Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In Progress

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I put an Etsy treasury together last week featuring freeform beadwork after being inspired by this cuff by The Jade Dog.

I'd never thought of embedding bezelled cabs so a big thankyou to the Jade Dog for that window into creativity!  Go check out her Etsy store.....some gorgeous work there.

So...I dug into my box of miscellaneous components and found the geode slice I'd already bezelled and that was the strating point for this wide freeform cuff I began late yesterday afternoon.  Once you have the basics bead weaving skills down freeform is truly fun to do.  One of my students, Selina, asked to be taught freeform in one of my Open Bead classes the other week and boy was she rules, no pattern to follow...she was off and running.
I totally encourage beaders to try this form of bead weaving as it truly brings out your creativity, stretches you to incorporate everything you've ever learned about beadweaving and gives you an original piece of art at the end.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


As I'm teaching how to make a butterfly cane next month and until you get some practice in the cane tends to be on the large side I thought I'd show what you can actually do with them. This one will be a pendant style necklace when beads arrive to finish the St Pete's chain it will hanf from.
 Slices of the lower wing would make great earrings too.

I woke up with a foggy brain which I think started last night when I couldn't think of what I wanted to do next.   I started to make the Steampunk version of the dream cuff and then decided to redesign it....of course, that decision came AFTER I'd completed the base.  So I played around with beads to see if I could find another colorway I was happy with.  Then I started thinking about freeform, dug out some components from my "I love this, don't know what to do with it" box ....only to realise it was quite late and I was tired.

I feel foggy brained this morning and don't know where to start....probably tidying the studio would be a good idea, but what fun is that?  There are patterns to write and kits to pack, new designs in my head, things to finish, and I should probably list some more stuff  into my Etsy.
So...I need to just sit down with a nice iced coffee and make a list.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ta Da!!!!!!

Here she is the bracelet dreamed up in the two hours sleep I had one night last week.  Artbeads had sent me these gorgeous jet Swarovski rounds and bicones on their blogger program and I'd been designing things to do with them....those designs got scrapped, well, put aside after the dream as they were perfect for this cuff.

The base is RAW, it then turns into tubular peyote and then into herringbone. Layered at different heights to give a slight curve.

Yes, that's a jumbo snap turned into a clasp....this one will NOT fall off!

It's quite chunky and rather sparkly...and hard to photograph!

The design does have another layer which I didn't use on this one as I rather liked the holes, but a future version will have all four layers.
This is an extremely versatile design with so many variations possible I doubt it will ever look the same twice.  There is a Steampunk version stay tuned.

Disclaimer: Artbeads sends me beads from time to time so I can show you and give my honest opinion on them. I am in no way reimbursed for that opinion.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Want To Put A Hex On You!

In the nicest possible way of course :)
This is my Reversible Hexagonal Lozenge bracelet which will be a project in the August/September issue of Beadwork magazine.

I worked this one up in metallics, one side to wear with black the other side to wear with brown.....multi-functional!!  As you can see the hex is dimpled on one side and raised on the other so that the center pearl is embedded and won't interfere when you wear it pearl in.

I also made a mix up version in turquoise, random colors on one side, the three point swirl on the reverse.

If you follow me on Facebook you'll know I have an industrial freeform design swirling around in my brain right now....and the hex lozenge will probably make an appearance in that.  The metallic version just screams to be part of a machine.  I may be entering my industrial period!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sisterhood of the Travelling Beads I had the box of goodies in the trunk of my car and what I don't have in front of my face I tend to forget about. Shame on me!
I will say I did think about right as the Bead and Button show started and knowing Heather was going to be busy with that the thought went in and out of my brain quite quickly. And we won't mention the last six weeks have been full of major stress, illness, car problems, computor problems, printer problems....the depression problems create and the back log of work. we go....finally!!!!
Heather Powers of Humblebeads and Art Bead Scene put together this great box of goodies and had the idea they would travel from beader to beader, the beads being swapped out on each stop.
I had mentioned to Heather that it would be cool if the stash ends up back with her so she could have a turn too and she said she would then divide it up into prizes to give away.  How cool is that?

