Tuesday, December 29, 2009


That's about all I can say. It's been a hectic week with not much time for any online activities.
I was busy with last minute gifts, deciding to make the men in my family tie pins which meant designing something new and figuring out just how best to do it. I was happy with the finished result. My stash had a couple of perfect things for a couple of people but I decided to make my niece something in her favorite color, purple. So, I made her some finger armor and a matching pair of earrings with some gorgeous purple teardrop Swarovski pearls and a couple of my math beads. Of course, I was so busy I had them all wrapped up before I realised I hadn't taken pictures.
I'm ordering some sterling wire to make more tie pins as I liked the ones I did plus I have a ton more ideas for them now. I'm even going to invest in a Thing-a-ma-jig to make the process easy and consistent. My packaging caused as much joy as the tie pins so that will be recreated too. Nothing like testing designs on family :)

I managed to sneak in one new bracelet design and I just need to get some silver beads to complete it. It fits into one of the monthly themes for Beadwork magazine so I plan on submitting it as a project. I was also finishing up samples for next month's classes.....just one to go now....as I forgot to get some pressed flowers for the resin cabochon. Hopefully I'll get that finished today.

Today is basically a finish up things day, then a huge project....cleaning out and reorganizing my studio. I want to start the new year fresh and hopefully that reorganization will kick start me into fresh things and a fresh approach. I also hope that the organization will inspire respect for what I do and reduce the number of interruptions and distractions I have to deal with because the last month has driven me around the bend and stressed me out.

Numerologically speaking 2010 is a 3 year (2+0+1+0=3) and 3 is the number of creativity and personally it's a 9 year for me....a year of completion getting ready for a new exciting cycle. Of course 2009 was supposed to be a money year for me and that certainly didn't happen, but we're going to stay positive....right?

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I've started reformatting my patterns so they work better as PDFs and I just listed my Peyote Pearl Ring pattern in my Artfire store. By popular request I actually taught this class twice this month, it really is a pretty little ring, easy enough for the absolute beginner and a quick fun project for the experienced beader. It takes a beginner about two hours to make and an experienced beader could probably knock it out in under an hour. So...if you're short a few gifts for under the tree this might just be the answer!

It's also fun to size it up and make it into a brooch, or, if you have a man in your life who still wears cufflinks...this would work great sized down and made in masculine colors. Men need to wear more beads!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Post Migraine Giddiness

I don't know if it's just me but after a migraine, when all the pain has finally dissipated I get giddy and full of energy. I got progressively more giddy at my class last night and by the end of it I was pretty much bouncy!

The class was a lot of fun too...great students and a successful project. We made a beaded ornament which makes a great beaded bead when you make it with smaller beads. It's always wonderful when students finish the project in class, not easy when it's just a two hour deal but it went that way last night and there were some gorgeous sparkly goodies created.
When I got home I played with my beads...working on some designs made with ruffled circular peyote, I'll be teaching a class on this next month but as two hours only allows the making of one ruffled circle I want my students to see what you can do with it. I'm using some Lucite lily of the valley flowers with the ruffled circles to make a matching pendant and earrings.
I did wake up with a bit of a headache this morning and promptly drank two glasses of water.....I'm hoping that will chase it away. I refuse to be knocked out again! Too much to do! I need to redo the illustrations for the RAW ring as the fancy way I did them slowed the saving process down to barely a crawl...back to the old way. I'm also using a new format which allows unlimited illlustrations and makes it easier to put into PDF format and means I can list my patterns in my Artfire store. We had a discussion last night about the number of illustrations needed for patterns. Suzanne had bought a pattern online that was 19 pages long due to all the illustrations but she found herself editing it as she found some of the illustrations redundant. I think that was a valid point....too many illustrations can be as frustrating and confusing as too few. If something is broken down too far you get ahead of yourself and then lost. Hopefully I strike a happy balance.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quiet Time

That's what yesterday was for me....a day of doing nothing! Which would have been great if it wasn't due to a horrific migraine. I think the recent spout of migraines is due to dehydration, as I am terrible at drinking enough water especially when the weather gets cold. So, I'm trying my best to keep hydrated and ward off the pain. I remember meeting an Indian doctor who, on shaking my hand, informed me I was dehydrated....Eastern medicine is so good at spotting those things in simple ways.

