Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where does the time go?

I'm having that feeling of not being able to keep up with everything going on.  Things start to pile up and then I get disorganized and that always slows me down.  I need to spend today just organizing and making that ever important TO DO list.

The things that threw me out of step were the custom order (the buyer is staying at one of the local spas and leaves on Sunday). I figured I'd give her a couple of choices and this is the first, or part of it. This one has a hematite cab and rounds with black diamond Swarovski bicones. The second has a Swarovski jet rivoli with dark grey pearls and jet bicones.  I also am having to make my first one from a given ring size....quick lesson on ring sizes for me:)

I'm still stressing over beads not arriving. I even jumped one up to's always the beads you need by a certain date that seem to get hung up in the works. And of course when a bead arrives and is a completely different color from what it looked like on the computor screen...I've resorted to praying that the replacements get here on time. And I thank the Lord that my students are understanding.  Getting back into kitting takes time and money but I'm hoping I have everything I need now for all the projects coming up in  April, May and maybe even June.

I have a couple of kits left for my Ridges bracelet in the colorway shown, it's one and two-drop peyote stitch, perfect for the beginner.  I'm offering them at the crazy price of $25, first come first served. 

Now I better get that to do list written and see if I can make some progress today.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WoooHooooo!!!! I'm a winner!

How exciting!!!   I won the "Sisterhood of the Travelling Beads" giveaway.
For any of you who don't know about this, Heather Powers of Humblebeads, Art Bead Scene blog and the Bead Cruise blog generously packed up about $200 worth of her stash and is sending it on it's travels.  The deal is if you win it (like I did) you get to rummage through, take what you want and replace it with what you want (approximately the same value) it becomes a fresh stash each time.  You take pictures of the new stash and run the same competition on your blog. Thanks Heather for an amazing and generous idea!!

I am thrilled to pieces and can't wait to rummage through the box of beads, and just as excited to add to the box.  I plan on bringing in the ladies of Dixie Bead Society to share in this event so it looks like we have the makings of a bead party. 
This is a sample of some of the beads.
So, stayed tuned for more on this when the beads arrive.  I'm already packing beads up to replace what I take.

I also got the surprise that I had won some of Heather's beads on the Art Bead Scene blog.  It's my lucky day.

On other fronts, I got a call from the Datura gallery that I had a custom order and I'm about half way through with that.  I also showed them the line I'm working on as an exclusive for the gallery and they really liked it, YAY!  Being in the desert South Western is the 'thang' so I've designed some polymer beads with that in mind (the Rio Grande ones) and put them together with bead version of fusion.

I'm scrambling with bead orders after one order came with the wrong color looked a lot more green online! Don't you just hate that.  It seems Artbeads are extremely busy heads up and know they make take a little longer to ship out right now, they are usually super quick and we tend to get used to that.  I upgraded to Express to make sure mine got here on time.

I've accepted that I will not have time to finish a second entry for Bead Dreams...kinda makes the title seem correct....some of my Bead Dreams were just that. Oh well, let's hope the one entry does well. 
My first class at the new bead store went well and I've been getting a lot of kudos on my patterns. I'm kinda getting back into the groove of kitting but I had forgotten how much time ordering and packing takes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bead Dreaming

Over on Marcia's blog yesterday she posed the question as to whether very accomplished bead artists and teachers should be allowed to enter the Bead Dreams competition because it sets the bar too high for everyone else.
As many of you know I enter lots of competitions and have done very well, so far.  Bead Dreams is, I think, the biggest bead competition in the world and so the bar is set VERY high!  The floral bouquet pictured here was a grand prize winner a couple of years ago....yes, those are beads.  "Early Summer Wedding" by Miyuki Sugimura, Hiroko Toda, Masako Kato, and Akemi Hara inspired me so much and made me set the bar higher for myself.

