Monday, June 27, 2011

Gone beading....

I am in Kentucky.
I will bead when my eyes are open and I'm not napping.
The rest of the time I'll be hanging out with my mom and my daughter.
Enjoy your summer!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bead & Button Withdrawal Therapy

I was not able to attend Bead & Button this year and I was totally bummed!  Last year I had a super time working with Jeannette Cook of Beady Eyed Women!  It was my first time ever at the show and I was there with a seasoned professional!  What I learned working with her is immeasurable and I am eternally grateful to Jeannette for the experience!  This year I know so many more people at the show...and so I have been watching the fun via the Internet.  But it's just not the same as being there! 

For my B&B Show withdrawal therapy I came up with some unique projects. 
I commemorated my time with Jeannette last year with some great new funky earrings, using her famous Curl technique!  "Mastering the Curl" is a must have technique for your beading repertoire!

Jill Wiseman of Tapestry Beads proposed a Hat & Fascinator Day for Saturday at Bead & Button and of course the beading community loved the idea! Bead & Button is a glorious week of women strutting their stuff, so here was one more exuberant way to do it!  Again, undaunted by my lack of attendance...I participated vicariously.  I up cycled a thrift store hat.  This past Friday afternoon and evening I pretended to be a milliner and decorated my own hat!  You may have seen my profile pic on Face Book...well here is another pic of me with my new hat! 
Can you guess my favorite color??

My local beading guild The Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild is having our annual "Strut Your Stuff" pizza party on June 21.  Guess what we've proposed to our members?? You got it, hats, fascinators and tiaras!! Get 'em out and wear 'em to the meeting!!!  I can't wait to wear this hat, you can't see the mock Bird of Paradise feathers I attached!! I was working on an idea for a fascinator.  Since I came up with this great purple hat my other project may end up as a necklace.  The scale of it is along the lines of one of New York City's most fabulous and outrageous beaders and my friend Suzanne Golden.  It is no where near as fantastic as her work, but I love Suzanne's style and fearless use of color, materials and proportion!

My project idea originated with a class with Carole Horn of The Bead Society of Greater New York. She came to our guild to teach for the first time last year!  When she demoed the class project she used plastic pony beads, etc.  We all loved the resulting piece with those huge beads and it stuck in my head!  Well, I had to make one!  Voila!  I'll have a huge flower to wear as a necklace soon!

I also checked in on my friend Kate McKinnon from time to time the last couple of weeks to see what she and Dustin Wedekind have been doing on their current book collaboration Geometrics.  Needless to say they are up to a lot of interesting things!  I had promised myself for weeks that I would pre-purchase the book, so I did and bought Kate's other self published books before they gone forever. 

This is how I salved my broken beading heart the past couple of weeks.
And now that B&B is over I will stop pouting and start planning for next year!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Playing with beads

It has been a wonderful six months!
As a member of the beAd Infinitum Design Team I have had the opportunity to play with their patterns, create wonderful pieces of jewelry and share them with you! My fellow designers are an auspicious group of creative people and I am proud to have been included.
Those who know me well, know that I cannot just simply follow the directions...I have to tweak and play with things to give it my touch.  That is just what I have done with beAd Infinitum's patterns. 

After playing with Kepler's Star I knew that I wanted to make a tubular version using this pattern.  It is a very simple pattern to adapt for this, but still requires some finessing. 
None the less I have my first piece to share.
Look closely, you can see the Kepler's Star forming the tube. Inside are a combination of wooden beads and Chinese crystals for a little sparkle.  The focal beaded bead is, of course, one of my favorites  the Infinity Dodecahedron.

The last pattern I received as a team member is the Circular Starburst.
This pattern by Cindy Holsclaw is another variation of the Dodecahedron. 
This is a challenging piece, requiring some practice and attention to your tension.  I am not completely satisfied with my final iteration, so I will continue to play with this pattern until I have mastered it to my satisfaction.  I used my final beaded bead on a bracelet using memory wire, a product I haven't worked with much.  The beads are a bit heavy overall for the wire, but I like it.  That's all that really matters, don't you think?
Brickels Bracelet
Earlier this year our Guild posted a contest challenging members to submit pictures of their "messy work space".  I was one of only a few brave people to participate.  Our webmaster, the instigator, decided to award all of us.  We got to choose from several sets of vintage crystal rivolis from her stash (she's so generous!).  Below you will see how I used one pair of the six I chose!  I challenged myself to play with a color I don't usually use, yellow.  I picked up some nifty pillow decoupaged beads from my local bead store (Alada Beads).  I knew they needed to be together in earrings.
I bezeled the rivolis and the pillow beads using the Infinity Prism pattern.
Lemon Kickers
When it came time to assemble the components, I asking my beading buddies for their opinion.  We all agreed that they were so fun that they needed to match but not be exactly the same.  I love the way they turned out!

