can't even find that particular clasp anywhere online. Bead Haven have THE best selection out there...thanks Gail!

I found antiqued copper magnetized slide lock clasps! Perfect for my fall bracelets. As you can see I already attached one to my Double Daisy Tile II bracelet. This one's hard to photograph...there are almost 200 Swarovski crystals in this bracelet but capturing the sparkle is proving difficult. It was great to get "ooooo"s and "wow"s on this one as it's a revamped version of one of my kits, I'd always dreamed of it this way but I'd always hear grumbles about kits being more than $15 and that price tag does not allow for Swarovskis. This one is headed for acceptance at BeadFest Philly.
I'm finally going to have to part with my Challenge piece today....it was ready to go at least a week ago but I really like it and it's hard to say goodbye! I do hope we get them back. It's called "Twin Roses" and I'm proposing it as a class for Philly too.
I think I have two more samples to make and then I can send in the proposals. I started one last night, the bracelet version of the choker I designed from Project Runway's Christoper's winning 'Red Carpet' dress. I picked up the fall colors for it yesterday, of course I was thinking I had enough chocolate brown Delicas for the base.....turns out enough for only half the base....thank the Lord for Artbeads.com. I had to order the Swarovski deep purple teardrop pearls from them anyway....seems none of the stores carry them (though they don't carry the clasp I forgot!)
I also bought the beads for the Haute Couture competition piece (www.goodquillhunting.com/Haute_Couture_Beading_Contest.html) ...again thanks to Gail at Bead Haven for carrying THE best selection of matte 15s. I feel like the incredible shrinking woman because I have such a passion for the tiny 15s....not sure why, but I tend to work smaller and smaller, and I've always been that way. I did micro-macrame before the term was invented (I'm going back over 30 years now...God, I'm old!) If you haven't seen the micro-macrame out there today check out www.jewelsinfiber.com to see some awesome designs.
I'm trying not to have too busy a morning so I can recover fully from yesterday and be fresh for my class this afternoon. Gee...maybe I'll bead.