Friday, June 20, 2014

June Beaded Bead

I was looking for some bugle beads for another project and found these beautiful bugles. Until I saw these beads I wasn't sure what I was going to do for June.  I started thinking about June, and how it is a month that represents both joy and sorrow, hence the two rows of bugle beads.  Joy because there are many family birthdays in June.  My father's birthday is June 7, my father-in-laws birthday is June 17th, and right in between is my son Jason's birthday on the 9th.  Jason's due date was actually August 25th, I remember it after all these years.  And I also remember how difficult a pregnancy I had and the realization that things weren't going well.  Blue has always been a grounding color for me, it represents both the sky and the water.  We were living in Florida at the time and had water from the Indian River and the ocean surrounding us.

My Bead Journal Bead for June is based on the Belted Bricky Balls from Dustin Wedekind's book Getting Started with Seed Beads.  I was looking for some bugle beads for another project and found these beautiful bugles. Until I saw these beads I wasn't sure what I was going to do for June.


The smooth side of the bead represents joy, of Jason thriving, of life eventually settling down, of my other son's connection to Jason that continues to this day. But within that joy there is also sorrow.  It wasn't easy to deal with all of the issues Jason experienced. It took many years for health and developmental issue to resolve.  So the second half of the bead shows the bumpy ride.

And here is where June becomes even more difficult. Both of our father's had birthdays in June, but June is also a month in which my f-i-l died on his birthday, truly completing a full circle of life.  He was buried the next day, which was on one of his son's birthday, and just 2 days before what would have been his 50th anniversary.  It was like the emotional punches just kept coming.

At the same time, my father was dying from cancer.  And he died six weeks after my f-i-l.  My parents couldn't go to my f-i-l's funeral, but my mother in law came to my father's.  How brave is that?

That summer was sixteen years ago.  It's hard to believe it's been that long.

I used yellow thread, rather than a color that may have blended in, because I wanted to show that even in sorrow there is always sunshine. I used lime green charlottes in between the bugle beads and fuchsia beads on the outside simply because I like those colors together.  And the gold beads at the top and bottom openings represent the value of life, both during happy and sad times.

As I'm writing this it is the yahrzeit of my father-in-law, the Jewish anniversary of his death.  We light a candle to remember him and it burns for 24 hours. In a few weeks we will do it for my father.  And just a few weeks ago we did it for my mother-in-law, who died three years after her husband.

Many of my bead journal pieces seem to end up being yin and yang images.  I think a lot of life is like
that, where you have one side there is another.  They are not separate, they spin around each other and weave a tale.  I am so appreciative that I can do this with beads.  I think they represent me better than the words I am struggling with as I write this tonight.

Friday, May 30, 2014

May Bead Journal Project

With the end of winter comes the breath of spring.  From the dormant earth comes color - green, purple, yellow, orange, pink, red - colors of flowers pushing their way up through the ground and creating beautiful gardens and forests.  Up up and up the colors reach until they hit the blue sky.  My bead represents this process of renewal, from the brown earth, the colors of spring, and the blue sky.  The earth and sky is made using size 11 seed beads and the color beads are dichroic triangles.  I love the way that color just vibrates through the triangles when the light hits them.




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Irish waxed linen Blog Hop Reveal!


Thanks to Diana Ptaszynski (

for hosting this Irish waxed linen blog hop.  The idea for the blog hop came from Bead Cruise 2014 in which Erin Siegel taught a macrame class using the linen.  I didn't take the class but I did make a project from jewelry stringing magazine that Erin had designed and it was a lot of fun to use the linen.  

The main materials for my project were Irish waxed linen cord (yellow cord top left), C-lon (bright pink), a macrame project board, t-pins, a button for a finding, and long drop magatama beads. 

Diana suggested using an artist bead and I chose 5 beads by Basha (, which are a gorgeous olive with luminescent colors glimmering in the beads.

Making the necklace.

I started by measuring three Irish waxed linen cords and folding them in half, once for the button side and once for the button hole side. Using the C-lon cord I macramed for several inches, added a Basha bead, then used clusters of 3 drop beads, making a knot after each group. Thinking of spring, I used lime green, fuschia, and 3 shades of bronze.  Another Basha bead was added and more clusters were made.  

