Tuesday, December 29, 2009


That's about all I can say. It's been a hectic week with not much time for any online activities.
I was busy with last minute gifts, deciding to make the men in my family tie pins which meant designing something new and figuring out just how best to do it. I was happy with the finished result. My stash had a couple of perfect things for a couple of people but I decided to make my niece something in her favorite color, purple. So, I made her some finger armor and a matching pair of earrings with some gorgeous purple teardrop Swarovski pearls and a couple of my math beads. Of course, I was so busy I had them all wrapped up before I realised I hadn't taken pictures.
I'm ordering some sterling wire to make more tie pins as I liked the ones I did plus I have a ton more ideas for them now. I'm even going to invest in a Thing-a-ma-jig to make the process easy and consistent. My packaging caused as much joy as the tie pins so that will be recreated too. Nothing like testing designs on family :)

I managed to sneak in one new bracelet design and I just need to get some silver beads to complete it. It fits into one of the monthly themes for Beadwork magazine so I plan on submitting it as a project. I was also finishing up samples for next month's classes.....just one to go now....as I forgot to get some pressed flowers for the resin cabochon. Hopefully I'll get that finished today.

Today is basically a finish up things day, then a huge project....cleaning out and reorganizing my studio. I want to start the new year fresh and hopefully that reorganization will kick start me into fresh things and a fresh approach. I also hope that the organization will inspire respect for what I do and reduce the number of interruptions and distractions I have to deal with because the last month has driven me around the bend and stressed me out.

Numerologically speaking 2010 is a 3 year (2+0+1+0=3) and 3 is the number of creativity and personally it's a 9 year for me....a year of completion getting ready for a new exciting cycle. Of course 2009 was supposed to be a money year for me and that certainly didn't happen, but we're going to stay positive....right?

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I've started reformatting my patterns so they work better as PDFs and I just listed my Peyote Pearl Ring pattern in my Artfire store. By popular request I actually taught this class twice this month, it really is a pretty little ring, easy enough for the absolute beginner and a quick fun project for the experienced beader. It takes a beginner about two hours to make and an experienced beader could probably knock it out in under an hour. So...if you're short a few gifts for under the tree this might just be the answer!

It's also fun to size it up and make it into a brooch, or, if you have a man in your life who still wears cufflinks...this would work great sized down and made in masculine colors. Men need to wear more beads!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Post Migraine Giddiness

I don't know if it's just me but after a migraine, when all the pain has finally dissipated I get giddy and full of energy. I got progressively more giddy at my class last night and by the end of it I was pretty much bouncy!

The class was a lot of fun too...great students and a successful project. We made a beaded ornament which makes a great beaded bead when you make it with smaller beads. It's always wonderful when students finish the project in class, not easy when it's just a two hour deal but it went that way last night and there were some gorgeous sparkly goodies created.
When I got home I played with my beads...working on some designs made with ruffled circular peyote, I'll be teaching a class on this next month but as two hours only allows the making of one ruffled circle I want my students to see what you can do with it. I'm using some Lucite lily of the valley flowers with the ruffled circles to make a matching pendant and earrings.
I did wake up with a bit of a headache this morning and promptly drank two glasses of water.....I'm hoping that will chase it away. I refuse to be knocked out again! Too much to do! I need to redo the illustrations for the RAW ring as the fancy way I did them slowed the saving process down to barely a crawl...back to the old way. I'm also using a new format which allows unlimited illlustrations and makes it easier to put into PDF format and means I can list my patterns in my Artfire store. We had a discussion last night about the number of illustrations needed for patterns. Suzanne had bought a pattern online that was 19 pages long due to all the illustrations but she found herself editing it as she found some of the illustrations redundant. I think that was a valid point....too many illustrations can be as frustrating and confusing as too few. If something is broken down too far you get ahead of yourself and then lost. Hopefully I strike a happy balance.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quiet Time

That's what yesterday was for me....a day of doing nothing! Which would have been great if it wasn't due to a horrific migraine. I think the recent spout of migraines is due to dehydration, as I am terrible at drinking enough water especially when the weather gets cold. So, I'm trying my best to keep hydrated and ward off the pain. I remember meeting an Indian doctor who, on shaking my hand, informed me I was dehydrated....Eastern medicine is so good at spotting those things in simple ways.

I entered one of Scarlett Lanson's giveaway's today. She asks the question "What are your beading goals for 2010?"
My answer: "My goal is to make as much progress in 2010 as I have in 2009 in creating my beading business which is my only source of income. Hopefully to win some more competitions, be published more and it would be fabulous to teach some classes other than my regular ones....like at a bead show. Unlike the first post I need to get over my fear of success, it's amazing how much that holds me back, the root of my procrastinations."
What's your answer?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obsession du Jour

I seem to be stuck on designing mathematical beads...I swear I'm dreaming of them. The long bead is actually the bead version of the Christmas ornament I'm teaching on Thursday, just smaller and with a tad more embellishment. I've also been experimenting with some flat geometrics that I'm calling 'lozenges'.....they're like a double sided tile so they offer lots of opportunities for reversible designs.

