Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Stuff

Courtney's Necklace
Originally uploaded by satyridae
It was the night before Christmas and all through the house... No. It was the night before Christmas Eve and my son said that he needed a necklace for his girlfriend and it had to be special and it had to have dark green and seafoam in it and could I help?

So I dug through my lampwork beads and found one with the requisite colors and strung it on multiple strands of mixed green beads, finished it with a sterling heart toggle and posted a picture of it on my Facebook page.

The response was bigger than I generally get for my beadweaving. Because of that, I'm going to make up some more necklaces with lampwork focals and put them on Etsy. I'm working on one today that's blue and green. They will be more affordable than the elaborate beadweaving, and I'm finally using some of my own glass beads. I'm excited!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Opal Collar Step 17

Opal Collar Step 17
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I think I've got all the pearls on now, and nearly all of the crystals. Next comes covering all the threads on the back with ultrasuede to protect them and to give the necklace a more finished look. I think I am also going to add a layer of padding inside, because I like the slight poofiness the beadwork takes on if I let it.

There are close-ups, too. Click through to flickr to see 'em.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Opal Collar Step Sweet 16

This is a very fun part of the process, in which I'm adding crystals and pearls throughout. Some of the crystals are flat vintage Swarovskis (for instance, the one in the center bottom of photo), some are tiny 2mm Swarovski rounds (the ones scattered through the bright gold at the top), and some are Swarovski AB bicones (the one at the apex of the top central opal). The pearls are all freshwater and charmingly irregular. It surely sparkles.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Opal Collar Step 15

Cut Out!
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Cut out and ready to embellish further.

Opal Collar Step 14

Opal Collar Step 14
Originally uploaded by satyridae
The shape is complete. There are a few small areas to fill in, and then I'll cut it out. I'm so ready to have it cut out!

There's more embellishing I want to do, primarily with pearls and crystals. I'm hoping to be able to get a lot done today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Opal Collar Step 13

Opal Collar Step 13
Originally uploaded by satyridae
It's not a fast process, this bead embroidery. I spent several hours adding more green-gold beads. It's looking a little less Czarina and a little more Hollywood to me now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Opal Collar Step 12

Opal Collar Step 12
Originally uploaded by satyridae
The beads I ordered came yesterday, and today I got a chance to work on the collar. I love the subtle greens and pinks and yellows in these 22K gold-plated beads. They are perfect in real life with the opals!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rainbow Brights

Rainbow Brights
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I'm still waiting for beads, letting the opal collar sit idle till they arrive.

In the meantime, I wanted to play with something shiny. And golly, this striped bracelet is really, really shiny. It's made with silver-lined Delica beads, and it sparkles like an old Vaudeville chanteuse. My true love likes it enough to wear, which is remarkable as he's not a jewelry kind of guy. Though he does put me in mind of an old Vaudeville... oh, never mind.

Monday, December 14, 2009


The morning sun on the green beads was just too, too much. So I'm going to take the sage advice of my friend Carol Dean (whose lovely beadwork can be found here) and use some 24K green gold plated Delicas. Which, naturally, I don't have on hand. They should be here in a couple of days.

The bright green around the pearl "flowers", while not suited to the elegance of this particular necklace, is a really wonderful look that I am not at all finished with. Stay tuned. :-)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Opal Collar Step 11

Opal Collar 11
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Some gold fill-in along the top tonight.

Now I'm dithering about the color around the pearls. The green echoes and amplifies the green fire in the opals, but I wonder if it doesn't diminish the elegance just slightly.

Dither, dither, dither...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Opal Collar Step Ten

Opal Collar Step Ten
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Today I had to relocate two of the amber beads for the pearl enclosures to work right. So that's what I did. The pearls are all irregular, and I love the way they look. It's starting to look more like what it's looked like all along in my head.

Friday, December 11, 2009


No opal collar photo for the update- I've gone around and back through the existing beadwork, strengthening and tightening. It's part of making jewelry that lasts- but it's nothing to see. :-)

Here's a cute little pair of earrings, though, that I made for holiday wear. Available in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Opal Collar Step Nine

Originally uploaded by satyridae
One circuit around in gold beads.

Now what?

