Thursday, December 30, 2010

On the Chopping Block Today....

Well...not the chopping block....but hopefully these babies will be eradicated from the 'To Do' list today as I plan to have the tutorial done by days end.
Of course I have to remember how I made them :)

I am definitely ending the year with a burst of energy, getting lots done. I don't think I've ever been quite as prepared and organized in my work as I am now....I really think having the big white board as my 'To Do' list helps. It's so rewarding to see blank spaces appear as I wipe off each accomplished task.
The board was filled with everything I have to do through April so to see white space already is crazy...crazy good! If I keep going at this pace by mid January the board will be empty!

I also have my new day planner for next!
I get to schedule everything and be on top of it all....ok, so I admit, I'm a list maker. It's the only way for me to get anything list and my mind wanders aimlessly.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Waiting For Godot....or Someone

I feel like I've been away from the beads for ages and I'm still not feeling like I'm back in the swing of things yet.
It seemed like there was a lot to do for Christmas this year which is so weird because our family had agreed not to do gifts this year and we'd decided to have a more relaxed Christmas without having to prepare a big meal.
Our visitors were late...six hours late.....each day!
So...most of our Christmas time was spent waiting.
I've discovered there is nothing worse than waiting. You can't start anything because you may have to put it down any second, so it's hard to focus. I've also discovered Morganna, my muse, gets really bored waiting and as she doesn't have to stick around she takes off....who knows where she is, I just know there's a hole in my brain where she usually is.

Anyway....the piece I was working on before the wait set in is this piece.
I bought this stone about eight months ago, much bigger and heavier than I usually work's 2 1/2" wide.  The size was cool for doing a decorative bezel but boy, did I have a problem with the bail.
Creating the perfect bail for a piece is sometimes challenging and this was more than most. Such a large stone needed a substantial I planned on adapting a Nancy Dale trellis rope which requires a generous hole.
My first attempts looked too long and threw off the balance of the stone and I realised I needed to create a wide bail.
After a couple of atttempts I finally worked a piece of tubular peyote and echoed the bezel at the sides. A little tricky to attach but I was finally happy. Of course I could have made life a lot easier for myself by using the stone portrait rather than landscape...but I'm not known for making my life easy :)

So...pendant complete, on to the rope.
Nancy has created a sweet trellis rope and was kind enough to gift the pattern to me (you can buy it here) and this was the perfect project for it.
After playing with the design I opted to add a kind of beaded bead cap that, once again, echoed the bezel at each end of the trellis. This worked great and I was off and running...well, beading.
Then I got whacked up side of the head!
All of a sudden the center beads of the rope looked too blue to me.
I hate that!
I think I knew it from the start but thought because they would be in the center of the rope I could get away with it....and maybe I could. The beads do match the very darkest turquoise of the stone but I just think it would be better if they matched the lighter shades.

Anyway...the project got set aside. Still wanting to play with Nancy's rope I chose another stone, pulled out some vintage gold beads that matched it perfectly and started the rope first.
And then the wait set in.
My studio is now the home of two new UFOs. were your holidays?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Know Who I am Today

I'm a procrastinator.
Well...that's what I'm doing at the moment. I should be working on a Triquetra rope but I am so bored with it, this is my third in a month and I want to be working on new things. I think I may have the attention span of a goldfish...well, maybe a bit more than that.

The thing with seed beads and why I don't think I'll ever get bored with them is that there is no limit to what you can do with them. Fantastic for me, challenge-wise but it also makes me want to move forward continually so I don't really get long to enjoy my successes. I create something new or master a technique...say to myself "that's great, pat yourself on the back" then three beats later it's "what can I do now?"

I actually envy people who can create different colorways of who comes to mind is Leslie Frazier (her Spring Dreams shown here), seeing her designs in different colors at the bead show just made my jaw drop.
Gorgeous work enhanced by the different colorways she had and the thought in my head was "why can't I do that?"

The answer is I'm basically a Designer.
I'm happiest when I'm designing something new. does not matter what job I'm doing I will/have always managed to bring design into it somehow, someway. If I was cleaning toilets my design brain would be creating a new toilet seat cover or flushing mechanism.
I am also someone who likes to share knowledge so designing bead patterns and techniques which I can sell/teach is the right place for me to be.
So what I'm doing with my life now is incredibly fulfilling and right for me plus by finding some wonderful bead elves I am able to have different colorways even if I didn't bead them all myself.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Who Am I?

