Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter Storm

My previous post (one month ago) told of the first "real" snow of the 2008-2009 Winter Season. That was an appetizer of what has been happening today! It's not officially Winter for two more days, but we've had about eight new inches of snow since 4:00 this morning. It's going to be a long, long Winter if it keeps up like this.

I guess that just means I'll be spending more time inside beading! Maybe I'll catch up on a few projects, or think up some new ones...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter has made it's first serious appearance in Michigan this past week, complete with snow showers and freezing temperatures. It's hard to believe that just a few weeks ago we were enjoying seventy degree balmy weather... Ahh... it's so Michigan!

In honor of the "frozen white stuff," I've included a picture of my Winter Garden bracelet. It's has the sparkle and shine of ice crystals, but I think it would be just perfect for a summer bride, too. And that makes me think of warmth, rather than snow.... Yep, I'll go with that thought.

This is a variation of my favorite-of-all-time bracelet - the Cha-Cha. It's layers of flower-shaped beads, daggers, and leaves, on top of a base that used square stitch and large Delica beads.

I have published a pattern for this, available at Stony Creek Bead.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Today is November 5th, but it feels like Spring! Michigan has enjoyed a couple of absolutely gorgeous days - the kind of weather that makes me really glad to live here! Ahh-h-h-h!

When I started this blog, I had great plans to post frequently... I have no good excuses, unless I make something up for the sake of creativity! I'll try to do better.

For today, I'm putting up a picture of my Four-In-One Patchwork Bracelet. While it is not one of the most beautiful projects I've made, I love to teach this class and watch students as they have the "Aha" moment with each stitch - helping them take the mystery out of Peyote, Square, Ladder, Herringbone, and Brick stitches, and watching the mental wheels turn with plans for their first "real" project(s).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bead Journal Project 2008

I have joined the Bead Journal Project this year. If you want to see creative beading, check this out. The BJP 2007 was so inspiring... I'm speechless. Those of you who know me, know that I'm NEVER speechless. That's just how cool the BJP is. So, I had to join.

September is the month that starts a whole year of beading projects - one per month. There will be pictures on this blog, and eventually on the BJP page and links there.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Because my friend Liz asked...

My friend Liz "tagged" me to answer these questions.

What was I doing ten years ago?

Some beading, some quilting, some knitting - in my spare time. I was still walking my 18 year path to graduation from Eastern Michigan University (I did it!) taking some time for family and other interests.

Five things on today's to-do list:

1. Catch up on my email
2. Weed, plant, water.
3. Work on Kate Dunn's Round Robin Project - wow, am I having fun with this!
4. Cook something wonderful with chicken - something creamy, herbed, and with mushrooms!
5. Write an article for the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild, just in case they need to fill up space.

Snacks I enjoy:

Fresh strawberries, ripe peaches. Ruffles potato chips with French onion dip. Dark chocolate with orange flavor bits. Unsalted roasted cashews, raw almonds. Chocolate chip cookies still warm from the oven. Pie.

Four things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Design my own house and its landscape. Each family member would get a "suite" - including an activity room just for them. I'd include a kitchen designed for five cooks and lots of friends, and I'd have a sound-proof music studio so I can play my music as loud as I want!
2. Travel.
3. Share my wealth - give to good causes.
4. Create new jewelry designs with beads, teach bead classes, bead with friends, shop for beads, travel to shop for beads, take lots of classes - specifically PMC.

Places I have lived:

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan
2. Saline, Michigan
3. Ypsilanti, Michigan
4. East Tawas, Michigan, but only a week or two, every year of my life! I don't want to think of it as vacation.

Six people I'd like to know more about:

1. Mother Teresa
2. Ghandi
3, 4, and 5. The people my daughters are going to be when they're my current age.
6. Me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Bead Journal Project

I just signed up for the coming year's Bead Journal Project! That means that I'm committed to making one "journal page" each month for one year. Learn more about this at and consider joining the group. The only commitment is to yourself as an artist.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another Paisley Study

I LOVE bead embroidery! This is the fourth Paisley Study that I've completed; my other's have been in white (shown in an earlier post,) black, and amethyst. This looks very much like a parrot's wing. I will add strands to this to make it a necklace.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Serendipity... connections

I have always loved what I call "the small world phenomenon" - finding the connections between people. My friends and family know how much I love to talk to people, and I can almost always find something in common - like a hobby, mutual friends, or finding that my brother-in-law grew up next door to their cousin... stuff like that. I talk to hundreds of people each week at the bead store, so I find LOTS of connections. A few months ago, two customers connected in our store - one was looking for a new pet, hopefully an adult greyhound, the other... rescues greyhounds! That kind of stuff gives me the chills, it's so cool!