I did manage to complete my class schedule for next month....finally. Bead weaving will include classes on Twisted Herringbone rope, Brick Stitch, Circular Peyote with Ruffles and ...gee...a math bead (which sits beautifully on the herringbone rope). Other classes will be a Memory Wire pendant & earrings set, a Wirework Watchband and two classes on making your own beads, Fabric Beads and a Resin Cabochon.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Math Beads

Time flies when you're having fun! When I finally tore myself away from beading last night it was actually 3am!

I was working on mathematical beads and these two came out rather well. The grey one is a basic dodecahedron headed for my basic bead patterns and the pearl one is an embellished cuboctohedron and will probably be included in a cuboctohedron pattern collection.

I am totally engrossed in the construction of these beads and all the brain work involved in working them out is sure to be helping fight off Alzheimers.

My Dalek Deca found it's way to Ebay and mingled in with all the Dr Who items. We'll see how it goes but I'm skeptical, the only things that I've had luck selling on Ebay are video games.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dalek Deca Done......Destination Ebay!

Last night after completing my alloted work on the JOGS piece I picked up my Dalek Deca and finished the chain and the tassel. This has been a lot of fun to make and I'm excited about the little Dr Who secret hidden away inside....yes, I thought of just the right thing to put inside.
I don't usually put my beading on Ebay but as this is Dr Who related I think Ebay is the right place for it. Hopefully a collector of Dr Who memorabilia will fall in love with it and snatch it up....it would be good to feel someone who loves the show as much as I do owns my little bauble. I'll do a link to the listing once I get it up and running.

Crazy as I am I now want to make a Tardis. Stay tuned.

My mom and I played the "what would you do if you won a $million" game yesterday. Easy.....I would go on THE biggest bead shopping spree....visit the Miyuki and Toho stores in Japan and buy by the bag, visit the Swarovski factory and do the same. I would then buy a house with a classroom and kit it out as the perfect beading studio. I'd sign up for Beading by the Bay and book a room for the Tucson bead show. Oh...I did say I would also go to a spa for about a month, get in shape, have a little non-surgical work done and then buy new clothes for the new body, buy a new hybrid car and take a trip to California to have fun with my girlfriends out there. But most of what I'd do revolves around beads and beading. Ahh....a gal can dream.

I did get to go on a fun bead shopping spree yesterday as my prize from Beadstar arrived....a $500 gift certificate to Beadaholique. I made a dent in that baby with a bunch of Delicas, some gemstone beads and a storage system. I bought three trays that hold 56 tubes of beads each, this will let me see all the colors I have and not have to go rummaging through storage boxes any more. I also bought a couple of bobbins of Japanese KO beading thread which is made especially for Delicas. I've never used this thread, I typically use Silamide or Fireline but they had a couple of colors I needed so I thought I'd give it a try, I'll review it once I've had chance to use it.

Rachel Nelson-Smith was talking on her blog about naming herself a "Beadist", she put up a dictionary-like description. Rachel also used the term "beadonism".....this one I really like. Webster's says 'hedonism' is "the self-indulgent pursuit of pleasure as a way of life" so if you tweak it...."beadonism is the self-indulgent pursuit of pleasure through beads as a way of life".
Oh...and check out Rachel's Etsy store she's put up a lot of special Rachel goodies for Christmas.

Friday, December 11, 2009


So, late last night I decided to play with some mathematical ideas. The first one is a cuboctohedron and the second one is a rondelle based on the cuboctohedron...I'll have to figure out what it really is in the mathematical world.
I actually had another almost complete but wasn't happy with how the beads were sitting....it was pretty though....all done in Swarovski crystals and, beacause of the colorway, it looked like a pointsettia bead. The trick with these beads is to get the right size and shape of the beads you use......for them to be mathematically correct that is. At least I've discovered what shapes and sizes will work which is why we do prototypes....right?
Yesterday was a lot of fun. Artbeads Tweeted and Facebooked my Dalek Deca and it was very cool to see it out there even if it's not completely finished. Thank you Artbeads and Duchess.
I just realised this is my 100th post....a milestone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I was Tweeted today! How sweet of Artbeads to Tweet about my Dalek Deca baby "Mikki of The Beaded Carpet blog creates an ingenious "Dalek Deca Vessel" using Swarovski Pearls & Delica Seed Beads!" I confess I don't Tweet which won't come as a surprise to those who know of my phonaphobia but if I can Tweet via computor (can I?) that would be something else.
My bribing of myself worked yesterday as I finished the last three urchin wings and then I rewarded myself by working on the chain for the Dalek Deca. I chose to do a small twisted herringbone cord in black and silver Delicas with a grey pearl every inch....that sure makes it easy to measure...method in the madness! I managed to get one side of the chain completed and about 25% of the second side. I'll finish it with a loop and button closure with the button being a pearl centered pentagon. Then I just have to figure out what I want dangling from it. Yes, that is a thread you see....it's still attached to the bobbin. Whenever I add new thread I work in a good length nice and securely but I leave the other end attached to the bobbin in case I need to add more. If I do then I cut a working length from the bobbin and just work it through the beads to where it need to be, no need to secure it because it already is....what we do to save adding thread.
I was pleased I got so much done because I lost the afternoon to an impromptu Christmas shopping trip with Mom.....it was how she wanted to spend her birthday, we ended up snapping up some fun bargains for my brother. I spent some of my birthday money on a travelling bead board by Blue Moon at Michaels. What do I think to it? Hmm....it's ok, I'll probably use it with some changes. I like that it clips together and is great to work with on your lap however....I think they went the cheap route as the lining is cheap grey foam which will be a bitch for picking up seed beads with a needle. It's designed more for stringing and I can see it working fine for that....one side of the foam is cut into a beading tray. For my use I'll rip out the foam and line it with Vellux. It sells for about $20 but my 40% coupon brought it down to $12.50 which is a much better price for what it is.
Today I'm back to pattern writing and I have a class tonight but hopefully I'll have time to get some of the urchin wings put together. Art class tomorrow is cancelled....it's the time of year when everyone is too busy and I'm definitely one of them. My classes have dwindled to half as many students due but it's that time of year....hopefully I'll have some sales to make up for the loss in teaching income. I'm going to dedicate tomorrow to adding things to my Artfire store.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Get On With It, Mikki!

