Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 BJP finished in the nick of time!

I finally finished December's BJP piece, with almost 8 hours to spare! It was my goal to finish all 12 pieces in 2010, and I made it! Of course, I had to do 3 pieces in December alone, but it was still a lot of fun, and a nice break from the other pressures of the month.

This month's piece is obviously yellow, which I chose to beat back the gloom of winter. The little owl face is something I picked up somewhere, for some project once upon a time. It became my found object because I kept 'finding' it on my work table. The other little bit is a dried fruit pod from a sweet gum tree from my long time friend and exercise buddy, Barbara Shipman. The little spikes are very sharp--I got one in my foot, so I know they are! I imbedded this pod in hypo cement to tame the spikes.

I'm so lucky to have found this bead embroidery community. It has really enriched my life. I completed 12 pieces for 2008-009 and 12 for 2010. I'm looking forward to 2011, with a new approach and new challenges. Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

November BJP

I finished November's BJP piece yesterday, and started working on December's today. I'm determined to finish 2010 this month, because I'm looking forward to BJP 2011.

This piece features a purple crystal butterfly from my friend and fellow Friday beader Linda Carstens. The mauvey purple color scheme seems to let the butterfly shine even more. There are 6s, 8s, tiles, 11s, hexes, 15s and delicas, even some crystals. It is amazing what you can find in your bead stash! Do you see the little wire antennae?

Next year, I'm going to use some of my Czech beads, which hang on the side of my workspace shelf. I want to incorporate some wire and/or 3 dimensional techniques. I also have surprise idea for my background and inspiration! You'll be able to see it in January.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Only October oh my

Oh my, where has the time gone. I honestly don't know how the last two months passed without my noticing. I'm embarrassed to admit, but I didn't finish my October piece until today, with November and December still to go in the next 3 weeks or so. My only excuse is that I was chairing our beadmaker's guilld annual show and sale, which was two weeks ago.
I'm not worried about finishing the year, and our holiday preparations are pretty minimal these days, now that our son is an adult. So I'll have time to finish and plan for next year. I've got lots of new ideas, and am looking forward to another year.
This month's found oibjects were 2 little propellers my husband Charlie had bought for a model ship he planned to builld, and may still. I love the copper color and paired it with turquoise, and some great copper with verdigris finish. I really like that color combination. The design arose from the propellers, and imagining how the water might flow. Thanks for looking and enjoy!

Friday, October 1, 2010


I finished my September piece yesterday, just in the nick of time. The found object was a piece from an old bungee cord for a bicycle pack from fellow beadmaker and beader Sylvus Tarn. It had been well used and the cord is no longer stretchy. The rusted ring has a great patina and was a great inspiration for a brown/black palette. I had some 11's that shaded from black to brown and worked really well. Also some 8's that have a copper finish.
The image itself suggests different things to me, like when you look at the clouds. This tickles me, since seeing images in clouds was one of my favorite childhood pastime. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One more photo and I'll give everyone a break! This is a piece made for my friend Barbara's birthday, from a design in the June 2006 Bead & Button by Wendy Ellsworth. Since it uses 8's, it works up pretty quickly. The only problem is that my stash of 8's is not as complete as my 11's, so of course I'll probably buy more beads to make more!

Thanks for looking.

I really, really love orange!

Well, this is a first for me for this year's BJP. I'm finished with August and it isn't even half gone. Part of the reason has been a lack of work (not good), but also lots of time to bead and catch up around the house (good). I started this piece Sunday and finished it today. I couln't put it down, it kept calling me. I think the reason is that I really love orange, in all its tones and hues. Think of a bag of orange beads of all different kinds and see if you can resist!

The shells are from my fellow beader and bead maker Anne Sheppard. She gave me several but I chose to use the small ones, so I could have more variety. I beaded the spiral in the center first, and did it completely free hand. I'm surprised it turned out so well! I think this piece is my favorite of the 20 pieces I've done for BJP. Don't you think it would make a nice design for fabric?

I used size 8's, 11's, Delicas and some tiny size 14 triangles. Those worked well as the initial bead around the shells.

Monday, August 9, 2010

July, gone but not forgotten!

I've finally finished the July piece. I didn't actually have the 'found' object until July I think that is pretty good. The round glass stopper is from a perfume bottle from my friend Hollie Archdale, who is also the teacher/leader of the Friday bead class/group at Findings in Ann Arbor. We've been together with more or less the same people for several years, and have explored many facets of beadwork together. The warmth and support in this group is extraordinary, which I attribute to all of us, but most of all Hollie.

The color this month was blue, just like a perfect July sky. I was able to use some blue vintage Roses Montees that I bought at Bead & Button a couple of years ago. I loved the idea of working with some very old beads, and these were made in Czechoslovakia some years ago. I also snuck some bugles,cubes, lentils and pressed glass beads. Quite the grab bag of blue. I discovered I don't have that many seed beads in the medium to light blue range. Not sure why, but it did force me to use some different shapes this month.

I created a 'cradle' of size 15 beads, and glued the stopper on with E6000. It seems pretty well attached, and I really don't want to cover it with beads. It reflects the colors of the beads all around it so nicely!

Work has been very scarce lately, so I've almost finished August as well. Color is orange, so grab your sunglasses!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

June is busting out all over!

