Friday, April 13, 2012

When Designers Screw Up!

Sometimes things just don't go well...sometimes you just screw up :)

It's been a few days of things not going the way I want them to, it happens and I don't get upset about it, it's the nature of the beast for a designer.
But I thought it might be interesting if I showed you how I manage to screw up and at some point you'll see how I worked through it.

I'm doing a challenge....Layne's Legacy better known as BFAC or Beading For A Cure.  You buy a kit...which are limited and sell out super fast...and then create something which you will donate so it can be auctioned off to raise funds.  It's my first time and I was super excited to get the kit and see what we were given to work with.

I was thrilled with the colors...very in my comfort zone and decided I would make an evening bag.  So I started pulling things from my stash to add to it. Got all this done :)


And, have to say I'm loving it, I know the design will work and the only issue I was having was going to be parting with it.

Then I reread the challenge rules!!!

Silly me missed the part about only being able to add ONE other bead type...by this point I think I'd added four!

POOP!

So....this is set aside to be worked on when I have time and I had the brainwave that most of the beads in the kit are what it takes for my Lace Cufflette and I wondered if it would work with a multi-color palette.

Well..here it is, and though I like some things about it, like the design I worked into the lace I am not happy with it.  There are two things I really do not like....the bugles are too heavy....larger than the size I used and they just over power it. The other thing is the brick red...too much of it.

I designed the lace for 15/0s and I really think it needs to be that to really capture the lace quality.
And some of you may squirm when I tell you I will probably take my scissors to this but sometimes that's what you need to do.


There are really no mistakes if you learn something so I take this week as a school week :) 

I did receive my antiqued silver ear wires for the latest tutorial I'm working on (which would have been finished if I hadn't been doing the two things above).
So I did manage to finish the earrings and take the photos for the tutorial.

I had fun taking the pictures...I wanted to make the cubes float as if in space because they totally remind me of the Borg ship from Star Trek: TNG :)


The little box pendant can also be made as a ring box.
The tutorial is called "HoneyCube" and will be in my store next week :)


Quite the week!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Yummiest of Books

 So....after a few days of pulling myself up by  my bootstraps I'm back :)

And I'm back to talk about something that helped me through a little patch of depression....the amazing book....

21st Century Jewelry
by Marthe Le Van


When this one first arrived I had a hard time putting it down and it tended to go with me from room to room.  It has to be the most inspiring book of jewelry I've ever seen and I can't recommend it enough.
Yes...it can be overwhelming and humbling to see such freaking awesome jewelry designs but if you can put intimidation aside and just soak in the pure brilliance of the work it will lift you, inspire you....and take the blues out of any day :)

I just chose two photos to give you a sneak peek....and I could have chosen any so I just let the book open where it wanted and it gave me two/three perfect pieces to illustrate how wide ranging this book is.

The first is simple elegance in the rings of Yesim Yuksek....here are "Deco Bride" and "Gothic Bride". Gee...the Gothic one makes me consider getting married just so I could have this one on my finger.


And from simple we go to sublime in this amazing piece by Vina Rust, "Eastern Cottonwood Defense".  The organic quality of this piece is staggeringly beautiful though I confess I wouldn't want to wear it.
Why wouldn't I want to wear it? Because I wouldn't be able to see it!!! 
I could look at this piece for ages and would rather frame it and hang it right in front of my desk!

Eastern Cottonwood Defense 2008

Though the pieces I've shown are metal, do not be deceived this book contains jewelry in just about every material out there.....from plastic & ribbon to post-its (yes, post its!) to precious metals.  It illustrates perfectly that if you have an idea you can create it with any material around...blue corn, OMG!

I don't know how I can recommend you buy this book more than saying "Just do it", if you have to search through the sofa for loose change....do it!
You will not regret it :)


The second book I'm going to talk about is also by Marthe Le Van (I want her job ;))  and is about one of the crazy challenges that happen in the jewelry community.....this one is also the title of the book

Ring A Day


Some one came up with the idea to challenge people to design a ring every day for a year....use whatever you have wherever you are.
This makes for a very interesting book that also shows us there are no limits to supplies if you're willing to think outside the box.

And to illustrate that here's one by Maria Apostolou..."Olive Leaf"


Ring-A-Day #1, 01/06/2010 "Olive Leaf"

Now this one may not have a long life but you have to admire the innovation and the design...and from here, where could you take it?  A silver leaf sewn with gold thread?   I've always been one to search for inspiration in unusual places (the color palette from rotten fruit) so this book makes me smile and inspires me further.