Well, as I have mentioned I've been down and distracted in the last week or so but I'm feeling very revitalized after starting work on the mathematical beads. Of course I still have a couple of things to finish with deadlines looming.

Artbeads sent me the beads I was missing to finish the JOGS competition piece, not that I couldn't have done another part of it in the meantime. I've had trouble picking it up and working on it and I've had to wonder why....I think it's a couple of things, self-doubt and fear. The self doubt comes because when I've been working on a piece for a while it begins to feel very ordinary to me. The fear is actually my old demon, fear of success. I'm actually scared about winning this one, and yes....it's a big 'what if'.
As I think about it I realise I've been avoiding entering the big competitions. People are always surprised I'm not more successful....they see my art and sometimes even get angry with me about it. I tried to put how I feel into my self-portrait "Artist Bound"....the feeling of being trapped within myself. I'm really trying hard with the beading to break free and live up to my potential, it just ain't easy!
So, the plan for the day is to at least get some of the JOGS piece put together. I'm bribing myself....if I get the last three urchin wings made I can play with the mathematical bead ideas and work on the chain for the Dalek Deca Vessel Pendant.
It's a bugger when you have to bribe yourself.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dalek Deca Vessel

So...I decided to turn the Dalek Dodecahedron into a decahedron....lost two pentagons, changed two to squares and made this cute little vessel. It stands just 1 3/4" tall.
The pearl topper is hinged and does open, it 'clicks' shut without needing a locking mechanism. I added some 3mm Swarovski mystic black pearls at the points and put a loop on each side ready to attach a cord or chain, maybe it'll be a small twisted herringbone rope with some staggered pearls. I don't know what to put inside this little gem...maybe you have a suggestion?

I added a loop through the bottom of the vessel so I can add some kind of drop. I used the Delicas that just arrived from Artbeads through the blogger program, they send me free beads so I can give an honest review and I'm not paid to endorse them. It's always a thrill to get a little purple package from Artbeads whether it's the blogger program beads or just one of my regular orders, always free shipping...which is so good for me because I always forget something.

I love working with Delicas, how can you not? They are THE bead to use when you need uniformityI think the simple colorway of shiny black and galvanized silver works really well. I forget where I got the tip....I think it was from Melinda Barta on Facebook but it's a very useful little bit of info about how many Delicas it takes to go around a bead. A formula!!! Simple too....you just take the diameter of the bead in milimeters, and multiply it by 2.5. So, if you have a 10mm bead it takes 25 Delicas to go around it, 12mm takes 30, 8mm takes 20. I love formulas!

Hooked on Dodecahedrons & Teacher Tuesday

Way too many ideas on this one. The possibilities are endless and designs are whirling around in my brain....if only I could bead that fast!

So, I finished the extended dodecahedron and started working on my Dalek Dodeca. Ok...I'm English, I grew up watching Dr Who and hiding behind the sofa when the Daleks were on and I love the updated version of the show on BBC America. If you have no idea what I'm talking about Dr Who was/is a sci-fi show and the Daleks were the bad guys....ugly little creatures that were embedded in metal machines that had bumps all over them. Can you see the similarity?

I think this one will be a vessel pendant....ha, maybe I can find a little plastic ugly to go
inside to totally make it a true Dalek Dodeca.

Teacher Tuesday
When I started this last week Coolmoon suggested I check out Tatiana Van Iten's work. I wasn't familiar with the name but as soon as I Googled her I discovered I knew her work. Tatiana takes many prizes for her gorgeous work and I scooped this gem from Bead & Button's gallery. You can find her in contests like Bead Dreams and the Toho contest.

Apparently Tatiana learned how to bead from her grandmother when she was six years old, so she's not new to the art. Her work is definitely exquisite and she certainly has a style of her own. She started entering competitions to become known to boost her classes....gee, that sounds familiar. If you want to take a class with Tatiana she will be teaching at the JOGS show in Tucson in January. I haven't found a website for her but Googling sure turns up a lot of info on this very talented bead artist.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mathematical Beading

I was feeling depressed this weekend, I didn't even have the will to bead. Maybe I just needed a break. So, I went browsing the web and stumbled on an interesting lamp by Bathsheba Grossman who is an "artist who combines math, science and sculpture, to make objects like this lamp. You can only produce the shape of this lamp with a 3D printer (rapid prototyping)." Hmm....that's a challenge if ever I heard one!

