Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December First Everyone

Create Your Style has a Christmas Calendar for its Facebook fans. It's 25 days of sparkling surprises. Check it out and see what you think! The picture above is for today, December 1st.  If you decide to enter the contest to choose the name that went with this design project, your name will be entered to win one of five "creative jewelry kits". Pretty cool!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Swarovski Recommended Store

 Last weekend TBF had its official celebration of being a Swarovski Elements Recommended Store. We started the morning with a wonderful brunch catered by Astaria Restaurant & Bar. There's Ron and me checking out all the yummy food.

Next we had a great Trends Presentation (given by you-know-who) featuring inspirations Fall/Winter 2012/13. For this time period, Swarovski detailed five current cities that impact and influence modern design, capturing them in a snapshot of time; Chicago, Copenhagen, Shanghai, Berlin and Istanbul. Swarovski says "It is here, in these clusters of collective creativity, that cultures merge and different views and values are not only afforded but actively encouraged. This season, the design world seeks greater acceptance and expression, and the city is the canvas upon which we paint our understanding and ideas. May we all find inspiration in the cities we choose to live."
After the presentation, guests were treated to a "make and take" project designed by Team America.  "Who doesn't love crystal?" is demonstrated by our guests checking out all the crystals placed on the work tables.

The rest of the day included our friends Sarah and Julie (left to right in their matching aprons!) from TierraCast demonstrating resin techniques using their wonderful radiant rings (which I love to use), charms, spacers and of course Swarovski Xilion chatons and flatbacks.
Thanks to everyone who made our day so memorable!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fun With Filigrees will be in Tucson

Well, where has the summer gone! Honestly, I can't believe that I haven't blogged in so long. Lots of things have been happening. I've been busy doing some simple designing for Swarovski. I'm one half of Design Team America; the other half being Ron Rock, my friend, and Key Account Manager for Swarovski North America. We were tasked with designing simple projects for the DIY segment, which can be found on the Create Your Style website under the 'mini projects' section. 

For the summer, we designed using Swarovski's filigree components. These components seem to be under-utilized. These beautiful filigrees are set with luscious point-back crystals which create a serious sparkle to these components! Apparently, they were a big hit in Rhode Island too and Team America was asked to teach a selection of lovely filigree jewelry in Tucson. I've included a picture of one of the pieces. They seemed very 'royal' to me so the whole collection was named after Queens or Princesses! The one above is Isabella. I believe registration is open for all of the wonderful classes and 'make and takes' being offered in Tucson. If you'll be there, I hope you will stop by and say hi.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Beading by the Bay

Atlas by Rachel Nelson Smith
Asis by Sherry Serafini
Aelia by Marcia DeCoster
Beading by the Bay is back for its third year in March of 2012. The pieces for the upcoming retreat are fantastic. A bead-weaver's dream! Swarovski Elements will be hosting our Thursday night Meet and Greet with a special Trends presentation by their Key Account Manager for North America, Ron Rock (My BFF). General registration begins on September 15th. It's shaping up to be another sell out event.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eating Blog Crow

Okay, I'm the first to admit that I made a big boo boo. On a previous blog, I stated that I don't like hook and eye closures as I was referring to a bracelet called "Diamonds are Forever". I was informed that the piece actually called for a snap! I stand corrected. I don't mind the hook and eye in itself, but I just don't like sewing them in place! Go figure....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Fun With Filigrees

A few blogs ago, I mentioned that when Create-Your-Style with Swarovski Elements posts "Summer Fun with Filigrees" by Design Team America, I would send you the link. The directions are now on the website under the "Design" heading and then under "mini projects". 

Encourage your local bead store to carry these wonderful filigree components. They can be made in all sorts of color combinations and metal finishes. It does take a couple of weeks to get them in though. 

I love show and tell. So if you design something you want to share, please let me know. It can also be submitted to Swarovski as well. I'm not sure how it works, but they do post designs that are submitted by their followers on their website.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday Beading...

