Saturday, May 29, 2010

Just When I Could Have Used Cheering Up

Not a winner, not even a honorable mention.

I thought I'd check the Rings & Things contest this morning to see when the results were due to be published and was surprised to find they were already up.  Congrats to all the winners, some very nice work.  But still...I am disappointed on this one, I really thought my Urchin Wings choker deserved a honorable mention at least.  Oh well!

I could have used some happy news as I'm down with the blight....not sure if it's a summer cold, allergies or just the physical ailments that go with depression, but I've hardly had any energy for a week and even had to cancel class.  I'm resting a lot but sleep is playing hooky and I am finding it hard to stay focused which is really weird for me as I lean towards the obsessive side.

I did manage to find the energy to pick up my car (20 minutes of driving and then in bed for the rest of the day) which is now fixed and running that's a good thing.  The bad thing is I've only managed to do about 15% of what I normally get done in a week and I'm exhausted, I feel old and worn out. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In Between Naps

Yesterday saw me recovering from a bad migraine so lots of naps but in between the naps I did manage to bead a Carol Dean Sharpe design I purchased from her Etsy store, Sandfibers.  This is her Cactus Blossoms design done in my colorway...which Carol noted was Christmas colors, lol, I never saw that.  Anyway, Carol's work was one of the things that inspired me to take up beadweaving and she has to be THE guru on flatwork designs.  This one made up very quickly as it's a symmetrical and mirrored design....meaning once you have a quarter of the pattern learned you can rock it out, in fact I just printed page five (the first pattern repeat) and that gave me all the info I needed (though there are another ten pages if you need them including a word chart).

It was actually a nice break to make up someone else's design....not to have to think about teaching it or transferring it into a saleable pattern....just a nice relaxing busman's holiday. Plus something I get to keep for myself as being in business it's hard to keep something you make when the sale of it could pay a bill or two.  So, thanks Carol, for the design and the inspiration.

Today sees me feeling a little delicate but migraine free so a nice easy day is planned before tackling the project of getting my car fixed tomorrow.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Did someone say Earrings?

Apparently I'm riding the same wave length as Marcia DeCoster again because we're both on an earring kick.
These red babies came about yesterday when I was playing with the curved peyote tube beads.  They's simple, but as Suzanne said last night...they're not too blingy for wearing to the market.  Everyday earrings!

Today I'm back with car issues.  Last night I went to get in my car to go to class and a dead battery again.  So, today it means a jump start and off to the dealership for them to find out what's wrong with it....obviously the battery isn't holding a charge, maybe it will be as easy as a new battery.

Watch this space as I plan on getting the Sisterhood of the Travelling Beads going this's finally reached the top of my ToDo list.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Ok... I've only had a couple of sips of my morning latte so the naming ideas for these earrings may be changed once the caffeine kicks in and I fully wake up.  These are the bead caps based on my Urchin Wings component using my own technique which translated incredibly well, if I do say so myself.  I'm toying with the idea of calling this set of earrings "Captivated" I think due to the bead caps and the hypnotic spirals on my polymer beads or it could be just that I haven't woken up yet.....what do you think?

I think these black bead caps have a pagoda feel to them and I am dying to find some red cinnabar beads to go with them....they take a 16mm bead, which is huge by my seed beading standards.  The caps actually look great with pearls but Swarovski's largest is only 14mm...I have some on order so we'll see how they work as the bead cap is sizedd down about as far as it will go without changing the shape.

Yesterday was very productive even if I didn't get everything on my list crossed off.  I got into problems with a peyote bead bracelet wasn't doing what I wanted it to.  I staged up to a larger bead which then did do what I wanted but I didn't like the look of it as much.  So that one is back to the drawing board....destined, I think, to end up with a new shape and probably becoming reversible.
I then started playing and came up with a rather cool looking curved peyote bead.....I doubt it's anything new, hard to come up with new things in beading particularly when it's rather simple.  Anyway, it has sparked a myriad of design possibilities and is a great component to add to my repertoire.  In fact, just in writing about it makes my brain become a merry-go-round of designs incorporating it.