As a lover of sushi this one totally appealed to me, created by the extremely talented and Volcano Roll eating Lora Hart with, of all things, plastic sushi grass.  

RAD 51/365

This is a totally fun book!  And if you want to learn where inspiration comes from this is like 'Inspiration 101'. Want to learn how to come up with original designs?  Buy this book....it will make you smile, it will make you laugh and you'll be teaching your muse to think outside the box without even thinking about it!

Do Google the designers, I did, and I was amazed at their creativity!


So....two more from the pile of awesomeness from Lark Books.
These two definitely lifted my sagging spirits and made me feel that excitement about designing deep in my soul again.  Maybe they'll do the same for you :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Where Does the Time Go????

Did you ever see that video of guys attaching a motor to a kids playground roundabout?  Where the guys are holding on for dear life and it still isn't enough and one is thrown off?
Well....I feel someone has attached a motor to the world and it's spinning so fast I can't keep up.

I have been working hard on the new Pavé designs and I'm close to finishing the first tutorial which includes a bangle, bracelet with snap clasp, hair accessory and ring.


So, this one should be complete today, tomorrow at the latest and the next pavé tutorial will be what I'm calling the "HoneyCube" (though the Trekker in me thinks it looks like the Borg ship....yeah, I'm a geek)


I finally perfected the end decreases last night, though it was one of those things where I kept going off on a tangent...my focus was not staying focused....lol! It's versatile and I see lots of possibilities and that's makes it tough to stay on track.  A couple of pendants spring to mind...or six!

This morning my kit for Lacey's Legacy, "Beading For a Cure" arrived and I've already gone through my stash and found some ridiculously perfect cabochons to go with it.  How did I manage to have a couple of cabs with EVERY color in the kit in them??  Sometimes things are just meant to be.
It's the first time I've signed up for a kit as I typically don't even make finished jewelry these days....just lots of samples for tutorials. But I have had a couple of people express a desire to own something I made with my own two hands...so I thought this would be a great way to go about it as the finished pieces are auctioned off.

I need to review the stack of books I have and I've been reading through them so I know what I'm writing about....always goo to do that :)  So reviews are coming.  On a sad note Verenabeth never got back to me with her address, and she had such a good story....but as prizes are for people who follow my blog (and if you don't follow even to see if you won) I'm going to draw for the book from the people who answered.  Look for the winner on Wednesday :)





Monday, March 12, 2012

And the Winner is........

Verbenabeth

Congratulations!  As someone said it was very difficult to get past such a great story of generosity and love. For me it wasn't just that, I am a huge believer in the arts and crafts being passed on through the generations and the thing that pushed me over the edge was the fact that Verbenabeth sees arts and crafts as a way to make a living.  I was raised in a home that thought arts should just be a hobby and were not something you could make a living at. I had to bring newspaper ads to my father to prove there were jobs for an artist out there before he would even consider allowing me to go to a technical college. I studied Graphic Design simply because that was the only job listed in the "Help Wanted" section. I did manage to squeak in a foundation year by changing colleges but even after my pleas and the pleas of my professors I wasn't allowed to go to a 'real' (degree) college.  So I have to show my support for a parent who encourages art as an expression and career opportunity :)

Not to worry if you didn't win.....with the help of Lark Books I will be doing many more giveaways and giving you the heads up on other giveaways of their great books. Today I can share a fabulous giveaway for an advanced copy of Sabine Lippert's "Beaded Fantasies"


Sabine does amazing work and  has just been announced as one of the designer's at Marcia De Coster's Beading By The Bay next year along with the amazing Huib Petersen which has a LOT of us majorly excited.
Sabine is based in Europe so it's a big deal to get her Stateside though I hear she will be over this June....if you get the chance to take a class with her JUMP because I have a feeling her classes will sell out fast!


I spent my beading time this weekend working on my first bead embroidered piece and made a lot of progress, almost finished with the surface beading and ready to start the 'extras'. I am so glad I bought Jamie's "Dimensional Bead Embroidery" because I'm going to need some of her ideas putting the backing on it being fairly heavy.

The progress photos aren't great but I did like this one as the light bouncing out of the main pyramid is just too cool and an effect I hoped to achieve but didn't know how I was going to pull it off....lol....by accident!


Probably because of the pyramids I've been calling this "Osiris" as I've been working on it...something about black and bronze too, I think. Anyway...this is where I am...it still needs it's bells and whistles but as my first step into the world of bead embroidery I'm feeling pretty happy.