Why is it that we seem to find ourselves in the middle of a dozen or so projects at the same time and still want to make something new? I was getting ready to watch the ballgame on T.V. - Mets vs Giants and I needed some inspiration. So, I began flipping through some old beading publications. On the cover of Beadwork, Dec. 09/Jan. 10 is a piece called "Diamonds are Forever" and just so happened to be designed by my BFF Marcia Decoster.

The piece is made up of matching medallions using ladder stitch, netting and making picots. I recall seeing Marcia wearing one in oranges and fuchsias with dangles wired in between the medallions that was fabu. Just the ticket, I thought. Using a beautiful chocolate matte seed bead for the base with a matching metallic brown to complement, the piece was coming along. I added pea-green firepolish with Swarovski Elements Bronze Shade crystals and dark brown pearls as accents. My dangles are made up of vintage crystal and Czech glass and some metal beads and charms. I will admit that I'm not big on hook and eye closures (don't tell Marcia) so I used a bronze magnetic clasp and eliminated the small hook and eye medallion. Ready to wear in just a few short hours and my Giants won too!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dallas is coming for a visit!!

I love having Dallas Lovett come to visit from one of our favorite cities, Phoenix. Actually, it feels like Arizona weather today with it being in the 80's - 90's. Dallas will be teaching for us in September, the 10th and 11th. So save the date everyone! We have two brand new pieces being taught here first (on the west coast). The way he engineers his designs are brilliant; as well as his use of crystals and seed beads as an enhancement in his pieces! I will let you know when the classes are open for registration. Sedona, pictured above will be on Saturday, and Camelot, pictured below will be on Sunday. Dallas' sister Roni does all his photography. Aren't they beautiful?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Swarovski Elements Filigrees are Awesome!!

I have just finished 14 pieces that I collaborated on, with my friend Ron, that are being sent to Swarovski Elements in Austria. The interesting thing is that we designed solely with filigrees as the focal pieces. I was unprepared for how great the pieces turned out. When you wear filigrees, you feel like Royalty so a lot of the named pieces are after famous "Royal" women. Notice, I followed my own advice and named the pieces before I sent them off! The beautiful collar below was also created with one of my most favorite findings, the Radiant ring, by our friends at TierraCast. 

Three of the 14 pieces will be held out so that they can be taught for Swarovski in Tucson next year.  Swarovski's website Create-Your-Style (which highlights the Do-It-Yourself projects) will feature all eleven projects with pictures and instructions by America's design team! When they are posted, I will let you know.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Little Hoot's Got Relatives Everywhere!

It's been a while since I've been in front of my computer blogging, but I just had to share this one with you. My BFF Marcia has a traveling companion called Little Hoot. When she travels, Little Hoot goes with her to many exotic places, I might add. Marcia usually shares her travels with Little Hoot on her blog.  So I was helping set up the jewelery entries in the Fine Arts division of the San Mateo County Fair and as I was leaving, I was walking through the Home Arts division. Whom do you think I saw on display for all to see? One of Little Hoot's relatives. He's probably one of his cousins from his Dad's side. So to all you Dads, Grandpas and Brothers, have an early Happy Father's Day from the Hoot family!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Sneek Peek

We just got a preview of an exciting new class! My BFF Marcia DeCoster has done it again! Take a look at the picture above of her Dream Keeper Vessel Ring and reserve Sunday, August 14th on your calendar. It's a class you won't want to miss. Need I say more? In this case, a picture does say a thousand words....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Crazy for Serena - still!!

