Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Lesson from Tim Gunn

I am a huge Project Runway fan.

Last week, the designers drew inspiration from various neighborhoods throughout NYC. Seeing the many wrought iron gates and fences of the Upper East Side, contestant designer Jonathan Peters created a cutwork dress. I thought it was looking awesome and then Tim Gunn came in to check on the progress. After listening to Jonathan's design idea, Gunn guided Jonathan away from over-designing his dress. (If you'd like to watch that segment, click here.)

Hmm, food for thought as I was designing my 2011 Beading for A Cure piece.

Using my lining fabric as inspiration, my 'plan' was to use various star patterns on the piece and then bead swirled lines across the background.

After working up a few different star designs, I started to bead.

Then came that Project Runway episode.
Oh no.
I immediately recognized I was heading down that over-designing path.

So I am now only using this star design -

and this starburst - I think this will look much more sophisticated than a crazy mix of star patterns.

On another completely unrelated topic: Look at these gorgeous snail shells Claire found down in the Erie Canal (it gets drained in the winter - she wasn't scuba diving lol). Nature is amazing - the color, the perfect swirl - I just love them! I'm so happy she thought of me and brought them home.

Time's up - Meghan needs to use the computer for her school work- talk to you soon....

Join in the fun!

Look at this fabulous idea that Humblebeads is doing! It's the cutest idea for sharing stash goodies and inspiring fellow artists that I've ever seen.
Thanks Heather !

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Bling Ring

Say this 3 times fast:

~ spring bling ring ~
~ spring bling ring ~
~ spring bling ring ~
Pretty hard, huh?

This Toho Crystal Flower ring kit was way easier to make than saying that tongue twister.

I am really really happy with the way this ring came together. I think a lot had to do with the quality of the beads - look at how uniform those baby bugles are. And I really liked using the filigree base as a template. I'd like to try that technique again. I would guess the whole ring from start to finish took less than an hour. It seemed much more complicated than it was.

I see Artbeads has a few other designs of this kit, so I know my next order will include at least one - I especially like this black agate design.

On to the crystals, pearls, and xilion components. For some reason, a lattice design was spinning through my head. I had done some netting before, making ball ornament covers, but never in a piece of jewelry.

Looks kind of strange laid out flat, but

I like the way it looks on and it feels good too. And the ring matches :) The sterling silver clasp can be fastened with one hand! Yippee! I was hoping it could. It's a really nifty design, in that there are two 'push buttons' on the ends that release the clasp. I love how the clasp is seamless when connected and it is very secure.
Meghan flipped when she saw it - for some reason she just loves this bracelet. I guess coming from a 16-year-old, that says a lot!

Don't forget to check out this week's Beading for a Cure auctions! Hope everyone has a good day/evening! See you soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring-y Spring

Here in Lockport, NY, we are in a stretch of the perfect spring weather - blue sky, temps in the 50s- and smiling people everywhere :)

Even in my mailbox, I received some spring in the form of my latest Artbeads selections.
Artbeads has asked me to create something with spring in mind, so I chose a color story of Swarovski pastel pearls, bicones, and xilion setting crystals along with a gorgeous sterling silver clasp with the idea of a netted bracelet. We'll see how (and if ) I can pull that together!

Then I browsed around some more and came across this adorable Toho Crystal Flower ring kit. Cool. I didn't even know Artbeads carried kits. Geez, what don't they carry!?

It was tough to see on-line what the kit contained, but I had a feeling it would coordinate close enough with the pearls and crystals I had selected and it certainly looked Spring-y.

Wow. Not at all what I was expecting. But not in a bad way! I was intrigued to see the base of the flower would be beaded onto a silver filigree. Never did that before.

I thought the kit was well packed, everything taped down and extras of all the components (other than the filigree piece). Even thread - oh no, not thread-but the dreaded nylon-fishing-line-type thread. Crap. I've worked with that before and hated it. Not feeling so excited anymore. :(

Hmm, what's that handy little tip included on the instructions - "to make nylon thread more pliable, expose it to steam prior to working with it" - well, never knew that! And it works like a charm :)

(There you go, I filled my "learn something new everyday" quota for today.)

As you can see, the instructions were well diagrammed. (Can you see the remnants of the Beading for a Cure project still on my table? Ha-too anxious to try this ring that I didn't even clear off my work space!)

I had just a few minutes before I was leaving to have dinner with my friend Joan, but I managed to get the first few petals complete.

How cute is this!? I can't wait to finish it..........but it's definitely a daytime project working with the nylon thread and weaving it into the filigree holes.

The kit claims it should take approximately 40 minutes to complete. We'll see how I measure up to that time! Like those recipes that promise 10 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking. That never is true for me, I guess if I had an assistant who chopped and measured everything and had all the ingredients lined up ready to go, then maybe....

Have a great day - see you soon!