This is what we added, quite a bit more than we took but that's half the fun. Some of my polymer beads, some of my beaded beads, gemstones, Delicas, seed beads, glass beads and metal charms.

And this is what's left from Heather's original package including LOTS of Heather's Humblebeads. it's your chance to win the Travelling Beads. Just post a comment on my blog if you want a chance to win.  You pay postage and the beads come to get to take what you want and replace it with some of your stash.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Pros & Cons of Sleep

I don't know about anyone else but I have one of those design brains that doesn't have an OFF switch and to get any sleep at all I have to take the happy little pills that induce coma like sleep.   When I die and people ask how I'm sure the answer will be "her brain exploded", the result of running out of the happy pills.

I will typically have sketch books, notebooks and loose pieces of paper around me full of new designs that I haven't gotten to yet and those account for maybe 10% of what's in my head.   And they just don't stop coming.  The image that comes to mind is a "Lucy" episode where she was working in a chocolate factory and looses control of the conveyor belt.

So....I love having something to make me sleep and shut down my brain for a while.  However......sometimes it pays off forgetting to take one.  Thursday night was just such a case as my muse came up with the most amazing layered cuff design.  I was up yesterday morning at 4am rummaging through beads to make this new design that flows through a pallete of stitches in a way I didn't even know could be done.  It was actually worth only having two hours sleep!

I've never designed anything that is as versatile as this allows for so many variations that I'm sure I could make a hundred of them and not one be the same.  I can see if I did it a certain way it could be totally romantic, another way classic, yet another and it would be Goth, and it screams to be Steampunked.  Make it with two layers, three layers or four, or partial layers....

Yeah, yeah I know...I'm a tease!  Pictures will follow when I've worked a version or two up.  This is the first piece that makes me think it would be a great project and kit for the big Bead shows.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Obsessed with Flatwork

It certainly seems that way lately, and this is the latest off the beading bench. I call it Steel Wave, lots of matte metallics and a bit of shiny in my favorite color palette of black and shades thereof, silver and a teensy bit of red.
I was really happy with the buttons I found at Joanns, and on sale too, they even had the little bar in the center rather thann two holes.  This one is definitely on the industrial side.  This is one I'd love to keep.

Joanns have their 50% OFF buttons this week and I stocked up. I tend to buy buttons that inspire cuffs rather than the other way around, much less stress that way...not to mention time hunting for just the right button.   So yesterday afternoon I pulled out the new buttons and started designing, two buttons in and I had three designs, one being a new Carpetbagger.  I just need to restock my Delicas....I had such a great collection when I wasn't using them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Snaps Pattern Now Available

The pattern is done!

The pattern for the basic bead encased snap which I created for my Carpetbagger series of cuffs is now available at my Etsy store for just $5.                                              
I'll be working on the fancier version ASAP and hopefully will have that available within a week.   I really have a zillion ideas for these, it's like a beaded many options.                                        
I think I worked out all the kinks and got this to be a pretty easy needle didn't even get bent!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Snappily Distracted

After creating these little bead encased snaps for my Carpetbagger series I became really intrigued with the possibilities for the basic snap.
So, yesterday, I was distracted away from what I should be doing to make up some fancy snaps which I previewed on Facebook yesterday.

Suzanne asked a good question, how big are they? Well, the Delica ones on the bracelet are just 1/2" diameter and a teensy bit over 1/4" tall when closed.

The fancy ones are 3/4" diameter and 1/2" tall when closed.

Once I've worked out the kinks I'll put up the pattern on Etsy, though one kink I think everyone will have to live with is the kinky needle you end up with.

Pretty much every beader I know has a collection of bent needles, it's just part and parcel of beading. What always makes me laugh is why we keep them, however.....this is just the project for those bent needles (why ruin a new one).

I'll be picking up more snaps today, in various sizes, so expect to see more designs soon.  I'm even thinking about going one size down for an itsy bitsy teeny weeny snap with 15/0s.  I love tiny things, always have, I blame my first grade teacher for getting me hooked on 'The Borrowers" books.  The little people who lived under the floorboards.