Today it's back to the drawing board for me....finishing the test sample of Pineapple Lace and getting the edits done so I can finally release it.
Happy Monday :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Books, Books, Oh So Yummy Books!

So, as some of you may know I was recently asked if I would like to review some books by Lark Books....no, I don't know what I did to receive such an honor and I'm totally stunned that anyone would even want my opinion, but you're going to get it :)

First up is Diane Fitzgerald's "Favorite Beading Projects"
Now, Diane is one of the Grand Dame's of beading as far as I am concerned and it's daunting, to say the least, to offer my opinion of one of her books...but here we go.


 I think this is a very well thought out book...even a little sneaky, in a good way :)  What do I mean by "sneaky"?
Well, seed beads and bead weaving can be scary to a lot of people and their immediate thought is "I can't do that"....as a teacher of bead weaving and having done numerous demos I have heard that hundreds of times.
With this book Diane cleverly introduces seed beads by showing mouth watering projects that take the reader from simple stringing designs into actual bead woven designs.


Take this project, "Fortune-Teller Beads", if you're someone who has strung beads this is very tempting, because it builds on what you know with a simple technique to take your skills to the next level.  All of a sudden you know how to do netting stitch, and if you can do that...well, the door is open. 
I love smart people and smart things and I can honestly say Diane and this book fall into those categories.  If you have ever looked at seed beads or bead weaving and thought "I can't do that" buy this book!  If you know someone who has drooled over your designs and said "I could never do that" buy them this book!
The designs are delightful and temptingly easy enough for a beginner.
My thanks to Diane for writing this book because I know she is converting people to bead weaving with it and as a designer of beading tutorials I get to benefit from there being more seed bead lovers in the world :)

And now for something completely different :)
Something I don't do but have always wanted to do....Metal Clay.
I do work in polymer clay but haven't as yet moved to metal clay.....mostly because my mother thinks I'll burn the house down with the blow torch.  She's wrong....that would be my brother :)  With the upcoming move I will have a place of my own...with hopefully a garage...and that workbench I see in Costco so I can start working in metal clay.

So...we have "Metal Clay Fusion" by Gordon K. Uyehara and what a scrumptious book!!
This book makes me want to order metal clay immediately (must not, must not) with stunning photos of Gordon's gorgeous work, I'm a fan.
And Gordon shows us how, step by step!
It really is a thorough book on the skills required, teaching you everything you need to know to create beautiful metal jewelry.  In a mere skimming of the book I learned so much and I know it will be my 'go to' book when I do start working with metal clay.


Gordon really covers all the angles, from a really complete list to put your 'Metal Clay Kit' together and how to use everything, with techniques to take you from beginner to advanced.  He does recommend taking a class if you've never worked with metal clay before and once you've looked through this book I think you'll be looking for the closest, soonest class available.
I also really appreciated the section on "Artiquette" about being professional as an artist and being original....I will share what he says about being original because I think this cannot be said enough and he says it so well.

"Thou shalt not copy. Just don't do it. Though it's true that there really is nothing new under the sun, let me make it very clear : If it looks like somebody else's work, don't publish it or sell it as your own. Add your personal, distinctive touch to it so you can make it your own. This is especially true with regard to published step-by-step instructions. Even though it's public, it never was your idea. So step up and credit the designer. Someone will call you on it anyway. Avoid the embarrassment, because those in the community will know."

True words!   And here are a couple of examples of projects in the book...a very original bead and a cool bangle.



Click on the book covers to go to where you can buy these great books.

And finally....yesterday I received a big box of books from Lark, one of which was Jamie Cloud Eakin's "Dimensional Bead Embroidery" which I bought a couple of weeks ago and reviewed before I knew I was going to be a reviewer. So...now I have two copies....I'm not greedy, so I am giving a copy of this great bead embroidery book away.


Just tell me why you should be the lucky recipient and the person who convinces me they need it the most will get it...though you will have to pay the shipping. Don't forget to leave me your e-mail address so I can contact you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday, Sunday

It's early, I'm up and halfway through my morning latte.
You might think it's not that early but for me to be up before 9am on a Sunday especially after beading until almost 1am is rare for me.
Apparently I was having nightmares (Mom said I screamed out at 5am) and that could well be why I'm awake. I don't know why I was screaming, could be a flashback dream to an attack that happened to me when I was 25...it amazes me that those still happen, but they do or it could be I was dreaming of the nightmare to come....family....as I woke up verbally defending myself...yet again.