I have one more project still in process...coming soon. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Silver Star Lace

Here is the bracelet I made to go with my Prismatic Infinity Necklace.

This bracelet is made using the Kepler's Star pattern from beAd Infinitum.

Silver Star Lace Bracelet

Just like my Jeanee-Rachel Star bracelet I couldn't leave those large openings un-embellished.  This time I used some lovely Chinese crystals I bought in California in January.  This photo does not do this bracelet justice.  Everyone comments that it has the look of "vintage" jewelry.  How cool is that?

I have another idea in my head that uses this pattern....coming soon. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rocky and Bullwinkle...well not exactly

Last week Christi Friesen was here at the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild to teach classes! Wowser what a week we had!! I only had one class, Saturday, with her but it was a total blast! I have played with clay like products in the past, but never polymer clay.  Sometimes I am just a total chicken!  My friends will be shaking their heads at that comment, but it's true when it comes to trying out new crafts.  I guess my biggest fear is that I will become obsessed with yet another craft media!  It is a well founded fear!  I have a new love and have had a few sleepless nights with ideas swirling in my head!

I will explore and play with this new found love and eventually you will see what I come up with of my own.  In the meantime here is a picture of the pieces I made Saturday.

 The squirrel was finished and baked in class (sorry Kate McK - we were in a classroom with 3 toaster ovens going and no extra ventilation per se).  The moose gave me fits, so I only had the head done at the end of class.  I finished and baked him at home that night.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Christi Friesen.  She is a delightful person and a superb instructor.  You WILL walk away from any one of her classes with the ability to make the project taught!  If you ever have the opportunity to take one of her classes...DO IT!!

To go to Christi Friesen's website click HERE.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bling Bling Bling!

Ta da!
Here is my latest beAd Infinitum Design Team contribution!!
I purchased these rivolis at B&B last year and they have taunted me, dancing around in a variety of design ideas ever since.
A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those "ah ha!" moments.  Also referred to as an epiphany.
The Infinity Prism pattern loomed before my eyes...remember my ribbon piece back in January?
I realised I had another way to use the prism and incorporate my rivoli stash! Yippee!!

Prismatic Infinity
This piece has three sizes of 8 sided rivolis that have flat tables. You can look into them and see an infinite prism reflected on the internal faces.
The pattern calls for drop beads at the corners, I used 1.8mm cube beads instead.  All of the beads are the same color ~ Silver Rain.  Yummy, but really tough to look at for long periods of time!
Detail of Prismatic Infinity Necklace
I used 4mm Chinese crystal rondelles in between the elements. 
The clasp is another Infinity Prism with an embellished Herringbone loop.

The Infinity Prism technique for bezeling is very satisfying and time efficient.  It is very versatile and easy to adjust to various rivoli sizes.  Although I haven't experimented yet, I believe it would be very adaptable to a variety of cabochon or rivoli shapes.  Hmmmm...I feel another project coming on!!

Please post a comment and let me know what you think!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cartoon or Commercial?

Nope I'm not posting the project I gave a sneak peek of....
So sorry! Not!
I have to post about something else I just finished!
It is a beAd Infinitum Design Team Project, yes!
Just not the one I mentioned in the last post....

The other day I couldn't find my '"work horse" reading glasses...
the kind with plastic frames, etc. that I wore all the time. 
They were "Vogue" purple tortoise frames and I loved them, had them just over a year.
When I finally found them I was sad .. 
because I had sat on them.
The insurance is on the "other" pair.
The fancy stylish ones that give me a headache when I wear them for long periods.
I have another older pair with transitional bifocal lenses...murder on my eyes AND neck!
With all the shiny beads I was using, I had migraine after migraine....not good.