I entered one of Scarlett Lanson's giveaway's today. She asks the question "What are your beading goals for 2010?"
My answer: "My goal is to make as much progress in 2010 as I have in 2009 in creating my beading business which is my only source of income. Hopefully to win some more competitions, be published more and it would be fabulous to teach some classes other than my regular ones....like at a bead show. Unlike the first post I need to get over my fear of success, it's amazing how much that holds me back, the root of my procrastinations."
What's your answer?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obsession du Jour

I seem to be stuck on designing mathematical beads...I swear I'm dreaming of them. The long bead is actually the bead version of the Christmas ornament I'm teaching on Thursday, just smaller and with a tad more embellishment. I've also been experimenting with some flat geometrics that I'm calling 'lozenges'.....they're like a double sided tile so they offer lots of opportunities for reversible designs.

I did manage to complete my class schedule for next month....finally. Bead weaving will include classes on Twisted Herringbone rope, Brick Stitch, Circular Peyote with Ruffles and ...gee...a math bead (which sits beautifully on the herringbone rope). Other classes will be a Memory Wire pendant & earrings set, a Wirework Watchband and two classes on making your own beads, Fabric Beads and a Resin Cabochon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Math Beads

Time flies when you're having fun! When I finally tore myself away from beading last night it was actually 3am!

I was working on mathematical beads and these two came out rather well. The grey one is a basic dodecahedron headed for my basic bead patterns and the pearl one is an embellished cuboctohedron and will probably be included in a cuboctohedron pattern collection.

I am totally engrossed in the construction of these beads and all the brain work involved in working them out is sure to be helping fight off Alzheimers.

My Dalek Deca found it's way to Ebay and mingled in with all the Dr Who items. We'll see how it goes but I'm skeptical, the only things that I've had luck selling on Ebay are video games.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dalek Deca Done......Destination Ebay!

Last night after completing my alloted work on the JOGS piece I picked up my Dalek Deca and finished the chain and the tassel. This has been a lot of fun to make and I'm excited about the little Dr Who secret hidden away inside....yes, I thought of just the right thing to put inside.
I don't usually put my beading on Ebay but as this is Dr Who related I think Ebay is the right place for it. Hopefully a collector of Dr Who memorabilia will fall in love with it and snatch it up....it would be good to feel someone who loves the show as much as I do owns my little bauble. I'll do a link to the listing once I get it up and running.

Crazy as I am I now want to make a Tardis. Stay tuned.

My mom and I played the "what would you do if you won a $million" game yesterday. Easy.....I would go on THE biggest bead shopping spree....visit the Miyuki and Toho stores in Japan and buy by the bag, visit the Swarovski factory and do the same. I would then buy a house with a classroom and kit it out as the perfect beading studio. I'd sign up for Beading by the Bay and book a room for the Tucson bead show. Oh...I did say I would also go to a spa for about a month, get in shape, have a little non-surgical work done and then buy new clothes for the new body, buy a new hybrid car and take a trip to California to have fun with my girlfriends out there. But most of what I'd do revolves around beads and beading. Ahh....a gal can dream.

I did get to go on a fun bead shopping spree yesterday as my prize from Beadstar arrived....a $500 gift certificate to Beadaholique. I made a dent in that baby with a bunch of Delicas, some gemstone beads and a storage system. I bought three trays that hold 56 tubes of beads each, this will let me see all the colors I have and not have to go rummaging through storage boxes any more. I also bought a couple of bobbins of Japanese KO beading thread which is made especially for Delicas. I've never used this thread, I typically use Silamide or Fireline but they had a couple of colors I needed so I thought I'd give it a try, I'll review it once I've had chance to use it.