Still...it's daylight, a new day and time to live in the present.
The very recent past saw me beading till almost 1am on my venture into bead embroidery.  To be honest right now it looks like bead weaving sewn onto a backing but I am reassuring myself that most bead embroidery starts off with cabochons glued to a backing.  Like most things, I'm doing this my way which means seasoned bead embroiderers may think "well, that's wrong" as I know I've taken liberties already :)

So how does this differ from bead weaving?  Well, to start with those babies aren't made off loom and attached...they are actually started (first four or five rows) off loom and then attached to the backing and then beaded further. Also to be honest....I don't know that I couldn't achieve the same effect totally in bead weaving but it's early stages.
And if you're looking at the backing fabric and seeing the white core this is because as the Lacy's Stiff Stuff is white and I'm making a black, bronze and gold cuff I didn't want to work on white. The answer was to use some iron-on black Pellon, a fabric interfacing used to stiffen fabric when making clothes.  I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere so I thought I would share my solution.



As you can see there's  some height to this piece, my goal is for it to be very three dimensional and have lots of depth. So far, so good....I'm especially happy with the tallest pyramid but I'm not going to show you why until the piece is complete :)  I don't quite know what the piece will be yet....I originally designed it as a cuff but I'm seeing it work as a necklace and maybe I can figure out how it can be both.
More work on it today after things are taken to the storage unit (my studio gained a full 6 square feet of empty space yesterday) and shopping at Costco is done.....maybe I'll actually get to the bead embroidery part :)

As I was looking for photos of my Da Vinci study the other day I came across photos of me in costume...for those of you who don't know I'm big into costuming (or used to be).  As Jenn over at Beading Daily showed us her first chain maille on Facebook yesterday I thought I'd show you my first chain maille.  As you can see, I didn't start with jewelry :)
This is one of my Female Super Hero costumes....photo is about 10 years old (I don't look bad for 43!), and you can see one of my inspirations, Kate Bush, in the background.  I made this outfit, yes, including the corset, for a costume event in San Francisco...it was a riot getting it through security...alarms going off all over the place :)
And when I say "I want my body back" this is the body I'm talking about :) Note the Total Gym...lol!
I was actually in better shape than this five years ago....right before I started beading...hhmmm....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blown Away!

Yes I am!
Because February sales beat January sales and January sales were record breaking!  You have no idea how this makes me feel....it means I can save to be able to buy the things I'll need when we move...you know things like a fridge or washer and dryer...or maybe a sofa!!!!
Thanks to all my customers for making 2012 off to a brilliant start.
Yesterday I gave away, as promised, the $50 gift certificate because I met my sales goal and I gave away and extra $25 gift certificate because I beat my previous month....I like win-win things :)

And to beading....I finished the Pineapple Lace cuff though I think it would look great as a choker too so once I've written the instructions I'll test them by making a duplicate (I usually at least change colors) which can be clasped to the first one to make a choker.  You know how I am about versatility...the idea of being able to wear the lace as either a choker or pair of cuffs really appeals to me.


I did plan on starting the illustrations yesterday but someone had a different idea for how I spent my day *sigh*. So, today I'm locking my studio door and the word "no" will come out of my mouth :)

As I was too distracted to illustrate yesterday and as my new storage things were delivered I started repacking my Delicas.  Not the final reorganization but the one I'll need to safely transport everything.  As I move my Delicas from lots of little tubes and clunky square boxes to nice slim 6" flip-tops I am realizing I need to order more Delicas :)


Last night I broke down and made a special purchase, I bough one of Diana Breigleb's faces.


I plan on making some dolls and making my own faces but that can't happen until I'm moved and settled with my clay supplies unpacked.  But I was tempted by Diana's lovely faces....known as "The Face".  This one makes me think of Da Vinci's ladies and is destined to end up as a Renaissance lady.
Of course, doll making and bead embroidery need to be in the hobby section of my life for now which means I have to squeeze them in on the weekends....when I'm not using the weekends to play  catch-up.

I did receive a wonderful surprise a couple of days ago, Lark Books had contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing their latest bead books...heck, yeah!
So I got my first one...eek! Can I say it's a little scary to be reviewing a book by one of beading's greats, the amazing Diane Fitzgerald.  My immediate thought was "who am I to be saying anything about the Grand Dame?"
But I will, because the people at Lark asked me to (eek), so watch for my review of Diane Fitzgerald's "Favorite Beading Projects" in the next week.


