Friday, November 19, 2010

They're Here!

Wow -- I was taken by surprise this morning.  Holy smokes!  The Best Little Bead Box(es) showed up on my doorstep while I was indulging in my morning coffee.  And my day is full - I've had too much work to do on my tech job to dive into those boxes.  But this evening... oh, this evening is going to be glorious!  Stay tuned for a first-hand account of what's making its way around the country...

In other news, I've listed two new beads in my Etsy shop.  I'm hung up on flowers these days - maybe because my back yard desperately needs a face lift.  :-O

Well, I'm heading back to tech land - YOU go have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hiatus is Over!

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.  I took a much-needed break from the blogosphere, but I'm back - happy and, hopefully healthy!

What a busy summer I had, making stuff for my Etsy shops, selling at shows, teaching classes, working and travelling for my high-tech job, and taking care of my declining mom who has Alzheimer's.  Phew!

I signed up for the Bead Journal Project, and only made it through April.  I signed up for a creative drawing class and didn't get through that either.  I think I'm going to have to stop signing up for things until my life calms down a bit (hmmm... maybe that will be in my NEXT life.).  However, I DID sign up for a project that has me really excited.  See that new logo on the right side of my blog page?  It's the Best Little Bead Box project to benefit the Beads of Courage program.  You can read the inaugural post HERE to find out exactly what this project is.  Then follow along on the Best Little Bead Box Blog  -or-  follow along on Facebook - to see what leaves the box and what's being added.  Then stay tuned to find out how you can win win win!  It's going to be a dream stash, for sure!

Here's a preview of what I'm going to put in the box.

This doesn't include any of my lampwork - that will be a  surprise until I actually make it this weekend.  And I haven't finished raiding my own stash yet.  When it's my turn to fill the box, the Best Little Bead Box Blog will have much better pix of my additions to the treasure chest!

And now I'm heading back to tech land.  It's nice to be back here chatting with you folks!  And a big THANK YOU to all of you who came to see me at the ISGB Bead Bazaar in Rochester, NY as well as those of you who cheered me up at B.A.B.E.!  Soon I'll be adding more fiber to my diet... ah, I mean, my Etsy shop.  Stick with me, people!

Now go have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Getting Ready for Rochester

Wow, I can't believe that I'm leaving for Rochester, NY in 3 days. I also can't believe that time has slipped by so quickly... AGAIN ... You'd think that after all this experience with that time thing, I'd be used to it by now.

The International Society of Glass Beadmakers is having their annual conference, called "The Gathering", in Rochester this year, which is why I'll be on a plane at 6 a.m. Monday morning heading east.  We have a 1-day bead bazaar at the Gathering that's open to the public.  If you're in the Rochester area on July 31, please come by the Rochester Riverside Convention Center on Main St. and stop by my booth to say hi!

Here are a few items I'll have with me for sale.  A few beads in my "Mudcloth" series...

And a brooch that I made on a piece of my handmade felt - with a lovely bird by Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  I'm hoping to have a few more of these finished before I head to the airport.

I've been a member of the ISGB since 2000, and I've been to every Gathering since then except one.  I wasn't going to miss this one - but getting to Rochester from the San Francisco area isn't easy.  Not much choice when it comes to flights, and the cost was horrendous.  Ah well... next year it will be in Louisville, KY - a much easier destination!

So today I have to do my high tech work, tonight I'm teaching a class, but tomorrow I'm dedicating the entire day and evening to making as many items as I can before I pack up on Sunday.

That's the Friday scoop.  If all goes well, I'll have a few more pieces to show you before I take to the skies.  Now I'm off to high-tech land - and you folks go have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Oh... and PLEASE don't forget to vote for Beads of Courage at the Pepsi Refresh site - we need your help to get into the top 10, and we're almost out of time.  Thank you so much!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sending Out a Plea

Today, I'm asking all of you to please help the Beads Of Courage program.  This is a program that I've been supporting for several years - what it does to help out kids with serious illnesses is just wonderful!  You can read about Beads of Courage HERE.

Beads of Courage is in the running to receive $25,000 of funding from the PepsiCo corporation.  You know, that company that makes Pepsi Cola.  The top 10 "ideas" that have a positive impact will receive $25,000 to help fund their idea.  Currently, Beads of Courage is in 17th place.  Here's where you can help us.

In order to get into the top 10, we need votes - votes every day - lots and lots of votes!  All you have to do to vote is register with your name, email address, and birth date.  Then vote once a day - every day - through July 31.  PLEASE help our kids, THEY need your votes!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Adorable Giveaway!

