DoubleWave Pearl Cuff

DoubleWave Pearl Cuff

Friday, December 7, 2012

Can't help myself!

Am I precog or what?  Emerald!  2013 Pantone Color of the Year?  I knocked these babies out fast, huh?  Just kidding.  These beauties were designed for a Brea Bead Works class just held a couple of weeks ago.  Wendy Remmers who co-owns the store sends out email snippets on trends.  She sent one in the Fall calling for big, dramatic earrings for the Winter Session.  I had just designed them and knew they'd be perfect for a class.  I call them Diva Earrings.  Ironically, the peacock seed beads were the inspiration and I knew that I had some Emerald Swarovski teardrops in my stash.  Just in time for Color of the Year!  One of my students asked in class if I was going to sell the pair I was making in class.  They weren't perfect, so I said "no, but the green pair I'll sell".  I think not.  I'm gonna put these on today and show off my green pride!  It helps that I'm part Irish!  Erin go braugh!  Or, as the lads in Ireland would say, "Erin go braugh-less"!  ;)

Everything's coming up Emerald!

Just announced!  Pantone's Color of the Year 2013, Emerald!  I love it.  I'm a "Winter", which means rich, saturated gem tone hues look best on me.  Inspiration is just around the corner (okay, maybe across the pond).  Think Emerald Isle.  All those green hills.  Before you know it, March will be upon us along with green bagels (sorry, but they've never looked appetizing), shamrocks, green beer and SPRING!  I know, I know....Christmas isn't even here yet, but I can't help it.  Green means renewal and I am really done with this year!  I am looking forward to a fresh start and this just gets my creative juices sparked.  You know that great trends begin with a great idea.  In a couple of weeks (I kid you not) you're gonna start seeing this color in everything!  Before Grandfather Time magically transforms into a baby on New Years (enough with the cosmetic surgery), catalogs, ads, furniture, clothing, and fashion accessories, i.e. JEWELRY will be this color!  So, get off your duffs, wipe the eggnog off your face, and start thinking GREEN.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Red, White, and Blue!

I have a couple of students that provide a lot of inspiration.  They are the two Shellies.  Shelli Keller and Shelley Herbin. They take most of my classes and are a lot of fun to have in class.  And double the fun when they take a class together.  Shellie Herbin took my first Infinity pendant class.  She made her pendant in copper with beautiful Padparaschda and Golden Shadow Swarovski, along with bronze pearls.  Using copper for the armature and the pearls on the bottom half was a true inspiration.  She also said she thought she add a crystal drop to the top half.  Unfortunately, I haven't seen her since she finished it and she hasn't sent me a pic! (Hint, hint)  The original sample is the one in the middle on Silver-filled wire.  This is a replica of the one I made for Andrea at Christmas time.  The blue one on the left is Shelli Keller's.  She used Montana AB rounds and bicones, along with dark blue pearls.  She's my color guru.  She has an innate sense of color and whenever I'm stuck, she helps out.  So when we had class, she ran around BBW grabbing colors that she thought would work for me.  I love the burgundy, and Satin Rose combo.  This pic doesn't do justice to these pieces, but when you see them in person, they are fab!  Thanks to my groupies....Shelli & Shelley!  Anyone else game?  Send me a pic of what you've done with your piece.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Buy Smart!