So far 2012 is looking like a really good year, hope yours is too :)




Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Books

So I mentioned I had a couple of books I wanted to review and today is that day.  It's not often I buy books about beading because I'm a sponge and I fear accidentally regurgitating someone else's design but as I am about to venture into some bead embroidery I thought I'd better get a good reference book.
And that is exactly what Jamie Cloud Eakin's "Dimensional Bead Embroidery" is....a wonderful book for those starting out with bead embroidery.


Jamie gives you lots of information about materials and she includes some inexpensive ones I would never have thought of.  I would definitely class this as a must have book for the beginner to intermediate bead embroiderer.
Click on the book to buy :)

The other book I bought was to replace my embroidery book that fell apart due to over use :) This one, "Stitch-opedia" by Helen Winthorpe Kendrick, is a definite upgrade from my old one.  Helen covers most  types of embroidery from cross-stitch to stumpwork and is a great reference guide for embroidery stitches.  There are many styles of embroidery that can be adapted to beading and as soon as I have time I plan on experimenting with them all :)


This book is spiral bound which I think is a brilliant idea for any kind of craft book. If you're a zentangler and want to take it to the next level....embroidery would be the way to go....with bead or without :)
Again clicking on the book will take you to Amazon where this book is on sale for about 50% of what I paid...run!

The next book I'm looking for.....a good book on 'Trapunto' which has always fascinated me. For those of you who don't know what it is....trapunto is a quilting technique where you stuff certain areas of the quilting to create a more dimensional piece.  It is covered just slightly in "Stitch-opedia" but I'm greedy for knowledge so I want more :)  If anyone knows of a good 'Trapunto' book let me know.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pineapple Salsa

So.....more work on the Pineapple bead lace....the second draft addressed many of the issues and only required a little tweaking...though I'm not 100% on the connections.  This single motif would make for a great earring...and that's why the title of this blog post is "Pineapple Salsa", it seemed like a great name for the earrings :)


The photo is crap, had a hard time getting a non-glare shot this morning but maybe that's a good thing (given there are people who count beads to avoid paying for a pattern).
The center bead is a black and bronze three-facet round...it was all I had that matched the little bronze fire-polished and plain black was just too flat. I  really like a black/bronze combination....possibly my favorite classic mix.

The more I work on this the more design possibilities I see.  In fact, the five section ring I was working on (and having trouble with) may turn into a ring version.  There's something about black lace, the way it was worn to hide and highlight, that is just so sexy and yet demure.
It will definitely be fun seeing where this goes.

I woke this morning to a bunch of orders for the Urchin Wings Pendant Mirror/Brooch which made me happy, as I always worry something won't be a seller.  And the sales pushed me over my monthly goal in my store so there will be a $50 gift certificate raffled off at the end of the month....if you bought/buy from my Artfire store this month you are automatically entered....one ticket for each day you shopped :)


And this tutorial does include MY instructions for the Gothic Butterfly bracelet that was featured in Beadwork Magazine.


Today will see me taking Mom shopping, doing some packing, dropping things at Goodwill and after all that there should be time for beading.

I have a couple of books I want to do a review on....Jamie Cloud Eakin's "Dimensional Bead Embroidery" and Helen Winthorpe Kendrick's "Stitch-opedia" which is a book about all kinds of embroidery. I bought "Stitch-opedia" because my previous book on embroidery stitches fell apart after years of use and this is a definite upgrade.  So watch for these reviews...I hope to get them done sometime this week :)

Have a great weekend!



Friday, February 24, 2012

Growing Pineapples

It's been a rough week, one of those where you see your time and your sanity circling the drain to disappear forever.  But after sleepless nights spent trying to figure it out and endless days spent explaining and discussing I think my feet are finding marshy ground again....not solid ground, I've learned not to be so trusting and that's it's better to sleep with one eye open.
After two false starts to a personal day I finally managed it yesterday and by the evening I was actually fit to bead.

One of the things that I found relaxed me was drafting a bead lace pattern, this time one of my favorite crochet patterns, Pineapple Lace, and Wednesday night I did just that. The thing about bead lace is you have to draft the pattern first, then try it out, see the issues, make changes to the draft and try it again. Repeat as needed.
This is the first draft I did Wednesday night....I do the beads to scale thinking that will make it work...lol...not necessarily!  But you can see the progression and the possibilities and it all looks pretty enough but the test is if it works and where the heck you do the thread path.