Rachel Nelson-Smith was talking on her blog about naming herself a "Beadist", she put up a dictionary-like description. Rachel also used the term "beadonism".....this one I really like. Webster's says 'hedonism' is "the self-indulgent pursuit of pleasure as a way of life" so if you tweak it...."beadonism is the self-indulgent pursuit of pleasure through beads as a way of life".
Oh...and check out Rachel's Etsy store she's put up a lot of special Rachel goodies for Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2009


So, late last night I decided to play with some mathematical ideas. The first one is a cuboctohedron and the second one is a rondelle based on the cuboctohedron...I'll have to figure out what it really is in the mathematical world.
I actually had another almost complete but wasn't happy with how the beads were sitting....it was pretty though....all done in Swarovski crystals and, beacause of the colorway, it looked like a pointsettia bead. The trick with these beads is to get the right size and shape of the beads you use......for them to be mathematically correct that is. At least I've discovered what shapes and sizes will work which is why we do prototypes....right?
Yesterday was a lot of fun. Artbeads Tweeted and Facebooked my Dalek Deca and it was very cool to see it out there even if it's not completely finished. Thank you Artbeads and Duchess.
I just realised this is my 100th post....a milestone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I was Tweeted today! How sweet of Artbeads to Tweet about my Dalek Deca baby "Mikki of The Beaded Carpet blog creates an ingenious "Dalek Deca Vessel" using Swarovski Pearls & Delica Seed Beads!" I confess I don't Tweet which won't come as a surprise to those who know of my phonaphobia but if I can Tweet via computor (can I?) that would be something else.
My bribing of myself worked yesterday as I finished the last three urchin wings and then I rewarded myself by working on the chain for the Dalek Deca. I chose to do a small twisted herringbone cord in black and silver Delicas with a grey pearl every inch....that sure makes it easy to measure...method in the madness! I managed to get one side of the chain completed and about 25% of the second side. I'll finish it with a loop and button closure with the button being a pearl centered pentagon. Then I just have to figure out what I want dangling from it. Yes, that is a thread you see....it's still attached to the bobbin. Whenever I add new thread I work in a good length nice and securely but I leave the other end attached to the bobbin in case I need to add more. If I do then I cut a working length from the bobbin and just work it through the beads to where it need to be, no need to secure it because it already is....what we do to save adding thread.
I was pleased I got so much done because I lost the afternoon to an impromptu Christmas shopping trip with Mom.....it was how she wanted to spend her birthday, we ended up snapping up some fun bargains for my brother. I spent some of my birthday money on a travelling bead board by Blue Moon at Michaels. What do I think to it? Hmm....it's ok, I'll probably use it with some changes. I like that it clips together and is great to work with on your lap however....I think they went the cheap route as the lining is cheap grey foam which will be a bitch for picking up seed beads with a needle. It's designed more for stringing and I can see it working fine for that....one side of the foam is cut into a beading tray. For my use I'll rip out the foam and line it with Vellux. It sells for about $20 but my 40% coupon brought it down to $12.50 which is a much better price for what it is.
Today I'm back to pattern writing and I have a class tonight but hopefully I'll have time to get some of the urchin wings put together. Art class tomorrow is cancelled....it's the time of year when everyone is too busy and I'm definitely one of them. My classes have dwindled to half as many students due but it's that time of year....hopefully I'll have some sales to make up for the loss in teaching income. I'm going to dedicate tomorrow to adding things to my Artfire store.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Get On With It, Mikki!

Well, as I have mentioned I've been down and distracted in the last week or so but I'm feeling very revitalized after starting work on the mathematical beads. Of course I still have a couple of things to finish with deadlines looming.

