Monday, December 19, 2011

Beading on Vacation

 My husband had a conference in Orlando and since it was at a nice hotel and the weather was supposed to be sunny and warm, I accompanied him.  Of course, the weather was a bit cool and we only had one day of sun.  However, I saw my friend Kathie who drove up from Sarasota and we had a great lunch at a Lebanese restaurant and then went to a very funky bead store called Dear Prudence.  We got lots of ideas for bead projects there.  Above is a picture of one of the rugs in the hotel.  Although not my usual color palette, I liked the design.

I did do some beading on my snowflake challenge.  I almost finished the strap for the pendant and bail.  I think that perhaps I made the colors too subtle, so when I use the rest of the beads for another piece I will try to punch up the colors a bit.  This picture must have been taken before I started the strap.

Next year the conference is in Maui.  Tempting....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Snowflake Challenge

 I have been thinking about the challenge and what I want to make.  Yesterday I started getting some beads together to see what I like.  I have my bead box all set with my needles and scissors and other tools. 

I love this ceramic pendant.  I think it needs to be the focal point so I am looking at working with subtle colors.  I like the blue and brownish seed beads I chose, but not the white ones or the pearls.  One of my favorite straps is herringbone, but as I was falling asleep last night I had a flash of an idea about a bail, which may determine what I do next. 

Today is a good day to spend a few hours working on the challenge.  It's raining here and doesn't look very inviting to go out.  So the beads and I have a date!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blog Hop and Challenge

I am participating in a Blog Hop and Secret Snowflake Challenge hosted by Michelle Mach.  I always love challenges, but the bead hop is new.  A certain number of kits were available for the challenge and Michelle will post the final project(s) with the blogs they are on, so you can go blog surfing and see what everyone has created.

I was attracted to the colors of these beads, all the shades of blue, a few white ones, plus the beautiful handmade beads.  What's nice about this challenge is that you can do anything you want!  You can make one project, several projects, not use all the beads, add any beads you want, make jewelry or not.  I have several ideas floating in my mind, we shall see where they go.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bead Retreat 2011

 Donna modeling her hostess gift.

      It's hard to believe that my bead group had its 8th annual bead retreat last weekend.  As always, we brought more projects than we could ever finish, and we beaded like crazy. It helped that the weather was stormy and discouraged us from going out.  However, when the power went off, we lighted candles and poured some wine and had a lovely evening.  Above is our wonderful hostess Donna, with the bracelets we made her. Donna loves to wear multiple bracelets at once, and so each of us made a bangle called XOXO from the book Crystal Brilliance by Anna Elizabeth Draeger.  There are several variations to the bangle, such as changing the bugle size or adding a different bead on top.  We all started with the same number of beads for the foundation and simply made them using "Donna" colors.  I think she was thrilled!  Many thanks to my bead cruise friend, Caroline, for wearing this bangle on the cruise and providing the inspiration for our gift.  By the way, if you choose to make one of these bracelets, just know that they are quite addictive - one member of our bead group has made over 75!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summer Jewelry

 Lots of show and tell from summer beading projects.  Above and below are details from bracelets I made designed by the talented and creative Barb Klann, nationally published bead artist and member of my bead guild.  The bracelet above is 3 strands of St. Petersburg stitch attached with channels of right angle weave.

 The second bracelet shows details of a delightful right angle weave bracelet.

 Above are the two bracelets in full view.  I plan on wearing them as "sister" bracelets and hence I coordinated the colors.

 Caravan Beads has a great blog on their website and the bracelet above is from there.  I used blue iris beads in 3 sizes, 11, 8, and size 10 triangles.  Using the different sizes gives the bracelet the dimensional look.

 Wrap bracelets are fun and easy, but hard to photograph!  The ones above were made using size 2 seed beads, which are often used by knitters because they're so large.  These bracelets wrap around my wrist 3 times.

 Half the fun of a wrap bracelet is choosing the button! These bracelets use size 8 seed beads and some pewter beads to give them a little flair.

 Linda Richmond is one of my favorite designers and I've bought a lot of her kits over the years.  The set above comes from her and it's delightful.

 When I went to the Inspired by Nature retreat we made a garden bracelet, which you can see above.  The polymer clay beads are made by Heather Powers and then there are 6 passes of Zulu stitch using seed and fringe beads.

 When I went on the bead cruise I saw a woman wearing the bracelet above (hers was in navy blue) and she was generous enough to share the pattern with me.  Again, it's another bracelet that changes the sizes of the beads, 8,11, and 15, which creates the ruffle.

 A few years ago Leslee Frumin came to our bead guild and taught the crystal part of this necklace.  I added my own strap, the now favorite St. Petersburg stitch.  Leslee is a member of our guild and used to live in Michigan.  She now lives in CA but luckily comes back to teach.  Her designs are fabulous!

