Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last One Off the Bead Board

So...if you've been following you know I've been trying to clear a few of 2011's UFOs and last night I finished the last one I planned to complete before the year fades out.

So the second version of the Embellished Corrugated Peyote Bangle is done. This one uses bugles and the new Twin beads....which as luck would have it were released just as I was thinking "gee, I could use a two hole bead for this bangle" . Sometimes things just work out right :)

I managed to get four pages of illustrated tutorial done yesterday, then I was feeling so proud of myself I had a glass of wine with dinner, not thinking it would make sitting at the computor and doing the last two illustrations impossible. But it did so I didn't finish.   I should get it completed and published today though and that's before the end of the year so it's good :)

I had hope to pattern up the bangle too before we turned all 2012 but as I was doing the second version I realised it was going to be a bit more involved than I thought....gee, really Mikki....two designs in one pattern is more work? I bite off more than I can chew at times....the problems of an over-achiever!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Clearing the Bead Board

Making progress on clearing the bead board before the ball drops at the end of the year.   Completed last night my herringbone Deco Medallion bracelet.

As you can see I used two different medallions for this one but I think a bracelet of either one of the medallions would be pretty too.  When I get to writing the pattern I think I'll put all three styles in because it would just be the joinings that would be different.   Of course I'll have to make two more bracelets :)

This was the first time I've used Delica 15/0s for more than just the small beads in a bezel but I felt these designs called for something delicate.
I'll probably try working them up in other beads too...maybe I'll be surprised :)

Anyway...that's one more UFO off the bead board and leave just one to go....not that I don't have a bunch more UFOs but there's only one left of the group I planned to be finished before the end of the year.

I'm hoping to finish the tutorial for the Corrugated Filigree Necklace today...six pages but I think I can do it.  That would leave tomorrow free for one last easy one, the Embellished Corrugated Bangle which is also the last and current piece on my bead board...the second version, embellished with the new Twin beads.

And yes...."My name is Mikki and I'm a workaholic"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Conveyor Belt on my Conveyor Belt

This week has been a return to my productive little self and my bead board has resembled a conveyor belt as unfinished pieces rolled across it to be completed.

The latest is a piece I think of as "The Conveyor Belt" necklace as it reminds me of the conveyor belts that used to move freshly baked sponge cakes along the factory line to find their boxes at my summer job when I was at college.  Funny where inspiration comes from.

The large Steampunk button seemed the perfect pendant to go with this industrial piece. I love the way the corrugations undulate and I'm sure I'll be playing with more versions of the undulations as designs pop into my they are doing right now :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Beadsmith Project......DONE!

 Finally finished the two projects for Beadsmith, I ended up with two necklaces purely because I couldn't find a matching delica for the silver clasp that I was happy with.  After seeing some of the other amazing pieces people made I think mine are a little on the simple side.....maybe I approached the challenge differently?  My thought was to make something that showed the clasp off and was simple enough to make people think "I could do that" they'd run out and buy the clasp.  The black piece in particular....because I figured even if you are a stringer you could work something up similar.

And my sprint to the end of this year

I'm now working on what I call a Steampunk piece though it's not like any I've seen.....the idea for it was a cog on a conveyor belt or gear on a bike chain. It's sort of got an Egyptian feel to it...don't ask how THAT!
Sometimes I think my muse and I think very differently.   Anyway....I have a couple of inches and a clasp to go on that pictures should be up tomorrow.

Today I'm back at the drawing board...the computerized version, of course.
I completed three pages of the Corrugated Filigree Necklace tutorial yesterday,  I can use ten pages for the two components that are the same as the bracelet I figure I have another ten or twelve to write and illustrate.  Five new components in the necklace.

The goal is to finish the tutorial and write another (simpler) one.
To finish the Steampunk necklace, make the final link for my Deco bracelet, and finish an alternate using Twin beads of my embellished corrugated bangle.
All by the end of the year...I can see me being up at midnight on New Year's Eve....and not to see 2012 in :)

As for  what 2012 holds......
I get my life back
I start sculpting with beads
I paint again
I get on the teaching circuit
Please God!