Artbeads sent me the beads I was missing to finish the JOGS competition piece, not that I couldn't have done another part of it in the meantime. I've had trouble picking it up and working on it and I've had to wonder why....I think it's a couple of things, self-doubt and fear. The self doubt comes because when I've been working on a piece for a while it begins to feel very ordinary to me. The fear is actually my old demon, fear of success. I'm actually scared about winning this one, and yes....it's a big 'what if'.
As I think about it I realise I've been avoiding entering the big competitions. People are always surprised I'm not more successful....they see my art and sometimes even get angry with me about it. I tried to put how I feel into my self-portrait "Artist Bound"....the feeling of being trapped within myself. I'm really trying hard with the beading to break free and live up to my potential, it just ain't easy!
So, the plan for the day is to at least get some of the JOGS piece put together. I'm bribing myself....if I get the last three urchin wings made I can play with the mathematical bead ideas and work on the chain for the Dalek Deca Vessel Pendant.
It's a bugger when you have to bribe yourself.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dalek Deca Vessel

So...I decided to turn the Dalek Dodecahedron into a decahedron....lost two pentagons, changed two to squares and made this cute little vessel. It stands just 1 3/4" tall.
The pearl topper is hinged and does open, it 'clicks' shut without needing a locking mechanism. I added some 3mm Swarovski mystic black pearls at the points and put a loop on each side ready to attach a cord or chain, maybe it'll be a small twisted herringbone rope with some staggered pearls. I don't know what to put inside this little gem...maybe you have a suggestion?

I added a loop through the bottom of the vessel so I can add some kind of drop. I used the Delicas that just arrived from Artbeads through the blogger program, they send me free beads so I can give an honest review and I'm not paid to endorse them. It's always a thrill to get a little purple package from Artbeads whether it's the blogger program beads or just one of my regular orders, always free shipping...which is so good for me because I always forget something.

I love working with Delicas, how can you not? They are THE bead to use when you need uniformityI think the simple colorway of shiny black and galvanized silver works really well. I forget where I got the tip....I think it was from Melinda Barta on Facebook but it's a very useful little bit of info about how many Delicas it takes to go around a bead. A formula!!! Simple too....you just take the diameter of the bead in milimeters, and multiply it by 2.5. So, if you have a 10mm bead it takes 25 Delicas to go around it, 12mm takes 30, 8mm takes 20. I love formulas!

Hooked on Dodecahedrons & Teacher Tuesday

Way too many ideas on this one. The possibilities are endless and designs are whirling around in my brain....if only I could bead that fast!

So, I finished the extended dodecahedron and started working on my Dalek Dodeca. Ok...I'm English, I grew up watching Dr Who and hiding behind the sofa when the Daleks were on and I love the updated version of the show on BBC America. If you have no idea what I'm talking about Dr Who was/is a sci-fi show and the Daleks were the bad guys....ugly little creatures that were embedded in metal machines that had bumps all over them. Can you see the similarity?

I think this one will be a vessel pendant....ha, maybe I can find a little plastic ugly to go
inside to totally make it a true Dalek Dodeca.

Teacher Tuesday
When I started this last week Coolmoon suggested I check out Tatiana Van Iten's work. I wasn't familiar with the name but as soon as I Googled her I discovered I knew her work. Tatiana takes many prizes for her gorgeous work and I scooped this gem from Bead & Button's gallery. You can find her in contests like Bead Dreams and the Toho contest.

Apparently Tatiana learned how to bead from her grandmother when she was six years old, so she's not new to the art. Her work is definitely exquisite and she certainly has a style of her own. She started entering competitions to become known to boost her classes....gee, that sounds familiar. If you want to take a class with Tatiana she will be teaching at the JOGS show in Tucson in January. I haven't found a website for her but Googling sure turns up a lot of info on this very talented bead artist.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mathematical Beading

I was feeling depressed this weekend, I didn't even have the will to bead. Maybe I just needed a break. So, I went browsing the web and stumbled on an interesting lamp by Bathsheba Grossman who is an "artist who combines math, science and sculpture, to make objects like this lamp. You can only produce the shape of this lamp with a 3D printer (rapid prototyping)." Hmm....that's a challenge if ever I heard one!

This just spoke beads to me and sent me off on some research. I came across the website of mathematical sculpture artist Vladimir Bulatov

I was fascinated by his sculptures and once again thought.....beads. I've always been a bit of a math geek...I used to do something called 'crossfigures' which are like crossword puzzles but with numbers and clues like "square root of 4 across". So, while putting together these shapes is challenging for me it's still quite doable.