I have no idea! I'm going to let it sit overnight...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Opal Collar Step Eight

Opal Collar Update
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's some of the edging around the Ceylon white beads. The edging is the same color as the opal bezels- 22KT Delica beads. It's super sparkly! I've spent the whole day on it and I am very happy with today's progress.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Opal Collar Step Seven

Opal Collar Update
Originally uploaded by satyridae
The bezels are all done! Yay! They sure took longer than I expected they would, but I love the way it looks. The next step is to decide how much color to add. At this point I'm thinking not very much. Some more gold, for sure, perhaps snaking around the amber chips.

I'm also unsure about what to do above the central opal- right now I'm leaning toward having the necklace's top line dip there as well- sort of a sweetheart neckline. It will become clearer as I add more beads. It always does.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Opal Collar Step Six

Opal Collar 2/3 Bezeled
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I wish I could figure out how to capture the fire in these opals! They are so beautiful- almost distracting while I'm trying to work, they twinkle and sparkle and throw glorious shafts of color into my eyes.

Five more opals to bezel, but tonight I got invited to go out to dinner, so too bad for the beadwork. Tomorrow is another day. ;-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Opal Collar Update

I've been bezeling away here, and have all the center opals finished and one whole side. I'd love to get the other side finished tomorrow and post some photos. It is really starting to look like something for the Czarina!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Opal Collar, Step Five

Opal Collar, Step Five
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's a close-up so that the rings of pearly white seed beads will show up against the white backing.

I didn't get a lot accomplished today, but I did get several of the bezels enclosed with circles of white beads. There are a couple of pearls and several clear crystals embellishing the places where the rings meet and would overlap.

At this point, I'm really leaning toward keeping the embroidery very simple. The opals are so flashy, so stunning, that it almost feels like too much color would take away from them. So the plan for now is to encircle all the opals with at least two rows of white beads and then re-assess.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Opal Collar, Step Four

Opal Collar Update
Originally uploaded by satyridae
All the opals are bezeled, or sewn into place using peyote-stitched beaded collars. I've added four amber beads that are shaped like flat discs. It's really hard to see because of the white backing, but three of the central opals now have a row of shimmery white beads around the outside of their bezels as well as a couple of sparkling crystal accents and a few gold beads.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Opal Collar Update

I hoped I'd be able to say that I had all the opals surrounded with cozy little golden bezels tonight. Alas, no. I do only have one to go, so I look forward to posting a real update, with a photo tomorrow.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Opal Collar, Step Three and a half

An Even Dozen Opals
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I stayed up until after one making bezels. My dad says I was clear as mud in my last entry, so:

To make a beaded bezel around a cabochon, I first sew a ring of beads as close as possible to the stone using the backstitch technique. This is done by picking up three beads on the needle, sewing down past the last bead, then going back under the first bead and coming up again to sew through the last two beads. Once the initial ring of beads is complete, I go through all the beads one more time with the thread. This helps them to line up nicely. Then I work a row of peyote stitch on top of the ring of beads, which means I add a bead on top of every other bead. I continue to work in peyote until I think there is a tall enough collar to hold the cabochon in, then I do a final row of peyote using teeny tiny crystal clear beads. The tiny beads cause the gold beads to fold over and draw together like a drawstring, snugging the stone beneath.

Five more stones to go!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Opal Collar, Step Three

Four Bezels Complete
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Four of the opals are surrounded with peyote stitch bezels worked in size 11/0 Delica beads and tiny clear charlottes. The Delicas are 24K gold plated, and I think they really make the opals look even more full of fire than they looked on their own.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Opal Collar, Step 2

Opal Collar, Step 2
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Once the opals were laid out, I picked some beads that maybe worked with them and poured them out randomly. Some didn't work at all, some cozied right up to the opals and practically sewed themselves on.

After I made the preliminary choices, then I did one of my favorite things- painstakingly teased all the little piles of beads back apart and put them into their individual containers. I can contentedly imagine cleaning up a bead store after an earthquake with a pair of tweezers and a million little containers. Seriously. It may be a sickness.

Opal Collar, Step One

Opal Collar
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I lucked into an old Spice Islands glass jar full of gemstone opal cabochons at an estate sale several years ago. Since I moved all my stuff into the studio, I put the jar full of oil and opals where their fire caught the light. They have been whispering to me lately, and last week I took them out of the oil and started moving them around. They say they'd like to be part of a bead-embroidered collar. Who am I to argue?

