February 25, 2012

A Bead is Born

While making my January Bead of the Month I snapped some photos of how I make my beads.  I thought you'd enjoy seeing what goes into each and every one of my disk beads.

First - it starts with color.  I love Brandi's color palettes that she makes for the Art Bead Scene. I print them out and start custom mixing my colors to match. 

Next, the colors are formed into round beads.

And here comes the hard part - I sketch out my canes and start to create them. 
The designs run horizontally in those tubes.

Paper thin slices of the designs are applied to each bead.  We then roll the clay smooth, shape each bead, poke the hole, bake and artfully arrange them before we tie them up into sets.  Jess is my official bead roller.  He takes forever, but he just does such a great job.

Here are the finished beads.  I only made 12 sets.  These sets each month are only available to my Bead of the Month Club subscribers.  I used the rest of the canes to make other beads and created leaves, birds and flowers to match, those can be found in my Etsy shop
I'm offering five more Bead of the Month Club subscriptions for the 10 months left in the year.  Each month I take the inspiration painting from the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge and jump off from there.  If you buy the BOM Club, you don't need to take part in the challenge, that's just my inspiration. 

February 24, 2012

Bead Heaven!

Some days don't you just love the UPS man?  I mean really love!  Look what arrived at my door yesterday.  Oh, I want to keep them all.  These are more of the beads that I will be offering on the cruise and then in my Etsy shop when I return.

I picked colors to match my beads, it all works together and I'm not sure if I will sell the glass by itself or in small inspiration kits paired up with my beads.  What do you think?

It's crunch time for the cruise.  I will be buried under tasks this weekend, sort of like we are buried under snow today.  I hope you have a fun weekend filled with your favorite things!  

February 23, 2012

Teardrop Headpins

I stole away a few minutes this week to do a little experimenting with a new headpin design. I just made a few of each and they are in the ol' Etsy shop.  They look great with bead caps and a little sparkle - fun and easy!

February 22, 2012

Bead Soup Goodies

I was so happy when I saw that my Bead Soup partner was Genea from Genea Beads.  What an amazing talent!  Genea has gifted me with beads before so I knew I was in for a treat when her box arrived.  When I opened it up I was hearing Calypso music in my head and dreaming about wearing these beads on my upcoming Bead Cruise!

Along with her wonderful beads in those tropical colors Genea mixed in some fun pieces from My Elements and a collection of colorful Czech glass.

 The clasp that Genea sent is a glass button - so cute!

And the focal - a bead within a bead. Okay let me say that again - a bead WITHIN a bead.  How is that even done?  So my beadmaking parnter is also a magican.  I'm impressed.

Bead inside a bead. 


I pulled out a few things from my stash that will add some spice to my soup - I have a starfish and a feather pendant that I made along with some of my disk beads.  Mixed in some glass and those little enemal headpins are from SueBeads for flavor.  I'm sure I'll make several pieces from the very generous helping that was sent my way.

You can see the soup I sent to Genea here.

Visit Genea's Etsy shop and blog to see more of her colorful work!

I'm also happy to announce that I'm one of the contributors to Lori Anderson's upcoming book, Bead Soup.  You can read more here.

Now I need to go find an outfit to match those beads to wear on the cruise.

February 20, 2012

Branching Out

I've been slowly amassing a bead horde to start offering some of my favorite components and beads to compliment my line.  I wanted to offer more beads on the Bead Cruise and at my upcoming retreat. After the cruise I will start to fill my Etsy shop with all these beautiful pieces. I first stocked up on Vintaj - because come on - we are like peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, peas and carrots.  You get the idea - we are made for each other. 

Love my new Wild Bird Pendant with these leafy pieces and brass branch.

I've been handcoloring some pieces in a teal patina.

Along with the Vintaj I'm offering Czech glass leaves and flowers, steel wire and peanut seed beads.  On the cruise I will also have Mary Harding Pendants and Green Girl Studios pieces.

I have also been gathering together some yummy ribbons in some of my favorite colors, like teal, navy, olive, purple and fuchsia, seen in the top left.

One thing I decided to focus on for my bead 'shop' was to offering packaging that was branded with a woodland theme.  I want everything I sell to be a treat for the senses and even something like jump rings can feel inspiring when packaged with a little panache. 

This is all a seed, one day those seeds will blossom into something bigger - like maybe a bead gallery in a real store or shows across the country.  We'll see what sprouts up as we start this new part of our business.  

February 19, 2012


I love that living in Michigan brings out the optimist in people.  No matter how deary the skies may look, just a quick walk through the stores will tell you that everyone is planning for spring to arrive.  I love folks that pull out their farmer's almanac in the dead of winter as they make their spring gardening plans. The front of grocery stores are stocked with potted flowers, daffodils and tulips - just egging the warm weather to hurry up. Those faithful gardening folks are planting seeds that will be kept on little shelves. Those tiny pots will wait for the ground to unfreeze and the danger of frost to slip away with the memories of winter.

In case you need a little beady spring inspiration - check out my Etsy shop for these new beads and more!

February 15, 2012

Vintaj Art Bead Partner

Howdy Partner!

I'm excited to tell you that I am Vintaj's current Art Bead Partner!

What does that mean?  Well I sent some goodies to the Vintaj design team a while back and they have worked in their magic to create some inspiring pieces combining their components with my beads.

You can find the project above featured on their blog today.