Now to add the large Basha bead and put all 12 core strands through the hole! That was a bit challenging and luckily it worked.  Next up was fringe.  I love fringe and had fun alternating strands of single drop beads with strands of clusters of beads.  The cord just wanted to be fringed and I kept knotting until there was a 
long and flowy fringe hanging from the necklace.

A close-up of the upper necklace.

Showing a little more of the top of the necklace and the start of the fringe.

Another close-up.

 The large Basha bead and the strands of fringe.

The whole necklace. The overall length of the necklace is 22" and the fringe is 10".

Ta da!  No one home to take a picture of the necklace on me, so I did a selfie.  

(To see blogs listed below, click on the blog address and you will be taken to the blog link.)

Kelsy Vincent

Susan Kennedy

Linda Landig

Kashmira Patel

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Vanessa Gilkes

Sandy Huntress

Kay Thomerson

Sarajo Wentling

Kari Asbury

Rebecca Anderson

Melissa Trudinger

Ann Schroeder

Shai Williams

Kristen Stevens

Heather Boardman

Janet Bocciardi

Kathy Lindemer

Lesley Watt

Michelle McCarthy

Cynthia Deis

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson

Inge von Roos

Linda Younkman

Sandi Volpe

Toltec Jewels

Michelle Mach

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A few Miscellaneous Bead Photos

I found these pieces in some of my draft posts so I thought I would put them up.  The top two bead embroidered pieces were made for a seaquilt that was raffled off to raise money for cancer in a walk that a friend was doing.  Her daughter had cancer and she wanted to contribute in a tangible way.  The quilt was absolutely gorgeous and although I bought a lot of tickets I didn't win it.

Another square that I made.



I don't believe I have posted this doll before, and I did find the photos in a draft post.  This doll was made in memory of a friend of mine who killed herself about this time of year.  She was a lovely and charming person, but she was haunted by growing up as a child of Holocaust survivors and suffered from anxiety and depression.  A lot of people think that Christmas is the highest time of suicides, but in fact it is the beginning of spring.  Just when winter starts to recede, when color starts popping up in the garden, when leaves start filling up trees, and a fresh and warm breeze blows, there are those who do not feel the joy of life re-emerging, of the energy of the season, of a lightness and laughter that comes with a sense of rejuvenation. They feel no hope, and without hope there is no reason to go on.  What I write is simplistic, of course, but the captures the essence of why there is a higher suicide rate in spring.  And for dear and gentle friend, the spring in which she found herself was too much for her to continue living.  It was not a choice that she made, she did not wish her family to suffer from her death, for her children to grow up without her, for her husband to mourn his only love and to live out the rest of his life alone.

This doll reflects the joy that she spread in the world.  The bright colors for when she was happy. The wings for how she protected and cared for others.

And here, remembering spring so as to never forget.  And to remember, that when times were good, my friend's garden blossomed beautifully with a riot of colors.

April BJP

My April BJP surprised me quite a bit.  I used the bracelet on the left as inspiration, liking the way the netted beads waved and flowed, creating a fullness and heft.  However, I didn't take into consideration that I would be beading on a round wooden ball with a 1" diameter.  

I started with a netted base on the wood ball in a pretty purple, just because I like the color.

My idea was to add rows of netting (a process in which the number of beads used increases on each row, creating the wavy look), that reflected my mood for the day.  I used Matsuno beads, which are gorgeous colors, but kind of squarish beads.  As much as I loved each color, seeing the colors next to each other the rows looked terrible, no flow of mood or color at all.

Trying to capture some of spring, the gray days, feeling blue about the weather, seeing green start to come out in the trees and grass.

Here you see a lot of gray, some matte, some transparent as if trying to let the light in.  But in the end blackness won out, and although it's hard to see, there are 3 rows of netting on the last row, giving a heavier look on that row.

Another view.

Because I was unhappy with how the bead looked and disappointed that I wasn't getting the flow and rhythm I was looking for, I decided not to finish the bead, and just filled in the empty spaces with more purple beads.  If you look on the far right you will see some firepolish.  That was an effort to see if I could get more light in the bead, hoping it would shine through and catch sunlight.  But when I decided not to finish the bead I just left it alone.

