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Friday, December 31, 2010


We did our annual Christmas Eve tour of the store windows this year on a very cold night. It was so cold that we missed a few sights. We started at Barneys, which was doing a salute to the Food Network.

Here is a window with the "boys."

Here is the "girl's" window--the only time that you will see Snuggies in Barneys.

On to Berdgdorf's, who always has
the best windows. Paper seemd to be the medium of choice for window decorators.

Closeup of some of the paper

Another widow showing the signs of the zodiac.

Detail of some of the animals.

This little dog was my favorite paper animal.

This photo is for my niece, Melissa, a talented horsewoman. How's this for a decorative horse?


A window with a sea theme.

Sparkly alligator.


A dress with red flowers.

Detail ofthe flowers.

Van Cleef and Arpels went with a mushroom scene.

Tiffany's also used paper for their windows.

Snowflakes on scaffolding near the Swarovski store.

I've forgotten which store this was but the lights were programmed to look like they were falling down the side.


Detail of the garland around the door.

One of the windows at H. Stern. it must have been beautiful with the jewelry in the window. It was removed for storage while the store was closed for the evening.

The windows at Saks had a bubble theme. The crowds were so thick that we couldn't get any photos of the windows but I did get a shot of the bubble projected on the facade of the store.

The tree at Rockefeller Center. Notice the flags whipping in the wind.

This is why I have no photos of the angels lining the plaza of Rockefeller Center. The crowds were so thick that you couldn't get a decent shot.

Even an empty space on 5th Avenue was decorated for the holidays.

Down to Lord & Taylor. The vintage cookbooks looked so charming--this photo is for you, Judith.

Lord & Taylor's main windows illustrated holiday stories submitted to the store.

Working our way down to Macy's, decorated with a huge Christmas tree made of strands of lights.

Macy's did "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" for their window decorations. More charming decorations of paper.
That was the end of our tour because it was just too cold to continue. I hope you enjoyed this look at the lovely sights of the season.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice, belated Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year. If I missed any holidays, we can add them later or just make up some more.
It as my turn to design the front of the Christmas card and I was so taken by the zentangle phenomenon that I incorporated some of the features in my drawing. Don designed the holly border for the inside.
For those of you who have missed the Zentangle craze, it is basically a formalized way of drawing. You can learn more and see many interesting examples at Have fun if you decide to try your own zentangle!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Just a reminder that the Innovative Beads and Embellishments Expo will be held this weekend--November 19-21-- at the New Jersey Convention and Raritan Center, 97 Sunfield Ave. in Edison, NJ. There will be 54 vendors and beading classes, including my own Turkish Delight bead crochet and Side by Side bead crochet bracelets.

If you go to the Innovative Beads Expo website (, you will find a list of vendors, a way to request a $1 off coupon, and driving directions. I am scouting out the way to get to the NJ Convention Center by public transportation.

The nice people at Innovative Beads just posted how to get to the show by public transportation. here are the directions: Take the Northeast Corridor train from Penn Station towards Trenton Transit Center to the Metuchen stop (48 minutes, 8 stops). Walk to main St. at Woodbridge Ave. (about 5 minutes). Take the 813 bus towards 813 Middlesex College (16 minutes, 10 stops). Get off at Northfield Rd.--1000ft north of Fernwood Rd. Walk southeast on Fernwood Ave towards Newfield Ave 0.2 miles. Fernwood Ave turns left and becomes Sunfield Ave 62 feet (about 4 minutes walk). Walk to 97 Sunfield Ave., Edison, NJ 08837. Shop for beads.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I had my first adventure in spraying beads with Krylon and thought I would pass what worked for me. In preparation for my Turkish Loops bead crochet class this month, I sprayed two different dyed beads with Krylon in an attempt to make the color stay on longer. Of course, the beads are the perfect colors and I can't find sustitutes that aren't dyed.

I put a small amount of beads (about 10 grams) in a plastic snack bag and sprayed the beads with Krylon in a few short bursts. I then closed the bag and massaged the beads through it to spread the acrylic through all of the beads. It didn't look like everything was coated so I opended the bag, sprayed, and massaged again.

After that, I put the wet beads on a sheet of parchment paper to dry. Once they had dried a bit, I rolled the bead clumps through my fingers to break up the beads and left them to dry thoroughly.

A few things that I learned:

1) Wasteful though it seems, it is best to use a new plastic snack bag for each batch of beads that you spray. I used the same bag to spray a second batch of the gold beads and some dye came off of the beads and stayed on the plastic bag. That made the second batch of gold beads stick to the bag and it was harder to get them out on to the parchment to dry.

2) My friend Suzanne suggests that you spray the beads before you make your beadwork item. She once sprayed the dyed beads in a finished bracelet with Krylon and watched the purple dye slide off the beads on to a paper towel underneath the piece.

3) The beads changed color when wet but went back to the original color when dry.

Now to see if the Krylon-coated beads keep their color longer than the non-coated ones.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I got the news a few days ago that my Turkish Delight bracelet project will be included in Creative Beading Volume 6 published by Kalmbach Books. The publish date is summer of 2011. I had seen some of the previous volumes and was quite impressed with the books so inclusion in the next volume was exciting news.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


As a birthday present to myself, I took a class
yesterday entitled "What Can I do With a WigJig?" taught by Milly Valentin for the Bead Society of Greater New York. I had heard from other bead society members that Milly's classes were great and I have to concur--we learned a lot and had a load of fun. The photo on the right shows the main class project.