I have really enjoyed reading other beaders' blogs which follow their process step-by-step. So much so that I've decided to document the opal collar here. The photo is step one- bare opals on Pellon.

At this moment, I'm leaning toward winter shades, whites and creams and ambers and golds. I'll have to see what the opals think about that. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The New Kids

Tile Assortment
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I was away from home for a solid month, and when I got back, there were so many things to do, blogging sort of fell off of the radar.

The new kids (in the photo) are Scrabble tiles! With altered art images on 'em. They are a lot of fun to make, and I have some listed on etsy.

In beading news, I've just finished a vessel- the first one I have done in a really long time. It felt great to be working around glass again- I found I'd missed it very much. I like making jewelry, and I enjoy making earrings. I love working around vessels, even though that's not what sells.

I have a bracelet in this month's issue of Step by Step Bead magazine. That's the good news. The bad news is that they are folding, so there's nothing more to be gained from that avenue. I wonder what happens to the unused issues of one's subscription- anyone know?

Mostly this update is to say "I'm back!" -like Sam Gamgee said, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The End Of Summer

The summer is winding down. I'm ruminating, brooding, thinking. It's been a hugely eventful beading year, with publications, prizes and my first booth. I have a lot of ideas percolating, including a peyote stitch bracelet with the most beautiful Echinacea bloom ever- lifted straight from my garden. I made some earrings to order, and another pair for a friend. Mostly I'm puttering around the studio, content. I'm fascinated by how mixing up colors can change a simple V pattern- I love the bracelet in the photo, it's so Victorian looking. But if I plugged in some neon colors, I think it would look mid-century modern.

Underneath that contentment, though, is a little voice screeching about needing to work more, about never letting up, about focus and drive and ambition. I'm hoping that if I ignore it, it will go away. Even the garden needs a little fallow time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Step by Step Beads

I got my copy of the September/October issue of Step by Step beads yesterday. It is with unalloyed delight that I found my necklace (which I call "What Remains" and they call "Striking Jasper") and my photo on page 42. I'm trying to restrain myself, but I did run out this morning to show one of my neighbors who was innocently walking his dog past my house. Oh, and there were some people last night who I kind of recognized, so I showed THEM too. It's the first time I've ever had my photo in a magazine, okay? I'm a little overcome. The other time I was published it just had my name. Not the photo and the website and so on. I'm giddy.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Home Again!

I'm back home from the Betsy-Tacy convention. My first booth went really well- I sold a lot of jewelry and I got a lot of great feedback, too. It was nice to have a first experience in a room full of friends, people I've known online for years.

Now I'm ready to go have a booth with a bunch of strangers!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Betsy Was A Bookmark

Betsy's Wedding WIP
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I haven't posted in so long! I've been busy making jewelry for the Betsy-Tacy convention, for which I am leaving Tuesday morning at 6 am! I have lots of jewelry made for it, and my booth should have a nice variety- my lowest priced item is $6, my highest $1090. So, something for everyone's pocketbook.

Wish me luck! I'll be putting my Etsy shop on vacation, and I'll be back at the end of July- with tales to tell, I hope.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Julia's Grand Opera Necklace

Deep Valley, Minnesota was never Julia Ray's native heath. She couldn't wait to graduate and go out into the Great World. She wanted more than anything to sing Grand Opera. This is the necklace I can see around her delicate, sylph-like neck the day she made her debut.

Made almost entirely of vintage components, this necklace features clear glass cabochons and sparkling crystals. The new crystals I added are Swarovski, the older ones probably Czechoslovakian. The clasp is a vintage sterling filigree clasp. The chain is sterling, also vintage. Modern head and eyepins are all sterling.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

WIP Bead Embroidery

WIP Bead Embroidery
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Where I'm heading with the crazy lace agate cabs I lucked into the other day. This is going to be a necklace, I'm mostly sure. I spent a large portion of the weekend working on it, and it was one of those times where I 'd look up to find that 7 hours had passed in what felt like 15 minutes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Beads

New Beads
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I had so much fun yesterday, playing with some reactive glass. Here are the results, which I'm really happy with. Okay, so they aren't all aesthetically pleasing, but I learned something with each one! I love the small barrel-shaped one in the center, it's a deeply mottled, almost tie-dyed blue with metallic dots. I also like the long barrel beads. Oh, and the opal white base with the multicolored dots. And.... Yeah, this is fun!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Biggs Junction Jasper Necklace

Jasper Necklace
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I couldn't wait to work up the jasper cab I got the day before yesterday- and here it is! It's already posted in my etsy shop. Isn't that a lovely stone? It looks like mountains beyond mountains, I think, and the colors are so rich and velvety that you could fall right in. The bezel is open on both sides- even though the back is not as polished or as landscape-y looking, it's still far too beautiful to hide.