Here's the first one, almost finished. It's an extended dodecahedron. I'm not crazy about the colors but it was just a prototype to see if I could actually make one. There's a very intricate weaving pattern that goes on with this but once you understand the pattern of the weaving it kind of falls into place.

I think, once I've worked out all the glitches, these will make great pendants and if I can make them small enough really nice beaded beads. There seems to be no end to the things you can do with dodecahedrons and if I don't restrict the size and do sculptures it could really get interesting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bead Dreaming

I'm considering entering Bead Dreams 2010. Kind of a scarey thought, as I think that's the ultimate in bead competitions but, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I have a couple of ideas about what I'd like to enter and at $30 for one or two entries it makes sense to enter two. I have four months to the deadline, plenty of time to make something or two somethings though at the moment neither of the ideas I have are jewelry. Interesting.

I am almost finished with the JOGS competition piece....just three more components to make(I'm waiting on beads) and then it all comes together. I'm also trying to decide what designs to put into kit form in case I actually won the JOGS competition as there is hardly anytime between them announcing the winner and the show. Part of me thinks if I am prepared I probably won't win but if I'm not prepared.....I just might, I attract stressful situations!

After class last night I came home and researched fabric beads. I was surprised that there wasn't more of a selection out there, it seems everyone is making them the same way three ways. At least it gave me a place to start when designing my own fabric beads. I plan to teach one type of bead making a month next year. We'll start with resin cabochons, and then move on to polymer beads, wire beads, paper beads and fabric beads. The goal is to add a more personal design element to our jewelry.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Birthday Surprise

Yes, I turn another year older today, but I got a nice surprise this morning when I found myself featured on Beading Daily's Facebook page.

Yesterday I was released from the confidentiality agreement for BeadStar magazine. This is a competition I entered back in May and I won first place in the glass category but had to keep it a secret until the magazine was published. Though it might not hit your newstand until December 8th BeadStar has been available in some places for about a week.

My design, "Spring Flowers", was something I came up with when trying to translate daisy chain, a bead weaving stitch, into wire wrapping.
The tricky part was getting the wires to end where they needed to be to make the connecting loops.
Now, it would be a real birthday gift if my prize arrived today....a $500 gift certificate to Beadaholique
It's been an interesting year. Finances have been up and down, mostly down, but I think that's natural when you take on a new venture. I have learned a lot and achieved a fair amount....published in three national beading magazines, starting a bead society, have my beading in a gallery, collected a great group of bead students & started this blog. If I make as much progress in the coming year I'll be very happy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bead Artists Who Teach

Something Cyndi Daniel of Jewelry Tales said to me the other day has been brewing in my mind. She said there were two types of beader the ones who share and the ones who don't. This was in regard to teaching, doing tutorials, selling patterns, etc. Cyndi creates some fabulous beading designs inspired by lace and she sells her patterns at her Etsy store. She also sells the rights to sell her designs with her patterns and I have to say she's the first designer I've come across who does this, and all she asks is that you don't mass produce her work.

So, basically the two types of beaders are the ones who never tell how they make things and keep what they learn to themselves and the ones who do share. The latter tend to be about spreading the knowledge, keeping the techniques alive, stimulating others to create. Cyndi and I are both lovers of lace and are very aware that lacemaking is an art we really have to keep alive. Someone who is doing a good job of this is TotusMel over at Etsy who is a tatter extraordinaire and featured on The Beading Gem's blog today.

Though I do tat lace I haven't done anything more than edgings, however I also crochet lace and pictured are a few cufflettes I've crocheted. I love cufflettes, they are so fun to wear and dress up simple clothes to make them special. The last one is actually beaded, it has hundreds of crystal AB seed beads worked in. I haven't taught crochet but I do sell my patterns.

I'm going to make Tuesdays "Teacher Tuesdays" and feature someone who is out there working hard to spread the knowledge. Support the teachers out there, like Cyndi and TotusMel, by buying their patterns, learning a new technique and passing that knowledge on.