A Novice No Longer

I marked my first year of beading by taking a Sherry Serafini bead embroidery class on Saturday. It was great to have the opportunity to learn a new discipline from the master! Sherry is genuinely warm and open and took a very personal interest in each of the 20 or so students in our class.

She brought a new project designed just for the Atlanta class – the Collage of Components cuff, which has a very cool vintage look. I got a good start on it during class, but haven’t (so far!) had the guilt-free week of beading I prepared for. I hope to find a few hours later in the week to finish the design.

Sherry encouraged me to sign up for next year’s 2-day beaded purse class, which I did, on the spot! The best part of the day? Getting the chance to see her incredible works of art in person.


All Roads Led to...


Or at least for our family yesterday. After we were satisfied that Dani was safely in the air on her way to Rome (It.) to meet with her client for her Senior Design project, Dan and I headed to Rome (Ga.) for the Student Art Show at Berry. The Honors exhibition features work created during the year of the show, from all the classes taught in the program, and Chase had 11 pieces exhibited from his sculpture and printmaking courses. He took third place at the show with this print, Lyon's Feet.

Katie, Chase’s girlfriend, also had her work, Transformation: Stapler, exhibited at the show.

I heard from Dani this morning. The 9 hour flight stretched to 11 after circling the airport for a good while in the fog. After landing, she checked out her accommodations, strolled through an open air market, and was drinking cappuccino in a little cafĂ©. When in Rome…


Mise en Place

One of the most valuable things I’ve learned as a student of Carol Huber Cypher’s Mastering Beadwork is her concept of mise en place, or the putting in place of all the tools, beads, needles and threads, lighting and magnification before you begin a beading project.

The term originates from the culinary world – the theory that it’s the organization and preparation of the ingredients (tools at the ready, ingredients washed, chopped, measured ahead of time) that make the cooking experience more enjoyable.

I’ve been applying this concept of putting everything in the right place to other areas of my life this past week:

  • 2009 Taxes finished/2010 tax folders set up

  • Winter wardrobe cleaned and stored upstairs, spring clothes in the closet

  • Weeds rooted out; spring plantings in the ground

  • Readying the deck, which becomes an additional room this time of year

Admittedly, broadening this mis en place approach to my entire surroundings has kept me away from the blogosphere and the beading table, but I had excellent motivation. On Saturday, I’m taking a bead embroidery class from bead artist, Sherry Serafini. With everything else in my life in its place, I’ll be able to spend next week beading away – guilt free!


Saturday Fun!

What a fun Saturday spent with my sister-in-law, Kathy, who introduced me to beading just about a year ago. We started out at Nicholas Kniel’s whimsical home embellishment store, a wonderland of buttons, ribbons, feathers, flowers, fantastic millinery and more. Then we popped into Beadazzles before venturing over to the Down the Street Bead Show. I had not attended this show before, and was surprised and pleased to find several of my favorite local bead stores exhibiting there. I liked the smaller size of the show, which allowed us to actually look at every table. Kathy and I both ferreted out a few treasures for future projects.

We stopped by Georgia Tech to tempt Dani away from her busy schedule of work and study to join us for dinner at Fritti’s. Can’t think of a better way to spend a week-end, or better company!

Wish this camera angle showed more of Kathy's fabulous necklace, which garnered compliments everywhere we went!

A strand of tourmaline, cabs, a button and lots of seeds. A few of the day's finds:


Bedeviled by Bezels!

I love the look of rivolis, (Swarovski’s brilliantly colored large rhinestones with pointed fronts and backs), and set out to create a pair of bezeled earrings. Since I said at the outset that I would document both my successes and failures here, I have to admit that it took me DAYS, not hours to produce these little treasures.

My first mistake was googling, and then following, some bad instructions. After ripping out the bezel nearly a dozen times, I ran out to B&N and picked up a copy of Laura McCabe’s Creating Crystal Jewelry with Swarovski. Great detailed directions that actually work! Now that I had the right blueprint to work from, I still had a problem creating a tight bezel with little or no play in the stone. It took me a long time to get the hang of it, but with Laura’s directions, I finally produced a pair that were worthy of earwires! They practically hum with the colors of spring and compliment my latest bracelets!

These bezels were woven in peyote stitch. Next, I want to try my hand at creating some bezeled earrings in right angle weave, using a free pattern Marcia DeCoster is offering on her blog. Stay tuned!

have a little faith...a true story

If you like Mitch Albom’s commentary on ESPN (Mitch is the only reason I look up from my beading when Sports Reporters is on), then you’ll enjoy this book because he writes in that exact voice. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

It’s the story of a pastor of a rundown church and the rabbi of a large, established synagogue, one black, one white, one poor with a questionable past, one comfortable with an adoring congregation, one Christian, one Jew. As the rabbi nears the end of his life, he asks Mitch to deliver his eulogy. And the adventure begins.

It’s actually several true stories – Albom’s, the rabbi’s and the preacher’s. And, like me, you might see a little of your own story here, too.

It’s a small book – 250 pages. I read it yesterday to prepare for a book club I lead at a senior center. I could read it again tomorrow.


Changing Everything. Still.

The cross.

Can you turn any direction without seeing one? Perched atop a chapel. Carved into a graveyard headstone. Engraved in a ring or suspended on a chain. The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity. An odd choice, don't you think? Strange that a tool of torture would come to embody a movement of hope.

Would you wear a tiny electric chair around your neck? Suspend a gold-plated hangman's noose on the wall? Would you print a picture of a firing squad on a business card? Yet we do so with the cross. Why is the cross the symbol of our faith? To find the answer look no farther than the cross itself. Its design couldn't be simpler. One beam horizontal--the other vertical. One reaches out--like God's love. The other reaches up--as does God's holiness.
(An excerpt from Max Lucado’s He Did This Just for You.)

When I want to read inspiring words, I turn to Max Lucado. When I want to bead something unique, I turn to inspiring teachers, Gwen Fisher and Florence Turnour, at BeAd Infinitum. This Greek cross pendant is from their Night Sky pattern and reminds me of an image you might find in an illustrated manuscript.

The cross. Changing everything. Still.

A napkin, a donut and a bit of bling

A friend who is hosting a bridal shower asked me to create a necklace for her, and, for guidance, gave me this napkin in the bride’s spring wedding colors. Since my friend is going to be awash in the coral color, I decided to concentrate on the greens, neutrals and black.

She loves the seed beads in my jewelry, but is not fond of the bead-woven look, so I had a rare opportunity to do some stringing. After looking through several magazines, she chose a Julia Zaccaria pattern from Step by Step Beads. I already had a donut made of picture jasper that was just the right blend of warm browns and creams with a touch of black and gold. For the seed bead strands I chose a cream-lined khaki, a gold-lined beige and a bead soup of moss and sage with a little copper tossed in.

Armed with the donut, my sample strands, and a budget, I headed out in search of some beads to finish the design. Since I work almost exclusively in silver, it was nice to search out gold tones. If my growing stack of fashion and department store catalogues (waiting patiently to be turned into paper beads) is any indication, gold tones are making a comeback this spring. I added some gold-foiled Venetian lampworked beads flecked with the napkin's greens and browns and a touch of olivine crystals to give the finished necklace what I think will be just the right amount of sparkle. I hope she likes it!