I am actually asking myself that question because things are going smoothly and I'm ahead of myself design wise.
Maybe putting up the big white board is helping , having to look at it all the time makes me want to be able to fill spaces in and cross things off.
I only have three spaces left to fill for my Pattern of the Week schedule which means I've designed and done the patterns into April....and it's only December!!!!

I actually found time to sit and bead a flatwork design....the inspiration for this one is Japanese kimonos...I've always had a thing for those embroidered satins. This one is called Kimono Royale and I should have the beading finished today:)

I'm not as far ahead with the tutorials....the plan here is one a month, though December will probably see two as I will be offering a freebie over on the Bead Maven's blog....we plan to do these once a month but they will only be up for three days, then you have to buy it. The perks of following the Bead Mavens :)

I've also been playing with a project I'm think of submitting to teach at Babe next will require more playing before I get it just where I want it. day will start and end with beading...with errands in between.
Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ridiculously Organized

Don't ask me how it happened cos I really don't know but somehow I have managed to plan at least 30% of my work for 2011.
And not just
Monthly tutorials designed and some written through July.
Flatwork designed, written and ready to go into March.

I guess my brain is just thinking ahead to the move and wants all the work to be done so I don't miss a step in all the upheaval.  And, of course, I do have a habit of changing my mind about things so some plans may be replaced.
But...I have to say I'm finally feeling the benefit of the revamped classes and thinking I may actually have time to write that book.
I have a few themes in my head for a book...or three, and that's a problem cos I'm not sure where I want to go first.

What would interest you the most....structural beading, Gothic designs or a book about components?

Other things....the past has crept into my life this week and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I'm up way too early today because I had a nightmare about past events stirred back to life on FB.  There are good memories but only if I leap past the bad ones and apparently my sub conscious isn't going to let me do that. you let sleeping dogs lie? Take the risk of them waking up and biting?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Do Lists

I'm not sure who's brilliant idea it was to create 'To Do' lists but they might want to duck about now.
So after a reorgnaization of the beading section of my studio I decided to drag out the big white board and make myself a 'To Do' list where I could see it. Typically I write my lists on various pads which I manage to lose in the rubble of my creativity.   I gave it a lot of thought...put in the schedule for my Pattern of the Week so I could keep track, added my class schedule with due dates for the prep and finally a general 'To Do' list for the monthly tutorials, shop displays and beading needing finishing.

A few hours later and I'm already a day behind....WTH??
So..I then had to think what I did last night that got me behind schedule ALREADY! was Morganna's fault....she decided to work on the Vernal Visions idea I have.  So I guess I have to erase any non-essential deadlines I've written because a certain contrary muse doesn't like deadlines.

I will say that looking at the board makes me think I am going to totally outdo my goals this year. I already have seven months of tutorials scheduled and eleven Patterns of the Week designed....and it's not even the new year yet. But I think I better get everything done as early as possible given we should be moving in the spring. will leave room for me to over's a personality disorder, but one of the better ones :)

Anyway...I'm sure the 'To Do' board is going to take some hammer but at least I can find it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Busy, Busy!

It's been a busy week full of new things.
We announced the new Bead Maven's Challenge....Vernal Visions!

I think we're all really excited about this one as there are so many ways to take it...and, we're really thrilled to have the new category.
"What's this?" you say....
Well...being teachers we know that everyone isn't at the level of designing a fully original piece and so they get excluded/scared away from a lot of competitions. We Mavens know from our own personal experience that challenges are one of the best ways to take a learning leap forward so we've set up a new category in our challenges.
Best Adaptation of a Bead Maven Tutorial/pattern.
Obviously, due to copyright it has to be from our tutorials but you can blend any of the Maven's tutorials, tweak and expand to comme up with your own variation.

I introduced a new thing to my Artfire store...Pattern of the Week.
As I now have some very wonderful beading elves to work up my flatwork designs it means I can offer more of the designs that swirl around in my head but that I just didn't have the time to bead. So, each Saturday there will be a new pattern featured and for that week it will be offered at 10% Off, $6.75 rather than the regular $7.50.
I put five new patterns into BeadTool yesterday all ready for my elves, Suzanne and Katie to bead up....I love my elves!!!  Suzanne even came up with a fabulous colorway for next week's Pattern of the Week, Chichen Itza.

