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Thursday, October 23, 2014


My intention was to write this post on Saturday night as a kind of  "see what good things are at the show, come join us" entry, but a stomach bug or food poisoning laid me low.  Instead, here is a story about what fun I had at the Whole Beads Show on Saturday.

After I finished my stint at the Bead Society of Greater New York's table, I stopped to see my friend Michael Harrington of Beads That Bounce.
Michael Harrington

He always has such interesting beads and his new experiments didn't disappoint, as you can see below.
Some of Michael's latest line of beads.

These were my favorite new beads; they look so 1950s.

Then I stopped to see renowned bead artists Tom and Sage Holland.  I first met Tom when we were both attending the bead conference in Istanbul, Turkey in 2007-me as a speaker and teacher and Tom as a teacher.  I was checking the info board in the lobby of the Hotel Richmond one night for my friend Yoshie, trying to find out where her class was being held, when I hear the desk clerk say "Ask her-she'll know."  I turn around and there is this travel-weary man who introduces himself as Tom Holland and explains that he is trying to figure out where he is supposed to stay because the hotel does not have the promised reservation for him.
While we were talking, Carole Morris (of the Bead Society of Great Britain) stopped to chat because she knew Tom and as we were all talking, the desk clerk found Tom a room in a nearby youth hostel for only about $40.  The next day Tom found out that the organizer did have a room for him, but at different hotel; so that was my introduction to a talented bead artist.  This year, I was privileged to meet Sage Holland at Bead and Button.  You can see more of their work at

Tom and Sage Holland

Some of their lovely beads

This snake necklace made of individual beads is one of Sage's signature pieces.

I bought a pair of earrings (made by Sage) that caught my eye.  Much as I love big, eye-catching earrings, sometimes you just need to wear something simple and elegant.

After visiting with Tom and Sage, I set off to buy something that had caught my eye: Libyan Desert Glass.  I thought the merchant was pulling my leg, but it turned out to be a real item (thank you Google).  Libyan desert glass is a naturally occurring glass made of silica that is generally found in the Libyan desert.  It is believed that the glass was formed 29 million years ago when a meteor crashed into the Libyan desert, causing enough heat to turn the sand to glass.
 My purchase of Libyan desert glass.

The glass is yellow or green in color and the pieces can range from small to chunks up to 16 pounds.  As you can see, I bought 2 small, yellow pieces with some lovely patina.  The glass was used to make sharp blades in palaeolithic times and carved into a scarab for Tutanhkamen's pendant. It was rediscovered by Western explorers in 1846.
Tutanhkamen's pendant with the carved scarab of Libyan desert glass in the center.  Sadly, this was not on view at the show.

After buying my lovely rocks, I stopped to see my friend Meg Fillmore of Bead My Love; that took some doing because her booth is always so popular with shoppers.

Meg and her intrepid assistant.
Some of Meg's bead embroidery.

Then it was time to say hello to my friend Ren Farnsworth of  Designs in Glass and, of course, I had to buy a few of her lampwork flowers.

Here's Ren wearing a necklace and headband made of her lovely flowers.

Two of Ren's new flower beads made with silver glass.  The black flower actually has a lovely silver sheen on it.

Then, I said a quick hello to Perry Bookstein at the York Beads booth; it has to be quick because he soon had more shoppers needing attention.

The infamous Perry Bookstein.

I scored one of Perry's new magnetic clasps.

Then I got distracted by all of the lovely titanium-covered hematite shapes at Eagle Gemstones.  I have been looking for shapes that were a little larger than bugle beads and these might just do the trick.  Of course. they had so many other shapes, I couldn't resist.

Titanium-covered hematite shapes.

Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of my friend Anne of Gardanne Beads when we were chatting and then she was busy with customers, but here is an example of her charming enamel work.

Enameled leaves by Gardanne.

After that, it was time to head for home with my new purchases.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


      Those of us who use Fireline for our beading projects have heard some disturbing stories about Berkley, the manufacturer, changing the formula to make the fishing line biodegradable and less able to stand up to those crystals and heavy beads.
     Beadsmith, the distributor of Fireline to the beading community, has posted a whole page of questions and answers to clear up our confusion.  In a nutshell, the formula for Fireline has not changed and there are no EPA regulations that would require it to be biodegradable.  The stories may have come from a defective batch of Fireline Crystal that was manufactured about 18 months ago; those rolls have been replaced or money refunded.
     To read the whole set of questions and answers, visit Beadsmith.  I want to thank Stephanie Eddy for alerting me to the information from Beadsmith.  I am so thrilled that I don't have to hunt down and stockpile massive amounts of our favorite thread!

UPDATE:  Beki Haley (of the popular Whim Beads) has been in touch with the Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Berkley about our recent concerns with Fireline.  You can read about the conversation at Beki's Bead Blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


     I fell in love with the new etched farfalle beads from York Beads the moment I saw Maggie Roschyk demonstrating what to do with them in the York Booth at Bead and Button.   Now I have finally had a few minutes to play with them.
     Following Maggie's lead, I made a bracelet of etched farfalle beads in peyote stitch and finished it with a great magnetic clasp from York Beads.