Monday, December 26, 2011


Finally managed to complete and publish the tutorial for my 
Industrial Chic: Corrugated Filigree Cuff

You can get it right here !
I've got a sale going too.....spend $50 and get 20% off
Use the code 20OFF50

Plus....I've included a discount coupon in the tutorial so that if you want to buy the necklace tutorial too....should have it done by next week... you'll get a healthy discount :)  Once I get the necklace tutorial up it will have a discount code for the cuff too.  I feel as some of the components are the same you shouldn't have to pay for them twice :)

I am almost finished with my second piece for the Beadsmith Project.  After not liking the match of the clasp with the bracelet I originally designed I switched gears to create an asymmetrical necklace with a variety of ropes. I just have the large back rope to make and it will be a wrap :)

It's sort of a mad dash to finish things before the end of the year so I can start 2012 with a clean beading board. Is that only me?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Whatever Floats Your Boat

I'm in full Christmas hermit mode, not a grinch, I hope the holiday is everything people want, but for me I'll just hold tight till it's all over.
For some of us this isn't the happiest of seasons and can actually be pretty rough but I think the best thing we can do is fly under the radar so we don't spread the sadness. So I'm kind of avoiding the social media and all Christmas shows :) 
So...if you love the season I hope you enjoy every minute of it and if you're like me....hang in there, normal programming will resume shortly.

Struggling with work right now....I seem to be in permanent slow motion...a Baywatch beader.
I hope to finish writing the words and checking through the Filigree Corrugations bracelet today and hopefully list it tomorrow. 
The necklace should be a LOT quicker as I can use a lot of the illustrations from the bracelet.  I do plan on attaching a discount code for the necklace tutorial if you buy the bracelet tutorial and vice-versa.

I've been thinking a LOT about art lately, having the urge to paint or sculpt again.....just not the room or time to do!  Being an artist sure does take up a lot of space.  And I dream of both a wet studio and a dry one.
I am trying to form a plan for the new year, to get the heck out of dodge and find my life again.  I'm gathering projects that I think would be good workshops and hope to put a brochure together so I can set up some classes in California beginning in April....hopefully I'll be living there by then and if not, well, it will be the break I need. So if you have a bead store in California and you would like a new instructor...drop me a line :)

I'm hoping Santa brings me a big shovel for Christmas...or maybe a back hoe so I can dig for all the positivity I need to make the changes my life desperately needs.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sneaky Peek Saturday

Working amidst all the distractions is proving difficult lately plus I think the only thing I haven't gotten back fully is my attention span...what used to come easy is like pulling teeth lately.

Still.....while working on pattern writing I have managed to keep working on some beading in the evenings and here's a sneaky peek at some of the things in progress.

The turquoise skull piece is for me, a beaded chain maille necklace.
Another piece in the Industrial Chic Corrugated Peyote series and a Deco bracelet that was to be for the Beadsmith Project but on seeing the picture I'm not happy with the match between clasp and beads (that's why it's not even in the picture).  Back to the drawing board on that one, I think.  Though I like the bracelet so I'll just have to come up with another clasp.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Branching Out

I've been thinking a lot about bead sculpture lately, mostly because pattern sales have been very slow and I need to make a living.  When we eventually move to Fresno I hope to get back in with the art crowd there and possibly get back to painting but I'd also like to do some bead sculptures.

What to bead though....I had a couple of ideas but I don't like just random things....I like to create lines and collections.  So...some old ideas raised their heads the other day...a number of years ago I started making some soft sculptured imps or elves and it occurred to me they would be awesome in beads so I think that will be one line. Another is a set of very stylized, happy, dancing people which I don't just think would be fun to make but good for my soul too.  Both sets have names but I can't share that as I've had names stolen before so I play it close to the chest now.

How to make them is the next step. The imps will be fairly easy as the armature could be soft with a wire inner....just as the sewn ones were. I will have to sculpt the faces and as my clay is already packed for the move and in storage that will have to wait.

The dancing people however will need a much firmer base and have to be sculpted.  I'm thinking I might do some bead embroidery on those too....not something I've done much of though I've done a LOT of thread embroidery. I'm looking at balsa wood for the bases....boy is that expensive!  The coffers certainly can't afford that right they may have to wait.

