December 23, 2013


Photos of Orbicularis and Euplocia Membliaria moths are what started this journey.  Then I discovered Mister Finch's work.  Now I want to sew moth sculptures of my own!

I've long had a fascination with moths.... they are nocturnal, fuzzy enough to want to pet them and have a fashion sense that is outstanding.  See my Pinterest board to see what I've been looking at.  

I've made paper patterns and torn up paper patterns. Third reitteration and it still isn't right.

 I've haunted thrift stores for fabrics as I could envision wool felted wings.  Dang.... 100% wool clothing seems to have totally disappeared.  If a suit has spandex in it, it just won't felt right.

So, I've been collecting parts and pieces to try working with.  Sigh, no.... I don't want to buy a yard of 60" wide fake fur to get a 2" piece of moth head fuzz out of.  If it doesn't work, I have to get rid of a lot of fake fur.  Thank heavens for Tucson's SAS, fabric by the pound.  They had 2 huge boxes of fake fur sample squares.  It's lightweight, so how in the world can you get to the counter to find out that you have 5.5 lbs of the stuff?

Then there is the creative problem of making male moth antenna.  They look like miniature ferns.  Sure, I could just do straight, single wire antenna, but I'd like to come up with something that looks like these feathery ones.  OK, thin wire is a possibility.  Yes, wire wrapping and clipping works (of sorts)  but 2 days to do one antenna  seems a bit much for my sense of impatience.  I'd rather be adding beads to fancy up the wings.  Any ideas?  It doesn't have to replicate the moth antenna, but be more essence of moth. How would you make them?

Cookies - oh dear, I started out to make a batch of Christmas cookies and got side tracked here. Well, guess the butter should be soft by now.  Hope you have Christmas cookies to munch on this Christmas eve eve...

December 21, 2013

Cold Season's Greetings

As the year turns, we start waiting for the light to return.....

With the Winter Solstice upon us, I want to take this opportunity to wish my family, friends &; followers a peaceful Solstice time and a happy and prosperous 2013.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:Of cabbages--and kings-- 
Lewis Carroll

I realize that I've been very quiet these past 7 to 8 months.  So ...... here is the story in brief.  I'm going to step back, slow down and take life a bit easier.

Being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis has left me confused in both mind and body. I went from not being able to do anything to a shadowy existence. It's not easy to make up new habits and ways of life at age 70. As one of my sisters said, "you had the good times, now you're freaking old so get used to it!"  Medication has been holding the major symptoms at bay but leaves me tired and sometimes thinking impaired.  Beyond that I have reclaimed an almost decent normal life with the help of a dear companion who puts up with my nasty attacks, washes dishes and will drive me anywhere. He is a comfort and a luxury I can't do without these days. 

Where am I in beading and creativity.  I can no longer travel to teach.  I can (and will) do small in-studio sessions by prior arrangement.  I will continue to publish patterns and pattern sets.  However one major side effect of the medications is a worsening of the terrible procrastination  symptoms.  It just seems to take me three to four times longer to get anything done.  I'm going to attempt to do another Spring String-Along; "Garden Stripes".   Bear with me, please -- I have the ideas, it's just getting them diagramed, written up and the samples crocheted.  Instead of 7 days between sections, it could be 10 days. Anyone want to trade comma, spelling, graph and grammar proofing for a string-along spot?  I have one valued helper in Terri, but a backup wouldn't hurt.  

The beading mess is normal, alive and multiplying.

I can't not create - it's who and what I am.  It just cannot go back to a full time job with all-nighters to get to shows or workshops. Hold on -- I may take more exploratory side trips and become another Grandma Moses.  Who knows what the future will bring.  I'm sure going to find out as soon as I get things more organized.  

I'll still be around, more in the background, but doing something.  If you are in Southern Arizona or South New Hampshire for a couple more summers;  get in touch and let me set up a more private workshop for you in my studio.  