This just spoke beads to me and sent me off on some research. I came across the website of mathematical sculpture artist Vladimir Bulatov

I was fascinated by his sculptures and once again thought.....beads. I've always been a bit of a math geek...I used to do something called 'crossfigures' which are like crossword puzzles but with numbers and clues like "square root of 4 across". So, while putting together these shapes is challenging for me it's still quite doable.

Here's the first one, almost finished. It's an extended dodecahedron. I'm not crazy about the colors but it was just a prototype to see if I could actually make one. There's a very intricate weaving pattern that goes on with this but once you understand the pattern of the weaving it kind of falls into place.

I think, once I've worked out all the glitches, these will make great pendants and if I can make them small enough really nice beaded beads. There seems to be no end to the things you can do with dodecahedrons and if I don't restrict the size and do sculptures it could really get interesting.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bead Dreaming

I'm considering entering Bead Dreams 2010. Kind of a scarey thought, as I think that's the ultimate in bead competitions but, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I have a couple of ideas about what I'd like to enter and at $30 for one or two entries it makes sense to enter two. I have four months to the deadline, plenty of time to make something or two somethings though at the moment neither of the ideas I have are jewelry. Interesting.

I am almost finished with the JOGS competition piece....just three more components to make(I'm waiting on beads) and then it all comes together. I'm also trying to decide what designs to put into kit form in case I actually won the JOGS competition as there is hardly anytime between them announcing the winner and the show. Part of me thinks if I am prepared I probably won't win but if I'm not prepared.....I just might, I attract stressful situations!

After class last night I came home and researched fabric beads. I was surprised that there wasn't more of a selection out there, it seems everyone is making them the same way three ways. At least it gave me a place to start when designing my own fabric beads. I plan to teach one type of bead making a month next year. We'll start with resin cabochons, and then move on to polymer beads, wire beads, paper beads and fabric beads. The goal is to add a more personal design element to our jewelry.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Birthday Surprise

Yes, I turn another year older today, but I got a nice surprise this morning when I found myself featured on Beading Daily's Facebook page.

Yesterday I was released from the confidentiality agreement for BeadStar magazine. This is a competition I entered back in May and I won first place in the glass category but had to keep it a secret until the magazine was published. Though it might not hit your newstand until December 8th BeadStar has been available in some places for about a week.

My design, "Spring Flowers", was something I came up with when trying to translate daisy chain, a bead weaving stitch, into wire wrapping.
The tricky part was getting the wires to end where they needed to be to make the connecting loops.
Now, it would be a real birthday gift if my prize arrived today....a $500 gift certificate to Beadaholique
It's been an interesting year. Finances have been up and down, mostly down, but I think that's natural when you take on a new venture. I have learned a lot and achieved a fair amount....published in three national beading magazines, starting a bead society, have my beading in a gallery, collected a great group of bead students & started this blog. If I make as much progress in the coming year I'll be very happy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bead Artists Who Teach

Something Cyndi Daniel of Jewelry Tales said to me the other day has been brewing in my mind. She said there were two types of beader the ones who share and the ones who don't. This was in regard to teaching, doing tutorials, selling patterns, etc. Cyndi creates some fabulous beading designs inspired by lace and she sells her patterns at her Etsy store. She also sells the rights to sell her designs with her patterns and I have to say she's the first designer I've come across who does this, and all she asks is that you don't mass produce her work.

So, basically the two types of beaders are the ones who never tell how they make things and keep what they learn to themselves and the ones who do share. The latter tend to be about spreading the knowledge, keeping the techniques alive, stimulating others to create. Cyndi and I are both lovers of lace and are very aware that lacemaking is an art we really have to keep alive. Someone who is doing a good job of this is TotusMel over at Etsy who is a tatter extraordinaire and featured on The Beading Gem's blog today.

Though I do tat lace I haven't done anything more than edgings, however I also crochet lace and pictured are a few cufflettes I've crocheted. I love cufflettes, they are so fun to wear and dress up simple clothes to make them special. The last one is actually beaded, it has hundreds of crystal AB seed beads worked in. I haven't taught crochet but I do sell my patterns.

I'm going to make Tuesdays "Teacher Tuesdays" and feature someone who is out there working hard to spread the knowledge. Support the teachers out there, like Cyndi and TotusMel, by buying their patterns, learning a new technique and passing that knowledge on.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Design Genius, I Tell You!

Reading the blogs yesterday I saw Marcia DeCoster's little bauble that she doesn't know what she's going to do with so I thought I'd show mine. Mine is lovingly called "Spermy" for obvious reasons though my students thought it looked more like an uncircumcised penis....what am I gonna do with these women and what men have they been mixing with? Scary!

I'm not sure what's going to happen to Spermy other than I do know he has some cousins who should be coming to visit soon....maybe we can all sit down and figure something out.

I thought I'd also show one of my new rings, yes, one I copyrighted after all the drama last week.
I also thought I'd show you my inspiration and
that others have used the same inspiration....there are no new ideas, just developments of old ones.
People often ask me where I get my ideas from, so this should give an idea of where my mind wanders and what it comes up with.

There are quite a few rings out there based on the hand armor of olde, more than when I first did my designs six years ago. I think each of them is unique and I think mine fits in with the developments quite well.

have a thing for armor and I miss being able to wear my chainmaille clothing out and about....but I don't live in California or New York where you can get away with it. At least these rings allow me a little self expression.