It also dawns on me that I need a LOT of space! One studio is not enough, I need a 'smelly' studio for painting, claying and sculpting and another for beading and sewing.  I dream of a little house in the Tower District where I could turn a garage into a studio and be able to open it up for Art Hop and Rogue Festival.

So much to think about....but it's good to have a plan.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Down, One To Go

I finished the first piece for the Beadsmith Project yesterday!
If you missed me talking about it, Beadsmith has gathered a group of designers from around the world (some really big, intimidating names) and given us the challenge of creating pieces around their Elegant Elements clasps.

We each got to choose two and this is the first of my choices.
Some see is as an angel but my skewed brain saw it as a bow :)

So, with bows in mind and herringbone stitch, which is a stitch I know people have been asking for more designs using it, I created this wedding style necklace.

The clasp can be worn front or back which is something I know to be important for a wedding necklace or wedding the back of the bride is seen as much as the front during the ceremony. This really is a perfect clasp for a bride's necklace.
I did an opera length but as this is "bow links" it's easy to make it any length you like.  Even though this isn't my Gothic/Industrial personal style I would actually wear this one as I think it's a fun take on classic pearls.
It was actually challenging for me as I didn't want to over power the clasp and I've been heavily embedded in the chunky Corrugated Peyote designs so the switch took some time.

The next one is about halfway done and is a bracelet taking this design up and out and it's already making me want to do spin-offs.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Planning & Getting on Track

After distraught discussions at 3am I'm going along with 'The Plan' though not convinced that all the work I'm going to have to do won't end up hurting me or setting me up for another round of 'Blame & Beat Up Mikki'
At least I now know I'm not the only one concerned about my physical safety or the only one to have a defense plan.

So...once's the fight to get back on track and see how long I can hold on before the demo ball hits me this point there's no reason to believe it won't.
For those of you who have shown concern...thank you!

The progress on the Beadsmith Project has been slow going...mostly because I'm very picky and want things to match perfectly.  I've had to accept that there's just no perfect silver delica to match the clasps I chose.....unless someone knows something I don't.
The necklace which has decided it wants to be a choker is almost there, three or four more links to go. And it will work with the clasp at the front or at the back. I'm really liking it even though it's not my personal least it will be an easy pattern to write up :)

On the other hand the bracelet will take quite a bit of writing up.
After working on about six variations and not happy with any individual one I laid all the components side by side to see which one I liked the best and realised they actually looked good together though each one needed a little tweaking.  So now I know where it's going it should speed up the progress.

After I get through my long list of chores today I hope to finish the tutorial for the Corrugated Filigree Cuff

Then I get to work on the necklace tut which should go a lot quicker.  
Trying to get both finished for the weekend.

Something that cropped up yesterday was Heather Collins and I having an occurrence of JBS (Joint Brain Syndrome) or GMTA (Great Minds Think Alike)
Heather published a picture of her "Door Hinge" pendant sending me into a tizzy to get photos taken of my own take on the 'hinge'....something I've been working on for well over 6 months. is Heather's "Door Hinge" clasp pendant

And here's my "Hinge Pin" clasp cuff. 
This also shows my Medieval influence :)

I have a lot of "Hinge" designs including a pendant which has been a UFO for a number of months. Too many ideas and not enough time...I could probably spend the next five years just working from the design sketches already in my design book.

OK.....must NOT overwhelm myself.....playing it way too close to the line these easy go into 'static' mode.

Monday, December 12, 2011


After being hit by another mac truck I'm trying to be positive.
I'm trying to not let it destroy me.
I'm trying to be hopeful.
I'm trying to be generous in any way I can.
I'm trying to stay on my diet even though Mom is sabotaging me.
I'm trying not to cry all the time.
I'm trying to work.
I'm trying to be thankful.

But I feel empty, alone and tired of trying.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Waiting Game


I'm waiting for a bead delivery that will bring the last rivoli I need for my Corrugated Filigree necklace. I'm really proud of this falls into the 'opulent' category and I'm totally having fun discovering just how versatile my corrugated peyote is. For me a design is good if it has versatility.