FTC Disclosure: I received the Swarovski pieces, sterling silver clasp, and Toho ring kit free of charge in exchange for writing my honest review of the products.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beading For A Cure 2011

I am so happy to be in on next year's Beading for a Cure fundraiser. This will be my second year as a participating bead artist. I was a bit nervous wondering what the kit this year would contain. Last year's kit was gorgeous and it was so easy to make something beautiful with it. I was keeping my fingers crossed that the color story would be pretty. . . . and it is!

Look at these beauties!

Glorious! Simply Glorious!

I zipped over to my local fabric store for some inspiration.

Oohh baby - lookie what I found in the fat quarter bin!

Oh yes, indeed - that'll work.

Ironically, the clerk told me she just found it and put it in the bin not 10 minutes before I walked in the door. She's not sure where it came from and that was the only piece.

Timing is everything, I always say.

The rules allow for one bead type to be added to the kit. I knew my addition would be that bright blue hue and I just so happened to have some in my stash.

Here's a tiny peek of what I've got so far - a border of my favorite "zipper" stitch.

Ok, so I really don't know what the stitch is called (if anything), but I think it looks like a zipper, so that's what I call it :)

I hope everyone reading this will take the time to jump over to this year's auctions (see sidebar) and place a bid on a beautiful beaded piece. All proceeds go to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. Thanks!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Done! (well, for now)

After staring at the blank section left on my life box and trying a 1,000 different things, this is what appeared:

My thought is that through your support and caring, I found the spirit to believe again
~ in myself and the decisions I've made

~ in the power of positive thinking

~ and most significantly, if the healing elements of bead journaling

As many of you may know, I was first introduced to bead embroidery through classes at my local Historical Society which are taught by Native American women from the Tuscarora Nation.
I couldn't resist adding one of my favorite coins. A 1900 penny.
I hope that when I pass from this earth, God grants me the favor of traveling back in time to Buffalo at the turn of the century. I would love to have attended the Pan American exposition held here in 1901. That would be heaven to me.

I use a scallop seashell to scoop up my beads from my beading mat. It is the best 'tool' ever. I don't even know how or why I started to use it, but its just a perfect little scooper. So when I was scrounging through all my treasures and came across a set of pewter seashells, I just had to pluck the scallop one from the group and put it on the box.

I feel peaceful now when I look at the final piece.
Maybe I should be calling this my Peace box.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I will eventually put the bottom cover on and either add bead "feet" or a raised rope to lift it off the table a bit, but for now I have to set it aside and get started on next year's Beading for a Cure piece. Don't miss out on this year's auctions - there's some stunning pieces up for auction now. Click on the link on my sidebar to help the fight against colon cancer. We need all the help we can get!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


The memories of all the good times blanket my soul.

Layers and layers of laughter.

Like leaves on the forest floor. Memories that will eventually fade over time, but will never be forgotten.

For they give nourishment to the good times to come.

I feel my spirit emerging from those memories of laughter.

The sadness and bitterness less heavy.

Spring is in the air and in my soul.

My thoughts and energy now more fully directed to my three daughters.

Teenagers now, ready to disperse into the world, take root, and flourish.

Pete and I always there to support and cradle them with our love.


Just by chance, I stumbled across that most-fantabulous dandelion art bead made by Kate of Studio Art Bead.
Claire (my oldest) has a tattoo across her back that she designed. 2 birds (representing Pete and I) holding a ribbon in their beaks that surround 3 dandelion puff flowers (representing Claire, Meghan and Hannah) whose seeds scatter across her back and eventually turn into birds. Needless to say when I saw Kate's bead - I immediately bought it!
P.S. I don't know why the link to Kate's blog isn't connecting right! So annoying. Her blog is organicodysseys.blogspot.com and her etsy store is OrganicOdysseys.etsy.com
For whatever reason blogger keeps changing the link I put in. I have NO idea why. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Look what came in the mail today :)

From all the way across the world, my One World One Heart giveaway came! Thanks to Britt Fairchild, I was gifted these goodies:

A handmade card......
Oh, look at that lace maker - what a head covering, huh?

And a handmade ATC card . . . . .

With a touch of tatting tacked on, too! I've taken a tatting class and after 4 hours I ended up with a piece the size of the ring on this card. Needless to say, I haven't picked up the shuttle since. I know my limits. I'm sticking with the bobbins.

And finally -- whoohoo-- . . . . .

The most adorable neckpiece! It is the perfect size for holding my row counter, scissors and cable stitch needle while I knit! And when I'm not knitting, it's going to make a great accessory to my outfit (which, today by the way, will be chosen specifically to coordinate with this beauty).
Just look at the fine detail Britt stitched on - I love the beads placed in each opening of the chain and the beaded arches over the fuzzy fiber and the tatted flower and the french knots and the beads added to the loop tassel and look at how the cord strap is made by braiding the finer thread around it. Amazing - just adorable! And it's from an Australian Lacemaker - come on, how cool is that????!!!!!
Thanks Britt - you are a fantastic stitcher-lacer-spread the love maker :)