Do you like giveaways?  I've been lucky a couple of times with blog giveaways, and I just found out today that bird on wire is having one!  From now through July 25 at 5:00 p.m., leave a comment on that giveaway thread, and you will be entered in a drawing for the cutest little needle-felted barn owl this side of paradise!

These days, I've been really taken with birds.  I have a vessel in my Etsy shop with a bird on it by Humble Beads.  And when I was at the Bead & Button show, I purchased two raku birds by odd designs.  Later today, I'll be making a vessel for one of those raku birds - I've already designed the piece in my head, and made a lampwork bead to go with it.  This one will be somewhat different from my other vessels.  When I saw her birds at the show, a picture popped into my head and now it's time to execute that design - yeah!  I just came back from the eye doctor and the good news is that he didn't dilate my eyes today.  So now I can spend some time in the wet lab and actually see what I'm doing.

Here's the bird from odd designs that will go on my next vessel.

Speaking of raku, I recently finished a vessel on which I used a raku bead from Lisa Peters Art.  Here's my little dottie vessel...

And now I'm off to Starbucks for a quick iced tea before I hit the lab.  Hope YOU folks have a happy and creative day!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A New Vessel, a Bit of Bead & Button

Wow, I've been so busy in my tech job that the time has just flown away!  I haven't been on the torch since I came back from Milwaukee, but I have had a bit of time to work out in the wet lab.  In fact, I've completed a new vessel.  No "official" pix yet, just a few shots from my camera to give you an idea of what I've done.

I built this vessel to go with that wonderful raku bead that I got at the Bead & Button show from MAKUstudio.  I think I shall call this vessel "Pele".  Pele is the Polynesian goddess of fire and volcanoes.  One legend has it that she was born in Tahiti, but was banished by her father because of her temper and the fact that she had seduced her sister's husband.  After a tumultuous life creating the volcanoes on the Hawaiian islands, her final resting home is believed to be in the fire pit called Halema'uma'u crater, at the summit caldera of KÄ«lauea, which is one of the Earth's most active volcanoes.

The collar of this vessel is very fiery, and MAK's raku bead was born in a fire pit.  I'm just hoping that I can seduce someone with the beauty of this piece!  :-)

Here is the wool stash that I picked out for the vessel.  You can see the wet vessel in progress on the bubble wrap.

Here are both sides of the vessel after I completed felting and forming it.

And here is the vessel after I finished embellishing it.  This one took a long time - the bead-woven collar is very long!  I started creating the collar before I made the vessel, and I really misjudged the circumference of that opening.  But the way in which I dealt with the excess collar really adds to the feeling of "Pele" on this piece!

This was taken in the sun...

... and this one was taken in the shade.

This vessel will be going into my Etsy shop as soon as I get some "real" pictures of it.  I have two others in progress, but pix of those will have to wait a bit.

Here are a few pictures I snapped at the Bead & Button Show.

Kimberly Affleck in her booth - oblivious, I think, to the fact that my camera was pointed at her (from across the aisle, hence the poor photo quality).  I love her banner, displaying her seahorse beads for all the world to see!

Here's Lauri Copeland in her booth - Ms. Wildfire!

And my B&B neighbor and good friend Sharon Peters, with her booth helper Juanita - whom I borrow every chance I can get.  Standing in the booth next to them (behind Juanita) is Gretchen Schueller, owner of Piece of Mind Bead and Jewelry Studio.

I just couldn't resist this photo.  This pooch spent a lot of time working the bead show with his charge.  I wanted to "chat", but when a dog is wearing a working dog vest, it's hands off.  I have such a hard time keeping my distance from fur kids.  It looks like it was break time for the pup, though...

And now I'm off to forage for groceries so my cupboards won't be so bare.  Then I'll return to tech land, and later tonight, I'll be embellishing vessel number 2.  Now you go have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Home Again, Home Again...

Well, I'm back from Milwaukee - still a bit worn out from my trip.  Wow, I had such a lovely time at the Bead & Button Show!  It was absolutely wonderful to meet some of my fellow artists whose work I include in my own work, as well as connect with friends I only see once a year in Milwaukee.

I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Dean Sharpe of Sand Fibers, whose work I admire greatly - and also own!  Carol and I have many things in common, and when we met, it seemed as if we've known each other for years.  I also had the pleasure of meeting Marianne Kasparian, a.k.a Mak, of MAKUstudio.  Mak's work is truly drool-worthy.  I've used some of her raku pieces in several of my felted vessels, and I scored more of her fabulous work while I was at the show.  I've already picked out the fiber for 2 vessels that I'll be making for some of her raku beads.  Here are Mak's pieces that I now own.

These are all destined to become part of my felt work.