Today is a class day so I tend to take it easy. I just have to label the kits and print out the instructions and attempt to make myself look decent.  The problem with working at home is it's so very easy to work in PJs and it makes me lazy.  I miss living in California and getting dressed up for fun parties, gallery openings and fund raisers but there's just nothing here I want to go to, the last event I went to the first question I was asked was where I lived and apparently it wasn't the right side of the tracks as it was pretty much the last question too.  Funny thing is I live on a golf course which is usually good!  Why did I leave England?  Oh yeah, to get away from the oppressive class system.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Productive Days

Don't you just love those days when you get to check off a bunch of things on your To Do list?  Yesterday was one of those days for me....making up for the debacle of Monday....ahh the Boomtown Rats had a song for that, "I don't Like Mondays".  Tuesday was a good day, I even managed to do laundry and cook a real dinner that even involved peeling!

The morning was normal with computer stuff, the afternoon saw me playing with clay and making butterfly canes, now ready to photograph for the July class schedule.  I didn't quite finish all the samples for July, and I'm realising it's because I think I should do a chain for the pendant and push the Urchin Wing bead cap earrings into August.  Funny how the work plans classes for you. If I do that then I have also planned half my classes for September....eeek!!  Can I really be THAT organized?
 I did make the beaded needlecase pictured, which is a class in August. It turned out pretty cool and I love that I managed to get the stripes to thin down on the ends, plus the little clasp...I love doing clasps.  Of course now I want to make a chain so I can hang it around my neck.

This morning I need to write a pattern, the afternoon should see me making the pendant chain (though that may require a run to the store) then this evening I hope to make the Urchin Wing bead cap earrings and get started on the August bracelet which is called "Spot On".

That will bring me to the end of this page on my To Do list....YAY!
Of course there's always another page ....or ten!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One of Those Days!

Yesterday was definitely a day I do not wish to repeat.
It started with being awoken by my mother banging on my door, apparently she had not slept well and when that happens she basically wants me to be awake too.  When asked she said she didn't want me to be late for my meeting?
So....I get my coffee and start my day.  The bead society has a group order in process and I have checks to pick I get into my car to run these errands and a bunch more and no battery is dead.  A couple of days ago I had put my MP3 player so I had all my music with me and I'd forgotten to unplug it.  Who knew that little thing could flatten a battery?
Ok...I've jumpstarted many a car in my life so biggie.
I get my moms car and hook up the jumper I attach the last connection to my car the alarm goes off and does not stop!  The remote doesn't stop it, putting my keys into the ignition and turning the car on doesn't and of course on top of the alarm screaming at me so is my mother.
She's decided to call my brother for his help.  Perfect, he's 300 miles away and knows nothing about cars other than how to fill the gas.
She's also determined to get any male neighbor over to help.  I hate playing the helpless female because I'm not and I'm trying to read the car manual and think about how to fix the problem but it's not easy when you have a crazy woman handing you a phone, talking at you and waving for neighbors. 
Something I know about myself....I'm great in a crisis...seriously, I keep a level head and go straight into problem solving and still have lots of compassion if it's needed.
Something I know about my a crisis you want her as far away as you can get her because no matter how bad the situation is she will make it worse.
I'm always reminded of that scene in the movie Roxanne where there's a fire in the trash can at the fire station and Steve Martin does his rant which includes "if there's a real fire we don't want people saying whatever you do DON'T call the fire dept".  When my brother and I were kids if we ever scraped a knee or cut ourselves she would turn away and say "Don't show me" definitely makes you self sufficient.

Anyway...I gave up with the car and call roadside assistance. They come out, jump start the car....with the screaming alarm (which my mother doesn't say a word about)....the screaming stops after the car has been charging for 15 seconds.
And then it was time for lunch.
The day got a little better but the bead order got postponed a week and then we put a small order of emergency items together to tide us over.  I did manage to finish the paisley cuff because my order came in from Artbeads...superquick this time...yay!   I didn't get much from my daily to do list done, the whole morning debacle had stressed me out no end and working out the bead orders took way too much time.

Today is a new day though.  So, I'm going to approach it with a positive attitude and attack that ever growing to do list thankful I had a productive weekend and that I have so much hair you can't even tell how much I pulled out yesterday.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Straight Off the Beading Design Bench

I've been busy this weekend trying to catch up and get ahead with my class schedule seems I constantly fall behind no matter how determined I am that I won't.   I sat down on Friday and designed projects for the next three months and then started working on the samples.

This one started out to be a pendant or brooch project but it decided it wanted to be reversible which kind of takes the brooch part out of the loop.
I wanted to do a Rio Grande pendant so each side of the bezel is based on a cane used to make the beads.