I feel that this is a true bead journal piece.  I had an idea but the beads took over.  I thought the colors were pretty but they didn't look pretty together, instead they really reflected my kind of down-in-the-dump mood over the month.  A lot was going on in April that we/I had no control over, and it was a very long month after a very long and cold winter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where does inspiration come from?

The beads in the first photo were put together to make a bead mix (or bead soup) to make the necklace I am wearing below.  But where, you ask, did I get the idea?  A friend of mine, Erin Siegel has this necklace as the cover page for jewelry stringing spring 2014.  As soon as I saw the necklace I loved the vibrancy of the colors and the simplicity of showing off the glass beads.  I already had a set of beads similar to the ones in her necklace, so I was thrilled to find a way to use them.  Often, as beaders, we buy things knowing we like them and will one day use them, but we don't always know what they will be used for or when that day will be.  The necklace is made on Irish waxed linen cord, not pictured.  So for me, the inspiration for this necklace comes from friends and color and the happiness of using beads I already have.  Thanks, Erin!

Monday, April 21, 2014

March Bead Journal Project

March for me represents water.  I'm a Pisces and I feel like water is my home.  When I am in water I am at peace.  My bead for this month represents water, and particularly Bead Cruise 2014.  I started the bead while on the cruise.  I brought a mix of size 11 seed beads and a mix of drop beads.  That's it.  There are probably 3 layers of beading on the wooden bead.  Lots of things you can't see, like swirls and ruffles and wave caps, but it's all in there.

This first photo is of my favorite beach, Wingaersheek Beach, in Gloucester, Mass.  We spent our childhood going to this beach.  There is a story that my father was once offered a plot of land when he got out of the army but he was young and it seemed expensive at the time.  If only....!  We were fortunate to have friends who had a house on the private side of the beach and that is where we went.  This is the path leading to the beach, just seeing it evokes so many memories.

February Bead Journal Project

In February I visited my mother in Arizona.  The visit was to help celebrate her 78th birthday and to attend a wedding shower for my nephew's fiance (now wife).  I was inspired by the cacti in her backyard and chose a palette that reflected the colors.  I thought I was going to create a nature-looking bead, so you can imagine how surprised I was when the bead turned out to look like a cake, a very fancy one.  I guess I had celebrations on my mind.  The bead was freeform using peyote and netting stitches.

Bead Journal Project 2014 - January

For my bead journaling I am using a 1" diameter wood ball and beading around it.  For January I have chosen the theme of snow, because this year our winter in Michigan broke all records for snow, and it was amazingly cold as well.  Interestingly, because it was so cold, the sky was often blue, which is unusual for our winters.  Usually it is gray and depressing.  What was depressing about this winter was how unbearably long it was and how it actually hurt to go outside because of the cold.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Renewing Blog

I am going to start blogging again.  The impetus for this is to join some challenges that require a blog.  I've done challenges in the past and have found that they motivate me to push my bead work beyond where it is, to use new materials and colors, and just to have fun.

Since my last post I have continued beading.  I still prefer seed bead weaving and I mainly make jewelry.  I also like color, nice and bright!

I will post pictures soon of my recent bead work.  For now, I just wanted to get started.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snowflake Bead Challenge Part 2

 I made a second piece for the challenge.  The first piece I made, in the  previous post, was influenced by the winter weather of Michigan, using cool colors.  My second piece was influenced by the warm weather and colors of Arizona.  I unexpectedly spent some time there after my mother fell while hiking and broke her knee cap.  After surgery and a short stay in a skilled care facility, I went to help her transition to home.

This pendant is inspired by a class I took with my friend Barb Klann, based on using mixed metals and a beaded bail.  These colors are probably my favorite, lime green and turquoise.  I incorporated some of the beads in the challenge with additional Czech firepolish and some metal pieces.

A close up of the main section above.

 The beautiful porcelain bead hangs at the bottom of the pendant.

Secret Snowflake Participants
Please visit the blogs of all the jewelry designers who participated!