November 8, 2013

Heading to Arizona for the winter

It's sleeting here in New Hampshire and there are little balls of ice all over the deck.  Good thing I found these at the Dollar store yesterday.  If I'm forced to put on socks with my flip-flops, they should make me happy.  I think these will work in an emergency.

The trailer is getting packed, I'm taking a workshop Saturday at the Kearsarge Indian Museum, then pack the car and hit the open road on Sunday..... if all goes as planned.

My kids are waiting for a huge snow storm on Sunday as just about every trip I start out for Arizona in the first big snow storm.

.....back to packing beads and contemplating wearing socks!

August 16, 2013

Kearsarge Indian Museum

 We took a trip today to Warner NH to visit the Indian Museum. It's pretty much one man's collection turned into a local museum.

 "...Bud and his wife, Nancy, Co-founders of Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum. The Thompsons were deeply troubled by the harm being done to the environment by greed and apathyWith the help of friends, Bud and Nancy set in motion a plan to create a unique museum, not just a mausoleum of artifacts, but an education and cultural center."

I found this loom set up quite interesting.  Although this shows it being used with quills, it would make a great portable loom.

Interesting that the quills all poke out the back side as the piece is being worked.

Huron, Micmac, Maliseet moosehair embroidery work

I didn't know that Moose had such long hair.  Nor did I know that it was used to embroider things.

beautifully delicate work.

It was one of those perfect days to be out and about in New England.

July 19, 2013

Fragments, Shards or Artifacts

I finally caught up with Lulu Fitcher in her West Peterborough  NH Studio and enjoyed an hour or so browsing through her pots, buttons and other neat ceramics.

She had a large jar of broken pot bits and here is what I came home with.  Can you see these backed with gold lame and freeform beading around them?

Modern archaeological artifacts?

 I first saw Lulu's ceramics at the LNHC Fair several years ago and have wanted her to do some small pieces for bead embroidery ever since that time.   Turns out all I had to do was root in her artifact jar.  

This is what happens when one of her unglazed porcelain fragments meets a bead crochet rope.

June 30, 2013

Moving & Sale

We've decided that we should live in Arizona full time, so now comes the logistics of finishing a house, selling it and disposing of  many years of stuff.  I plain just have too much stuff.  Here is some of it that might be of use to beaders or anyone who crafts. Oh, house has to go too......

I've had duplicate studios in both New Hampshire and Arizona for 13 years and need to find new homes for the furniture  fixtures and extra crafting supplies.  I warn you, very few of the things that I'll be selling can be mailed.  I'm in south Central NH near the VT and Mass. borders if you are near enough for a short road trip.  

OK, here's a PDF of  Craft related things.  CLICK HERE 

This is a special/custom built bead storage cabinet...  no beads in Plano boxes go with it and I'm not sure it would fit in a car as it's 6'tall.

Small metal light table - Pre-digital graphic arts, but I still enjoy using a light table that I can throw a T-square on.  There is also a Nikon SLR camera on the list.

Cabochons - These are several lots, no picking them apart.  Both my Father and Brother made cabs from Arizona copper minerals that are rare and from now defunct mines.  What would I do with the several hundred that I have left?  Go in with a friend, buy the lot and really save.

Who wants vintage glass, bakelite or plastic necklaces for the beads?  Great selection of them to either wear or take apart.

Are any of you (or spouses) MG car aficionados?  I've also just sorted out the remains of 40 years of car restoration stuff.  The cars are long gone, but I have 2 boxes of drawings, lube charts, original operator manuals, magazines, lots of old model cars, moto meter, car badges, etc.

May 11, 2013

Circus Bangle ~ String-Along

Julie's Cartwheel with Magatamas
Barbara's Ringmaster
 The String-Along is finished and participants are finishing up their Summer Bangle sets.  There are some beautiful bead and color combinations coming to light.

Julid used Magatamas for her edge beads and it reminds me of an overshot waterwheel. One could come up with some very interesting bangles this way.