I also created some new herringbone leaves and I'll be making that pattern available as soon as I write it. Ditto for the new rope which I haven't even named yet. I will also be writing a Basic Bezel tutorial for the Bead Mavens blog...this is a new thing we started at the end of last month with Linda's Bead Embroidered Brooch. The tutorials will be up for three days free to our readers and then they will be taken down and sold in our stores.

Always lots to do in the land of beads.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Would Someone Please Kidnap My Muse?

These are what got me up at 5am today.
Morganna was a-prodding, whispering in my ear to get up cos she had an idea.
It's not that I don't appreciate having an active muse, I do, really I do...but, she does not know when to quit!
As I was taking these photos she's now whispering...."wouldn't that look good as..." "wouldn't they be great in..." Grrrrr!!!!
I just need time to write the dang patterns.

Cindy and I were talking the other day about what our goals are and we both said we liked to do a new tutorial each month. That is a good pace.
I can also add in four new flatwork patterns in a month and still be at a relaxed pace.  But I swear I can't keep up with the pace my muse sets.

I know, I know, a lot of you are thinking I'm lucky to have such a problem but honestly, it's as bad as having a lazy muse but with less sleep.
I think my epitaph will read "Her Muse, in the studio, with too many ideas"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December? Already?

I say that because December always flashes by me but at least it's just December and not November as well, as it used to be.
For me November was the start of the 'expensive' period of the year, my Dad's birthday (but sadly, now he's gone), my ex-husband's birthday (he's not so sadly gone), Thanksgiving....then my grandfather's birthday (sadly gone) my birthday, my Mom's birthday, Christmas, New Years and my niece's birthday.

This year money is tight all way around so we're not doing Christmas gifts this as we haven't been thanked for last year's yet, some people don't deserve anything but a lump of coal. They sure don't deserve 'designed exclusively for them in their fave color jewelry'!!!!
I've been through this before and then I made a have a great gift but you have to come visit to get it....they were just an hour away and sometimes less...I learned to get gifts I could use because they never showed up. Since living with Mom I went back to sending gifts and not recieving thankyous....five years of it and it's back to the old rule, and Mom's with me this time.

I used to really enjoy Christmas...choosing gifts for people, wrapping them beautifully and it wasn't like I expected a gift in return...the joy was in the giving. But when you don't get so much as a thankyou it really sucks the joy out of it and leaves you feeling sad.

Next year we should be in California and there are lots of Christmassy things to do there, I'm hoping both Mom and I can get our Christmas spirit back by creating a new tradition, not sure what that will be yet...but I'm dang certain it will be fun.

I truly hope your Christmas will be fun, full of thankful people who are more thankful for family and friends than the gift haul.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What a Great Challenge!

I just have to say that I am thrilled with the response to the Bead Mavens first challenge. The Ice Queens are amazing and we are still haggling over the!  A really TOUGH job!

The winners will be announced tomorrow! And the Mavens are all excited!!!

We're getting ready to announce our next challenge, so keep your eyes open so you can get a jump start on it.  We'll be giving you a bit longer to create your masterpiece for the next one but it never hurts to start early!

I already have some vague ideas for my piece...but we'll see how it goes.

On other fronts...I should have some kits available for the Gothic Butterfly/Urchin Wings bracelet this week...still waiting for things to hangups.  I also have two new flatwork patterns almost ready for publishing....thanks to my bead elf Suzanne :) who beaded the designs up for me.

I do need to write up the new rope pattern too....though I want to work the stitch in flatwork too. So  much to do....always!
I did finish the first of my Angel Wings brooches last night...there's a red one coming too :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mrs Duell

Mrs Duell was a woman I hardly knew but who deeply impacted my life.

Back in my California days I was a temp and my agent used to sell me as a 'troubleshooter' so I got some interesting jobs, the most of which were working for companies who built theme parks. The Duell Corporation is one such company and they built/build theme parks around the world. Mr Duell was riding the ferris wheel in the sky but Mrs Duell was still with us.
At 92 she would still drive herself into the office once or twice a week, where she would go to her office and work on her computor (and this is 20 years ago). She would always be dressed very smartly, spend time chatting with people and was always interested in what everyone was working on and able to ask good questions and give informed answers.
My 'troubleshooter' job this time was to organize the chief architect who had now spilled out of his SECOND office. about unorganized, I filed things that went back 10 years....and he is why I never feel too bad about my mess.  They had booked me for a couple of months as they figured that was how long it would take but three weeks later I was done. They liked that, they liked me, so they gave me more areas of the business to 'troubleshoot and organize'. One of those things was the library which only could be called that due to books and organization! So, I Dewey Decimalized it.