Last night I started working on a Steampunk pendant utilizing corrugated peyote. I must admit I was getting a little disappointed that it didn't pack the punch I wanted but it was early days and the corrugated peyote was working just as I wanted.  Before I went to bed last night I realized another way I could work the corrugations that would be way cool and this morning I woke up with the perfect way to incorporate the new idea into the pendant. My muse likes to work when I'm asleep :)

I have some new things to work on too.  I have been selected as one of the designers to create new designs utilizing Beadsmith's "Elegant Elements" clasps.  I got to choose two and they arrived yesterday :)

There were a LOT too choose from and my first selection was this Arte Deco style....a style I love working in.  The design for a bracelet using this one is already in my sketchbook and components should be arriving today or tomorrow.

My second choice was this very unusual clasp which I wasn't even sure how it worked :)  There's a little box clasp behind one wing.  This is a challenging one....because I plan for it to be up front but it's also small and very delicate. I had in mind a necklace and I'm going to have to bring all the delicate creativity I have to make this work.  Of course it would be the perfect back clasp for a wedding necklace when the back is seen as much as the front.

I have to order some things for the design I have in mind and I have to try the idea out first to see if it will work.
BUT what fun!
I love these type of challenges! So thank you Steven Weiss for including me in what is a very impressive group of designers...a little intimidating to be up there with the likes of Jean Campbell, Marsha Wiest-Hines, Linda Roberts (who suggested me...thank you:))  my bud, the amazing Heather Collins and a bunch of other terrific designers :)

Here's one of Linda Robert's designs using an "Elegant Elements" clasp it's called "Enticement" and it certainly is! Thank you Linda for setting the bar so sarcasm there at all ;)

And I just found out Heather chose my second choice in gold....oooo....competition!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

One Down Four To Go

Thanksgiving is up, my birthday, then Mom's then Christmas, then New Years. It's always such a busy time and I tend to get last minute with things as I seem to always be playing catch-up at this time of the year.
Once again I'm trying to be organized and get things done ahead of time.
I have the added chore of renewing my driver's license this year and I'm thankful I have my Kindle to make the wait easier.

I'm busy beading away on the Industrial Chic : Corrugations line with more ideas popping up all the time.
Nothing ready to be photographed yet so I figured I'd show you a couple of rings. The dark one has been sitting around in my components box for a while as I couldn't decide if I wanted to make it into a two-section 'Finger Armor' ring. A larger size too...too big for me but fits Mom :)
I have to say....I like the photo of this one....that sparkle on the cab is not added after...and it's! If only I could get that every time.

The copper 'Finger Armor' ring was one I made with the idea of putting it into my store. The problem with these rings is you have to use two ring sizes and so it's better to try them on than buy online. I did a few for a gallery and they sold like hotcakes.  I keep meaning to get around to patterning's on the constant 'To Do' list :(

Other wise I have been working out religiously ....that means just Sundays....right? Kidding!  I didn't lose any weight after week two but I got the tape measure out and discovered I'd lost a total of 6 1/2" in the two weeks so with the 2.6lbs lost in week one I feel good about my progress :)
I certainly feel brighter, lighter and more energetic but I'm sleeping a LOT and I'd need to work on not needing quite as much sleep.
That way I can get more beading done and get closer to catching my muse.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I need a New Alarm Clock

I need one that will tip me out of bed when I hit the snooze button for the third time.  Or maybe someone needs to come take my Kindle away from me after an hour :) I'll blame it on Gemma Halliday right now...just started the second of her "High Heels" mysteries and they are a fun read, one I have a hard time putting down.

So, I feel really tired today and actually thinking about taking a rest day. Maybe a day of not hitting the elliptical will give my body time to regulate it's temperature. Ever since I started exercising my body temperature has gone skyward....ten days ago I was wearing two sweaters in the house and now I'm down to a tank top and I'm still hot.  I think that has something to do with a confused metabolism :)

I've been sifting through things I've made but haven't done the tutorials for yet....they now all reside in a little chest on my desk.  These are some of them.