 Marcia DeCoster is another teacher that we're lucky to have teach in our guild.  The above photo shows detail of a bezeled cab that is actually designed to be a bracelet.  I like necklaces, so I made it into one, using, once again, the St. Petersburg stitch.

Here is a full photo of the necklace.  If you look at most of the pieces I made this past summer, you will notice I used a lot of blue!  I love blue - it is the color of the sky, the sea, the Great Lakes.  It is an integral color of nature and surrounds us in our daily life.  For me, being a Pisces, I always feel connected to blue and find it both soothing and stimulating.

Hope you've enjoyed my summer tour!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A few summer pieces

On the tray above, work that I beaded this summer, none of which came out well in individual photos so I will just share what I have here.  I made lots of wrap bracelets, they are fun and easy to make, instant gratification. I also completed some old projects.  As you can see, blue was the predominant color for summer, blue skies, blue water...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Inspired By Nature Retreat

Last weekend I attended a wonderful retreat hosted by Heather Powers based on her new book, Jewelry Designs from Nature.  Each day was devoted to one of the themes of her book, sea, gardens, and woodlands, as seen in my photos.  The sea was actually Lake Michigan from the shores of South Haven, MI, where the retreat was held.  Our project for seas was to make a mold from which to make resin beads.

The next theme was gardens.  We went to downtown South Haven on Saturday morning and went to the farmer's market, where the above photo was taken.  The project we made was a beautiful bracelet using Heather's clay beads.

Our final day was exploring woodlands, with a hike on the Kal-Haven Trail.  From there we made what I thought was the most interesting art, jewelry made with special meaning.  We were randomly given a poem, which we discussed with the other participants who received that poem.  We then had a kit of beads to use to create a necklace.  We learned how to make bird's nests and incorporate them into our necklace.

I only finished the bracelet during the retreat, and will take a photo and post soon (I hope).  If you are a friend of mine on Facebook you should be able to see lots of pictures that people took of the weekend.

The retreat was very special to me because I was reunited with old friends from past bead cruises.  We were able to catch up with each other and see where life had taken us over the last few years.  Plus I met many wonderful women who were excited to be participating in such a fun and stimulating weekend.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sentimental Journey

The house I grew up in, Lexington, Mass.  My bedroom is to the right of the front door.

The famous Lexington Minuteman and the Battle Green behind him.

The path leading to the beach we spent our summers going to.

A beautiful garden in Rockport.

The beautiful harbor at Rockport.

I've always loved these stairs leading to one of my favorite houses at the beach.

Sharon looking for shells.  They don't have too many in Arizona!

Toby enjoying a small scoop of Kimball Farm's ice cream with jimmies, known as sprinkles in the midwest.  You might wonder if there are any beads in this post, after all, my blog is called Bead Inspired.  The pair of earrings that Toby is wearing are a few large rings that I bought as a set at Findings and put an earring finding on.  They quickly disappeared from my ears to Toby's and now I have to make a set for Sharon and another one for me!

The first post on this blog was from a visit to my hometown, Lexington, Mass.  I visited there again this past week, mainly to visit my father's grave on what would have been his 77th birthday.  My 2 sisters joined me and talk about going home...we really did.  We visited the house we grew up in, our elementary school, the Battle Green, Michelson's shoe store (now made famous in the movie The Fighter), Bedford Farms ice cream...and on and on.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

wearing jewelry

Here is a great photo of my mother and I.  It's from Sam's graduation (I'm still feeling so happy about that event), but the real reason I wanted to put it on my blog is because it shows us wearing bead jewelry that I made, not just photos of the jewelry.

My mother is wearing a necklace that I made for Beading for a Cure 2010, which I actually beaded in 2009.  On her wrist is a Wave Me Down bracelet by Shelley Nybakke, who designs wonderful right angle weave bracelets, among other things.  The bracelet uses silver metal beads and 3mm turquoise AB 2x crystals. On my wrist is a right angle weave bracelet that is embellished with pearls and crystals.  The bracelet matches the strand of pearls that Dennis gave me as a gift.

During the visit my mother also wore my Beading for a Cure 2011 bracelet and earrings.  When I find the photo I will put it on the blog.  I think it's fair to say that my mother is my biggest supporter and benefactor of my jewelry.  Thanks Mom!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sam's graduation


Sam and Jason - Go Green, Go White  (MSU's colors)
Today was Sam's commencement from Michigan State Law School.  Look at how happy he is!  It was a long road for Sam, through teenage years filled with turmoil, and a long road for us as parents trying to keep him from sinking in quicksand.  He turned his life around, worked hard, and graduated cum laude.  I shed many tears of despair over the years, but today they were tears of pride and happiness, not only at what he has accomplished but also for the opportunities he now has for the future.  Congratulations, Sam, we love you!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

beads, beads, and more beads

Last week I promised you pictures of beads.  I just walked around the house and took photos of what I have scattered about.  I'm in one of my reorganizing modes, so I have things in piles everywhere.

