The Nest Empties...

Our daughter, Dani, recent Tech graduate, is starting her first job next week. 800 miles away in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh!

We have spent this week preparing for the Big Move, and will be on the road tomorrow morning. It's a twelve-hour drive, but we're expecting to be treated to lots of fall color as we travel through the Carolinas and Virginias.

Speaking of color, I’ve mixed up a bead soup of browns, plums and corals and tested the mix by stitching a sample round.

The focal pendant had just a faint highlight of blue, so that went into the bead soup as well. I’m tossing the mix in my suitcase and hope to finish a necklace on the road!

We're not quite empty nesters yet. Son, Chase, graduates in December, and will be looking for a job in art education. We lose one, and we gain one back!


Inspiration in My Own Backyard

I love these trees that dot the woods at the back of our property, so I took my seed bead stash with me on my morning walk and found a good match to the colors, which are more muted than the typical autumn reds and golds.

The four leaf dangles on the necklace were an absolute steal at a trunk show last summer, and the center focal, with the merest suggestion of a leaf, was a lucky find at my neighborhood Michael’s. It took a lot of experimenting to find a way to attach the side-drilled leaves to the webs in the netting so they lay just right at the collarbone, but I learned a lot in the process.

For the all important earrings, the intricate bead caps on this Faerietale earring design by The Beading Butterfly caught my eye and were quick to stitch. The pattern is available on her website.


If Winter Ever Comes

Despite the calendar, it’s headed for 90 degrees this afternoon, and we still have plenty of daylight hours to absorb the sun’s energy. But the days are getting shorter, signaling that winter is on its way. And that put me in the mood to take advantage of some local bead store sales and begin designing some pieces for the colder (or at least cooler) days ahead.

The beauty and unexpected color of this leaf pendant made it irresistible. The perfect focal for a crisp winter necklace.

I made a simple netted neck strap with hematite and nickel seed beads, embellished with metallic blue and aquamarine crystals that mimicked the silvers and blues in the leaf. Since the focal is large (24x75 cm), I made it to fall between princess and matinee lengths. It has a sinuous feel, and the metal seed beads give it a wonderful drape.

I used some additional blue and silver tones in the crystals for the earrings.

I made these for a friend who suffers from SAD (seasonal affective disorder.) Reaching for these mood-lifting accessories should keep her positively serene when the winter blahs come.


Birthday, Beads, and Bracelets

There’s something about having your sisters around you (and daughters, too) that manages to take the sting out of turning sixty. A couple of years ago, six of us (sisters and sisters-in-law) decided that we would drop everything and gather together for a Sisters Week-end to celebrate the day each of us reached sixty, a threshold that seemed to command special attention. (If you’re a baby boomer and you’re reading this, that number is looming in your near-future, too!)

Sisters-in-law Kathy, Jenny, Beth, and Judy; sister Janet; me; daughters Dani and Heather at Callaway, October 2, 2010

They came from Indiana, Kentucky and South Carolina and we all took up residence in a mountain villa at Callaway Gardens, an hour south of Atlanta, where we were treated to the first colors of Fall.

Four days of feasting, toasting and laughing till we cried.

Of course I brought my beads and everyone tried their hand at brick stitch (which gave us all fits!) and herringbone (which was mastered handily.) 

All returned home sporting a bit of sparkle on their wrists.

From organic greens to patriotic school colors and sophisticated black and gold, there was plenty of oohing and aahing over each beader's color choice.
A week-end that will be remembered as my best birthday ever! If one must turn 60, this is the way to do it! Special thanks to sister-in-law Marcia (seen toasting with Jenny above) for documenting our week-end so magnificiently!