I'm really thrilled with how this one turned out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Murmuring Lake Choker

Murmuring Lake Choker
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's the necklace that was giving me fits last night, finally finished. I was having a bit of trouble getting all the strands pulled together in a cohesive way, but ended up doing large peyote endcaps, and that worked out fine.

Another Betsy-Tacy themed piece, this one is really intricate and ornate. It's listed in my etsy shop, and there are larger photos on flickr as well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Giannini Mia (Betsy's Venetian Necklace)

Here's another in my Maud Hart Lovelace series, now for sale in my etsy shop. I love the way this one looks, with the crystals and the embedded bits of sparkly in the focal beads. It's the one you want to hang up in your window when you're not wearing it.

I'm just about finished with the next piece in the series, based on Murmuring Lake- but I'm wrestling with the dragonfly bead. And I have to come up with some end caps.

I can't adequately express how much fun I'm having with this particular project.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Betsy's Herbarium Necklace

Now available in my etsy shop!

When Betsy, Tacy and Tib were juniors at Deep Valley High School, the evil Botany teacher Mr. Gaston assigned herbariums early in the year. They were to collect plant samples throughout the school year, dry and label them, and turn in the completed herbariums at the end of the school year. As you may have guessed, our heroines were too busy having fun to bother with any old herbariums. Until the night before they were due. Although they did collect some interesting samples, they did not have any fall plants in their herbariums!

This necklace was inspired by the early green shoots which comprised the vast majority of Betsy's herbarium.

Created with crystals, seed beads and pony beads, it sparkles with many shades of green and is every bit as unusual as Betsy's Herbarium.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Betsy's Pink Silk Necklace

I've begun listing my new Maud Hart Lovelace collection- jewelry inspired by the Betsy-Tacy series! Here's Betsy's Pink Silk necklace, now available at my etsy store. The idea for this came from Betsy and Joe's honeymoon in Betsy's Wedding. Betsy has a pink negligee, and when she wears it, Joe calls her his pink silk wife. That always seemed so romantic to me, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt compelled to weave together all sorts of soft pinks and pearls and sparkly crystals. It's a real standout when it's on.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Betsye's Dramatic and Mysterious Necklace

The newest entry into the Maud Hart Lovelace inspired jewelry collection.

Betsy Ray came back from a trip to the metropolis of Minneapolis in the winter of her sophomore year resolved to be Dramatic and Mysterious, and spell her name Betsye. Part of this plan includes the color green, and clouds of Jockey Club perfume. You will have to supply your own perfume.

Seed beads, Swarovski crystals and sterling silver findings.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Finally learning RAW

Close up RAW
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Thanks to Linda, of Wild Wicked Beads who generously gave me a PDF of understandable, easy-to-follow instructions, I've finally started to understand Right Angle Weave! I like the geometry of it- it squares up very nicely after the little beads get put into the corners of the stitches.

I need more hours in a day for beading.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Purple and Dove Grey

Purple and Dove Grey
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's a photo of the first bracelet in what I plan to be a series of pieces loosely based on the works of Maud Hart Lovelace, who wrote the Betsy-Tacy series of books. There is going to be a Betsy-Tacy convention in Mankato, MN this summer, and I've been invited to sell some jewelry there. I thought convention-goers might like some jewelry that ties in with the books.

Carney Sibley, who is a year older than Betsy, Tacy and Tib, thinks of her family as sort of "dove grey" and when she meets Sam Hutchinson and his extravagant family, she thinks of them as "purple". This color scheme is revisited throughout the book.

If you haven't read these books, you should. If you have read the books, you should come to the convention. Read more about it here: BT Convention.

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Line of Jewelry

New Stuff
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's a look at my latest project- my friend who is a doula thinks her clientele will dig the goddess beads. The blue one on the beaded strands is for her, as a thank you. Here's hoping!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sagenitic Crazy Lace Agate Necklace

Here it is, put together! This is the second iteration of the bail- the first time, I tried two loops, one on each side of the bezel but I didn't like the way it looked. So now it's one longish tube bail. Click through to Flickr to see more detail.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The New Project

The New Project
Originally uploaded by satyridae
All I have to do now is put it together!