My  "Petite Pacquets" ("Little Packages") series

Chunky with pearls.

Embedded Shells

Diamond Pendant/Brooch

And then something a little different.....a ring from a series I call "Crustaceans" I have a pendant and earrings too but they haven't turned up yet :) I know I put them somewhere know how that goes!

Sometimes I think I'll never get caught up.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Back to Health and Energy

A chunk of my time right now is used up trying to get me back to a healthy weight and improve my health....building my body into a fortress so I can take what the world seems to delight throwing at me.

I signed up on which is turning out to be a spectacular tool for weight loss. Four days of using it and the elliptical and I dropped 2.6lbs. I really thought that, even though I was not eating as healthy as I did when I lived on my own, I was still doing a good job....nyet!
Logging every little thing I eat into FS I discovered my fat intake was way up there, followed closely by wonder I was gaining so much. Now I see keeping my fat below 20% and my protein around 30% as a challenge and work it out each day to keep it at that. Then I make sure my calories out are at least 1000 more than my calories in.  It's simple :)
And it's only taken me 3 seasons of The Biggest Loser to get!

If anyone wants to join me....hop on over to's free...and buddy can see what I'm eating and doing to lose the weight.

I am finding time to bead though it's still slow going but I did decide to release this one...a soft bangle of Embellished Corrugations

I was planning to submit this to B&B but as I seem to be working on a series of the Corrugations I thought I'd design something else for them :)
I'm working on a second sample right now with a different embellishment, one using the new Twin seed beads.  It's less blingy and more day wear...the one pictured is very sparkly though it doesn't look so much in the picture. The outer black beads are Chinese crystal rondelles and very sparkly :)

I ordered some Steampunky things today to go with the Industrial Chic line and I'm hoping the designs my muse came up with work :)  The corrugated peyote does take time but I really feel it's worth it when I see the results and I hope others will feel the same way.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Onward and Upward!

One step in front of the other really matter how small the steps are.
I'm happy to report that I'm making progress, slowly but surely.

Sometimes I think my life is like a game show.... more 'Wipeout' than 'Amazing Race' only I'm not sure what the prize is or even if there is one.

But this whole episode teaches me to just stay focused on the things that make me happy, the things I feel good about and that always comes down to my creativity.  A few people have given me some real strength and helped me believe again...and those have been people I've never actually met in real life which helps enormously in the 'faith in human nature' department.
I am hugely thankful for those people...and you know who you are :)

All the encouragement to not quit beading worked and I have managed to almost finish one design (just waiting for the beads I ran out of) that I'd started before it all hit the fan.

This is "Corrugated Filigree" part of my "Industrial Chic" line.

There will be a necklace too and earrings...and, of course tutorials for them all :)

I also managed a variation of my corrugated peyote that I'm really pleased with but can't show as it's destined for Bead & Button. In the midst of all the crap B&B contacted me about submitting a couple of projects for the magazine....completely honored by this but somewhat freaked because my brain wasn't working.
I asked what they were interested in and they said a flatwork design and something like my Arianne Bangles...peyote-ish :)  So, one down, the flatwork design in my head but not translating onto paper yet. I can see it in my mind...and it's! But my brain is still sticking, maybe I haven't reloaded that program yet :)

Last night I picked up the project that I was working out when my brain shorted out, it's now become the 'challenge'. The idea is to translate one of my crochet designs into beading...not beaded crochet, pure bead weaving.
  I did actually get the beads to do what I wanted them to but I'm still playing with it. I got the idea to work with a blend of RAW and peyote on a narrow strip but I would  like it to work purely with peyote and on a wide strip. Or it could be herringbone...we'll see :)

I can tell I'm doing better as I'm back to having more ideas than I can deal with but I still find myself really nervous about pattern writing. What if that program hasn't reloaded into my's a case of plucking up the courage to find out....but that won't be today....or tomorrow. My goal is to give it a try on Monday.   Baby steps :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Climbing Out of an Abyss

Obviously I've been absent from my blog, I feel like I've been absent from my life.  Truth is I feel my life has been on hold for seven years now, the life where I am a social, fun loving, get involved person. But the last five months have been absolutely horrendous.