     I was partly inspired by Shelley Nybakke's similar bracelet using the Right Angle Weave stitch and really appreciated the knowledge she shared about working with these beads.

     Notice that Shelley used size 8/0 seed beads at each end of the bracelet to make the ends fit into the magnetic clasps.  I would also heartily recommend that you use doubled 14 lb Fireline to stitch a bracelet of these etched farfalle beads because they need the support.  I also ran the doubled thread through microcrystalline wax to protect it;yes I know that it is Fireline, but the wax helped keep the thread intact longer.
     For another view of etched farfalles done in 3 different stitches, check out Jennifer VanBenschoten's Beading Daily blog.

     For me, one bracelet was not enough.  I also snagged some of the etched melons when I visited York beads, so I combined both in a bead crochet bracelet.

bead crochet with etched farfalles and melons

Then, I played with more bead crochet techniques.

various bead crochet stitches

I took a moment to play with the Turkish flat Bead Crochet Stitch that I learned in Turkey with some melon beads and seed beads.

Then, I had one more idea for the farfalles: a version of Right Angle Weave with seed beads.  It looks very nice on it's own but I wonder what would happen if I filled in the holes with another bead?
A version of Right Angle Weave
I seem to be in York Bead mode as I made a bracelet in June using a pattern by  Kerrie Slade, Modern Antique Cut Glass Beads from York, and a clasp made from a vintage 1939 World's Fair cabochon from A Grain of Sand.
Now, while I wait for York to get the next shipment of etched farfalle beads, I have their new 9x7 mm Old Copper Nuts to play with.
9 x 7 mm Old Copper Nuts 

Thursday, August 21, 2014



If you are visiting Bead Fest Philadelphia on Saturday (August 23), stop by the Parawire  booths (236 and 238) to say hello because I will be demonstrating wire crochet from 12N-1:30 pm. 

Here is the whole wire demonstration schedule:

Friday, August 22 :
     10 am-11:30 am:  Jennifer VanBenschoten
     1:30 pm-3 pm Cindy Holcslaw

Saturday, August 23:
     12N-1:30 pm:  Adele Rogers Recklies
      3 pm-4:30:   Debra Saucier

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


 I am participating in another group challenge and this year's theme was embellished found objects.  The parameters were a found object embellished in metallic colors other than gold with a finished size of 1 1/4 inches or less, plus a 1/4-inch loop for attachment. 

I had this great idea of combining crystal clay, some cute filigree hearts (above) that I found at CJS Sales, and beads until I remembered "oh yeah-no gold color allowed." what?

After leafing through Break the Rules Bead Embroidery by Diane Hyde for inspiration, I decided to follow her suggestion to look for items in the scrapbooking section of a craft store.  As I picked up my keys to walk out the door, my brain said "Buttons-you have lots of buttons left over from projects."

My 22 embellished found objects using buttons

So I got out my button box and started playing.  Stacking the buttons appealed to me so I used 20 gauge wire, silver size 8 seed beads, and buttons of various size to make 22 "charms."  There is more skill in putting together buttons than you might think!  I threaded the buttons on the wire with the seed beads at the bottom, in between the buttons, and at the top.  A loop wire loop finished the "charm."

I had such fun that I also made myself a pair of earrings.

My new earrings


Making the ear wires allowed me to use my new Wubbers pliers.  I know that wire people say you should just use your round-nose pliers and a Sharpie pen to make the ear wires, but the Medium Bail Making pliers and Large Bail Making pliers make the job so much easier and give you consistent results.

My found objects are now winging their way via USPS to the organizer.  Now to wait to see what everyone else in the challenge has done.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


gold rush
An example of silicone and fabric work by Janet Bloor

Just a reminder that my friend Janet Bloor of Euroco Costumes will teach a 2-day workshop on silicon effects on fabric in New York City on July 12 and 13, 2014.  Janet has been exploring rubber and fabric for 30 years and her work can be seen on costumes for film, theater, and other entertainment venues.  If you are interested in this fabric treatment, this is your chance to learn how to do it.  The cost is $120/day (including materials).

For more information, visit Euroco Costumes Workshops.  If you can't make the New York City workshop, Janet is offering a longer workshop in Mexico at the end of October.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Here is the post that many of you have been waiting for: the Bead Dreams 2014 entries that caught my eye in Milwaukee. 


ribbon work
Artist: Juanita Finger

Yukiko Yamamoto

Andrea Grzabka
Diane Hyde
Sherry Sarafini and Wayne Robbins

Robin Butke

Kathy King

Anneta Valious
Vladislav and Kremena Ivanova

Joan Miller

Amy Waldman-Smith

Barbara Caraway

Christi Friesen
Tina Hauer

Antonina Shakina

Svetlana Karimova
Stephanie Eddy

Best of show:  Sarah Thompson

Close up

Tatiana Fitzpatrick

Jayashree Paramesh

Marcia Cummings

Hannah Rosner

Yumiko Watanabe