Monday, June 14, 2010


How do you feel about confrontation? Does it comes easy to you or would you rather have a double root canal?
I seem to be a bit Jekyll and Hyde about it...go figure!
I have absolutely no problem confronting the hugest of things if it's for someone else, I remember at just 16 standing on a table to shout at a large group of people to stop them from harrassing a transvestite. Me against a mob for a worthy problem. Me standing up for myself?   Ugh!
Where does all that courage go?

I'm still trying to get up the courage to go to one of the galleries my work is in and discuss their 'bait & switch'.  When I took my work into the gallery the commission was discussed and agreed upon, the same as at the other gallery my work is in.  The manager upped my prices, cooing and complimenting my designs.  Since then, they dropped some of the prices to below what I had as my bottom line and are paying me less commission.  WTF!
The manager has since left and a new gal has just taken over and I really need to go speak with her....but, I'm avoiding it.
I haven't taken any new pieces in and actually opened an Etsy store to try and sell on my own.  I make regular sales at the gallery and I like getting the checks but they are smaller than they should be.

What would you do?
Quit the gallery completely if they don't give me the commission originally discussed?
Just give them the quick and easy pieces marked up for the lower commission?

And...yes, I need a contract if I continue with them....the one the other manager was working on and would get right to me!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finishing Up

Do you have a few things that just need a little bit of work and then they're complete?  The ones you just need to figure out a closure or an embellishment?
Well, I do. My Carpetbagger series were waiting for me to figure out the closure, I had a lot of ideas but I wanted something unique to the series. I had thought of snaps but dismissed them as not being beady enough and then Barb, one of my students came to class wearing a little bracelet with a beaded snap closure and it gone my brain moving.

I think Barb would say these don't look like hers as the snap is totally encased, but I have to thank her for the idea!
It took quite a few attempts before I got this just right and I'm very happy with how they look. The idea was to have them look like studs and I think I managed that.

I also dug out a simple peyote band bracelet that I had decided needed embellishing. The bracelet was designed to reflect denim and now it looks a bit more Denim & Diamonds....lots of sparkle!

After that I piddled around with a vessel project I just started , got bored with that and picked up yet another unfinished piece...this one a very Gothic wide cuff that may well end up with a netted ruffle.

Always LOTS to do when you're a beader! Even on a Sunday!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Winging Their Way to Beadwork

They are flying out this morning for their moment of glory along with the choker. I know a few of you are awaiting the pattern to create some wings of your own. Maybe one or two of you will even be inspired to make a choker.
As a designer it's always fun to see what people create with my designs, where they take them, what colors they choose. It's one of the fun parts of teaching too, having my students bring in their own colorways.

My trusty friend and teaching assistant Suzanne is already working up the pattern for Urchin Wings, so she can tell me if I screwed
I worked the pattern up twice myself and other than transposing the very first line, my brain insisting A came before B, I think I got it right.  Of course, it's very difficult not to read over your own mistakes...of course the amazing folks at Beadwork keep a watchful eye. 

It's not an easy job writing patterns, because everyone learns differently and what may be interpreted easily by one can be the mystery of the century to another. When I write my own patterns I basically go step-by-step with pretty much an illustration for every step and of course that can run into many pages, too many for a magazine, you want more than two or three patterns in a magazine. 

Other news....many of us who are at home are turning green because we are not with the merry band of beaders who are now blistering their feet at the Bead & Button show.  I have never been to a big bead show and I have a Jekyl and Hyde feeling about it, part of me wants to go so badly and part of me is terrified.  As Suzanne saw the other day when we were shopping for buttons it does not take much to send my design brain into overdrive, and with all the inspiration at a big bead show I am concerned my brain might actually explode, or at the very least turn me into blathering idiot (ok, that might not be a far trip).