Since I can't play favorites, I'm highlighting another version of Serena. My friend Maclovia, Mac for short has recently learned to weave with seed beads. We have another addict! She finished three Serena bracelets. I've talked about this design before. It's from a book by my BFF Marcia called, Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Oppulence. Mac wove her piece in a beautiful metallic chocolate brown and the embellished top is with a matte metallic chocolate brown and Swarovski Elements Sand Opal. It is super elegant!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

ISSUE WATER: The Magazine For Individualists

If you haven't checked out the inaugural issue (in this soon-to-be annual publication) by Create Your Style with Swarovski Elements, run to your nearest bead store and take a look. This beautifully created magazine is filled with artistic inspiration and design projects and instructions created by Swarovski Ambassadors. There are NO advertisements and the pictures are beautifully photographed. For $10, it is a steal! Swarovski does include a section about their design contest, cruises and shows and also devotes a section to the world's water crisis; a must read. At the end is a listing of Swarovski Recommended Stores, globally. We will be listed in the next issue, which is way exciting!!

Having fun with Carousel!

My BFF Marcia gifted me her kit from Beading by the Bay called Carousel. I just finished it! It never ceases to amaze me how truly talented my 'beady' friends are. The spinning component, which is aptly named, is really genius. Not that all my friends aren't geniuses...
The way the layers of the 'Carousel' fit together is brilliant. The piece was exclusively designed as a project for Beading by the Bay, but I'm telling you as soon as Marcia begins to teach it, sign up quick!! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Almost Famous"

I was told that I was famous the other day! I got quite a chuckle out of that. It appears that some of my designs and those that I collaborated with my friend, Ron Rock, are now on Swarovski's website.  The pieces were designed for the DIY (Do It Yourself) market of Swarovski Elements and we were told would not be for publication. We were to create designs using the latest innovation products at that time. Working with a color palette of Jet, Crystal and Golden Shadow got to be a bit of a challenge though. Also, that of using big holed beads! Honestly, how many ways can you string up big-holed beads? So why are they now appearing on the website? I know not. However, if I'm asked again, I will name my pieces and then send it off to Austria! Hopefully, I'm a little more creative than calling a necklace piece "Bracelet". A big lol.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Seems like forever....

It seems like forever since I've blogged, but I was busy scheduling our Summer 2011 class schedule. I have a sneak peek for you all. A little bit of a beautiful necklace called "En Pointe" by Marcia DeCoster. For all of you gals in the neighborhood the class will be on Saturday and Sunday, August 13th and 14th. You may check out the schedule in a week or so by going to The Beading Frenzy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

J'me Boutique

My friend Jamie at J'me Boutique in downtown San Mateo is once again reinventing her business by  launching a vintage clothing section in her shop. Today was the grand opening and the Mimosa's were yummy! If you're local ladies, check it out at 60 East Third Avenue. I wish you could see an up-close picture of the brooch necklace she is wearing, very cool!! And don't forget to recycle your old jewelry into something new. Stop by TBF on Saturday, April 16th or 23rd from 2:30pm until closing and let us help you give a new look to your old pieces.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beading by the Bay 2011

It's hard to believe that our second annual Beading by the Bay retreat is in the past. The weekend was awesome! Beginning with a great Trends presentation by my friend Ron Rock of Swarovski Elements, having great food prepared daily and last but certainly not least three awesome women who taught three terrific projects. We certainly shared many laughs together. I want to personally thank all of you who made the weekend a truly wonderful experience. 

I'm looking forward to next years workshops featuring Sherry Serafini, Rachel Nelson Smith and Marcia DeCoster.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brass, Your Next Favorite Metal

Yikes, Silver today was almost $37 raw/ounce. Well until it starts to drop, (ha ha) if ever, I have discovered that brass is a great alternative. Most silver jewelry being done today is translatable to another metal besides silver. Unfortunately, I do have trouble offering chain maille in copper or brass. In my opinion, sterling is still the best metal when weaving jump rings together forming simple to intricate chain designs.

This past Sunday, I sat in on a class by master Metal Smith, Iris Sandkuhler. I was interested in her techniques for texturing, stamping, antiquing and riveting metal.  The class was suitable for beginners and was a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon. I have a new appreciation for brass components. I will continue to bring in more variety of brass items so that students have a reasonable alternative to the higher priced silver. 