I'm entering Bead Dreams for the first time this year and I know what I'm up against. Should that stop me? Hell no!
What it does do is inspire me to stretch my skills, work hard and experiment....all good things.  There are lots of smaller competitions out there to enter if you feel intimidated by this one and I do encourage people to enter competitions.  But we, as a beading community, need a competition like Bead Dreams to set the bar high and show just what you can do with beads. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A New Facebook Friend

I had a friend request on Facebook the other day and with a quick look at her profile I knew this was someone I'd love to have as a friend.
So, let me introduce Linda L. Jones from Halifax, NS.  What made me think she was so cool? Well, firstly she beads, duh! Secondly, she works with polymer, yay!  And thirdly, anyone who quotes Leonard Cohen is way cool in my book.

One of the things I loved about her beaded jewelry were these fab earrings....what a cool take on a Russian leaf!

And here are some of Linda''s beads ready to cure... some very nice canework going on!

You can see more of this lovely lady's work on Flicker.

A really interesting thing Linda is an uncanny red (correction to my previous word 'dark' though red is defitely darker than blonde blonde)haired version of my friend Annabel .  I have to get pictures side by side because they look like twins.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'll wake up any minute now or I may need more coffee

Having just looked at 56 pages of designs over at the Art Bead Scene blog, thinking I was looking at the entries for the Margie Deeb color challenge and seeing black and white designs, fried eggs, and lots of red I wondered "did these people read the rules?"   Then I realised I hadn't seen my entry.  So...yeah, you guessed it I was looking at the wrong challenge.
Sometimes I need a slap up side of my head.

And now I can issue a huge "PHEW!" Because I did not stand an ice cube's chance in hell amongst the 1,576 entries I was looking at.  There is still hope.

I finally finished the Russian Lariat (all 45" of it) which I'll be teaching next month and the beads for the kits just arrived.  What fun to have big bags of beads to dip one's fingers in.

I also had my first class with Suzanne about taking a weight off!  It was back to a normal size class but having Suz there to help me teach just felt so much easier than stressing about getting around to everyone and giving them the help they needed.  The class at the new bead store is next Saturday and I have some sign-ups but nothing big enough to need help yet.  

This weekend I'm working on one of the pieces I plan to enter into Bead Dreams....I had a lot of work done on it but, I decided I didn't like some of the out they came and now I'm reworking it.  It would be nice to have it finished this weekend so I can just think about the second entry which isn't even started yet.  We're off to Vegas on Monday to bead shop and I plan on picking up some beads for the second project then to add to what I already have.   Then it's get all the regular work done in two days and bead my butt off to get the entry done by the deadline.  I'm also fighting the fears I have with entering such a huge competition, lots of "who do you think you are?" type things floating through my brain.  Self doubt sucks.  I should spray paint "I'm a winner" all over my studio walls except my brain would just go "Yeah, right!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mystery Continues

When Coolmoon suggested varicite I thought we had it!  I was all psyched....looked at lots of images of varicite and gee.....I'm not sure. It would make sense that it's varicite as so much is found locally (I'm in Utah) but I just don't see the graininess.  Thanks Coolmoon...but I don't think we're there yet.     I have stopped working on the necklace as I want to see if I can find some matching beads when we're in Vegas on know, you get an idea as you're working on something and it makes you change the design.

I did finish a necklace last night, this one with some of my Rio Grande polymer beads. I'd been waiting for a lighter turquoise size 15 seed bead to arrive and it finally did yesterday so I made the extra components and completed the piece. This is the first time I've made my own polymer clasp and it's fun to have it all match.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What a Cool Idea!!

Heather Powers of Humblebeads blog has this fabulous idea for a giveaway.  She's put together a box of beads which will be the Sisterhood of the Travelling Beads giveaway.
The idea is that this $200 stash of beads is sent to the winner drawn from comments made to her blog. That person gets to choose as much as they want from the stash then replace it with beads from their own stash, and do the same competition on their own blog with fresh pictures of the revised stash.
The goal is to see how long we can keep the beads travelling.  Fun, huh?

I have put forth the question of sharing a turn....given that the ladies of my bead society don't have blogs but would probably love to take part....we'll see if that's possible.

I really like the idea of linking with a bunch of beaders in this really gives one a sense of community.  Kudos Heather.