Purple Haze sunset over Orange, California

You've all heard the real estate adage "Location, location, location"!  In the world of jewelry design and production it's all about resourcing.  I'm a proponent of supporting local bead stores in Orange County.  Actually, in all truthfulness, I'd support a bead store just about anywhere, in any vicinity that I happen to find myself.  Yes, it's an obsession, but it's particularly important to shop locally.  For one thing, it keeps a percentage of the sales tax in your own locale.  Secondly, it keeps businesses open that are a vital resource for so many of us.  The product offerings and classroom instruction are a relatively inexpensive form of therapy (physical and mental) and keep most of us happy and connected to other Crafters that appreciate and understand the importance and cultural significance of handcrafting.  Yet we've seen numerous stores close due to a lackluster economy, joblessness, Internet competition, increasing costs, and sometimes poor business planning.  It is always sad when a store closes, and the trickle down effect can be disastrous.  Understandably, there is only so much money to go around.  Buying smart and having a plan is your best bet.  Like my last blog about mise-en-place, planning your purchases by the project will be the biggest aid in managing your resources.  Buy the smallest quantity you can get away with for that given project.  Remember, anything you don't use in the project will have to be stored, and in a sense is wasted money.  I'd rather buy as much as I need for the project and reserve the rest of the money for the next design.  If you tend to purchase from the Internet because you find it convenient or for the best pricing, instead consider buying with a group of bead buddies and buy in bulk in local stores that offer bulk discounts or tiered pricing.  Or in the very least, shop with a friend and split strands or quantities.  Instead of crafting in Sterling Silver if that's prohibitive, try Silver-filled wire and/or sheet.  Or, craft in copper.  Copper's been a hot material for some time and is truly inexpensive.  It's very forgiving and looks beautiful when combined with most colors of beads.  Buying locally means not having to wait for product to arrive, and there isn't a shipping charge.  Some would argue that the cost of gas is probably the same, but the advantage is you have your product in hand.  Let's try to support our local bead stores as much as possible and be a little more creative with buying strategies (i.e., exhibit control when entering a bead store).  So what's the significance of the pretty pic above?  It's to remind you not to get caught in a hazy daze after entering a store and then feign innocence when the hubby mines your stash cabinet (or closet) and finds your cache! Just be smart about it and shop locally as much as possible.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


What is Mise-en-Place (meez en plas)?  It's a french cooking term that means "have everything in place".  You've seen those cooking shows where the chefs have all the little bowls with different, pre-measured ingredients in them ready to use when they start to cook, right?  It's not just for show.  It really makes sense to have all the elements of a recipe in place before you start.  How many times have you started to follow a recipe when you suddenly discover that you don't have one of the ingredients?  And this always happens when you have something disgusting on your hands like the turkey meatloaf you've already started to mix by hand.  The same thing goes for making jewelry.  A good execution of design is to have all your parts ready to go before you even start.  There are some students that like to work off of a spool of wire, rather than pre-cutting the wire ahead of time.  I like to start my projects with everything cut and ready to go.  It's not much different than prepping for a class ahead of time.  All of my classes at the Pasadena Bead and Design Show include everything a student needs to take a class, including the use of tools.  No need to lug all your tools when you attend the show.  My student Cathy Burton wanted to bring her own tools, but promised me she wouldn't be bringing a U-Haul or something to that effect!  The Climbing Vine Bronze Bangle (in the violets) is my newest addition to the class roster for the Pasadena show this July 26th through the 29th.  This twice a year show is one of the best local shows for classes and materials, as well as finished goods by an impressive roster of artisans and well known instructors.  Plenty to ogle, buy and have a great time in a great, air-conditioned venue.  I hope one of my classes is on your list of things to do this summer!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What is Wonky?'s not a pet name for a famous chocolate confectioner or a Star Wars creature!  Wonky is one of those words that is often used by beaders.  Just last Saturday in class, my new student Marie let fly the adjective.  Oh, the things my students will say!  Wonky means wibbly-wobbly or better yet, skew-whiff.  Plain English?  Bent, crooked, uneven.  But....I embrace wonky.  To me, it means something is very interesting to look at and requires further examination.  Ah, but you say, "it doesn't look right".  And maybe you're right.  But it's all really semantics.  You know....I say potatoes, you say patahtows.  Sometimes wonky definitely isn't good.  Like when you need your wire to definitely go in the other direction.  Sometimes wonky is great.  Like when you didn't mean for the wire to do what it did, but now it looks so much more interesting and possibly sends you on a different path of creativity.  That's when wonky is truly great.  Okay, so what am I really talking about here?  I'm saying think outside the box.  When working with wire, be forgiving of yourself and your skills, especially if they are newly acquired.  Repeat my classroom mantra, "This is Art....not Science", take a deep breath and ask yourself, "do I really need to re-work this"?  If I'm there, we can work through it.  If not, you can always call me (just don't be hysterical or call me at 3 a.m.), or you can send me an SOS email with a pic.  Step away from the project and take a break.  A solution is literally at hand.  As evidenced in the above image.  I had a nice cuff armature that I had begun to bead.  The beading started going in a direction that I didn't like and I kept thinking, "do I really want to do ANOTHER cuff like this"?  I didn't, so I literally cut the cuff in half and then had two very interesting shapes to play with that were partially beaded.  Thus, the concept for Free Form Wire Pendants was hatched.  I taught the class at the Pasadena show in January, and it was a huge success.  Keep your eyes peeled for a class offering soon.  Keep up the great work and keep me posted!  I love to hear from you.     

