Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Buy Handmade at Local Craft Shows!

Whether it's a local temple's Hanukkah bazaar, a school fair or a church's Christmas Art Raffle, find the best gifts and decorations for the holidays at local craft shows, from local artisans. We empower the artists of our community by supporting their craft, and at the same time we find extraordinary and one of a kind things to present to family, friends, co-workers, teachers, everyone to whom you wish to give something to say, "you are special to me."

I'll be in such a show myself on November 21 and 22nd, at the first Holiday show of the Haverford Guild of Craftsmen, St. George's Church in Haverford, PA, corner of Ardmore and Darby Roads. I  only joined this group last Spring and found myself among the warmth and camaraderie of dedicated artists working in all different mediums. Our common bond– a generosity of experience, sharing tips in craft, marketing, running a business, setting up displays, exhibition opportunities, using new technology, and more.

The Haverford Guild is a local branch of our state guild of craftsmen, the Pennsylvania Guild.   Our members will put on a fine show, diverse and affordable! From copper flowers to silken scarves, joyfully colored ceramics to glistening, modern glass... and of course, like myself, plenty of jewelry artists selling styles for everyone.

If you live near me, come on out for our show. But wherever you live, check out the local craft shows for the really special gifts.  And just go to the mall to see Santa!

Happy, healthy Winter Wonderland to all!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New tax ruling for artists

You intend to make a profit from your art. You work at it full time, but just don't make a lot of money. And you try to claim deductions and so on, but the IRS says whoa, you aren't making enough money to call this a real job.

UNTIL NOW.  A new ruling says that you CAN claim your pursuit of art as your job even if you do not make much money. There are still rules, of course. You must show that you work to make a profit and that this is not your hobby.

Please read this article and share with your accountant. Don't have an accountant? Get one. Take your art seriously as a business and so will the IRS.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Learn it. Make it. CRAFTSY!

I am excited to announce I am now an instructor on! CLICK HERE to review and sign up for my class: Essential Seed Bead Techniques

In several lessons I take you through the basics of five popular stitches and variations: even and odd count peyote, tubular peyote, flat brick stitch with increase and decrease, circular brick stitch, flat right angle weave and faux cubic RAW, square stitch, flat and tubular herringbone... plus a special lesson on closures. Each lesson includes a finished piece of jewelry we bead through together.

Tubular peyote empowers you to make cool beaded beads.
If you're getting started or want to learn more, I hope you consider taking my class Essential Seed Bead Techniques .

Of course I use my Doodlebeads drawings to help make things clearer, in combination with watching actual stitching, step by step.
Faux cubic right angle weave is just a step beyond flat right angle weave.
Craftsy presents a variety of advantages over live classes and other online education venues. Here are some of the most important highlights of Craftsy:
• Our classes are yours to keep--watch any time and as many times as you like.
• We select only expert instructors with authoritative knowledge.
• Classes are interactive, so you can ask your instructor and classmates questions.
• Our production team ensures the videos for every class are of the highest quality.
• Craftsy classes are filmed in high definition so technical details are easy to see.
• Every class is equipped with helpful features like video notes and 30-second repeat.
• You can share projects for feedback and tips, or browse for inspiration.
• If for any reason you are not satisfied you can return your class for a full refund.

See you at!

Happy beading!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CREATE YOUR STYLE Lights Up the Main Line Bead Society

It was my recent pleasure to illuminate members of the Main Line Bead Society in Springfield, Pennsylvania about being a CREATE YOUR STYLE ambassador, share current Innovations and Trends, and introduce them to the web site.
The group learned how we become ambassadors and what our responsibilities are in exchange for our association with the Swarovski family and legacy. They were impressed when I listed the global regions we come from and how we recently welcomed our first Russian Ambassador. They had no idea there were so few of us but that we came from so many places!