Grail Quest

No, I don't have Da Vinci Code fever. Actually, I've always been interested in Arthurian legend, the Grail Quest, Pagan religions, etc. I have my own collection of 'grails' in storage....think about the array of grails in the Indian Jones movie. I'm not really a collector but I started acquiring goblets, my grail quest, about twenty years ago as my statement about man's search for the wrong thing and the demotion of women in society.
Reading Dan Brown's books and watching all the subsequent documentaries has me
picking up the thread of my life I dropped about five years ago when my life got all messed up with the immmigration thing.

And what does this have to do with beading? Well....I'm thinking I'd like to make a bead grail, actually it's Morganna's idea, yes, she was designing in my sleep. I've been doing a lot of beadwork based on structure and form lately and I like that I can create independently standing structures from beads. I can actually see me creating a bunch of beaded chalices and maybe that will be my 'thing'.

I'm researching a new type of class too. At the cabochon bezel class, as we were leaving, I pointed out the selection of pressed flowers the store carries and how pretty they would look set in a cabochon. This sparked some interest, and, as I've done resin work before it seems like making our own pressed flower cabochons would be a good class to do. I need to find the right molds as the store doesn't carry those, but if I remember rightly Dick Blick does. I'd like to have one class a month about making beads in one form or another....polymer clay beads, paper beads, fabric beads, etc. I have made all these kinds of beads before but I need to refresh myself before I start teaching.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

December Projects

As promised photos of next month's projects. We'll be doing a couple of different rings, a couple of different quick bracelets and, to trim up the holidays, an ornament drape and a beaded ornament. Of course, the beaded ornament is really a large version of a beaded bead so once you've got it down in large format, try it with smaller beads.
December 1st: Flat Herringbone bracelet
December 3rd: Tubular Herringbone bracelet
December 8th: Pearl Bezeled ring
December 10th: Right Angle Weave ring
December 15th: Ornament Drape
December 17th: Beaded Ornament

A little secret out of the bag. If you go to the Interweave.com store and look at magazines you'll see the new BeadStar magazine cover and first two pages. It let's the cat out of the bag as to some of the winners.

Is it Saturday?

Between being sick and the holidays I'm losing track of the days.
I've steadily been getting better, I'm still sleeping more than usual except for one night when I think my body was playing a balancing act and didn't let me sleep at all.
Of course, this isn't really my favorite time of year.....the holiday season. I know you're supposed to love it but I just don't. I dislike commercialization and the financial pressure it puts everyone under, not to mention the social pressure.

I like January! When all the hoopla is over and you can just get down to the business of making the new year better than the last. When the air is crisp and things feel renewed. There's a hope in January.

Today I need to take photographs of the rest of next month's class projects, I'm so behind with all that. I think the projects turned out well and I even remade the herringbone bracelet in cubes, I always wondered why I didn't do that in the first place. I'll probably post photos later today.

This week will see me playing catch-up and maybe if I'm busy enough my fifty-first birthday will slide by without my even noticing, a gal can dream.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Medallions & Medieval Mysteries

All the rivoli medallions are complete! YAY! Now I just have to finish the wing components and I'm 30% done with those. Then it will get exciting as I put the whole thing together.

Speaking of excitement....I got news today that one of my pieces has been accepted for publication as a project in Beadwork magazine. Lots of lead time on this one as it's slated for the Dec/Jan 2010/2011 issue.

I'm finally feeling better, not 100% yet but getting there. I finished reading Dan Brown's "Angels & Demons" this morning, it was definitely interesting and tied in a lot of what I've learned through my metaphysical studies. I think Brown's books really shine a light on woman's place in history and how the female has been held down and diminished. I grew up being told women didn't have the brainpower to even drive a car and knew from a young age that women were downtrodden, I didn't get why and started looking into the history of women. Before anyone came out with the info of the Da Vinci Code I had seen that the Holy Grail was about the feminine, though it was always men searching for the Grail it was always women pointing the direction.

Anyway....what the heck does that have to do with beading? Inspiration is what. I see a lot of medieval style and female tribute in my beading future.

I hope everyone has a great turkey day and thanks for reading my ramblings.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Components, components, components

The flu has hit me again. I don't seem to be getting it really badly, it's like it keeps trying to get me and my immune system keeps fighting back. But it does wipe me out and I've nearly passed out a couple of times when doing something strenuous (ha, like going to the store, I was actually on my knees in Harmons).

So, my typical 15 hour workday has been reduced to about five hours, the rest sees me in bed either sleeping or reading (I'm about half way through Angels & Demons). However, I am making some progress on my competition piece. It has about 40 components in it and all those have to be made before I can start putting it together, I've completed 30%. The fun thing about components though is you can play with them and that's what I was doing in the picture, that is not how the finished piece will look but I kinda like it. It's always a good sign in my book when components lend themselves to many designs.

I was reading on someone's blog, can't remember which one, that Marcia DeCoster is big on working with components. I know some people shy away from creating pieces for a whole but sometimes it's the best and possibly the only way to bring to life what you have in your head. I remember my art professor telling me to "break it down" when having trouble drawing a figure in a difficult position and so when I hit a problem translating one of my designs from sketch to form I naturally fell back on that old advice. Plus, it's so fun to be able to play with the pieces and discover some options you might not have thought about.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


So, today sees me reprimanded for creating my finger armor.