Stress from family and the realization that I'm just a 'utility' to them, that I have no protection and have to be prepared for things that I know will happen to disrupt my life in the future and of which I have no control whatsoever has all made me a wreck.

The disbanding of the Bead Mavens in not a happy way seems to have been the final straw for me. I fell apart totally....and the thing I had been most afraid of happened.  I lost my ability to bead.

I'd been struggling for a couple of months with concentration and my level of production had dropped right down but all of a sudden I couldn't remember stitches or work out things that normally come easily. I know some of you will be worried about me I know exactly what you're thinking because I've experienced it before. That said I am doing everything I should be assured of that.

After a solid week of not being able to bead a dang thing I decided I just needed to go back to the beginning, so I printed out one of my peyote flatwork patterns and followed the instructions :) I could still follow a pattern...YAY!
That's not saying I haven't unbeaded a hell of a lot more than usual....but for me it was progress. 

The thing with me is I am hopeless at dealing with stress when it gets built up past a certain level...and that level is pretty high, but once reached I simply stop being able to function.  It actually takes my body physically reacting to the stress to shake me out of it.  Then I go into crisis mode (I am the person you want around in a crisis) and my practicality takes over.  It cuts through all the crap, makes decisions and gets on with it. It kicks foot holes in the side of the abyss so I can climb out.

I've accepted that I need to have a bag packed for Thanksgiving and Christmas so if the thing we dread... happens, I can leave quickly and go to a hotel. It's the safe thing to royally...but whatcha gonnna do? Safety first! Emotional and physical!  And so what if I'm alone in a hotel for the holidays...I'll make it fun.   And I refuse to think past there right now.

And I'm back to working up a new design. Something I've done before but tweaked and with a new element. It's going very slowly, lots of ripping out because my brain is still not behaving but I'm getting there.  My muse hasn't been fazed at all and has continued to throw more ideas at me which is on one hand annoying because I'm not capable of working them out, and on the other hand reassuring that the creative part of my brain is working fine.

I'm challenging myself to work out the new design that showed me my brain wasn't functioning correctly and when I've done that I will feel more like 'me'.
I'm thinking of my brain like a froze up, had to be rebooted and I still need to reload all the programs. We all know how irritating that can be :)

It took some finding but after turning everything upside down I did manage to find a tiny bit of hope and I'm nurturing it so it grows and takes over my life.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The 'UGH' of it All.

Definitely a word that's in my brain and frequently pops out of my mouth thesedays as I sort through my studio for what I can throw away, give to Goodwill or pack up ready to move.

I still have a fair way to go with my studio but the bones of it are now done and I have a definite office area and a definite sitting/beading area. I am sick of moving! And I still have to get a large set of drawers out of here, move a six foot tall bookcase and a couple of 3 foot bookcases (let's not mention I'll have to do this all again when I'm ready to paint and put new carpet down). I do love my new desk and I have already discovered that the black glass top of it is cool for taking photos on.

I think Mom and I have now toured every furniture store in the area and it did have the desired effect of having Mom realise how outdated the house is....1990 Old Lady is the design term I believe.  But you can update things a LOT with the right can of spray paint, fresh colors on the walls, and the removal of all the frills and old lady knick knacks :)

Going around the furniture stores I was surprised to see how Steampunk has become a living design style and blown away that it is indeed my living design style.  I realised I had some hints of it amongst my belongings but everything I loved in the furniture shops was totally Steampunk.
So when we move I now know what my home will look like....before I seemed to only buy furniture that folded and that totally said "unsettled".

I've also decided some things I want outside my house....a paved patio with a fountain, some raised planters where I can grow some food and a swing!!!!
I want a swing....not a swinging couch....a real big kid's swing.
I love swings, they are perfect for venting....getting on and pumping your legs hard to get out all your frustrations. Or just to relax and swing gently on while can't beat a swing!
When I was nannying in Malibu the couple I worked for began to have problems and even though they were seeing an excellent therapist they did not seem to be able to stop the shouting matches in front of the kids. So whenever one of their arguments started and I knew it was going to be a doozy I would hustle the little boy and girl into the car and take them to the swings on Zuma beach.  It was always our escape.
So...I want a swing!!!!