It was great to see Lisa Peters again!  I spent a lot of time hovering over her table, trying to discipline myself to not buy half of her inventory.  Here are some pieces that I acquired - I'll show you more of Lisa's work next time.  These, too, will be incorporated into my felt work.

And what's a trip to the Bead & Button Show without replenishing some of my seed bead stash?!  Here's the latest installment in my size 11 rainbow.

I'm ready to take on just about any felting project I can dream up!  And I did dream up a few while I was on the road.  I took a few pages of notes during the show's "down time", and I'm just itching to get out to the wet lab.  Four of my vessels found new homes at the show, so it's definitely time to make more.  I'm teaching a bead making class this weekend, but I'm hoping that I can mess around with fiber before then.  If not, then definitely on Sunday!

Until next time, go have yourself a happy and creative day!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Packing, Packing... Heading For Booth 1221

Well, this is it.  I'm leaving in the morning for Milwaukee - another year at the Bead & Button Show.  I am really looking forward to getting away for awhile, looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting new folks, putting faces and voices with many of my cyber-friends - this show is always such a pleasure for me!

If you are planning on being at the show, please stop by and see me!  I'll be in booth 1221 - same bat time, same bat channel.  If you are not planning on being at the show... well, why the heck not?!  LOL!

I'm off to run some last-minute errands and get back to my packing.  See you at the show - and if not, I'll be back out here when I return.  I fly home on June 14, so you should get an update shortly after that.

Now go have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A Few New Florals

This has been a very trying week for me.  My 86-year-old mom, who lives with us and has Alzheimer's, is really sliding downhill.  It breaks my heart to see this.  She was always a very spunky lady, but she's just not with the program anymore.  She can still understand some of the things that we say to her, and she still recognizes us, but she's in a rather confused state most of the time. She hasn't been able to speak in quite awhile, so it's very difficult for us to know what's bothering her when she needs something or is in pain or distress.  My heart goes out to all of the folks having to contend with this dreadful disease.

We did have a bright note earlier in the week.  I finally got to spend some time over the weekend making a few beads.  That sure was a good thing, because I'm leaving on Tuesday for the Bead & Button Show.  On Monday, I put a bunch of the beads that I had just cleaned out on the kitchen table for mom to look at.  She immediately went for one of the floral beads that I made.  Then she looked at another bead, and went back to that floral and picked it up.  She did this with every bead she looked at - as soon as she finished looking at the bead, she put it down and picked the floral back up again.  When she was finished looking at all of the beads, she picked up the floral bead, got up, and took it into her bedroom.  I guess she decided that since she liked it so much, it was hers.  I found that rather touching.

I'm actually quite fond of two of the florals that I made over the weekend.  I like the color pop of the flowers against the "directly across the color wheel" background.  I hope I get a chance to make a few more that are similar.  This one is mom's favorite - the one that found its way to the top of her dresser.

And this one is my favorite.

And now I'm going to go pack up my tubs that will be going to Bead & Button.  I have to deliver them tomorrow to a friend who is driving to Milwaukee and offered to take them with her.  Now, you folks go have a happy and creative day!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I've just finished another vessel - now that it's almost summer, I figured that I'd better get a spring project under way.  Awhile ago, I purchased these wonderful little clay bird beads from Heather Powers of Humble Beads. I knew that I would use them on some of my vessels, but I really didn't have anything specific in mind.  This vessel was not planned ahead of time - it evolved as I was making it.  With all these pastel colors, it really feels like spring to me!  The pastels are a bit of a departure for me - usually if I'm going to work with pastels, I incorporate some much darker contrast in there somewhere.  But I decided to keep this one light, and I'm really glad that I did.  Here's my latest piece... "Birdsong".  I put it up for sale in my Etsy shop, but I do plan on bringing it to the Bead & Button Show with me if it hasn't been grabbed before then.

I had birds on my mind a lot while I was working on this piece.  So while I was out on Etsy, I decided that I had to create a few treasuries.  I included a bird in the first treasury and was so enchanted with birds that I ended up creating a treasury that I called "Birdsong", like my vessel.

And now I am off to the torch.  I have to try and make beads today or else my trays at the Bead & Button Show will be completely empty!  Now you go and have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Latest Pieces

I have a growing stash of clay beads, buttons, and cabochons - because I just love them!  I've been ruminating on what to do with them, and the ideas keep coming.  I finally had a bit of "free time" (precious these days), and I spent that time out in the wet lab and then in the bead lab.  Here are my latest pieces, both of which were made specifically for the button and bead that I used in each piece.

First is my poppy pin, made with a poppy button from Lisa Peters Art.

And, of course, another vessel - my favorite form to make in felt.  This piece was made specifically for the raku bead that I used as a handle - made by MAKUstudio.  Here are both sides of the vessel.