I needed a cartoon color break!! I needed some joyous color!
Color without multiple reflective surfaces to look at!!
Never mind that Spring in Michigan can be wet and gray! Ack!
(I now understand why designers use opaque and matte beads so much!)

Thankfully, on Saturday I received the pattern Kepler's Star in the mail.
The perfect excuse to switch back to OPAQUE beads for a while!!

Here is what I made...

Jeanee-Rachel Star Bracelet

This bracelet is a little homage to two wonderful beadwork designers,
one of whom I know personally and count as a dear friend.
The other, well, it should be fairly obvious to some, because
the resulting variation/embellishment that I added to the pattern
looks just like some of her "famous" work. 
Some of you know who they about guessing?
I've pretty much given it away already.
I'll let you know in couple of days when I post that "other" project.
The one that is killing my eyes, but it is sooooo worth it! 
You'll see!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New DNA Discovery!

Hey all you science geeks, math nerds and beadaholics!!
Gwen Fisher, of beAd Infinitum,  a rockin' mathmagician who applies her wonderful brainiac powers to beads, felt, fabric and probabaly pi to the gajillionth other materials, is at it again! 
What's all the flap you ask? 
She has discovered, nay, created beaded DNA! 
Yes, that's right, the double helix of beads!
No it's not an April Fools joke!
She really did it!
Check out her tutorial on You Tube, made with a cool software tool for the iPad called "Doceri".
Here's the link  Beaded DNA

Super cool right?  It will help your nerd look, look cool.
(I know you have tape on your glasses, don't deny it.)
Gwen's double helix earrings were so nifty I had to make a pair for myself!

Here they are....nerd glam!
AgDNA Earrings
Notice the little sparkly bits on the left? 
 Hint: those are some of the bits from my current beAd Infinitum Design Team project! 
Coming to this blog in a few days....
Here's a hot tip for you nerdy beadaholics....
Those sparkly bits are from the Infinity Prism pattern. 
Watch for the finished piece, coming soon.... 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beaded Beads

Here are my latest experiments....

I am playing with the various beaded bead techniques in the wonderful patterns from beAd Infinitum.  Recently I made several Time Machine beaded beads, which got me to thinking that I could combine the lace overlay technique with the Ionic Polyhedra shapes (leaving out the ionic overlay). 

I made a simple bead first....
This bead is approximately the same shape as the Time Machine bead, although it is smaller.
It insists on being called "The Time Capsule".

Next I applied this same technique to the Cuboctohedron shape....

Here is the result!

So far the name for this little beauty is "Fancy Cuboctohedron".

Maybe I should call it "The TARDIS", what do you think?

Hope you enjoy the results of my exploration!

River's Time

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Collector

This is my latest beAd Infinitum Design Team Project
"The Collector"

I haven't stopped playing with the Infinity Dodecahedron,
 it lends itself to so many variations!
As you can see, I used a variety of beads for the second layer this time.  The base is made with 6's and 8's and the Infinity weave beads are 4mm drops, 5mm magatamas and vintage matte curled leaves (some refer to them as fingernail beads).
This necklace also includes two Time Machine beaded beads.
These are made with 8mm Black Onyx rounds, 6mm Aqua Fire Polish, 4mm Capri blue AB Fire Polish,
Capri blue Miyuki drops, 8/0s, 11/0s and 15/o beads.

While I worked on this project it occurred to me that I could apply the principles from
the Time Machine bead technique, to the shapes in the Ionic Polyhedra pattern.
I chose to work with one of my new favorite shapes, the cuboctohedron.  I added looped sections and lace overlay to each four sided face and a lace overlay with drops at each three sided face. 
This produces a softly curved six pointed star. 
The picture below is a view from the top down, so unfortunately you cannot see the true shape.
I see many more of these in my future...oh there I go again referencing time!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Time Travelling

My daughter and I on are on a mini vaca....and we've travelled through rain, mist and fog back in time about 150 years.  We are staying in a lovely B&B in Saugatuck, Michigan.  Saugatuck is quaint and uncommercialized, deliberately so.  The Park House Inn is lovely and we are in the Mignon room.  Click here for a link to their website.  The room is cozy and wonderful.  We are the only guests, so we have the whole house to ourselves.  Other than the modern conveniences you can imagine yourself in a bygone time.  The village is very small, a place where everyone knows each other.  During the summer thousands of people pass through this lovely town for all kinds of parades, a film festival, the artist galleries, the Ox-Bow Art School, sand dunes, sandy beaches and various other things that you can only experience in a lake town.  Even though the tourists are not here, well there are at least two, downtown was hopping.  Our hostess, Toni, has planned a wonderful breakfast for us, after which Bekah and I will set out, underbrellas in hand, to explore! 