Various bead projects above.  Some of these need a little work,  a strap to be made, snaps to be moved.  A few are colors that I no longer wear so they will be rotated out of my jewelry drawers.

Below, the two projects I took with Bev Herman on the Bead Cruise 2011.  Sorry for the smudge in the crystal on the necklace on the left.  The necklace is called the Siren's Jewels and it is beautiful!  Altogether there are 16 links of chain that are beaded, making for a lovely strap.  The next necklace is bead embroidered with Vintaj chain for the strap and reflects our ocean theme.

In my living room, just a group of beady things hanging out.

On my computer desk, a pile of beaded jewelry.  Since this is my desk, you will also see some the normal mess of lists and scattered bills underneath the jewelry - not a very interesting background - but just the way it it sorted itself out.

Another pile on my desk.  I think these will go to the gallery.  I need to check everything out, make sure no threads are showing, that the earring findings are on tight....

Even more jewelry on my desk.

My Bead Journal Project embroidered pieces.  I need to think about framing them and just wanted to get a look at what I have.  My husband asked me not to frame the ones about depression or headaches on the upper left) or anger (out of frame).  I can see his point, so maybe I'll frame them as a separate group.

And finally, the last pile of jewelry on my desk.  Almost all of these are bracelets that are now too big.  I'm going to redo the clasp on the Rachel Nelson-Smith right angle weave bracelet and see if I can make it smaller.  I see a necklace I want to restring, a bracelet I'm going to cut up and make into a necklace, and a bezeled cab I made from a Marcia DeCoster class that I love, but haven't decided what to make with it.

Hope you've enjoyed a tour of my beads.  Now I have to pick them all up and do the actual organizing!

To all the University of Michigan graduates, congratulations on your graduation today.  I hope you enjoyed your time in Ann Arbor and take away fond memories.  And maybe, like Dennis and I, you'll find your way back to this wonderful city and make it your home.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Week in the Life of...

A few pictures from this past week.  Last Saturday I went to a book signing of Beads Across America by Michigan's representative, Liz Thompson.  Liz and I know each other through the Great Lakes Bead Guild plus we both went on the bead cruise.
Monday night was the first night of Passover.  Dennis and I went up to Michigan State and had a seder with Sam at his apt.  Sam lives fairly minimally - for instance, no napkins, paper towels, regular kitchen towels, pot holders, or serving pieces.  He also only has one chair.  Luckily he lives alone.    He went to Eastern Michigan Univ. as an undergrad, hence the "E" in the mascot eagle.  I love this picture of Dennis and Sam.

Sam and I.
And finally, a sunny day in Michigan cannot go unappreciated.  The forecast for this coming week is all rain, so I'm enjoying a few rays of sunshine while I can.

You may wonder where the beads are.  I'm slowly finishing a few projects and hopefully will post pics soon.

And that's my week, from Saturday to Saturday.  Hope you had a good week!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bead Cruise 2011

A few weeks ago I went on the Bead Cruise 2011, organized by Heather Powers.  It was a 7 day cruise, leaving from Galveston, TX and going to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica.  In between the ports we had beading classes from a great group of teachers - Marcia DeCoster, Tracy Stanley, Dallas Lovett, Jean Campbell, Bev Herman, and Heather.  I think there were about 65 participants and we all had a lot of fun.  

The beach above and below is in Grand Cayman, which is known for its beautiful beaches and water. 

In Jamaica we stopped at a new port built by Royal Caribbean called Falmouth.  My friend Deb enjoyed dancing with a local band member playing in the square.

In Cozumel I saw a sign for a synagogue.  Whoever would have guessed that a small island off the coast of Mexico would have a synagogue?  That's one of the fun things about traveling, you always find unexpected treasures.

Everyone loves the pools on the ship.  The band is getting ready to play here, so it's probably late afternoon and people are going to be coming back from shore excursions.  Off to the sides are tables out of the sun where we often sat and beaded.

One of the great activities about cruising is eating.  Yes, it really is an activity.  The dining room is lovely, with a menu offering several selections.  Or you can eat in the buffet-style Windjammer or several other settings.  Luckily, another activity is walking, since the ship is so big.  I say luckily because even indulging in desserts like the one below, I didn't gain any weight.

Next year the cruise starts March 25 and leaves from Port Canaveral.  The itinerary includes St. Thomas and St. Maarten, places I haven't been to before.  I'm waiting to learn who the teachers are before committing...but I had such a fun time this year that I certainly hope to go again.  Won't you join me?