I was also asked recently if I ever taught earring classes and I realised it's been a while since I did any earrings so....these are my Little Lantern earrings. They actually have 22 Swarovskis in each earring so the sparkle is fabulous even if it doesn't show it here.

Last week I taught a freeform peyote class which involved a lot of size shifting but in a very random manner which freeform I thought I'd teach a class on structured size shifting and designed this Zig-Zag Ruffle Cuff, and was designed to fit into the Rio Grande collection.

I still have four or five samples to make to complete the schedule through August but at least the projects are designed now.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mikki, where art thou?

I'm still here....just fighting my way to the top of the never ending, ever growing to do list. Have I been beading....yes I have and here's the proof.

I'm on a flatwork kick. After making the Rio Grande cuff (far left) I designed a Jacobean floral (the black and white) which will be a class in June and then it really took a hold of me.  I decided on a collection (or two) of flatwork cuffs....if the spotted one with the back and white border looks familiar to you then you probably know Donna Kato's polymer beads as I took that design from one of her beads on the cover of her book "The Art of Polymer Clay, Millefiori Techniques". The book was sitting in my bookstand staring at me and I couldn't resist turning a bead into a cuff after all that's how the flatwork got started when I turned my Rio Grande beads into a cuff.

I love flatwork and I think every woman should have a flatwork bracelet (or six) in her jewelry box as they are easy and comfortable to wear, often striking and move easily from day to night wear.

Anyway, my studio is full of graph paper with charts for cuffs based on Chinese paintings and symbols, Egyptian tomb drawings, traditional fabrics and tapestries, famous paintings and I haven't even started on Celtic knotwork yet (something that showed up in my quilts when I was doing that).
Some of the charts have made it to the computerized version and will be appearing in one of my online stores in PDF format as soon as each sample is made.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

S'Mothering Sunday

Happy Mother's Day.
It's a day to celebrate mothers....whether it's to celebrate a wonderful one or celebrate surviving a less than wonderful one.  So....give a gift or buy yourself one! And that's all I shall say on the subject!

I had a great day yesterday I spent a large chunk of it over at my local bead store, Wildfire Beads, hanging out with owner Lora. There's been a lot of road work around the store for the past few weeks and business has been slow but apparently everyone followed me there because she had a very busy day. YAY!
Lora was very happy with her new seed bead wall and so was I, finally we can buy 8/0s and 15/0s locally, not to mention a good selection of everything else.  It's not a huge selection but it takes time not to mention large chunks of money to build up your stock, and Lora is smart enough not to rush into huge amounts of debt in this economy.

I did meet the gal who makes the cabochons for the store and finally found out what my green mystery stone is....Varisite!   Mae of Benson's Lapidary and Jewelry Design actually ran home and brought in the slab my stone was cut from along with a whole box of gorgeous cabs.  Yeah, there were a couple I couldn't resist. One is a piece of fossilized limb where the skin is still visible....looks like a lizard.  Ok....some might find that a little creepy but it's such a pretty stone with amazing depth. It's probably going to end up in something I make for myself. I tried photographing it but it's a really tough one to capture.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great day one way or another.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about this lately, it seems to be jumping up and hitting me in the face so I figured I'd "talk" it out.

My name is Mikki and I'm a perfectionist...there, I said it.  Is it a good thing?  Well, I think for the most part it is but there is a point where it becomes overpowering and can be a drawback.  Perfectionists see imperfections in their work that no one else would notice with a microscope and by seeing those imperfections as bad they devalue their work and have a hard time sending it out into the world. 
I sometimes wonder if it's a control issue....other things in my life are out of control so I'll be super tight on quality control.  Or a fear issue....what if the imperfections in my work are a glaring window into my personal imperfections? I'm sure both those things are in the mix.
As I sit here I have one of Donna Kato's books in front of me and the super large photos of her polymer beads do show the imperfections on those beads.  The lines aren't quite straight, joinings show, symmetrical beads aren't quite symmetrical....  Does it diminish the beauty of her beads? Hell no! What it does do is tell me I'm being way too critical of those same issues on my own beads.
I think a certain amount of imperfection needs to be embraced, accepted and even glorified.'s a very little amount....I am a perfectionist after all. But I think we need to realise there will always be chinks in the armor because we're human and it's those chinks that give us, and our work, character and make it our own.
Striving for perfection is a good thing because it's better to fall shy of perfection than to fall shy of mediocrity but insistence on absolute perfection isn't healthy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In a Turquoise Frame of Mind

As you can see I'm still fascinated by turquoise and these are some of what I was making on Tuesday when I decided it was time to play with clay.
These haven't been buffed yet but they are sanded as you can tell by the Band-aid on one of my fingers...I sand the top off the same finger every single time.
I have started the necklace for the pendant but I am almost out of the shade of turquoise I need....time to take a trip out to Wildfire Beads, Lora has just got her seed beads in and I know she has some Toho Treasures.  Much easier to match colors in person.

