Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fun Font for Bead Stringers

Oh! Oh! I'm always on the lookout for fun new typefaces at Here's one for bead stringers, called Jewels, by Clothier Fontes.

Oh and oh by the way, here's a tip on how I made the little text image above. With a simple screen capture and Dafont's preview feature, I didn't even have to download the font...
  1. First, I browsed for a font I liked at .
  2. When I found the Jewels font, I clicked on the font name to go to the font's details page.
  3. Near the top left of the page, I found the Custom Preview field and typed my sample text "beads". You can also choose between four different preview sizes.
  4. Next, click Submit. Dafont returned my sample text preview, and I liked it. :-)
  5. Here's where I launched my handy-dandy photo editing software (in my case, I used SnagIt, a beefed up screen capture tool. I dragged my screen capture boundaries around the preview text. You probably have some kind of screen capture utility on your computer (such as Windows' Snipping Tool), you can crop out any extra white space around the letters.
  6. Next, using SnagIt's Fill tool (you could also do this in Paint), I selected various colors and filled in the bead shapes.
  7. Finally, I saved the file as a .jpg and posted it here!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"To the River" Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

This is the bracelet I entered into the 2012 State Fair...

To the River
 Bead embroidery secured to a handformed metal core by its ultrasuede backing.
Mostly simple running stitch, with peyote stitch around the cabochons.
Mostly Czech charlottes and true cuts.

Easy peyote stitch -- only had to reduce wherever the stones were most angled.
Still trying to determine whether these vintage stone cabochons are gaspeite or chrysoprase.

I always like to make the "back view" interesting, too.

I made the "muddy rocks" with really ugly, low grade freshwater pearls.

A view of the other end, with more pearls.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Earring Wires Class Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for non-bead society members to register in the Bead Society of New Mexico's 2012 Bead Retreat Classes, "It's All About the Sparkle," October 19 and 20. I'll be teaching how to make your own earring wires, a beginner-level class.

We'll cover basic French wires and variations, plus my own personal favorites that I love to use in my own work. Only 12 students can register! And there is a small kit fee payable the day of class.

And the registration fee includes a Friday night reception (with hors d'ou light food and a free class), as well as meals on Saturday. There will be vendor tables there too, and of course lots of other classes to sign up for if mine doesn't tickle your fancy.

Go here and look for the "It's All About the Sparkle" link:
See you there? Hope so!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Best of Show!

Shoot, I couldn't make it to the New Mexico State Fair, but the MOTH sent me this photo...

Will post better pics of the bracelet after I pick it up Monday. Woot woot, in 20 years or so entering beadwork in the State Fair, I've never gotten a Best of Show, til this chunky hunk-o-bead encrusted bracelet did the trick. :-)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Awww, here's Dutch girl pulling a spare cheeseburger out of her apron, while Pirate Man cozies up to Miss Navajo Barbie. Just a trio of red dolls out on deck, watching me take pictures of stuff.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mystery Doll

Can anybody tell me something about this doll?
She has a clay (porcelain? ceramic?) head, and her hair is glued on.
She looks Japanese somehow...but I can't tell whether she's vintage,
or just made to look vintage.

Cloth body, ceramic head, arms and feet. Everything looks hand sewn.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Grace happens.

This is what I made for Eid this year -- Eid is the big meal at the end of Ramadan, where small gifts are often exchanged.

The MOTH had brought home these rubber stamps -- St. Hildegaard and a small text stamp "Grace happens." I happened to have a bunch of little cotton drawstring bags so I stamped them with solvent ink in two colors (gray and olive green). To make sure the solvent ink adhered well to the cotton fabric, I slipped a small piece of cardstock inside each bag before I stamped them, and stamped on top of my nice thick foam stamping pad.

After the ink dried (solvent ink dries very quickly), inside each bag I slipped a small milagro of La Virgen de Guadalupe, AKA Hazreti Maryam.

Easy, quick, and each is one of a kind!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Registration Open for Harwood Beadwork Classes

Today's the day -- registration opens now for all Fall art classes at the Harwood Art Center, downtown Albuquerque. And this gal gets to teach a couple of them:

Lucky Mojo Bead Embroidered Cuff
Wednesday evenings, September 12 and 19

Learn how to create a sturdy, heirloom-quality cuff bracelet using basic bead embroidery stitches and a few handy construction tricks. In the first class, you'll design and start embellishing your bracelet, which you'll finish for homework. In the second class, you'll learn how to shape the metal core, attach your bead embroidery, and cover the back with ultrasuede.

Sound like fun? Click this link to find out more.