I will be posting some before and after photos of my studio (though I forgot to take the before ones until I'd already started the destruction so they look worse than they actually were). 

And as I sit here writing this I'm eyeballing the God-awful frilled window treatment...THAT has to GO!

I have managed a bit of beading this week and I'm rather happy with it :)
I decided to work on a cab I bought from my friend Sandy Spivey last year and it was the perfect opportunity to do some of the 'fair isle' beading I've had in my mind for ages.  Knitting and crochet translates beautifully into beads and is so much fun to do :)
And these photos are, of course, taken on my new desk :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Attack of the Drive-By Muse

Components, components.

Sometimes a vision is just a lot of components and you have to trust that your muse knows what she's doing.  That's how I feel about this fascinator I'm working on.  So far it's starfish and spheres with loops and twists and just a faint idea of how it will look when finished.

This is one of those things that I have a feeling about but it tends to make my knees shake wondering if I can pull it off.  I had the same feeling with my Urchin Choker and that turned out great so I keep reassuring myself with that.

Of course, there is always the issue with finishing a big unusual piece.....sometimes it just doesn't happen. The piece below is still sitting on my mannequin waiting to be finished.  It's a little bit further along than the picture shows although the fills have been taken out because they just weren't meeting my vision.

Sometimes our muses have more faith in us than we have in ourselves.
Or maybe they just don't have a grasp on how long these pieces take, and don't realise how frustrating their drive-by design attacks can be.

That said, I am endeavoring to live up to my muse (who might also be visiting Lady Gaga thesedays) and create the wilder, off the wall designs.
As someone who makes her living solely from selling tutorials this is quite scarey but I'm trusting that the components for these crazy pieces will lend themselves to more wearable designs and sales.
I'm not sure how creating a beaded sonic screwdriver will translate but it sure has me excited...and that's just how I need to be.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kermit Days

Yesterday was a Kermit Day.
(What the heck is she talking about now?)

Someone, I think it was Heather Collins, explained to me that when she had a day of beading where more time was spent ripping out than actually beading she called it a froggy day as in "rippit, rippit".  I tried to put a happy spin on it by thinking of Kermit when I'm having one of those days (if you listen closely you can hear me humming "It's not easy being green") so I now refer to those days as my Kermit Days.

And what had me so flummoxed?
A bigger version of this baby, my new Spiral Star.

The plan is to make a bigger one that I can use to create a fascinator, one of those pretty little hat thingies.  Of course, I want to do it now so it means working from my stash and that means working with different shaped beads. I had it going quite well, two spokes done with 4mm magatamas in place of the pearls when I realised I was going to be 14 magatamas short. Grrrr!

Rippit, rippit!
It ain't easy, Beading Queen.

I will say Nancy's post on the Bead Maven's blog about knotting your work, finishing threads as you go, because trust me it works for bead weaving too!  I had thought ahead and finished off the thread when I finished the bezel center allowing me to actually cut the spokes off without disturbing the part I was happy with!  So, all ripped out, beads sorted, magatamas tubed again I pulled out some lentils.

Now, the magatamas and the lentils both change the design somewhat, they decided they wanted to lay backwards....lazy little buggers....however, I decided that maybe they were right.

Now, I'm about finished with the first spoke and I sit back and take a good honest look at it....get my critical eye out of my pocket and brush the lint off it.  I then throw said critical eye against the wall.

Rippit, rippit!
It ain't easy, Beading Queen.

The problem this time was that starting the cellini in the way I had been doing did not work for the lentils, too close too the center made them choose to lay in the wrong direction and this time they were not right.

So it was back down to the center bezel again...boy, I'm happy with that though :)  I'd had enough for the night and decided to watch a little TV, people buying and selling houses. You can learn a lot from those shows and as that is in the near (please God let it be the very near) future, Mom and I have taken to learning as much as we can.

This morning I'm looking at that sweet little center and hoping that today I can get it right.
Kermit....take the day off buddy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Christmas in July???