I showed them several of our sampler "candy boxes" to see how we are introduced to new innovations, our  "bible" of products and how we were recently bereft at the discontinuance of crystal yarn, to name a few of the now "vintage" products. We talked about the current hotties of gemcolor pearls, crystal rose and luminous green, as well as upcoming colors of nature blends and birthstone beads. I made up little sample bags that members passed around, and also displayed my own designs using some of those elements. 
There was no internet where they meet so I simply chatted for a while about the web site. No one knew about it! It was great fun to turn people on to the wealth of information and inspiration there from the interactive features such as the online design tool to the videos from the Professor of Crystal Nick Regine, the APPS, the Ambassador blogs, and the shopping! Lots of questions and note-taking ensued.

And their favorite part of the meeting... maybe, might have been, ya think? SWAG!

Thanks to the VERY generous support of Swarovski, I came loaded down with CYS gift bags for everyone with issues of Water and several packages of elements, plus a few cool things for which we had a drawing including copies of our Crystal Jewelry Inspirations (which I signed for them), color carousels, a couple issues of Sound and little books of designs and projects.

I am looking forward to workshops with this wonderful, enthusiastic bead society. I think the fave designs being considered were my Deco Rose bracelet and my Filigreellipse earrings. I'm looking forward to teaching them.
 Thanks, MLBS for such a sparkling evening!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

TREND TRACKING: leather cord and sliders

No question that leather cord bracelets sporting sliders and charms are sizzling hot right now. Few jewelry projects are as easy to create, even if you've never made jewelry before. Can you glue, trim the end off a strip of leather, and do a bit of addition and subtraction to measure a length of cord? Then you are good to go.
Me, too! So I am giving myself a well-deserved and easy break this morning to play with some of the trendy Cousin's slide bracelet components, which you can find at Jo-Ann's.  Here's the step by step for my slider cuff:

1. Measure your wrist for your desired bracelet total length. Mine is 7".
2. Measure your clasp length, clasped. This one is 1 ½".
3. Measure for cord length: here's the bit of math. Our parents were right, we do need math for everything.

You need to account in the cord length for the ends that get glued into each clasp. Measure the clasp depth: I took a small strip of paper, inserted it into the clasp, and marked where the clasp ends. Then I measured the section marked off on the paper. My clasps are both about ¼" deep.  Measure both in case they are different, and add both increments. My math:
My desired finished length: 7"
Clasp length: 1 ½"
Clasp depths x 2 = ½"
Subtract clasp length from total length = 5 ½".  Add ½" for clasp depth and my leather cord needs to be cut to 6". Ultimately this will give me 5 ½" length of leather cord exposed.  Add the 1 ½" clasp. Comes to 7", right?

4. Trim nice, straight cuts at the cord ends. Use a sharp craft knife and a cutting board, pressing with a firm and controlled sawing motion. Use caution when using knives if any kind.

5. Use an emory board to smooth the ends, and wipe the dust away.

6. Now comes the really fun part: choose your sliders! Play around with your sliders to come up with a pleasing arrangement. I tried a few ideas, and took photos to remember so I could recreate my fave.

7. Once your sliders are arranged on the cord, glue the cord ends into the clasps. MAKE SURE your clasps are facing the proper direction so the sliders show correctly if they have a top and bottom, like the owl in my design. I prefer my clasp's hook facing in, it's easier to hook that way. 
Use a viscous glue such as E-6000. Drop glue in the clasp and insert the cord end completely. Don’t use too much glue or it will overflow. If this happens, wipe excess away immediately using the edge of a card, such as the one on which your sliders probably came packaged. Place the glued bracelet to dry 6-8 hours someplace flat and away from little hands or paws. Here's my finished cuff again. All told including writing this blog with photos, my slider project took under two hours! For anyone but especially me the seed bead devotee, this is insanely instant gratification... except I need to make that glue dry faster!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My First Wire Crochet with Swarovski Crystals, Beadalon Findings and Dagger Beads from Unicorne

My first wire crochet!

I had not yet been drawn to wire crochet since it tends to be organic and I am a more architectural designer. But I needed to learn this technique for an upcoming Jewelry Television gig. I already know how to crochet and bead crochet, I just never did it with wire. Nothing like a deadline for live TV to compel you to take on something new and learn how to do it well, and fast!

Several CREATE YOUR STYLE with Swarovski Ambassadors are wire crochet dynamos so I turned to the Crystal Jewelry Inspirations book for tips. Many thanks to Laura Timmons for her project which described a method of braiding individually crocheted strands. Aha! It was just the technique I needed to employ. Thanks, Laura! I also looked at the web site of Dixon Chick Stephanie Dixon, so thanks for the additional inspiration, Steph!
I wanted to feature these striking, silver-dotted, red glass daggers from Unicorne Beads, so I strung them between sections of alternating sizes of Swarovski Jet crystals for two crocheted strands, one strand also including Beadalon oval links in gunmetal. The third strand uses all Jet crystals in sizes 5mm and 8mm. All strands use 26 gauge Artistic wire from Beadalon, non tarnish silver. Thanks to Laura I realized I could crochet single strands and braid them together into a more substantial form, though I used only 3 strands and her project uses many more.

Finishing up is straightforward enough if you've done any wire work that includes end cones or caps and wire wrapped loops with a clasp. Here's what I did: secured all braided strand ends together into a tidy "nest" that fit inside my bead cap, leaving long ends to string through the bead cap and form a wire wrapped loop.  Twirled the wire ends into a thicker gauge cable for the wire wrapped loop. Made a wire wrapped loop capturing one oval link. 

Used Beadalon's Quick Link connectors to extend the necklace with more small gunmetal oval links, and used an ear wire as the clasp. 

I suppose I should say that I got hooked on wire crochet and look forward to exploring it again.

Tune in to Jewelry Television (JTV) JEWEL SCHOOL on Feb 3 and 4th, 10-noon EST, to see the cool crochet kit you can buy to get started yourself!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crystal Jewelry Inspirations, My Journey as a Contributing Ambassador

It is my honor and pleasure to blog about being in the Crystal Jewelry Inspirations book of designs from the CREATE YOUR STYLE with SWAROVSKI ambassadors. Our common passion for Swarovski materials makes for a special bond not only between ambassadors but between us and everyone who loves Swarovski crystals! Kalmbach editor Karin Von Voohees empowered ambassadors around the world to share our styles and techniques as a group like never before!

How I chose my design
Let me tell you my journey for Crystal Jewelry Inspirations. I considered several existing pieces before ultimately creating something totally new just for this book.  First I presented to the editor my Fossil Pendant, one of my personal favorites to wear. Didn’t make the cut for the book because it doesn’t have enough crystals. I like featuring crystals in ways that set them apart from other materials in a piece but for this book, the design needed to be ALL about the bling.

Then I thought about this colorful necklace which always gets lots of comments when I wear it. But though it uses a great variety of stitches and is all crystals, it isn't totally my distinct signature style as an artist. It's very fun to make and to wear, though, so I will write this one up for sure. Some day!

Finding my design voice
I wanted to contribute something to this collection of special designs that people would connect to me and my style. I love rubber O-rings and also wanted to make a piece that was more than two dimensions. Loom weaving is, I think, an unexpected technique for crystals and something I teach and demonstrate often.  A loomed cuff worked up into a foundation cuff pretty fast so I could get right to adding embellishment and detail in all the circular brick stitched O-ring "orbits." Color was based on my desire to be graphic but feminine, stylish but edgy. Round crystals in jet (black) and crystal (white) checkerboard with fuchsia perfectly captured elements of fashion and futuristic, in my humble opinion.

The closure challenge
Everyone should give their work the happy ending it deserves. I chose to design an original clasp that was totally integrated rather than bring in a manufactured closure. I started playing with a toggle and buttonhole. First I just wired up a rubber tube, but needed to consider how to keep it in place.

The best answer was to use memory wire, which spirals into the third dimension with kinetic energy!

Everything about Crystal Jewelry Inspirations is meant to empower, instruct, and inspire. The diversity of projects and gallery pieces is simply stellar! See for yourself.

You're also invited to see more of my designs at, and shop for projects, kits, patterns, and more at

 Happy beading!