They also have a Forest Friends Challenge for this month.

And later there will be a giveaway on their blog.

New in my Etsy shop - Dogwood Blossom Charms

I'm waiting for my copy of the new Vintaj book, Mixed Metals, to arrive - there are some Humblebeads in the projects!

And you know what else I'm waiting for?  A whole big box of Vintaj goodies because I will be selling Vintaj along with some of my other favorite beads on the Bead Cruise, at my retreats and in my Etsy shop.  I'm looking forward to branching out offering some of my favorite pairings with my Humblebeads.

P.S. - Thank you to everyone who has left me notes of encouragement about my knees and using the cane and scooter.  It really did help yesterday and I will be ordering the scooter tomorrow.  I have a feeling my Mom and Rosanne will be trying to hitch rides as we zoom down the long halls on the ship.  I'm going to focus on having a good time on the cruise and not worry about whether I'm sitting or standing for the festivities.  I know it will take some time, but these knees will be working again and until then I will take care of myself and not worry about my pride!

February 14, 2012


I can't figure out why I'm so embarrassed about being injured, so I thought I would share it here and get over it! I am like a crippled bird at the moment.  Hobbling around on knees that aren't working.  I'm waiting to see a specialist, until then I have a cane, pain medicine and a water exercise classes to help the healing process.  The cane makes me feel like some old, eccentric comic book character.  I have never left the house with it. I will find out after the Bead Cruise if surgery is the next step.  Which I'm really hoping it isn't.

I'm suppose to avoid stairs, so we have my studio on the main floor, in a smaller space than my super studio that I was working on fixing up.  Which makes me a little bummed.  So instead of being bummed, I thought I would share where I am currently creating.  After all, it is a lovely space.

Thankfully my hands still work and I have been whipping out beads like nobodies business.  Well, like my business! It is a productive space.  I like the natural light and being surrounded by inspiring things. This is the clay table.  All my clay is stored in the metal file cabinets.  My tools are on a wheeled metal shelf that I covered with some silk fabric to hide the mess!  Jess works on the other table, where he paints, sands and helps me package up orders.

During my injury I've done two trunk shows, three classes and I'm now on the final countdown getting ready for the Bead Cruise.  And I'm worried about the cruise.  I don't want to hobble around and I don't want to rent a scooter.  That just makes me feel like an old lady and I'm not there yet!  My mom and I have this discussion almost daily.  I just want my legs to work right. I want my body to cooperate with me. 

Healing is never fun.  It's not fun to slow down.  I hate not being able to do what I want to do.  So I will focus on what I can do and I will accept help when I really want to do everything on my own.  And I will be okay with not being a super woman, at least for a little while.

(The two plants on the left are my Valentine gift from Jess.  He is such a sweetie.)

February 5, 2012

Mums the Word - New Bracelet

I wanted to play around and create a few samples showing different ways to use the techniques in my Sundry Bracelet.  Here I've paired up that funky fringe in purple, pink and teal with one of my new Chrysanthemum Connectors.

 A close up of the new bead, an original design carved by me and hand painted.

Can you tell I need more color in my life right now? The lack of sunshine causes me to put bowls of oranges around the house, wear bright colors and crazy patterns and pull out all my beads in shades of the garden.  I even bought a plant and if you know me you know that was a desperate move, since my nickname when it comes to gardening is the 'plant killa'.

How do you combat the winter blues?  Or do you go all zen and totally embrace the gray?

February 4, 2012

Grand Rapids Trunk Show

Hello everyone.  I've missed the ol' blog and I'm happy to be a in place where I can be creative again and we are getting back to normal around here.  There is a lot that has been happening and tons of fun things on the horizon, so I'll just jump in with what's going on next weekend. 

I will be returning to Bead Quest in Grand Rapids for a Spring Trunk Show.  I've created some fun new beads in the last few weeks.  Above you can see some new hearts and variations on older designs.  I've also been making tiny houses that I'm pretty excited about.

The trunk show is February 11th from 10 am - 5 pm.  If you are in the West Michigan area please stop out and say hello. 

I will have a little gift for blog readers at the show if you tell me you read about it on my blog!

This was my display at last weekend's trunk show at La Bead, Oh! in Springfield, IL.

I'm also teaching my Sundry Bracelet class from 1-4pm. 

There are still spaces in the class and you can register here.

What is a sundry? A sundry is a small, miscellaneous collection of items and that is what I've collected for the luscious fringe on each of these bracelets.  I've used Czech glass, crystals, stones and pearls to create playful beaded clusters that compliment my handcrafted disk beads, also in a sundry of patterns.

The bracelets look complex, but they are actually quite easy to make.  If you can sew a button, you could make one too!  I promise.  In the class we will also make a fun and versatile wire clasp and I throw in a little color theory for beaders too.

Bead Quest has been doing a smashing job of promoting the trunk show.  I'm looking forward to meeting more Michigan beaders next weekend.  (Above, my display in the store!)

What does Bead Quest have in their shop?  They do these great monochromatic displays along the wall with Czech glass and seed beads.  They have chain and cording in all sorts of yummy colors and patterns. 

Pearls and gemstones along with wire and metal working supplies and tools.

And all sorts of fun finds around the counter, like art beads, filigree, crystals and these lucite flowers caught my eye yesterday.

So that is where we will start back with blogging for today - always love a fun trunk show and the chance to partner with a local bead store!