And then there's:

Sequin Stiches: Fabric Embroidery and Embellishments
Saturday afternoon, October 13

Learn sequin stitches that are suitable for embroidering clothing, art quilts, felt, handbags, and other fabric surfaces. Explore the secret techniques of the Magic Flower, the mysteries of the Haitian Hill, plus hidden thread, full coverage and floral tricks and tips, using flat and cupped sequins, with and without seed beads. We'll create an embellishment sampler in class. 

People really seem to like this class a lot -- the pace is relaxed, but you learn a lot of techniques that are easy to remember later. Click this link to find out more.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lucky Mojo Beaded Cuff

bead embroidered cuff bracelet with scarab
Scarab for a long life, turquoise bear for strength and spirit, carnelian stone for the heart.

Pretty sure this is the quickest beaded cuff I've made -- one inch by six inches, big charms couched and/or glued, size 11-0 true cuts, sequins, accent beads, and, I'll get a photo later of the cool Turkoman motifs near the ends...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Uh-oh, Profile and Slideshow Time

Where have I been? I didn't know Etsy had an About page. It's kinda cool because you can make a slideshow of up to five pictures, with captions.

But I have to admit I got a bit nervous at this message:

Congratulations! Your Shop About page is now published and CAN BE SEEN BY THE WORLD.

I also have to admit I don't understand the purpose of all these various little profile-ish things at Etsy ...and I'm SURE I have not followed any kind of consistency in terms of branding, LOL.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lucky Charms Bracelet

Just got back from another visit with my Ma... and while there I managed to sit for a bit and finish the beadwork for another Lucky Charms bracelet (a class I'm teaching at the Harwood in September).

Almost done beading...

Now it's off to Thunderbird to get a little pile o' bracelet blanks cut...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Accidental Theater

Ha! Sitting on the porch late at night, the MOTH and I had been reviewing his latest Goodwill Hunting trophies. Later I looked over toward the dryer and burst out laughin. (Yes we have a dryer on our porch -- this is Old Town after all and plus it's so old I'd rather it was outside when it catches on fire.)

Anyway, Act One seems to involve our Yoda digital clock (the LED is in his tummy), who lives in semi-retirement with the mosaic parrot lamp all year long now, and his trusty assistant, a custom made Anglo Barbie in Navajo attire, lying across a box of wooden dominos from Cuba.

Having just returned from Vegas, we're leaning toward an accidental magic show. The MOTH thinks there is some kind of levitation about to happen. I think a fake faux Navajo Barbie would have a hard time finding an acting gig anywhere else. But hey maybe that's why she took this one?

Here's a slightly better view of the parrot, playing the role of "backdrop."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Look What the MOTH Dragged In!

Last weekend I took Junie to a grappling tournament. If you don't know what grappling is, well it is not this: [removed, outdated]

But I did have a good time! Oh and so did he. Congrats to Junie on being a medalist and a great sport!

But anyway...while we were gone, the MOTH moved the bulk of my beads to the new studio. He placed all the drawers on top of a rustic wooden bench from the backyard. At first I was like "huh?" but then I realized the rustic wood goes with the rest of the wood in the studio. Good call, honey!

Funny. I organized these bead drawers years ago, and they are still organized. I have them sorted by Czech or Japanese, then by size, then color. By color, I mean, I write on the drawers with labels like Czech 12-0 R-O-Y (for red, orange, yellow), Japanese 11-0 Neutrals, etc. Inside the drawers, the beads are in tubes or baggies.

A big must for me is that the drawers come all the way out. It's not very handy to be rooting through a plastic drawer on my tiptoes! It's hard to find smaller drawers that are completely removable, for some reason. But all the white drawers in this photo are removable. There's a board across the bottom row of big drawers, to distribute the weight, and even with significant weight on them, everything opens and closes just fine.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First Summer Studio Update

I suppose I should continue to show my lack of progress in creating the new studio. It's getting there... but there is still a lot of stuff to move in.

One wall is fully furnished. I got these little chests of drawers
at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago. Love them because the
drawers are bigger than they look. And they're not plastic!

This weekend we rebuilt the shelf with the green tape. Someday
I'll explain what's on these shelves. For now, I'm lovin'
the Mary Kay roll out pouches hanging on the closet door.
They're large, zippered, detachable and full of my silk and rayon ribbon.
Don't look in the closet. Hey! You looked. ;-)

Still haven't decided whether to put this white desk here, or in the closet.
I have a long narrow table that I was going to put in the closet.
Either way, I just found out I could fit a shelf for 12x12 paper storage boxes
under the desk. Also this desk is where all my current and future mismatched
drawer pulls will go. Atop the desk -- the dreaded plastic drawers.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What the MOTH Brought Home

Given an urgent assignment to find a lamp, his instructions were that it could only be so tall, so that it wouldn't block the view as you enter the living room. It's one of the first things you see when you come into the house.

Six weeks later, he came home from Goodwill with this prize find!

It's a bird nest lamp!