June's piece was fun. The charm in the upper right is from my friend and appraisal mentor Cindi Brunell. She and I were both born on Wednesday, and neither of us feels like we 'are full of woe' as the old rhyme goes. This charm says 'Friday's child is loving and giving', and we think we are actually Friday children who were only born on Wednesday by accident. Her husband David provided the bulldog charm, which turned out to be particuarly appropriate, since we have a new dog in our home, to take the place of our darling Lucky, who died April 30.
The new mutt is named Murphy and he is mostly black lab. We got him from our local Humane Society. He was surrendered by his owner becauser her mother lost their home to foreclosure. Since my work involves appraising mostly foreclosed homes, this seems both sad and ironic. But he is truly a treasure and we are happy to share our home with him. He is 5 years old and is very well behaved. He sits, sits pretty (paws up) and comes when called. He is a real gentleman and I find he is slowly filling up that hole in my heart that Lucky left when she died.
The piece is darker in real life, in a mostly dark blue/maroon palette. I used some pearls and bugles, in addtion to delicas and seed beads. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Merry Month of May

I have finally finished May...and am about to start on June, so things aren't completely out of control yet. This piece was inspired by a piece of drift wood from my friend and fellow glass bead maker, Denise Billups Walker. The colors are all blue, and it looks more sparkly in real life. The wood was sawed in half by my husband, who seems to have a hand in most of these pieces.

I think this is the piece so far this year that I like the most. I like the repitition of the curves and the flipped symmetry of the design. The driftwood naturaly suggested a wave design, and I think I captured that. I figure if I just keep working at back-stitch, someday I'll be good at it!

June will be maroon with a small charm from Cindi Brunell. Better get back to work!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I've always just posted pictures of my BJP pieces on this blog...why I have no idea. But since I enjoy many different media, I thought it might be fun to show some of my other work. This was a birthday present for my friend Karen, who is a real lover of interesting and wearable jewelry pieces. The vessel was made with PMC several years ago, just waiting for the right strap, which is made using a twisted herringbone technique. The picture was taken by my friend Sylvus, who is a WAY better photographer than I am!
I like working with PMC silver, but it has become way to expensive to play with. Thankfully we now have PMC bronze and copper, which are much more reasonable. I've been making buttons and will publish them after a I manage to photograph them.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

April 2010

This piece is my favorite so far. It features a piece of coral my sister Teresa Honnold found years ago. My husband used a dremel tool to cut it in half, so it would have a flat back. It was not a pleasant smell and it took forever. But I ended up with 2 nice pieces of coral and will use the other one in some kind of project as a birthday present for my sister.
The shape of the coral inspired the flowing long green lines, like underwater sea weed. The color green is so appropriate for April and May in Michigan. All the grass and trees and bushes just burst with that life giving color. We've had a couple of days of rain, and when the sun comes out tomorrow the different shades and tones of green will be electric.
Since it almost mid-May, I better get started on it. I have a piece of drift wood from my friend Denise Billups-Walker, and blue will be the color.

March and April

March 2010

I was busy with work during March and April, and am just getting around to finishing and posting for those months. I actually had the March piece done some time ago, but just finished April today. I'm finding that I put less pressure on myself this year, which is a good thing to learn!

March's piece features a machined metal piece that comes from my friend and beady buddy Erin Hook, who found a big bin of them at her last place of work. The entire bin was being discarded as trash, and Erin thought they could make a great necklace, especially in the 'punk' style so popular now. They are actually pieces from a Ford transmission. How appropriate for a beader from Michigan! The color gray was interesting to work with and I consciously wanted the design to be angular and severe. The technical challenge was working around the space where the metal piece was going to be cradled. I added it last and secured it with beads.
I haven't actually looked at my first 4 pieces together, so I have no idea what overall impression they will send when all the pieces are done. It's all beads, so it is all good!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February is Amethyst

February's piece was wonderful fun, and went more smoothly than I expecteed. The three 'found' pieces are amethysts from my bead class friend, Pat Chipman, who says she found them near an amethyst mine she toured in Thunder Bay. Thank you Pat! They are perfect! I used fabric paint to color the Lacy's stiff stuff, and I think it makes a nice background. The pattern makes me think of ripples from a drop of water, or gravity fields. I'm not sure why so technical! I like following the thin line of beads running between the chips, and how it connects and divides.
I raided my stash for everything in the purple family, and used hexes, 15's, 11's, 8's, 6's, delicas and megatamas. I'm continuing with my goal to cover the entire space with beads, and practiced back stitch this month. Next month I want to try practicing couching, which I find very challenging. Several people are holding onto found pieces for me, so I'm eager to see them and pick the piece for March.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

January at last!

Since I signed up for another year of the Bead Journal Project (thank you Robin!), I thought it appropriate to change the title of this blog from Bead Journal 2008 Reflections to just Bead Journal Reflections. I hope this project keeps going and going, just like the Energizer Bunny!

Of course, this is a new year, and a new project, so I've made some changes too. 2008/2009 was my first time with the BJP and it was wonderful. I think 2010 will also be a great year, but I'm a little bit more 'relaxed' about the project.

Case in point, I just finished January, and it is already almost the end of February! But I'm in good humor and having fun with the new year.

New year, new guidelines. I'm going in a new direction on this project. I've asked 12 friends for 'found' pieces that will be the focal for each month. And I'm going to do a monochromatic palette, and I'm having a blast! January was all white with an old battery from my husband as the found piece. He also bought me a lot of fabric paints to use with the pieces, for which I'm using Lacy's Stiff Stuff...and I'm going to cover the whole piece with beads. No more negative space for me!

I'm looking forward to starting February...amethysts from Thunder Bay!