Vintaj makes some great brass filigree beads and components, Tierra Cast has introduced a new brass plate to their wonderful line of casted clasps, beads, findings and charms (and they are manufactured in California to boot!) and Softflex has manufactured a great craft wire called Vintage Bronze which goes perfectly with our collection of brass beads, findings and chain. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oscar Night!

Okay, I admit it, I was one of millions who watched the Academy Awards on Sunday. My reasoning of course was to see what inspiration I could get from the jewelry. Many actresses wore very little jewelery, (Hillary Swank looked like she left home without them) and some were over the top (insert your favorite name here - Lady Gaga comes to mind, but it's the wrong show). The color on the runway in couture was scarlet, but the jewelry was definitely diamonds and emeralds - a pretty bobble that is green in color and measures 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale.  Its composition is Beryllium aluminum silicate and it is associated with May. Those beautiful green gemstones were seen on many starlets from Annette Benning to Reese Witherspoon.  My favorite however was Amy Adams. Her jewelry was spectacular!! That little bobble on her wrist, a bracelet watch by Cartier, is 30+ carats of carved emeralds and diamonds and is valued at a cool one million. Yikes! All-in-all the Oscars, with all its glamor and glitz, is a great way to get your creative juices flowing...ah until next year.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Looking forward to Spring!

It has been rather cold here in Northern California and in fact the forecast is for snow in the San Jose hills, yikes! Okay, I admit it, we Californians are wimps when it comes to temperatures below 50 degrees.  I am so looking forward to spring when bulbs start blooming and trees begin to show their delicate blossoms, a sure sign that the weather will also warm up! 

In the meantime, it's easy to create your own beaded blossoms to admire. I was gifted a kit in Tucson called Blossom Necklace by Val Hirata, a Swarovski Elements Ambassador from Hawaii. I am sharing a picture of my finished piece. The wired blossom is a great use of article 5621, the twist bead, pictured in Crystal Golden Shadow (outer layer) and Crystal Tabac (inner layer).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Product - woven wire chain.

While in Tucson, I discovered something new and interesting - woven wire chain. Perhaps some of you have already discovered this interesting wire item. For me it was a first. A company named Silver Silk has developed a patent pending machine that knits wire into a supple, durable knit that can be as small as 1.2 mm and as wide as 4.8mm (flat) in width. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but I brought three colors into the shop; silver, gold and bronze.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We're Official!

With much pomp and circumstance, Ron Rock, Key Account Manager of Swarovski Elements North America presented The Beading Frenzy with its Recommended Store Certificate. It was a proud moment.

We are in the process of submitting to host a crystal beading contest with Swarovski Elements! Stay tuned for more details as they become available!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blooming Flowers

While in Tucson, this past week, I came across some lovely acrylic beads in the shape of trumpet flowers which are reminiscent of vintage German acrylics. For the store, I bought a selection of pastel colors just in time for spring. These flowers measure approximately 24mm long and 24mm at its widest part. Dangling some of my favorite Swarovski Elements from the center of the flower completed a charming, light-weight earring. Just one of many possibilities!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Back From Tucson!

TBF just returned back from Tucson after spending multiple days at the Swarovski Elements showroom; teaching, watching demos and getting a private showing of the new crystal colors and innovations. They are fantastic! 

The new Bronze Shade is fast becoming our new favorite color. Come by your Swarovski Recommended Store and check out the new colors and shapes. Unfortunately, these beauties won't be available for sale until the end of February/early March when they will ship from Austria. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tucson - Here We Come!!

I finally got all the kits made for Swarovski's Sparkling Make and Takes. The earrings are beautiful; one design more conservative than the other. Hopefully, appealing to a broad range of beaders. If you're in Tucson come on by Swarovski Elements showroom located in the YWCA venue at 525 North Bonita Avenue. It will be open on Tuesday, February 1st. All the workshops and Make and Take projects will be on display. And if there are openings for any of the classes, you can sign up then. Crystal Cascade is shown above in Crystal Golden Shadow and Crystal Copper (not pictured is Crystal Silver Shade).

Pictured above is Tearful Hearts made with Swarovski's latest heart design, article #6240, the Wild Heart pendant (pictured is Dark Indigo and Crystal - not pictured is Indian Pink and Crystal). The design of the heart with its elongated point is reminiscent of old German glass heart beads. They are way cool!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Create-Your-Style's Newest Recommended Store

We are so proud to announce that we have just been added to an elite group of stores, world-wide, by Swarovski Elements as their newest recommended store. WOW!! We are in very good company and it is truly an honor to be singled out by Swarovski. We would love to hear from you if you have visited any of our sister stores listed on the website. Let us know and we will post it!

Friday, January 7, 2011


My friend Rachel is an incredible bead artist. I've lovingly nick-named her 'the bead machine'. Her incredible talent for design and execution is mind-blowing! She hails from Santa Cruz and you probably know her by her full name, Rachel Nelson Smith. I'm privileged that Rachel has consented to teach for me once more. Her beautiful project is called Chiclets. If you're in the neighborhood and want to take a class with this awesome woman, it will be on Saturday, March 5th from 11am - 5pm.

Sensational Bead Embroidery

Who else but Sherry Serafini could be associated with a title Sensational Bead Embroidery! Today, I saw a preview of some of Sherry's designs that are in her book. Lark Books had a teaser online. Her designs are incredible and every bead weaver will want this book in their library. I already ordered a number of copies for the shop and hope we will see them earlier than the expected release date of April. I haven't done much in the way of bead embroidery, but I'm looking forward to dabbling in it and Sherry's book will surely provide the inspiration that I will need. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beading by the Bay is Rockin'

BEADING BY THE BAY has 4, I repeat 4 spaces left! WOW! Marcia DeCoster, my co-producer in this little venture, and I are absolutely delighted! For those of you who have already registered, I look forward to seeing you in March. Swarovski Elements has graciously offered to host our "Meet and Greet" which takes place on Thursday evening. While enjoying an assortment of goodies and beverages, my friend Ron Rock of Swarovski Elements will tantalize us, once again, with the latest Trends presentation featuring the most current products and innovations by Swarovski. It was a blast last year! The fancy desserts by the hotel's pastry chef were rivaled only by the beautiful crystals that were all over the room, with the latter having a zero calorie count!

My friends at Tierra Cast are generously donating goodies from their product line for each of our students. Thank you Sarah and Julie!

If you register by tomorrow, January 5th, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a set of kits, one for each class taught!! How exciting is that? Pictured above is a sneak peak of Maggie Meister's three colorways for her project this year entitled, Olivia. 
Bellissima Maggie!!

Tucson 2011

It's hard to believe that the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is just a mere four weeks away! I wasn't planning on going this year, but received an opportunity from Swarovski Elements to teach two Sparkling Make and Take projects. The make and takes are not pictured yet on their website, but hopefully they will be soon. If you are making the trek to Tucson this year and want to learn a quick technique (sessions are one hour long) using our favorite crystals by Swarovski, check it out. The cost of each session is $10 which includes all the materials necessary to complete your sparkling project. There is a catch, however, you are limited to a maximum of three Make and Take sessions!

I will be meeting up with my BFF, Marcia, who is driving in from San Diego. It's a great place to meet up with your creative sisters while oohing and aahing over a city-full of stone, glass, hand-mades, crystals all sorts of wonderful things to spark your imagination and creativity. I look forward to meeting up with Tracy and Janice of Wired Arts. Two gals that together cover the realm of wire and metal in beautiful, artistic pieces that they teach all over the US and Europe.