Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cutting it Close

Actually I didn't think I'd make it but last night everything else got pushed aside so I could finish my "Your Designs Rock" entry, a competition put on by Rings & Things.   The deadline is midnight tonight which does give me all day to take some decent photos and fill out paperwork.  I took pictures late last night but I didn't do the whole set up and so pictures are not great....but here's a sneak peek.
Nope, it's not a crown, it's a choker. For those of you who have seen my Urchin Wings bracelet you will recognise the component.  My inspiration for this one....which as you can see, is not everyday wear....was Elizabethan collars (which I'm fascinated by) and my desire to create something that wouldn't look out of place in a Vogue photoshoot (my dream).
I designed it to be worn with hair up and bare shoulders and, boy, do I wish I had somewhere to wear it because it turned out exactly as I imagined it.
If you're counting....that's 20 Swarovski rivolis, 40 fire polished rounds, 20 Swarovski pearls, THOUSANDS of seed beads and LOTS of hours work!

The inner ring has bezelled rivolis suspended by fire polished rounds and sits against the neck, the urchin wings stand off the neck making lots of great negative spaces.  Can you tell I'm happy with this one? Lol!

Now I just need to be able show this piece to it's best in just three images, not an easy job given the depth and shine.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Busy Daze

But fortunately no sleepless nights.

The polymer clay class last night was so much fun, it's great as a teacher to hear your students coo over what they are making. Working on canes pretty much guarantees it though, as when you cut into the center of a newly made cane to see your creation for the first time....well, it's just a giddy moment.  To have students running around to show what they just made makes me one happy teacher.   I think the clay class will be a regular thing.

I finished the second sample of the corsage bracelet this morning and have been working on getting the class schedule online and into my store.  As you may notice you can view my class schedule here and then link to the class you want from there.   Everything in sync.  It's coming....order and organization.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mystery Flower

I was feeling in a bright mood when I started putting the flower bracelet samples together last night and opted to do this cobalt and fuchsia version first. (Dagnabbit...even after reading Rachel's post about spelling difficulties with the word fuchsia I still got it wrong...thank God for spellcheck....I'm sure that's not the real inventor but as far as I'm concerned he can wear the name tag).Anyhoo.....the flower started out as a chrysanthemum (no spelling problems there, go figure) but it really didn't work out with a small center...not the way I wanted and too complex for a beginner. So, I created this six petaled flower which is kind of a cross between a peony and a carnation... a peonation??? Take THAT spellchecker!'s confirmed....I've worked so hard I'm silly. This flower took some working out ....when teaching, things have to be simplified but after a few tries I think this is doable by a beginner....with my instruction, of course.
The other colorways for this corsage bracelet are: Matte Dark Amber band with orange/yellow flower and crystal copper rivolis. Matte Aqua band with coral opal flower and crystal AB rivolis. Plus we're far enough out with this one that I can actually take some color requests for the kits.
This little bracelet would make a great prom corsage....with the advantage of it not dying two days later.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coming up for Air

Busy, busy, busy. I'm swamped! So much to be done and just not enough hours in the day.

I did however get the new colorways done for one of the classes next here's a sneak peek before I get it posted in my store.

I'm combining chores at this point so the wonderful beads you see here came from Artbeads and their blogging program, "The Beauty of Spring" is the theme and I was so thrilled because it's my theme right now too. I got to sample the gorgeous new mauve color of Swarovski pearls....that's the one above the word 'pink'. They arrived yesterday and I was so excited to put them together I did the three new colorways last night, though as you can see the turquoise is just a color sample at this point. The mauve also show up in the lime version (for me lime is so spring) along with peach and cream. And the peach are paired up with tahitian and gold in the turquoise version. I just LOVE the turquoise seed beads too....a little more subdued than the standard turquoise these are Marbled Opaque Turquoise/blue, very classy. I just thank the heavens for the online stores because getting seed beads locally is tough and you wouldn't know the #8 size existed if you just shopped locally.

The beads for my flower bracelet project just my work for this afternoon is! Hopefully I'll have the photos done to show you tomorrow but think Swarovski highlights.

FTC compliance disclosure: As part of Artbeads' blogger program they occasionally send me beads to review. The review is my honest opinion and I'm not paid or otherwise compensated to say glowing things about them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flames and Challenges

The weekend was an uphill struggle. I woke on Saturday with a headache, so I thought as I wasn't feeling up to writing patterns or beading I would head over to Hurricane and Wildfire Beads. I met with Lora and we planned my classes for the next few months, chitchatted and then I got to see her work. She was working on an order for her lampwork beads and I got to watch and pelt her with questions. She re-itterated that she wasn't going to teach! She thinks I'd make a very good lampworker and doesn't want the competition. She laughs and says she'll probably end up teaching me.