My first day of double classes today.  First is a basics class on right angle weave, then a break before heading into "Monimia" my cubic RAW bangle.
Between classes we'll be playing with the Sisterhood of the Travelling Beads Stash.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Caterpillar On A Leaf

Another UFO completed yesterday, a caterpillar Dutch Spiral with a Dichronic glass leaf.....technically a leaf on a caterpillar.

The rest of my day was spent playing with clay and creating a new set of beads, with a pendant this time.  I sort of screwed up a bit when I did the layer of liquid clay on the beads before putting the holes in.  Hopefully all the resulting fingerprints will sand off.  I was already planning the finished piece for the pendant and started the beaded neckwire though I'm out of the right color Delica or the second part of it.

It's back to pattern writing today with some simultaneous laundry and bead baking.....errands might be good too!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Need Waterwings

Do you ever have those times when you feel like you're treading water and if you stop for a second you'll sink, never to rise again?
I'm struggling through one of those periods right now, just a bit world weary and in need of some really positive thing to happen. They say if you put out your desires into the world, the world comes through.  So, I'd really like to win the "Your Designs Rock" contest by Rings & Things. I'm visualizing nice fat checks with the right percentage split from the galleries and lots of sales at my online stores.

No, it's not all about money, it's about being able to take the pressure off for a couple of days and take some time to get centered and it's hard to do that with a pile of bills in front of you.

I guess you'd say a lot of the pressure is self-inflicted, well, muse-inflicted.  My muse is relentless, she fills my head with so many designs I don't know where to start sometimes and time gets eaten up just deciding which direction I want to go in.  There is also the pressure of summer....classes thin out as people go on vacation and that revenue has to be replaced somehow. 

Getting the Travelling Beads yesterday did make me feel good about my polymer beads, I don't get to see what others are creating, not in the flesh anyway, so I've never really had much to compare to.  In fact the only other PC beads I've actually had in my hands were Klews....and that's a hard example to measure up to.  Maybe I need to take some time out and make some beads today, get a good inventory together and then do a bead sale.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sisterhood of the Travelling Beads

They're here!

The huge stash of beads from Heather Powers arrived today.
A box full of wonderful little goodies including lots of Heather's own Humblebeads.
I chose a few items, some yummy khaki Delicas, a few copper face beads, three Humblebeads, a few seed beads, a few fire-polished and some findings.

I got carried away in the replacement part as you can see.

I added three of my beaded beads, a few of my own polymer clay art beads including a heart pendant set, some Delicas, some Maco tubes (tiny bugle beads), seed beads, Czech pressed beads, Indian beads, metal pendants, and some gemstone beads (Chinese Jade, Russian Serpentine and Green Agate).

Of course the ladies of my bead society are next and we'll be drawing numbers to see who gets to go first, second, etc....ladies wrestling over beads ain't pretty!

Once they have had their turn and I get all the new stash photographed I'll be running the Sisterhood competition here and you'll get your chance at the stash.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Things You Find

The studio got cleaned and reorganized on Friday, papers filed, beads tubed, sorted and packed away. Amongst the rubble I came across a few neatly packed UFOs. So my project for yesterday was to finish two of them.
The first is a necklace with some of my beaded beads....three grey, hematite and amethyst fat rondelles with four of my skinny disc beads and two bicones.  It's simple, a little bit sparkly, good to wear day or night.

The second piece was the mystery stone....still not sure quite what it is.
This had been held up because I needed just the right beads to match it and that meant a trip to Vegas. 
Simple, elegant and this shade of green is gorgeous. Though I've made lots of earrings before this is my first pair of stud earrings.  I did think I might have to glue the posts in....I hate using glue....but I didn't, the sterling posts are very securely beaded in.

I worked on another piece too and it grew a few inches, maybe it will be finished today.  I have a few more little packages of forgotten work and it's actually kind of fun to be able to see them with fresh eyes and then finish them so quickly.