I am afraid that my photos are not the greatest-- my camera objected to photographing without flash--but they will give you an idea of Milly's wire jewelry that she brought to inspire us. The world of wire was pretty much new territory for me.

Here is part of a simple but elegant bracelet that Milly made. Almost all of our class time was spent learning to make various components on the WigJig or other wire bending devices. If you have never seen a WigJig, visit for more information and hundreds of free patterns. Milly also showed us how to wrap a bead with wire, as she did for the crystals on this bracelet.

Here is a photo of Milly at the head of the class as she is packing up her supplies and jewelry. It was hard to get a photo when she was standing still because Milly is a bundle of energy.

Here is one of Milly's pieces with crystals and wire.

Another piece with square wire and herts.

Here are some of my humble efforts. On top are two different styles of earring wires plus a wire component in the center. More components are in the middle row and the start of my necklace is on the bottom of the photo. The connectors for the components are made with the Coiling Gizmo, another new tool for me. More on that at
When I have time I am going to start the necklace again in copper wire with larger beads but I am pleased with my first efforts.

One of my fellow students is also a reader of my blog but I didn't get her name--it was the end of class and we all had to scoot when she said hello. I am sorry that we didn't get a chance to talk, maybe we will connect again at the next bead society meeting.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gönül Paksoy and Edible Beads

I was thrilled to see that Gonul Paksoy, one of my favorite Turkish artists is featured in the latest issue of Selvedge magazine. One of her areas of exploration is making necklaces of edible beads, using items the the rest of us would normally just eat.

Here is a photo of her necklace made of cranberries from her new book "Edible Beads" that is included in the Selvedge article. Photos are by Rehan Eksi.

Here is another necklace of pistachios.

This is the cover of the issue of Selvedge (Issue 36, Sept/Oct 2010) that contains the article on edible beads. If you are unfamiliar with the magazine, it is a wonderful publication from the U. K. that covers textiles. For more information, visit

We first discovered the work of Gonul Paksoy at the International Bead and Beadwork Conference in Istanbul, Turkey in 2007. First, the Rezan Has Muzesi had an exhibit of Dr. Paksoy's bead collection and some of the jewelry that she made from the historic beads. Along with that, Ms. Paksoy mounted an exhibit of necklaces made with food items, i.e. edible beads.

Here is one of her necklaces made of wrapped candy that was exhibited during the bead conference. Photo by Don Recklies.

Here is another necklace made of coiled orange peel and dried fruit; photo by Don Recklies. The museum set out dried and fresh fruit for people to make their own jewelry but, unfortunately, no one had eaten dinner and many participants ate the "jewelry supplies" instead of making art.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I will be teaching two bead crochet classes at the Innovative Beads and Embellishments Expo in Edison, NJ on November 20 and 21, 2010. The first class is

Based on a bead crochet stitch that I learned in Turkey, this sparkly bracelet looks impressive but is actually quite easy and works up quickly. Students will learn how to string beads in a pattern and crochet the Turkish Loops stitch. Once the bead crochet is done, students will make a button and loop closure and embellish the loop with a peyote stitch decoration or needle-woven flowers and leaves. Only basic crochet skills are required. This class is a good introduction to a bead crochet technique that lends itself to experimentation with many different beads.

When: Saturday, November 20, 2010, 2:00-4:45PM
Class Fee: $60. Pre-register before November 18 and save $10
Kit Fee: $40

NOTE: The photo of the Innovative Beads class page only shows the green bracelet but kits for all 3 bracelets shown will be available in class.

The second class will be:


Based on a Turkish oya (lace) stitch that I learned from a shopkeeper while visiting theRoman ruins at Ephesus Turkey, this bracelet is a fun introduction to a form of bead crochet that uses larger beads and interesting fibers. Learn how to string beads, work the oya stitch known as Railroad, and make a button and embellished loop closure. Because this stitch is worked from side to side, there is no guseesing about how long a piece needs to be. Only basic crochet skills are required; you must know how to make a chain stitch and a single crochet (UK double crochet).

When: Sunday, November 21, 2010, 2:30-5:30 PM
Class Fee: $60. Pre-register before November 18 and save $10.
Kit Fee: $20

For more information about the show, classes, and registration, visit

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


A few years ago, in the dreary and grey weather of February, I was craving color. So I designed and made this colorful snake necklace named Ziggy.

Recently I decided that he needed a friend so I designed a bracelet. Introducing Little Ziggy:

Ziggy is a little more sparkly than his bigger brother because I used Swarovski crystals for the white centers of the green vlowers as well as part of the fringe on his tail.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I am busy cleaning up some of my beads so that I can find things, but I ran across the work of a Dutch artist named Greetje van Tiem who spins newspapers into yarn.

Here is one of her knitting projects made from the newspaper yarn.

Here is another.

To see more newspaper yarn objects, visit For instructions on how to make newspaper yarn check out Doug Gunzelmann's June 17, 2008 article at