And now it is absolutely imperative that I head out to the torch.  The Bead & Button Show is just around the corner...
And it's time for YOU to go have a happy and creative day!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Still No Star

So once again, I made a vessel for the star button that was supposed to go on my tall blue vessel but didn't.  After trying that combo, I absolutely knew the right colors for that star!  This time I made a smaller vessel so the star wouldn't get lost.  Lo and behold, that darn star STILL doesn't work!  And it was my bad, not the fault of the star.  I mean gee whiz, I LOVE that star!  But because of the way the vessel shrunk and the way I laid out the colors, the star does get lost because of lack of contrast.  So I beaded up the vessel and have decided that the star is not going on a vessel at all.  I'll be making more felted brooches for the Bead & Button Show, and one of them will have that star on it.  I designed it on paper last night, and I can't wait to get out to the wet lab!

Here's the new vessel, sans star...

Now it's tech time for me - and YOU folks go have a happy and creative day!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Nothing To Bead For April...

I'm doing the happy dance because I finished beading my Bead Journal Project "page" for March - yay!  But that poses a dilemma - I have not made a vessel yet for April - or for May.  With so much work going on in my tech world and my Bead & Button Show prep, I have had much time to even think about what those vessels should be.  I do have a few very vague ideas floating around in my brain... I'd better write them down, because I'm afraid that by the time I get a chance to make the vessels I will have forgotten my inspiration.

In any case, here are pix of March.  As a reminder, my inspiration was the fact that I was freaked out because the Bead & Button Show is quickly approaching and I had no leaves in my inventory.  I started thinking about how many leaves I had to make, and the request from my friend Nanette of Scorpio Beads for about 100 smaller leaves for our jewelry kits, and I felt overwhelmed by leaves!

The beautiful cabochon that I used on this vessel was made by Kristie from sculptedwindows.

Regarding my leaf inventory?  Well... I'm still freaked out.  :-O
And now it's time for you to go have a happy and creative day!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Where's My Alter Ego?

As the Bead & Button Show approaches, and my deadlines in the high-tech world keep right up with it, I'm trying to figure out how I can split myself in two.  It would be marvelous if I could send my alter ego out to the glass lab, armed with my list of beads that I MUST make, those that I SHOULD make, and those that would be nice to have.  Then when I do get a chance to spend some creative time on the torch, I can let whim take over and see what happens.

This past weekend, I left my list of must- and should-makes in the house and let the wicked-expensive silver-laden glass guide my head and hands.  I had a rather tough time of it - the bead release (the stuff that coats the mandrels to keep the glass from permanently sticking) kept breaking every time I tried to make a normal-sized bead.  So I resigned myself to making long or larger beads, and I was pleased with what came from the kiln.  I'll put them into my Etsy shop soon - here's a look now to see what will be coming.

Yes, there's definitely a theme going on here.  When I look at my Etsy shop, I see mostly neutrals, blues, and greens - very earthy stuff.  One of these days I'm going to shock everyone and create some bright primary Crayola-colored beads!

On the fiber front, I've finished my March BJP vessel as well as another small vessel that will be for sale.  They're out getting photographed "as we speak".  More vessels will be coming, as well as some new brooches.  But for now, it's back to my high-tech job.  And YOU folks have yourselves a happy and creative day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nothing Like a Pro Photo...

I now have REAL photos of my first two Bead Journal Project vessels as well as the latest vessel that I completed.  And what a difference it makes!  I have about a half-hour's work left to do on the March vessel, and I will hand it over to my hubby for another professional photo.

First, here's my latest completed project.  The pattern that I beaded on it looks almost like an aerial view of an oil slick.  The focal piece is by Lisa Peters Art, and I think it was serendipity.  I made the vessel for that star button of hers that I have, but the colors didn't go well together.  I hunted through my stash and found this piece of hers.  The rings on the piece reflect the rings that I felted into the vessel, so I let the focal piece guide the color of the beading that I did.  I think it all fell into place quite well.  Oh, it's so nice to have a stash from which I can choose my materials.  I've been collecting beads and "stuff" since 1996.  Drives everyone else around here nuts, but hey...

And now I'll show you what my BJP vessels look like when they're in focus.  :-)


And February:

I had to re-wet this vessel after I finished beading it because I really distorted the shape of the vessel during the beading process,  The hole wasn't large enough for me to insert my entire hand.  The final shape of the vessel looks nothing like my original intention, but that's OK.  I'm quite happy with the result, and once again I learned a lot from this project.  And learning is a good thing!

Now I'm off to my daily tech work.  And you folks go have yourselves a happy and creative day!
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