I had been inspired to dig out my old designs based on armor gauntlets after seeing Erin Simonetti's finger ring and created my black and silver howlite piece. I didn't examine her design to see how she made it.....I just went back to my old drawings and though they weren't designed for bead weaving (I didn't know about bead weaving back then) I saw how my patterns totally were right for bead weaving. I really tried to do something different from Erin's and even took the design into a whole new construction technique this past weekend (different from my original pattern which was shaped like Erin's).

However, it seems that Erin has a patent pending on her finger ring and she says it covers any bead woven ring that covers the entire finger. That means no one can sell, publish or create a pattern for a bead woven ring that covers the finger but her for the next seventeen years. I was in the process of creating a five section finger armor piece, totally different from hers but with her patent being so general it doesn't allow for even that. How sad! Talk about being cut off at the creative knees, even if I just make one for myself I can't even send it to a magazine as a 'show and tell piece' because if they publish it I'm violating Erin's patent.

I haven't found her patent yet but I did find another interesting one. This one is for a beaded bead made by wrapping beads with a thread around a base bead. There are a lot of people using this technique and it's frequently published so how does that effect the beading world?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

December Classes

I've been busy putting together the December classes, afternoon classes will have a ring, a bracelet and an ornament, evening classes will also be making a bracelet, ring and ornament but they will be different from the afternoon classes.
Here are the samples I've finished so far. We'll be doing an introduction to herringbone stitch with a flat embellished bracelet and a tubular one. We'll take the right angle weave a stage further and create a dress ring.

As for the ornaments, one will be a drape and one will be, basically, a giant beaded bead. The other ring will be a bezelled pearl ring.

Today sees me teaching the Cellini Spiral this afternoon and running the bead society meeting tonight. We're having a 'Bead-In' so I'll need to figure out what to take, plus I need to pack up some brown beads for the raffle. With a very busy week I'm glad I had a very productive day yesterday, even getting ahead of myself. You've got to love it when that happens.

Monday, November 16, 2009

More Rings

The weekend was productive and I made four rings. The last two with a different technique than I've used before which gives the ring band much more flexibility.
I turned the black/silver/red one into finger armor though it is a lot lighter than my previous ones.
Then I made a 'ruffle ring'. These take time but are definitely fun to make and to wear.
I really like using the Swarovski rivolis
that Artbeads sent me through the blogger program. In these rings I used a 12mm Siam and a 12mm Montana sapphire.

Today it's back to pattern writing and illustrating, as much as I can do in six hours. It's day one of a new schedule, so we'll see how it works. The plan is to have the first two hours of my day doing my online thing, blogging, reading, researching, etc., then six hours of pattern illustrating and writing, then I am free to bead in the evening.
It's a busy week....classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, bead society Tuesday evening and an art reception on Friday evening so it will be interesting to see how much I get done. The plan is to have all my classes for November and December ready to go, then next week, Thanksgiving week, is totally free of classes or prep so I can work on the JOGS competition piece.
Best laid plans.....

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rings & Things

Rings are the thing this weekend. Of course, the black and silver one is mine, the one I wear that catches people's eye and they either love or hate my finger armor.
The middle one reminds me of harlequins and so will probably be called "Harlequin", it's actuallyy quite sparkly too...the richest looking so far. The stone is jasper, with topaz Swarovskis in 4mm and 3mm sizes.
The one on the left is black and olive green with some tarnished silver, light green Swarovski pearls and Swarovski olive bicones...I think the stone is serpentine.
The small ring in front....though I'm not sure it will stay small....I just put it down at 2am to get some sleep, is a Siam rivoli with Siam 3mm bicones. I made this one with a totally different technique, just building on the bezel. I don't think I'm finished with it...even if all I add are ring supports.....but I'd like to see it as finger armor. I wanted to make something similar to mine but different enough for it to be unique.

This afternoon will see me back to working on the rings and I have to say it's good for me....I just needed to step away from writing patterns, doing illustrations and all the other stuff that surrounds a beading business. It's easy to get bogged down in all that stuff and wonder what the heck you're doing because the actual beading gets pushed to the back burner. I'm also toying with a ring design with ruffles, I love ruffles and Miss Rachel's new piece is probably the catalyst on this one.

I got an e-mail from our newest bead society member, Val, yesterday after she had gone shopping at Bead Haven in Vegas. She was showing the usual excitement that people do when going to Gail's store for the first time....because the store is amazing...so many unusual beads. Great news that they are going to give us a discount...I never got a solid on that because I spoke to Gail, the store owner and not her sister who runs the store. With fifteen card carrying members now our little society is growing and that makes me happy, it's good to see your hard work pay off. With the introduction of the monthly FMG order I'm sure we'll gain more members.

The craft store where I teach finally got their Toho beads in (they asked me a year ago what I would like to see in the store), it's not a huge selection but we'll take what we can get! Sometimes I feel like a one woman army bringing beading to this sleepy little desert community....but I have some great support from my students.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Best Laid Plans

I got up early this morning to go to the life lab over in Virgin, my plans had already changed a little bit as Lora, owner of Wildfire Beads is in hospital (troubles with a pregnancy) and so wouldn't be there when I called on my way back . But I was still determined to go and do some drawing. I even e-mailed the organizer to let him know I would be there so he could bring my painting that he's been holding for me.