When I finished doing the library, Mrs Duell came up to me and asked
"Is there a class I can take to learn how to do this?"
And at that moment she taught me a huge life lesson....if you keep learning you will stay young...well, your brain will. I believe if you stop learning you will grow old and wither away. I believe that the Font of Knowledge is also the Fountain of Youth...and Mrs Duell taught me that.

I have a lot of things to learn in the near future if I'm going to do what I want to do. I need to learn how to work a video camera, how to take good videos of myself....(no I'm not starting video dating), how to edit and create good videos. Because the new year will hopefully see some how-to videos for my beading projects.  It's a daunting challenge and why my thoughts are of Mrs Duell right now....she inspires me....still!

Now....if you're looking to learn something new here are a couple of suggestions:

You could pick up the latest issue of Beadwork and turn to page 76 and learn how to  make my Gothic Butterfly/Urchin Wings bracelet...and once all the delayed beads get here I will even have some kits available for them.

You could go over to NEDbeads and purchase Nancy Dale's very pretty Trellis Necklace Tutorial

Or over to GoodQuillHunting and buy Christina's stunning Venus Necklace Tutorial

Or how about trying a Net Options Bracelet by Jewelry Tales?

So....there you have some options to fill your Font of Knowledge.
Keep learning and stay young :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life Just Gets in the Way, Dagnabbit! it's been a while since I posted here...though I was keeping up with the Bead Maven's blog.
The truth is my life had hit a bad patch...familial issues..ugh! And if I had blogged it would have been full of whining, complaining, anger and I thought it best to just go bead and wait till the s***storm passed.

Fortunately for me stress seems to make me creative and I've ended up with lots of new designs and even TWO new rope stitches!  I'm not sure I can take credit for the second one as my muse, Morganna, is completely responsible....making it while my brain was on vacation and I was in auto-pilot mode.

Many of you have seen and even bought my new Triquetra Rope tutorial...and I thank you kindly :)  As you can see this rope is worked over a bead very easy and versatile.

I haven't written up the tutorial yet for the second new rope which is kind of oval, worked in three layers and has a chevron pattern...I love doing it in a few colors as it has a tweed look to it.

Of course I'm not the only one putting out new tutorials....Good Quill Hunting and I traded my Triquetra Rope for her Manja Necklace available to you in her Artfire store

Cynthia Newcomer-Daniel also has a new tutorial out....for her Ice Queen Bracelet!!  You can buy this one at her Artfire studio Jewelry Tales.

And I can't not mention Sandfiber's Blooming Bead tutorial...I think we'll be seeing a lot of Blooming Beads showing up everywhere...I may even have to jump in on this one myself. You can buy this tutorial here.

And if you don't feel like beading something yourself why not head on over to my Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale and scoop up a MAJOR bargain....I blame the bump on my head for these silly prices. You can tell all your friends I've lost my mind and they should shop before I find it :)

Hope you all are recovered from Turkey Day and didn't get trampled in the sales.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's Early, I'm Awake, Busy Day

It's pre-yard sale day...oh joy!

I'm heading out to the bead store to avoid the morning's mess and will do my part this afternoon.
One class to go before the craft store I teach at shuts down it's classroom so it can use it for storage of all the Black Friday and Christmas sales stuff.
I'll be using the time to work on the house to get it ready to sell and focus the business on new patterns, though my students aren't happy about six weeks without  beading class so maybe we can squeeze in an open bead.

I'm actually rellishing the fact that I'll have time to do some pattern writing because it always seems to get pushed on a back burner, not because I'm procrastinating, it's just that my design brain doesn't shut down and keeps churning the designs out faster than I can write.  My muse is an over achiever, what can I do?