Our sitting area.

Our fireplace.
Night all!   

Shine and be Indomitable

I'm still trying new things....
This week Andrew Thornton's word is "Shine".  Not long ago my blog post was "To Infinity ....and Beyond" so I thought I'd try some time travel.  My new pattern for the BeAd Infinitum Design Team is the Time Machine Beaded Bead.  It's ironic how all these things playeds out this week.  I knew that I would use very shiny beads for the Time Machine bead project.  This of course is the literal application of Andrew's word challenge.  However, as the week has progressed I discovered that I have allowed time to slip away from me in so many ways and I haven't been "shining" the way I would like.  Some who know me, might argue that I have been "shining" lately as the Exhibits Chair for the GLBG.  Perhaps that is true...however...I choose to look deeper than that.
Explorinng the possibilities; people shine on the job, brides glow, pregnant women glow, eyes shine with joy or tears, proud moms and dads shine and beam, men gleam with sweat from their physical exertions, gold and silver shine, the sun shines, sunshine glistens on water, the moon shines bright, the stars shine at night, highly polished boots have a mirror like shine, there are shining examples to aspire to and then there's the proverbial "Rise and Shine"!  Oh, and let's not forget..."This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!
What then is it to shine?  To me I have decided that it means to be the very best person inside first, then do your utmost to reveal that person on the outside.  Lately I've not been shining from the inside out. I slapped the shine on the outside and went into coast mode.  Until this week...
The past two evenings I mentally time travelled...when I was about 15 I remember a friend's grandmother called me "brassy" because I selected an unbroken candy cane from those offered.  I vaguely recall being referred to as  a shining example of something or other...but it may have been sarcasm.  In 1999 I was divorced, divorce dims your shine for a time.   August 1, 2007 my dad died, that tarnished some of my shine.  My mom recently lost a was his time, he was a shining example of a fine man.  I consider the people I know facing all kinds of challenges...and how they continue to shine in spite of them.  I like to shine.  More than one person has called me an attention junky.  Guilty.  I'd rather really shine, shine from the depth of who I am and not just from a shallow slapped on glaze.  I have some work to do.

Thank you Andrew Thornton, for the challenge to consider the word "shine" and all that it has worked in me.
 Click here for Andrew's blog.

Thank you Carol Dean Sharpe  - Sand Fibers for your indomitable and generous shining spirit.
Click here for Carol's blog.   
You have inspired me to stop acting like I shine, show my gratitude and polish up my insides!

This weekend is a start.   I'm spending time alone away from home with my daughter,  at a B&B in Saugatuck.  I'm not taking any beads.

I have new earrings to wear...Time Machine Earrings...reminders to shine and to not let time slip away. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Trying New Things....Great Give Away offer from Andrew Thornton

This afternoon we are supposed to have more snow again! I'm tired of winter here in Michigan. We've had more snow this year than we've had in a long long time.

This winter has been one for trying new crafts.  January with Jeannette Cook of Beady Eyed Women, I spent a week with three other retreat mates playing with felting, wet and needle.  We also beaded on our felt and had a special project with Marcia DeCoster!  Very fun!! We had a lovely week in Mission Beach.

 I have felted before, but only a specific project.  Our retreat project was more open to interpretation and freeform.  The bag/purse is the main project and we had time to play and create other felted items. 
The bracelet I made on the last day of the retreat.  The bezelled stone I finished as a ring just a couple of nights ago.  This came about after the workshop with Marcia DeCoster, when I decided to try her bezeling method on a shape other than a circle.

Here we are at dinner the last night of the retreat!