Still, I am envious of those with blistering feet and scorched credit cards, one day, one day I will be there among you...until then keep posting on your blogs and Facebook about who you met, what you saw and what you splurged on so those of us who did'nt get there can live vicariously.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Holy Crashing Computors, Batman! laptop had been getting slower and slower and yesterday things started refusing to work. Then it started shutting down randomly....not good!
So I had to get fixit software and that ran for a chunk of hours yesterday but YAY....everything seems to be running fine now.  Back up to speed.

So...what do you do when you can't write patterns?  Well, you bead, of course.
This is the latest off the beading bench, I call it "Ancient Capstones" because that was what inspired the design.  Once I get chance this will go into my Etsy store along with the pattern.
I made this one up in black, white and some shiny and matte metallics. 
It's a cuff that will look good for day or night wear.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Getting My Freak On

My other obsession is books. Especially books related to the Holy Grail.  It may surprise some but I actually have read a ton about this...factual and fictional.
I'm reading Dan Brown's "Lost Symbol" at the moment and it's really making me want to delve back into all things mystical.

Lately I have felt very 'off track' in my life and the little voice in my head reminds me of the metaphysical centered life I used to lead. My Freakish Period as I like to call it. When I sit quietly I can feel the pull, maybe that's why I try and stay busy.  But, maybe that is what is missing from my life...the part I try to ignore.

So, I'm going to dip my toe in the waters and see what happens, how it affects my work and my success. I'll have to gather all my tools, books, crystals and focus stone. Freakish, right?

As I wrote the last sentence I wondered where my focus stone was, and wouldn't you know it was in the first place I looked *insert Twilight Zone music* because that NEVER happens!  So, the photo I just snapped looks as mystical as the stone is....don't ask me what it is because I don't know. I've had people who really know gemstones look at it and they haven't been able to tell me, the only thing anyone has offered is indigo dyed tiger's eye because that's what it most resembles.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Urchin Wings Goes Rio Grande

 Well, Suzanne mentioned turquoise and black as colors she'd like to see for the Urchin Wings here it is, with a touch of copper taking it into the Rio Grande collection.
This was the one I made while writing the pattern which went very smoothly...what's up with that? Maybe it's because I'd made so many of them for the choker it's ingrained in my brain forever.
One of the great things about this colorway is that it photographs really well, much better than the sparkly original...always something to think about when the destination is a magazine.

It's a trip to the local bead store today to see if I can find a couple of beads I need for two other colorways.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Urchin Wings Fans

Everyone has been so kind with their compliments for my Urchin Wings Choker I thought I'd show you how it got started.  This is the original piece I made when I designed the components...a dainty little bracelet. I will also tell you this bracelet is slated as a project for Beadwork magazine in their December/January issue and I'm in the process of putting everything together for that.  If anyone would like to see it done in a particular color....let me know and I'll make it up in the color most mentioned and submit it for the Beadwork photoshoot.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Getting Back on Track

Trying to get it all back together after being ill isn't that easy....a case of baby steps. That term, baby steps, always makes me think of the movie "What About Bob?" and makes me imagine myself tied to chair awaiting 'bomb therapy'. The fact my mind wanders to those kinds of thoughts makes me know I'm feeling kind of normal.

I'm trying to avoid looking at my To Do list because it will scare me into inertia.  So, my first baby step was to work up my Zig-Zag Ruffle Cuff in a second colorway...I think this is a pretty subtle neutral for those who don't want to scream turquoise. There's a green version too but not made up yet.

My next baby step is to test the new instructions for my reversible Hex Lozenge Bracelet which is slated for the August/September issue of Beadwork magazine. I was going to do it last night but my printer was refusing to cooperate.  Then I have kits to pack for class tomorrow.
I refuse to look further ahead than there!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What to do when you can't focus.

I've been down with some kind of illness that drained me of energy and even worse the ability to focus.  So, what does a beader do when that happens?  If you're like me doing nothing is pretty much an impossibility...if I'm not in bed drugged into sleep I HAVE to be doing something.
After trying to design, after trying to follow one of my own patterns, after trying to play with clay I gave up on anything where I had to concentrate.  I pulled one of my freeform peyote kits and meandered my way through this little cuff.  Apparently I don't need my brain to do these.