 I do have a couple of nice ladies who are going to help bead some of the flatwork designs..I think I have at least six waiting to be beaded...and I could easily design six a week....the inspiration photos are stacked up!
I was looking at the work of some wonderful beaders this week and I have to say I get envious....they have each of their designs made up in a few different colorways, less designs but it looks like such a more relaxed way to do things than the frenzied way Morganna makes me work.
Maybe I need to weed.
Maybe I need to choose a few designs and concentrate on them.
Maybe I need to slow things down.
Maybe I need lock Morganna in a closet.

A team of bead fairies would be nice.
A machine that translates designs directly from my brain into printable patterns would be nice, I'd even be willing to have an implant for that.
Or a little elf who comes in and tidies my studio each night, setting out the next day's work for me.

Wishful thinking...thinking full of wishes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Day to Vote

If you can you should go vote today.

I say "if" because I'm not one of those who can....not an American citizen.  I hope to day...when I can afford the time and the money. I'm still recovering from the huge amount it took to to spend two years without income and huge legal fees all for a five minute interview to reinstate the green card I'd had for 16 years which was suspended because of a form that wasn't recieved (the ex was given it to mail). That coincided with my wanting to claim unemployment after being laid off my job of ten years. Hmmm.....

Water under the bridge...another hurdle in my life jumped.

I'll be honest and say I'm not sure the whole political system works, it seems to have come down to "who has the most money wins". The shame of it being that the big money comes from big business who want to sway politicians to vote on bills in their favor. And I'm not talking about one party or another, I'm talking in general.
I think some politicians start out with the right intentions but it takes a very high integrity to avoid the pitfalls of Washington and as we see constantly an integrous politician is something of an oxymoron.

I'm not sure there's any fix for the problems the world is in...there's certainly no quick fix, no easy fix.  And four years is not enough time for any president/leader to turn things around, I don't care who he/she is.
There is one thing that would really help turn things around....and that's working together, stopping all the fighting, name calling and nastiness, for the parties to stop behaving like street gangs out to take the other gang down....lord, they even have colors.

There is one thing about taxes I will say.....
anyone with an off shore account used to avoid paying taxes should be taxed heavily for that account. If you have money you can afford a high priced tax attorney to find you all the loopholes so you can get away paying less tax...and we all know they do.
If you're making $1000 a month 1% of tax nets the IRS $10, and if you're only making $1000 a month that $10 buys you the gas/busfare to get to work, it may be nothing to lots of folk but it can mean surviving or not to some.
And what can that $10 do to help the economy? Buy some government official a couple of lattes on their expense account?
Now if you make $1 million a month (Charlie Sheen reportedly makes $2 million an episode of Two and a Half Men!) that 1% becomes $10,000.
$10,000 is a number you can actually do something's almost enough to cover a year of government assistance for a disabled person.
And will that $10,000 affect the life of the person paying it? Well....they'd have $990,000 left so I think they be able to make that mortgage payment, and put gas in their car....all their cars!

As for the people who say they deserve to make millions for their job I challenge them to work for a month as a CNA and live on that wage and then tell me if they work harder, have a less pleasant, more meaningful job that deserves so much more reimbursemnet...because I doubt you could pay those people enough to do that job....and they'd probably pay to get out of it. point is, we live in a screwed up world and there's no quick fix.
If we all cared about our fellow humans enough to not want them to suffer and struggle...and were willing to step up to the plate, to forego our luxury needs to help someone meet their basic needs there might be a fix.

To some helping the less fortunate makes them a Good Samaritan.
To others it's called Socialism. my soapbox...go vote!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Professional in PJs

As I sit here this morning in my jammies, unshowered and even the hair unbrushed, sipping on my morning latte I don't exactly feel like a "professional" person.  However.....when I click on the new website created for the Bead Mavens by Nancy Dale and her hubby I feel decidely professional and I get all tingly.
Click on the logo to go to our new website and see for yourself :)

To see a dream come into fruition is an amazing thing and I am certainly thrilled to be part of a group who are as into making things happen as I am.
We have a forum, a blog and now a website which we all hope will get the word out there not only about our work but about this artform we call beadwork.
It's great to see the membership of our forum grow, to be able to help other beaders when they have a question and to inspire people with our challenges.
We are getting great support for our challenge and the prize list is growing, regular sponsors are Kandra's Beads and Artbeads with independent bead artists rounding out the prize list with their own wonderful work.