Here you can see the testing process with a couple of scrapped false starts (there were more!)  What looks good on paper will not always work in beads and adjustments and compromises have to be made.


Last night saw me changing the draft with what I had learned (more beads here, less beads there, change the connection completely) but progress was made and I can see this being very pretty when I have it done.  And it has so many possibilities. I love lace :)

I'm hoping to get back to business today and edit the Urchin Wings tutorial that has been sitting on my desk since Tuesday. Fortunately I tested it as I went so once edits are done I can actually list it....hopefully later today.
Then I can feel good about getting back to beading this lace.

Hope everyone has a great weekend :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Behind Schedule

The vacuum cleaner of time, fun, positivity and hope that is my family struck again losing me an entire day of work and sending me into depression.
I realise there is a pattern to this, every time work is going well and I'm happy my family comes up with something to knock the stuffing out of me.
I can hear the words of my therapist from years ago telling me this is what I should expect from them and the only defense is distance....and the word "no".

I decided this year my new response to this crap is to immediately put myself at the top of my list and any demands/needs of said family at the bottom. I'm basically on strike as far as my family is concerned.  

So...I'm tucked away in my studio working on the Urchin Wings: Peacock Mirror Pendant/Brooch....slower than normal but getting there.  All the illustrations are done....and redone (note to self: do not illustrate when upset), and today I'm writing the words.  

Yesterday I had two deliveries, one, a pack of beads and the other the rolling case with 18 full size jewelry trays...finally somewhere to store all the finished samples for my designs and not just little jewelry boxes scattered everywhere.  Not to mention they will all be packed and ready to go if I ever get out of here.

And I will get out of here....come hell or high water!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Finally...Fourth time's a charm....right?

So this is the part that had been giving me the issues...I was trying to create something totally with beads that would be a strong base for the pin back needed to make this into a brooch.  After three attempts I decided I needed a base to work on and ran to the store to buy it.
What was it? A 26c washer!

Problem fixed and I was able to set the pins in my favorite way so they look totally neat and clean :)



Now I just need to attach it in the same manner as I did the mirror.
Now I'm a happy Mikki :)

Of course...while I was at Michaels picking up the pin backs I spotted this: 


Yup! A big bag of shell bits. Apparently my muse thinks there's a project for these that would make a great class. I have to admit....it's something I think I'm asked about the most and I could see it being a very popular class.  So this is on the 'To Do' list for class submissions which I really need to start working on!  Yep...another of those secretive things, can't give the ideas away before I've proved they are mine :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Progressing

I made good progress on the Urchin Wings: Peacock Mirror Pendant/Brooch yesterday getting most of the illustrations done. And last night the third attempt at the support for the scarf slider and pin back gave me what I was looking for, so I should be able to get that illustrated today.  Then I have to tackle the illustrations for actually putting all the components together....that's the not so easy part.

I'd like to have all the illustrations complete today as tomorrow I need to go get my car serviced for the trip to Vegas which I'm hoping to do on Thursday. So just having the words to write tomorrow would be perfect :)

The secret project I'm working on made me get innovative as I had to come up with a temporary support to reach the desired effect.  I was very relieved when the thing didn't collapse on me when the support was removed and I think it's a valuable tool for those times when something is tricky.  Definitely a good tip that might be useful even when you're not working on something quite as big as I am right now.
Of course I'm having lots of 'spin-off' ideas with this project some of them are actual 'spinning' ideas :)

Enough with the mystery...it's hard not to tell you what I'm doing but I'd rather have it be a surprise and not get my idea stolen before I've brought it into fruition.

A lot of my ideas lately are not for jewelry and it's interesting to see where seed beads can go. Many ideas for wall art and sculpture.  Who I am as a beader seems to be morphing and the direction I thought I was heading in six months ago doesn't seem right for me now.  I had thought that once I moved I would be teaching every week up and down CA but I'm now feeling that teaching just a few times a year will allow me to take my beading into the direction it seems to want to go.   My roots are in art, painting and sculpture so I guess it's no surprise that the beads want to go there too.  The tricky part will be balancing it all no doubt :)  


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday, Sunday

Sunday is a day of relaxation....right?
I wish!
I've already been reminded of what needs to be done, before I'd even had my caffeine fix...sheesh!   My entire body aches from all the heavy lifting I did yesterday and Firday but... it's progress.
I think all the major stuff is done now and much as I loved my Dad I've shaken my fist in his direction many a time while cleaning his spaces. My Dad was a hoarder....fortunately Mom is the opposite so I've only had to deal with Dad's areas....the loft, the garage and his work shed.  I honestly don't know how people deal with hoarders who have run of a house too.  I should take a load of stuff to storage today but the way my back feels I'm hoping Mom lets me off the hook, and I really don't feel like climbing the ladders to do what she wants done next.  Taking her shopping is enough for today!