February for the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild means Bead Daze and this year we had four teachers for four days of classes!  Two Bead teachers: Marcia DeCoster and Sherry Serafini  AND Two Wire teachers: Kim St. Jean and Barb Switzer.  It was a great week!  These classes are some of the same classes that they teach at Bead & Button and other large shows around the country!  As a Guild we are able to offer them to our members for a discounted class fee.  You buy the kit or bring your own beads and supplies, fabulous!! We also have a "Meet the Teachers" evening at our regular membership meeting prior to class days! Lots of kits, supplies and finished pieces are purchased by our members that evening and throughout the week! Everyone has an opportunity to find something wonderful!
I really appreciate that our guild is able to have four nationally known teachers in for classes all at the same time,  the problem is choosing only four. (one per day)  Well, I decided to try something new, bead embroidery.  What better time than with "Rock Star" bead embroidery teacher Sherry Serafini! I also took a class with Marcia DeCoster and a class with Barb Switzer (my second time in a class with her)! 
Here is my progress as of last night on my Sherry Serafini Cuff - Crystals & Pearls Bracelet.  I'm loving bead embroidery and Sherry has made this project so easy to do!! 
March brings Jean Campbell to the GLBG and I plan to try out her new steampunk necklace and bracelet. 
Then in April we have Christi Friesen of polymer clay fame!!  I think this year I have to try it out!!

Having said all that....Andrew Thornton of Green Girl has posted a give away offer on his blog for some lovely Art Nouveau alphabet stamps and a bonus wing stamp.  The stamps come from TJ Tool/Jewelry
Now there is something that I may just have to bang out a try on!!
Go check it out! Good luck to you all and Happy Beading!

Friday, February 18, 2011

To Infinity and Beyond....It's Ionic!!

Well, I'm finally back! I have been very busy! So I'll get straight to it!

I'm just not done making the Infinity Dodecahedra!  But as a Bead Infinitum Design Team Member I am challenged to move on each month to another of Florence and Gwen's fabulous patterns!  So here you can see the results of my playing with the Ionic Polyhedra pattern.  This pattern has multiple geometric forms to really challenge you!  I had to include some Infinity Dodecahedra with variations of my own!

  The Ionic Polyhedra pattern starts out with a simple Ionic Cube or Octahedron and transitions to more complicated forms.  Finally on the very last page is a matrix of the various Ionic Polyhedra that can be made using this technique.  The necklace above incorporates Infinity Dodecahedra with crystal tipped fringe, Infinity Dodecahedra with multiple over lapping loops, Infinity Dodecahedra with captured 8mm Czech fire polish, an Ionic Icosahedron (largest beaded bead) and 6  Lacey Cuboctahedra (my variation with only one layer of embellishment).  This is a long piece, 35 inches total.

Ionic Icosahedron

Lacey Ionic Cuboctahedron and Infinity Dodecahedron with crystal tipped fringe.
Undaunted, I had to try more forms.....

Ionic Polyhedra 345 Necklace
  These are, from the top down, Ionic Tetrahedra, Ionic Octahedra and an Ionic Pentacluster.  The Ionic Pentacluster is done with my own embellishment variation adding crystal clusters over the "holes". 
Here is another view of the same piece so you can see the base bead cluster showing through on the side and how the crystals sit on the five faces (both sides).
Ionic Polyhedra 345 Necklace
This necklace sits nicely in an open neck top and is 20 inches long.  I wore both pieces together this past Tuesday night to the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild member meeting.  I received rave reviews!!  It is particularly special because some of the great reviews came from Marcia DeCoster, Kim St.Jean, Sherry Serafini and Barb Switzer who are here in Michigan teaching classes for our Guild! 

But I couldn't stop, I had to have some earrings too....lovely little Lacey Pentaclusters.  They have only one layer of embellishment and hang from light silver chain on studs. 

Lacey Pentacluster Earrings
So, for now...that's all I have for you! <grin>  Well, except for one tip....if you have trouble visualizing or figuring out the bead path of any of these geometric forms.  Before you throw up your hands or beads, google the geometric shape along with the word "net",  i.e. Cuboctahedron Net.   You should see line drawings of the form flattened out; print it out, cut it out and fold it into the appropriate shape.  This will help you with the thread path and construction of the various forms without step by step instructions! 
Happy Beading to you all!!

Edited and reposted for the picture storage problem!
Thanks for the warning from "No Easy Beads"!!