This has proved to me that if you have a dream and you're willing to dedicate yourself to it, work really, really hard and have the courage to reach out to others you can make your dreams come true.  Success doesn't happen overnight, nor does it come knocking on your door and you don't get to sit back and put your feet up at the first sign of success. When it does start to happen you need to work even harder to keep it.
Will everyone cheer for you when you are successful?  A lot will, but be assured there will be some that won't, some people will put you down, try to break your resolve and may even try to sabotage you.  Don't let these few stop you, stay focused, believe in yourself and go after your dreams.

Now I may have to go shower and make myself look as professional as Nancy has made me feel....thanks Nancy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Respect in a Changing World

This one isn't about beading at all it's about respect and free speech.

I've been more and more disappointed, saddened and just plain angry about how the flag "free speech" is being used to disrespect people.
I don't really tie myself to one political party, because I've seen from the inside that 99% of politicians are pretty much all out for themselves, so when I say I'm liberal I mean it in the "tolerant, broad-minded" way.

I do believe that everyone has the right to their own long as it doesn't hurt or abuse others.
I have no problem with poligamy (I live in Utah) as long as it is practiced by adults, and children are not coerced or brainwashed into it.
I believe any adult should be able to love any other adult no matter the color of their skin, their sexual preference, etc. and I believe they should have the same rights.
I believe state and church should function separately...if Halloween or New Year's eve falls on a Sunday...celebrate it on that day...don't go changing it because of religion (Saturdays are apparently ok because Judaism is overlooked....yes, again I live in Utah where they celebrated the new year a day early because it fell on a Sunday).  For one religion to dictate to all the others in a state is very says, if you don't believe what we believe you don't count....and we live in a democracy?

That's just some of what I believe.
One thing that has horrified me lately is this anti-gay group picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers whether they are gay or not. This idea that God is killing soldiers because America is 'tolerant' of gays is so offensive it makes me want to scream.
You can tout free speech all you like as you diss someone's opinions on their Facebook wall but if you were burying your son or daughter killed while fighting for their country and you had a bunch of protesters disrupting the funeral I have a feeling you might not be waving your own free speech flag.

Unfortunately technology has given us new issues about free speech and no conduct guidelines.  So here's what I think:

A Facebook wall is like someone's garden, if they support a particular political party they may post something saying the signs you see in people's gardens.  Now, I doubt you would go into someone's garden and rip out that sign, or deface it, or plant your own right next to it. You probably just shake your head and drive/walk on by. Maybe you go put your own sign in your own garden...that's your right and the right thing to do....that's free speech with respect. In the same away from that person's wall and go post something on your own...if they have you on their feed, they will see it and you're not disrespecting their space.

Likewise, don't go posting to people's walls telling them to vote...odds are that by being online they are fully aware there's a vote coming up if it applies to them....and people, someone from Indonesia does not need to know about your local elections....ask you care who is their mayor? not take it for granted that because you have someone's e-mail address that they believe/support the same things you do. Realise they may actually believe/support the exact oposite view...and that they have every right to do that. They do not need your e-mail in their inbox spouting things against their belief....that's just antagonizing. say, "but I don't know what they believe in"...then you don't know them well enough to push your ideas onto them.  Ask them if they mind recieving info about such and such...and if they say yes, they do mind...respect that.

It seems the more technology we get the more respect dies unless we stand up and fight for it.  As those who know me know...I barely use my phone anymore. I turn it off.  I have a cell phone for my convenience, and if I need to use it, I do....after considering if it will be convenient for the person I'm calling to recieve my call.  It became obvious to me that I wasn't given the same consideration, hence my phone got turned off.  Contact me by can always ask me if I have time to talk on the phone...and if it is....hey, I'll call you....but expect my # to be hidden because I no longer give it out.

Now if you are reading this and thinking "she's talking out her butt", I respect your opinion, please just leave an "I disagree" comment and then go to your own blog and write your own opinions there....because my blog is also my garden.....and I weed it :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aspen, Ice Queen

Completed the challenge tonight so thought I'd post tonight instead of tomorrow.

I'll have to take some photos in daylight
to really show the AB crystals.
I'm really loving the new rope and dying to do it in some more photographic colors :) It's actually triangular with a pearl core, and weaving on the edges.

I'm going to be teaching the icicles next month as a Christmas ornament...they would make a great gift decoration too.
The largest icicle measure 3.5"...they look a lot larger in the picture.

Anyway...there she is...enjoy:)

Frustrations to Freaky Happy Dance

Last night was one of those times when things turn around on you in a good way. I finished the focals for my Ice Queen and began working on the 'rope', now I had a couple of ideas in my head for how this was going to go. I knew what the base was going to be for the rope, pearls, but wasn't sure which of the two ideas I would use for the second layer.

Well....the first idea didn't work...hated it!

Onto the second idea....hated it more!

Yes, I was muttering curses, a mantra of s***, s***, s***!
I start thinking of options..not a lot if I still want the base I had originally I think...simple spiral??

Well...maybe....but my focals are spiral...that would be spiral overkill.
And so began the designers mantra of "What if.....?"
What if I blended idea #1 with the simple spiral?
What if I started the next section here rather than there?
What if this strand went there?
What if I went through that bead?

The result? A brand new stitch!!!
YAY!! Snoopy Happy Dance around the room.

Sorry...can't show you yet...and plugging my ears so I can't hear you scream "tease"!, can't hear you!

All will be revealed soon when the tutorial is written and in my stores I have bills to pay after all.
And to top it all, I woke this morning with a variation or two of the new rope that I'm dying to try...I love when a stitch offers lots of variations.

I had taken a break from trying to design new stitches and relaxed with the design and work up of Tornado....obviously it was a good choice. Sometimes you just have to stop trying too hard!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I don't know if it was the storms we've been having lately or what but the latest flatwork cuff definitely made me think "Tornado".

I got the inspiration for this one from one of my polymer beads, it just seemed like it would make for a nice fabric design.

Of course, now I want to do something with the original bead as a focal.
A designer's job is never done.
The pattern for "Tornado" should be in my shops today or tomorrow if you want to make one of your own....if I had time I'd love to make this one up in the colors of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

But....the extra crystals arrived for my Ice Queen challenge piece so that is on the beading board today.

Happy Tuesday everyone...and I hope you have time to bead today :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One Day You're In...The Next, You're Out!

No...not talking about Project Runway, I've been pondering what happens when beaded jewelry goes out of fashion, when no one wants to learn it or buy it anymore.  Doing this for a living one has to think about that.
As I've been beading twigs lately I'm reminded of my desire to sculpt with seed beads and produce bead art that isn't necessarily wearable.

I found an English artist who definitely creates seed bead sculpture that isn't wearable....her name is Liza Lou and she's gonna make your jaw drop!

I can't imagine how many seed beads these took...or how long.
I love the cage!
I don't see me getting this carried away but it sure is inspirational and gives me hope for after people don't want to learn or wear seed beads....which hopefully will never happen, but, I was a Girl Scout who got kicked out for hanging with the Boy Scouts so I believe in "Be Prepared".

Now...who's gonna complain about how long beading takes???

Friday, October 22, 2010

Um...Let Me Rethink That

After being informed that the craft store I teach at does not want classes from the middle of November through December because they want to use the classroom for storage I needed to rethink what I would be teaching.

After giving them a glimpse of the Ice Queen components last night the drooling convinced me that I would teach the components on a larger scale to be used as Christmas ornaments.
Last year I taught a really large version of a beaded bead as an ornament and everyone loved it so hopefully this class will be as popular this year.

As I'll be writing a tutorial for this I will also make it available in my stores :)
It also means I'll be cranking out the Ice Queen necklace so I can do the big reveal before I launch the tutorial.

Also with things being quiet teaching wise for a while I'll be able to get to writing the stack of tutorials I haven't had time for so watch out for some fun new things to make....including some new snaps designs :) The Lentil Snap and The Dagger Snap should be in my stores soon.

I'm also looking at making video versions of my tutorials...there's always something new to learn out there.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ahhh...ahhhh...Armature! Gezuntide!

It seems that when I mention the word "armature" people get curious annd start calling me a tease. Moi???? Lol! I am known for not being able to keep my trap shut.....unless someone requests a secret be locked in the vault.
When it comes to beadwork, well, the teacher in me wants to share and inspire and I have a hard time not showing things in progress.'s a teensy snippet of the latest armature piece I'm working on.