Perfect for the space, it ties so many things together, like the wood and metal milagro crosses on the wall behind the couch, the wrought iron and flying things in the "homework corner," and even the wrought iron security door which is coincidentally the same color as the lamp.

We strive for everything in our house to be unique... and this lamp is perfectly unexpected. The silhouette looks great from any angle in the house. And all this perfection for only $4.99! (Incidentally, the little cabinet it's sitting on also came from Goodwill.)

I think I'm in love. With the MOTH and the lamp.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Studio Initiation!

The new studio is far from "done," but then again neither is the den, the living room, or our bedroom. At work I'm assigned to an intensive project and I ended up working extra hours this week. Last night (Friday) I was so beat and as usual the house was full of boyz. Nikia couldn't come out and play and my fingers were itching to get into something, anything creative that did not involve going outside in the heat.
So I said to myself -- you're going to make something. Before the sun goes down. And you don't have time to be perfect today. So the rule was -- it would be Crystal Clay and I would use whatever materials are within arm's reach. Oh yeah, challenge on, self!

Fortunately I had been to Thomason Stone recently so I had micro pearls handy, faceted banded agate eye beads (what else does a girl need???) and some really cool mini Indian head penny charms I bought online. I grabbed some silver lacy edge settings and originally planned to do six of these in one setting (overly ambitious, my creative self is). Naturally, I grabbed some rhinestones too. Gotta have a little bling.
I know I did that tutorial on measuring clay with your eyeballs, but since I have this nice scale I used it. It's important to get the right proportions with epoxy resin clay or it will stay soft and sticky, just like liquid 2-part epoxy.

The scale made it easy to mix just the right amounts for two settings.

After smoothing the clay into the settings, I started pushing things into the resin clay. My usual rule of thumb is to push objects halfway in. These wax sticks help pick up larger objects. For the teeny things, I use tweezers or the tiny waxed toothpicks that come with the Crystal Clay.

After the clay started to set up but before it was completely cured, I pried open a lacy loop at the top and bottom of each setting, to use later as a hanging loop. I'll straighten these later, I just wanted to release them from the clay for now. Later, I'll also polish the clay and wax off the tops of the beads.

An hour later, I had these two pendants curing (or cabochons for bead embroidery) and it only took that long for my jewelry table to look like this:

I guess my new studio has been christened! And look, the sun wasn't even down yet. Do I like the pendants? Not that much. But it's ok, I made something. Whew.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dem Corks

Corks are getting expensive these days. I like to keep an assortment on hand for my vintage bottles. So I was elated when the MOTH brought home a big bag of them this weekend.

But I've often wondered -- what is the appropriate cork size, anyway? They may fit the opening just fine, but some seem too short and  others seem way too tall. Is there some kind of rule of thumb for what height proportion is best? (Hey it's a reasonable question. We have rules of thumb for flower arranging, right?)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Storm Tree

I took this photograph during the rainstorm the other night. I was hesitant at first to post it because technically it's a bad photo. But I love it. Here it is, unretouched. It looks like a painting because there wasn't enough light, so the image blurred. But to me it kind of shows the essence of this tree, which by now we think of as an old friend.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Clouds All the Way to Heaven

Amazing and varied cloud formations painted the entire sky last evening, just before our first rain came in, blessed rain! I attempted to snap a few images, all taken from the same spot in my front yard while I turned 360 degrees. Here are a few... (click the pictures for closeups).

It felt as though we were at the bottom of the ocean, looking up...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Geisha Bamboo Bead Tutorial

Here's how I whipped up this dreamy focal bead from a two-holed bamboo tile bead and a miniaturized collage image, from my collection of old geisha postcards. The finished piece reminds me of an antique porcelain shard, but the postcard image dates only from the 1920s and the bead is brand new!

Tools and Materials You'll Need
1. Cut out the image.  I like to round the corners a bit.

2. Glue it to the bamboo bead.  I like to glue the image to the not-so-pretty side of the bead.
Apply glue (I used The Ultimate by Crafter's Pick) to the bead and burnish from the center of the image out. Press firmly to adhere the edges to the curved surface.

3. Sand the edges and rough up the image.  I like to use a multi-grit foam nail sanding block from the beauty supply store. Sand away any unadhered paper around the edges, and very gently sand away "unimportant" parts of the image.

4. Color the sides with gold leafing pen.  Carefully apply 18K gold leafing pen all the way up to the image. Let dry completely.

5. Apply and wipe off interference gold acrylic paint.  This adds a transparent shimmer when the bead is turned in the light. Wipe the paint away from important parts of the image. You can use your fingers or a damp paper towel. Let dry.

6. Apply 2 coats of yellow tinted satin decoupage medium. This seals the leaf and helps protect the image, and it also adds depth and dreaminess to the antique-looking piece.