Well....I got into the car and the problem hit....my little car was not going anywhere. I messed around trying to fix the issue but to no avail. Then I realised because I usually stop at Starbucks and pick up a coffee on my way to the art class I was missing my caffeine fix. Back into the house, e-mail the organizer to let him know I may not make it and then make myself a latte. Once the caffeine hit my system I went back out to my car and tried to fix it again. Success! Of course by now it was really too late to head out to class so I put a load of laundry in and headed to my studio to do some beading. Of course, I was out of smoke fireline and I really needed if for the next project....so, back in my car and out to the store to get my much needed thread and a shopping list for my mom.

So...now I'm back home, the second load of laundry is in the washer, I have a fresh cup of coffee and I'm ready to start beading. I need to bead. I need the relaxation of it because I have been so stressed out this week. Last night I made a finger ring/armor and it's my goal to make at least two more over the weekend as I met someone who fell in love with mine and wants one or two for herself. The base pattern is easy and the embellishments are fun so I'm looking forward to a nice easy rest of the day.

Friday, November 13, 2009


So, finally you can find me on the magazine racks. My Challenge piece is in the latest issue of Beadwork magazine.
This is one of my most favorite pieces...even if it felt like a breach birth. The other designs, by Jamie Hogsett, Michelle Mach and Melinda Barta were all great. I especially liked Melinda's......simple but extremely attractive. I did find it very interesting that none of us used the center of the stacked rose.
What an awesome issue this one is. There are so many fabulous designs I didn't know what too look at first. If you're looking for some new projects this issue of Beadwork is a must! What company I am in......to be in the same magazine as so many of the top designers when I've only been bead weaving for 18 months, well, yes, I will pat myself on the back. And that lightening up on myself will maybe last the morning.

And, I will admit I was so excited when I bought the magazine I showed the clerk at Barnes & Noble, she got just as excited...lol! I guess the only complaint....could my name have been a bit bigger? I'm joking of course I couldn't believe how big the font was....it actually made me cringe a little like I did back in high school when they would call my name for commendations...one year I got nine and was almost under my chair by the time they got through the list.

I'm hauling the 27lbs of the bead society FMG order over to Suzanne's today so we can sort it all out...and say over and over "I wish I'd ordered that".

Last night's Project Runway was the tease for next week and the Bryant Park show, I'm really looking forward to seeing what the three gals came up with. I'm thinking Irena may have gone down the wrong path on this one and I know it's awful of me but she is the one I'd like to see come in last, there's just something that irks me about her....overconfidence maybe or how she was always putting down the other designers. Anyhoo, I'm hoping Althea or Carol Hannah take it.

Of course, I was inspired again and have a necklace design sketched, this time from the blouse Nina was wearing. I'm not sure how I'm going to pull it off because it demands some rigidity, off course I do bead tight, too tight sometimes, so we'll see.

Have a happy Friday the 13th everyone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Somebody Put a Hole in My Life Jacket, please.

After doing some blog hopping this morning I feel decidely 'beige'. There are such amazing designers out there pushing it to the edge and it's made me feel my work is very 'safe'. I always worry so much about the practicalities of a piece...the wearability, the 'will it catch?', 'will it go with lots of outfits?', 'will it appeal to the masses?'.
The blog hopping this morning was the result of feeling 'blah' last night and actually putting the beading down early and going to bed. I hoped to inspire myself. Sometimes where I am gets me down, Southern Utah is not exactly the San Francisco I love where inspiration is on every corner and where what is outrageous here is daily wear there. It's so easy to get into a safe rut here. I find myself talking a lot about California and remembering what fun it was to be out costuming all the time and I make one of my girlfriends send me all the details of where she went, what she wore, what she did so I can live vicariously.
I'm a duck out of water here and that's why I'm working so hard at this beading business, so that I can at least travel, plus it's not something that will keep me here when the reason that does is gone.
I think I also have to get a bit more rigid in my daily planning, if I can get everything done for my month of classes plus the bead society in one week then I could devote the other three to designing and that might give me the time to phase out the safe and be more daring.

So, my day today is full of pattern writing, laundry and class tonight. The DBS FMG order arrives today and tomorrow will see Suzanne and I sorting it into individual orders. Then I plan a weekend of beading with a little art thrown in.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beads, Religion, Mystery and a Gift

Ok, so my impatience was showing last night...I couldn't resist playing with some ides for the Patchwork Quilt bracelet. I'm liking the colors a lot, I love the sapphire rivolis and they are going to be joined by some olivine ones. The border on the larger piece I'm not so happy with but I already have worked out a new route....my horoscope this morning says I'll be burning the candle at both ends tonight.....lately my horoscope is one day late. Last night was quite a late one and I had to make myself go to bed in the early hours.

Also, I have to read before I can go to sleep. I'm a big mystery fan and love the writings of Greg Iles and James Patterson with a little Dean Koontz thrown in for an odd factor (pun intended). At the moment though, I'm reading Dan Brown....yeah, The Da Vinci Code. I have this aversion to reading or seeing 'the hot new thing', I don't know why, but when the hoopla dies down I tend to take a look at what was so hot. I finally caved and picked up the book from the library along with Angels and Demons....that one I thought I'd read BEFORE I see the movie. It's been almost two years since I saw the Da Vinci Code so I don't remember it in so much detail that it will ruin the book, and actually they do seem to have stayed true to the book...so far.