Monday, March 5, 2012


Okay, I admit it.  I’m an enabler.  What better way to share your love in a guilty pleasure than to get your friends hooked, right?  That way, the guilt can be a collective effort.  Chocolate is a good one.  So is a really great bottle of Cabernet.  But beads are altogether another story!  Suddenly you have a shared interest other than tossing back margaritas and nachos, while complaining about the latest thing your kids, dog, or significant other did.  All women can relate.  It’s a necessary part of being a woman, but even that gets old!  Of course you could combine the nacho & margie swilling with beading and knock out two necessary and useful activities at the same time.  Now there’s a concept!

When you’ve got the urge to bead with friends and want to explore a new technique, have a Chicks & Hens event!  My slogan, “Have Tools, Will Travel” means I bring everything including the materials, tools and design of choice.  I did a Sea Anemone Ring C & H event and all the ladies went home with gorgeous rings and learned how to wire work.  It was a first for all of them.  Babies got nursed, rings got made, champagne was slurped and everyone was happy.  If you’re interested, give me a jingle.  Chicks & Hens events are fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eye Candy!

I love to post work from my students.  The ring pictured above is from Cathy Burton.  The best testament to my teaching ability is the work my students accomplish.  The Sea Anemone Ring class is no exception.  Class was held on February 16th with a full slate of very eager ladies in attendance.  Every ring looked different due to all the colors each student selected and we ended up with a room of eye candy for the fingers.  After all was said and done, pretty much everyone left with a very pretty ring on their finger with the pledge that they were going to make more.  This particular ring design is addicting after you've done a few.  Once you master the wrapping technique (it's a good way to master it because you do it 45 times!) you'll want to make one in every color of the rainbow.  The first one I ever made (circa 2009), I used small fresh water pearls in addition to Swarovski crystals.  Hence, it became the Sea Anemone ring because it looked like I could have plucked it out of a tide pool.  Here, Cathy used Sterling Silver for the ring armature along with gorgeous Bronze Shade, Verde, and Crystal Copper Swarovski.  If you know Cathy, it looked like she was born wearing it.  It's so her!  Great job, Cath!  It's important to note that the ring design is not my original design.  The original design came from the very talented Irina Miech.  She gave me permission to teach the ring back in '09, but I've redesigned it a bit and added more structure.  Look for the class this summer at the Pasadena Bead and Design Show in July.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Real Basket Case!