Ok....a puzzle for you.
I bought this fabulous green stone but we're not quite sure what it is....aventurine? some kind of jasper? If you tell.

As you can see, the mystery stone is on it's way to being a necklace.  It would be nice to know what the stone is before the necklace is finished and off to the gallery.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clay in Your Hair

As I was putting a barrette in my hair the other day I thought...gee, I should make something cool for my hair.  So this is the start.
I've named this collection "Rio Grande" because of the south western feel and it reminds me of train tracks. This is the out of the oven polymer stage, soon to be sanded, buffed and beaded. There will be quite a few pieces in this collection (heading for Datura gallery in Kayenta), in the works are two necklaces, some bangles, earrings, hair adornments and I may even add a couple of rings.  By that time I should be throughly sick of the design and ready to move onto the next thing.  But right now I'm enjoying myself.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Full to Bursting

Beading class last night was just that....overfull actually, I exceeded my limit of eight by two! Fortunately I had just enough kits.  Fabulous for me as a teacher but also tough because it spreads me a bit thin.  I had wondered how other teachers did it with 20+ students in a class and then I read that they have assistants. Brilliant!  Well...last night made me think, I need an assistant.
So, rather than have to limit the class and turn people away I now have an assistant.  Suzanne graciously agreed to take that position, her words were "when do I start?"  She is already testing my patterns for the magazines so it's an obvious choice and great fit.  Suz comes to classes but, seriously, she doesn't need instruction and I believe it's more of a social thing, so this should be perfect.  This is one of the pieces Suzanne made and asked me to photograph....I've been trying to get her to send me's a design by Lisa Kan. Suzanne sent Lisa the photo and Lisa loved the colorway she chose.  We designers do love to see what people do with our designs:)

She will be assisting me next week for the Corsage Bracelet...yay!  I just need to get the kit to her so she can learn it.
Weird but I feel all Bobby Flay...maybe because I watch him with his assistants on Showdown and can see Suz and I being the same way, because I love her input on colorways. 
Last night I ordered beads for some extra Corsage kits, the two pictured colorways are Topaz/Gold and Cobalt/Fuchsia. The other colorways are Lavender/White, Turquoise/Coral, Aquamarine/Lemon & Black/White plus a couple of extras as I play mix and match.

I'm not sure why there's been this sudden surge in my classes...though it does coincide with my new display in the store, maybe that's it.  My jewelry is also doing well in the new maybe it's just that I've paid enough dues obver the past two years and my hard work is beginning to pay off.
I have been wanting to do a little advertising of my classes but the last few have been so full I didn't dare.   Now I can do that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Get the Beads First!

As I'm trying to match beads to the clay ones I made I'm missing it...everything is a shade or two off.  This is what happens when you can't wait for the beads to arrive so you can make your clay match them.

Of course there is something easy to match to your own polymer beads......polymer clasps!
As I had to stop working on the necklace in progress last night because of color issues I thought I'd whip up a clasp to match it.  Well....I made too much so besides a couple of toggle clasps I also made this set.
I was smart this time....I designed the necklace BEFORE making the components...gee, an old dog learning new tricks.
I figure with all the beads I'm ordering to try match up to these something has to be right. I have visions of the folks at Fusionbeads shaking their heads as they send me a new order every other day. The trial and error of online shopping when you don't have a local seed bead source.

Suzanne was asking me how many canes I had and I was saying I'd bought a box that I thought would house all my canes with lots of room for you can see it's full already and there's even an overflow!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Waiting for the Buffer

This is how I spent my Sunday.  It's funny, you think "Oh, I'll just make a couple of new canes" and the next thing you know, you've made twenty.  I think we can see spring coming through in these new beads.  I've been doing a lot of translucent mixing and layering in search of that glassy look and lots of depth.  These beads were mostly experimental and I tend to make these long beads when I'm doing that.  I really do need to make some more cabochons as they look so good bezelled.
Last night saw me sanding and hand buffing these babies and I actually fell asleep buffing a couple of times.  They are bound for the electric buffer today and there's no chance of falling asleep with that noise!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


That's the theme, I think.  If any of you wondered about yesterday's question "Guess what I do next?"  This is it....I worked some of those gorgeous turquoise beads into a new colorway for my cabled herringbone kit.
It's just a touch South West.