I have to admit I'm actually in to anything Da Vinci....as an artist he is my hero. I should make myself a bracelet that reads WWDVD? because I actually think that a lot. This whole code thing had me looking through my big book of Da Vinci's work at the Last Supper....and I have to say, it's Mary Magdalene. I also wonder just what the Catholic church has locked away...what relics they have that they don't want us to know about. Religious organizations with secrets bug me....I like full disclosure.

So, reading and watching all the mystery stuff had me dreaming a beading mystery the other night. I was taken to the scene of a murder, mass murder and as we were approaching the bodies there were these huge bags of beads and some beading scattered around. I stopped to look, thinking "dang, I'd like this stash" only to have my thoughts interupted by a detective who says there was an unrecognizable female body found with similar jewelry on her. I immediately thought....we can identify her by the beads. Large bags like that can only mean she is a designer who makes kits and if we checked the local bead stores and societies with her jewelry we'd be able to identify her. Weird how the mind works isn't it?

Ok...so you're saying to yourself..."she's done beads, done religion, done mystery and beaded mystery....where's the gift?" The gift comes from my blog partner Artbeads who sent me a personal thank you and one I can share...a discount at their online store valid till the end of the year...how cool is that? So, all you do is go shopping at Artbeads, where there is no minimum and always free shipping and at the checkout type in this code SCF10P-ARTBEADS-0424 and they'll knock 10% off your total. Just in time for Christmas....happy shopping.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Should I be Simon or Paula?

This morning I'm off to Mesquite with Selina where we are judging an art show. My first time being a judge so I'll try to not let it go to my head and I'll probably be more like Ellen...hmmm....the dancing judge?

After doing my session of netting last night I started adding the baby pearls to my shell packages....they do look pretty.

I find if I take a photo of work in progress I get a much better sense of it....like a new set of eyes. When I'm painting or drawing I can get the same effect by holding my work in front of a mirror but that doesn't work so well with jewelry.

I also made a list last night of designs I want to send to the magazines and what I would like to make into kits if I manage to win a certain competition. That started me designing....and I have come up with a new bracelet design based on quilting though not the Cathedral Windows which I have slated for my book. I just have to get a bead palette, based around the olivine and sapphire rivolis Artbeads sent me.....and Patchwork Quilt will be on it's way.

The Dixie Bead Society newsletter went out last night and the meeting is planned and now I better get my butt in the shower and on my way cos....here come de judge.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Our Own Local Bead Store

I finally got over to Wildfire Beads in Hurricane, Utah yesterday and met with owner and lampworker extraordinaire Lora McLaughlin. Of course I forgot to take pictures, but her store is cute and stocked with lots of goodies that you can actually touch, play with, co-ordinate and she aims to keep her prices competitive with the online stores. We sat in the classroom and chatted, getting to know each other as before this we'd only met for a few minutes at the travelling bead show when it was in town. She didn't even remember me, lol, thought I was from the Yellow Pages. Too funny. I jogged her memory with two words "Bead Society" and it all came back to her.
Lora says business has been great but with five kids and starting the store she has had no time to flame up her torch so she had hardly any of her lampwork to show me. She actually went online to her empty Etsy store to show me pictures of work she has sold. She does great work! I especially like the beads that she antiques, they look so rustic.
She asked if I would teach some classes at the store and, of course, I said yes. Lora is also going to carry my project booklets, the ones I create for my classes. I'm thrilled about this as it allows people who maybe can't afford to take a class still able to learn the techniques to make their own creations.
Lora and I are both excited to collaborate on some projects too. I've wanted to find a lampworker I could design with and some of my ideas had Lora excited to get back to her torch.

The details: Wildfire Beads is at 134 South Main Street, Hurricane, UT 84737 and is open Tuesday thru Saturday 10am to 6pm. She also has one of those great frequent buyer cards that we bead addicts love. So, people, get out there and support your local bead store.

Lora will also be our guest speaker at the next Dixie Bead Society meeting which will be Tuesday, November 17th at 6pm in the St George Library.

After all the excitement of the day I finally sat down to bead after dinner. I finished a quarter of the top netting on my collar (my daily allotment) and then picked up my little packages. I love the colors of this one, they are very different for me but I fell in love with these little shell beads and they told me what colors they needed around them (yes, the beads speak to me and I can see a padded cell in my future). They whispered in my ear that if I looked in my pearl box I'd find some tiny freshwater pearls that matched them perfectly....and they were right. Now if they'd just tell me how they'd like them incorporated we'd be onto something....oh, Morganna, where art thou?

Lora and I talked about my little packages designs and I told her some things I'd like to see in them....she got quite excited and is going to make me some lampwork beads so I can create some very 'off-the-wall' pieces.....hey, I won Beading Daily's pattern play challenge in the 'Off-the-Wall' category, I may as well run with it. My 'off-the-wall' designs are inspired by Picasso but I needed help from a lampworker....and I'm so happy to be collaborating with a fabulous one.

Lisa Crone thinks I'm at one with the Universe right now....maybe she's right, because no sooner than I voice a wish along comes the fulfillment. Hmm.....I could use the makeover they're giving away on local radio......