I did manage to get some beading done last night so I just have the scarf slide and brooch back to do on the Gothic Urchin Pendant/Brooch.  I'd like to finish it today so I can get back to writing the pattern tomorrow.  I'm definitely happy with the construction simplifications I've made....even if illustrating them isn't going to be easy.


Now....here's a little tease....what will I be doing with these?
Videos? Books? Playing frisbee? 


As Wanda didn't come forward to claim her prize in my Milestone Giveaway I pulled another ticket this morning....
and....the winner is 
Releases by RoofyDoof
So...Karyn, if you would contact me with your e-mail there will be a $25 gift certificate for you, congratulations!

Keep the blog comments coming and spread the word about the benefits of following my blog :) Because we're on the downhill track to 400 followers and another Milestone Giveaway.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Slowly but Surely

It's the weekend and these days that means it starts on Friday and instead of being time to relax it's busy, busy packing and cleaning.
Yesterday I tackled my studio closet....the bad thing about be organized is you can pack a LOT of junk into a closet if you just arrange it neatly :)
Bags and bags of garbage, did I really need a ream of every color paper? Hundreds of those magnetic bingo chips...it was a project....are now headed for Goodwill.  And I found my missing crochet books :)

Last night I broke down and ordered myself one of those jewelry carts for all my finished pieces/samples.  I figure if I have to pack them up it may as well be for the last time...they'll be in their home ready to travel to shows :) My goal is to pack all my studio things in rolling carts/drawers so I don't lose time unpacking when I reach my new home.  Those little carts that fold flat are great for this and I figure two will hold all my boxes of beads.  The beads will be the last thing I pack and when I get to packing them it will mean we are moving the next day :)  SO looking forward to that.

I still haven't heard about the submission dates for BABE classes, I'm thinking I'll do the project anyway because I'm sure it will be a popular class around Christmastime.....so next week will include a trip to Vegas for supplies that match perfectly.

With the busy weekend I'm not going to have the tutorial for the Urchin Wings: Peacock Mirror Pendant/Brooch done because I'm only this far on the second sample.
The reason is, besides all the packing/cleaning, I am trying to simplify the construction. The components are very easy but putting it together is where the skill comes in.  I believe I have it as simple as it's going to get and have the tricky needle moves down to a minimum :)  If you think it looks like a flower at this point....I agree, and you could always stop at this point.
The next step is adding the rivolis between the petals and then I have to devise the scarf slide/brooch back. I'm hoping the technique I used for the Spiral Star will work for this one too....it's so nice and clean.
I will have the tutorial finished and in my store by Friday barring any unforeseen disasters.

I got a cool surprise yesterday, a gift certificate from Fusion Beads for naming them as my supplier for the Gothic Butterfly in Beadwork magazine. It's always nice to be acknowledged in that way.  Bead shopping!

Sales in my store are looking good this month and just went over the half-way mark to my goal which means....if it keeps up there will be a $50 gift certificate up for grabs. You qualify for a chance to win that GC when you shop at my store ....each day you shop in February gets you a ticket.

And keep commenting on my blog....all comments between the last giveaway and when I reach 400 followers will get you a ticket in the Milestone Giveaway.


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Got My Socks Blown Off!

So...last night I put photos of my latest creation on Facebook, had a few really nice comments and then I went to bed feeling good about a productive day.
I wake up this morning with an inbox overflowing with amazing compliments and over 30 friend requests!!!!  Not to mention a few sales :)
My socks were across the room!
Thank you for all the encouraging words...nothing better than a design getting a great reception :)

So here are the photos of my Urchin Wings: Peacock Mirror Pendant




The mirror works really well and seems like it was meant to be.

I'll be making a second one that has a buckle type element on the back along with a brooch pin.  The buckle is to slide a scarf through as Mom and I think this will be a great scarf pin and we don't want to make holes in those pretty scarves, now do we?  :)   As it happens the only complete set of rivolis I have in stock are jet black....which means if will be a little Gothic....and as many of you know, that's my style and I am delighted with this happy coincidink, I'll take any excuse to make something Gothic :)

I am also itching to make this little evening bag but I need to save that till the weekend...plus I need to go hunting for components for the larger size retro bag.  And we don't even want to mention the third design Morganna has come up with which mixes the modern with the retro.