Ok, so I'll be the first one to say I'm not fond of these kind of's summer, I don't want to think about Christmas.  However....after seeing all the 'Christmas in July' notices I started to think about it.
A sale of tutorials in July makes a lot of sense....for anyone who wants to bead gifts for this Christmas. By the time you've figured out what beads/colors you need, ordered them and they finally arrive so you can start beading unless you're a super fast beader you don't want to be deciding all this in November.

So...I rearranged my thinking and there is now a sale in my Artfire 10% for the rest of the month :)
Here are just a few of the things you can save on....and when it comes to beading Christmas IS just around the corner!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Tutorials ~ The Crab Collection

Finally all the illustrations are done and the words are written and launch day is here...YAY!

 Now available in my Artfire Store are my Crab Chain, seen above, which features tutorials for the necklace bracelet and earrings and my Crab Lace, seen below which also has tutorials for the necklace, bracelet and earrings.

I also listed my Medallion Bracelet which came about from the clasp on the  Crabby bracelets.

I've listed all three separately but you really make a killing if you buy the collection...a saving of $17.50 and, bonus, you get my Tutorial of the Month with any order $20 or more.  July's Tutorial is my Floral Ring....totally fun to make and wear!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


It's summer!  For me it's never officially summer till July 4th and the fireworks have announced it.  I spent my Independence day relaxing and actually playing with beads.  I took advantage of the day to create my entry for the Etsy Beadweaver's August Challenge which has the theme "Summer Juicy Fruit". As you can see, my fruit was watermelon....THE summer fruit!

As I didn't have time to  design a completely new piece I used an old design and spiced it up.  In my efforts to teach a difficult stitch, cubic RAW, I had designed this 'conjoined twins' bracelet.  Actually I originally designed it as a bangle because I wasn't happy with any of the clasps I could find but with my exploration into magnets I managed to create the perect clasp for it this time.

This picture shows the construction the best, the twin strands coming together in a block medallion and the ends coming together for the clasp.

I'm really happy with how it turned certainly screams summer for me and it's good to revisit old designs and breathe new life into them.

Today it's back to illustrating for me...Sand Dollars and DecaDiscs.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Working hard & Recovering

It's been a while since blogged, after all the hassles with the wedding and then Mom's angiogram but I'm back working hard on lots of new tutorials with I'll be releasing this month. 
The tutorials I'm working on are the ones I had originally thought would be a book. After looking at it from all ways l decided to release into a collection of tutorials. So, there will be 4 main tutorials all with 3 to 6 projects in each, and 2 bonus tutorials, one for each pair of tutorials. Plus, I'll be offering a discount if you buy all 4 tutorials. I'm hoping to release everything by the middle of this month. So stay tuned :) While you're waiting for that why not shop my 4th of July Sale ~ I did a bit of numerology to come up with this one.
 July 4, 2011 = 7+4+2+0+ 1+1=15, so it's 15% off Storewide.

Other new things, three of the Bead Mavens including myself have purchased Wacom Bamboo tablets, and are helping each other learn how to use them. They are a totally fun tool and I'm actually writing this post with mine ~ not typing, writing! This means can sign documents online :) While we all bought them to help with writing and illustrating tutorials, they make drawing threadpaths so much easier, we've discovered there's a ton more you can do. Watch for our review on the Bead Mavens' biog. At the moment Heather,Callie and myself have Bamboos but l know Nancy & Linda are intrigued:) I know. it's silly but I actually have so much fun writing with it. You teach it to recognize your handwriting and it translates it into type but every now & then it screws up and puts in some totally off the wall word. Cracks me up!

For those of you interested, my dog is still with us, he's sleeping and breathing better thanks to the new meds, however, his incontinence has gotten worse so he's in a belly band and pads ~ and I got to clean carpets yesterday :(

It's been a productive week and I hope next week is just as productive, it's amazing how much you can get done when you're sleeping well. After a week of sleeping 8 full hours I feel like my old self again!.

Well! hope everyone has a great 4th and don't go playing with fireworks, you might lose a finger, and you need all of them to bead! :)