It was a good visit and I enjoyed the drive, even in the rain, but I still had the headache. So I still wasn't up to doing anything that required concentration and it was like that for the evening too.
Sunday morning the remnants of the headache were still there and after shopping I took a nap. Finally I was feeling well enough to work out the supply list for the project for Beadwork, which is good because I have to send that in today along with my contract. I was feeling well enough in the evening to do a little beadwork and as the 'Beads in Time" I designed for Lisa matched the colors for the Margie Deeb color challenge over at the Art Bead Scene blog I thought I would have a go at making my entry. The piece went together so quickly and I'm really happy with the makes me remember lazy days at the beach so I've named it "Beaches".
Now I just have to figure out the photo to send in. I'm confused because an 8 x 10" photo at 72 ppi is barely making 104K and they're asking for a 1MB minimum. At 600ppi it makes 1,900K .

So, anyone have any clues to what I'm doing wrong?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spiralling out of Control

Yep, that's how life feels at the moment. And as art imitates life......I'm also Dutch spiralling.

Things tend to happen in spurts in my life, sort of a slow, slow, quick, quick, slow routine. Yeah, I dance through I'm in a quick, quick phase right now with lots to do and not enough hours in the day.

Being able to sell my kits at my classes has been jumped forward from April 1st to, like, yesterday! So, I've been flung back into packing kits and working out, reverse that. Once I get back into the flow of kitting it does make the classes easier for all. Students don't have to be running all over town looking for beads or tear their hair out trying to match colors on line.....I get to do that. For me it's easier in class when all the beads are labelled and we don't have to spend half an hour working out which bead is which.

Annabel mentioned to me that she wanted to learn the Dutch spiral and it made me think....In all my work I don't have any Dutch spirals, why? Because they all sold! Hmmm...funny how you miss things like that. So, next month I'm teaching a class on it. It does mean two full samples though as I want to cover the different effects you can get with the same beads. It may be subtle but depending on the placement of the same beads you can create a ribbon or a ridge effect. In the picture the black and white is the ribbon and the brown and gold is the ridge.

This weekend will be busy as one of my bracelet designs was just accepted as a Beadwork project and some of what they need is due Monday. I also want to write the pattern so Suzanne can do a test run for me and make sure the pattern is correct....don't you hate it when it isn't? I had a great testament to my pattern writing last night with a student totally new to beading. She had no problem following my pattern and was delighted with the result. A new bead weaver was created! She actually felt so confident working from my pattern she ordered a couple of kits. That's a great feeling for both student and teacher!

Oh...I also have to mention the new thread I've been using on these spirals. I got some of the Miyuki thread especially designed for Delicas and I have to tell you I LOVE it!!! I been a Silamide gal since I started bead weaving but I'll be restocking with KO.
This thread is so silky it feels decadent. It's nylon and they've managed to make it so the ends don't fray and the needle doesn't split the thread...which as we all know makes undoing a mistake a LOT easier. I got mine at Beadaholique but it's now available at Fusion Beads for about $3.50 for a 50m spool and free shipping! It comes in a dozen colors and I absolutely love the gold, it really blends into gold beads. All I can say is....TRY IT! And no, I'm not being paid to say that!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Lately my polishing has been on my polymer clay beads but it was time to put a new polish on my gallery things.
So I created some nice new labels....they look a little large on the ring pictured but are just 1 1/2" by 2". There's a mini bio and product story in them along with a checklist for components on the back all printed on glossy stock.
The ring is fresh off the beading mat, a tiger's eye cab on a Delica base with just a hint of animal print. Simple but elegant.

Next week I need to get back to clay smooshing and make something for the Artfire Smooshers "Spring" challenge.....I'm so tempted to be literal on this one! But I have the weekend Art Festival to get through first. I have to say, being in a gallery at a festival is SO much better than setting up a booth! It makes the commission worth it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Gallery

Well, with the help of Annabel, who is THE most amazing marketer and awesome friend, my work is now available at Datura Gallery in the Coyote Gulch Art Village at Kayenta, UT.

I am always freaked out, stressed out and a nervous wreck when I approach galleries and this time was no different but Annabel was a rock. She has her bead work in the gallery and as I arrived early I went in to check it out. As soon as I walked in the door, the manager, Lynne, spotted the freeform peyote collar I was wearing and asked if I made it, which I did, of course.
I snooped Annabel's work, she really does great work in the most impeccable taste and was impressed at how the gallery displays it. I then left the gallery to find Annabel.

Once found Annabel nipped into the gallery to 'check on something' and then we went for lattes so she could review my pricing and we adjusted a few things in a very pleasing upward direction, she loaned me her display tray which was so much better than opening box after box, and we headed into the gallery. The plan was to go to a different gallery but Annabel's 'checking on something' was really her talking up a storm about me, and Lynne decided she wanted my work in her gallery. Apparently my work lived up to it's great review and Lynne took everything I had, and even bumped up a few prices again......I underestimate my work, yeah, that's about right.