Ever have one of those days?  You know what I'm talking about.  When you think you are going to have a melt down of epic proportion?  I have an instant cure.  Just say two words.  BASKET WEAVING.  It's purported to be a very therapeutic activity.  And guess what?  You can do it in wire and make a pretty cool ring.  Nothing beats sitting down with a pile of beads, or in this case, a bead and some wire.  Ring Pop! is my last class offering of the first quarter at Brea Bead Works.  The ring showcases an awesome lamp work bead (we all have a stash of those) and some cool wire moves that make an architectural wire structure to hold that bead in place.  Except, the bead does something really amazing.  It spins.  So, if you have a bead that has different design aspects to it, you can spin it into place and showcase that gorgeous orb.  Ring Pop! is being held on Monday, March 26th from 6 to 9 p.m. at BBW.  If you've been wanting to learn basket weave, then this class is for you.  And if you can't make it to this class, I've got some new designs coming up in the next few months.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pantone Fall 2012 Color Report

French Roast, Honey Gold, Pink Flambe, Tangerine Tango, Ultramarine Green, Bright Chartreuse, Olympian Blue, Titanium, Rhapsody and Rose Smoke.  These are some of the yummiest colors for Fall in a long time.  I know it's hard to believe, but Pantone announced today their Fall Color Report for 2012!  These are awesome colors, and many of you grasp the importance of working these colors into your jewelry designs since fall fashion apparel will arrive in stores in the summer in these very colors.  But for those that don't, this is what I learned when I worked at a craft store. I finally understood why stores would put out fall and winter crafting materials in the summer.  For crafters hoping to sell in shows in the fall, they had to have access to materials months before the actual season so they could make their stuff in time to merchandize it!  For any of you that sell, you know that making the jewelry isn't enough.  The other big side of merchandising successfully is all the collateral material involved in selling.  Business cards, packaging, tagging, etc.  Now is the time to get a jump or at least get your brain wrapped around the idea of things coming down the pike.  Believe me, it comes a lot faster than you can ever imagine.  And that other thing we call LIFE, always happens, but especially when we're not looking!  Go to for more information on what's happening in the world of color.  It's an excellent resource to add to your repetoire.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hearts Desire

Happy February!  The beautiful image above is from my student Linda Stern.  She attended the first Filigree Heart Pendant Necklace class at Brea Bead Works in January.  Linda was one of the students where I literally tortured everyone in that class.  So much so, that I created an easier way to make the heart pendant.  I even blogged about it in "Torture or Wrapture".  I was really concerned that the students wouldn't get to completion with this somewhat daunting project, but I have truly been "heartened" (pun intended) by the response of the students and the pictures of their finished work!  After all their hard work, everyone loves the necklace and it's a source of pride.  Mission accomplished!  I've got another offering of this class on Sunday, February 19th from 12 to 4 at Brea Bead Works.  You'll get the benefit of the re-design without all the pain!  And, as always, I'd love to see you there.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Today's blog is all about what it is that makes you step back, laugh, ponder or mentally wax poetic about life in general.  For some, a good mantra works wonders.  I don't have a mantra, but in class you've heard me say many times, "This is art....not science".  Everyone usually giggles when I say it, but it is really how I view the learning process when it comes to jewelry making.  It's really an axiom and is meant to serve as a way to remind you to be forgiving of yourself.  Everyone wants to be a pro, even if it's your first class.  Anyone who has ever moved wire knows that learning to control it is a very humbling experience.  But remember the first time you got it to do what you wanted?  Hallelujah!  You felt really good and probably thought for the first time, "I can do this"!  And you can.  I promise you.  "Practice makes perfect" is another axiom or adage that is so true when it comes to wire working.  One great way to learn how to work wire is to do a simple line drawing.  Put the point of your pencil or pen on a piece of paper, look away, make a simple doodle, and then lift your pen.  Look at what you've drawn and then with your tools, try to turn a piece of wire into that doodle.  Knowing what your tools will do is half the battle.  "Practice on copper, perfect on silver" is a prescient piece of advice, especially in times like these.  Some students try to start a design with silver thinking that they may want to do it only once, especially if it's a lot of work.  I say, bah hum bug!  "Any great design worth doing once, deserves a repeat performance"!  Hopefully I've given you some food for thought, and as always, let me know what you think.  Oh yeah, that's Jax and Lola at the top, pondering the meaning of life.  It's important to appear indifferent when you're a cat!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