Cloak and Dagger Dangles

Cloak and Dagger Dangles
Originally uploaded by satyridae
My dad was here for a visit last month, and he plaintively mentioned that he would like to have some of my beadwork for his windowsill. I gave him the bowl of lampwork beads, and he picked some out. Well, he actually picked out about 25! I picked 4 from within that grouping, and worked this bottle around them. It had to be relatively open, as it will be in a windowsill catching light, so most of it is netting. I had all the netting and peyote done, but the netting on the shoulders spoke very firmly to me last night and would not shut up till it was embellished with another layer.

It's not exactly what I had in mind, but I like it. I suspect my dad will too.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Speaking of Obsessions

Mixed Blues
Originally uploaded by satyridae
There's this lovely rod with many blues mixed all together in it, such that you never know what color you are going to get, exactly. It seems to want to be discs and barrels, though. I love the randomness of it, and the lovely swirls that happen. Some of the beads make me think of Jupiter, with all the swirling colors.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Disc beads

Disc beads
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I've made several disc beads lately. The first one was kind of a mistake- I was winding glass onto a mandrel and broke the bead release, so just popped it in the kiln for fun. But once it was out of the kiln, I started looking it with different eyes. I've used one for a clasp already, and have visions of these being focals on necklaces, or clasps, or decorations on the tops of bottles, or... well, lots of things.

It's funny how obsessions come out of nowhere in particular and take root.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Priday Plume Agate Choker

Priday Plume Agate Choker
Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's the necklace I was nattering on about yesterday. I love the focal, but I'm not so sure about the bezel colors.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bead Dreams Deferred

I'm not going to dry up or sag or explode, but I did not get into Bead Dreams with my DNA sculpture. I'm not surprised, I know that the competition is really stiff. I'm disappointed but not crushed. The best part about it was that they told me I didn't get in via real mail. I think that's pretty classy.

In other news, I made a new necklace. I got the focal with a box of other cabochons at an estate sale some time ago. I didn't know what it was beyond "some sort of agate", so I took it to a rock guy over the weekend. He was very excited by the stone and told me it was a Priday Plume Agate, rare and choice and desirable. That was fun! No photos yet, but soon.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Aviva's Bracelet

Originally uploaded by satyridae
Here's the Queen's bracelet. Well, if the little girl is a Princess, it stands to reason that her mama is the Queen, right?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

For A Little Princess

E's Bracelet
Originally uploaded by satyridae
This is for a very young apprentice Princess. She will be very super-extra-sparkly in it. I made it once then thought about the other 4 and 5 year old girls I've known and unmade it and re-strung it with 10 lb test braided thread and knotted between every crystal and glued ad libitum. I hope it will last long enough for her to outgrow it, but I'm very doubtful! No matter how long it lasts, I hope it brings her some joy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wisteria Spiral Choker

Wisteria Spiral Choker
Originally uploaded by satyridae
I haven't blogged for an awfully long time, but I've been beading some! I made a couple of custom bracelets and I'm working on a bottle for my dad who is here visiting from Ohio. The picture is a choker with two of my own lampwork beads and a spiral stitch base. That piece is on etsy.

I'm playing with some interesting ideas, but nothing seems to be coming together- I've got a few trays full of UFOs. Stay tuned. :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009


The Bead Art Originals team is having a sale to welcome spring from April 12 through 18th ! I'm offering free shipping- go to our Bead Art Originals Blog to see what the other team members are doing!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

An Air of Cool Superiority- After Rosalind Franklin

Well, it's done. Assembled and submitted to the Bead Dreams contest. I am so lucky to have Dan who fabricated the base & arm out of Plexiglas! He did a beautiful job. Click through to flickr for more photos.

This has been a really fun and interesting project. Next up, some custom work for a customer, and after that- well, let's just say I have some interesting ideas I can hardly wait to play with.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DNA Sculpture- Sneak Preview

Here's a sneak peek at my newest piece! The plexiglas support arm is freshly glued into the base and must sit for 24 hours before I can finish twisting the sculpture and securing it to the base. I'm pretty happy with it. I may even submit it to Bead Dreams, what do you think?

Monday, March 16, 2009