This is a hard armature in that it doesn't bend hence being wrapped in wire to give it strength.  The base of it is curly willow twigs, cured and painted with layers of latex (body paint type latex...I just happened to have some but I think Tool Dip would work too) to keep them from being too brittle and then wire wrapped to protect againt breakage.  By the time you have the beading around them done they are actually quite durable.
I could have just used wire but there's something about working around a piece of nature that makes me prefer the twigs.
Now...beading around these is time consuming and not this is not for the faint of heart or those short in the patience department.

I can't tell you what it's going to be cos that really is a surprise.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beadus Interruptus!

Hard to get anything done for the last few days with visitors in the house.
It's amazing how much time you lose when certain people come for a day and a half....I figure I've lost five days of work!
The only thing I've been able to sneak in and settle to do is a few components for the Ice Queen's a sneak peek.

  I'm keeping the major components under wrap until the big reveal so you'll have to wait for those.  A certain Maven panicked when I said I'd run out of crystals after ordering!  It's amazing how fast you can use those babies up in my secret components and I really didn't think it through enough.

Working totally in white is tough for me, not the designing aspect but seeing where the thread goes...give me black any day!
I have been thinking I'd like to do this piece in black and call it "Black Ice", much more something I would wear as white says wedding to me. My working name for this piece is "Oksana" after Peter announced his as "Svetlana" before!  I guess we both relate icy and pretty with Russia.  However, the white wedding thing has me thinking "Aspen Wedding" or just "Aspen".
I'm sure it will scream it's name at me once it's finished.'s off to play catchup for me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let Me at Dem Beads!

Saturday my brother and his partner arrived to help us empty the attic and get some things ready for a yard sale so there were lots of errands to run in preparation for their arrival so the only beady thing I managed to do was lay out the newly arrived beads for my Ice Queen challenge piece.

Today I'm still looking at them on the board dying to start beading them and boy, has it been hard not to ignore everyone in the house and retreat to my little beading corner.  Today I shall be able to start beading :)
I'm really happy to be using some of the vintage Swarovski rivolis I bought from Kandra's Beads at the CCBS bead show, they are perfect for this challenge.  Sometimes buying things that aren't on my 'Need' list works out really well, other times....well, I still haven't touched a bunch of beads that I got when the ABC bead show was in town. Though, the wonderful Nancy Dale sent me a tutorial that gave me an idea for some of them :)'s Monday and it's back to beading for me. I hope you get some time to play with your beads today too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Rubus Autumnus"

So I finished the first Maven to Maven challenge which was an Autumn inspired piece.

I'd started this piece a few weeks ago before we had put the challenge together but it just seemed like the right color scheme for Autumn and as it was still in the beginning stages I let it tell me how it wanted to turn into something for Fall.
The freeform strands reminded me of the twisted stalks of the bramble bushes I used to pick wild blackberries from as a child in England. So it set me off with the challenge to design a tiny leaf that would really make the piece say "brambles".

I confess to getting way carried away with the making these little babies, and I actually had to prune the brambles :) I like how the pearls say "berries" without having to look exactly like a blackberry, though I put a couple more like blackberries in the front fringe.

Working a freeform necklace was way different from making a freeform cuff.
The whole approach was different and required more planning...planning a freeform seems like an oxymoron but that's what it took.  The focal cab and the clasp were done first and then basic strands to connect everything so it was the correct length. I worked with the piece on the neckform to make sure things were evenly balanced and definitely recommend this technique.

For more pictures head on over to the Bead Mavens Forum
Two more challenges in the works the Bead Mavens "Ice Queen" challenge and GoodQuillHunting's "Haute Couture" challenge.

It's a challenging time of year :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

A-pondering I Shall Go

I have an idea for an entry into the Haute Cuture contest....but I'm pondering how to go about it. It will require an armature and I am contemplating whether it should be wire or something else.  I am very tempted to do the something else because it's something I haven't done before.
Yes..I know I'm being enigmatic but I hardly want to spill my guts and have someone steal my idea.  So this might not even be the picture I'm inspired by :)

So...the pondering continues.
Do I play safe or dangle myself off the cliff? personality type tends to go for the dangle.

It makes me wonder how other designers deal with these kind of they play safe or take a chance?  Is the sale more important than the creativity? 

I'll have to go hunting today and see if I can find the something else.
If you like contests and challenges you should head on over to the Bead Maven's blog and check out the Ice Queen challenge:)