So, I'm in my second gallery and right in time for next weekend's Art Festival. Thankyou Annabel. Oh, one piece did not make it into the gallery, my 'Mystere' necklace. When Annabel first saw this piece she had a hard time putting it down and she decided she just had to have it, I'm hoping that's an omen for the sales I'll have at this gallery.

It's also just the push I needed to get away from the polymer (step away from the pasta machine) back into the bead weaving and I designed and got half way through a new piece last night. I will get back to the polymer though, my latest attempts came out amazingly well and I have some designs spinning around in my head that are a fusion of polymer art and bead weaving. I just have to finish cleaning Dad's workshop so I can do the baking and buffing in there, because the liquid clay stinks to high heaven when it's baking.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The BEST in Southern Utah

Annabel and I tripped over to Hurricane yesterday to visit our local bead store, Wildfire Beads t he BEST in southern Utah. We visited with Lori, the owner and lampworker extraordinaire, who was once again sold out of her lampwork beads.
She is now stocking some of my project booklets and we are scheduling my classes there. I felt like a rock star as Lori slyly made phone calls and people arrived to see my beadwork which I'd taken to do a show and tell.
Annabel found some things she couldn't leave without and we basically had a good old time.

We then called for coffee and a bite to eat at a new place on State Street. I'd seen them building it a while back and must admit I scoffed when I saw they were calling themselves "Baristas". For anyone who doesn't know a barista is an expert in the brewing and making of coffee drinks and I happen to be one having run a coffee shop in Park City, I do know my coffee. I did not expect to find great espresso in Hurricane....but, oh my!
The diamond studded owner, Steve, is very sure of himself, a total flirt, and a self professed master of coffee, pizza, philly steaks, etc. Written on the walls of the place are testemonials that back him up....and by the time we left ours was up amongst them. THE best espresso I've had since I quit running the coffee shop in Park City, though the milk foam could use a little help, it wasn't piled up like it should be for a capp but floated in a deep layer like it should for a latte...but the crema.....mmmmmmm! Annabel announced it was the best pizza she'd ever had and Steve! I will definitely be stopping there every time I'm on that road and I can easily see me making the drive when I'm craving a real espresso. most definitely have the BEST coffee shop in Southern Utah.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Secret's Out!

Miss Lisa over at 'A Bead A Day' got her surprise today. As some of you may know Lisa has a fabulous new book out "A Bead In Time" and loving Lisa's special soul as much as I do I wanted to create something for her to celebrate this time.

So, as I have just started making polymer clay art beads I thought I'd design some based on her book cover. I made these beads to capture not only the colors of the cover but the theme too. I am quite proud of the result....and happy and relieved she likes them.

Anyway, congratulations Lisa! Now everyone go buy her book, available at

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Taking Over Starbucks

We did that yesterday. Five beady ladies stitching away over lattes and chatting up a storm.
It was the first of the bead society's new regular 'Bead-Ins', the socialization of beading.

I'd always been envious when I read Marcia DeCoster's blog, she has a group of beading instructors close by and they frequently get together to bead and socialize. Now, I don't feel quite so envious. Beading can be so solitary and though I used to be very much the hermit, I'm not anymore, I like to be out amongst people.

Things are picking up, the craft store where I teach is changing how it does things, making the instructors more responsible for their classes which means we get more control. The best thing is I'll be able to sell kits for the projects, easier and often cheaper for the students it's also better financially for me, not that I'll be able to retire or anything. Ha! Beading is the thing that is supposed to give me a living until I retire and as I never see me retiring I'll probably be beading till I drop dead over a pile of Swarovskis.

On the bead front, the idea I had, but haven't as yet tried out, to increase the gloss on my beads, has been done by someone else with great success. I stumbled across a bead maker in Australia whose beads had a fabulous shine, I thought she glazed but it didn't look like glaze so I checked. She had done the exact thing I was planning to do, a thin layer of translucent clay over a finished bead, and it works. I wanted to try it over some of my finished beads but was I feel good about it and my beads will increase in shine today! Yesterday Annabel, one of the beading group, said she had shown her husband my beads online and he said "Oh, she's a lampworker?" YAY! Though I would love to be a lampworker it's not in the budget right now so to have my PC beads look like lampwork is a JOY!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Failures and Lessons

For me a failure, or something I'm not totally happy with, is a lesson, because the way I see it we learn the most from our mistakes.

So...I tried a pictorial cane...a portrait. The technique is basically solid and I did end up with a recognizable portrait when I'd hours later.
It's in the reducing that things didn't go so well. The finished cane measured about two inches diameter and the picture you see is when it was reduced down to one inch. I think it's recognizable as a face but not much more.
This will definitely take more work and I make take a more artistic, less methodical approach next time.

However, let's play a game.....the first one to correctly guess who the cane was supposed to be gets a prize. Don't forget to leave your e-mail so I can contact you if you win.