In high school, I used to sing in the choir, and I majored in music. I took music composition, theory, and humanities. I sang in the choir at Dixboro United Methodist Church, too, from the time I was a "Cherub Choir" member (I think I was kindergarten?) After high school, I didn't actively persue singing, but always wished that I had. My dream gig would have been singing back up "doo-wop" vocals for some big star... like Elvis, maybe. I never aspired to a solo career, just wanted to sing all the great harmonizing that altos usually get to do. I never persued singing after high school... life was just too full, I guess...

About two months ago, on a Sunday morning, I was ready to teach a bead class. It was going to be small - just two students. One of them called and said she was going to be a few minutes late. To fill up the time, I asked the other student, Cathy Brodie, what she "did for a living" other than play with beads! She told me that she is an adjunct professor of music at Eastern Michigan University. I asked a bunch of questions, of course.

I made a comment to her that was soon going to make a big impact on my life. I said "I used to sing. My kids don't believe that I could ever because I'm so far out of shape." Cathy then told me that she sings in a women's group that meets locally. It turns out that it meets at my daughter Stephanie's high school (Lincoln Consolidated), and is directed by the choir director, Karen Nevins. The group is called The Carillon Women's Chorale.

So, the high school is just connection #1. I've met Karen before; Stephanie was in choir for a while. Karen is very good friends with Susan Matych-Hager, who is a bead artist. We have her beads in our shop on commission and she does trunk shows for us (next one is May 31st.) Connection #2 (theirs) and #3 (each of them individually to me.)

I considered attending a rehearsal, but let a week slide by... The following weekend, the shop had a booth at the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild's Bead Bonanza. Susan had her beads in the booth next to ours, as planned. Connection #4. Her good friend Karen Nevins was helping her all day, and we were all so busy that there was not time to talk until the last 15 minutes of the show.

Karen said to me: "Cathy Brodie told me you were interested in singing with Carillon." Full of self-doubt, I explained how "I used to sing, but..." We talked for a bit about my musical background, and when she issued the invitation to come and try it... I couldn't refuse. I told her that I would attend rehearsals, but if I really no longer "had it in me" and was a detriment to the group, she had to promise to kick me out! And I meant it!

Well, it's been seven weeks of Monday night rehearsals. We're preparing for two concerts, and I am LOVING the music. I was pleased to realize that I can still read music, and I can still stay on pitch. My voice quality is still a bit rusty, but I'm working on that, too. This week, I reminded her of the promise, and her reply was "You're IN!"

I've rediscovered singing, something that I've always loved to do. While I will probably never consider myself a "vocal artist," being part of a group that makes such beautiful music is certainly feeding my creative soul. Combined with my joy in making beautiful bead jewelry, and in teaching classes to help others make it, too... Wow... LIFE IS GOOD!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Round Robin Embroidery Project

I belong to a group of beaders, semi-formally named "The Loomatics" (loom' - a - tics) which is a study group derived of members from the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild (GLBG).

GLBG members are from all across the state of Michigan, and across the country! The GLBG, 400 members strong, encourages its members to find other Guild members who live close to their homes, and form study groups. The Loomatics is one of these groups.

Loomatics is a group of 12 creative, accomplished women, 11 beaders and one non-beading, yet very creative, friend. This is actually a pretty big group to get together - not everyone is lucky enough to have a table large enough for beaders to spread out their mats! If you are considering forming a group, you may want to consider your space carefully.

Last fall, I suggested a project to The Loomatics, and wonderful women that they are, took this suggestion and are running with it. A group project - a Round Robin Embroidery project.

Each of us started with a design on a background (Lacy's Stiff Stuff or felt, etc.,) maybe beaded a bit of it, then passed it on to the next person on the (alphabetical) list. Each person gets one month to work on it, then on it goes to the next one on the list. We are only in the second month and already we've seen beautiful work.

We get together once a month and share the project that we've worked on. Part of the excitement of this project is that the "owner" leaves the room while the rest of us get to see her project. We will not get to see our own project until it has made the complete "Round". It's great fun, but when I'm the one out of the room, I hate not knowing what everyone is saying and laughing about!

If you think a Round Robin is a project your group may want to try, important to know the group members well enough to trust them with your project - skill level is not the only consideration. There should be some basic rules, and respect for the individual artist's vision, yet with lots of room for creativity.

If you would like to learn more about the basic "rules," please contact me at: