Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friday Communique

Seed beads for sale at my local bead store, Bead Cache. How can you not love seed beads?!

Yesterday afternoon I headed south to Longmont to meet up with a group of beaders from the Rocky Mountain Bead Society. We met to bead at the Bead Lounge (which is just down the street from my dad's jewelry store, so I got to go see him for a bit.). It was nice to actually sit and bead with other beaders! We all worked on different types of projects and used a multitude of beading techniques. We're trying to make it a monthly thing, so hopefully I'll be able to go next month too.

I figured
I'd just head home after beading, but luckily my mom had another idea. She'd heard the Z Gallerie in Boulder is closing and that the entire store is 50% off. So, I went on to Boulder, picked up Mom from work, and we went SHOPPING! Mom and I picked out some sweet artwork for Dean's house (which I'm totally going to hang in my place if he doesn't like it in his) and I got to pick out some early birthday presents. Yaay! If only all Thursday afternoons were this fun...

Check out the fun some of my crew have been up to this week:

Sara Hardin (AKA SoftFlexGirl) is preparing for the upcoming Soft Flex Company Glass Art & Bead Festival in Honolulu. No, she doesn't get to go.

Kristen Fagan visited the Fountain Hills Great Fair last weekend and thinks this article Do you want to turn your jewelry hobby into a Full-Time business? is well worth the read!

Have a lovely weekend! xoxo

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Playing with Wire

Ah, the knitting spool...

This tool has been my arch nemesis since I first saw it. I resisted it for a looooooong time. In Tucson I decided it was time to make it work. So I practiced and practiced, and finally knitted a two inch section with all of the stitches going in the right direction and without any holes. Yaay.

Then, it seemed like time to take it to the next step and try adding beads. I pre-strung some Czech glass rounds and CZ rondelles and resumed knitting, trying to place the beads so they would all be evenly spread. This proved difficult for me because I kept putting it down to show bead show attendees other tools and products. Often, more than a hour would go by before I could start again, so the beads aren't at proper intervals because I didn't count well. Thing is, the tension of my wire is so loose and wonky that it doesn't really matter where I placed the beads since they can move wherever they desire. Still, I knitted on and below is my silly attempt. It's super stretchy, so it can wrap twice around my wrist.

Okay, so I needed to work on my tension. What happened next was the best stroke of luck I've experience in a long time. Who did Sara bring to the booth just then? Oh, only the talented Sharon Hessoun - creator of my particular knitting spool! Sharon and I have chatted several times over email, so it was a great pleasure to meet her in person. She saw my sad little attempt at using her tool and gave me some amazing tips. The most important being: use the shape of the pegs on the tool to guide the stylus. Sure enough, Sharon knows what she's talking about. I practiced again, using my new knowledge, and this below is what I yielded. Pretty big difference, eh?

Now, what to do with a perfectly uniform knitted wire tube? Fill it with beads, of course. I used one strand each of .019 diameter Soft Flex Wire in Green Turquoise, Peridot, and Dark Blue Lapis to string a mix of 4mm crystal bicones and 2mm Thai silver cornerless cubes with a few vintage Lucite rounds. These three strands were threaded through the knitted tube (made of .019 Soft Flex Metallics Antique Copper color) and the ends were finished off with cones and a toggle clasp from Springall Adventures that I've had in my stash for a long time. The beads stand out more in person. It's my new favorite bracelet!

Now that I know what I'm going, I love me some knitting spool! There are many ideas bouncing around in my head on what can be created with knitted tubes. If you want to experiment with the knitting spool, pick up a copy of Sharon's book, Wire Knitting ... On a Spool. Thank you Sharon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Little Miss Kennedy

Kennedy came and spent an afternoon with me a few days ago. It's so hard to believe she's already three. Her little baby face is no longer - little girl is growing up fast! I'm pretty sure she's three going on seventeen.

When she arrived, the first thing Kennedy wanted to do was play with Ginger. Unfortunately, since Ginger's not used to kids, the only thing she wanted to do was hide under the bed. So we watched Dora the Explorer and Finding Nemo and ate popcorn and put on more lip gloss than I ever thought possible and talked about how we wish the pool was open and...

Kennedy was adorable. She kept going to check on Ginger and eventually decided that if she couldn't play with the real kitty, she and I would pretend to be kitties. Here she is crawling on/through Ginger's furniture:

Kennedy with Ginger's tunnel on her head:

Kennedy's sweet photography skills:

And, finally, sticking out our tongues:
The tongues were Kennedy's idea. I'm not sure how it related to being a kitty, but it sure was fun. Thank you for coming to visit me Miss Thing! I'll let you know just as soon as the pool opens up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cheeseburger Pizza

Dustin, David and I indulged in some Cheeseburger Pizza last night, along with some Sunshine Wheat:

Mmmm, it was darn good. The boys introduced me to Cheeseburger Pizza a few years back, but it feels like ages since we last had it. It hasn't been on Old Chicago's menu for a long time and they often won't make it for us because the chefs haven't been there long enough to remember the recipe. We lucked out yesterday though and it was just as good as I remembered.

Cheeseburger Pizza tastes EXACTLY like a cheeseburger. Seriously. From the ketchup and mustard sauce right down to the sesame seeds baked into the crust. It's delicious and I highly recommend it.

After dinner, we went to see Coraline, in 3D. The movie is worth going to for the opening sequence alone. It's amazing! Go see it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Best Bead Booty

In years past, I spent my time in Tucson going from show to show to show and coming home with a huge new supply of beads and such. This year, I was at one show the entire time and, um, still managed to come home with a sizable new addition to my stash. At least I managed to stay within budget!

Starting from the top left, we have Soft Flex wire in extreme silver, citrine, green turquoise, red jasper, dark blue, spinel, peridot, and extreme champagne. Most of these are brand new colors!

The next "row" down displays a boro pendant from Andy Ray (Andy gifted a pendant to all of the Soft Flex girls - thank you Andy!) and rings, an acorn, and beads from the lovely Joyce Rooks.

Next is a strand of citrine, followed by a strand of aquamrine. These stones, along with all the other stones and strands in my haul are from Soft Flex Company. Mike helped me pick most of them out. He figured that if I couldn't leave our booth to go shop at other booths, I might as well shop in our booth. Funny how that works. Anyway, the other stones (short strands and long) are, from top down, tanzanite, keishi pearls, yellow CZs (little triangles and a strand of briolettes), lemon quartz, red and pink coral, purple and orange CZs, champagne Biwa pearls, more coral, and spondylus spikes. The yellow stones are for a project for the Summer 2009 issue of Stringing magazine. All beads from the coral through the spondylus are for a Stringing project as well. Fun!

Back above the yellow stones is a whole row of fun goodies. A pendant from Devin Somerville, a charm from Green Girl Studios (an early birthday present from Andrew - thank you my dear!), a heart made of beer bottle caps from Glass Garden Beads, a focal bead and spacers from Lori Greenberg (great meeting you Lori and thanks!), and a clasp, ring and pendants from Jess Imports.

As always, I'm excited to see what happens with these goodies. The two projects for Stringing are due, so I'm already using those beads.
Will I use the rest right away or will they sit around in my studio for awhile? Only time will tell. No matter how long they wait to be used in a project, they sure are nice to look at.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I've been back a week, have almost caught up on sleep, and am finally unpacking the last bag. Tucson was a blast this year! It was, as usual, a crazy whirlwind of meetings, events, demos, and parties. And most importantly, catching up with so many dear friends that I only get to see once or twice a year. Seeing you all is my favorite part! This year, I loved every minute of the Tucson experience.

The week started out with my demo at the Swarovski show:

I presented Soft Flex Company's new Trios wire sets and showed how our colored beading wire enhances the colors of the crystal beads.

It was difficult to see the subtle color differences since all of the light in the room was being filtered through the crystal curtain, but it sure was pretty. Wish I had a crystal curtain in my house...

The rest of the week flew by with a flurry of demos and showing shoppers at the Best Bead show all about the new Trios. Yes, I was bad about taking pictures. Until Friday night anyway. Friday was party night! First stop, the Swarovski party:

I love Jean Campbell to pieces - she's the best!

Yes, Danielle Fox and I are wearing the same shirt. Andrew talks more about it here.

My buddy Katie Wall of I must go to Seattle and visit her very soon.