After that I played with clay.

These were just experimental but, boy, did they turn out nice. I finally made the black and white stripey block cane I've been dying to do and I went crazy using it :) Today I need to get some laundry done and then it's back to smooshing.   The Clay Smooshers have the April clay challenge coming up and as I missed the March one I better make something for this one.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lazy Days

Well, just one....yesterday I woke with a headache and just generally didn't feel good (the bathroom saw a lot of me) so I decided on making it a lazy relaxing day.  I had managed to do a lot on Wednesday, including bathing the dog and dying the grey out of my hair, both things I planned for the weekend and was ahead of myself.
So, I spent a bunch of time (time evaporates when looking at beads) working out colorways for my kits and then put in my orders.
After that I settled in to make a few feet of St Petersburg chain which is actually a two-part class I have slated for next month.  After working on a lot of structural beading (did you know that's the subject of the book I'm working on? Anyone want to publish it?) like my Urchin Wings collar, it's refreshing to work on a simple and delicate stitch.  I do feel schizophrenic at times though because the two forms are so different.  My Dr Jekyll side is all about creating easy, very wearable and easy to learn beading while my Mr Hyde side likes to build crazy challenging pieces.  I'm actually having each of them make an entry for Bead Dreams....a competition within myself....yes, I know, I'll probably end up in a padded cell.

I watched the rerun of Project Runway.  Now that was my kind of challenge! The designers had to create a look which featured an accessory and they got to shop for materials at a hardware store.  I could have killed with that challenge!  Well...I might have been in the top three, that 'leather' outfit made from garbage bags was brilliant!

Before I went to bed I placed another bead order for all the things I forgot....that's why Artbeads and Fusionbeads were invented, right? Free shipping and no minimum....brilliant strategy and I love smart businesses.

Edited to add.......bead delivery, gee, turquoise is so pretty the should make it color of the year **grins and does a Snoopy happy dance**
Guess what I do next!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Knitted Beads?

Not really.....just some knitting techniques translated into beading.
This is my take on cabled herringbone, a class I'll be teaching next month.  It has really got me thinking though.  In a previous life, back in England, I was a knitwear designer and I can pretty much knit anything in any style. I know my background of writing knitting patterns really helped when it came to writing beading patterns but I hadn't thought too much about translating knitting patterns into beading.  Now I am.  

Herringbone is such a great stitch for doing cables and actually pretty something on a larger scale is processing in my brain right now and I'm itching to try it out.  I have a cuff in mind and I'm thinking it might look rather nice with my Urchin Wings choker.....which apparently is going to see a red carpet next!  My friend Annabel is working on a fundraiser which celebrates Gone With The Wind, her husband, Patrick, played one of the "Babies? I don't know nuthin 'bout birthin' no babies!" babies. The event comes complete with red carpet and is the perfect chance for me to wear the choker.....and a subtle, but distinctive cuff would be the finishing touch. All I have to do is get over my nerves for such social events.

Boy, did I have a full house at class last night!  Eight ladies including four new to bead weaving....the Dutch spiral wouldn't have been my 1st choice for their first class but I think they did ok. So many times people have a hard time in class and then come back the next week having not only finished the piece they started in class but with one or two others too. Once they get home and have some peace and quiet to concentrate (classes can get a little they find they actually did learn what I was teaching.

I really need to start taking my camera to class as three of my students brought in pieces they had finished and it was amazing to see my designs translated in their own's always a fresh look at my designs and often makes me think "dang! I can design".  When you see your work all the time it tends to seem nothing special and one of the things I love about teaching is seeing the color interprations of my students.  YAY! Ladies, you rock!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Worms, Rozanne, Worms!

I love that line from one of my favorite movies, Roxanne, and I'm reminded of it this morning as I woke very early and decided to get up an start my day....the early bird catches the worm. $1,000 Shopping Spree Sweepstakes

Speaking of catching something....catch your last chance to enter the Artbeads shopping spree which ends tomorrow, March 4th just before midnight.  Who couldn't use that?