In case you haven't noticed, hoops are hot!  The Wire Hoop Duo is class debuting on Thursday, February 2nd from 6 to 9 at Brea Bead Works.  These earrings are an exercise in basket weave and wrapping.  One design concept, yields two different earrings.  Of course I think Swarovski crystals are the perfect foil for these earrings, but they look really good with fresh water pearls too!  If you want to learn basket weave, this is the class for you.  You'll also learn how to make custom ear wires to match your earrings.  Go to to find the class listing under workshops.  A repeat of this class will be on March 14th.  I would love to see you at either class!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

'Twas The Night Before Pasadena...

Less than 12 hours and counting.  By this time tomorrow, Maria Bastanchury and I will be ensconced in our "booth" at the Pasadena Bead and Design Show in the Pasadena Hilton.  We will be teaching classes and selling our wares.  I have four different wire working classes on the roster as well as selling class samples.  The picture above is the Free Form Wire Pendant class.  All of my classes include all the materials plus the use of tools.  All you have to do is show up, pay the class fee and be ready to learn.  Maria will be teaching two classes and selling Washi paper, finished Washi beads, fiber & bead kits, plus some of her latest Prisma Copper finished jewelry.  This is a great show for classes, as well as beads, stones, pearls, textiles, etc.  We hope to see you there, and if you can, please take a class with us.  You won't be sorry!  Go to for all the details.  Ciao, bellas!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Torture or Wrapture?

Today's class, Filigree Heart Pendant Necklace proved to be quite challenging for my victims, er, I mean my students, but I think everyone developed some skills they will either continue to master or vow NEVER to do again!  Wrapping takes patience and a little skill, but also developing a rhythm and knowing when to give it a rest is really important.  Usually your hands and fingers will tell you when it's absolutely, positively the time to stop.  But by then, pulling your hair out or waterboarding would seem more attractive. All kidding aside, when my students perservered and finished their heart, I could tell they were really pleased and liked their pendants.  So what's my point?  Don't give up.  Just give it a rest and revisit your project later.  Oh...and take two advil and send me a pic when you're done!  Thanks Ladies, for taking the class.  You're real troopers!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Monochromatic Magnetism

Many of my students know me as a  "monochrome girl".  I just love the subtle nuances that can be produced using one hue.  When designing in a monochrome palette, utilizing a simple gradation of 3 or more tints or shades, with various textures and finishes will elevate a piece from boring to extraordinary.  And, using one color is easy on the eye, so you can look at the piece longer.  Take for example Susan's pearl cuff.  This was the first project that she made in one of my classes and I instantly fell in love with it because it appealed to my monochromatic sense.  She used a 4 scale gradation of gray (which really isn't a color at all) and threw in some clear Swarovski to add sparkle and catch light.  Her dark wire was the perfect contrast to highlight the nuances of the piece.  She then created texture with the matte finish of the pearls, the shiny facets of the crystal, and the pattern repeat of the wire wrapping.  All in all, a really successful piece of jewelry.  Moral of the story?  If you're worried about mixing colors or don't think you have a good sense of color, just pick one color and go for it.  You can't miss with a monochromatic color palette! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Bling!

Happy New Year's everyone!  Here's to a better year than the last.  I thought I'd give you a peek at one of the Christmas gifts I made for Andrea.  Since this past summer, I've made more DoubleWave Pearl Cuffs than I ever thought possible.  So when I held my last DWPC class on the 18th of December, I thought it was time to make one entirely out of Swarovski crystal.  I had toyed with the idea for months, and Christmas gave me the perfect excuse.  I also used square wire for the first time and some of my Grandma's vintage Swarovski crystal beads.  Andrea loves it and it's an heirloom piece of sorts.  All because long ago I took apart some of Grandma's costume jewelry and ended up with a great stash of vintage beads.  My challenge to you for this month is to break out some vintage beads or deconstruct something and turn it into a new piece.  Send me your shots.  I'll post them on my blog!