Mari and Lindsay of Fusion Beads. I wish I could see these super cool girls more often.

Next we journeyed on to a surprise party thrown for Lewis Wilson of Crystal Myths, where we all let loose. It was to have some fun downtime with the Soft Flex crew. Here's Jenny Wilson, Sara Hardin, and I with our Smurf lips. We all sampled the dark blue frosting on the cake!

Another highlight of the show was that Kristen and Bert came to visit, as did Damien and Mark. Now I can finally say that I've met all my co-workers! Sara kept a much better record of the week, so check out her blog for more pictures and stories.

As the week wound down, I was able to hang out awhile with Andrew and meet William. It was great to meet William. He's a fellow Pisces, so I was an instant fan. The opportunity to see Andrew doesn't present itself too often, so I'm thankful that we actually got to spend some time together in Tucson. He's a gem, that Andrew!

For the first time in my six years of going to Tucson, I managed to survive the week without catching a cold or doing anything bad to my back. I'm pretty sure beer kept me healthy. Yaay!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Trios are here! I first learned about these fabulous sets of wire back in August. It's been so hard keeping them secret! Learn all about the Trios here. While you're at the Soft Flex website, visit the Design School for lots of new free project designs using the new Trios sets.

If you're in Tucson, come by the Soft Flex booth at the Best Bead Show. Sara and I would love to show you all the lovely new colors (we have over 30 now!). Also, if you're at the Swarovski show on Tuesday afternoon, I'll be demoing how to use crystals with colored Soft Flex wire. Hope to see you in the warmth of Tucson!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

From Kansas City, to Paris, to Tucson...

Sara just pointed out to me that it's been two weeks since I last blogged. Oops! Sorry Sara and Christine (who let me know a few times!). I haven't meant to neglect my post. I've just been busy.

Sara and her pretty smile demoing at the CHA show

Sara knows. She's been busy too, but she's much more dedicated than I. She always manages to check her email and post a blog when we're at a show. I prefer to curl up with a book and decompress for a bit after all of the hustle and bustle of a busy show. All of that demoing and talking just wears me out. Sara is doing her very best to convert me to her ways. And she's pretty determined!

Sara and I flew to Kansas City the Monday before last and made our way to EuroTool headquarters. It was great to meet their team and watching Sara present all of our products to them was an incredible learning experience. She knows so much.

We flew home that night and saw each other again just a few short days later when we met at the Orange County airport for the CHA show. After what was the oddest shuttle bus trip ever -- it was the Disneyland express and the driver was a complete character -- we met up with Mike, Scott, and Lisa for dinner.

My cousin Julie and her man Ali joined us and later they took me to Downtown Disney for some shopping in the Disney store. I found a belated Christmas present for Bead Boy and Julie and I got to catch up. Thank you for driving all that way Julie and Ali - you're the best!

The CHA show was pretty darn fun. There weren't a lot of beads at the show, it's mostly about scrapbooking, and that is just fine with me. Scrapbookers have such cool stuff! I saw Tim Holtz and Sara and I did a make-it-take-it with Cathie and Steve of Creative Juice.
I got to meet the superfun Crafy Chica and the lovely Heidi Swapp. I've been reading Heidi's blog for a couple of years now. She's personally responsible for the vast amount of scrapbooking supplies in my office. I got to speak with her for a quick minute and she was so sweet. She's the celebrity I was most excited about seeing.

Others, not so much. It seems that Paris Hilton is coming out with a line of craft kits. As fate would have it, her booth was RIGHT NEXT to our booth. For about three hours Sunday, our booth was blocked off by the hundreds of people crowding around to see Paris. I won't lie, I was excited to see her. She looked great and I'm told was as nice as can be. Sara posted more pictures of her here.

Sara and I each had our own demo table in the booth and had a chance to play with and create projects from the brand new Soft Flex Company products. I'm so excited that you can finally see these wires - they're so FUN. I've enjoyed creating with them for a few months now. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Now I must get back to prepping and packing for Tucson. I'm off tomorrow and will gone for just over a week. Getting ready is a big deal and pretty darn exciting. I can't wait to see all my bead world friends and I look forward to making new friends. I will do my very best to blog from warmth of Tucson, but, sorry, no promises... Have a great week!