I'm trying to start my days by writing a pattern each morning until I'm a full three months ahead.  I'm trying to free up a couple of weeks this month to dedicate to the Bead Dreams competition (deadline April 5th) as I have a couple of designs I want to enter and that's a fair amount of beading.  I'm still at the point of collecting the beads for the designs, though one piece is mostly done it still needs some more beads, which I'm thinking I'll get on our road trip to Vegas.  

I haven't managed to play with clay because of all this work....and then I also think.....I need to bathe the dog, dye my hair, do laundry, etc.  I'm giving myself the weekend off to do all these things...well, that's the plan anyway.

What would I rather be doing?  That's easy, I'd rather be getting ready for the Beading by the Bay retreat.....not in my budget this year *sigh*  However, if it's in yours I hear there are a couple of spots left.   And just look at these projects by the instructors, Marcia DeCoster, Jean Campbell and Maggie Meister.
Oh well, I'm putting it on my dream list for next year.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Non-beading Bead-In

We did'nt get any beading done at yesterday's Bead Society Bead-In but we socialized and shopped.  Sometimes it's just fun to get together without having to concentrate on the beading at hand.    With input from four of the core members of the society it was decided that we'll skip the joint bead order next month and do the Vegas road trip instead.  It seems I may be the only one (besides Selina who went with me once) who has been to Bead Haven in amazing bead store with some unusual beads as well as THE best selection of seed beads.  So, I know I will have fun listening to all the oooo's and ahhh's.

The gals got a sneak peek of the Russian Lariat I'm designing for next month's classes but were absolutely no help in coming up with different colorways....they all wanted the one I was working!  Thankfully I bought Margie Deeb's Color Report to fall back on.

Speaking of buying, Suzanne, Georgia and myself all bought polymer clay books which we plan on rotating, sort of like our own little library.  It really is stunning how polymer clay has evolved.  As soon as I got home I made lunch and proceeded to take the print off my book, Kato's "The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques".  How I stayed focused and didn't drop everything to play with clay amazed me....but I just have too much to do at the moment. One of those things was to sort the Bead Society joint bead order which finally arrived yesterday afternoon....YAY!  I'm promising myself that if I get all the work done on today's to do list by dinner I can play with clay tonight. Gee, no wonder I woke up so early this morning.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Firstly I wanted to show I can take decent pictures of my jewelry....and, boy, is ths piece fun to photograph!  This is the close up I sent in with my entry.
So, once I had the entry sent in yesterday I was jazzed and found it hard to sit down and do anything. I thought I'd earned myself a Sunday off and was going to enjoy it.  Well, I did enjoy it but my enjoyment came from designing a new lariat which I will teach as two classes in April.  It's nothing earth shattering just my version of a St. Petersburg chain and Russian leaves.  Sometimes it's difficult trying to put together classes with a time restriction of two hours because as we all know there are so many stitches that just don't grow that fast and to learn it you may walk out of a class with only an inch of beading to show for it.
I did get an interesting e-mail on Friday that may give me a spot to do some more advanced beadwork classes.  Apparently there is an Art Academy opening here in St. George and they will be having all kinds of classes for adults and children.  I wrote them back and I hope I get to meet them this week and chat about the possibilities.  I'd love to see a monthly workshop where we can spend six hours working on something.

Today we have our Dixie Bead Society Bead-In, which tends to turn into more of a chat-in...but at least beaders are getting out and being social.  We have our meet at the Starbucks in our local Barnes & Noble, they don't seem to mind, which is great because we get to peruse all the beading books while we're there.   The only bummer is that our FMG joint order, which I'm supposed to be handing out today got stuck somewhere between Portland and Salt Lake City and is now due to arrive this afternoon, whereas, it should have been here Friday.  Oh well, a watched kettle and all that.

I'm going to be a wild child today and not plan anything else...just let the day take me where it will, because lately I seem most productive when I try not to be.  Odd that.