I so need to clone myself!  Somehow I think Morganna was slated to be the muse of quintets and the paperwork got screwed up.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Meddling Muses


So, just a few days late I stocked my store with the Lace Cufflette tutorial...big tutorial. That might be the biggest single design tutorial I have done but I'm happy with it as I think anyone with a basic understanding of bead weaving will be able to make it.

Ah....why the title? You ask.
Morganna is meddling with my schedule again, it's not enough that she's got me forking off to do some bead embroidery now she's giving me designs for the home....art pieces, if you will.   It's not entirely her fault, I guess, I have been saying I hope to do a gallery show when we have moved back to Fresno, she's just trying to help.  And the art pieces, well, I'm happy to sketch them and make notes so I can come back to them.
However....then she throws at me THE most brilliant idea for an evening bag using my corrugated peyote....not just brilliant, but the kind of thing that a photo of it is likely to go viral.  Oh...and she wants me to make TWO!

So, I'm scrambling to find the time.

Last night I got quite the surprise when working on the Urchin Wing pendant....Morganna surprised me by showing me how my design is actually based on peacock feathers.   What gets me is how she looks at my supplies and finds exactly what she needs.   Now there is some discussion (no I am not talking to myself...well, maybe) as to whether I add an optional mirror to the back of the pendant....useful little thing if you need to check your lipstick and there's a line to the restroom :)


Of course this will also make a fabulous brooch, minus the mirror, of course. So, I am going to add instructions for how to add a pin-back.
This tutorial will also include the original Urchin Wings (Gothic Butterfly) bracelet pattern with a few more illustrations than were in Beadwork Magazine.

I start the illustrations today and if I can get everything done in the next three days it will be in my store Friday :)

Then....I plan on spending my weekend evenings making that brilliant little evening bag....it's a simple enough design, lots of beading but I am 
SO excited about it :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

And the Winner is........

The winner of my Milestone Giveaway is a ticket from a blog post

Annalie

Congratulations Annalie, let me know your choice of prize and where to send it....e-mail address for the gift certificate, physical address for the jewelry.

I also pulled two more tickets :)
And I will be sending $25 Gift Certificates to the following people 

Tia Dalma
Wanda (the first Wanda who commented on my blog)

If you ladies would send me your e-mail address I'll get your gift certificates out to you :)


Now if you didn't win this time.....here's the deal:
When I reach 400 followers there will be a $40 gift certificate just for people who comment on my blog between now and then, commenting on a post gets you a ticket...so you have multiple chances to win, one ticket per blog post...(so if you comment more than once on one post you still just get one ticket).

When I reach 500 there will be a $50 GC.....same rules.
I'll increase the prize $10 per extra 100 followers until I have 1000, then it will be $100 for every 100 over 1000.


For my store:
As this is my livelihood my sales pay my bills and I have to make a certain amount each month to keep the bill collectors away :)
So....whenever I reach my sales goal for the month I will give a $50 Gift Certificate to someone who helped me reach that goal....so each time you shop (different days) you will get a ticket to win.

When I feel I'm winning I want to share :)


Ok...so now to the not so great news.
Some of you will know I had a hell week with my internet.
Apparently an upgrade was released for my access manager and it corrupted my modem. I had been thinking all the solar flares were messing with my connection but no....my modem was dying.
I figure I lost about 30 hours to fixing the problem, talked to 6 phone support people....for about 5 hours total, 7 visits to the store ....totaling about 10 hours, and all the stress made me too tired to work when I wasn't talking on the phone (something, if you know me... I hate) or running around to the store twice a day.  So....I am about two days behind with work...still beading the project I'm scheduled to write the tutorial for this week and I still have about 5 pages to write for the Lace Cufflette which was scheduled for release last Friday :(

Still....my new mobile hotspot is working fine now and I definitely owe thanks to Jeremy Brooks at the Verizon store in St George, UT for going to bat for me when other members of staff were rolling their eyes, obviously willing me out of the store and were totally unsympathetic to my situation....which was caused by their technical people.  Jeremy is one of the good guys who believe in doing the right thing and convinced his managers to do the same.
So...if you need anything Verizon in St George....Jeremy is your guy!

Now, hopefully, we will return to normal programming :)
Have a great Sunday people!