Linda's Ringmaster

Roberta's Ringmaster

Terri's Ringmaster

Toni's glowing Ringmaster

The blue and white center pattern gives this a 4th of July Carnival look, doesn't it?

Linda needed only a partial pattern repeat to size her bangle correctly.  An added patch of solid black gives this a personal touch.

Just great circus colors in Roberta's bangle.

An invisible join is not always the answer.  A well done beaded bead works beautifully here.

Toni wasn't terribly happy with her colors.... however I love them.  Maybe being in High School in the early 60's when kelly green and dark blue were popular had something to do with this.

Give everybody a big hand as you enjoy their circus colors.

You can crochet your own Circus now
with the pattern set at Bead Patterns.

May 6, 2013

Shaped Beads in Bead Crochet

I've been doing a Circus Bangle String-Along for the past month using shaped Czech beads on one edge of each bangle.  While I've used most of these beads before, I've never paired them with #10 Delicas and used them one right after the other.  

While all of them worked well, some worked better than others.  Also, different manufacturers will have shaped beads that are slightly different sizes.  If you are going to use beads like this, it makes sense to test or swatch your work before you put a lot effort into making a piece.
Daggers are an almost-work bead. Some of the bases are just enough larger that the tend to flop over instead of standing straight up.  Also, the wide part can be wide enough to touch or overlap, allowing the edge beads to ruffle.  It's not a bad thing, but may not be what you expect.
Drops, the right size drops work beautifully as they have nice pointy bottom edges that fit into the crochet work. However, like daggers, their hips can be wide enough to bump the bead next to it and cause things to ruffle.
Ruffle Fix; modify your pattern to use a smaller bead in between the ruffling beads.
Lentils work beautifully and give your edge a different aspect as they sit sideways.  No problems here at all.
Rizos, a brand new bead on the market, has turned out to be one of my favorite beads for this kind of edge bead design.  They are not big and bold, nor do they come in bright primary colors, but they fit between 10/0 Delicas and stand up beautifully.
Drops in the Circus Cartwheel Bangle


Here are examples of how each of the shaped beads work in bead crochet ropes.....  Fun Stuff, no?

Daggers in the Circus Ringmaster Bangle
Lentils in  Circus Balancing Bangle

Rizos in Circus Trapeze Bangle

In a week or so, a pattern set for these Bangles will be on Bead Patterns  
Rizos in Circus Spangle Bangle

April 21, 2013

Small Town Circus

We went to look at a small local circus because I'm doing a circus themed bead crochet string-along....... Two hours to put it all up and 2 hours to take it all down..... then on to the next small town.  
4/20 - Safford, AZ
4/21 - Bisbee, AZ
4/22 - St. David, AZ
4/23 - Douglas, AZ
4/24 - Marana, AZ
4/25 - Eloy, AZ

For attractions there was a food trailer, two bouncy houses and a pony ride ......  No animals larger than a horse and I didn't see any evidence of the bird/pigeon act - The cotton candy machine wasn't working and there were no sideshows to be seen.

If one wanted to go RV'ing with a job, then joining a small circus might be the way to go.  Four hours setup/tear down + two one-hour shows and drive to the next town......

What do you think?

April 20, 2013

Circus Bangle ~ Cartwheel

Barbara's Balloon Wheel

The first bangle bracelet is called Cart Wheel after the painted wagon wheels of the antique circus.

Everyone in the String-Along group has been so busy that it would take me forever to describe all of the examples.  Let me say that the color and bead combinations are just fantastic.   Enjoy looking at all of these possibilities.

Fran's Version #1
Some of the edge beads have overly large hips and ruffle.  They need to be alternated with something a bit smaller.

Linda's Bangle

Marlene's Circus

Susan K's Cotton Candy

Toni's Cutie Pie
Barbara W's Bright Lights

Betty's Bangle

Betty's Bright Bangle

Terri's Lentil Bangle

Bette's Bangle